We received an invitation several months ago from Joni Erickson Tada to visit her incredible International Disability Center and have lunch there with her and her ROCKSTAR husband, Ken (can you tell I have a deep affinity for men who take of their handicapped wives?)

Two weeks ago, we were finally able to journey up to the center (in Agoura Hills, CA) and make this phenomenal day in our lives actually happen. For those you who are unfamiliar with Joni, watch this new Youtube video that tells her story in a quick (just over 3 mins) clip.  It is inspring!

Wow.  She is incredible, isn't she???  She is equally as dynamic and fascinating and beautiful and inspiring and authentic and humble in person.  As Jay has previously posted about (here), we had a "chance" encounter with her at our beloved church back in the Fall. 

Only in retrospect do I see how providential that meeting was on so many levels.  Looking back on that season, I was in a fairly deep fog after I broke my leg.  As hard as I fought to get out of that deep sadness and frustration and terrible physical pain, I simply could not.  Those few minutes with Joni penetrated my desperate and depressed spirit.  "Katherine" God was saying, "see how Joni is sharing her message of hope, yet she shares it alongside her tears.  It is OK to have hope and to be in deep pain.  In fact, hope is the only thing that will overcome the hurt." 

I couldn't help but feel so blessed for all that I can do,  As I watched Joni's sweet helper feed her and as I saw her cry from the podium that day and see her unable to dry her own eyes up there, I was supernaturally encouraged to press on.  It WAS sad to not be able to put weight through the leg that I had spent over 4 years re-learning to put weight back into.  However, "God permits what he hates to accomplish what He loves" (- Joni E. Tada)  Wow and wow.

Joni's ministry is remarkable and I could never begin to paint an accurate picture, so I will simply encourage you to go to www.joniandfriends.org.  Spend some time marinating on what God has done through her story, through what seemed to be irredeemable tragedy.  Isn't it incredible?  I stand amazed.

We drove up a winding road and saw this strikingly gorgeous building that sits in the heart of these stunning mountains of the San Fernando valley.  The majestic nature of the building almost took my breath away.  Of course, of course.  It was the personification of redemption. I was instantly taken in my mind to Isaiah 61:3, "...bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair".  This proved to be the theme-song of our time together. 

Stay tuned for part 2 ....