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, Joni Eareckson swam into the Chesapeake Bay but dove in very shallow water. She snapped her head back when she hit bottom. 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. Despite her condition, God blessed Joni with her husband 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.
Embracing difficulties, cancer, and daily chronic pain
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.”
Her quadriplegia caused her unimaginable chronic pain. She also had Stage 3 breast cancer.
Pain is Joni Eareckson Tada’s constant companion. However, she chooses to embrace it and focus on God’s goodness.
Today, she is an encourager who has helped millions of people through her testimony. We can learn a lot from Joni—focusing on the Lord’s goodness rather than our dire situation.