Bonnie Leon Standing in Defiance of Chronic Illness #LadiesInDefiance

bonnie leonOne moment we’re gliding along, satisfied with the present and certain of our future. And then, wham! We’re in a ditch.

In 1990 I was gripped by a compulsion to write and had given myself over to the adventure. When a much needed typewriter (in perfect condition) was found in a dumpster, and I received an invitation to a writing seminar where I was told I was gifted and must keep writing, I got more serious about my “hobby.”

I happily glided along and then on June 11, 1991 was thrown into a ditch.

I was driving along a winding river with my daughter when a truck loaded with huge logs barreled around a curve. Its outside back tires lifted off the pavement—it was going to tip over!

I slammed my feet on the brake pedal, my mind searching for a way to survive. Steering toward the edge of the road I prayed the truck wouldn’t hit us head on or knock us off the embankment.

My daughter screamed, “Mama, help me!” Then we hit. Sounds of tires squealing, the rasp of metal against metal and breaking glass enveloped us. We hurtled toward the edge of the cliff, then abruptly stopped, as if we’d run head long into a wall. It took only seconds, but those seconds changed my life forever.

The van teetered on a cliff above the river, but my daughter and I were alive. We escaped through broken windows and then took a ride to the hospital by ambulance.

My daughter was unhurt, but I began a round of doctor visits, invasive procedures and therapy. There was no repair for the damage to my body, and I was left disabled and in chronic pain.

I couldn’t return to work and was unable to care for my family or my home. I became mired in hopelessness—afraid, depressed and angry. Guilt ranted at me. Where had my faith gone? What had become of my strength? Where was God?

One day, at the end of myself, I cried out to God and asked him to give me something to do with my life.the journey of eleven moons

Soon after, I received a flyer for a summer writing conference. I tossed it in the trash. I couldn’t go. I wasn’t physically able and I didn’t have the money.

Two weeks later a scholarship was offered. God provided a way. I needed to trust him. And so I accepted.

Frightened and certain I didn’t belong, I attended the conference where I received love and encouragement from other authors and was saturated in their instruction. I left ready to dive into my first book.

One year later, I returned to the conference, manuscript in hand. Terrified, I sat across from an acquisitions editor. She read and read, then looked at me and said, “I love it. Is it finished?” I nearly squealed. She asked me to send three chapters. I did. A request followed for the rest of the book. And then a telephone call came with an offer for a contract.

That book was The Journey of Eleven Moons, a CBA bestselling novel and the first of many yet to come. The journey has not been easy. I live with chronic pain and some days wonder how I’ll make it through. Then I remember I’m not alone—God stands with me. He is my strength, and each day belongs to him.

With God all things are possible. to dance with dolphins

Twenty-two-year-old Claire Murray has suffered from a mysterious disease for years. Her social circle has shrunk to a small support group for people with chronic illness and disability. But what if life could be about more than doctors, pain, and medications?

Claire and three others—old grouch Tom, hippy-holdout Willow, and moody Taylor—hatch plans for a cross-country trip to swim with the dolphins in Florida. Only a day into the trip, they unexpectedly need help. And who happens to be hitchhiking along the highway but a young, good-looking loner named Sean Sullivan? However, the last thing he wants is to be harnessed to a bunch of ailing travelers.

Though the journey proves difficult, following God’s plan might be even harder. Will they find the courage to follow their dreams and dare to live again?


Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty-one novels, including the recently released To Dance With Dolphins, the popular Alaskan Skies and bestselling The Journey of Eleven Moons. Bonnie’s books are being read internationally and she hears from readers in Australia, Europe, and even Africa. She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother. Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

You can find Bonnie at:



About Heather Frey Blanton

"I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is ... and God loves us anyway." -- Heather Blanton

Posted on March 21, 2016, in Guest Post and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Bonnie, what a beautiful, compelling story! Thank you for visiting!

  2. My pleasure, Heather. I hope to meet some new friends.

    Grace and peace tot you.

  3. I also live in Chronic pain daily and yes God gives me strength to get through each day. I cannot do some things I could before but friends and my husband help out. The Journey of Eleven Moons was the first book I read of yours and then I have read all the rest. God has given you a gift. May God’s grace and strength be with you daily. Love Chipper

    • Chipper, I pray you have a lot of the grand days that help make life special and bright. And thank the Lord for good friends and precious husbands.

      How awesome to know there are people in this world who read all of my books. I am blessed.

      Grace and peace to you.

  4. I too live in chronic pain. I had to stop working in 2002. I have struggled since then to find my purpose. But I trust God, and without Him, I would never be able to face this daily pain and fatigue. So happy to see you have found a way to work in your “new normal.”

    • Hi Lois.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your struggle. We know it’s bad when we have to quit our jobs. Hang onto the Lord’s hand and look into His face – you will see love and strength and courage.

      Blessings to you, dear one.

  5. Bonnie, thank you for sharing. My sister lives with chronic pain and has such a hard time in many other ways. Last year she lost her job of 23 years, because she no longer was able to do what was required of her due to the deterioration of her health. I am so happy for you that you are able to write. Blessings..

    • Kay, it’s just so hard to have our life thrown off course. But if the Lord is in charge we can keep moving and keep on living. I’m sorry to hear about your sister’s loss of her job. I hope she found something else that will fulfill her emotional and financial needs. Tell her not to give up. God knows everything and He loves her and has a plan for her life.

Leave a Reply to Chipper Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: