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.’