Joan Reid

Joan Reid
Paralympic Rowing

I was raised by Christian parents and we went to church often. I gave my heart to Jesus as a small child and always stuck to that faith, making several recommitments along the way of life. At the age of 24, I was working as a cook at a Bible camp and went up to a creek to do my Bible devotions. I remember praying that I was ready to give God all of my life, whatever that meant, even if it meant enduring tragedy. Two weeks later, I was in a car accident that broke my back and left me a paraplegic.

I remembered that prayer to God, and the whole time I was recovering it was never a super difficult transition for me. I knew that it was God’s plan at the time. I started taking up some athletics as part of my rehabilitation and began doing adaptive skiing, then rowing.

My faith has been the main reason I’ve been involved in sport and gone on to more elite levels. It’s always been a form of ministry and something God was always in control of. I knew if God took me out it was part of His plan for me. I didn’t understand why (I had the accident) and now I realize this is a ministry for me. I’m not sure what that means at times, but I’m striving for what He wants me to strive for and it’s in His hands.

Getting to London (for the 2012 Olympics) has been a lot harder than getting to previous events, and there have been times I was asking God, “Why does this have to be so hard?” But as soon as I put my trust in Him, He gives me that peace that I need. It amazes me how I can see how much He loves me in the way He answers prayers. He blesses more than I can even imagine, and over the last year, He has really shown me how much He wants to bless me. Whether I win or not or even make it there is still in His hands.

If faith is your life and God is your guiding factor, you can’t separate faith and sports. If God was not in charge of my life, I wouldn’t be where I am. There’s no way I could have done this on my own steam. The things I’ve been able to do were miraculous. He’s brought me to this point and that’s by trusting Him and letting Him do the work through me.

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Photo courtesy Detlev Seyb/