Artist on the Wheelchair

all things work together for good to them that love God

- Romans 8:28


Joni Eareckson

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.

Joni's website


Joni's paintings



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