Update: The In Darkness Sing blog at JenniferSaake is experiencing prolonged technical issues, so I'm temporarily posting back here on my old Stroke of Grace blog. (You will notice many typos in older posts. I intentionally never corrected them, as they helped document my cognitive abilities at various stages of recovery.)

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. Jennifer 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 wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months, God clarified Jennifer's theology on healing and showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jennifer is currently writing more books and stays active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. 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. (Please see temporary update note above!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Butterfly Revisited

Mom, I got my t-shirts added to the end of my butterfly post. I had managed to miss five of them (plus one of Ruth's she was getting rid of so I stole for the fabric)! I also found six hair clips I hadn't added yet. A solar butterfly from my hallway, is now pictured there too. I also managed to miss this bracelet, that so well captures so very many aspects of my personality!

First, this bracelet is butterfly-themed. That's always a great start for me! (This big butterfly is maybe a good starting place for that logo idea? If need a clearer close-up of just the butterfly, look about half way down this post.)

Change "With Grace" (speaks to this stroke journey, this very StrokeOfGrace blog) with topics of live, love, transform, all right up my alley!

Only though God's grace is my spirit learning to "be free" even within my physical confines! (And those tiny little butterflies perched on the corners of several word tiles, they remind me of all the precious babies, my own included, so longed for by all the sweet women who have crossed my path over the decades through infertility and loss ministry!)

Anyone who knows me well, knows that Hope has been an important word in my life for nearly two decades. Not only is it a word found in my first published book title as well as included in the working title of my next manuscript (with "growth" as a major theme of this book), I'm part of a very small, intimate support network of sisters living chronic illnesses and we meet in our virtual lifeline community online each day (for those in HP, think Community Forums, but rather than hundreds of ladies, take the intimacy level of sweet sisterhood down to under 20), called Hope House. :) I also happen to love gardening, so "grow" fits there too. And "grow" brings us full circle back around to the gardening analogy I highlighted years ago about the butterfly!

Sandwiched between "Hope" and "Grow" is the word Renew (my friend Shelly's blog link) similar to the restore word that has been a prominent theme is this recovery process, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I also lead a Facebook tiny support group for brain injury women who are looking to Jesus, open to any woman interested and fitting these guidelines, called Renewing of the Mind (name based on Romans 12:2). See also "point 3" below in my recap on why I love butterflies so!
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice....
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me...
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
[Some versions translate this above line as, renew a right spirit with me]
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will turn back to you...
the God who saves me,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise...
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart,
    O God, you will not despise.
 -Psalm 51:8-17

While it is sadly neglected at the moment, for years I kept a blog of healthy (often natural) beauty tips for both physical needs/pampering and beautiful hearts, InnerBeautyGirlz. I even tried a page just for young girls (teens/tweens) that still has some pretty good archived material. "Beauty Within" makes me smile and think of the soul-deep changes God is working in me. If you want tips as I find them, please follow along at my slightly-more-active Inner Beauty Facebook page and Pinterest board! (If you are especially into hair, check out my Her Hair Is Her Glory board and the unique Lilla Rose Flexi, figure 8 clips I sell!)  Maybe someday this can become a future more intensive focus again. Until then, I'm content just to be actively seeking God's Spirit to be remolding me from within.

The bracelet is circular in shape, so I could use the unending wedding ring analogy to have constant reminders of my beloved husband. The metals are tri-colored, so here's a reminder of my God, eternally existent as One, with three distinct representations as Father, Son and Spirit. The multitude of segments in all shapes, styles, and focuses, reminds me of the many rich friendships God has woven into my life in such a supportive network - thank you all!

Had to steal a professional photo from Open Sky (not where I bought it, I paid 1/3 of this on eBay!) to do the bracelet more justice than my phone camera and shaking hands could manage!

The only major interests of mine that I can think of that is not specifically represented by this bracelet are prayer (though I dreaming up a possible logo that may link prayer with butterflies) and writing! While a little typewriter or pen and ink would have been a really cool addition, I guess pointing toward topics of several of my books isn't too bad. Also, the bracelet is lacking in bright colors, but being multiple metallic shades, it should go with everything, so I can wear it with "all the colors".

For those who missed my big butterfly post, but don't want to go wading through all those pictures (I added some stroke butterfly logos too) or watch that video, the recap of why I love butterflies so much is 3-fold:


Stroke is vicious, but...
Through God's grace, I have survived the worst of the attack and am now learning to thrive!


Since my near-death experience, this world seems dark, dull, devoid of living color. I literally cannot get things bright enough, vivid enough, colorful enough, to meet the soul hunger for what is lacking. Vibrant butterflies, rainbows, sunrises, celestial lights, all ease that ache a little. I guess you could say that butterflies represent a tiny reflection of Heaven for me, easing my Homesickness just a bit.


Mostly, why I gravitate toward butterflies is that they are a living example of deepest whole-being transformation. Renewed life. Something that was once resigned to a state of crawling is now a thing of beauty, able to soar far beyond her dark time of confinement. That's who I want to be. Not the person who got caught in dark circumstances and swallowed up there, but the one who could never become who she is without that forced sideline, but who, because of the strength imparted by God alone, leaves that time behind, pumps her wings until they can hold her, then takes to the world in glorious color, beauty and flight, going farther than that crawling caterpillar could ever have dreamed possible! 

Becoming the character of a "butterfly" illustrates grace. Butterflies encompass the very concept of my blog name, StrokeOfGrace!

As I look at these three, they all overlap and intertwine quite a bit. Color, change, freedom, brokenness to beauty, grief receding into hope, God's sovereignty and strength, life; simply, it all points to GRACE. Butterflies speak all of that and more to me. 

Can't get enough butterflies either? Check out my butterfly Pinterest board and my butterfly fun things collection I've gathered on eBay!

Thanks Shelly at Renewed Daily for this banner!
Feel free to share widely.

1 comment:

  1. Looking at and listening to you, reading your writing give me hope.