They say that when a butterfly flaps its wings it can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world, and a single person can cause a tidal wave by tossing a tiny pebble into the water, I believe this to be true. I was given faith and strength at an early age in life and this would prove to be two gifts from God that have become indispensable. I remember quite clearly something that my mother once told me after I had gotten off of the phone with a friend’s irate father. She said, “Joni, God must be preparing you for something.” God must be preparing me for something. She was right.
I believe that my first run in with faith was when we lived in Anaheim, California. My father was attending seminary and working a few jobs on the side to support my mother, my younger sister, Angel, and myself. We were very poor and lived in a very rough neighborhood. I remember the housing complex being surrounded on several occasions by the police. One time, a lady burst through the front door, ran down the hall, and hid inside the back closet. It was not long after this that the police came through the house after her and drug her kicking and screaming from the premises. At other times, we would wake to find blood smeared over our car after the neighbor had beaten his wife the night before.
My mother and I had been looking through a catalog from a department store one day, I must have been around three or four at the time, but I remember seeing the most beautiful thing. In it, I saw a white canopy bed with gold trim that was draped in yellow bedding. I was in awe. “Mommy, can I have that bed?” I asked. My mother shook her head and said, “I’m sorry, honey, but we just don’t have the money to buy it right now.” To that I replied, “Can we pray to Jesus to give me that bed?” My mother agreed thinking that I would forget about the whole thing in a few days. She knew that we would never be able to afford to get that bed. So we bowed our heads, closed our eyes, and I prayed.
The following day, my father was chatting over the fence with a mechanic from the shop across the alley behind our house. The mechanic was going through a messy divorce at the time and was getting some comfort and advice from my father. He asked my father if I needed a bed. He said that he had just bought one for his daughter and that he didn’t want his ex to take it in the divorce. Besides, he wasn’t going to need it now anyway. My father said that he would take it. Low and behold, it was the exact bed that I had prayed for the day before. However, God didn’t stop there. Have you heard that faith as big as a mustard seed can move mountains? He gave me the entire matching bedroom set! I think that my mother and I both learned a lesson that day in faith that day.