This is a guest blog by my sweetheart Alicia. We both so admire Joni, and this book has been a big help to her!
I first read the book, Joni, shortly after I became paralyzed. I enjoyed the book then and found Joni Eareckson to be extremely inspirational. She wrote the book several years after she had been paralyzed so the book has a very fresh approach to the feelings and emotions that follow this kind of life changing experience. When I read the book the first time, I very much related to her physical responses, her frustrations, and her insecurities. I read with hope that one day I could learn all the things that she had learned.
After being paralyzed now for over 4 years myself, I just re-read the same book. It was so interesting for me to read the book with a whole new set of emotions now. I am into this paralysis journey myself and am at peace with it. The questions and thought processes that she had with God, how her paralysis affected her relationships with people, and how she realized that if being in a wheelchair would bring someone to Christ then it was her gift were subject matters that completely eluded me in my first reading because I had not had the time to experience these things.
Reading the book this time was refreshing and encouraging once again and after working with the Joni and Friends Ministry, I find her more inspirational than ever. I, for one, am thankful that the ministry that the Lord gave her so many years ago in the accident that broke her neck, did not break her spirit. God has used her limitations to reach and give hope to those like me. Her heart to use what has been allowed in her life to reach out to others instead of wallowing in self-pity is an example that I pray I can follow. May God use my chair to reach others like Joni has.
I finished her follow-up book, A Step Further, yesterday. I had never read it before. It was a deeper approach to the many questions and comments that you get after becoming paralyzed. Joni tackled each questions with the Word of God and was open and transparent as she shared her journey of answering these questions in her heart.
Does God still heal? Is Satan in charge of our health? If we don’t get healed, is it because our faith isn’t strong enough? Why would He heal some and not others? I have personally been asked many of these questions, I have been told where I was a spiritual failure because I am still paralyzed after 4 years, my friends and church have been accused of not having enough faith for me, and I have had people want to “heal” me several different times.
Reading this was refreshing to say the least. I loved her candid look at many Scriptures (not just a few plucked favorites) and how she compared Scripture to Scripture to give us God’s view of suffering and miracles.
I highly recommend reading her story in her first book, Joni. However, don’t stop there. Continue on in her sequel, A Step Forward. Together, you will get a clear understanding of the many emotions, thought processes, reasoning, and resolve that surrounds a devastating life change.
Confessions of a Disability Marriage