I must have been about 10 yrs old when my mom gave me this book to read.
I flipped through it at first and noticed there were pictures of some drawings in the book. The drawings were of horses. My favorite!
So, I sat down and read the book about a young woman who became a quadriplegic after a diving accident.
Her name is Joni.
The Power of Inspiration
I suppose my mom gave me this book to read because she knew how much I loved to draw. But I have a feeling the main reason she gave me this book was because the author was an artist...but not your ordinary artist.
Joni draws with her mouth.
As a kid, I was in awe of this! I was also a little jealous about how well she could draw horses with her mouth! But I was mostly amazed at her faith in God even after tragedy had befallen her.
I think it was my mom's way of reminding me not to give up...to always remember to be thankful for my talent...and to keep drawing no matter what.
Now Joni Eareckson Tada is a world famous artist, writer, singer, and motivational speaker. She is also a philanthropist who helps provide much needed wheelchairs for the disabled all over the world.
Even after all these years she inspires me to never quit. She moves me with her love of Christ...yes even after being in a wheelchair all these years, she continues to bless His name and sings songs of praise to Him.
I remember hearing her speak on the radio about how friends asked her to meet with actor Christopher Reeve after a horseback riding accident had left him a quadriplegic.
She spoke about how he was so distraught and wanted to die. He asked her if, after the accident, there was ever a time when she wanted to end her life.
She had to think about it for a few seconds. Then she said, "Yes. One time. It was after I came home from the hospital. Each night, my mother had to roll me over in bed each hour on the hour every night or I would suffocate." Joni went on to say that seeing her exhausted mother come into her room every hour just to turn her broken body over made her feel so guilty that she wanted to end her life. But guess what? She couldn't move her arms or use her hands. She couldn't even end her own life! She had no control over her life. She was completely in God's hands.
She did try and encourage Christopher Reeve to trust in God and use what happen to him for good. An avowed atheist, Christopher Reeve, in his own book Still Me, said he began to have faith that his accident did have a purpose, but he wasn't entirely certain.
Recently, Joni released a new set of greeting cards made from her latest color drawing of flowers. On her blog, she wrote about how after the accident, her greatest fear was that she would never be able to draw her beloved horses again. She tenderly spoke about how grateful she was to the Lord that He didn't take that comforting ability away from her. In His mercy, throughout the storm, He left her with the ability to draw and paint...even if it meant with her mouth.
I remember trying to copy some of Joni's drawings from her book when I was a kid. Even with my hands, I wasn't as good as she was with the pencil between her teeth! She is amazing.
Joni still inspires me to keep going no matter what.
She inspires me to use my talents and gifts to serve the Lord.
She inspires me to give to others.
Joni inspires me to love the Lord and bless His name through the storm because He is there. He never left her side. He is still there with her even now. He has used her in a mighty mighty way.
Your turn: How has the Lord used someone to inspire you to keep going even through the storm?
R. A. Douthitt, author of The Dragon Forest (OakTara) works in curriculum development as well as teaching teenage girls in church youth ministry. Ruth desires to write both nonfiction as well as fiction for teens based on youth issues today. Ruth lives in Arizona with her husband, Scott, and their son, Nathan.