Joni Eareckson Tada – at the 2013 National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention (video)

Cover of "Joni"

Cover of Joni

I don’t know about you, but Joni Eareckson Tada has been a blessing and an encouragement to me over the years, as I watch her live her life to the glory of God, in spite of her physical limitations. After a diving accident, Joni has been paralyzed in a wheelchair for 45 years now.

Here is Joni giving the keynote speech at this year’s National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention. Joni:

  • I was 17 years old, athletic, took a dive and bang!I can’t use my hands, I can’t move my legs, everything’s paralyzed, I’m a quadriplegic. The doctor announced that I had severed my spinal cord, that I’d never use my hands or my legs for the rest of my life, and he walked out of the door…. I can’t live like this, and I just sank into depression.
  • A Christian friend shared with me: Joni, God permits that which He hates, to accomplish that which He loves. I realized, God takes no pleasure in my spinal cord injury, but He loves the way He is changing me in it, and encouraging others through it. Psalm 10 says that God hears the cry of the afflicted. His heart goes out to those with disabilities. He is filled with compassion for those with special needs.
  • I want people to know this God whom I love. I would not trade this intimacy, this sweetness, this nearness, this tenderness, this preciousness of faith, come alive n my life, I wouldn’t trade it for any amount of walking.
  • There are 1 billion people with disabilities in the world, 80% of whom live in developing nations. That is to me overwhelming. I wanna do everything I can to make a difference in their lives. I think God is using people with disabilities to wake up the church. God is up to something big.
  • Outwardly, our bodies are wasting away, but, inwardly, we’re being renewed day by day. God has not abandoned those with disabilities. No, He is working through them. God’s power always shows up best through weakness. The Bible says, „Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Defend the rights of the weak and the needy, and we do that at Joni and Friends.”
  • I sing because I have to. I remember darker days, when I was in the hospital. I wanted so much to cry, but, instead I would stifle the tears and comfort myself singing a hymns like „Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry. While on others Thou are calling, do not pass me by”. And it always reminded me, as I sang that, of the pool at Bethesda. You know that portion of Scripture from John 5, that friends would come to the hospital to visit me, I would always ask them to read it to me. I cannot tell you how many times, at night, I would picture myself there, at Bethesda, lying next to the man with paralysis, and I would wait alongside him, waiting for Jesus to walk in through those columned colonnades, and I would see Him, and I would, in my mind’s eye cry out, „Oh Jesus, Jesus don’t pass me by. Here I am. Heal me!” But as many times as I pictured myself there, at the pool of Bethesda, and as often as I asked Jesus to heal me, I never got up, I never walked.

Joni Eareckson Tada interview October 2012

Joni Eareckson TadaEach time I watch a new video of Joni, or sometimes I re-watch an old one, I just have to reassess my whole life over again.  I’ll give you an example: in the beginning of the interview Joni talks about her struggles with trying to put her husband first and cites an example of waking up at 2 am with discomfort and trying to ascertain whether she should wake him up, so that he can reposition her, or if she can try and make it til morning in her discomfort, so that she can allow him a to have a full night’s sleep. Joni and Ken were married in 1982, 15 full years after her swimming accident, in which she broke her neck and became a quadriplegic. Thus, Joni has been teaching us about God’s grace through affliction for 46 years, ever since that fateful day, one month after her high school graduation.

More videos to watch and posts to read about Joni here-

  1. Joni’s full biography and how she paints for the glory of God
  2. About her stage 3 breast cancer journey in 2010

Here is the recent interview with Joni, by Marvin Olaski from October 4 , 2012.

Interview with at Patrick Henry College

Joni Eareckson Tada Songs (subtitrare-cantari)

Joni Eareckson Tada’s cancer journey

Published on Oct 1, 2012 by 

For the full TV episode click here: 

When Joni Eareckson Tada underwent treatment for stage 3 breast cancer, little did she realize God was preparing her to minister powerfully to others. Joni shares her journey in this moving two-part TV episode. It’s a great resource for those battling cancer.

Joni Eareckson Tada – Painting for God’s pleasure (Full episode)

Photo source : Voice of The Gospel Radio, Germany

Published on Sep 12, 2012 by 

Watch full television episode:
Over 40 years ago, artist Joni Eareckson Tada took a reckless dive that left her paralyzed in a wheelchair. Feeling abandoned by God, depression set in. But despair became satisfaction as God made beauty from ashes. Joni discovered that her talent for art came not from her hands, but from within. And she began painting with her mouth. With fresh joy and purpose, Joni found her art to be a new form of self-expression and worship to God. Watch as Joni shares how God has used her wheelchair as the perfect frame to showcase His gospel through her life and art.

Watch full television episode here:

Joni Eareckson Tada’s Biography from Biography from Voice of The Gospel Radio, Germany
(1950- present)

Joni Eareckson Tada is a remarkable woman. Injured in a diving accident at the age of 17, Joni has had to endure more physical suffering than most of us ever will. Though she suffered a deep depression and lost the will to live in the aftermath of her accident, she gradually came back to a deeper relationship with God. Because of her early struggles, she has become strong in her faith and is a testimony to the world of how when we are weak, God is strong. Her story is not one of bitterness and despair, as we might imagine it to be, but one of love and victory.

Joni Eareckson Tada was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1950 to John and Lindy Eareckson. She was the youngest of four sisters, Linda, Jay, and Kathy. Her name is pronounced „Johnny”, being he named after her father. Joni inherited her father’s athletic and creative abilities, giving father and daughter a special bond. Her childhood was an extremely happy one. She grew into a young adult surrounded by love, happiness, and security in her parent’s home. The Eareckson family shared a great love for the outdoors, which promoted family togetherness. They shared in various outdoor activities such as camping trips, horseback riding, hiking, tennis, and swimming.

In 1967, after graduating from high school, Joni had her fateful accident. It was a hot July day and she was to meet her sister Kathy and some friends at the beach on Chesapeake Bay to swim. When she arrived, she dove in quickly, and immediately knew something was wrong. Though she felt no real pain, a tightness seemed to encompass her. Her first thought was that she was caught in a fishing net and she tried to break free and get to the surface. Panic seized her as she realized she couldn’t move and she was lying face down on the bottom of the bay. She realized she was running out of air and resigned herself to the fact that she was going to drown.

Her sister, Kathy, called for her. She ran to Joni and pulled her up. To Kathy’s surprise, Joni could not support herself and tumbled back into the water. Kathy pulled her out and Joni gasped for air. Joni was puzzled as to why her arms were still tied to her chest. Then to her dismay, Joni realized they were not tied, but were draped lifelessly across her sister’s back. Kathy yelled for someone to call an ambulance and Joni was rushed to the hospital.

Joni’s life was changed forever that July day in 1967. She had broken her neck – a fracture between the fourth and fifth cervical levels. She was now a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down. While her friends were busy sending out graduation announcements and preparing to go to college in the fall, Joni was fighting for her very life and having to accept the fact that she would have to live out the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

Joni’s rehabilitation was not easy. As you might imagine she was angry and she raged against her fate. She struggled with depression and often times she

wanted to end her life. She could not understand how God could let this happen to her. Before the accident she had felt that she wasn’t living the life she should be so she had prayed that God would change her life – that he’d turn it around. After months of staring at the ceiling and wallowing in her depression, Joni began to wonder if this was God’s answer to her prayer.

This realization that God was working in her life was the beginning of Joni’s journey to wholeness as a disabled person. She participated in various rehabilitation programs that taught her how to live with her disabilities and she immersed herself in God’s Word to become spiritually strong.

Joni’s life has been a full one. She has learned early on to compensate for her handicaps. Being naturally creative, she learned to draw and paint holding her utensils with her teeth. She began selling her artwork and the endeavor was a great success. There was a real demand for her work. She kept herself very busy with her artwork and gained for herself a degree of independence. She was also able to share Christ’s love in her drawings. She always signed her paintings „PTL” which stood for „Praise the Lord”.

Joni has also become a sought after conference speaker, author, and actress, portraying herself in the World Wide Pictures production of „Joni”, the life story of Joni Eareckson in 1978. She has written several books including „Holiness in Hidden Places”, „Joni”, which was her autobiography, and many children’s titles. But her most satisfying and far-reaching work is her advocacy on behalf of the disabled.

In 1979, Joni moved to California to begin a ministry to the disabled community around the globe. She called it Joni and Friends Ministries (JAF Ministries), fulfilling the mandate of Jesus in Luke 14:13,23 to meet the needs of the poor, crippled, and lame. Joni understood first-hand the loneliness and alienation many handicapped people faced and their need for friendship and salvation. The ministry was soon immersed with calls for both physical and spiritual help for the disabled.

JAF Ministries thus uncovered the vast hidden needs of the disabled community and began to train the local church for effective outreach to the disabled, an often overlooked mission field. JAF Ministries today includes local offices in such major cities as Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, and SanFrancisco. The goal of the ministry is to have ten such offices in metropolitan areas by the year 2001.

Through JAF Ministries, Joni tapes a five-minute radio program called „Joni and Friends”, heard daily all over the world. She has heart for people who, like herself, must live with disabilities. Her role as an advocate for the disabled has led to a presidential appointment to the National Council on Disability for over three years. Joni also serves on the board of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization as a senior associate for evangelism among disabled persons. Joni has also begun Wheels for the World, a ministry which involves restoring wheelchairs and distributing them in developing nations.

Joni has won many awards and commendations throughout her life. In 1993 she was named Churchwoman of the Year by the Religious Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Evangelicals named her „Layperson of the Year”, making her the first woman ever to receive that honor. Also among the numerous awards she has received are the American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award, The Courage Award of the Courage Rehabilitation Center, the Award of Excellence from the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, the Victory Award from the National Rehabilitation Hospital, and the Golden Word Award from the International Bible Society.

In 1982, Joni married Ken Tada. Today, eighteen years later, the marriage is strong and committed and they are still growing together in Christ. Ken and Joni travel together with JAF Ministries speaking at family retreats about the day to day experiences of living with disabilities. At the helm of JAF Ministries, Ken and Joni strive to demonstrate in tangible ways that God has not abandoned those with disabilities. And they speak from experience.

Biography from Voice of The Gospel Radio, Germany page

Cintarea lui Joni Eareckson Tada -English with Romanian Subtitles

As a teenager, Joni loved life. She enjoyed riding horses, hiking, tennis, and loved to swim. But on a hot summer day in July 1967 (Sunday July 30) that all changed. While on a beach with some friends, Joni dove into Chesapeake Bay not knowing how shallow the water was. She broke her neck—a fracture between the fourth and fifth cervical levels—and became a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down. While her friends were preparing to go to college in the fall, Joni was fighting for her life and facing the fact that she would have to live the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Joni’s rehabilitation was not easy, and she struggled through it for the next two years. She was angry, struggled with depression, and had frequent thoughts of suicide. Her book relates her questions of how God let this happen to her. She participated in various rehabilitation programs that taught her how to live with her disabilities, and says she immersed herself in the Bible to become spiritually strong.

Despite her severe disability, she has led an adventurous life. She has written over forty books, recorded several musical albums, starred in a major autobiographical movie of her life and is actively involved as an advocate for disabled people.[1] During her two years of rehabilitation, Tada learned how to paint with a brush between her teeth, and later began selling her artwork.

Tada wrote of her experiences in her 1976 international best-selling autobiography, Joni , The unforgettable story of a young woman’s struggle against quadriplegia & depression, which has been distributed in many languages, and which was made into a 1979 feature film of the same name, starring herself, which told of her accident, struggles and subsequent life. Her second book, A Step Further, was released in 1978.

Tada founded Joni and Friends (JAF) in 1979, an organization for Christian ministry in the disabled community throughout the world. The organization grew into the establishment in 2006 of the Joni and Friends International Disability Center (IDC). The building was designed by Vincent Dyer AIA and the interiors were designed by Gensler and Associates.[citation needed]

Joni and her husband Ken Tada have been married since 1982. In 2001, Mr. Tada received Family Life Ministries’ Robertson McQuilken Award honoring “The Courageous Love of a Marriage Covenant Keeper.” Mr. Tada retired from 32 years of teaching in 2004 to work with his wife. Ken Tada, along with Joni, are permanent members of the International Board of Directors of Joni and Friends.

Led by Tada and President and COO Doug Mazza, the Joni and Friends International Disability Center has four flagship programs. Joni and Friends, a daily five minute radio program, is heard over 1,000 broadcast outlets. In 2002 it received the “Radio Program of the Year” award from National Religious Broadcasters. The organization offers family retreats. Wheels for the World collects wheelchairs, which are refurbished by prison inmates and donated to developing nations where, whenever possible, physical therapists fit each chair to a needy disabled child or adult.

In 2005, Tada was appointed to the Disability Advisory Committee of the U.S. State Department.

Tada is a conference speaker. Her articles have been published in Christianity Today, Today’s Christian Woman, The War Cry (Salvation Army), and newspapers around the world. Tada has appeared four times on Larry King Live.

In November 2009, Tada signed an ecumenical statement known as the Manhattan Declaration calling on evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox Christians not to comply with rules and laws permitting abortion, same-sex marriage, and other matters that go against their religious consciences.[2]

On June 23, 2010 Tada announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She also announced she was scheduled to have a major surgery on Monday, June 28, 2010. Tada emerged successfully from breast cancer surgery and is hopeful of a positive prognosis. (biography via Wikipedia)
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