Lydia with daughter Meredith

Lydia Hines is the author of a tract and short story entitled “My Hope Is Still Alive”, a chronicle of her miraculous and merciful survival after a giant aneurysm rupture and subsequent emergency brain surgery at the brain stem in 1999. Three brain surgeries later, God enabled Lydia to work at home, at church, and to assist her husband Ken in their work together with – Ministry Resource Center Inc.. The Hines live in Hancock Maryland and have three children Michael, 17, Mark, 14, and Meredith, 9, a vital part of their lives and ministry.

My Hope Is Still Alive” is more than a story it is a testimony of a family’s trust in God’s grace and mercy.

In the words of Lydia Hines “My hope is still alive because “He lives”; Jesus Christ is the stabilizing “anchor”. For the unwavering demonstration of the law and the love of Christ to us by our loving Pastor and his wife, our church, our family and our friends, we are so very grateful. They have unconditionally weathered this raging storm with us and helped us cooperate with the plan of God.”

If you are experiencing a difficult moment in your life let your hope be restored where you too can say “My Hope Is Still Alive.”



My Hope Is Still Alive

A Story Of God’s Grace

by Lydia Hines

The 911 Call

Have you ever thought about “making a change” in your life? I know I have ~ many times. I’m a person who likes to be in control — multi-task oriented, organizer, perfectionist, obsessive-compulsive — you know, I am sure, the current cultural, psychological lingo. Change does not come easy. Perhaps you are like me. Something happened, however, on the Wednesday morning after Easter 1999 that “changed my life” forever, and I had nothing to do with it!

It was late on Tuesday, April 6. My home-schooled children, — ages 13, 10, and 5 — were bedded down for the night. My husband, Ken, had gone to bed too; the house was really quiet. It was a perfect time to get some real work done on a pressing church project.

After working for a while, I began to get extremely tired, so I decided to save my work on the computer and go to bed. I stood up and walked into the kitchen and, all of a sudden, I felt what others have best described as a “gunshot” pain in the back of my head. BAM! My head, my neck, and my eyes began to immediately throb with intense pain. I instantaneously grabbed my head and closed my eyes. 

I blindly began to fumble for the cabinet door to get some Co-Tylenol®, but as I touched the knob, the pain in my head became more intense and unbearable. I opened my eyes to see black, flashing halos of light. I did not know that these “flashing halos” were an indicator that I was intermittently being blinded. It was extremely difficult to keep my eyes open; I knew, without a doubt, something horrible was happening. The pain was excruciating — unlike anything that I had ever experienced before! I filled a cup with water and quickly gulped it down with the Co-Tylenol®. I paced back and forth in the kitchen, shaking, moaning and groaning. I honestly did not know what was wrong nor did I know what to do. My family was asleep and I was awake at 4:00 in the morning – the one factor, though, that doctors have since speculated that “probably helped save my life.”

We live in a two-story house but somehow God enabled me to stumble up the stairs and into our bedroom. As I opened the door, I called in the darkness to my husband, Ken, to tell him that I was terribly ill and needed to go to the hospital. He quickly sat up, asked me several questions, and then ran downstairs to call 911. I began to panic, wondering what we would do with our children. We live in what I call a little “hollow” in the mountains. It was 4:00 in the morning! Holding onto the stair banister, I followed him back down the stairs and into the kitchen. There I found him talking on the phone to the 911 dispatcher.

After he hung up the phone, I began to mumble “wifely” instructions to him. He “husbandly” assured me that “everything was going to be okay” and strongly urged me to go lie down. He made additional phone calls to a neighbor and to our pastor and then left to go back upstairs to get dressed.

By that time, my chest had begun to hurt and it was becoming increasingly difficult to breathe. I felt weak. Concerned that I might lose consciousness if I were to lie down, I sat down in a kitchen chair instead. My head throbbed. My life, it seemed, was flashing before my eyes with every beat of my heart. I began to fret about the children. “Who was going to feed them in the morning?” I stood back up and made my way back over to the cabinets. Opening the doors, I fumbled for three plastic cereal bowls and their lids. I grabbed the cold cereal from the top of the fridge and hastily poured it into the bowls, spilling some of it onto the floor. I clumsily snapped the lids onto the bowls and then placed spoons by each bowl on the kitchen table. One for Michael, one for Mark, and one for Meredith. In my anguished and confused state of mind, I think I was attempting to meet one last need ~ perhaps to balance out all the needs I had left unmet.

My thoughts became more chaotic. I began to be troubled about other things that I had left undone. Taxes were due. “How could Ken school the children if I went into the hospital?” For the first time in our marriage, we had no health insurance; we had just started a church resource and children’s evangelistic ministry. Thoughts raced through my mind. I did not want to be a hindrance to my husband. Having had heart problems since I was young, I knew that worrying would cause my blood pressure to rise; I already thought that I was having a stroke. My thoughts strayed to my mother and the years she was bedridden because of a stroke at age 60. For eight whole years she was an invalid, unable to control anything in her life. Now, at 44 years of age, I was beginning to lose control of my life and I became very, very scared.

We Desperately Needed A Miracle

While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I began to weep and cry out to God and to quote Psalm 23 and other bible passages. The pain was agonizing and seemingly stripping me of my ability to recall what I felt I desperately needed most – assurance from God’s Word that a plan was in place. I did not know that blood was filling the subarachnoid space in my brain and beginning to clog my 4th ventricle. Thoughts continued to drift. Time seemed to be moving so slowly. So very troubled by my confused emotions, mixed with anxieties and worries, I begged God to help me to think “His thoughts.” It was then that the precious Holy Spirit impressed Psalms 18:30 upon my heart, “As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”

I leaned over in the chair at the kitchen table and put my head between my knees and whispered the first part of the verse over and over again, meditating and claiming its profound truth in my heart … “As for God, His way is perfect:…”

Months before, my pastor had counseled me, “Lydia, you can’t see the whole picture. God knows the end from the beginning.” Though I could not understand what was happening at this moment either, I knew that God was there with me. Eternity was perhaps a “moment” away. The seatbelt had been “buckled” many years ago and true to His Word, God began to give me a “peace that passeth understanding.” (Philippians 4:7 )

The ambulance arrived. No sirens. No flashing, blue lights. One paramedic calmly entered my kitchen door and then another followed. Once they evaluated my symptoms and determined my critical condition, I was strapped to a gurney and wheeled out the door and into the ambulance. Before I left for the 25 mile trip to the hospital, Ken quickly prayed with me again, kissed my forehead, and promised to leave to meet me at the hospital as soon as he awakened our oldest son, Michael. I would not be aware of Ken’s touch or his presence again for three days.

Though I drifted in and out of consciousness while in the ambulance, I could hear someone talking by radio to the hospital. I knew my situation was grave. While one EMT worked with me, I heard someone classify my condition as Priority One. My blood pressure had risen to 225 over 165; pain was radiating up my arm and into my chest. I was becoming increasingly confused and disoriented and began vomiting. The attendant wiped my face and my forehead. He told me to open my mouth. He inserted something under my tongue. I remember asking him, “what is this?” He told me “nitroglycerin.” He slipped the third pill under my tongue as we approached the hospital. I struggled once more to stay awake and in “control”, but I finally lost total consciousness when the back doors to the ambulance were opened to the cool, early morning air. I could no longer strive with the will of God. My condition, my life was out of my control and into the hand of God where, beyond my fleshly ability to comprehend, it had been all along.

I was unaware that I was having a subarachnoid bleed from a ruptured aneurysm that was located beneath the delicate membrane that encloses the spinal cord and the brain. An aneurysm is a widening in the arterial wall; sometimes this bulging spot, of any size, can rupture with no warning. A CT scan and an angiogram revealed, unknown to me, that I had two congenital (present since birth) aneurysms; the giant one was bleeding profusely, causing intense and dangerous pressure on my brain.

By late Wednesday morning, I slowly slipped into a coma and was placed on a ventilator. In order to alleviate the build-up of cranial pressure caused by the bleeding, the neurosurgeon in Hagerstown, Maryland, skillfully performed a procedure called a ventriculostomy in which a hole is drilled into the skull to allow this fatal buildup of fluid to escape the brain by draining into a bag. The temporary shunt saved my life, and I soon regained a lucid state of consciousness. I vaguely remember opening my eyes in ICU on Wednesday, seeing Assistant Pastor Blackburn’s kind face and feeling the squeeze of his hand. I had no idea where I was or what was going on.

Having Compassion and Making a Difference

By Wednesday morning, the news was out. A family took our children into their home and under their protection. Friends came to the emergency room to check on me and to pray with Ken. Some stayed all day with him. An early ladies’ prayer meeting was quickly organized. And so on Wednesday evening, as I lay in ICU in critical condition, a group of ladies met to pray before AWANA and the regular prayer service began at our church, Emmanuel Baptist Temple. I was told later that the room was over-flowing with women pouring their hearts out to God in my behalf. God was at work while I was unconscious.

Phone calls were made to family and countless email messages were sent out to churches and friends across the United States and to missionaries across the World. While I was comatose and totally unaware of my perilous state, precious saints of God had begun to pray and to work. A Trust Fund was set up to help finance our medical expenses, and people began to immediately give. I was unable to call out for God’s help but others called out for me. There was no question; everyone, including the doctor, was in agreement. A miracle from God was needed — and I did not even know it.

Because the aneurysm was located near the brain stem, the decision was made at 11:00 that night to send me by Med-evac to University of Maryland Center’s Neurological Intensive Care Unit. No promises were made to my husband; he did not know whether I would survive the helicopter trip to Baltimore or what my recovery would necessitate other than possible surgery. It took the Med-evac team over an hour to get me stabilized and ready for transport. A hospitalized lady from our church, awakened by the roar of a helicopter, gazed out of her window during those early morning hours and watched the Med-evac team at work, not knowing that it was me they were working on. Life was going on as it passed by me. Ken was told to leave Hagerstown and to drive to Baltimore.

Cradled in God’s loving arms, I was finally air-lifted 90 miles away from the farmlands of Hagerstown and over into the inner city of Baltimore. The statistics were not in my favor. To some, I am sure, the time clock on my earthly life seemed to be ticking away. The neurosurgeon later revealed to my husband that 60 percent of all people who have subarachnoid bleeds from an aneurysm rupture never make it alive to the emergency room. Nearly 24 hours had passed and I was still alive.

I slipped in and out of consciousness during the next day; Ken was awake and had to make critical decisions for my care. The aneurysm had momentarily clotted. My condition was critical but stable. Ken was faced with a myriad of complicated questions that required sobering answers. Should he sign papers for me to be an organ donor in the event of brain-death? Did he truly want to risk brain surgery and the possible complications? What life-saving measures should the hospital staff take in the event of my having an debilitating stroke?

We were young. The answers to these questions never crossed our minds. Though we had buried a prematurely born daughter, Mallory Hope, in 1988, in our day-to-day activities, we were like so many others, forgetting the “brevity of life” (James 4:14) and the “reality of death.” (Hebrews 9:27) The destiny of both of our lives and our scattered dreams seemed to be slipping out of our weak grasp. God was literally showing us that He, indeed, is the one that “upholdeth” … “with His Hand.” (Psalm 37:24)

The doctor took Ken into a room and showed him a multitude of images of my brain lined up on a lightboard and then detailed to him the extreme risks of brain surgery. Because of the precarious location of the aneurysm, the decision was made to clip this “ticking time bomb” by craniotomy which involved drilling, removing, and disposing part of my skull, pushing aside the durra matter, maneuvering around essential tiny nerves and blood vessels, and performing the microscopic clipping of the aneurysm at the PICA artery at the brain stem. One small gaffe during surgery could bring about paralysis or death. Ken signed the necessary forms. Before the surgery, he and a friend from our church had the opportunity to pray with the neurosurgeon for God’s guidance and protection. Would God do a miracle for our family? Ken pleaded with God to spare me.

The Miracle God Gave

Obviously from reading this story, you know that I survived the rupture and the surgery. Surgery lasted for 13 hours on Friday. The neurosurgeon told my husband everything came together according to a “script.” We believe it was “scripted” by the hand of God. God, in His infinite mercy and grace, gave our family and our church the miracle that we asked for. I can not answer “why for me” and “why not for someone else.” I don’t have the answers. I can only give God the glory He deserves for guiding the hands and for performing the miracle that I did not deserve.

After spending fourteen days in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit (7-8 days of that in physical and occupational therapy) and six more days in the hospital, I came home to my family and friends. The doctors and nurses were celebrating my survival; family and friends were overwhelmed. Could it be true? No vasospasms. No strokes. No seizures. I was 25 pounds lighter and extremely weak, but I could walk and talk and feed myself.

Seven days after I came home from the hospital, a crisis developed as headaches increased and fluid began to accumulate in my brain behind my left ear. I re-entered the University of MD hospital so that the neurosurgeon could install a permanent peritoneal shunt (basically a drain of cerebrospinal fluid from the brain to the peritoneal cavity — the space between the inside of your skin and the organs in your belly) to relieve the pressure.

The doctors had warned Ken that this might happen; the blood from the rupture had blocked and damaged the proper drainage of the CSF. We were assured that the drainage of this fluid into the cavity would not be harmful. A week later I was discharged from the hospital. The fluid had dissipated and the headaches had ceased. My prognosis was good; my only disabilities were short-term memory problems and hearing loss due to inner ear nerve damage (and subsequent tinnitus). With each passing day, I regained my strength. So, slowly we began to rebuild our lives and to learn, as a family, to cope with the negligible disabilities.

Being in the ministry, we have learned that one of the purposes of tribulation is to make Christians more holy – more like Jesus Christ. Character and substance are shaped in adversity. The storms of life always leave us with a list of things to clean up and fix. For Christians, storms are wonderful opportunities, because, when they are rightly faced, they help us see and acknowledge the broken areas in our life and help us turn back to the only One who can make the necessary repairs, the One who is in control. Certainly this was true for Ken and I. We needed God to expose our broken windows.

Prior to my aneurysm rupture, we had been coping with the failure of a business venture. We had been so full of faith but yet so dependent upon our ability to make life “work our way” in this endeavor. And so it was beyond our ability in the flesh to comprehend the financial loss and the personal embarrassment; life seemed so unfair and totally out of our control.

I was losing hope and becoming embittered at another ~ a dangerous combination. In despondency and bitterness, I was grasping at loose straws to regain control of what seemed to be the fragmented pieces of our lives. I was falling apart inside and out, and bit by bit, God was exposing my helplessness.

In His infinite wisdom and love, God needed to humble me, bring me to my knees and to utter dependency upon Him – the position I took 22 years before when I laid all of my sin and my guilt at the foot of the cross in acceptance of God’s free gift of salvation. Jim Berg writes in his book, Changed Into His Image, “Humility is not only the start of the Christian life; it is the start of everything godly in the Christian life.” “Oh To Be Like Thee” is God’s plan for every Christian. God was revealing how truly unlike Him I was.

True to His Word, it is the “goodness of God that leads a man (or a woman) to repentance” (Romans 2:4) – to biblical change. As David, the Psalmist, said from his wealth of experiences “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” (Psalm 119:71) The aneurysm rupture, surgery, and my miraculous survival literally “woke” me up and made me see how wrong I had been about so many things and how much of my life I needed to yield to God. It is almost humorous to me that it took brain damage for my brain to get in gear with the truth of the Word of God. Brain trauma substantially broadened my spiritual understanding. Forever I desire to be grateful for His infinite wisdom and mercy. Truly it “endureth for ever” (Psalm 118:29).

Facing this life-and-death experience has been one of the hardest trials of our lives, and it did leave us with many uncertainties. 19 months later, I faced a 2nd surgery on the remaining aneurysm. During this surgery (the week of Thanksgiving in 2000), an undetected 3rd aneurysm on the optic nerve was visibly noted by my meticulous neurosurgeon. He successfully clipped the 2nd aneurysm, came out of the operating room and broke the news of the 3rd aneurysm to my husband while the other surgeons reattached my skull and closed me up. After a failed neuoradiological attempt to coil the 3rd aneurysm the next day, the decision was made to re-enter my brain again the day after Thanksgiving to clip the unstable remaining aneurysm. I walked out of the hospital a week later after one failed neuroradiological procedure and two successful brain surgeries with minimal damage to my optic nerve. Six weeks later, my neurosurgeon gave me a clean neurological bill of health and said, “we will check you again in five years.” He rejoiced with us at the goodness of God.

Our family now is able to joke that I have enough metal in my head to cause an airport metal detector to shrill. My husband often refers to me as the “bionic” mom because I am filled with screws, wire mesh, tubes, and titanium clips. Bionic or not, I can hug my dear husband and children and feel their warm embrace, I can cook, walk and talk, see, sing praises to God, type on a computer and send out email like crazy to myriads of aneurysm survivors and families, drive our van, pass out tracts and witness and encourage others, and home school our two youngest children. I can breathe on my own! God is so merciful. Life’s other worries have become so trivial.

Life may seem uncertain and unfair to us at times. We all tend to worry over little things. We just ofttimes won’t admit it. Insignificant worries tear up our nerves and destroy our digestive systems. Circumstances and people disappoint us. We bear offenses and bury bitterness deep within the crevice of our heart. Satan takes advantage of our vulnerabilities, and then leans over and whispers “the lie” into our ear. We listen and then question God’s love and His justice. However confusing life may seem at times, though, God’s faithfulness and His love for us is not uncertain. The Bible says that He loves us with an “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) and that Jesus Christ is the “same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Why should we fret – if we exercise faith in God’s promises, we know that God loves us and His love has no end!

Why should we fear? God does indeed uphold. Through trials we can find Him true to His Word. We found Him faithful for we were carried through the deep, dark valleys and through the uncertainties by His sustaining grace. God is not a God controlled by circumstances; He is the God who controls circumstances. He is in absolute control. One would think we should have known this already, but I’ve come to the conclusion that we, like most Christians, “know” this “in theory” but it is truly the “storms of life” that help us “prove” the reality. We are learning to let God be God, to obey and to wait on Him, and to cooperate with His Will. Now II Corinthians 4:7 leaps out of the pages of the Bible at me although I had heard Pastor John Vaughn at Faith Baptist Church preach it so many times so many years ago while I was a student at Bob Jones University. It says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” God is the creator of these earthen vessels — you and me. We begin to fear when we try to take control of the Potter’s wheel.

Where there times that we wanted to run and to hide in despair? Yes, quite frankly — many, many times. Are there times now — 4 years later — that we want to bury our heads in the sand? Yes! The struggles in life are hard! Living day to day with disabilities or limitations can be frightening. It has only been because of the wonderful hope we have in the person and work of Jesus Christ, accepting by faith that “my times [our times – your times] are in thy [God’s] hand” (Psalm 31:15) “way is perfect”,

And so we would say to you, dear Christian, faint not for God keeps you! Do not be discouraged during your great fiery trial ~ for God has a plan (Romans 8:28)! It is the trying of our faith that “worketh patience.” James further states, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:3-4) Patience produces experience, and experience produces hope (Romans 5:4). True to God’s blessed Word, it is all adds up in God’s perfect formula! He is working His plan!

My hope is still alive because “He lives”; Jesus Christ is the stabilizing “anchor”. For the unwavering demonstration of the law and the love of Christ to us by our loving Pastor and his wife, our church, our family and our friends, we are so very grateful. They have unconditionally weathered this raging storm with us and helped us cooperate with the plan of God.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9

Is Your Hope Alive?

I received many cards and notes during and after my experience. In one of those notes, a sweet lady in our church shared, “you are a miracle to me. Sometimes my faith gets so weak, and I need to see a walking miracle.”

Perhaps you are reading this story and you would say, “I need to see a miracle. Where is my hope?” A miracle can be seen, dear friend, in the life of any person, made possible only through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. This miracle happened to me on March 12, 1977, when I trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. When this miracle happened, I became a new person, forever changed by the saving grace and transforming power of Jesus Christ. I have never been the same. I knew in my heart that if I died I would be “absent from the body … present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8).(Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, ….” Hebrews 6:19a

Here’s how you can experience a life-saving miracle in your life today. There is hope.


Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death;” Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”


Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 6:23b “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:”

To receive that miracle you must receive Jesus Christ’s payment for your sin by faith and simply ask God to forgive you and save you so that you will go to Heaven when you die.


Romans 10:9-10, 13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Right now, you can experience this miracle I am talking about by bowing your head now and sincerely praying a simple prayer like this: “Lord Jesus, I realize that I am a sinner, which means I deserve to go to Hell. I know I can do nothing to save myself. But believing that Christ died for my sins, I am asking to be forgiven of them and I am trusting you alone to take me to Heaven when I die. Do a miracle in my life and make me a real Christian. Amen.”

If you prayed that prayer and meant it with all of your heart, would you please write or email Ken and I at and let us know? Our family would want to rejoice with you and to help you in any way that we can. We would also love to put you in contact with a good bible-believing church in your area that can help disciple you in your new life in Christ. May God meet the need of your heart.


Ken and Lydia Hines

5 months after Aneurysm

Please be sure to visit Ministry Resource Center founded by the Hines Family at :

The photo of Lydia Hines with daughter Meredith is from Ministry Resource Center.


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