JONI and KEN TADA: Untold Story
By Ken Tada, Joni Earkson Tada and Larry Libby
Published By: Zondervan
Back Cover: This is the true love story of Joni and her husband of 30 years, Ken Tada. A love story showing what it truly means for a man and a woman to live in love ... in sickness and in health.
Even the honeymoon wasn't easy. Did Ken realize what he was getting into when he proposed to Joni, a quadriplegic woman? As their marriage years moved on, Ken became increasingly overwhelmed by the never-ceasing demands of caring for Joni, who begins to experience chronic, extreme, nightmarish pain. Ken sinks into depression, and the couple finds themselves on parallel tracks in life, married and living under the same roof but drifting apart emotionally.
But as they fight for their marriage and find their way through the mazes of depression and pain, they wrap their two lives around their rock---Jesus.
During Ken's denial of Joni's diagnosis, and Joni's thoughts of how wonderful a quick exit to heaven would be, they experience a personal visitation with the savior you will never forget.
Review: Joni and Ken Tada have been a couple that have inspired me for years. I was first introduced to Joni Earkenson in the movie she made of her diving accident where she broke her neck as a teen. She reenacted her part in the movie; where her life fell apart and in the recovery she found Jesus. He gave her so many talents from painting with her teeth, to singing, speaking and writing books. She encouraged me and many others in her radio show Joni and Friends. Her passion for what the Lord called her to do show on her face, in her voice and everything she did.
I watched a video clip of Joni and Ken where they discussed this book. Joni says she hopes by sharing their story and how God moved in their lives even through cancer that a couple would say hey if they can make it with all they have going on maybe my problems aren’t so bad. If God will be with them and move in an unexpected way He’ll do the same for them. They’ll have hope and courage to face anything with God.
“This is God’s universal purpose for all Christians suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in the world.” Statement by John Piper
I know that this couple and their testimony encouraged me as I began reading this while in the ICU unit with my youngest son as he battled to recover from a double ear infection, the flu and pneumonia. As with Joni this was not our first time to the hospital. This child came out early and had a few more obstacles to overcome than most just like Joni.
Tears ran down my face as I read how Joni and Ken met and how Joni went to the Doctors was told she had breast cancer. I read this by Joni, “Cancer hadn’t felt like a gift in the beginning…no, not at all.” (wait a minute did I just read the word gift? I double checked – yes!) She goes on to tell how they reacted to the news and how they came up with a plan of treatment. They were both surprised at their initial reactions to the news.
Joni continued, “In just a blink or two, you’re swept along in another direction, toward another destination. Some-where you couldn’t have foreseen. Somewhere you never intended to go… That’s what this day was like…the freeway had divided, and Joni was being whisked away in a new direction fast. Toward what? …Where?.....Her life would change forever getting worse or better, nothing would be the same after this…what next? We live in a society that runs away from tough stuff, divorces loved ones that are sick or puts them away in a home, it’s hard to face the tough stuff day in and day out.
Ken thought, “They had been married 28 years, traveled together on six continents. But this was uncharted territory; off the edge of any map they had ever seen! God saw the whole map of their lives, right to the very edges and beyond. He could handle any dragons. Even ones with a name like cancer, later Joni would said, “Cancer, she told her self, not without a note of wonder, was a gift!”
After the shared about how they heard the news, their first reactions and deciding on the treatment plan; the book flashes back to how they first met. How they thought about marriage, ministry and in the mix they both shared their testimonies! It was neat to learn how God worked separately in their lives and then brought these two people together.
Ken Tada stepped up to be the warrior God made him to be as they faced cancer. Joni allowed her husband to love her and be there for her in a new way. This couple shared their spiritual journey in a very personal, inspirational, and transparent way, revealing their highs and lows in the battle. Through the trials of chemo and surgery God’s love blossomed in them and between them. What the enemy meant to take them out God meant it for there good and something a little more! That was the blessing!
Was it easy? No. Was it painful and scary? Yes. Was it worth pressing into God and each other to make it thru? Yes. I highly recommend this story for everyone! It will give you a new outlook on life, relationships and love. A must read.
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
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