Joni Eareckson Tada was inspired by her parents to live an active life. His dad was an olympiad. She rode horses, hiked, played tennis, and loved swimming.
On July 30, 1967, she swam into the Chesapeake Bay but dove in very shallow water. She snapped her head back when she hit bottom, and it crunched her fourth cervical vertebra, severe her spinal cord. She was instantly paralyzed from the shoulders down.
It took two years to rehabilitate Joni. As quadriplegia, Eareckson-Tada could not do simple things like wiping a runny nose or cleaning after herself.
Suicidal thoughts filled her mind
Joni got depressed, had suicidal thoughts, was angry, and questioned God. During her therapy, she learned to paint with a brush between her teeth. She developed the talent and sold her works.
You can leave me, it’s OK
Despite her condition, God blessed Joni with Ken. At one point, Joni told her husband he is free to leave her and find someone else.
She wanted Ken to have a normal life without the burden of taking care of someone like her for life. But Ken loved her unconditionally.
Together, God filled their life with joy amid physical pain.
Physical pain is real, but so is the joy of knowing Jesus
Every morning she wakes up, Joni calls on God, “Jesus, I can’t do this thing called life. Please help me, please show up, give me your smile, give me your strength as I can’t make it through the day.”
Embracing with joy daily difficulties, chronic pain, and cancer
Joni Eareckson Tada’s testimony as a warrior precedes her. She continues to endure her condition with thanksgiving.
Her quadriplegia caused her unimaginable chronic pain. She also had Stage 3 breast cancer.
In all these, Join can smile with joy and ask others to pray with her that God is glorified in her condition, that He alone be trusted, extolled, and exalted.