Dancing Shoes

  • Feb. 24, 2014
  • #8301

A gift of red “dancing shoes” encourages Joni to remember the complete healing she will ultimately receive in heaven.

Dancing Shoes

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and soon we’ll begin Family Retreats

And I have to tell you, one of the highlights of our Family Retreats is always Family Celebration Night, on our last evening together at camp. It always ends with a kicky, upbeat song of praise that gets us folks in our wheelchairs out on the floor, wheelin' and swingin' to the music. Last summer, I tried to stay composed and refined on the sidelines watching everyone, but once the music got started, I just had to get out there in my wheelchair – and for me it was the next best thing to doing a jig! Some of the moms and dads couldn’t believe that Mrs. Tada, CEO of Joni and Friends, was out there cutting the rug, but, hey, I was having so much fun!

Where does the joy come from? Well, the inspiration for disabled kids and their parents and me always find its foundation in the happy-hearted hope of Isaiah 35:3-6 where it says:

”Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way, be strong and do not fear; your God will come, then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like deer and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy." (Isaiah 35:3-6)

I tell you, if you were in a wheelchair, wouldn't hope like that make you want to kick up your heels? But I remember right after our celebration night was over, the mother of a disabled child presented me with a very special gift: it was a pair of red, high-topped tennis shoes! The mom explained, "Joni, all the parents chipped in and got this gift for you. We've all signed our names to the shoes and these are going to be your dancing shoes for when you get to heaven!"

I could not believe it! At that moment, I just burst out laughing. You should see these tennis shows - big red, high top Converse tennis shoes. But that night, as I lay in bed, I kept blinking back tears of gratitude because I kept thinking, "Lord Jesus she's right, one day I will dance and leap like a deer." Friend that promise is for you, too, with all the challenges and trials you may be facing today. Strengthen your feeble hands and steady your shaky knees. Soon our God is going to come and together we will leap for joy. Can you hold on? Sure, you can!

Now here’s the thing. With so many more Family Retreats on the horizon -- over 25 retreats, in fact -- we really do need more volunteers. Some of these retreats already have waiting lists for the families (can you believe it?!)... Moms and dads have signed up, but the parents and the children are waiting to hear word from us that they can pack their bags and actually come. Why, because we don't have enough short-term missionaries (that's what we call our volunteers). It just breaks my heart to make these families wait, so I would love it if you would visit our Joni and Friends website and go to the Family Retreat page to find out more about the retreats scheduled in your region of the country. If you could come and serve as a short-term missionary and volunteer those five days with us, it would mean the world. Really it would. And while you’re visiting our website, go to my radio page because you just have to watch this incredibly heart-warming story about a special needs family and their first time at retreat. It’s all there for you, at joniandfriends.org.

And while you’re on my radio page, you’ve just got to see these red tennis shoes, my dancing shoes I'll be wearing in heaven. I posted the photo up on my radio page at joniandfriends.org, so take a minute to enjoy it, ‘Like’ it and Instagram it to your friends (I told Ken I wanted to be buried in those shoes, but he insists no. We’ll have to see who wins out in the end.). Finally, strengthen your weak knees: our God is coming. And until he arrives, let’s be found serving those who need him most.

© Joni and Friends


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