Reflecting on Love

There is no new news to report yet, but I wanted to share some things that has been on my heart for the last week.

We recently visited my aunt and uncle over the Christmas holiday and had a chance to meet their small Bible study group. When my uncle told me they were coming over for a night of food and games, I asked if we needed to disappear. To the contrary, he said, they were coming to meet me and Kayla. He said they had heard so much about us and had prayed so much for us that when they learned we would be in town, they all asked if there would be a chance to meet us. During our time together, I was struck by one young couple in the group. They sat and talked with me for a while, getting to know me a little and understand what we’ve been going through. Near the end of the conversation, the wife said that many times over the last nine months as they would have dinner with her mother, her mother, whom I’ve never met, would pray for me each time they were together and even stop in the middle of their dinner and say, “I wonder how Joel is today.” Wow.

There was another woman we met attending church last Sunday. We had only been introduced to her just before the service began, but afterward as we sat in the church’s cafe for a drink she asked if I was in a lot of pain during the service. I explained that I have a great deal of inflammation in my hips that makes it very painful to stand for extended periods. This woman had noticed and was kind enough to ask about it and wanted to understand why I had that pain. As Kayla and I prepared to go to lunch and asked about where to eat, she asked if my illness dictated any special dietary needs. These are not the kind of things most people notice or think about when it comes to me and my illness.

I have been absolutely blown away by the genuine concern and generosity of people around us over that last year. My illness is not one that can been recognized from the outside. Kayla may say otherwise, but generally I don’t look sick. I have all my hair, my skin color is normal, I don’t carry an oxygen tank, and because of the drugs, I’ve actually gained weight, whereas a sick individual would usually lose weight. But what I’ve noticed is that the people who really know us and who really care often ask with genuine concern about how I’m doing, and even if I lie, those people can hear it in my voice or see it written on my face, just how I really feel on that day. I remember when my brother, Troy, told me the story of how Jacksons for Joel started. He said that in talking with one of the men in his church in Illinois, that this man said, “What can the church do? Not our church, but the Church, with a capital “C”.” It is this generosity, love and concern from The Church as a whole, which is really a reflection of God himself, that has continued to sustain us and pull us up when we are low.

Thank you to all of you who continue to ask about us, send us cards and gifts, spend time with us or watch our kids so Kayla and I can spend time with each other. We love and care deeply for you all.



  1. Keeping you close in our prayers! Thank you for always expressing your heart so openly. Love to you and Kayla!! xoxo

  2. Thank you for posting updates! I have your page on my ‘favorites’ menu – I see your name every day.
    -Prayers for you all!

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