Update: Stroke of Grace has become In Darkness Sing and has moved to JenniferSaake.com.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months 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. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jenni is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Stroke of Grace became In Darkness Sing in early 2018 and has moved, along with all five of Jennifer's active blogs, to one location at JenniferSaake.com.

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 equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Tomorrow will commemorate the birth of Christ and mark 26 months since my first strokes. I will likely be too busy to give much (any?) update tomorrow, so I brought you into my home today to wish you a merry Christmas (we never managed pictures nor Christmas cards this year):

I've had a pretty off week, emotionally, mentally, physical. Yesterday morning my coordination was so low I had to use a cane to even get to the bathroom. But by yesterday afternoon I was no longer terribly cringing at loud noises (or commotion in general) and able to handle life a little better again. This morning I crashed into the sliding glass door in our bedroom pretty hard when I woke up to use the restroom, but I think I am generally doing pretty good right now. I'm walking without a cane again, fairly straight lines even, and getting ready to make rice crispy treats with my kids this morning, the extent of our holiday "baking" this year. :D

As for the normal monthly update stuff, this is kind of more a year-end reflection post I think. You may remember that I started off 2013 with the theme word "restore" (I haven't picked a word for 2014 yet, any ideas?) and I truly think God has worked that word in my heart and life on so many levels this year. Yes, if given the choice, there is still absolutely NO doubt in my mind that it is better to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, BUT, something I can say today that I absolutely could not a year ago, is that I am content here while God has me in this season of earthly life. It has been a huge wonder to find God awakening joy within my heart, this year, restoring the joy I so lacked and longed for! I think the holidays profoundly illustrate this to me as I recall how very differently I felt about them last year.
Is the physical still there, still painful? You bet. But I have been greatly blessed to see much improvement with things (generally) like my jaw (oh, it still is pretty much always painful, but no longer demanding constant focus, usually at an underlying tolerable level most of the time now, except when it particularly flairs up, to some degree a few times each day, and excruciatingly every couple of weeks) and my left shoulder (still weaker than my right, by far, but much stronger and less painful that it was a year ago). CPS is anyone's guessing game, moment-by-moment, if a gentle touch will set me off or a nice firm hug will only comfort me right then? The left of my mouth is still, and likely will forever be, pretty numb.

The emotional / spiritual has been hallmarked by an "awakening" this year, finding "me" again, no longer thinking of my post-stroke self as totally disconnected from the "her" I was before the strokes. Borrowing words and a picture posted in my stroke group on Facebook, this picture best illustrates this realization / transformation / embracing of my new self and God's unfolding purpose here:
I am sure you hear the phrase, when will you be the old you again?
I am sure many of us would like to return to the old you.
Then I look at a butterfly and think to myself. That butterfly will never return to the state of a cocoon. No one e
xpects it to. I don't even think the butterfly would think that.
It may not have learned to fly yet, but it is beautiful in its own right.
Once it learns to fly and takes off, there will be no holding it back.
The butterfly would not be what it is, if it wasn't for the larvae, the cocoon, the chrysalis! We will all develop at the stage that is best for us. Not a moment faster, not a moment slower. We will all emerge at some point.
Embrace who we have become.
Learn to love the new you.
There is beauty everywhere, you just need to discovery it.


I have more on my heart (Kendra, I'll try to fill you in soon!) but am simply too tired to write more right now. So I leave you with several more pictures that have captured my heart this week:


A Musical Tale - Steven Curtis Chapman from lumel on GodTube.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we’re living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. - Ephesians 1:11-12 


  1. Merry Christmas Jenni to you and your family. Don't be too hard on yourself, after your recent surgery, your body needs time to heal. You'll soon get back the strength and progress you have gained. Watched The Nativity on dvd tonight with my family. What a story! What a miracle!