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  • Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Joanne and I’ve been blogging for many years under the name The Simple Wife (you can see all of my old posts under the archives or by clicking on any of the categories that interest you). I love receiving comments from you and try to respond to each one personally. I hope you’ll visit often!

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So good to hear your voice on your blog again. Just sorry that it is filled with pain. We pray for you every night (and often throughout the day too). One thing is for sure, you still have an amazing ability to write and communicate your feelings. Praying that you not only get back every ability you had before the stroke, but that you'll gain new abilities as well.



You are brave and precious....praying for hope to fill each breath you take. Thank you so much for being are so loved.

Carey (Kimberly's sister)

Thank you for your honesty. It breaks my heart to hear of your hurts, but it helps to direct my prayers for you. I know there is nothing I can say that will change what you are experiencing...I am sorry that you have to walk this path. You have two beautiful daughters, a loving husband, and an amazing family (and huge number of friends) who love you so very much and would do anything for you. That is definitely a blessing as you walk this road.

Thankfully God can handle your anger, hurts, questions, fears, etc. It is reassuring to me when I read David's words and see him lay it all on the line before God when he struggled.


Kim Miller

You are a beautiful and amazing daughter of God. I pray for you every day. Thank you for your raw and honest words.


I love you, your honesty and am still committed to praying over you daily. I know God is using you. I see and hear it. I am praying that He unveils His plan for this season soon and that you are encouraged to press on and in. I'm so proud of you girl.


Dear Joanne,
I do not have any answers for you, but, I do know that your family loves you more than anything. Your family would have been devastated to lose you. When I had my head injury I changed. I worked hard not to, but I did. Everything seemed so hard, all of the time! Oh I was so angry! I hadn't asked for it! I was a good why had the drunk driver hit me!
I think it is normal to be angry. You are human, after all. Give yourself permission to be angry. To miss who you remember yourself to be. Then give yourself time.
I'm different now, but I'm someone I like too. My surviving daughter tells me in so many ways, how happy she is I survived. What is it that Toben wrote a few weeks ago? I think he called it, the "New Normal". And so it has been for me since that day 26 years ago.
Love and hugs to you,
Maribeth in New Hampshire

Cyndee Farrell

Sorry. Sorry for your pain, sorry for your hurt, sorry for where you are physically. May a peace that surpasses all human understanding fill your mind and spirit soon. I have, like many others, followed the news of your stroke and ongoing recovery with a sense of awe (awe at your strength and loving family) and fear (fear that a stroke can happen to anyone.) I have lived with watching my beloved grandmother have a stroke before my very eyes to watching her deal with it for 30 plus years before she passed. It isn't easy and it NEVER makes sense. May you get to the acceptance and peace part soon. My prayers to you and your family.


Thank you for your honesty. I know this road has been very long and so bumpy. Praying for you honey. Praying for more good days in a row. Praying for that hand hold to turn into a foothold. Praying for strength, peace, understanding that surpasses all that can only be given to you from a Mighty God!
You are loved and blessed.

Wife of Rob

Sweet sweet Joanne,

Thank you for your transparency. I praise God for your life and now I know "how" and "what" to pray for. You are an amazing miracle....and feel free to remind the devil of that when his pitiful attempts at trying to steal your joy seem to be at their worst. Satan is still defeated and to God be the glory that we are still so blessed to have you bless us the way that you do. I can't imagine what you are having to deal with, but I can ALWAYS pray for you...and I ALWAYS will pray for you. You are highly are are prayed for. Keep the prayer requests coming....and we will keep the prayers coming.

Much love,

Patty McCabe

Joanne: I am praying that you might find meaning in your life right now. Life may never be the way it was before your stroke but that doesn't mean God is finished with you. Even if you touch only one life you are God's child. And from what I've read on this website you have touched not one but millions of lives. So, I am asking that God give you the answers you deserve in the next days(and months) to come. I am praying that he heals you enough that you can feel like your life is back. Love to you and your family.

Joanne Kennedy

Oh Joanne I wish I could reach through here and give you a big hug! What you are going through is so hard. Something most of us can not understand. Life has changed for you and who knows if it will ever be the same again. But please please know that you are very much loved! Not only by Jesus but by your family and friends and even those of us out here in Blogland.

My brother had a stroke several years ago and while he is still not back to where he was, he has figured out a way to live his life in a different way.

I think it's wonderful you are able to be open and honest with your feelings. Don't keep them inside. Let people know. Talk to your Dr. about it too. Join a group and share with others who have had strokes and listen to how they have dealt with what God has given them.

When you get down, just remember to look up. Count your blessings.

One thing that I do when I'm sick or hurting is I ask myself, would I rather it be me or my loved ones. It is then that I'm able to thank God for the blessing of picking me to suffer rather then my loved ones.

I wish I had the perfect words to give you to make you better. I don't. You do have a long road ahead and lots of hard work. But, I can tell you that God wants you here and going through what you are going through for some reason. It's when we go through hard times that we are being molded.

Remember that in order to get diamonds, the rocks need to have a lot of pressure put on them. Think of yourself as a rock that is being made into a diamond.


Well done for being honest. One day this will pass but it must be so draining and demanding. Never doubt your worth or value. God's blessings to you for peace, comfort and renewed strength.



Hello Joanne
My stroke was teeny tiny compared to yours yet I still cried as I read your post cos yes I feel all that you describe. I do have some independence yet I still grieve for the life I once had. People are lovely and say lovely things but you have to walk the lonely and frightening walk of a stroke survivor to really understand the terror & confusion of it all. But by the same token, I think you need to talk with other stroke survivors to truly appreciate how far you travel on this scary journey and the potential that is within you to fight one more fight each and every day.
Often I am weary and just want to stop trying and yet somehow I get up and go every day!! God is awesome and a wee bit of a bully some days - lol. I am desperately lonely yet every time anyone asks I find myself grinning and saying I'm fine! I live in England, UK - am waiting an age to see a clinical psychologist - someone to discuss my post stroke emotional hurt with - a long wait but it will cost nothing as we have a free health service here. I know you wrote books Joanne - me too. And post stroke I wrote another and you will too - if that is what you want to do - because you have written on your blog and a book is only one long, long, long, ever so long, blog!!!!!!
If ever you want an internet stroke friend contact me via my blog -
And just know you will get through this, days do get better. God is with us, Jesus is with us. I don't know why we have had to go through this rubbish; but every day we are getting stronger again.
Much love and prayers. Please keep smiling, dear friend - you often inspire me :)


Your life has great worth and purpose. You are encouraging and touching lives with your blog. Your strength and fight is a help to all of us.

Keep shining your light in this darkness.

We are praying for you.


hanging in there is a good thing when I know you are hanging on to Gods finger even if it is his pinky!! Cos he will grab you enven if you let go he never does!
love you xx

carla Sorensen

Dear Joanne,

Praying for you and loving you! God who began a good work in you will perfect it, until the day of Christ Jesus.

Carla in Maryland


Thank you for your honesty - your words are powerful and the truth in them is strong. I am sorry for the way things are now - but am hopeful that they will get better, day by day, a little at a time. I pray you have better days, more and more, one after another. And in the meantime that you will hear from God a sure word in your heart, giving you assurance and direction. And more strength.

renee altson

hello dear one,

thank you for your authenticity. In many ways it is easier to go with the "i'm ok, thanks" response, but you have expressed your disappointment and grief in a tangible way. believe me, your honesty will draw other hurting people toward you--you are not alone in your pain.

rather than risk being one of "job's friends," i just want you to know that i love and care about you; you are often on my mind. it's ok to be alone, scared, angry, all of the range of emotions are quite expected (and justified).

please know, please always know, how very much you are loved. not for your legs or arms or things like that, but for the who you are, and that the love of others can hold you through these very long days and nights.

i love you!


It's easy for me to say hang in there, things will get better but I'm not living your life on a daily basis. I do know God has a plan for your life and it will be good. If you ever need someone to relate with, you might try Katherine Wolf on She had a brain stem stroke and is slightly younger than you but has been through it all. She has an amazing testimony.


I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through. I am not sure that I want to. As an outsider, I have been encouraged in the Lord to see your strength. I am no one to you. Yet, your healing, determination, and difficulties have offered hope to me. Lately, I have been going through big issues in our home. So big, these issues are threatening to tear our family apart. Yet, I find peace in knowing that God has a plan that I do not see or understand. Maybe my trials are not about me at all, but about others around me, others who can be blessed and encouraged. After all, I cannot understand my Savior's ways, or His thoughts, or His Love towards me. I can only hope in all the promises that He will see me through until the end.


Thank you for being REAL with us on not putting on the mask, as it only ecourages others to put on a mask! That is not good for anyone. We are human..HE knows we are "butt dust".. I mean but dust. LOL... He knows we can't comprehend all. I, too, struggle.. My 7 year old has tumors..don't know how this will all end. .but I hold on to HIM..even in the dark. After all, that is FAITH! Think of Joseph... think of Paul... next we will see Joanne's name (a woman that deeply loved God.. God allowed trials for greater good)...
Hang on...Hang in, so many, so many praying for you!


I'm hoping you feel better soon. Truthfully, I would feel the same way. It should comfort you knowing so many are praying for you. Please keep good thoughts.


I'm so sorry you feel sad (understandly) and am so glad you can "keep it real" on your blog. Praying for you...

Marla Taviano

This post made me cry, friend. I love you, and I'm so, so, so sorry that this is life for you right now. I try so often to put myself in your shoes, and this is EXACTLY how I think I would feel. I don't understand it AT ALL.

Yet you are so right. Jesus loves you so much. And has a purpose for your life. And sometimes that purpose seems pretty easy for us to figure out. I think maybe that when it's the biggest mystery, he ultimately gets the most glory. I know how much you want to glorify him with your life.

My prayer for you is that he will make known to you just how much glory you're bringing him (albeit in a way you never would've dreamed--or wanted). I love you!

Helen at A Work of Heart

Dear Joanne,
Other languages seem to help when we need the perfect word to express how we feel. The English language just doesn't have enough words to describe the word sorry. But I am, like all the comments above mine, so truly and deeply sorry for the place that you find yourself right now.
I have been sitting on something that I have wanted to write to you and perhaps now is the time and I will put pen to paper this week.
Your post was like a psalm...such a great written example that we can be real and honest and pour out the authentic pure emotions that we have. God can handle it and He is not displeased with you for sharing the depths of your disappointments and discouragements.
Thank you for arming us with further ways that we can uplift you in prayer.

You have been and continue to be heavy on my heart.
You are loved my dear and I pray this stretch of road you are traveling now will not be too winding and long.


Courtney Walsh


I'm just so sorry you've had to go through this at all. It's one of those things that makes absolutely no sense, and I think your feelings are so normal...but your willingness to express them is rare indeed. Sometimes we wonder these things even when we've got it pretty good...

One thing is certain...your life absolutely DOES have purpose...that much is for sure. Still praying for you, for peace and wisdom and the ability to see the light in this darkness...even if it starts as just a pinprick.


Well, you certainly did not lose your ability to express yourself through writing. Very touching--praying for you.

Perfecting Pru

Joanne, some days for all of us are crap so I would imagine that gaining strength back day after day must be awful sometimes. I dont know you and you don't know me, but you and your families strength has been so inspiring and encouraging. I think it's great that you are able to give an honest answer. And no doubt at some stage you will have found your purpose again (although I think your purpose has remained the same as it was before).



Dear Joanne,

Everyone who has blogged about your journey has not sugar coated it. All have struggled with the question of 'Why?'. That is what I most appreciate about all your family and you most of all, the raw honesty.

It is ok Joanne, to feel the way you do. You can pretend to smile and put on a good face, but even if the remotest possibility you can fool your family, you cannot hide your feelings from God. He knows how you hurt, both physically and mentally. I don't know even pretend to know how you feel or offer theological reasoning to anything to feel. But I do know this for certainity.

The thing about having purpose, you do have a purpose. Being around for your daughters in whatever capacity. To watch them grow up, to give advice, to see them get married, have families of their own. Take it from someone who lost her mom realtively young. I would take my mom back in any capacity just to have her with me. It may sound very selfish of me to say that because she had a lot of health issues. But I miss her wisdom, advice, hugs, love, so many things. You are a mom to Audrey and Emma. You may not be able to do the things you once did with them, but you are here and alive and not in Heaven. Losing you young would have given a giant hole in their hearts that nothing can replace. That is your purpose IMHO, you are here for them.


There you go being brave again, this time with poignant honesty. Thank you for sharing. Your voice is always beautiful. You are loved and admired simply for your very Being. I'll keep praying for you and your healing. Your reminders are full of such powerful truth.


I have no great words for you, Joanne. I'm just proud of you for working so hard, and for persevering through trials I cannot imagine. Your faith has grown my faith, both before and after your stroke. But...I can only imagine your heartache some days. Sending love and prayers. And a cheer, too, for YOU ROCK!!!!! xxxooo

Have you heard of Stephanie Nielsen? She and her husband were in a terrible plane crash a couple years ago and both lived. She has seen many of the trials that you are facing. I think her story will inspire you. In the meantime, I will keep you in my prayers. Romans 1:9.


Dear Joanne We are the same age and I was totally shocked when learning about your stroke... Following your journey since January has made my cry on MANY occasions, while your story and just how great God is, has been discussed during many meals with family or friends...or even some of my postgraduate students... I could identify with the emotions of your family: my youngest niece was born at 26 weeks and boy oh boy...we had to humble ourselves again before our God and learn to trust Him completely... There were some dark days, but today little Janette is 2yrs old and one cute girly girl (laughs, cuddles, talks, playes, explores and a real copycat). I want to encourage you to watch both talks on the Louie Giglio DVD "Hope: When life hurts most". You could find some encouragement from there. (Age does not seem such a specific factor in strokes since a 20-year old student of mine had one, and then had to learn to walk again. She graduated only one semester behind her class mates. Yeah, only our God can do that.) Trusting and praying for YOU and your loving family.


Oh Joanne...
How I wish I could wrap my arms around you and tell you something sweet and encouraging. I thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for being so honest with us. I do not know this pain, BUT I know our God is full of promises and He will see them through. I'm praying for you tonight my friend. Thank goodness HE knows exactly how you feel and has you in the palm of His Holy Hand and loves you so tenderly. Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick said once to her mom..."He knows its hard to be us."

I love ya friend. I'm praying for you. Ephesians 3:20


The truth is not easy to hear, but it is usually good for us (referring to your readers). Thank you for sharing your heart so openly. It's easy to be on the outside like be the ones praying...the ones who think about the difficulties you're experiencing but don't have to live them. From what I've read here, you are an amazing woman! I draw inspiration from you. I know it's been a long and difficult road, but do you realize how far you've come?? Keep looking ahead to where you want to go, but don't forget to look at where you've come from. And in your words (from Dec 31) "Let's let God teach us and mold us and change us to be more like Jesus this next year so that when a year from today comes we can look back to today, rather than just looking around and thinking, Yep, I'm still stuck here."

Cheryl Veenstra

THANK YOU for your openness, vulnerability and heart-felt honesty. You have always been a blessing to me in that way...and your family has continued that during this toughest of journeys you've been on. And now, it's an absolute gift to hear your thoughts once again...even though they are tough and raw and very, very real.

Through my own journey of giving birth to a child with many physical disabilities and struggles here on this earth (thirteen years ago), I've realized that God gave us a myriad of emotions to get through the tough stuff of this life. He can handle them....He has felt them...He can use them to help us get through the awful storms to the hope on the other side. There is such freedom (for me) as I read through Job and the Psalms and remind myself that we are allowed to be human and feel the tough emotions and ask our God the toughest of questions. And slowly, but surely...we get to the other side of all the 'mess' in our minds. But it's all VERY VALID and very real and it doesn't just disappear magically one day. It's a heartbreaking journey and yes, it seems to get the best of us sometimes.

I HATE that there is not a thing any of us can say to reduce the emotional & physical pain you are experiencing. All I can do is try to assure you that you are not alone. I will never compare my burdens and heartaches to what you are experiencing ....but a lot of us (out here) have experienced our own despair and anger and grief and seemingly insurmountable weakness to face the curve balls life throws at us. You are NOT ALONE!

Everything you are feeling is VERY real and very valid and absolutely understandable! THANK YOU for being honest about it and allowing us the privilege to lift you up in even more specific prayer.

I will be honest and admit my own journey through a desolate spiritual wilderness the last 2 years. Raising a child with so many medical, emotional and physical needs had taxed me to the limit (even though she's the biggest blessing in my life). But, in the midst of my crying out to the Lord for HELP, then came a car accident (that left me with injuries & the inability to use one of my arms/hands for 6 months--while I had to take care of my daughter's medical needs) and then my other (healthy) daughter was stricken with a serious illness (that we still haven't diagnosed) for the last 11 months. She missed 5 months of school last year and still suffers from constant pain. When your children are suffering and there is nothing you can do about is more heartache than I can bear sometimes.

I have only admitted my deep despair and sheer exhaustion and struggle with 'where God is in all this mess' w/ just a couple close friends. A few precious souls who 'get it' or at least try to understand. I can totally relate to the fact that most people mean well, but just have no idea what to say or how to help and it's easiest for them to just hear "I'm fine" and then they can excuse themselves from the tough conversations. And I've come to accept...that's okay.

I've found when families are in the midst of the worst of intense medical situations (life/death struggles in the hospital, surgeries, tough decisions, rehab, etc...) go into 'survival mode' and exist solely on adrenalin and sheer instinct to survive. Your family experienced that for many long months. But when the intense 'trauma' has passed...and you have time to take a deep breath and think that things are gonna be 'better now'. THAT is when the TOUGH, tough emotions hit hard. Irritability, grief, anger, despair and sheer exhaustion set in. The physical, emotinal, mental and spiritual exhaustion catches up with you. And takes a while to work through all that....

BUT you WILL SURVIVE this...YOU WILL get to the other side of this wilderness experience! You have thousands of us cheering you on and beating down Heaven's gates on your behalf!

Please keep voicing your thoughts.... as tough as they may be. You have ALWAYS had a ministry helping & encouraging others. I hope you know (without a doubt!) that you still do!! When I found out about your stroke that day last January(just hours after reading your FB comment about the smoke coming out of your fireplace/wood stove again...haha)...I was sitting in a dark room at Children's Hosital w/ my once vibrant/healthy/active teenage daughter who hadn't kept food down for 4 months and could no longer 'participate in life'. I was in a deep PIT (and still trying to climb out of it)

I prayed for you constantly those next many weeks and months. Do you know what got me through (and still does)?? Reading all the FB posts and blog posts from your friends (and even strangers) from around the country and the world!!

The songs, quotes, verses, and thoughts that they posted to you and Toben and your girls were 'gobbled' up by ME!! God spoke to me through all the people who were encouraging and loving YOU! And I'm sure I wasn't the only one that was ministered to, during your families' intense suffering.

I'm sorry I got long-winded here. I had NO desire to make this about me. But I just wanted to remind you that it is OK to be HUMAN! You've always been 'super-woman' to me....flying around smiling and giving (i.e. baking goodies for everyone), and entertaining with your quick wit...teaching bible studies...blessing everyone around you with your talents and zest for life!

You are STILL that amazing lady!! But you are finding yourself in a SEASON right now where God is asking you to hang your red cape in the corner for a bit....and He's asking you (and the rest of us) to TRUST that He will bring beauty from ashes, strength from fear...gladness from mourning...peace from despair!!

Keep that chin up, sparkle in your eyes and keep hanging on by your pinkie fingernail (that's my saying too!)....'cause He's got a firm grasp around your wrist and He's not gonna let you fall. You WILL continue to make progress and you WILL find that special 'niche' in this life that ONLY YOU can fill!! He's definitely got another beautiful red cape for you to wear!! Let yourself rest and regroup and be patient for awhile longer til He's got it (and you!)ready to fly again!!

Hour by by step at a time...

Love you Joanne!

Kathy D.

I've been following your blog since the stroke, Joanne - and I have no words - only a promise that I will be speaking your name to the Father every morning when I have my quiet time with Him. I hope you know how many people are doing the same. Much love from S.C.


Joanne, you don't know me but I've been reading the blog since your stroke. Strokes are horrible - my mom had one too. I'm sorry that you're sad - I think I would be, too. I'm praying for you.

"He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10

The Lord is using this trial to do big things. To mold hearts. To speak in ways that nothing else can. To work His ways. Nothing is outside of His control. Nothing.

Love ya! :)


Thank you for this post. I shudder anytime someone asks me "How are you?" because I highly doubt that they want the truth or sometimes wonder if they'd really care. And even though you're struggling, I can hear in your words your desire to reach out and care for people- otherwise why would you take the time to write to your readers? :) Please take care Joanne and again, thank you!


Your honesty is one of the ways you are truly making a difference. Not that you would have chosen to make this kind of a difference, I realize. I will pray that God will give you "eyes to see" His working and Love in your life while you persevere through these difficult days, and that He will provide many joys amidst all the suck-i-ness.

Keep hanging on.

Becky K.


Thank you, so much, for your honesty. So many times our lives here on this earth are not what we would have chosen.....I don't have answers for the "why's"....but I do know that glossing over our feelings or being less than honest doesn't help.

The Apostle Paul was honest about his affliction, albeit a bit vague, grrrr....I want details. But, his faith, like yours, rested squarely in the Lord. He IS faithful and HE will bring you to a place of contentment and completion in HIS time.

I've been praying for you since I first heard about the stroke. Your family is so transparent and such a blessing.

I pray joy, peace and happiness for you. I pray that your body will respond positively to the therapies and all of the hard work you have put in.

Becky K.

Susie Tiemeyer


Wow....what honesty! Honesty is good, it gets things out in the open; it cuts through the prim, proper, and often false, formalities and forces us to face what we'd prefer to avoid.

I must admit, I wonder why this happened also. I know that your life today is probably very far from where it was, and I'm sorry. I wish I could take some of your pain from you.

Please keep writing. Your honesty, though hard for you, is a blessing to those of us who follow you. It reminds us that life can be awfully crappy at times...God knows why, and I perceive that He isn't going to explain any of it on this side of the veil.

I'm still reading...

Susie Tiemeyer

Becky LaCoste

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him. Ps. 18:20 MSG God takes our Brokenness and turns it to HIS timing. Be Strong.


Oh dear Joanne, my heart hurts for you. Thank you for being so honest. I will keep praying for your healing, and that God will give you some answers.
Sending love and hugs from So. Cal.


So good to hear from you. Thank you for your honesty. I will help me to know how to pray for you. I cannot imagine your pain, but I know that God knows. Praying you are comforted. And Yes, your life has much purpose!!


You are still a beautiful writer!


Joanne, I am so sorry to hear how horrible you are feeling. I wish there was something I could do to make your life like it was before your stroke. Obviously I can't....but I can continue to pray for you and offer you encouragement. You are loved by so many people and your story has touched people around the world. I still have friends of mine and from my Mum's church in Vancouver, BC Canada, asking about you and how you are. I will continue to pray for you Joanne and I send you much love and (((hugs))) too! xoxox Erin

Raising Three 4 Him

2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmites, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG."

Hang in there Joanne, God is working out great things in your life. Though you are weak, you are so strong - just look at all the lives you and your story have touched. Praying for strength and endurance for you now.....


Dear Joanne- My heart aches for you. I have also felt the same feelings you are feeling. I think the hardest part was feeling hurt by God, like He let me down, like I couldn't trust him anymore. I guess I felt like as christian I would be spared. Really, that I deserved to be spared. But God did bring me through my time and I am stronger for it. I am closer to God and have a different relationship with him. It isn't as rose colored as it once was but it is still good. I feel like I matured so much.
Hang in there. Repeat what you know to be true over and over. Cling to hope and the past answers to prayer. You will have a break through. Your prayers will be answered. You are loved so much. There is a purpose.

God bless you today-Missi


I just want to say-I love you.


Hi Joanne,
My dh has been dealing with a life changing illness for 2 1/2 years. Saturday he sat on the sofa and said I am so tired of being sick. I want to be normal again. However we both know this is our new normal. Each day by God's grace and mercy we get up and keep on going. You will too. I wish I could give you a big hug and wipe away youe tears.
Elizabeth Q

Spectrum of Amber

Your words, full of raw, honest emotion, are more valuable than thousands of pages of "fluff" that are out there. Thanks for being brave enough to let the world into your heart.

Kathy @ In Quiet Places

My older sister was hit and dragged by a truck several months ago, and is still in alot of pain from injuries to her back, and she is so tired of me asking how is she doing, but I have to ask cos she lives in Kentucky, and I am in Texas! I don't ask as much anymore, and reading your post today - sharing your struggles, has helped me understand a little better what she also might be experiencing, but has not expressed.

I pray God does bring continued improvement and progress and strength to endure this difficult journey!

I hope today is a good day!

Sue S

Even though it was painful to read, thank you, Joanne, for sharing your heart with all of us. You are loved and prayed for by many, including me. Stay strong and hang in there. May you and your family continue to be blessed and may God hold you in his all powerful and all loving hands.

Amy J.

I came across this article and felt moved to share it:

As a mom of two girls, 8 & 10, I know your girls love you and need you no matter how different you are today than you were before your stroke.

We continue to pray for you.


Your life does have a purpose. You have reached so many people during this turmoil, including me. I had no idea who you were until this happened. I happened to see where people were praying for you on another blog and I clicked to see what was going on that this person needed so much prayer. When this happened to you, I was in the depths of despair. When this happened to you, I thought no one else was going through what I was going through. I felt alone. Then I read about you and I prayed for you. I was rooting for you to come out of the coma, to be moved to another facility, to get better. You may not be where you want to be right now, but you are better. I am still rooting for you to be 100% percent again and I believe you will. Watching you has given me a hope and a faith that I thought was lost, but you helped me realize (once again) that God is there. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Hang in there and thank you. Thank you for letting us be with you during this turmoil that you have faced.


So proud of you for being so open and honest with us - that couldn't have been easy. And you definitely have a right to feel all the things you are feeling.

I just want you to know that youf life DOES have a purpose still... it may not be the same as it was, but God has something new in mind for you and He will keep revealing it! Know that you have not been forgotten - it sounds like your family and friends are amazing - and there are MANY of us "strangers" (sisters in Christ!) who love you and pray for you EVERY DAY!

I know I can't even begin to understand how you feel... but I DO know that your family is SO GLAD that you are alive!! Just having you there is the best gift they could ever wish for. My mom died over 6 years ago, and I would give anything to have her physically present - no matter how "limited" or different her physical presence was.
Press on, Joanne! We love you and are here to throw you that rope of love and prayers to help pull you out of those murky days.
Erika, a friend from SD


Thank you for sharing your heart. It may have been hard to read for many of us, but the truth will always set you free...and set us free to know better how to pray for you. You are amazing! May today be a 'good day'...and may more and more good days be strung together as the time passes. We miss you!


I really would rather have the whole truth...then we can pray specifically. I wish with all my heart you weren't going through this...This is the biggest pile of ASH i can think of that any one person could sit on...alone, scared, sad and sometimes angry...
But you are NOT alone. YOU are LOVED. YOU are cherished by us out here. WE ARE PRAYING for you...and THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Just not on your relax, let Love - embrace and LOVE you...breathe, give it up to the Lord...then most of your battle is WON. You are free from your old life and free to LIVE this new life.
Just do it.
I know you can.
I haven't stopped praying.
I won't stop writing to you.
and I know GOD your Father can hear you.
Still loves you.
Still wants you to grow...even in the desert of your days...

He WILL RESTORE ALL THAT THE LOCUST HAVE EATEN. I know. I have seen it. I know it.
I can promise it to you for HIM.

Rejoice! You are just in the cleft of the rock for right now...but you WILL shine from HIS glory when this is over.

Don't hang on...LEAN ON all of us out we can get down to the REAL nitty gritty of what YOU NEED from the LORD.

I want to stand in the gap FOR you until you are strong enough to do it on your own...ALL OF US DO.

Let go, let us and
Get well sweet girl.

Loving you to Jesus today.

Merla Parker

What an honest post. That took courage. I pray for you every is helpful that both you and Toben provide specific prayers for us. We do not have all the answers to why these things are allowed into our lives(I myself an just finishing treatment for breast cancer) but one day God will give us the answers.
Rest assured this all has a purpose which we will only be able to recognize in hindsight. Thus your life most certainly has a purpose.

Love and hugs to you and your family-Merla.
P.S. Keep those posts coming. I am also following you on Twitter and I note your posting is getting better all the time.

Kathy Rivera

This post was as important as that first step so many months ago!
Kathy from Idaho


Joanne, Your hurt, anger and frustration is absolutely understandable! Recline in the love of others, rest in the love of God, and know that you will have more and more better WILL happen. You are a wonderful writer and will have much to say...keep your voice.

You have helped me cope with a difficult time in my life/my family's life, more than you could ever imagine and I thank you for your honesty and courage. I continue to pray for you and your family on your journey.

This link may be of interest to you. It's written by a young mom who experienced a stroke in 2008:

Hope and healing to you,


Thank you for this post, Joanne--for sharing your honest self with those of us who are praying for you, who care for you.


I am so sorry this all was part of God's perfect plan for you. I wish you had the same life you had a year ago. But we know God's view is much broader than ours, so He must know what He is doing.

Toben, we are so thankful for your updating here, so we know how you and the family are doing. Joanne, please do feel safe to share your heart--it is beautiful.

Mindy Howell

When I was going through the fear of upcoming breast cancer surgery, chemo and radiation, I keep hearing a song in my head that encouraged me to keep on keepin'on. As the quote says: God never said it would be easy, He just said it'd be worth it." Praying for you.

In Jesus' Name, We Press On

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on.

When the choices are hard
When we're battered and scarred
When we've spent our resources
When we've given our all

In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on

Tena Tell

I don't have any words of wisdom that haven't already been written. I don't know the reason for your pain and suffering, or that of your family's. I do know I couldn't possibly fully understand what you are experiencing. I can only can say is that you are LOVED. I am amazed and inspired by you, of course, but also by your incredible family and friends. You are loved by so many people and I believe those people are in your life for many reasons. Perhaps you are to teach them, or they you. Most of all they are there to remind you that God loves you!


Hi Joanne,

I didn't start reading your blog until January. I feel like I missed out on so many of your previous posts and from what I can tell the Lord has given you much wisdom.
I know you don't know me, but I have just one request...will you keep blogging? If you don't many blessings will be missed. :-)

Take care sweet sister
Love your sister in Christ.

Child of God

Hi Joanne,
I am sad to hear that things are so very rough for you. Things just don't make sense to you and I can't even imagine how tough it is or how frustrated you feel. I do know that Jesus is right beside you and I am sure He is sadden for your pain and suffering. I do know He has a huge plan, one that you cannot see right now, one that will totally make sense one day. You are amazingly strong and you have a family that loves and supports you. I know that right now you don't feel blessed but rest assure you are very blessed and one day you will see past these changes and things will become better than you can imagine.

When I was hit with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I was totally devastated, my whole world rocked and changed. I was very active in Taekwondo and was training for a spot on the Canadian National Taekwondo team. A dream of mine was to make it to the Olympics, a dream that I knew would happen because of the gifting God gave me in this sport. Three months before the National competition I was hit with RA and within 3 weeks I couldn't walk. I was totally devastated. I held on for years thinking I will heal and take up the training again but here it is 7 years later and although I am able to run, walk and hike, (with pain) I will never be able to fight again, my joints cannot handle it. But through it all my life has changed for the better and I would never ever change a thing for I lost a huge part of me and gained a bigger better part of God and that is the best.

Hang in there girl you have a purpose and you will make it through these very rough, dark days. Life is different but you will find fulfillment again, have faith. Keep your eyes on Jesus and trust Him. So many people are praying and praying for you. I love your honesty and humbleness, keep pushing through this you will make it and you will be so very happy for all of this, I am sure.

Hugs, blessings and praying,

elaine @ peace for the journey

I hear you. I am praying.


Darlene Chiasson

I love people who are real, so consider yourself in the "my favorite people" class. By the way, you don't know me, but I live in Atlanta and I've followed your blog since it was posted on Beth Moore's Blog in January. I "get" where you are. I care for my 96 year old mother who is almost completely blind and has dementia and I lost my job 6 months ago. My world has shrunk. We have totally different circumstances, but share similiar emotions. Someone at church yesterday noticed my exhaustion and pulled me into the restroom to pray for me on the spot. I felt empowered after the prayer and I know you are surrounded by people praying for you. So take hold of that strength, mighty woman of God. You've only just begun. The enemy is terrified of you.


So good to read your writing! You are loved... and I am praying for you!

Jennifer Kisrow

Oh I have never commented here before, but I have been praying and will continue, thank you for your honesty... May you continue to be held.


Hi there! A silent reader here, but here long enough to have been praying for a full recovery. I do ask for Gods mercy and that you will be restored physically and healed spiritually. You will be blessed in this my friend. you will.

I sometimes struggle with insomnia, comes with menopause I guess. But, I discovered a natural sleep aid I got at Target, and since at Walmart. At Target in the sleep aid isle, there is a natural aid made my Nature Made. It is amazing. no grogginess or tired feeling during the day. Otherwise, I would try a Benadryl, one 25mg at night to help with sleep. Usually a two week therapy of sleep aids helps to reset the body's clock to sleep 6-8 hrs in duration.

Hope that helps. Good rest helps in the keeping the blues away too. At least a little anyway. :)


So sorry you are suffering through all of this. You probably have no idea how your authentic post inspires many. Praying you cling to Jesus' leg if that's the only thing you can reach. Don't let go. If he has to drag you around because you simply have no strength to do anything else but hold onto His leg, then you keep doing it.

Having faith that He will move mountains in your life!

Karen Booker Schelhaas

I've prayed for you a lot over the past six months and have imagined you felt like that. Thanks for not giving a Sunday School answer to how you're doing. I learned years ago that God can handle all of it -- the good, the bad, and the ugly, ugly truth we sometimes fling. I hold nothing back. I'm glad you're not holding back. It takes genuine faith to put those fears and hurts out there and trust that they won't come back empty, even when God is silent for a season. Appreciated this post maybe more than any other thus far.


Your honesty touched my heart. Thank you for it. Love from the Netherlands.



You don't know me, but I'm a fellow blogger who has been reading your blog since I heard about your stroke on another blog. I've never left a comment before, but have been reading your blog ever since and I've been praying for you and your family.

Thanks for your honest post. I think we all can understand your frustrations. I know I can.

I'm a breast cancer survivor myself. 5-1/2 years! I can remember though some of the same feeling you're having. Frustrations. Feeling that it's so unfair. Wondering if life will ever be the same again.

What helped me the most (and I'm sure you too) was/is my faith. I've often told others that one of the gifts of having cancer (yes there are gifts to everything, including cancer) was that I learned that my faith was REAL. And STRONG. I thought I was a Christian and I believed. But when something like my cancer or your stroke happens, you find out for sure about your faith. And girlfriend THAT is a gift.

More gifts for me was finding out how much I am loved. How much I am valued. How important it is to live each day with joy because is a gift.

And you know what? YOU are a gift to so many of us who have watched from afar your bravery and courage. You are touching so many many people.

Cling to your faith. Embrace the love of your family and friends. Stay strong. God has BIG plans for you, I just know it.


Janet (JayCee) Cline

Praying for you in St. Louis.....


Oh Joanne I have been following your journey since the stroke and my heart aches for you as I read this in the middle of the night (I was up have a panic attack of my own)started praying right away, and then became frustrated that I can't understand why why why (silly girl HE says). Then this am I saw this post on Facebook with a link to You tube video called Rain. If this link doesn't work go to you tube and search Rob Bell Rain. Let's just say all the questions I WANTED answered in the night He gave me this morning. (I know I have heard Rob Bell is not some peoples taste I don't know him or his teachings well enough tohave an opinion but this video WOW!) The quote that hit me "The Storm IS his reality!
I know you don't know me, but know I am praying,and I know that your heavenly father loves you so very much!!!! HE is holding you tight!
With Much Love from NY!! xoxox
Christine M.


Your post is brave and beautiful.

I lost my father suddenly and unexpectedly on August 12. I would give absolutely anything in the world to spend even one more day with him, whether or not he could do the things he used to do as easily as he used to do them. You have many purposes, but one of them is to be a mother to your two gorgeous daughters. No matter how hard this is for you and them, it is better for them to have you.


Joanne, I know it's difficult for you right now. What a journey you've been through. Keep on moving forward and being the brave woman that you are!


I love you becuase of your honesty, JESUS loves you beacuse you are HIS! Trusting Him to hold you in HIS arms everyday!

Brandi Luiz


I found your blog by "accident" just when you had your accident, but I know that GOD doesn't do anything by "accident". I have watched, read, prayed, cried, laughed and loved you over these last 8 months. I have become a friend of yours even if you have no idea what my face looks like. You are an inspiration to so many women. Things don't make sense, but GOD does. He know who you are, what you are doing and WHOM you are touching right now, through these crazy things that are causing you so much doubt, frustration and sadness. He knows that there are women that are being BLESSED by you, you the weakened vessel that you currently are. You are a HIS and HE is still using you. I will continue to pray for you. You are a treasure.


I don't often comment here, but I read every post. I also pray for you every night. What a journey you have been on(and are still traveling on)! I know it's been a tough road, but I'm so inspired by how far you've come!

May you keep hanging on! Enjoy the good days, get through the bad ones. Look forward, not back--and just be the best you can be. God loves you, and He will continue to see you through.

All of us out here in blogland are rooting for you, and for your family, as well!


Oh sweetie..............

Kim Robinson

Thank you for sharing and thank you for your honesty.


I have followed this post since your stroke, and this entry is so achingly honest and precious. I know that God knows every one of those hurts, and I'm so glad you said them 'out loud' to us! It really helps to pray better. Of course you are feeling all of those things... who on earth wouldn't?? But... like you said, you look over the brink, and God's hand has steadied you even when you felt you could fall.

He is SO not finished with Joanne's story!!

Spurgeon said 'faith is the hand that grasps'... sometimes that's all we can do.

He knows that.

MORE is coming, just you wait and see.

Praying and sending special hugs tonight.


Sonja (in Texas)


I am so glad that you can be honest and transparent about your feelings.

When you've been through an illness or injury or dealing with grief, sometimes it feels like God has placed you on a shelf. At least, that's how I felt. And you sit there and look around, and you want to get off, but God says "Not yet."

And it's hard, because you don't recognize yourself anymore. You don't feel like you. Will you ever be YOU again?

But while you're on that shelf, you realize that you are not alone. God is with you. And even if you don't recognize yourself, He knows who you are. He hasn't forgotten.

Job 23:10 promises "But He knows the way I take, and when He has tried me, I will come forth as gold."

You are coming forth as gold, refined in the fires of suffering, and you will shine for Him, and some day, all this that is NOW will be a memory in the past. Praying for you, my friend!


Sweet Joanne,

Your words swell my heart with love for you. When you said your feelings are hurt, that truly struck a chord. Feeling forgotten and overlooked, your heart surely breaks at times. Jesus loves you so much, dear one. He works so mightily through you You truly have a mightier purpose than you'll ever know--the extent to which He continues to use you. When you think you can't do it another day, look into those sweet girls' faces and see their love for you. When you are weak, He is strength within you. Bless you, Joanne. You continue to be in my prayers. Sending hugs.


Dear Joanne,
You don't know me, but I feel like you are a friend. I've read your blog for about three years but never left a comment until you had your stroke. I've continued to read and pray for you regularly, but I've never commented again. Today I must comment to let you know that God is using you and that even when you don't know His purpose for you, He does and always has. So many verses come to mind, but I want to encourage you with just a few.
Isaiah 42:3 (You are bruised--emotionally and physically--but Christ is caring for you and interceding on your behalf.)
2 Cor 1:3-7 (This is already happening around the globe through your story and writings!)
Hebrews 6:16-20 (I especially love this in The Message.)
Praying for you daily all the way out here in Chattanooga. Press on dear one.


Love you sis. Good to "read" you again.

Mary Lehr

Have you ever read St. Teresa of Avila-Interior Castles or St. John of the Cross-Dark Night of the Soul? I know your suffering is deep and nothing I can say will make it better. You are in this amazing place with Christ...this is a place of pain, despair and profound suffering. are not alone and you will come through this..He understands..He has been there. May the Lord our God bring you peace

Mrs. Claus

I am not going to pretend to know what you are going through. I honestly cannot imagine it... but since I have been reading your blog, I have noticed a striking improvement from those early posts.

God is going through this WITH you, not punishing you. He is right there with you when you are hanging on and when you dive in to the pit.

I pray for you every week, that God will bring you peace.


Remembering you and praying for you.


Job had so many friends who came to him while he was in such pain and agony and they counseled him to confess his sins. He must have done something wrong to experience the grave tribulations he was going through.

That was not true and God revealed that.

God is God. He allows some very difficult things in our lives. And He is still God and He is still good.

But you still suffer. You still weep. You still sometimes have the longing for what once was.

And your honest feelings are known by God. He understands them. In fact, His beautiful and perfect Son knows exactly what it is like to be abandoned. Jesus will never abandon you.

May the only One who can minister to you come and hold you...and sit by you...and sing over you. May your eyes be bright from the vision of Him. May the place of rest He has brought you to grow the very luscious of Fruit in your life...

plump clusters of Faithfulness grapes,
sweet baskets of Kindness peaches,
large wagons of Love watermelons,
bright bunches of Joy bananas,
juicy handfuls of Peace pineapple,
precious trays of Longsuffering blueberries,
a happy apron full of Goodness apples,
a merciful bag of Gentleness oranges,
and a sack stuffed with Self-control lemons.

May you, Joanne, trust the Spirit with what He has in store for you. NOTHING hinders the work of God when His Spirit controls our lives.

I love you, mighty warrior.


I wish I knew words to say how much your post has stayed with me, you have frequently been in my prayers and this has brought you back to the forefront. I can't imagine what a struggle daily life is physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. Please know you are prayed for, you are not forgotten, and you are an encouragement to so many. Probably not the role you wanted, but you are doing it beautifully.

"Lord please help Joanne. Please ease her pain and bring her rest so that her body and mind can heal. Please provide encouragement and may she feel your presence and comfort."

Pam Houston

Joanne, you don't know me, but to read this post written by you is a miracle. You are a miracle of His grace, and a bright shining warrior-princess, even if you feel in danger of slipping into the pit. I love how you ended your words of truth with words of the spirit. "How precious are Your thoughts to Joanne O God! How vast is the sum of them." Ps. 139:17. Sometimes words say so little when hearts mean so much...remember how much you mean to so many.


I do not know you but have followed your blog for awhile. I attached a devotional that really "spoke to me" when I was going through a very hard time:

We Trust The Seasons, Why Not God?
by Jon Walker

Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I replied, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I watch over My word to accomplish it.” (Jeremiah 1:11-12 HCSB)
My favorite time of year is the fall. I’m energized by the cool weather, crisp air, colorful landscape, and the coming of SEC football. The season swells with holiday romance and the promise of peace on earth, good will toward man.
Ironically, fall also is the worst time of year for me, and I know I’m not alone in such sentiment. The promise of all good things violently collides with the reality of broken dreams and irretrievable relationships. Over the years, I’ve been to more family funerals and hospital waiting rooms between Oct. 1 and Jan. 1 than any other time of year. I feel relieved when the “ghost of Christmas” is truly past.
Yet, in even the worst of these moments, I wait for the signs of spring. I can’t say I always wait patiently or with God-infused grace, but God has given me a consistent reminder of his faithfulness: The seasons come and go as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, and God set the seasons in motion as a way of saying, “Year in and year out, you trust the seasons to return, now trust me to be just as faithful.”
In a vision, God explained this to the poet Jeremiah:
“Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ I replied, ‘I see a branch of an almond tree.’ The Lord said to me, ‘You have seen correctly, for I watch over my word to accomplish it.’” (Jeremiah 1:11-12 HCSB)
More than likely, God chose the almond for his illustration because in Israel it is traditionally the first tree to bloom, signaling the arrival of spring. Jeremiah would know it as the “watch tree” because it was the tree you watched as you waited for the season of new life.
As God teaches Jeremiah, there is good-natured humor in his play on words (more evident in the Hebrew). In a sense, the exchange goes like this:
- God of all creation: Jeremiah, what do you see?
- Jeremiah: I see a branch from the “watch” tree.
- God of all creation: That’s right! Use it as a reminder that I “watch” over my word, that I am constantly at work whether or not you can see what I’m doing.
The ebb and flow of the seasons are greeting cards from God, reminding us that things are not always as they seem. We tend to live by sight and not by faith, but God is patiently teaching us to do it the other way around – live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV)

What now?
• Trust the one who created the seasons – We trust the seasons to return every year; the challenge is to trust the one who created the seasons. God spoke the world into existence; he hung the moon and the stars; he spoke you into your mother’s womb; he is active in your life, even if you don’t see or understand what he’s doing. If you truly believed that, how would you respond differently to your circumstances?

• Keep your hope in God, not what you see – A tree may appear barren in winter, but that doesn’t mean it’s not alive. That’s why we call it the dead of winter! Trust in God and not your sight: “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:24-25 NIV) God says the Spirit will help us in our weakness. Pray, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

• You don’t have to understand – Read this sentence three times: “The Truth is not dependent on my ability to understand what is going on.” (OK, go back and really repeat it three times!) Let God interpret the facts; let him explain the situation. Meanwhile, focus on God and not on your limited ability to understand events or circumstances. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

• Spring is coming – This season in your life will change. There will be new life. Remind yourself that spring is coming. When you feel anxiety about the holidays or dreariness during winter, explain to someone else that spring is coming. Jesus did walk out of the tomb on the third day; he is resurrected and alive, and if he has conquered death, he’s got a handle on any situation you are facing.

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.


I hear and feel the pain in your "voice." While I haven't gone through what you have, I had some of the same feelings battling minor illnesses. God is right there with you. It's just a different place in your walk than you've experienced before. We're so trained to think of our service to God in some big, limelight (sp?) way when he uses us mightily in other more simple (less public) ways to further His kingdom. I see him using your journey/faithfulness to keep walking (literally!) being a mighty encouraging witness to others in your physical and blog world. And...this is a new place that you're able to witness to your daughter's by example where you couldn't have before. ?? We may never understand God's ways. But be assured he's at work and he's very near. It sounds so coy...but it's a mental battle that you have to fight, fight, fight with scripture, reminding yourself of the truth that He's there and loves you. And try to find reasons to rejoice and be grateful. Try to make yourself really enjoy/be in the moment/look for God's love in your everyday with your hubby, girls, family. I pray you have a great day! Blessings!!!

Kristin Bradner

Joanne, praying for total healing. And that this, too, shall pass and pass quickly.


Hugs sweet girl. Thank you for your honesty. Embrace the love of the Lord and your family. He will see you through. Nancy

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