Are you racing like I am?
(If not, tell me your secret, please.)
I invite you to stop everything! Apply the brakes for a moment.
A favorite poem of Elisabeth Elliot’s stopped me in my tracks last week. It’s like I could hear her speaking to me from the hallowed grandstands of GLORY. (In case you didn’t know, Elisabeth passed through her own Gates of Splendor on June 15, 2015.)
Decades ago she handed me a copy of the poem Do the Next Thing. It helped me understand how she remained so calm with her life’s busy demands as a writer and a speaker (along with being a mother, a grandmother to eight, a wife, a radio teacher). As the poem calmed dear Elisabeth, I pray it brings shalom to our frenzied pre-Christmas lives – yours and mine!
‘What to do NEXT?’ we all ask, as a dozen urgent and kind deeds vie for center stage. Elisabeth’s answer is Do the Next Thing.
Do The Next Thing
From an old English parsonage,
Down by the sea,
There came in the twilight,
A message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend,
Hath, as it seems to me,
Teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours
The quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration-
DO THE NEXT THING
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
Let down from Heaven,
Guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,
DO THE NEXT THING
Do it immediately;
Do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
Tracing His Hand,
Who placed it before thee with
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,
DO THE NEXT THING
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering)
Be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence,
The rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance
Be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,
DO THE NEXT THING
My Favorite Oswald Chambers Devotion, August 2 in My Utmost for His Highest.
I dedicate it to my Aunt Ruth, born on August 2, 1918, who loved Little Judy through thick and thin.
The Teaching of Adversity
My eyes follow the busy chatter of hungry finches and sparrows breakfasting at their suspended bird feeder outside our condo in Mountain View, CA.
I love bird watching. I savor their sweet bliss… until I discover a feathery black bundle plopped on the ground in the bird seed below. A legless blackbird – unable to stand, a crawler amidst the agility of the others around him.
“Poor crippled bird,” my sad heart whispers. Suddenly his plight is mine, as I remember my childhood years. Legless Judy – a crawler, low to the ground, envious of the agility of others.
His very presence interrupts my sad remembrance as I hear him shout, “We’re survivors!” Slow-to-believe am I until suddenly his strong wings lift him amidst his feathered friends from the ground to the sky.
He can fly!
We, too can fly, dear ones.
Let’s use our God-given wings today and rise above whatever is causing us to grovel.
Recently the Squier’s and our friends the Evans drove to Lake Tahoe to volunteer at a Joni and Friends Marriage Getaway. Enroute a deer leaped over the guardrail catching our left headlight, bumper. In shock we watched the dead deer’s body spin circles across the wet highway.
Yes, a trip to the auto body shop would be necessary, but thankfully our car was drive able. Not only drive able, but thank You, Lord, the air bags did not deploy and the damage was to the bumper, not the windshield.
We praised God for His protection, at the same time we grieved the dead Bambi. We concluded had we intercepted a second earlier our drive to Tahoe would have come to a screaming halt.
We God’s grace in life’s good and yes, in life’s bad experiences. And His grace goes as far as to bring a smile to our unsettled memories.
Back at home safe in Oregon, we awoke the first morning to a special gift from our Heavenly Father – an alive deer – a spittin’ image of the dead one on the roadside – grazing peacefully on our lush front lawn.
“Behold, I make all things new,” promises the Lord God in the book of Revelation.
And there’s more: He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Decade birthdays are not for the faint of heart. Just the thought of my 60th birthday a decade ago paralyzed me. I told my three daughters to expect to find me comatosed that birthday morning. Daughter Elizabeth arranged a limo (not a hearse) to transport me (not to the cemetery), but to a surprise gathering of many friends at Lisa’s Tea Treasures near our home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
One of the friends at the party, Mary Schaller, gave me a customized birthday gift of 60 footprints, inscribed with “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things.” (Romans 10:15) Her gift jolted me out of my self-centeredness to the realization that God had grown me spiritual feet which she said “would run others right into His presence.” And didn’t El Elyon, the Most High God choose 36 inch short Judy to carry His Good News to the disabled in Romania, and ultimately to Thailand and Brazil and throughout the USA? Proof that footless folks can have beautiful feet.
Now I’m carrying Mary’s foot idea into my seventh decade. Upon request, hubby David made me 70 copies of our grandson Finn’s footprint. One for each of the seventy people who have left their footprints on my heart. Each foot represents a family member or friend, who has helped me, heard me, held me, held me accountable and heralded me on. To each and every one I am eternally grateful that you allowed God to use you to mold me into who I am today.
What about You?
Now I must ask: How about making a list of your own containing those who have left footprints on your heart? Not one of us makes it through this life solo, do we? Adam had his Eve, Moses had his Aaron and Hur, Ruth had her Naomi, Jonah had his whale, Job had his 3 friends (with friends like that who needs enemies?) and Jesus had his disciples.
Instantly certain prize people will come to mind. I listed them chronologically. But what about those we’d nominate for the booby prize. Booby-prizers did not make it to my poster, though God uses each experience and each person to mold us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. No thing and no one is wasted in God’s economy.
Just so you know Footprint Number 1 for me is Elohim – the Creator God Who met me in utero and over the past seventy years has proven my birth defect was no fetal fluke, but holy design. And Footprint Number 70 is Yeshua – the Hebrew name for the English name JESUS. Yeshua has companioned with me in the pit of those early wilderness years. He’s walked with me, carried me when necessary – my Forever Escort from the womb to the tomb.
“How do you pronounce the name Yeshua?” I asked a Jewish Christian friend recently.
“YeShoea,” she answered with the emphasis on the middle syllable.
“YeSHOEa. Shoe? Shoe!” I was overjoyed to discover the correct pronunciation of Yeshua tied in so perfectly with my story. I met Him, thanks to my orthopedic shoe. And His redeeming love (Go’el the Redeemer) turned the shame and pain of my birth defect gold. My gold shoe is proof of that.
As we see the Lord’s footprints throughout our story, He becomes the love of our life. I love Him and I also love feet and shoes. I love shoes of every kind and my shoe collection keeps growing. High up on the top shelf of my closet (since I can’t wear them) are a pair of pearl- bedecked high heels from a friend in Texas, pink cowgirl boots from a little girl in Michigan, a bronze penny-loafer from a shoe-lover in Nebraska and a pair of rooster slippers, that I couldn’t resist at Goodwill. My life is filled with an ever-growing number of shoes as people see God in my gold shoe story.
My most recent shoe was a gift from 90 year young Alice who attended my Living in the Names of God Retreat. She accompanied this prize Rogue River rock with a piece of paper containing these wise words:
This year I’ve added The Master’s shoe to my collection. But please excuse me. I have to go now and blow out my 70 candles before they burn the house down. And the cake? A carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in the shape of my gold shoe.
Oh so many winters ago, lonely, broken-at-birth Little Judy filled endless week ends sitting at our family’s piano playing hymns. Living for Jesus was a favorite, though I secretly wondered: “Lord, will there be a blessing with my name on it?”
Living for Jesus a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
Three score plus ten years later my life overflows with blessings beyond measure so that I’ve declared 2015 the jubilee year of my life!
If jubilee means celebration, festivity, gala, I say ‘bring out the balloons’ as I celebrate 70 years of God’s faithfulness. For out of His Fullness we all received one grace after another, spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, even favor upon favor and gift heaped upon gift. (John 1:16 AMP)
Indeed His Majesty showed up in the wilderness years turning my missing legs into spiritual limbs – His Masterpiece. I’ve progressed from living for Jesus, as the hymn describes, to living in Christ, to living in the names of God as described in my Living in the Names of God chapter and Bible study books. And in 2015 my focus turns to ‘living my legacy.’ What do I want to be remembered for? What do you want to be remembered for?
Dr. James Dobson answers that question in his new book Your Legacy: Your Greatest Gift, in which he encourages us to make our highest priority introducing our family and friends to Jesus Christ. Dr. Dobson describes legacy as what we do in someone versus an inheritance being what we give to someone. For me, what I do in someone is based on what Jesus Christ has done in me. Jesus and Judy, we’re a team.
Recently I realized, I’ve already written my LEGacy! My life story – a life lived in relationship with Jesus – fills the pages of His Majesty in Brokenness and Living in the Names of God. Hmmm, it’s interesting how God chose me, the lady with no legs to encourage people to identify their LEGacy.
Each one of us is living our legacy right now. How are we going to preserve it? Make 2015 the year you collect photos and write short stories that highlight God’s presence in your life. As you savor the memories be on the lookout for a key picture that conveys your life message. Be forewarned: The photo may land on the front cover of your book, like mine did.
Maybe you are a person of few words. You might be thinking, “I can’t even fill out the grandmother’s or grandfather’s memory books. How can I write a book?”
I’ve decided to do something unique this year to commemorate my seventy years. David will print 70 copies of our grandson Finn’s tiny foot on which I will record the names of individuals who have left their footprints on my heart.
What about you? Are you ready to take on the challenge? I’d love to hear what creative ideas Elohim and you come up with to archive your legacy. Contact me at email@example.com.
To get you started –
7 Good Books to Assist You in Identifying Your Legacy
Have you seen Him yet today?
I love seeing God in everyday places.
Just last week I saw Elohim (Creator God) as I enjoyed His magnificent Pacific
Ocean outside our beach house vacation spot; Upon returning home,
I thanked Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will Provide) for His umbrella of grace that
protected a cardboard box of my books left out in the rain by the mail carrier;
And daily I rely on of El Shaddai Who replaces my Never Enough (energy, patience, creativity) with His More than Enough.
For the past 25 years I have lived my life in the names of God.
Living in the names of God. What does that mean?
I’ve written two books about it,
however, my five-year-old granddaughter Brianna answered the question
in three short sentences recently.
“Mom, where is God?” popped out of her mouth one morning
as our daughter Elizabeth was driving her to school.”
“In Heaven,” her mom answered.
“No, mom, He’s sitting in the front seat next to you.”
“Good Morning, God, how are You?” her mom replied.
“Mom, He says He loves you,” was Brianna’s inspired response.
As Christmas 2014 draws near and the New Year 2015 rounds the corner,
I want to help others experience His presence.
Therefore, I am making available my Living in the Names of God books
as a gift option for family members and friends on your Christmas list.
The books contain God stories and Bible study lessons designed:
To help the reader fathom the reality that
God is in the front seat next to them,
He loves them and is even their Personal Cheerleader.
Case in point:
I learned of Sherry’s story just yesterday through a mutual friend, Darlene, who told me of Sherry’s recent ordeal with severely swollen and pain-ridden hands. Weeks of testing resulted in a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Come to find out Sherry is a lover of teddy bears, frequently giving them to hospice patients that she visits. So no one was surprised when she bought herself a teddy bear to accompany her to her many medical appointments. She named her companion bear RA for rheumatoid arthritis.
When friend Darlene heard the RA teddy bear story, she was excited to tell Sherry about my JEHOVAH RAAH chapter in my Living in the Names of God book. “Jehovah RAAH, RAAH, RAAH is the Shepherd God who cheers on His little lambs, when we hurt or are afraid,” Darlene explained to Sherry.
Immediately Sherry switched the teddy bear’s name from RA to RAAH, as she recognized the presence of her Shepherd Cheerleader in her arthritis journey. Cognizant of His presence, Sherry was able to replace the RA (rheumatoid arthritis) with RAAH, the cheers of her ever-present God, Who wrapped her in His Promise: Fear not, Little Lamb, I’m here with you and everything’s going to be alright.
Sherry’s spirit is calmed as she connects the dots, Shhh…It’s Him.
And that’s my prayer for you, for your family, for your friends – that you all will catch yourself saying “Shhhh….It’s Him” as you recognize His comforting and empowering presence in the days ahead.
Christmas Special Gift Set
I am offering my two books – Living in the Names of God
and its companion Living in the Names of God Bible Study for $20 per set.
That includes FREE gift wrapping. I look forward to personalizing them
with the name of the recipient and with your name as the gift giver.
You may place your order and make your payment as follows:
For this blog entry, I thank our daughter, Naphtalie, since it is from her January, 2014 blog that I am borrowing the pictures.
Daughter Naphy and I have worked together on my two books: His Majesty in Brokenness and Living in the Names of God. Jesus and I write the books and Jesus and Naphy (and my husband David too) produced them.
Naphy surprised me this Christmas with note cards with the 18 names of God from my new book. I love how she coordinated the colors on the book cover with the colors on the cards. I love, love, love each one of them.
Here is the book cover followed by the beautiful cards.
She may have to buy me another set (hint! hint!) since I’m having trouble parting with any one of them. THANK YOU, THANK YOU NAPHY at Scatter Joy Designs.
I post the following video clip to dispel any remnant myth that I am a Woman of Courage. Judy on the Slope is what my dear husband David put as a caption for my ride down the snow-covered hill in front of our home. Sweet that he didn’t caption it – My Dear Wife Screameth Yet Again.
My January, 2013 ride on the slope resulted when our son-in-law, Beau, decided two year old Luka and four year old Brianna needed to experience a ride on the snow. Watching them bravely and silently ride down our hill, I decided Granny Goose should join the fun. Fun? Fun when it ended, that is, but as you can see the downhill ride pushed this Old Goose’s fear button.
Those who know me well know I begin new situations with fear – until Jesus shows up. Then He and I do things I’d never sign up for – like motherhood, like mission trips to third-world countries, like writing a book, like finishing another book in 2013.
I always say Hannah Hurnard’s classic Hind’s Feet on High Places is the story of my life. Much Afraid and I share not only a disability, but a lack of courage. But fortunately we share the Good Shepherd – her Shepherd is my Shepherd and He manages to get each of us to the high places.
2013 will be filled with unknowns for all of us. My friend Shirley and I had mammograms two weeks ago and she’s scheduled for a double mastectomy. Please pray for her.
Fortunately God limits our vision to the present moment so we don’t know in advance what fearsome surprise tomorrow will bring. I’m told there are more than 365 Bible verses to battle fear – one for every day of the year. I’ve yet to find them all and until I do I’ll just keep screaming when life gets scary knowing that I can count on Jesus to show up to rescue me. And when He does, His presence alone will quiet me as His courage kicks in. His courage you know is big enough for all of us. So Much Afraid Squier is thanking Him in advance for His presence every day of this new year for me and for you.
PS Scream if you must. It sets people free to be real.
Elisabeth Elliot has a special place in my heart. Ever since a women’s retreat in the 80’s, where she was the keynote speaker and I did a workshop. At dinner she chose a seat next to me and so began our fast friendship.
Elisabeth was one of the few people I’ve met who asked about my disability. Placing her hand on my artificial limb, she queried: Tell me what happened?
Subsequently she has had a story about our meeting in several of her books, her March/April 1989 newsletter and on numerous radio broadcasts:
There Are No Accidents
Author: Elisabeth Elliot
– Judy’s letter to the Scott Family in 1988 –
~ ~ ~
I think of Elisabeth so often, remembering how she had so much to do as a conference speaker, an author, upholder of the Biblical world view throughout the world; she had her radio broadcast, her family, how did she do all that had to be done?
She shared her secret with me in a tract containing one of her favorite poems, one she made famous. I dedicate Elisabeth’s poem to All my busy friends, who like me aren’t sure what to do first on our bursting-at-the-seams schedules:
Do the Next Thing
(A poem quoted by Elisabeth Elliot)
“At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven that,
as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’
Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing.”
JUDY SQUIER has authored His Majesty in Brokenness, Living in the Names of God and the Living in the Names Bible Study. Husband David and she have three adult daughters, three sons-in-law and seven grandchildren. Never did Mr. and Mrs. Squier dream that their long-awaited golden wedding anniversary would coincide with David’s memorial service. Judy resides in southern Oregon, alone, yet not alone. Thanks to the Good Shepherd!