Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving Thanks At the Right Time

Winner of Jim Rubart's book Soul Gate is...scroll to the bottom of this post.

Joni and her husband Ken
photo courtesy of
I had a frustrating time the other day. Needed to get out of the building and feel the sunshine. While doing a few errands, I turned on the radio, clicked a few stations and happened upon Joni Eareckson Tada's program. 

This woman has been a constant inspiration to me. At age seventeen, she went with some friends to a lake and swam out to a floating dock. They soaked in the sun for a while then she decided to go back in the water. She stepped to the edge, held her hands in a diving position above her head, bent over, and dove into the water. 

Joni and her friends didn't know the water was too shallow for diving in that area. Her friends became concerned when she didn't surface. Several dove into the water looking for her and brought her wounded body to the surface. Her neck had been broken in the dive, turning her into a quadriplegic. 

Her time of coming to terms with the permanency of the disability eventually came and in its place she gained strength and determination to serve God in any way she could. 

Family Retreats for the Disabled
photo courtesy of

Over the next forty years, Joni's ministry impacted thousands, perhaps millions of people. Her drawings and paintings are done using a brush or pencil in her mouth. She has a program in which old wheelchairs can be donated, fixed up and taken to needy children in third world countries. Rather than continue a list of the many programs serving the handicap under her umbrella, I'll give the link and let you see for yourself.  Joni and Friends.

Wheelchairs for the World photo courtesy of 

Joni has lived in her wheelchair as a quad for forty years. And in all that time, I have never heard her complain or whine about her situation. During the particular program I listened to on my day of frustration, Joni told about a young family. The husband was suffering from cancer and their finances were depleted. The wife's letter focused on her thanks to God for the blessings they still had. Joni then showed compassion for the young family's true hardships, never spoken of in the letter.

What struck me most was the Christ-like example of a person who hasn't walked, held a book, been able to have a child, must be  completely dependent on others for everything including eating, and etc, showed great compassion for a young family's plight without ever calling attention to her own issues.

She gave thanks for the wife's strength in the situation. Needless to say, my bundle full of frustrations fizzled. Was it a coincidence that I heard Joni's thankful comments at that time? Would it have meant as much if someone I didn't know said the same thing? No to both.

It's easy to tell someone to be thankful. It means so much more to live it.

How can you show your thankfulness for what God has given?

Congratulations to Lindsay Harrel winner of Jim Rubart's book, Soul Gate


Lindsay Harrel said...

I'm excited to read Jim's book!

And you know what...stories like these remind me of just how blessed I am. I take my health for granted. I take a lot of stuff for granted.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I think we all take our health for granted until something happens. :)
Can't wait to hear what you think of Soul's Gate.