Last Saturday morning, before the sun came up, I finished a book.
Not just any book.
A book that I feel one day, I'll be able to write myself, somewhat.
I finished this book with tears streaming down my face.
Two minutes after I finished it, I crawled back into the darkness and pile of pillows and blankets that is our king sized bed, and snuggled into my favorite place in the world.
Michael's right shoulder.
I shed a couple of tears on my favorite quad's chest.
You see, it took me weeks to finish this book.
Because I had to keep putting it down.
Some parts of it were just too real, too painful for me to read.
Like this, about Ken adjusting to living and loving someone with a disability:
"It took a while to separate himself emotionally from what happened in the bathroom, but he was able to shake it off. With God's help, he believed he was up to the task. She believed he was too. But it didn't take away the fear."
When Joni and Ken met and fell in love, she was already paralyzed. Living in a wheelchair and all of that was already a part of her "normal" life. Ken was swept off his feet by Joni. I can't blame him. She is breathtakingly beautiful, and full of God's grace. Who in their right mind, with the chance, wouldn't be swept away?
I was swept away with my quad, too.
I remember those days of simultaneously falling in love, and swimming in fear.
But the sweetest part of it was being able to trust God, and trust Michael.
Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story takes you through their journey of meeting and falling in love, and getting married, and then, the part that made me cry.
When they fell into the routine of everyday living/caregiving/working/marriage and keeping a house, and before they knew it...
"It was like climbing a mountain where you took one step ahead and slid back two; instead of making progress, you felt like you were going backward. No matter how diligently you worked at it, you were never 'done.'
Sometimes he found himself asking, How did I get here? Why is everything so hard? Why don't things ever get better?"
Joni and Ken have had additional and different struggles than we've had. Joni has had to deal with chronic pain, and breast cancer. Ken had to learn what it's like to be married to a famous person.
But, there is so much that we relate to, and so much to learn from this treasure of a book. I encourage anyone who is married to read it, especially if you juggle a disability in your marriage.
My favorite line of the whole book? It's from the beginning, when they were out on a boat, just the two of them, during their dating days.
"Ken spoke up. 'It could work, you know.'"
Joni and Ken are 30 years into their beautiful marriage. That's almost 10 times as into this as we are. We're thankful to have them as great role models to look up to. I am personally grateful that they decided to peel the veil back, and let us in. I'm also grateful for their ministry, Joni and Friends, which we've both been blessed by, and had the opportunity to serve.
We're so blessed that we've been able to meet them and get to know them.
I'd like to bless one of you with a copy of this book. Please share this blog post on Facebook, and you'll be entered to win. I'll randomly pick a winner, and contact you via Facebook to let you know you've won by Sunday, May 12th.
You can buy the book here.