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...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Divine Encouragement

It has been a week of some God-orchestrated, much-needed, verbal encouragements.

The first came when a friend messaged me on Facebook last week. We had gotten together the day before (after a comedy of errors that delayed our meeting by several hours) and I was stressed and frazzled and my house more than "lived in" looking, far from Martha Steward perfection (or even remotely close to it). Still we chatted and prayed a little and had a very blessed afternoon. On a spur-of-the-moment decision, we invited them to stay for dinner, something that might normally have stressed my poor husband (especially with the state of our home), but we all seemed relaxed and to thoroughly enjoy our evening. The next day, she blessed me by writing that she has "not felt so at home in someone else's house for years." Praise God! I am humbled and overjoyed. Thank you for the blessing of your words, K!
The second came when we went to SAM's club after church yesterday. In the check out line, a lady behind me leaned forward and asked, "So how did you end up in a wheel chair?" I was a little startled by the question, but found it rather refreshing as well, honest, direct, and child-like (kids are typically much more direct in expressing their thoughts). I was grateful for the chance to tell my story and so thankful for her interest and acceptance (rather than the hurtful indifference, rejection, rudeness, or even rare outright cruelty I have encountered at times) and continued pursuit of information.

We talked more after we had both finished checking out. She recognized my husband and he recognized her, but they never could figure out how they might have met before. I don't even remember her name, don't know that I will ever see her again, but her words had a life-changing impact on me. I am still in awe. It was clearly a divine appointment. It put me in mind of the "angels unaware" passage, though she never made any comment about the Lord. Still, her message, went right to my heart struggles of wondering how others perceive me and feeling so ugly and broken.

She leaned forward, after clear embarrassment and trying to reassure me that she wasn't trying to "hit on" me or doing anything "weird," she whisper (straight into my good ear, without being told that I couldn't hear out of the other ear), "I kept noticing this pretty lady around the store and kept wondering what put you in a wheelchair. I was so excited when we ended up behind you in line, because I finally got to ask." We went on talking and she again made a point of saying how beautiful she thinks I am. I don't feel beautiful. The lady looking at me from the mirror is damaged and so very, very flawed. Only God knew how much I needed those exact words at that very moment.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. - Hebrews 13:2
This morning, our daughter's tutor got here, into our crazy chaos, and some of the very first words out of her mouth were, "Every time I come into this house, I just feel the love! I was just telling my husband about how tangible it is here." Again, she had no idea how her words would impact, startle, floor me. I regularly pray that God would send a spirit of order, peace, joy into our home. I only see the clutter, the chaos (schedules and possessions), hear the noise. What a drenching of blessing to my heart to hear that God's love is what shines out to others!!!

I still have so far to go. But these encouragements were such a boost along the journey. I had to get them recorded before I forgot!

This is an in(Courage) event my mom took me to a week ago. What a blessing! <3
I'm on your right, with the hat and cane.

I was rather sickened to read this measure of brain injury and realize that for several hours (when I was comatose, unresponsive, and posturing) on the first day I would have undoubtedly scored "severe" injury, probably even most of, at least, the first week (where I still hardly have any memory of events, though I was mostly conscious or at least rouse-able). For probably the entire length of my (nearly two months) of hospitalization, my injury still would have fallen on the higher end of the "moderate" injury rating, I would think. I still would likely still fall into mild to moderate ratings today (though I would need someone else's outside evaluation to know exactly where).

So I keep asking God to show me my purpose, why He still has me here. I know there are lots of reasons, lots of people. If I know of at least one who finds assurance of Heaven, who does not see hell, because of what God's doing through me, the journey will become so much more "worth it" in my eyes. I know I'm here for my husband, for each of my children, for my parents, for many friends. I believe I still have some books to write. Possibly some speaking yet to do. But beyond all that, deep down, I still desperately needed an answer to why I can't go to Heaven yet. This week, God clearly confirmed that my mission is our 7-year-old son. I am not certain about the state of his heart. As long as there are doubts, I have a mission to be praying for this boy, speaking truth into his little heart. What God does is His department, but for now I finally have a reason, a purpose.
From Facebook

Here's the latest on my endocrinological health, if you wish to read. (I'm trying to keep issues to their own blogs, but there is overlap since it is all part of my life and happening at the same time.) This past week I re-started a medication have taken (and had very good success with) in the past. Hopefully it will work well now, for a different set of concerns, as well.

I am going to be seeing my doctor about a very painful issue with my right foot tomorrow (I'm guessing it is developing because I carry too much weight on that side of my body). I'll keep you updated. Prayer appreciated.

I know I had one other pretty major event or thought to share with you. I absolutely cannot remember what it was (though I did remember for a bit when I wasn't at the computer, earlier today). Oh well, I'll tell you once I remember...
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. - Zephaniah 3:17

P.S. Congratulations to Bethany Hamilton (shark bite survivor) on her upcoming wedding!

6 comments:

  1. Remind me to tell you of my SAMs encounter...very strange that we both had them in SAMs.

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  2. Praise God for the encouragement you received, happy for you. Keeping you in my prayers.

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    1. Denise, your friendship, encouragement and prayers are such a blessing. Thank you. {hugs}

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  3. You know I think you are beautiful. God has been piling on the encouragement! I thank him for that! You are the loveliest person I know, inside and out!

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    1. You figured out how to reply! :D Congratulations, Mom!!! <3

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  4. Jenni,

    We all need the encouragement that is sent from above and comes to us through messengers. May we all all God to use us as messengers to others. So glad you received some affirmation. You are beautiful. I understand your struggle in this area as I also struggle with my self image.

    Michelle B.

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