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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I am so grateful that we got to meet this most incredible lady who helped my daughter get through her deep dark times. Chloe met her on her "make a wish" wish and we were truly blessed. Thanks Joni for all you do!!
  • Feb. 27, 2016
  • 9:58 p.m.
  • angie
Hi Joni, I need some advice for helping my daughter who is a recent quadriplegic. How can I talk with you?
  • Nov. 6, 2015
  • 2:34 p.m.
  • Mimi
Yesterday I learned my baby brother, 56, has become a quadriplegic. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida and has no support group. My husband, daughter, and son-in-law are going to Jacksonville next week to help him. He is in the hospital there alone. Your comments and blog were very helpful to me today as I prepare for the visit. Thanks and God Bless you!
  • Sept. 16, 2015
  • 7:12 p.m.
  • Jan Feher
So happy that God is present at all times- in good and bad times. Your daily "walk" with Him is a blessing. Keep up the good work!
  • Sept. 14, 2015
  • 10:08 p.m.
  • Susan Olivier
What a testimony! You have encouraged millions may the Lord continue to bless you.
  • Aug. 16, 2015
  • 4:26 a.m.
  • Matilda Phiri
Joni you are amazing! Keep smiling!
  • Aug. 13, 2015
  • 9:34 p.m.
  • Katie McCort
Jesus and You are my heroes! My inspiration....for 43 years! Thank you! <3 My family saw you speak at Word of Life Camp many years ago! I love you Joni!
  • Aug. 12, 2015
  • 7:58 a.m.
  • Judy Foster
back in 1976 I read your biography in the break room at my temporary job. I was only 20 and not a Christian, but marveled at your courage and your faith inspired me. You have probably pointed very many people to faith in Jesus. I look forward to seeing the joy on your face in eternity when I see you in heaven some day, when you no longer need a wheelchair.
  • Aug. 4, 2015
  • 5:17 p.m.
  • Kathy Patterson
you are a blessing of inspiration. may GOD continue to bless you & your ministries.
  • Aug. 4, 2015
  • 2:17 p.m.
  • pam
I admire your courage & ability to not give up. You are a remarkable woman of strength . And I love your artwork that shows how gifted you are. You are a great role model for many who have loved your art work & how you have a great faith in God.
  • Aug. 3, 2015
  • 4:54 p.m.
  • Anne Zentara
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