"Joanna's Story Corner" is place that features men and women of faith who are prayer warriors. These people come from all walks of life- pastors, entrepreneurs, mothers, teachers, and fitness instructors. We go past the surface and learn more about these people, their story, and and their prayer life.
This week we feature Joni Earekson Tada, the founder and CEO of Joni & Friends, and an international advocate for people with disabilities. Joni’s incredible testimony of overcoming trials has served as an encouragement to people around the world.
Encountering Hardship: Paralyzed As A Teenager
Joni was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1949. At the age of 17, while spending the summer outdoors near Chesapeake Bay, she decided to dive into the Bay water. She misjudged the shallowness of the water and suffered a fracture between her fourth and fifth cervical level. As a result of the accident, Joni became paralyzed from the shoulders down.1
Joni went through rehabilitation for two years, during which she experienced a range of emotions including anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, and spiritual doubts. However, it was through this rehabilitation process that she learned new skills, like painting with a brush between her teeth. She also saw God in a new light. She emerged with a deeply rooted faith and a mission to help others like her.1
Overcoming Trials: Using Her Story To Reach The Nations
Joni’s transparency in telling her story propelled her to a place of profound influence. Her autobiography, Joni, has been translated into many languages and made into a film. She has used her experience to champion people with disabilities on both the national and international stage, and has received numerous awards and honorary degrees. She has published over 50 books and has hosted her radio program, “Joni and Friends,” for nearly 35 years.2
Her resume is clearly astonishing, but it is her honesty and wisdom that continue to impact all kinds of people in all sorts of places. Through trials and successes alike, her life intentionally puts the gospel of Christ and the glory of God on display. She does not preach a gospel that says we get health and wealth when we pray hard enough; instead, she shows deeper hope with her life and ministry. The message she shares echo the words of the apostle Paul-
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
Feeling Inspired? You Can Pray With Joni!
Abide had the opportunity to partner with Joni in creating a recent "Spectacle of Glory" prayer guide. Hear Joni's voice as she leads us through a series of six prayers
My favorite line from one of her prayers-
“I would rather be in this wheel- chair knowing Jesus than on my feet without Him.” - Joni Earekson Tada
Want to hear more from Joni? She's also offering a free devotional guide for the month of January. Perfect timing, as the new year is around the corner.
This devotion has incredibly encouraging content, and I pray you're blessed when you go through it.
.1"Joni Eareckson Tada Commemorates 45 Years of Quadriplegia | Radio". Joni and Friends. July 30, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
.2 “Joni’s Bio” http://www.joniandfriends.org/jonis-corner/jonis-bio/