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, April 15, 2014

Taxing Grief

For the first time in nearly 22 years of marriage, we filed a tax extension for today, just could not accomplish one more paperwork juggle by today's deadline. I'm proud of him for still making the time to file that we would be delayed to file, but it's just one more example of how life spins so fast when one marriage partner becomes long side-lined from her normal pre-stroke duties! My husband now manages all the finances, and between that and all the family driving duties (with three kids and a car pool, this is nothing to sneeze at!) and everything else on his plate (work, household management I'm not accomplishing yet, passport and details for our son's trip this summer, family injuries like my badly sprained ankle or our daughter's broken foot, campaigning, etc.), life is just busy!

For Randy, today's scarf tie. :)

More significantly, two dear ladies are taking up my heart and prayer focus today. As you know, this blog is in existence today, because of my dear friend Kendra, who stroked 5 1/5 months after I did. Today is her 2 year stroke-a-versary. Please keep her and her husband and four children in your prayers as you go about the date. I can attest that such  landmark dates are trigger-laden for the whole family!

My heart is also with Kelly Thorne Gore  in the 29-week delivery of Hannah who will be (just has???) been born still after her heart recently stopped. Kelly labored all through the night. As of this morning, she was getting close to delivery and the baby area of the room was being prepared. Kelly described the surreal experience of watching the preparations and trying to temper the excitement of impending birth with grasping the devastating reality that the are planning a funeral and will not be bringing their beloved daughter home. Today is going to be a long and emotional one for the Gore family! "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." (1 Thes. 4:13-14) The Bible never says not to grieve, just not to grieve without hope. I am so very, overwhelmingly thankful that this world is not our final Home!

It seems like a rather abrupt transition, but I would be remiss in not sharing a praise for a long-stand post-stroke goal that I joyfully accomplished this week, thanks to the understanding of my dear friend K. and the prioritizing of schedule that my amazing husband brought about. As long-time readers here are well-aware, one of my greatest sorrows, my biggest dreams since the strokes, was my inability to hold babies when my left arm won't support them. K., my Bible study buddy I had requested prayer for a couple weeks ago, when she was overdue and induced for baby A., arranged a way for me to sit on her couch, prop my weak arm with pillows, and spend a delightful hour and a half holding her 10-day old baby girl! It has taken nearly 2 1/2 years to realize this dream, but with "baby magnet" has finally held a newborn again! I'm in love!!! (I did get to hold a 5-month-old for about 5 minutes last year, but there is a big difference in holding an itty bitty with no head control yet!)

As for my primary email account, it is finally clean and back under control. I ended up skimming through around 20,000 more unread message titles before I moved them, in mass, to my recycle file, so I really hope I didn't miss anything important, but after a week and only 10,000 done, that's what I resorted to. If you sent me an email and I never replied, please send again!

My physical bruises are starting to fade and I think they mirror my heart right now, am continuing to feel more content, more settled, more purposeful in my time God has appointed me yet to spend here on earth. As I said, just this week, when asked what one thing I would like to share with brand new stroke survivors in those terribly dark earliest days of recovery, "It will not be THIS hard forever! It may never be the same as before, but it really does get better than today, good again even!" That was huge for me, thinking that this was my new life and thing would forever be this bad, this hard, for the rest of my life. If there is anything I would want others to know is that stroke can change your life, but it isn't a life sentence to forever have all the limitations and overwhelming emotions of those first days, weeks, months, even years! In this sense, much like the suffocation of a death, and the grief journey that is initially SO all-encompassing, and forever changes you, leaves its mark, but eventually does mellow in intensity of anguish!

Fading bruises from my fall a week and a half ago.
Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. - Ecc. 4:6  Being physically one-handed now (because of strokes), I first read this as "Better one handed with tranquility..." and went, "Wow, I never knew that was in the Bible!" Upon re-reading I see my wording was initially off, but this verse has taken on a whole new layer of meaningfulness to me now!



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