Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada

Heart for the Disabled – John and Tracy Connelly

January 11, 2019

Welcome to the last and best day of our “Heart for the Disabled” week.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and all this week I’ve been telling stories about families with special needs (big needs) so that you could write notes of encouragement and Valentine cards. And, boy, are you responding — so many of you have already sent in your cards and letters. But I’ve got one more family to tell you about.

John and Tracy are parents to a couple of teenage boys who are on the autism spectrum. Their oldest son, 16-year-old Aiden, is pretty high functioning, but he often struggles to fit in with kids around him in high school and that’s not easy when you have autism. And Aiden so longs to be part of the gang in school. Often, though, he’s left out of the action. Miles, who is 12 years old, is not as high functioning as his older brother. He is unable to communicate verbally with people around him, and he’s often frustrated by his inability to connect with the family and with what few friends he has at school. Both kids do their best in and out of the home, and that really pleases John and Tracy, their dad and mom. Life at home is not easy for these parents, what with disability routines, medical bills and challenges at school, and just, well… trying to live a normal life. This little family had a wonderful time at Family Retreat, the year before, back in 2017. But in early 2018 when they planned to register for last summer’s Family Retreat, they were stopped in their tracks.

At the beginning of last year, Tracy learned that she had breast cancer. They had to cancel their Family Retreat application in the wake of this terrible news and, a short time later, Tracy had to have a double mastectomy. This brave woman faced it with courage, though – she had served in the military and understood what it was like to stand strong in a battle. Still though, Tracy is continuing to go through chemotherapy as her husband, John, carries on the heavy job of keeping up the house and caring for their two disabled sons, Aiden and Miles, who have autism. And sometimes, John and Tracy wonder how much more they can take.

Well, I want you to remind them that the grace of our Lord Jesus really is sufficient. Yes, even for these new challenges in the family. So take a moment to jot a note or a card to John and Tracy, as well as Aiden and Miles. Let them know you are praying for them. Include a favorite scripture or, as I shared earlier this week, tuck in a copy of an inspirational poem or the words to a hymn that you love. I know they’d be blessed to hear that you are cheering them on. And if you really want to be creative, tuck in your envelope a small gift card to Starbucks or whatever. I know Ken and I will be doing that for this family, but the important thing is your words and your prayers, and the references from God’s Word that you include.

Make sure you get your card to John and Tracy, and their sons Aiden and Miles. Then mail it in care of Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. If you don’t have a pencil to write down the address or if you have missed any details, please visit joniradio.org for all the info. Thanks for caring, friend! I’m so grateful for your help this week – God bless you for having a heart for the disabled and a heart for John, Tracy, Aiden and Miles. If you need any details get the whole scoop at joniradio.org. Thanks for having a heart for the disabled. God bless you today, and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends.

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I’m Joni Eareckson Tada; welcome to “Heart for the Disabled” week. That’s right. All this week I’ve been mentioning the stories of families with special needs — moms and dads and disabled kids and their siblings, all of them bone-tired, weary people who really, really need the encouragement of Christ. And you are helping me give that encouragement as you’ve written notes, Valentine’s cards, and letters to the people I’ve mentioned each day. For those of you who haven’t yet written, I’ve got a family who really needs an uplifting word. Kelly and Rebecca Robinson came to Family Retreat for the first time last summer. And they came with a car full of oxygen tanks. You see, when their own children grew up, and Kelly and Rebecca became empty-nesters, they adopted two children from an orphanage in China. Claire and Colton both of these have significant disabilities. Claire is 14 years old and has a heart and liver disease, pulmonary hypertension, and needs to be on oxygen 100% of the time. Claire also has some cognitive problems. But she is a happy little girl and she loves to smile. Colton, who is 11 years old, is blind in one eye, has an orthopedic impairment, and a heart defect. Well. Well, I tell you, when this little family came to retreat, Kelly and Rebecca already looked worn out. Claire is fragile, her medical condition was wearing on them – someone has to sleep with her at all times. At Family Retreat, 14-year-old Claire had one prayer – she wanted to make a friend (she doesn’t have friends back home; she’s always in and out of the hospital). But at Family Retreat she was not disappointed. This little teenager made many friends, especially a few girls her own age. And Colton? This guy was the hit at the talent show. His has a great voice. Claire even put together a little band with her new girlfriends and they sang all about Jesus being the light of the world. Not long after retreat, however, Claire had to go into the hospital again. It was a surgery with lots of risks, but it had to be done. She could hardly breathe. Well, a few months ago, Claire was taken into surgery one more time. She did not make it; she went home to be with Jesus. And at Claire’s funeral Colton was brave and sang the song that he did at the Family Retreat talent show. As you can imagine, Kelly and Rebecca are still reeling. This family would very much appreciate a couple of uplifting words in a note or a letter. I know that God can use your words, your favorite scriptures, maybe a favorite hymn or poem. I don’t need to tell you, just let the Holy Spirit tell you what to write. The important thing is, just write and when you do pray for Kelly, Rebecca, and little Colton. I know this special-needs family would appreciate hearing that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who are remembering to lift them up before Jesus Christ. So, please send this family true Christian encouragement. And then mail it off to Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. If you’ve missed any details, go to my radio page at joniradio.org for the full story where we’re even posted a photo on our Facebook page. Thanks for coming alongside, praying for, writing a letter or note to bless this family who have gone through so much loss, so much expense, and have expended so much care and compassion. God bless you for caring for little Colton and of course for Kelly and Rebecca during this year’s Heart for the Disabled campaign! And if you need any details, get the whole scoop at joniradio.org. Thanks for having a heart for the disabled.
January 10, 2019
It’s “Heart for the Disabled” week here at Joni and Friends! That’s right, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and this week I am asking you to help me give real Christian encouragement to disabled people who have attended our Family Retreats because it’s mid-winter, the skies are gray, and these precious friends are in need of a lift; what with all the disability routines day after day. So I’m asking you (as I’ve been doing all week) to pick up a pen and jot a Valentine’s card or a note, send a poem, include scriptures, just a brief letter to someone who is very near and dear to my heart. Let me share her story. I met Jeri Payne (her name is spelled J-E-R-I) many years ago at one of our earliest Family Retreats way back in the 1990s. She came with her four sons, one of whom, Zach, had a really strange neuromuscular disease; although he could sort of half-walk, his arms were limp and he breathed through a ventilator. But Zach was the cutest kid at camp, wanting to try every activity, even bouncing on the trampoline with his ventilator. Jeri’s husband did not attend Family Retreat that year, nor the next, or the next. But Jeri won the hearts of us all, tending to her four energetic boys, including little Zach with all his disabilities. Years passed and Zach suffered some complications which eventually took his little life. The family grieved the loss of this special little guy, but the years continued and Jeri and the family healed. Then, her other son, Sammy, passed away in 2004. In the midst of that shock, Jeri was hit with an undiagnosed neuromuscular disease that landed her in a wheelchair. Now, she was the one struggling with the serious disability. It was rough and shortly thereafter, her husband of 31 years left her. But Jeri’s friends at Family Retreat were her support. And she really needed it. Because when she moved to Oregon with another son, she was hardly settled in when (get this) he died of cardiac arrest. And now? Well, Jeri is still in her wheelchair and she’s still living up in Oregon with her only remaining son who is her primary caregiver. My Family Retreat friends in Oregon recently sent me a picture of dear Jeri in her wheelchair, smiling, persevering, and looking as hopeful as ever, all because this woman knows (really knows) Jesus Christ. Yet still, she’s human. She’s lost so much: her three sons, her health, her marriage, and she needs your prayers and support. Friend listening, I want you to know that Jeri got her spiritual grounding at Family Retreat. Yes, it was back in the 1990s, but she still reflects on those wonderful years. She was able to bring her boys, including Zach, to Retreat. But right now, living with her one remaining son, Jeri needs to be reminded of uplifting passages from God’s word, so please pray for her because she is still waiting for Medicaid to kick in. Reminder of the love of Jesus Christ, and if you want to go the extra mile, tuck in a gift certificate to Taco Bell or something like that. She needs to hear from listeners like you. So be sure to jot your note today. Just inscribe it to Jeri (J-E-R-I) then send it to Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376, and we’ll make certain to package it up with all the other notes to Jeri and her caregiving son so it’ll arrive in time for Valentine’s Day. And if you need any details, get the whole scoop at joniradio.org. And thanks for having a heart for the disabled.
January 9, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and its “Heart for the Disabled” week! Here at Joni and Friends we are asking you to help make this upcoming Valentine’s Day very special for a family with disabilities, just by writing a note of encouragement. And the family I want to tell you about today is in such need of hope. Josh Mitchell is a military veteran who now works with the U.S. Postal Service and he has a wife, Emily, who is a stay-at-home mom who takes care of their two blonde haired daughters, Gracie, age 5, and Addie, age 7. Addie is the one with the disabilities. Although she is so sweet and shy with budding artistic talents, Addie has had medical issues since birth and she’s been through several surgeries. She has a kind of cerebral palsy, as well as sensory processing problems. She is mostly nonverbal; she doesn’t speak, although I am excited to tell you that this past year at Family Retreat, she said two new words! News spread like wildfire at Family Retreat – everybody was saying, “did you hear? Addie spoke two words!” Josh and Emily were absolutely thrilled and little Gracie was, too. Everybody understood that this was a big deal for seven-year-old Addie. But hold on, because there was also some not-so-good news, as well. Last summer, the Mitchell’s were able to purchase their first home and right after moving in, Emily, the mother, the rock of this family, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. And now Emily finds herself often fatigued; she suffers from debilitating migraines. Trying to take care of her daughters is doubly difficult now, and discouragement is knocking at her door. You can imagine how this diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has put a damper on all the excitement of a new home, and even on Addie’s new spoken words. Right now, this little family is feeling overwhelmed. Between Addie’s cerebral palsy and other problems, and Emily’s new diagnosis of MS, well, this family is really in need of your help. So would you write the Mitchell family an uplifting note and assure them of your prayers? Perhaps have your children crayon a picture for Addie and Gracie? Share a favorite scripture about the sovereignty of God. Or send a poem, or the words to a much-loved hymn. And if you happen to be the parent of special-needs kids like little Addie, offer a few empathetic words from your experience. Oh, and how about congratulating Josh on his military service? And encouraging Emily to persevere? Send them a little gift card to Burger King or Baskin-Robbins. I’m convinced they will really appreciate your help, your letter and your Valentine card so much. Just send your card to Josh and Emily, and their daughters Gracie and Addie, the one who has all the disabilities. Mail it to Joni and Friends at P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. And send it soon so that your card or note will arrive in time for Valentine’s Day. If you miss any details, well you can always get the spelling of everyone’s names, as well as their whole story on my radio page at Joniradio.org. And if you were able to jot down exactly where to mail your card, our Joni and Friends address is right there on my radio page at joniradio.org. Thank you for having a “Heart for the Disabled.” And tell your friends to tune in tomorrow to hear about another special-needs family on our “Heart for the Disabled” campaign; a family who needs your Christ-centered encouragement and your prayers.
January 8, 2019
Hey, it’s Heart for the Disabled week here at Joni and Friends! Thanks for joining me, Joni Eareckson Tada, as we begin my favorite campaign of the year. This is when I ask you to take a few minutes to write a note of encouragement to special-needs families who attended last summer’s Family Retreats. Many of you have done this before (once again, last year you beat the record; the response was overwhelming) and it has meant the world to these kids with disabilities and their parents who receive, well, Valentine’s cards, letters, notes with scriptures, words of a hymn, inspirational poems, gifts. And today, I’m thinking of Brittany, her husband, Ryan and their three beautiful daughters – Juliette, age 13, Audrey age 11, and Little Brook at 8 years old who is nonverbal and has multiple disabilities, including cerebral palsy, developmental delays, a visual impairment (can you believe all this), and seizures. Last year this family came to Family Retreat a little reticent, a little nervous and apprehensive about how they’d be received. Because Brooks seizures are nonstop and, at times, are pretty violent. In fact, they are life-threatening. You see, Brooke takes a medication to control the aggressive seizures, but these medications have a devastating side effect. The drug is damaging Brooke’s vision in both eyes, slowly destroying the retina and causing cataracts. Her parents, Brittany and Ryan, are facing a choice no parent wants to have to make. They either stop the medications that control these seizures or they continue the medications at the risk of causing total blindness for their little daughter. Doctors have tried 15 other seizure medications which have all failed. Emergency hospital visits are routine every week for this family, and the physical and emotional toll it’s taking on everyone is just overwhelming. Yes, Brooks’ older sisters are amazing helpers, but the pressure of having a sibling with a significant disability has really been a burden on these sweet girls – Juliette suffers from migraine headaches, and Audrey struggles with anxiety. Now here’s the thing: Brittany and Ryan and their daughters know nothing about our Heart for the Disabled program, and with a card or note from you, you can assure this young family that you are praying for them, especially for Brooke and her sisters. They just want to know they’re not alone; that God will see them through; that there is hope. And friend, you can offer that hope by sharing some uplifting scriptures, praying, or ask your children or grandkids to crayon a picture for Brooke. Maybe send a gift card to McDonald’s or tuck a favorite inspirational poem in the envelope. Be as creative as you’d like, but please, just let this little family know that you are cheering them on and interceding for them. Send your scriptures, card, note or letter to Ryan and Brittany, and their daughters, Juliette, Audrey and little Brooke with her disabilities. Send it in care of Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, CA 91376. If you miss any details, I’m posting this story on my radio page today at joniradio.org. Oh, and would you please extend hope to this weary family? We need you to send your note in right away to ensure it arrives in their mailbox in time for Valentine’s Day. Again, pray for this family and write your card today and send it to Joni and Friends, where we love serving families like Brittany and Ryan’s in the name of Jesus. Thank you for having a heart of the disabled.
January 7, 2019
Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada with a remarkable story about choices. We make them every day, don’t we, and often the choices we make completely alter the way we live. Take my friend, Dana, who has cerebral palsy. Dana often posts comments on my blog, and I’m always blessed to hear what she has to say. But what she posted the other day, well, it was pretty powerful. She was responding to something I had written about Isaiah 35, that glorious day when the lame shall leap like deer; paralyzed people will walk. Well, this is what she posted in response. She wrote: "Thank you, Joni for your thoughts on Isaiah 35 and the fact that one day we will walk again! But I want you to know, with my cerebral palsy I chose to use a wheelchair; I chose to do that 27 years ago. People look at me in my wheelchair and think I've been in an accident, but when they learn I was born with cerebral palsy and yet chose the wheelchair, instead of walking, they ask WHY (because in their eyes, I'm giving up). I calmly explain that the pain, physical pain, and energy required for me to walk is just too much, and I'd rather have a life, than spend all my efforts painfully walking. My parents accepted it (after a short adjustment period), even after spending a lot when I was younger on helping me to learn how to walk. I simply chose to use the wheelchair instead of walking (walking takes great difficulty for me). I have come across people that say I did something to offend God, otherwise I'd be walking, and not in a wheelchair. But no, I chose the wheelchair. If God wanted me non-disabled, He would cure me. Maybe I need to be here in this wheelchair, helping other disabled people and trying to glorify God while I do it. Anyway, that’s my take from this old wheelchair of mine!” I love that perspective, because Dana has hit on something pretty important in this blog post. And I understand her point. Yes, to walk is a wonderful thing—I haven’t done it in decades, but I recall very well the joy of running and climbing stairs and hopping and skipping and jumping. But there are more important things in life than standing up and walking. For Dana, the enormous effort, energy and physical pain involved in standing up and just getting her feet to move, even in a stiff, awkward and uncomfortable gait well, she would rather economize her time and effort and head into life sitting down. But Dana and I do agree: One day when Jesus returns, both of us will be more than happy to give up our wheelchairs. We will be more than happy to not have to choose anything other than to stand up on grateful, glorified legs and “leap like deer” just as Isaiah chapter 35 describes and with all that leaping and celebrating, we will be worshipping our wonderful Savior and thanking Him for the amazing grace He gave in not only rescuing Dana and me and you from our sins, but the wonderful grace of Jesus that sustained us and bolstered our spirits all those many years in our wheelchairs. And Dana and I can’t wait. So what’s a little ‘sitting down’ going to do to us? Push us into depression because we can’t walk or run while here on earth? No way! Every day we will wake up in the morning leaning hard on Jesus Christ for that wonderful grace of His. Grace that enables us to choose to smile, whether it’s Dana choosing a wheelchair rather than a stiff, painful gait or me choosing to yield and submit to God, even though I don’t have the option of standing up like Dana. And friend, if you are struggling today, let the vision of Isaiah 35 bolster your spirits, too. And get ready to one day leap like a deer.
January 4, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a hymn that comforts me so much… Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land; A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way, From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day. I love singing this hymn because it reminds me that the safest, most secure, most peaceful, wonderful place you could ever rest your soul, is at the foot of the cross. A place where you let go of yourself and your fears and desires and anxieties, and you cling to the feet of Jesus, your only help and hope. When you are resting beneath the shadow of the cross, you are not only quick to confess sin, and ready to acknowledge weakness; you are confident that the devil can’t reach you (he hates anything to do with the cross of Christ), and because of that, you can be confident that you have the protection and provision of God. I thought about this the other day when I read this true account written by E. M. Bounds. He says, “I’m a huntsman and I rose early one morning and heard the barking of a number of dogs chasing deer. Looking at a large open field I saw a young fawn coming toward me, making its way across the field, its race almost run. It leaped over the rails of our enclosed place and crouched within ten feet of where I stood. A moment later, two of the hounds came over the rails and the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. It was a fierce battle, but just then I felt that all the dogs in the West could not and would not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength. So it is when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God.” I hope you see yourself in this story, because I sure do. Like you, I’m just like that fawn. I’m running, I am racing to Jesus— “oh, please help me. The world, the flesh and the devil are after me and I so what you to lift me into your arms and protect me.” What am I doing when I say that? In my weakness, I am appealing to God’s strength. And you better know, that God’s on it in an instant. When I am in the arms of Christ, when I am safe in the shadow of His cross, all the hounds of the adversary cannot touch me, reach me or capture me… all Satan’s minions and lesser demons cannot even draw near when I cower at the cross – because in my weakness I have appealed to God’s strength. Join me today, would you, at the foot of the cross, for it’s at that humbling place; the place where he is everything and I am nothing —that we find all the protection, all the safety, all the peace, all the rest and all provision you will ever need for your soul.
January 3, 2019
Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to Joni and Friends. It’ll be Epiphany Sunday this weekend and it always makes me think of the Reformed Episcopal Church I grew up in. There they preached the gospel, read the liturgy, sang hymns from the heart and they kneeled in prayer. Worship was a serious thing, and I learned as a child what it meant to bend my knees before the Lord. Now, I’m not making a big thing of kneeling in prayer, it’s just that I sure wish I could do it. Being paralyzed in a wheelchair, it’s impossible to literally bend my knees and bow in prayer. But I remember not long ago, I was at a banquet at a big conference and I was sitting, along with everyone else in this huge banquet room. At the close of the message, the speaker asked everyone to do something unusual. He asked us to push our chairs away from our tables and, if we feel comfortable in doing so, get out of your chair and kneel on the carpeted floor in prayer. Well, I sat there in my wheelchair and I watched as everyone else in the room – there had to be maybe 500 or 600 people—all of them got out of their chairs and they got down on their knees for a brief time of worship. With everyone kneeling in the banquet room, I sat there kind of standing out. I looked around and I was sticking up, way up, the only one sitting there in this huge room. And looking around, I could not stop the tears. Oh, and I was not crying out of pity. I mean I wasn’t crying because I felt strange or different that I was the only one sitting. No, my eyes were wet because it was so beautiful to see everyone kneeling in prayer. And it made me think of the day when I, too, will be able to get up out of this wheelchair on new resurrected legs. I can’t wait for that day because when I get my glorified body, the first thing I’m going to do with my resurrected legs is to fall down on grateful, glorified knees. I will once again have the chance to say with Psalm 95:6, “Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” You know, I realize that in heaven I’ll have the chance then to jump and dance and walk and run. It will be my privilege, a new body that can move will be a blessing for a job well done on earth, but I think that kneeling very still on bended knees, glorified knees. I think when I get to heaven that’ll be my sacrifice of praise. To not move, when I will be able to move, will be my one last chance to show the Lord how thankful I really am. Today would you flip to Psalm 95:6 read it aloud and then do what it says? Kneel before the Lord God your Maker and be grateful, would you, for your knees that bend. I hope you’ve been inspired and refreshed by our time together today. I just want you to know that I treasure these few minutes we have together. And I’d like to hear from you, I’d like to hear your story. Write me today, would you, at PO Box 3333 Agoura Hills, CA 91376. Or you can always visit Joni’s Corner at joniandfriends.org.
January 2, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and hurray, it’s Tuesday! The week has just begun and with it the start of the New Year! Oh, my goodness! Does that sound like the beginning of an adventure, or what? For me it’s kind of like, roll up your sleeves, rub your hands together, and let’s get going into this New Year. Now what I like about 2019 is that, so far, (we’re just one day into it, okay) it is unscathed, untouched, and it’s to be explored. It kind of reminds me of that passage in Isaiah 43 that says, “I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a path right through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses to lie beneath the waves. But forget that [God says], it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do, for I am going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun. I will make a road through the wilderness of the world for my people to go home.” Is that a great verse, or what? I sure do like the idea of God’s people going home. Do you think it could happen, even in 2019? Well, whatever happens, it’s going to be a brand new thing. God promises. It is a great attitude to have as we start off the New Year. I mean, think of it: was last year, 2018, a year of special memories for you? Was this past year one that lifted you to new spiritual heights? Do you look back on a couple of warm sweet moments and wonder if you will ever experience that kind of joy again this year? Well, although each of these 2018 memories may be special, please remember, God wants to do a new thing with you. Because the Lord always wants to take us to new heights. I have an idea that His plans for you for this year may even outshine the past. He’s preparing surprises; He’s getting ready to fill your days with good reasons to give Him praise. Friend, this is why you can begin 2019 with an “Isaiah 43” attitude. Don’t expect the Lord to do the same thing in exactly the same way He did this past year. Don’t ask God for something He’s already done. God never does encores, so expect something fresh. Look for something new. This year could really take you by surprise. So if you don’t, mind on this first day of the year, let’s join our hearts together and spend a moment praying, so together, let’s pray, “Lord Jesus, we stretch our faith right now and together we want to believe You for something far greater than what happened last year. We want to believe you for more souls saved within our network of friends and family, because we trust that You are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to Your power that is at work within us. Thank you for that promise of Isaiah 43, which tells us to forget the former things, the old things, and not to dwell on this past year. We want to look forward to the new things you are going to do; to the new ways you are going to express yourself. To the new insights you will give us in your Word; to new depths of prayer; to new relationships and friendships. We pray for peace in our troubled world, especially for peace in the Middle East. We pray for those who need to know Jesus… we pray for those who are sick or injured… we lift up our families and we pray for our country. Oh, my goodness, yes we do, oh Lord, we trust in you. It’s a big year but we hold onto Your hand, Lord God because you are a big God, so we pray: lead the way!”
January 1, 2019
Joni shares how Becky learned that if God calls her to something, he will help her through it.
September 16, 2011
Joni invites Ken to share from his prayer journal.
September 15, 2011
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“If God can heal me, why won’t He?” How do we navigate that agonizing distance between such a magnificent yes and such a heartbreaking no? Here, Joni takes you with her on an intimate journey through foundational questions about healing, suffering, pain, and hope.

About Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope is a broadcast ministry of Joni and Friends committed to bringing the Gospel and practical help to people impacted by disability around the world. Joni and Friends has been advancing disability ministry for over 40 years. Their mission to glorify God, communicate the Gospel and mobilize the global church to evangelize, disciple and serve people living with disability answers the call found in Luke 14 to “bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame… so that my house will be full.”

About Joni Eareckson Tada

Paralyzed as the result of a diving accident at age 17, Joni Eareckson Tada envisions a world where every person with a disability finds hope, dignity, and their place in the body of Christ. As the Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, she is known worldwide as an author, speaker, disability rights advocate and radio personality. Her 10,000 radio programs are broadcast across the country and around the world, inspiring listeners to realize that there is hope in every hardship.
Joni Eareckson Tada is an esteemed Christian stateswoman and respected global leader in disability advocacy. Although a 1967 diving accident left her a quadriplegic, she emerged from rehabilitation with a determination to help others with similar disabilities. Mrs. Tada serves as CEO of Joni and Friends, a Christian organization which provides programs and services for thousands of special-needs families around the world. President Reagan appointed Mrs. Tada to the National Council on Disability, then reappointed by President George H.W. Bush. During her tenure, the ADA was passed and signed into law. Mrs. Tada served as advisor to Condoleezza Rice on the Disability Advisory Committee to the U.S. State Department. She served as Senior Associate for Disability Concerns for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. The Colson Center on Christian Worldview awarded Joni Tada its prestigious William Wilberforce Award, and she was also inducted into
Indiana Wesleyan University’s Society of World Changers. 
Joni Eareckson Tada has been awarded several honorary degrees, including Doctor of Humanities from Gordon College and Doctor of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary. She is an effective communicator, sharing her inspirational message in books, through artwork, radio, and other media. Joni Tada served as General Editor of the Beyond Suffering Bible, a special edition published by Tyndale for people affected by disability. Joni and her husband Ken were married in 1982 and reside in Calabasas, California.

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