The God I Love: A Lifetime of Walking With Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada
Wow!! I really was intrigued by this book. I knew about Joni's (pronounced "Johnny") diving accident that landed her in a wheelchair and also that she painted. And I guess I knew she was married but I'm not sure I knew much more. This book definitely gives you more! :)
The book begins (probably her earliest memories) when she's about five and her family's on vacation. They are a family of non-stop adventure and Joni loves it. She faces the typical childhood issues of school, friends, and older siblings (in her case - only sisters). But also the non-typical of falling off horses, finding out the family secrets, and finding her place in her family but also living up to her "inherited" father's name.
Some of her stories and examples had me laughing out loud. I really felt like I was a part of her world (and time period!). (I've enjoyed other biographies where I felt like I was learning more about them BUT not actually there, with "The God I Love" I felt like I was there.)
One issue that stuck out to me was how her friends were still a part of her life after the accident. I'm sure their relationship changed but her friends were able to come to her "rescue", comfort, and make her life somewhat lighthearted again. That speaks to the depth and value she had, even in high school. (I haven't kept in touch with any high school friends, we went in separate directions after graduation with many going to different colleges around the U.S.) I know part of that is the grace of God in her life. You will be pointed toward God with each struggle and challenge Joni faces.
I can't imagine having my life played out on screen in a movie, but Joni not only went through that - she also starred in it. She also started Joni and Friends to reach out to others and across the globe who have disabilities and those who need equipment (like wheelchairs).
My only critique of the book would be that she jumps ahead in time (especially in the 3rd part) and it's hard to know "when" it is and what is going on. Warning - the book references (briefly) some "physical" struggles including losing her purity through bad choices she made in high school. However, I would highly recommend this book to older teens and adults!
Part of my Fall Into Reading 2007 list. Previous reviews - The Camel Club, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?, Bleachers, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, and When Sinners Say "I Do".