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[Joy Hard Won, Citation: Joni Eareckson Tada, "Joy Hard Won," Decision (March 2000), p.12, used by permission]

In Decision, Joni Eareckson Tada writes:

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

"I don’t do it," I said. "In fact, may I tell you honestly how I woke up this morning?"

"This is an average day," I breathed deeply. "After my husband, Ken, leaves for work at 6:00 A.M., I’m alone until I hear the front door open at 7:00 A.M. That’s when a friend arrives to get me up.

"While I listen to her make coffee, I pray, ’Oh, Lord, my friend will soon 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 the 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 have yours? God, I need you desperately.’"

"So, what happens when your friend comes through the bedroom door?" one of them asked.

"I turn my head toward her and give her a smile sent straight from heaven. It’s not mine. It’s God’s. And so," I said, gesturing to my paralyzed legs, "whatever joy you see today was hard won this morning."

I have learned that the weaker we are, the more we need to lean on God; and the more we lean on God, the stronger we discover him to be.

[Joy Hard Won, Citation: Joni Eareckson Tada, "Joy Hard Won," Decision (March 2000), p.12, used by permission]

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