- (Photo: The Christian Post/Anna Charles)
Joni Eareckson Tada, president of Joni and Friends and a prominent disabilities advocate, expressed a sense of awe and humility at being named to the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
The well-known artist and author noted that despite her ministry she feels weak in her faith at times but relies on her best friend Jesus to help her overcome all her trials.
"I wondered why is it that they chose me for such an award and all I could think of is that it's been 30 years since I started in radio with the Joni and Friends," she told The Christian Post.
Though the Joni and Friends ministry has reached millions through its radio and television programs, retreats and Wheels for the World mobility project, Tada shared that she sometimes struggles in her faith.
"Some people tend to believe that I'm a strong believer, a strong Christian but that's not true," she said. "I'm not a strong believer. I'm very weak."
Tada, who lives as a quadriplegic after suffering a diving accident at age 17, said she struggles daily with her dependency on others.
"When I wake up in the morning, I'm thinking, 'Oh my goodness 45 years of paralysis.' I just don't know if I can face another day of having someone come into my bedroom and give me a bed bath or do my toiletry routines, get me dressed, sit me up in a wheel chair, push me to the bathroom, brush my teeth, feed me breakfast – oh the routine seems so overwhelming and sometimes I just feel like turning my head on the pillow and closing my eyes on the day," she revealed.
That constant state dependency, she said, often challenges her faith. However, Tada is often encouraged by her relationship with Jesus Christ.
"If I have any secret to being content, it's that I recognize that my weakness is an asset because it drives me into the arms of Jesus," she shared.
It's no surprise then that Tada credits Jesus, whom she calls her "best friend," for being honored with NRB's award.
"I'd like to think it's because I love Jesus. He's my best friend, He's the reason I get up in the morning, He's the reason I get energized for the day," she said of the decision to induct her into the NRB Hall of Fame.
NRB President and CEO Frank Wright explained Tada's induction in a statement.
"I know of no better testimony of how Christ's strength is made perfect through weakness than the life of Joni Eareckson Tada," he said. "Joni has stared suffering in the face and seen the face of Christ. It is our honor and privilege to induct her into NRB's Hall of Fame."
Joni said she is "tickled" to receive the NRB designation.
"It is a prestigious award. We're talking about people like Chuck Colson (of Prison Fellowship Ministries) and Billy Graham," she said. "To be included in their ranks is quite an honor."
Tada and other awardees will be named and recognized during Tuesday's Awards Reception and Dinner. Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship church, will be the speaker for the evening.
SEE VIDEO OF TADA GETTING INTERVIEWED