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.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Hubby, My Hero

So what was my answer to yesterday's question, about when I was dying, what kept me fighting? My husband looked me in the eye and challenged, "Don't you give up on me!" Shortly there-after, God sent a pastor friend to come and pray with me when I seemed totally unresponsive but could still hear every word.


Those two evens stand out to me to this day. They happened probably within an hour or two of each other, during and immediately after what I had been calling my "3rd stroke" (but I now believe was likely a "sympathetic brain storm" between my first three and second three strokes. I just remember being exhausted, drained, DONE, and totally ready to quit fighting, but I fought because Rick asked me to and because God sent encouragement at the moment I most desperately needed assurance that He was still carrying me.
Realistically, yes, this probably was a life-or-death moment as well. I sure felt like I was dying right before my husband's eyes! And research tells me such a mess in my brain certainly could have been fatal. I'm pretty convinced that if Rick had given me "permission" to give up in that moment, I would have. But, honestly, I did not have any struggle at the moment I was very closest to death, only peace and joy! The battle came, the fighting, in the coming back, realizing my reasons to live, finding something worth fighting for. And that's where this "when you were dying" moment, about a week and a half after the initial injury and first two strokes, comes into play.

Something that has been on my mind a lot is the "fantasy life" many people often live out in social media. It seems that many people either are constant complainers on platform such as Facebook, seemingly living from one drama to the next and trying to draw out as much sympathy and attention as possible from their friends, OR (as I much more commonly see referenced) are only willing to share the good aspects of their lives there, the job promotions, new cars, new babies, most romantic aspects of relationships, so that other feel jealous and inferior and sad about their own lack in contrast to a friend's "perfect," story-book, ideal lives.

I'm sure I've been guilty of both aspects of only letting people see through one window of my reality. I think it would be nearly impossibly to paint a truly balanced and unbiased view of one's own life, especially in the very midst of given events, without the benefit of hindsight nor time's perspective. There are often other facts, experiences, background that we simply don't know when we see a seeming too-good-to-be-true sliver of another's life. Having said this, I would like to offer yet another perspective on anyone's own self view. I'll use a few examples from my own life that might be worth considering / remembering the next time some else's self-painted world seems so perfect that it makes your heart hurt.

I didn't post very much about my children, their cute stories and funny sayings, for YEARS. Not because I was embarrassed about them, but because our years of infertility and losses had taught me how very painful such things could be to other grieving, longing, waiting hearts. Over the years I share more for two reasons, both that we are so far personally removed from this reality now that it is sometimes easy to "forget" how very painful those things are AND that this IS our reality now and, while praying for hurting hearts, we need to talk about was is happening in our lives. When parenthood so encompasses that journey in this season, it is bound to come up sometimes.

Yes, there are beautiful, precious moments, but if someone were to judge our marriage on only by my Facebook post these last couple years, they would be prone to envy our idealic relationship and think it was pretty perfect and that I were bragging about what I have and others do not. But putting things in context, the raw truth is that marriage, especially since stroke, is HARD work, for both of us! Rick and I have to claw our way through the tough stuff to get to the beautiful, through the mud and muck and literal torrent of tears, to get to the shimmering moments of joy and laughter. There are days, seasons even, that are downright crushing and we have been tempted to bail. Yes, it does ultimately turn out to be worth all the work and I am so very thankful for the man who shares this life with me, no question. I don't take this lightly or want to hurt anyone with my storybook posts, but the reason I tend to only post the good stuff, the date nights, the sweet things my husband does, my bubbly emotions for him, and not a fully balanced picture of every moment of reality, does NOT mean it is always blissful or easy, it means I am choosing to focus my mind on the positives.

Yes, things are often wonderful and I enjoy shouting the good news from the roof tops as loudly as the next person might.  But sometimes my picture-perfect sounding post represent my moments of deepest struggle, strongest doubt. The more intensely I need to remind myself that this is a blessed union worth fighting for, the more I am prone to need to declare my deep-down belief that we are going to make it, that I am married to an amazing man! Kind of like in my relationship with God when I might be really struggling but you see a post from me about God's kindness, sovereignty, or gentle and faithful care, with you having no way to know, that while these words are ever true, I'm may be declaring that "This is the day that the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!" through clenched teeth today, preaching truth to myself in a moment of weakness. Faith kind of puts a whole new spin on fairytale type post, doesn't it?

Tonight is the last chance for anyone to order through my Pampered Chef show if you are interested. Tomorrow morning is my Mom's kidney surgery. Thank you for your prayers!

Day 53 of 100
Prayer quote from Lysa TerKeurst:
God, whatever my circumstances, I will find reasons to praise You. Even when I feel disappointed by what life brings, I will trust You to bring good out of bad. No matter what, I will hold on to You and Your truths. My deepest desire is to have more of You in me. And if that is the desire of my heart, I will never be disillusioned. Thank You for this beautiful reality tonight. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Psalm 96:2

Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.



  2. Oh wow! Congrats! I think I told ya, I tried, and fell flat on my butt. So very impressed!

    As far as what I was thinking when I was locked in it was "who is taking care of my babies"