48 Years as a Quadriplegic

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • July 30, 2015
  • Joni's Posts, In the Media, Video Archives

In 1967, a reckless dive into shallow water completely changed my life. I was only 17 and doctors were telling me I would never be able to use my hands or legs again. Those were dark days back then — days filled with anger towards God; days when I would tell my sister, “Just close the drapes, turn off the lights, shut the door and leave me alone.” I didn’t want to live. I wanted to die.

Forty-eight years have passed since then, and I am still no expert at quadriplegia. But the despair, the depression? With the help of Jesus, I no longer abide in thoughts of darkness. Instead, I surrender those thoughts and fears to The Man of Sorrows, every morning asking Jesus to show me how to live. And on this day, I thank Jesus — yes, I truly do — for all that He has done through almost half a century of quadriplegia and paralysis. It’s why I love sharing my story, like I did in this interview with Eric Metaxas, because I can encourage others with the same comfort I have received from the Lord (2 Corinthians 1). So, please, join me in giving praise to God for this very special day — and then pass on the encouragement by sharing this video.

Would you like to mark this milestone with Joni?


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Dear Joni, God bless you! I pray in Jesus Name - God will ease your pain & heal you completely! Thank you for your ministry; it has been a huge blessing to me & my elderly, disabled mother before she passed away. You are so precious to me!! Much love to you!!
  • Aug. 3, 2015
  • 4:24 p.m.
  • leslie campos
Just wanted you to know that it was you that was instrumental in my husband getting a job with BBN. Don was blind he had quit his first job because of the station going to a top 20 Christian type format--that was just 4 months after we were married. He had applied to WYFL but felt that he would not be hired after his interview. You were on Dobson's Faith for the Family program on WYFL one afternoon a couple of weeks after the interview. One of your comments was that "the reason handicapped people don't have jobs is that no one will give them a chance". That hit the manager between the eyes and he called us and offered Don the job. What a blessing it was to minister in Henderson, NC for the next 4 years. Don worked in Christian Radio for 25 years before Parkinson's Disease made it so he could no longer work. Don recently went home to be with the Lord, but he never got to thank you for that comment and I know he would have wanted you to know.
  • Aug. 2, 2015
  • 12:59 p.m.
  • Mary League
Mom could never accept that I developed epilepsy at age 15, no cause has ever been determined. I had to and I had to make some necessary changes. I know God can heal me instantly of the epilepsy and loose joints I was born with. I have lived with epilepsy for 3/4 of my life. I also know that worry and anxiety get us nowhere and Philippians 4 tells us not to worry but to pray. I know that what is important is to humble myself and walk before God and do His will. When it brings Glory to Him and advances His Kingdom He will heal me. And if not... He is still God and I will worship and served no other.
  • Aug. 2, 2015
  • 12:36 a.m.
  • Mike Gardner
Wow.....time flies. I remember reading your book when it first came out and watching the movie "Joni." Have seen you at NACC and Women of Faith (and my husband met you as a medic for N'l Guard at Brooke Med Ctr). What a testimony to the verse "His mercies are new every morning" ....great is Your faithfulness). Thank you Joni for your continual example of daily life in Jesus. God bless as you keep on keeping on (and Ken too!).
  • Aug. 1, 2015
  • 7:16 p.m.
  • Deb Nedza
Thank-you, Joni! May you feel Blessed (happy and eager to shine His Grace always) and strengthened each day, receiving "the bread" you've cast to me everytime I see you, read @ you, see your work in arts and through ministry. In 1981, I received a print of one of your works as a wedding present; and, I inquired @ it because it seemed so special to me. That's when I started to know you, Joni and share you, a Gift from God, "Who is Love" with others.
  • Aug. 1, 2015
  • 4:40 p.m.
  • Susan Ford
Joni, you inspired me to follow the Lord wholeheartedly during my teens, when I read your book in Spanish in Guatemala during the 70's. I've always loved and admired you.
  • Aug. 1, 2015
  • 3:43 p.m.
  • Marilyn Morales
Thank you Joni!
  • Aug. 1, 2015
  • 3:10 p.m.
  • Tim Moore
Thank you for serving Jesus all these years. God is good.
  • Aug. 1, 2015
  • 1:24 p.m.
  • rhonda
Dear Joni, Thank you so much for all of the encouragement and inspiration you have provided others in the wake of your own tragedy. I was able to go see you at the Park Street Church in Boston, Ma. You were not feeling well that day and they told us you would not be coming to the church. Well that was not God's plan and you did speak that day. You were such an inspiration to me. Thank you for all that you have done to plant the seed to help many people to reach out and to come to know and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. You have truly blessed many lives including my own. I have read many of your books and have seen your movies and have shared them with others. Thank you again for sharing your life with Jesus, I know you have made a difference in so many lives. Love you and God Bless.
  • Aug. 1, 2015
  • 7:43 a.m.
  • Sandy McCready
What God has done in and through you has been a significant part of my life. I read your book as a teenager and later your second book. You are a constant encouragement to me and to so many others. God is sovereign in the big things and the small and He carries us through.
  • Aug. 1, 2015
  • 7:20 a.m.
  • Stephanie
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