Recently I had the privilage of interviewing Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada. It's a privilege not because Joni is more gifted than any other person who ministers the gospel. Rather Joni is so inspirational because she follows Paul's exhortation in 2 Corinthians 12:9 so well: "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"
Eareckson Tada has gloried in her quadriplegia for 46 years - using her disability as an opportunity to minister to those with similar struggles through multimedia ministry Joni and Friends, film and books.
In her lastest book with her husband Ken Tada, Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story, she glories in another weakness, marriage. While marriage is a blessing --a sacrament even-- it can be tough when two people become one. It is a relationship that calls for daily sacrifice and a deeper death to self that mirrors our relationship to with God. At times, this relationship reveals a lot of weakness -- so much that our instict maybe to flinch, to move away from the thing and one that exposes so much pain, disappointment and sorrow.
Yet Paul tells us that as we glory in our weaknesses, the power of Christ will come to rest upon us, enabling us to endure to the end.
Listening to Joni and Ken Tada speak, I could see the power of Christ made manifest in their lives. Together they gloried in 30 messy, complicated and yet sweet years of marriage, not to exalt themselves or say "it was so easy" but to help other couples feel the power of Christ rest upon their marriages and to help them to endure to the end.
Here are some snippets:
"I think in all marriages, you know, you go into the marriage usually floating on a cloud and then when your feet finally hit the ground, and you realize that that this is forever, sometimes that’s a jarring thought for some guys."
"There are times when your spouse is not going to meet your needs and there are times when you need to seek a higher source and know that the stability is in the fact that Jesus is in our lives and Jesus is going to see us through these things and He does."
"When ... we looked at the ultrasound as they were doing it and there was this dark mass there ... it hit me, I may lose my best friend and I just, I broke down at that point and it was a difficult time personally."
"I realized this is what God was ultimately saying you take care of your wife; you take of Joni because she’s such a precious gift.”
Joni Eareckson Tada
"When Ken opened up his heart and shared that (he was feeling trapped), I couldn’t fault him because I have felt the same and I know what would liberate him and what would help him was simply to share that I understand."
"The lessons that were honed and shaped and tested and tried through those times of depression and discouragement through my quadriplegia and my chronic pain, those things prepared us (for cancer)"
"When the surgeons lopped off my breasts and I, for the first time, wheeled into my bathroom and saw myself full length in the mirror. Boy, it really helped me ... to know that Ken accepted me for who I am on the inside.
Follow these links to read and watch the full 3-part interview :