My Funny Nose

  • Jan. 18, 2012
  • #7753

Joni shares the moment she realized the wisdom of Philippians 4:12-13.

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to "Joni and Friends."

You know, the other day someone complimented me on taking a nice photo, and I really appreciated their words, but to this day, when someone points a camera at me and says, “Smile!”, I think of all the many times my family would say when I was a little girl, “Joni, you’re not smiling… you’re grimacing” (Okay, I'm smiling… can you see? Can you tell?). Every photo of me as a kid, I look funny. 

I think that’s because I was pretty self-conscious back then. When I was a kid I hated not only my grimaced smile, but I hated my nose. It was shaped like an L with a little ball at the end… like a ski jump. In fact, that’s what they used to say in elementary school: “Hey Joni, what are you… going to go skiing with that nose of yours?” Kids can be tough on kids and from my earliest days – days when I would stand in front of the mirror and try to push my nose flat – from those days on, I secretly hoped I could one day get my nose fixed. 

I never told anybody about it. I didn’t know much about nose jobs – I knew they were expensive – but throughout junior high school, I secretly hoped that one day, when I got a job, I could save up and have my nose changed -- that’s sort of the way you think in junior high, right?!

Well, all that stuff about changing the shape of my nose stopped abruptly after I broke my neck. Suddenly, having this ski jump thing was small potatoes compared to not being able to walk. After I became paralyzed I totally forgot about my nose. The big thing then was getting my hands and legs fixed.

Sometime though, about maybe five or six years after my diving accident it was, I was wheeling across an icy parking lot one winter night, my chair skidded, and I fell out onto the asphalt, face first. It was awful! I cut my forehead badly, got a concussion, plus, when they took me to the hospital emergency room, the x-rays showed… I had broken my nose! 

It just so happened that there was a surgeon on duty that night who, when he looked at the odd shape of my nose, asked my friend, “Is this ski slope thing here… is this what her nose is supposed to look like?” My friend nodded yes… but I had overheard their conversation. 

“Why are you asking about my nose?” I said. The doctor replied that before he set it, he wanted to make certain of its natural shape. In fact, he went on to tell me that since it was broken in two places, he could change its shape… if I wanted. “Would you like me to do that?” the doctor said. Suddenly, all of those wants and wishes when I was a little girl came flooding back. And now I was faced with the chance, the opportunity to actually do something about my nose. The question was, would I?

I didn’t have long to think. “Nope,” I told the doctor. “Nope, nope, nope. I want it just the way it is.” What accounted for my change of mind? I can’t know for sure; but maybe by that time a couple of years of paralysis had taught me the wisdom of Philippians 4:12-13 where it says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

…and I’d add, living with a ski jump nose. I’ve learned the secret: God’s grace really is sufficient… He’s got a plan and a purpose for the way I look and I am reminded of that every time a look into a mirror. He made me the way I am… and Jesus for me really is enough. He designed the way I look – and that makes me content, even if by a nose.

© Joni and Friends

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