My name is Joe. I have been attending FCC for three years now with my mom, Sandy, & son, Adam. I’m a homemaker & stay-at-home dad. And I’m in a wheelchair. I grew up in the church & have been fortunate enough to know Jesus my whole life.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you & not to harm you, plans to give you hope & a future.”
In 2012, at the age of 27, I had a stroke & underwent brain surgery. After three tough months in the hospital, I was released in a wheelchair and suffering from chronic pain, poor vision, numb & shaking left extremities, and several mental & emotional disorders.
I believe that God knew what he was doing by causing/allowing this stroke. I am much happier & satisfied with my life now than I was before. He is a masterful & creative tactician. And be forewarned: this is not a tale of miraculous healing (today, I am quite disabled - I remain largely unchanged since the day I left the hospital). Rather, it is a story of thriving in unconventional circumstances.
I know God was & is in control.
First, the timing of the stroke was uncanny. It came right after I graduated law school & passed the bar exam. It happened a month after my fairytale wedding. Also, the timing of the stroke meant I had been able to have a ‘normal’ coming of age & two decades of unalloyed education. And, most importantly, being a young man at the time of the stroke, I had no imminently-pending responsibilities, financial or otherwise.
Second, my wife, Kristine, is uncannily tailored to being partnered with a stroke victim. Firstly, she is a highly skilled, highly compensated attorney in the city who loves her job. Consequently, I feel no guilt or responsibility as a result of my inability to work. Secondly, as an Anthropology major in college, she spent years closely following & helping a stroke victim (the mother of one of her friends). Consequently, Kristine has been well-positioned to address my needs, idiosyncrasies, & inabilities as a stroke victim. Thirdly, her statuesque, Dutch, 5’9” frame makes her physically capable of schlepping me around whenever the situation calls for it. She can push my wheelchair up a steep slope or get it (& me) over a curb, when necessary. She can force whatever needs forcing.
Third, my life today is awesome. I am a happy homemaker & stay-at-home dad. I love being able to raise my son & spend so much time with him. I also love being the domestic foundational base for my wife’s explosive career. I do the dishes, the laundry, the watering, the childcare coordination, a lot errands, a lot of cooking, & a lot of cleaning. I love being able to do these things for my family. And, I love being able to do these things period. Also, the level of pressure, stress, & anxiety in this vocation when compared to the alternative (legal work), is fantastic.
This experience has taught me that you need to unequivocally trust Jesus everyday. He is a masterful & creative tactician. Trust him no matter what you see coming. As the Bible says, ‘He plans to prosper you, not harm you.’