Health

A Stroke and Three Aneurysms Had This Woman at Death’s Door — But She Believes A Prayer Saved Her Life

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Lisa Johnson McFarland smiled widely as she made her way into Shiloh Baptist Church for choir practice. The 53-year-old Lockport, Illinois, native always had a song in her heart — whether it was singing hymns in church or sharing her gospel rendition of the baseball anthem “Go, Cubs, Go” that reached a million views on YouTube in 2016.

But as she took her place in the risers waving at her son Byron, the group’s pianist, Lisa found herself unable to make a sound as a strange sensation spread through her head. She could just make out her son’s panicked expression as he called out, “Mom, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Unable to respond, Lisa grasped her head and swayed as everything around her went dark.

A Heartfelt Prayer

After being rushed to the hospital, doctors determined that Lisa had suffered a stroke and had three aneurysms in her brain, one of which was still bleeding.

“She has to have surgery to fix the bleeding or she will die,” a surgeon told her family. “Many don’t survive the operation, but if Lisa does, she’ll need weeks of intensive care and months of rehab. She might lose her ability to walk, talk, or eat. She may not even remember you.”

As her husband, brother, and two sons listened intently, Lisa’s mother, Helen, had only one question for the doctor: “Before you operate, may I pray over your hands?” 

The surgeon readily agreed, and as Helen began to pray, the rest of Lisa’s family joined in. “God, please guide this doctor’s hands and be with him during surgery,” they said, filling the room with words of hope and positivity. “Help her come back to us as the Lisa we love, smiling, laughing, and most of all, singing.”

A Song of Hope

After a grueling eight-hour operation, Lisa’s family was surprised when she awoke the very next day. Hospital staff and loved ones held their breath, wondering if she’d be the same, and a week later they had their answer. Suddenly, a smile spread across Lisa’s face, and she broke out singing “Put a Praise on It” by Tasha Cobbs.

Over the next few days, Lisa defied all expectations by eating, drinking, and talking normally to each of her elated relatives. And just 10 days after surgery, everyone was amazed as Lisa walked down the hall on her own, singing more songs of hope and joy. Check out the video below of Lisa walking and singing in the hospital!

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” her doctor marveled, as he signed Lisa’s hospital release after just 20 days. Though she did require an at-home nurse, as well as some mild physical and occupational therapy, just 10 weeks after her surgery, Lisa returned to church to sing. 

“There’s no doubt this was a miracle of God,” assures Lisa, who has completely healed and is back to normal. “If I can come back from this, I know you can be healed from anything too. Never give up — I believe anything is possible with God!”

This article was originally written by Alexandra Pollock and appears in our print magazine, on stands now!

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