Joni Eareckson was born in 1949 Baltimore, America. Her parents were both
devoted Christians. But she herself received Christ as her personal Savior in a
Christian youth camp when she was 15.
Joni inherited from her father a spirit of sports and adventure. Under her
father's guidance, she learned to play tennis, swim, dive, horseride, and other
sports that need great skills and courage.
Then when she was 17 years old, she had an accident when diving. She broke her
neck, which made her body below the shoulders paralyzed. Even with the loving
care of her parents, her sisters and friends, and brothers and sisters from her
church, Joni still suffered greatly and would have committed suicide if she
could have used her hands. For she, a girl with so much energy and spirit, so
proud and independent, now had to live the rest of her life on a
wheelchair, and depend on others for even the simplest needs. She couldn't
accept this destiny. She asked God why He allowed such thing to happen on her,
what great sins she had committed.
Joni was on the verge of losing her faith, when God sent Steve, a high school
boy to help her. Although he was younger than Joni, Steve had strong faith and
an eagerness to help others. Together he and Joni studied the Bible, to know
God's will. Gradually Joni understood, not all sufferings were caused by sins,
but under whatever circumstances, one could choose either to believe that God is
able to make all things work together for good to them that love Him, or to
reject God and sink into the abyss of misery and despair. Joni chose to believe.
Peace took the place of restlessness and pain in her heart. Then there came to
the rehabilitation center a teacher, teaching Joni and other inmates to hold pen
in their mouth and write. From the lines she scribbled on the paper, the
teacher, as well as her friends, discovered Joni's artistic talent. With their
encouragement and help, Joni learned to draw with her mouth. At first she used
pen and pencil, later changed to colors. After great effort and patience, at
last one after another beautiful pictures came out of her mouth. Whether it was
little kittens playing balls of wool, or galloping horses, or soaring eagles, or
springs in the depth of the woods, all look lively and full of deep meanings.
Her father hung some of drawings on the walls of his office for adornment. Then
one day, an old friend dropped in. When he saw those drawings, he couldn't stop
praising them and asked which master was the author. Moreover he offered to buy
some. It had been a mere hobby and a way to pass time, now it became a means of
living. This greatly encouraged Joni.
Joni's works are fresh and heart-warming, full of life and love, singing a
beautiful praise to God. They are made into postcards and greeting cards,
cherished by young and old. Thus Joni became a well-known artist. Joni said she
had not received any professionally training. Her paintings were not based on
realistic sketchings, but the inspiration first came to her heart, then a
picture formed in her mind, and she put it on paper with brushes.
Besides painting, Joni also wrote many books, in which she tried to encourage
and help those who had bodily or mental barriers overcome and live a happy and
useful life. She also hosted several radio programs, and travelled around to
make lectures, in order to reach more people.