Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Inner Views of Joni Eareckson Tada

"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister."
Hebrews 6:10
(KJV)

I am so thrilled to bring today's interview to you, dear friends!

The first time I can remember hearing of this dear lady was when I was a young girl attending a Christian school in Ohio.
I remember watching a film about her life and how deeply I was affected.
I never forgot it, and through the years,
I have followed her story with the utmost respect and admiration.
I feel sure you have, too.

You have more than likely read about her or read her autobiography,
you have possibly seen the movie about her life,
and you have probably listened to her radio program or seen her television show.
Her courageous life for God, in spite of the most debilitating circumstances,
 has touched the hearts of untold millions,
and I am beyond humbled and blessed to be able to share her Inner Views with you today.


The

of
Joni Eareckson Tada.

Cheryl:  What was your childhood like? Were you raised in a Christian home? When did you become a Christian?

Joni:  I grew up in a home where we talked frequently about God. Whether hiking behind him on a mountain path or sitting at his feet by a beach campfire, it was my father with his large soul and zeal for life who, from the start, influenced my love for Jesus. He was a rough-rider sort of outdoorsman who lived a Teddy Roosevelt kind of life. Having been born in 1900, he spent the early part of this century traveling through the west, exploring the southwest and trading with Indians. I remember as a little girl opening up a trunk filled with an Indian princess “wedding gown” made of doeskin and colorful beads, arrowheads and feathers, fringed jackets and beaded belts. One of the belts was presented to Daddy from “Chief Own-Different-Horses.” Around the campfire we girls (his daughters) would sit, hugging our knees, awestruck at Daddy’s stories of hunting bear and going after elk with bow and arrow. My mother and father were great singers and early on we learned many beautiful old hymns which not only laid the foundation for our faith, but remain favorites to this day. A hero is one who can inspire another to a higher level of living, a level of courage and nobility – and my folks, especially my father, did that.

I did not realize my personal need for a Savior, however, until I was 15 years old.

Cheryl:  How has surrendering your heart to Him impacted your attitude toward your disability?

Joni:  The Bible talks about “delighting in your infirmity and glorying in your weakness,” and a disability gives a Christian the opportunity to do just that. Every day I am confronted with my weakness; but that’s good! The Bible tells me that His power shows up best in weakness. So my wheelchair is what pushes me into the arms of my Savior every morning, reminding me of my dependency on the Lord. It’s as II Corinthians 1:9 says, “These things happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God.”

Cheryl:  Who are your heroes of the faith?

Joni:  Amy Carmichael served as a missionary to India for many years. Although she came from a well-to-do English family, she set aside the comforts of her homeland and pioneered an outreach to destitute, poor children in India. A severe disability forced her to minister from her bed for many years, yet during that time she wrote a number of inspirational books on the subject of suffering. Corrie ten Boom helped hide Jewish families in her Dutch home during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. For this, she and her family were sent to a concentration camp where Corrie and her sister continued to minister to the prisoners. After she was released from the prison at the age of 50, she began a worldwide ministry.

Chuck Colson prophetically spoke to the church at large, encouraging and admonishing Christians to live out the command of Christ to love those who are poor, imprisoned, orphaned and disabled. His message served as “salt” to our culture, giving our society a moral bearing of absolutes. Elisabeth Elliot was, in my thinking, another prophet to our church and culture, speaking boldly about holiness and obedience to the Lord Jesus. Having lost three husbands through injury or illness, Elisabeth was qualified to speak and write on the subject of suffering. David Brainard was a colonial American missionary whose work was characterized by his life of prayer. Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, raised 19 children yet found time to pray an hour a day! Andrew Murray and E.M. Bounds not only wrote abundantly about prayer, but spent hours a day in praise and intercession. Bishop J.C. Ryle who wrote "A Call to Prayer and Holiness" was an English preacher in the last century whose ministry was characterized by an exemplary obedience to the Lord Jesus.

Cheryl:  Will you kindly share with us about what happened on July 19, 1967?

Joni:  I was an active, athletic teenager who didn’t know anyone in a wheelchair – all that changed, however, when I took the dive into shallow water which broke my neck and left me a quadriplegic. When the permanency of my paralysis began to sink in, I collapsed into depression. It was through the loving support of Christian friends that I began to feel the cloud lift – finally I was able to pray, “God, if I can’t die, then please show me how to live.” And now, even after 48 years in a wheelchair, I still experience that desperate dependency on God every day – I wake up every morning needing Him urgently! But I’ve discovered it’s a great way to live; it’s the biblical, the Christian way!


Cheryl:  How did you meet your husband, Ken?  What is your secret to a love that has lasted so many years?

Joni:  I met my husband at our church. We dated for about a year-and-a-half – I appreciated his open and honest communication and his questions about my disability. I also appreciated the fact that he loved Jesus Christ and was committed to living his life by the principles of God’s Word. We’ve been married almost 34 years. I think this relationship has worked because of the command in Philippians 2:4 which says, “Each of you should look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Ken and I enjoy a wonderful habit – we pray often together. Whether driving to a Lakers’ game at the Staples Center, going to work together, asking God to lead, bless, guide and protect. I pray a lot for my husband and I hope I am his best cheerleader and listener. I have to be quick to tell him when I am wrong... when I have not told the truth... when I have forgotten to do something he’s asked. All these things communicate that I want to put him first. I remember when we first married; I was disappointed that everything took a back seat to his Monday Night Football. I decided to use that time – about 2 ½ or 3 hours – to pray for him in the bedroom. God really answered! I am now a football fan. By the way, he’s way ahead of me when it comes to memorizing Scripture (one of the things I prayed was that Ken would become a man of God’s word!)

Always let your husband keep his dreams. Find ways to cheer him on, applaud his efforts, pray and read the Bible together, express appreciation, recognize his kindnesses, and affirm every aspect of Christ you can see in his life. A spouse is meant to be his/her best supporter!


Cheryl:  Daily suffering and intense pain is such a part of your cross, and yet, your attitude and outlook remain so positive and faith-filled. How do you stay encouraged, in spite of the continual pain in your body? How do you maintain a Christ-like mindset in the midst of such affliction?

Joni:  Honestly, after more than 48 years in a wheelchair, there are days when I wake up and think, “Lord, I can’t go on…I don’t have the strength.” But I can’t let my emotions go down that dark and grim path. And neither can you. And so, we pray, “Jesus, I don’t have strength; but you do. I have no resources, but you do. I can’t do this, but you can.” The weaker I am, the harder I have to lean on the Lord; and the harder I lean on Him, the stronger I discover Him to be. God always seems bigger to those who need Him most.

Cheryl:  On top of everything else you have been through, in June 2010, you were diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. What was your reaction when first being told you had cancer? How did you cope during the process of treatment and surgery? What would you say to the person reading this who is now facing cancer or some other debilitating disease?

Joni:  I have a confession. You see, a little over 10, maybe 15 years ago, I fell into a season of chronic pain. I know you’ve probably heard me speak about that on the radio. Well, after trying medication (that didn’t work) and homeopathic remedies and other things, the pain did not abate. After several years of it, I started to battle depression. It was so discouraging to wake up in pain every morning. I remember back in 2006 when our Joni and Friends headquarters was being constructed, you know, our International Disability Center, I was bedridden for a lot of the year (I even had to record these radio programs from my bed). And during that time, I was constantly battling depression like a low grade fever. But listen to this: in 2010, when I was told by doctors that I had stage III cancer, that very day I learned the news, my depression vanished!

Why did my depression disappear? Well, this is the confession part: privately, I thought that cancer might be my ticket to heaven; I thought God might take me home through cancer; that it would be my escape from depression. I feel badly admitting that, but it’s the truth. My depression brought out the very selfish feeling of, “Oh, God, I want out of here! I want to be done with this! Please take me home!” Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to go home to be with Jesus, the Bible even tells us that to die is gain. But when a desire to go to heaven becomes a death wish, well then your focus is wrong.

But something wonderful happened after the doctors told me I had stage III cancer. As I went through my surgery, and recuperation, and then months of chemotherapy, my attitude began to change. I don’t know how to explain it, but suddenly friends became so much more precious. My husband, Ken, became more precious. My work at Joni and Friends became more precious and even doing this radio program – even from my bed – became more precious. All of it made Jesus and His amazing grace so much more precious! And before 2010 had ended, guess what: I was able to mentally tear up that ticket to heaven. I wanted to get on with life; I wanted to live! And I have the Lord Jesus to thank for that. Also, in a strange, odd way, I have cancer to thank for that. Drawing close to death’s door made me want to hold onto life. I think I experienced what Ezekiel chapter 16, verse 6 says: “Then I the Lord, passed by and I said to you, ‘Live!’” All God needs to do is speak one word to you and me, the word live, and it becomes reality; His word makes all the difference in the world. So if you are battling depression, don’t let it turn your focus inward, don’t be wishing for an early ticket to heaven. Instead, listen to God, listen to life – your life – it’s precious!

Cheryl:  Your faith has been tested on so many levels. How do you keep from becoming bitter?

Joni:  Many people think that when you’ve got quadriplegia, and you’re in a wheelchair, then you have to deal with a bone fracture, and then on top of that, the flu… it’s like, “Hello, God, aren’t you asking a bit much here? Aren’t you being a bit heavy handed?” Some Christians think that when problems pile on that high, especially on top of someone already dealing with more hardships than most normally handle… they assume that when God loads on one too many hardships, that allows you to be bitter with good reason. You’re justified in thinking you deserve a little time off from obeying the Lord. You can’t be blamed if you fly off the handle or get a little worldly for a while, or just kick back and push Bible study and prayer aside. After all, you’re going through so much, so many trials… “You’ll show God he doesn’t have to be trusted if things get too tough.”

Yes, there have been times in years past when I have struggled against bitterness. Bitterness is basically resentment against God (and it could be for anything). It’s anger that you coddle way down deep in your heart and it is like a root -- it can sink smaller fibers of discontent and doubt even deeper that anchor themselves into your heart. And when doubt and discontent become imbedded, when your disposition becomes sour and you make a habit of not starting your day off with the Lord, well, that bitterness is very difficult to then uproot. This is why the Bible emphatically says in Hebrews 12, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." That’s right. Bitterness not only brings you trouble, it infects everyone around you.

I readily admit that, in the beginning, I felt that my spinal cord injury gave me an excuse (a really good excuse) to be angry at God; I felt I was justified in my anger against Him and His plan. But a good friend warned against cultivating that root of bitterness -- and I'm so glad I confessed my anger. And now, years later, I am actually glad for His plan!

Cheryl:  We have been so deeply moved by your recording of the song, Alone, Yet Not Alone. Could you please tell us about the song and how you came to record it?

Joni:  Well, the movie called “Alone Yet Not Alone” for which I recorded this song is about a German immigrant family who settled in western Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War. Two of the daughters are kidnapped in a raid and are raised by Indians. The song – something they learned from their mother – is what sustains them through their long trial. Anyway, that’s the story about the movie.

Let me tell you the story about the song. It all got started a few years ago when I sang several hymns as part of my message at the closing banquet of the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. Several friends in the audience were connected with the production of the movie and after they heard me sing, they asked if I would be willing to perform the theme song. So, as a favor to these friends – and because I knew hymns were a significant part of the storyline – I said, yes. So last fall I recorded it in a small studio and thought that my role was, pretty much, completed.

Well, you can imagine how surprised I was when the Academy nominated it for an Oscar. Look, I'm no Amy Grant or Taylor Swift; I don’t make a career of singing professionally. So I thought it was an amazing illustration of how God delights in picking the ill-equipped, untrained, unskilled, and nonprofessional to get a job done so that He receives the glory! The Oscar nomination stood for two weeks, and then it was rescinded. Why it was rescinded is not entirely clear, at least not to me, but I wasn’t too disappointed. It never was my Oscar to win or lose. Which, by the way, when I did watch the Oscars on TV some weeks later, I smiled when the theme song of the Disney movie “Frozen” received the Oscar. Why did I smile? Because the title of the song was “Let it Go.” I smiled because that’s exactly what I did with “Alone Yet Not Alone” and its almost-Oscar bid. I let it go. And I was all the happier for it, as I leaned on Hebrews chapter 13, verse 5, God says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” What a promise!

I’m alone yet not alone.

Cheryl:  What cause are you most passionate about and what heritage do you want to leave for the people after you?

Joni: There are more than 1 billion people with disabilities, 80% who live in developing nations struggling against hopelessness. It breaks my heart to think that the suffering these people face may only be a precursor of even greater suffering in a Christ-less eternity. So I want to squeeze every ounce of ministry-effort out of my quadriplegic body to do all I can to reach them with practical help and God’s hope. Every day that God gives is a day to be used to his glory, fulfilling his purpose – as long as we are alive, we have purpose. And my purpose is to help others understand the truth of II Corinthians 12:9, that God’s power is best displayed to our weakness. So as long as I have strength and stamina, I want to share that message – there is just too much suffering and hopelessness in this world to quietly remain on the sidelines.
Whenever I think I’ve had enough suffering, the Holy Spirit always brings to mind First Peter 2:21, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” None of us will ever suffer as much as our Savior had to endure. Often I think of him and the way he ministered from his cross – there he was, encouraging the thief crucified next to him; counseling John on how to take care of his mother; forgiving the very people who caused his misery. He did all this from his ‘deathbed,’ as it were. And I have to think, am I above my master? I don’t think so. So I trust that he gives me the cross that he wants me to daily pick up when I follow him – it’s a cross that’s not one ounce too heavy, or one inch too long.

It is a crazy, broken world filled with hopelessness and despair. I hope that people will look at my life and say, “Here is a woman who trusted God despite great suffering. Her life exemplified the truth that God’s power shows up best in weakness. She showed us how not to complain, but to exploit suffering for her good and God’s glory. I would like to do the same!”

Oh, how I have been challenged by Joni's life, her outlook, and her words!
I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to share them with you here,
and I trust they will bless you as much as they have blessed me.

A huge THANK YOU, Joni, for your willingness to share with us!
I suppose only eternity will reveal just how much we love you and how much you have impacted all of our lives.
I would also like to thank Crystal for all of her patience, kindness, and assistance in making my dreams of conducting an interview with Joni a reality.

I am eternally grateful to you both, and trust God's richest blessings will continually rest upon you and all you do.

Dear friends, I hope you will take the time to watch this touching, amazing video
of Joni singing "Alone, Yet Not Alone".
Included are scenes from the movie Joni spoke about.
You can purchase the movie here.


If video doesn't load, click here.

Below is a special interview with Joni and Ken that I know will bless you.


If video doesn't load, click here.

Joni and her husband, Ken Tada, wrote a book together called,
"Joni and Ken:  An Untold Love Story."
Here is the introductory video for the book.


If video doesn't load, click here.

67 comments:

  1. What a wonderful example she is. Thank you for such an interesting post.

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    1. Oh, she truly is! Such a loving, inspiring, precious woman of God. Thank you for your sweet comments and for visiting. God bless you!

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  2. Love Joni! Thanks so much for sharing this!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Lydia. God bless you!

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  3. Hi Cheryl! You have done it again. Found an AMAZING person and allowed us to meet her, and be blessed by her. What a story...I can't imagine the mountain she climbs every single darn day, and yet is a witness of persistence and perseverance to all. I was so interested in every question, and in the humble way Joni answered.
    Thank you!
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you so much, Ceil! I apologize that it took me so long to respond to your sweet comment...I don't know how I missed it! I so appreciate your kind support and encouragement. God bless you, sweet friend!

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  4. Dear Mrs. Smith,

    I am so glad you got to fulfill your dream of interviewing Joni. I really enjoyed reading this interview. All I knew about her was that she jumped into a shallow lake and is paralyzed for the rest of her life, and that she can draw really really good with pencils in her mouth. Thank you for sharing this with us. What a godly woman she is. I didn't know she was a Christian, either. What a sweet thought to think that she will be able to walk and run, without pain, in Heaven one day. :)
    Did you get to meet her, or did you interview her on the phone?

    Sending much love,
    Ashley
    creatingpreciousmoments.blogspot.com

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    1. Ps. I forgot to add that I have heard of the movie "Alone Yet Not Alone", but haven't watched it. Have you seen the movie? That's neat she wrote the song "Alone Yet Not Alone" and sang it for the movie. :)

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    2. YES, isn't that wonderful to know that in Heaven, dear Joni will be able to walk again and run to the feet of Jesus! What a precious, dear lady, and one who inspires us all to be more like Him. I apologize for taking so long to reply...I am not sure what happened, but I missed some comments somehow. :( I have not had the wonderful privilege of meeting Joni, but, I hope to one day...if not here on earth, in Heaven above! God bless you abundantly, dear Ashley. I so appreciate your support and friendship. :)

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  5. Cheryl, When I saw that you had interviewed Joni, my first thought was incredible joy for you that you were blessed with such an incredible opportunity.

    After reading the interview, I rejoiced at how blessed I was to have these additional insights into Joni's life that I hadn't already known!

    And finally, I cannot tell how much I loved the song Alone Yet Not Alone performed by Joni. Stunningly beautiful. It meant so much to me as it is the perfect song to accompany my life verse, Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

    Cheryl I so appreciate the time and effort you put into these inner views so that we who read would be greatly blessed and edified.

    Blessings sweet friend!

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    1. Dear Karen! Thank you ever so much for your kind words! OH, I just love that song, too! It has been a wonderful blessing to my family and me. I love your life verse, too! Dear Joni has been such an inspiration to me throughout life. I am so thankful for her and her life for God. So grateful you stopped to read and for your precious comments. Sending you much love, sweet friend. :)

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  6. I loved reading this! Joni is one of my Christian heros!

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    1. That is wonderful, Hannah! She is one of my favorite heroes, too. :) So grateful for her and also for your kind visit!

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  7. Thank you, Cheryl, for this wonderful interview. Joni's life is truly a testimony of God tender love and all-sufficient grace. I'm visiting you from Jennifer's.

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    1. I am so happy you visited, Trudy! Thank you for your kind words, and may God richly bless you!

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  8. Wow! Thank you so much for interviewing Joni! What a blessing to catch up with her (I, too, remember learning about her from the movie).

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    1. And, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such sweet encouragement for us! God bless you abundantly!

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  9. Wow! I have always loved Joni's life testimony. Her continuing story of Gods love and grace is amazing. I am happy you got to interview her. Your Inner Views are amazing!

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    1. Thank you, Chris. It is such a blessing to have you stop by! I am praying for you and your family during this difficult time. God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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  10. Wow! Great Inner View. I have always loved Joni's life testimony. I am happy that you were able to interview her. Your Inner Views are amazing! Love ya!

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  11. Oh my, Cheryl! I have long loved Joni Eareckson Tada and even met her at the Christian radio station where I volunteered for thirteen years. She touched us deeply during her visit, and the culmination was our gathering together and singing -- in harmony. It was like heaven on earth, and there were truly no dry eyes that I could see. One of our volunteers has a profoundly disabled son, and he made Joni a special gift that she loved. She got to speak with him and kid with him...and he smiled! What a joy! So this was a beautiful interview with a godly and beautiful woman, and her dear husband Ken is a precious and wonderful man. I've long listened to Joni's program, and thank you for being able to do this interview with her. It was very well done, and I praise God for this opportunity. I so identify with suffering, having had some physical issues this past couple of years. But it's so true that God uses it and draws us ever closer to Himself through it all...and uses it so others can see Jesus in us. Thank you for your wonderful posts, dear friend! Sending hugs!

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    1. Oh, Cheryl! What an amazing experience you had to meet Joni! I know it must have been such a dear blessing to you to meet such a woman of God! I am so sorry you are suffering, dear friend. I trust Jesus to heal you and give you the strength you need for each day and challenge. Sending you much love and many blessings! Thank you ever so much for your visit.

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  12. great interview Cheryl:) how can you go wrong when the person you are interviewing is joni:) so much food for thought !

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    1. Very true, Martha! Thank you so much for stopping and for your encouraging words! God bless you. :)

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  13. An absolutely incredible interview... I was so blessed by Joni's testimony, and the beautiful song she wrote too. I have not heard of the movie Alone but not Alone... now I would like to see it. Thank you for sharing this wonderfully encouraging testimony of faith from this dear and precious lady who has been through so much, and yet.. the grace of the Lord continues to help her through each trial she faces. I appreciate you dear Cheryl, for bringing these special people to visit here on your blog so we can meet them more personally, the Lord is certainly doing a great work through the Inner Views you are are sharing! You and your family are in our prayers especially now as you face your own struggle of grief and suffering. Much love, many hugs and prayers!!!!!

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    1. And, I appreciate you, dear friend, and thank you for your consistent love, friendship, and encouragement. You are a blessing to me! Thank you ever so much for your kind words. Sending much love and prayers and hugs back to you!

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  14. Ahhh Cheryl, Joni truly is a woman of God. Great interview
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Thank you, dear Tracy! It is always such a blessing to see that you have stopped by. God bless you, my friend!

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  15. really enjoyed this my friend

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    1. I am so thankful you enjoyed it, and I am praying for you, sweet friend. Trusting Jesus to lay His healing hand upon you tonight. Sending you much love!

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  16. I was not familiar with Joni's story. What an incredible testimony of the blessings that come when we fully surrender to the Lord and live in total dependency on Him day by day. Grateful to be your neighbor at #CoffeeForYourHeart today.

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    1. I am so thankful you now know dear Joni and her incredible story! She is a shining light to us all. God bless you for stopping by and leaving such sweet comments. I so appreciate your visit!

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  17. Cheryl, I have actually never heard of Joni before this article, but my oh my!!! What an amazing testimony of God's grace in her life!! I love her positive attitude and her heart to share the Kingdom with others. Thank you so much for sharing this today at Word filled Wednesdays.

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    1. Oh, I dearly love Joni's positive attitude, too...she is just precious indeed. Thank you for stopping, for reading, and for leaving such encouragement here. So grateful to you for your visit! God bless you!

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  18. Such an inspirational story and a reminder that God can be trusted even if we are facing the most difficult trials. Visiting from #coffeeforyourheart

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    1. Amen, and amen! Sometimes it is so hard to trust, but God is always faithful...we can see that by tracing His hand and track record. I am so grateful to you for stopping today! God bless you abundantly!

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  19. This is very inspirational Cheryl, thanks for sharing with us.

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    1. Thank you for stopping and for reading, dear friend. I trust all is well with you. Sending much love to you from the USA!

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  20. You're amazing, Cheryl. How do you manage to do all these interviews? Do you meet these people in person? Or are the interviews done online?

    God bless.

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    1. Thank you, Victor! God bless you for being so kind. God has opened so many incredible doors for my family and me over the course of the past few years. It is ALL God. All God. He is the amazing One. I wish I could meet them all in person...God has blessed me to meet some of them, for which I am eternally grateful! The interviews...some I have interviewed by phone, and some have been via email correspondence. Lord willing, I am feeling led to compile them into a book, if it is His will. Thank you for your encouragement and support and prayers for us!

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  21. Wow... what a great and inspiring interview. I appreciate the brutal honesty. It's the only way to find the heart and will of our Father.

    I often consider why our Father allows some of His chosen to have to suffer more than others. I think He just made them stronger, built for the task so to speak.

    God bless Joni, her ministry, and yours too, Cheryl.

    Praying for both of you and yours.

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    1. Thank you ever so much, Brother! I so appreciate Joni's honesty, too...I believe that is one of the ways God uses her the most is through her willingness to reveal her humanity to us. She is such an incredible witness to us all! Thank you ever so much for your visit and kind words...they mean so much!

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  22. Wonderful interview and insights. Thanks so much for posting her interview. I've always admired her so much.

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    1. Oh, I am so thankful you enjoyed it. She is a precious hero of the faith and such a blessing to us all. :) Thank you for your sweet visit and kind words! God bless you, Ellen!

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  23. What an incredible woman of God, and what a privilege for you to interview her! And what a blessing for us to read the very special *inner view* here! I have often wondered about her life, about how she's been able to withstand the temptation to become bitter and depressed. I thought her answers to those specific questions you asked really shined a light on how God is bigger than anything!

    Truly, we are sometimes alone, or feel alone...but we are NEVER truly alone!

    GOD BLESS!

    (Happy Mother's Day, dear friend. Give your boy a hug from me, too!)

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    1. OH, thank you ever so much, dear friend! Happy Mothers Day to you, too!! And thank you for leaving such a wonderful comment here...dear Joni surely IS an incredible woman of God. I just love her even more after learning her inner views and the answers to these questions. God bless you, sweet Sharon, and reward you for your unfailing support and encouragement and friendship.

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  24. Amazing! Joni has been one of my heroes for decades!

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    1. Me, too, Michele...such a dear inspiration and influence upon so many of our lives. God bless you for stopping by!

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  25. Wow! That is truly amazing that you obtained this interview with Joni! What a blessing to read this. I have been greatly encouraged today! Thank you so much for sharing this with us all!
    ~Haley

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    1. So thankful you have been encouraged, Haley! Thank you for stopping by and reading. :) God bless you and your family.

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  26. Thank you Cheryl! She is powerful in her faith and reliance on God Almighty. What a gift to each one of us!

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    1. She surely is a precious gift to God's church and people today. Such a priceless encourager and woman of God! Thank you so much for stopping, reading, and commenting, Susan. God bless you richly!

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  27. Love Joni!! Thanks for sharing these videos. Her book, When God Weeps is one of my favorites. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Brandi, for stopping by and sharing your comments. God bless you abundantly!

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  28. Thank you Cheryl for sharing your innerview with Joni, with us here at Tell me a Story. She is an inspiration to many and this interview offered other views into her life that we did not know before.

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    1. She surely is a great inspiration...she has encouraged me so many times. Her presence is such a treasure. God bless you, Hazel!

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  29. Thank you, Cheryl, for this interview with Joni. She encourages me so much and I've read her books and listened to her beautiful voice. She's a delight and a bright light for Jesus.

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet Mary, for stopping and leaving precious encouragement for us. I am so thankful for your presence here. God bless you!

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  30. This was so encouraging to read! Thank you (both Joni and Cheryl)!

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    1. Thank you, JES, for reading, visiting, and commenting. God bless you, my friend!

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  31. Dear Cheryl, this interview was such a great encouragement to me. Thank you for being faithful in God's calling on your life, dear friend.

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    1. Oh, it was SO nice to see you had stopped by, sweet friend. :) I am so very grateful that you enjoyed Joni's interview. She is such a dear inspiration to us all. Sending you much love and many blessings!

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  32. Good morning! This is just a little note to let you know this article has been * featured * today for our monthly feature on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! Thank you for joining us and have a lovely week! :)

    P.S. We hope to see you at this week's link up!

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    1. Thank you so much, JES! God bless you, my friend. :)

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  33. This is beautiful, thank you! I think so often now we are terrified of suffering, and go great lengths to avoid it. But what an amazing testimony of the beauty that can rise from suffering!

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    1. Thank you so very much for your visit and kind comment! God bless you!

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