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  • 标题:Joni: Weak Advice - Brief Article - Column
  • 作者:Joni Eareckson Tada
  • 期刊名称:Accent on Living
  • 印刷版ISSN:0001-4508
  • 出版年度:2000
  • 卷号:Spring 2000
  • 出版社:Cheever Publishing, Inc.

Joni: Weak Advice - Brief Article - Column

Joni Eareckson Tada

Honesty is always the best policy, but especially when you're among a crowd of ladies in a restroom during break at a Christian womens' conference. One well-dressed woman, putting on lipstick, said, "Oh, Joni, you always look so together, so happy in your wheelchair. I wish I had your joy!" Several around her nodded. "How do you do it?" she asked as she capped her lipstick.

I glanced at the girls around me, all of them sharply dressed and studded with jewels -- this conference was drawing from the richer suburbs. I knew the break would soon be over. How could I answer her question honestly in sixty seconds? How could I sum up in a sound bite what has taken three decades of quadriplegia to learn?

"I don't do it," I said. That raised eyebrows "In fact, may I tell you honestly how I woke up this morning?" Several women leaned against the counter to listen.

"This is an average day," I breathed deeply. "After Ken leaves for work at 6:00 a.m., I'm alone until I hear the front door open at 7:00 a.m. it's a friend coming to get me up. While I hear her make coffee, I usually pray, Oh Lord, my friend is about to give me a bath, get me dressed, sit me up in my chair, brush my hair and teeth, and send me out the door. I don't have strength to face this routine one more time. I have no resources. I don't have a smile to take into the day, but you do, May I borrow yours? I urgently need you, God. I require you desperately."'

The women relaxed into my transparency. From their expressions, I could tell that, underneath the makeup and jewelry, they were carrying burdens too. They were weary. Some of their hearts were probably bruised and numb. What's more, they were curious to know more -- one of them asked, So, what happens when your friend comes through the bedroom door?"

"I turn my head on the pillow and...give her a smile sent straight from heaven, It's not mine, it's God 's. Whatever joy you see today --" I said as I gestured to my paralyzed legs - "was hard won this morning."

The restroom was silent. "And ladies, it's the only way to live. It's the Christian way to live." The break was over and it was time to move on. Most of the women would go home that evening to broken garbage disposals, indifferent husbands, swollen ankles and sore feet. Others would flop into bed with depression weighing on them like a low-grade fever. But all of them would stand at their bathroom sinks, wash their faces. and look hard in the mirror. What will they see and what will they think? Will the pressures of the day seem overwhelming? God willing, they will remember to go desperately and urgently to the Lord for grace. I have learned -- as I hope these women learn -- that the weaker we are, the harder we must lean on God, and the harder we lean on Him, the stronger we discover Him to be.

When we are weak, He is strong. It's something I've learned in this chair -- and my wheelchair, like so many others' chairs, is an audio-visual aid to remind my fellow travelers who are also weak, to "boast in their affliction," as well.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Cheever Publishing, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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