Our Story

Joel and Lauren Jackson reside in Palm Coast, Florida. They are a mid-twenties couple who have found love past the surface after a tragic car accident that altered their lives, but challenged them to dream and reach outside the box of normal.

We were freshmen in high school when Joel and I {Lauren} met. He had a gorgeous pair of blue eyes, the perfect shaggy blonde hair, and a smile that would knock you off any girl off her feet! It was love at first sight, if ever a thing existed. Our relationship was pure and everything precious. He was my first love. After 3 months, I ended our relationship, as I felt I needed to focus on growing my relationship with Jesus.

Joel and I remained friends. By friends, I mean I was the girl that would hang around his friends and cook for them- and clean. We were part of the same youth group and it kept us close. I was still head over heels for him and he had no clue. I knew he and I were made for each other. But, he didn’t have a clue. I felt like I was offering him plenty of hints that I was interested. I even went to Georgia to his family Christmas (and we were not dating) and asked him to cotillion as my date. Clearly he was not getting the vibe. Though I’m not sure it would have changed his mind. And it certainly didn’t alter the ultimate plan.

Years went by and I went off to college and was in a serious relationship. Joel was doing his own thing. We were both far from each other and far from God. One frigid winter’s morn in December of 2009 that all changed. Our second chance at life and love changed in a moment when the car he was riding in collided with a telephone pole. He was ejected nearly half a football field and his head seperated internally from his body. He was dead. But God said, “Not this one!” to the paramedic that was sent to cover his body. Joel was revived. Somehow. He was taken to the local hospital and had his spleen removed. However, they were not equipped to provide him with the help he needed. He was life-flighted to a larger hospital in a matter of minutes, but the flight should have killed him, as he was still internally decapitated and anymovement could have taken his life- much less the movement and force of a helicopter. Again.

But, he made it. He was taken to ICU and put in a medically induced coma, as not to wake him and cause harm to himself, now knowing that he was paralyzed from the neck down. He had several other injuries- a twice broken jaw, broken pelvis, and brain stem damage, just to name a few. They encouraged his family to be ready to tell him “goodbye” that same night.  Joel wasn’t ready. Despite the fight Joel’s body was making the doctors still gave his family no hope of recovery. He would be a vegetable, not knowing night from day- many claimed. They concluded that a funeral should be planned. Joel had wanted his organs donated, but the organ receiving company claimed his organs, especially his heart were too strong for them when they came to obtain them, and he began fluttering his eyes for the first time and following his sister . Two weeks following the wreck, on Christmas Eve, Joel underwent a surgery that would fuse his spine together to his head with a steel rod. It was successful. Little by little there was hope.

After 87 days, just one week shy of his 21st birthday, Joel came home. They gave him little to no hope of recovery beyond a wheel chair and a hopsital bed. And several rehabilitation facilities said there was nothing they could do for Joel. But we believe differently. Our faith and our hope is much higher. And this is our story… the voyage less traveled.

Joel and I have had our ups and downs over the last 11 years making our way back to one another, as this was not the life anyone would have planned or expected. But with each challenge, we are offered an opportunity to share our story and the hope by which we live. We had several months of silence and distance trying to understand how to make something of the love in our hearts for one another. We struggled and we have come out on top! After years of fighting the love-hate relationship we had with one another, we gave in to a higher plan. We began to date December 1, 2012. Really date. Joel and I were engaged shortly after and married September 14, 2013.

We owe our amazing life and story to our Creator, because we could not have written or fathomed a love like this ourselves. We love and fight for each other every single day. We enjoy each other, our spoiled 4-legged Princess, feeding our guilty pleasure of being foodies, Georgia Football, and the beach life! We hope you enjoy our voyage and are encouraged to love someone a little deeper today and everyday.

May we never lose hope. May we fight every day. May we love like there’s no tomorrow. The best is yet to come!

With love and prayers,

The Jacksons

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