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...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Among the Living

Church was hard this morning. About half way through the sermon our pastor started talking about Moses's seeing the glory of God. The message hit too close to home.


I've often questioned why I never "saw God" when I had my near death experience. It was amazing and beautiful and is still more than my heart can really process, but I never saw the face of Jesus. Today, when our pastor was talking about how Moses got to behold a glimpse of God's glory, but not His face, because Moses would be too overwhelmed, consumed even, by the sight, I realized God's grace and protection on a whole new level.

I totally lost it. I guess you could describe my reaction as a PTS recoil, but rather than this being due to trauma, it was due to overwhelming wonder and the stark contrast between this reality and the next. Simply no words are adequate for the emotional process here.

There was another issue I need to resolve with the Lord too, but that isn't for this blog.
Just as I was starting to get somewhat under control again, came our closing set of songs. We opened with a song from Psalm 51, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, restore a right spirit within me..." The tears started to fall again, as I have shared what a struggle this particular passage has been to me.

I can't even tell you what the next couple songs were, because by now our kids were concerned and stressed, trying to comfort me, so I was pretty much just focused on trying to comfort them!

But then the last song came on loud and strong, including  words along the lines of, "I go where God and glory are...this broken body I now resign..." In a totally different context than a physical stroke, meaning brain damage, this song also includes the word "stroke, " as in a measurement of time, but to me there is profound double meaning in this word. I never have made it through this particular song without tears, not once! It always does me in.

Since the tears were already flowing, and I was hick-upping to try to choke down noisy sobs, that's all I needed to really push me over the edge! I was a total mess when service ended. Then came trying to explain myself to several lovingly concerned friends. Thank you, everyone who checked on me. This is what I couldn't begin to know how to explain!

Would I trade that moment of heavenly wonder? No! I am totally thankful for God's grace in this. As I've explained to my husband, it is the most amazing part of this whole journey. But the contrast of life here, seeking to understand my purpose this side of such profound revelation, makes having a foretaste of the glory there, the homesickness,  also the very most painful part.

Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. (Ps. 66:8-9 ESV)