When Joni Earekson Tada was a teenager, she dived into a lake and broke her neck. She has spent the last 40+ years in a wheelchair. She recently battled through breast cancer, a masectomy and chemo, and now that she is in her 60s, she lives with chronic pain.
I read Joni's story as a teen myself and it impacted me greatly. I think of her sometimes when I feel like my cross is too heavy to bear, too unfair, and wonder how someone like her, who cannot even brush her own teeth or go to the bathroom by herself, not only accepts her limitations, but lives with them with grace and joy.
Joni's ministry gave me permission to post this video interview with Joni. You may not have an hour to listen to the entire thing, so...
If you are a teen, I'd recommend starting at minute 9.
If you live with chronic illness, the most important section would be minutes 19-35.
Joni talks about the days she isn't strong enough:
“I just don’t know how I’m going to make it to lunchtime…Oh God, I am so tired of this.”
“I so wanted to cry, but there was nobody around to wipe my nose…God, if I can’t die, You’ve just got to show me how to live.”
She brings our focus back to what matters:
“The cross I take up daily is not my wheelchair…it’s my attitude about my wheelchair. This is what I have to put to death.”
And she ends with hope.
“Wake up tomorrow needing Him desperately and you can’t go wrong.”
“I don’t want to waste my suffering.”
Please take some time and watch at least a portion of this video. I was inspired and encouraged, and think you will be, too.
This is an important week. Instead of my usual weekly post, this week I will be posting tomorrow through Friday on a topic those of us with illness face regularly: Is My Illness because I don't have enough Faith? I have been told such more than once, and you likely have to. When I struggle, sometimes this is the painful lie that comes back to haunt me. That's why it's important to know the truth, because the truth sets us free.
So come back tomorrow for "Not Enough Faith? Is It My Fault I'm Still Sick?"
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