Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Lionheart - David Francisco and Joni Eareckson Tada

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(relaxing music)

- What's up, it's David Francisco,

here at Joni and Friends,

and this place is incredible.

We're gonna take a look around and then later,

might just get to talk to Joni herself.

(relaxing music)

Well hi Joni, it is a pleasure

and an honor to be with you today.

- I can't believe you're interviewing me.

I love this, this is so fun, the table's turned.

- I know, I know, it's incredible.

Let's just start with your name

and just like a quick who you are.

- Joni, I was the last of four girls

in a family of a father who wanted a boy,

and so after four girls,

I got his name and bore it proudly,

was quite the athlete after my dad.

In fact, so much so

that I did some pretty stupid, reckless things,

like taking an inward pike dive

off of a raft into shallow water.

Where was my head, I don't know,

but I found out real fast

that it was the wrong thing to do

when my head hit the bottom

and it snapped my neck back

and severed by spinal cord.

David, I cannot believe that was almost 52 years ago,

back in the '60s.

I was just a kid, I was 17, I was a teenager.

Now, so many decades later,

I'm still not used to being a quadriplegic.

I'm really not, it's like,

it's like every what, every few weeks,

every month or so,

there's something new to contend with,

some little loss that I've gotta let go of,

something that I've gotta die to,

something that I've gotta leave behind

and say, God, hep me go forward.

So here I am,

I made it. - How do you.

That's incredible, I mean, the,

because that's the hardest part about it,

isn't it, the letting go,

'cause we have these expectations

of what our life is gonna be like.

- Yep, yep, but you know,

I've got the heart of a lion.

- She knows it.

- I know it, I've been listening

to ya. - Don't spoil it.

That's awesome. - I've been

listening to you, and you know what,

you write some of the most beautiful, most powerful words

that really resonate with people who hurt.

I mean, I don't know how many people watching us right now

are hurting desperately

and feeling the weight of problems

that they just don't know how to sort through,

but I do it every day it seems,

and music like yours,

it just touches the soul,

and thank you very much for what you've meant to me.

I know in my own disability

and own coming to grips with all those little losses

in our lives which are tough.

But you know what, when God brings about things

that we need to let go of,

there's always something better, isn't there?

There's always a new, I don't know,

a new piece of music, a new hope,

a new dream, a new vision,

a new thing to do, a new mission to accomplish.

That's what I'm about.

- And he gives us, I mean,

first of all, your story has inspired me,

and I looked for that

when I was in the darkest parts of my own recovery,

I was looking for anything I could find

to give me hope, to give me encouragement.

First it was, you know, the community around me,

and then it was stories I found online,

and wow, these people,

they have even worse circumstances, quote unquote than me,

and they're living a full life, why can't I?

That's become my purpose.

I don't have the worst situation by any means,

but just being an example of like,

going through something hard

and coming out the other end

I think is kind of our witness, right.

- It is, and it's never ending.

There's always, like I said,

little losses that you have to,

little things you have to die to,

and I think the stories that speak

mostly to my heart

are stories where people like you

just get honest and real,

whether you share it through an interview,

whether you share it mostly in your music mainly,

you just, you sense a tangible reality of,

you just sense this person

is still struggling, still has to make it,

still has to get up in the morning,

still has to take a deep breath and say,

I don't have the strength to go through this day,

God help you, I will do it

through Christ who strengthens me.

Those are the stories that speak to me mostly.

How about that.

- Incredible, so when you're in that place,

I loved what you said about,

you kind of can choose to give up

and you can choose to fight

and to not be a victim is how I put it.

I have another song you gotta hear

called Not a Victim,

and it's about not seeing yourself as a victim.

Do you see yourself as a victim?

- No, no, and neither was Jesus

when he was the cross.

He wasn't a victim,

he was victor, he was a victor.

For victims it's all about, you know,

their pity party is loud enough and big enough

to make everybody else around them

feel depressed as well,

and if I have to suffer,

well, my goodness, you're gonna suffer with me,

and I'll make sure you do,

because I'll tell you about my latest surgery

and bla bla.

Uh, I. - Yeah,

it's just such a downward spiral.

- It's a downward spiral,

and I collapse when I'm around people like that,

and I just,

I just don't want

to go back down that dark rimmed path to depression,

and I know that kind of downward spiral

that I just mentioned

is the path to depression and despair,

and there's nothing fun about it,

there's nothing hopeful or happy about it,

so I'd rather choose the hard way, the difficult way

when your emotions are pulling ya in one direction you say,

no, no, I'm gonna bring every thought to obedience

to Jesus Christ

and I'm gonna say I'm gonna believe in his Word.

Honestly David, when I feel that downward spiral,

when I feel my emotions

pulling me back down that grim, dark path,

I start rehearsing every promise

out of the Bible I possibly can.

God is my ever present help in trouble,

he who has begun a good work in me

will continue to perform it,

he will not forsake me or leave me,

his grace is sufficient,

all of this is gonna fit together

in some pattern for good.

I mean, I'm just rehearsing all those promises

and saying -em out loud,

not just thinking 'em in my head,

but, I mean, I, two days ago,

it was a pretty rough day around our house

and my husband was a little overwhelmed

by all these new routines

'cause I just got out of the hospital with pneumonia

and problems with my heart and lungs now,

and breathing is more difficult,

and it's a lot of new medical equipment

we've gotta get used to,

and so Ken was getting a little down,

and so, I don't know, I just turned on

all the lights in the house here, it was daytime,

turned on all the lights,

put on some Christian music

and just started saying out loud,

my God will not forsake me, Jesus is victor,

I mean, just really, around the house,

just speaking truth into the air,

and I don't know, it just was a way

of chasing away so much, so many harassing spirits

and harassing doubtful thoughts,

and it was very renewing.

I live on his promises, I really do.

- Yeah, his power is made perfect in weakness,

and I feel like I've experienced that tangibly,

I feel like.

- You have.

- You know, part of Joseph's story, even,

of being sold into slavery,

but for the purposes of God,

and I think that's what he does with us.

He takes us from, he takes what the world says is broken

and uses it, specifically it,

not even the good stuff,

but uses the broken things.

- Yeah, when people look at you, David,

I look at you and I see your smile

and I see this light in your eyes,

I see your perseverance,

I see the way the way you walk,

and I see you with Kristi and your beautiful wife,

and just moving forward into the hardness of life

but yet making it happen,

and I think you're doing this

for the saving of many lives.

People are watching you, I watch you and I look at you,

and you know, we just feed

off of each other's perseverance,

endurance, lionheartedness.

- [David] That's right.

- You know, we just do,

and you do it well,

so you represent Joseph really good.

- Thank you so much. - He'd be proud.

- Oh my gosh, this interview is about you, by the way.

- Oh no it's not.

- But thank you, though. - I know, but.

Well, you know, it's,

I think this is what the Body of Christ does,

when we are weak, you're strong,

when you're, you know, when you are weak, I am strong,

and we can benefit each other and help each other.

- That's like the biggest benefit of the community of Christ

is having people to encourage you in the suffering

'cause we all go through it.

- Yeah, and you know what, we're one in Christ, intimately.

Somehow, we are intricately, mystically linked together,

and your victories become mine,

my victories become, are yours.

We, when we do good in the kingdom,

it strengthens the rest of us in this mystical,

strange way that we can't explain.

It's all a mystery but it happens

because we are one in Christ.

Let's start acting like it, you know,

be real with each other, be transparent,

be vulnerable, share our prayer needs.

Please help me, you know, I need your help,

I need your prayers, I need.

Could I confess some sins

that have just, are really dragging me down,

but that kind of a,

that kind of transparency and honesty really helps

when we're hurting.

I think God pushes us to places

where we're forced to be vulnerable.

Either that or we become so ghettoized

and so claustrophobic

and so hindered by our own selfishness

that we just can't breathe,

and so God forces us in those places

where we say, please, I need your help.

I'm having to find some new help

to assist me on weekends,

it's just a lot of stuff

that I need to do with my new disability,

this heart and lung issue I've got,

and so I made some calls the other day, cold calls,

just cold calls.

Oh, I hear that you do personal care attendance.

Is there any chance that you have some free time

on Saturday afternoon?

No, I'm sorry, click.

Okay, next call.

I've heard that you are, have been a caregiver

for a friend of mine,

but now you're looking for work.

Is there a possibility you could help me on the week?

No, I'm sorry, I'm really busy, click.

It's like.

- [David] Wow.

- Okay, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada,

I should be able to get some help here.

You know what, I'm just any person with a disability,

and I need help, and you need help, we all need help.

So the humility of having to ask is just that,

it can be humbling,

but boy it identifies you with the Lord Jesus,

who was the man of humility

you know, who made himself nothing, of no reputation

and certainly, my disability,

I know for you as well,

you're not Joni Eareckson Tada,

you're a quadriplegic who's got a lot of issues

and needs some help.

But that's kind of beautiful,

that's kind of a very real, good thing

to be in that position

of always desperately needing Jesus, and others.

- It definitely forces,

and there's still things

that I will forever be changed by.

I mean, one of my songs is like,

what if this was a dream,

would I be the same

if I was just back to normal after living this,

and kind of, if I was fully functioning?

For you, if you were fully functioning,

do you think you would go back

to who you were before?

Let's say that this was maybe a year or two

after the neck injury.

- I can't say, David.

I know that before my accident,

mind you, I was 17 years old,

I was not living a life that honored God,

yet on Sunday morning, I was singing hymns,

and you know, telling people about Jesus

and making covenants, making promises, making renewals,

and making confessions, but then,

you know, by the middle of the week and by Friday night,

I'm back to my old self.

Sometimes I think that when God allowed my broken neck,

he was doing that Hebrews chapter 12 verse thing,

a good father disciplines his child.

- Wow.

- You know, not to punish,

but to reprove and correct.

Joni, you're gonna hang yourself,

so I'm gonna allow something to come into your life

that's gonna be devastating,

and you'll hate it at first,

but ultimately, it'll be my rescue.

I really think that this is his severe mercy.

It's a terrible tragedy

but it's a tragedy that he's used

to draw me closer to him

than I would have ever been

were I on my feet,

and I know I'd rather be in this wheelchair

knowing him like this

than on my feet without him,

or being a hypocrite, like I was.

So I bless and I treasure the broken neck,

and even these new issues I'm dealing with now

because they, they're a way of challenging

selfishness in our lives and self-centeredness,

and forcing you to realize your dependency

on the Lord Jesus, and that's a good thing,

discipline from the Lord.

I'm not saying that every time people suffer,

it's God's discipline.

There could be all kinds of reasons for suffering,

you know, enriching one's faith,

brightening one's hope of heaven,

or drawing one near to their loved ones.

I mean, there's all kinds of different reasons,

who knows God's reasons.

But for me, for me I think a lot of it had to do

with reproving, correcting, and disciplining,

like a good father would a wayward child.

I'm glad he did, I'm so glad he did.

- That's incredible.

So you know, recently you've even faced

new challenges with cancer,

and you know, it's like,

you could easily say,

well, haven't you done enough already, God?

Why am I suffering again?

- [Joni] Right.

- How do you deal with that?

- Well, you know, there's so many scriptures

that, where it says God will do you no harm.

I mean, the most famous one is what,

Jeremiah 29:11, you know.

- Plans to prosper you and.

- Right, and to help you, not to harm you,

God will do you no harm.

Well, a lot of harm comes to our bodies,

a lot of disease and sickness and illness,

quadriplegia, cancer, all of it's harm to the body.

But the promise in Jeremiah 29:11

and other places in the Bible,

what, Psalm 84, no good thing

will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Well, I should think walking's a good thing,

so why are you withholding that one?

You know, God may allow harm to come to our bodies,

but never, ever to our souls, never.

God's interested in our soul.

He's more interested, I think,

in our spiritual wellbeing

than sometimes even our physical wellbeing.

So when God says, I will do you no harm,

he means, through this awful tragedy,

I'm gonna strengthen your soul.

I'm gonna make you a brave person.

I'm gonna make you a soldier for Christ.

I'm gonna turn you into someone

who loves to persevere, who knows how to endure,

whose faith and trust in me is ironclad,

whose hopes of heaven are so bright and beautiful

that nothing will diminish it.

I'm gonna make you into a person

that showcases what my grace can do in one's life.

That's what God has in mind.

Often, he'll allow harm to the body to come to you

so that this good and this glory in your soul

will be accomplished.

That's the good that God said,

that's the good that's he's talking about,

when he says in Jeremiah 29,

I'm not gonna harm you, I'll just, I'll help you.

I'm gonna help your soul

be everything that it can and should be.

I'm gonna make you a brave person, a lionhearted person,

a person who showcases how good I am.

I like that. - Yeah, incredible.

This, actually I got - Look at that.

- after the crash, so this is from the windshield

of the car when I got T-boned,

and then I woke up from the surgery,

and one of the first things I thought was,

I think I'm gonna get a tattoo of a lion

on my left forearm, like right this,

exact thing. - Right there.

- So, but I didn't understand why.

I was like, why on earth would I get that?

I don't have any tattoos, it doesn't make any sense.

So I sat on it for a couple months,

and it stayed in my mind,

and I was like, why do I get this lion?

What I found was that this is my reminder

of the accident and the crash,

and then this is my reminder

of how I'm supposed to respond.

- Wow.

- So that's what lionheart means to me is,

is right here on my arm, actually.

- That's God's mark of ownership on you,

that scar isn't it.

- Isn't that crazy? - And interesting

that the lion is right next to it, right next to the scar.

I love it.

- So, finding purpose after your tragedy.

- Absolutely.

- First of all, there's been book, movie,

multiple books probably at this point,

and so much that you've done since,

and the painting is incredible.

I mean, people already probably know about this stuff,

but maybe talk a little bit about Joni and Friends

and how that's come about and given you purpose.

- Yeah, that's what I'm most excited about

of all that stuff you mentioned,

I think the ministry of Joni and Friends,

'cause God has taught me so much

and I've gained so much hope and help from others

that I wanna pass it on

to other special needs families

and people with disabilities around the country

and around the world,

and if we've been blessed, oh my goodness,

none of us better keep it to ourselves,

we better pass on the blessing,

and that's what this ministry

of Joni and Friends is all about, passing on

the very blessings you and I have been talking about

so that other people can find hope in Christ,

other people with disabilities,

other people suffering tragedy and loss

and injury and illness.

We've got some great resources at this ministry.

We've got great programs and services,

and so I encourage anybody,

maybe you'll put a link to joniandfriends.org

on your page or something,

because it'd be fun for some of our friends watching

if they know someone with a disability

or if they've gone through sort of loss,

tragedy, illness, injury, medical problem, whatever.

Connect 'em with us

because we've got great family retreats,

we deliver Bibles around the world

and wheelchairs to children with disabilities,

anything and everything, oh my goodness,

to make life better for those

who are suffering affliction,

but also to let 'em know there's help,

and so much hope in Jesus.

That's what our ministry's all about.

- Yeah, yeah, you know, we actually sent 200 wheelchairs

early in my own injuries.

My parents - Yes, yes

I remember that.

- sent 200 to, I think, Guatemala.

- [Joni] Absolutely.

- With Joni and Friends.

- I love that, maybe that'll give

some friends watching an idea.

You know, if they wanna help a child with a disability,

they can do it directly

and personally - So incredible.

- through our ministry

by sponsoring a wheelchair overseas, so whatever.

- Did you ever think that you would touch

the entire world like this?

- No, and to be honest, David,

I don't think a lot about that.

I let the and friends part of Joni and Friends do it.

- Yeah, yeah.

- I watch what my teammates and co-laborers

and my fellow volunteers do

in the name of Jesus through this ministry.

I'm awestruck and I'm inspired

and I consider it a privilege

to have my name even connected

with the And Friends, Joni And Friends,

so I just sit back in amazement,

and thank the Lord Jesus that so many people

have caught the vision

and have joined the movement,

and I invite our friends watching to do the same.

- Incredible, so I would love to play Lionheart for you

if you'd like to listen. - I would love it,

because I, your music inspires me.

Anything you have to write and say and sing

to me is always an encouragement, so.

- All right, here we go.

Start it at the second verse.

I may seem weak to the world. ♪

- That's right.

I may never be fast or as strong

As I wanna be

But I am a runner on the inside

That's me.

Oh, and no one can stop me now

I'm on fire, on fire

Somehow when everything's wrong

I know I'll be all right

Just when my faith is gone

Hope will arise

Somehow when I can't move on

I'll find the strength to survive

♪ 'Cause I have a lionheart

You can do more than you know

Yeah, you can do anything

Anything is possible

You can do more than you know

Do you believe

Oh, you can do more than you know

Yeah, you can do anything

Anything is possible

You can more than you know

Do you believe

Yeah

- This last part's for you.

♪ 'Cause you have the heart of a lion

There is courage inside of your bones

Don't you believe

- Wow, thank you.

- I'm gonna lose it, too, oh man.

- Now I really need Kleenex.

The Description of Lionheart - David Francisco and Joni Eareckson Tada