Starting October 25 of 2011, "InfertilityMom," 39-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder of Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes, all due to vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office. The largest two strokes were brain stem and cerebellum bleeds. Jenni remained hospitalized until nearly Christmas and was not expected to live (near death experience) nor recover, but if she even survived, she was slated to live out her days in a nursing home or, best case, to maybe come home but wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care (please read more and watch short video). Jenni is now walking (with a cane or wheeled walker), has recovered much eye-sight, some hearing, partial use of her hands, cares for most of her own personal/toiletry needs, and is currently writing three books, maintains multiple blogs, and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Near the five-year recovery mark, Jenni has renewed her pre-stroke excitement about the unique Lilla Rose hair Flexi eight jewelry she sells and has finally regained enough hand/arm function to regularly use! (The biggest ongoing losses at the 4 1/2-year point of recovery are left-side nerve pain, inability to drive, loss of homeschool teaching capability, significant sound processing issues (often triggering nausea), and some profound physical ability limitations such as a limp, balance challenges, clumsy use of right hand and only large motor function in left hand.) Here is her resume.

Since Jenni's chiropractor carried no insurance and moved out of the country soon after the accident (thus avoiding any legal or financial consequences), if you would like to help contribute to the Saake (pronounced like the two small words, say and key) family's massive financial needs (medical expenses alone are estimated to cost between $1- and $1.5- Million in Jenni's lifetime), please visit Jennifer Saake's Stroke Survivor GoFundMe Page. (This support information has been added in direct response to several reader requests.) The Saakes sincerely thank you for your prayers and if God prompts and equipts you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Jenni is clinging to God's grace through the entire experience. Here is her unfolding story, documented in her own words (typing with only her right hand), as she perceives it happening in real time, messy, honest and to the glory of God...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Trees Walking

I thought of another story when Jesus healed in stages, recorded in Mark 8 (where it often gets overshadowed by the more famous story of Jesus feeding the multitudes with a few loaves and couple fish):
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Wasn't God capable of fully restoring this man's vision all at once? Of course! Did He even need to ask what the man could see (He already knew!) after He first spit (Ewww! God's way certainly aren't always our ways!)  on the man's eyes? No that question was for the man's benefit, and for ours, to know that partial sight had been restored but that it wasn't back to normal yet. I love that description, "I see men, as trees walking!" So enough function had been restored that the man probably could have re-entered society independently at that point, but God wasn't done yet. Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.  

Sometimes God just enough that we can more fully grasp all that is lacking before he gifts clarity. The hardest season for me, so far, wasn't when I was in the hospital, nor even in the grueling dailiness and isolation of rehab, though yes, those were indeed horrid. It got even harder about six months into this journey, when I could do just enough to start to be regaining a taste of independence again, but my limitations were still so vast that it was utterly frustrating to not be able to function as I would have liked. At that point, this life lacked any hope for me, void of even a glimmer of goodness. I remember thinking, literally, there could be no more horrid human experience. (I can think of many more terrible things now, but at that point I honestly believe my pain to be the absolute "worst" possible).

OK, now it is your turn. I'm still looking for answers. I'm still seeing this all as "trees walking" here. I so yearn for clarity, but am not quite there. Would someone please point me to some examples in the Bible where God either chose to only heal in part or not at all? I can think of Job, a godly man from whom all (including children) was taken. Though no one can ever be "replaced" the Bible records that, in the end, Job was blessed with as many children (love the fact that this one thing was NOT doubled, because each person is unique in their own right) and twice as much of everything else, as when he started. There are many examples of barrenness, even with statements about the infertile couple being blameless and honoring God (think of Elizabeth), but they all resulted in eventual miracle conceptions (that's a whole other theological discussion I would be happy to have with anyone who really wants to talk about the coming of Christ, why every promised child in the Old Testament was a son, and my theories on that, but we'll save that for another day rather than getting into it here)!

I believe every miracle recorded in Scripture is there because it is a miracle, a time when God stepped outside normal human parameters to work extraordinarily. I would think it is reasonable to assume there were many every day and less supernatural encounters people had with Jesus that never made it into ink. But I would be so encouraged if I could find even one example from the Bible where healing was requested of God, it did not take place (or only partially), human faith was not sighted for the lack, and God received ultimate glory. I have no doubt that God sometimes allows His beloved children to undergo hardship and it all ends up for the best, because we can't see the end result when we are in the midst of hurting, but I would love it if anyone can show me a specific Biblical example.

I've gotten my miracle already, or at least a good portion of it. I am alive. I am breathing on my own. I am talking. I am eating (mostly) without chocking (too much). I am walking. I am childlike in my reasoning abilities, but I am leading a fairly "normal" life with many adult decisions now. But what of the countless others who will never have their miracles this side of Heaven? Who will never get up from their wheelchairs or off their ventilators? Where if the Scripture they can point to? What of my hearing, that seems, without some kind of miraculous intervention from the Lord, is not going to be restored in this lifetime? I can find examples of healing in a slow time frame, but can you help me wrestle through when God's answer is simple "no," in this lifetime, or incomplete?

I do believe all suffering can be redeemed for God's glory. I think we covered all of that pretty well last week. What I am looking for are chapter and verse examples that I'm thinking simply are not there. If you know of something, please leave a comment to help this girl out!

In the face of the seeming lack of what I seek, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God" (Psalm 42:11 and Psalm 43:5).

When I saw this picture on Facebook, I knew I had to share it here. For many months I was stuck in a Psalm 4:6a mindset, “Who can show us any good?” It is still easy to fall into the trap of knowing that where I am going is so much better, that I fail to appreciate all the beauty of this limited lifetime I have been given. Thankfully, as the rest of the Psalm states, I am starting to find glimmers of joy again. This is more refreshing (and was more unimaginable, that such a day might ever come) than I can begin to describe. I am beyond thankful! "Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord" (Psalm 4:6b).


Quote of the day:  "God is not wasteful...He uses EVERYTHING. He just needs permission to dig in your trash." Caryn Christensen (quote spotted on Facebook)
Isaiah 38:16
Lord, by such things men live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live.
Edited to add, while I still welcome any verses you would like to share, here's how God has started to Restore Hope since I wrote this article.

This turned out to be the third in a series of 4 different posts, as I wrestled though this issue of healing. They are all linked by looking at the February, 2013 links, or going to the end of God's Paint Brush.

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