Cornerstone Berean Church in Kearney Nebraska hosted an unforgettable Broken and Beautiful event recently. Precious women studied my blog and put together an event that fit His Majesty and Judy to a tee. (Thank you Michele Brown and your team!)
The evening began when a gal named Patty, a professed shoe lover, handed me a colorfully wrapped package containing a penny loafer paper weight.
“After reading His Majesty in Brokenness,” she explained, “I knew burgundy penny loafers had a special place in your heart.”
Thanks to people like Patty my shoe collection groweth…. First came my orthopedic shoe, which His Majesty transformed into my treasured gold shoe. Then came the pink cowgirl boots from Molly at Holland Michigan’s Therapeutic Riding Fundraiser. Add to that Patty’s replica of my much-loved burgundy loafers worn on my first set of artificial limbs.
Plus one more shoe for the night: a cellophane wrapped glass slipper cookie was presented to each one in attendance. The delicacy was tastefully tied with a tag containing Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
Legless Judy’s growing collection of shoes is proof that God has a special place in His heart for what’s missing in our lives. In His time and in His unique way He lovingly addresses our loss and whispers: “I know the longing of your heart. Thank you for entrusting it to Me.”
Sharing Cornerstone’s stage with me was a beautiful evening gown depicting Cinderella’s rags to riches story. Its skinny waistline captured my attention resulting in this unscripted remark: God has new bodies awaiting us in heaven. Legs would be nice but what I’m really looking forward to is a size two waistline.
Surely it was those words that inspired the end of the evening photo shoot with me, Heaven’s Thinner Daughter of the King in the skinny-minny ballroom attire. Joining the dress to Judy for the picture required due diligence on the part of several ladies – further proof that His Majesty, Jesus Christ, God’s Son cares about the desires of our hearts.
My heart’s desire is to fit in a size 2. What about you? Maybe you long for that overdue prince to come, or you crave hearing I love you from an estranged family member, or maybe you’ve given up on a Happily Ever After with your name on it.
May my smiling face atop the skinny gown remind you that your heart’s desires matter to God. In His time and in His unique way He will show up in your pain, bestowing upon you His presence plus gifting you with something that fits your longing to a tee.
Your job until then: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 NASB
I am honored to be back at the Joni and Friends Family Retreat in Mission Springs, CA. where my three daughters and I came over fifteen years ago.
I feel privileged to be the keynote speaker for the week sharing how His Majesty has shown up in my brokenness. Indeed He has been forever faithful to me and I want to encourage others not to quit before their happy ending.
My long time friend Margaret Schroth (in the photos) and I will be part
of the team ministering to more than 35 families touched by disability. Margaret and I share a deeper than life bond – the same congenital disability. We are connected at the hip in that proximal femoral focal deficiency includes a disconnect of our ball and socket hip joints.
Margaret and I thank for your prayers this week –
Can’t wait to tell you how God shows up.
As I give speeches, I marvel as a roomful of women listen attentively to my story of brokenness. Legless Judy perched in her wheelchair peers out at seats filled with beautiful women with whole bodies. I always wonder: What can they glean from my tale of broken dreams?
Once again I watched His Majesty in Brokenness mesmerize an audience. This time at a ‘Tea with Judy Squier’ in Santa Cruz, California. Antonelli’s Clubhouse felt more like London’s Buckingham Palace with Bonnie Smith’s linens, china cups and saucers, tea pots, centerpieces. (Bonnie’s collection takes thrift shopping to a whole new level.) We all were pampered savoring scones with Devonshire cream, finger sandwiches of all kinds, dipped strawberries and so much more.
I wrapped my life stories around Beth Moore’s statement:
Practically every little girl has at least four dreams –
1) to be a bride
2) to be beautiful
3) to be fruitful
4) to live happily ever after
Born broken, I never risked such dreams, nor did my parents. But God did. Echoing through my lonely childhood and wilderness teen years was His Promise: For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
With book in hand, I read portions of Celebration on Hold, Wedding Miracles, Courage Begins with Fear. The stage was perfectly set, as Lynnette, Emily and Rose sang El Shaddai – my all time favorite song (which daughter Emily keeps practiced for my memorial service). Yes, the All-Sufficient One showed up at our tea party, rekindling hope in the hearts of women whose dreams had been tried and tested. Together we laughed at God’s sense of humor. We stood in awe of His wondrous deeds.
Indeed my story is a Cinderella tale with His Majesty being the Prince, Who longs to make dreams a reality in each of our lives. Hand over the broken pieces so I can create a Masterpiece, Jesus extends this offer. Yet, too often, an ever-present seed of skepticism retorts from deep inside, Surely there’s no such thing as living happily ever after!
Together with His Majesty, I, the little crippled girl who was too afraid to dream, provided living proof that in Christ there is a happily ever after. But it’s not like in the fairy tales. In fact its quite different.
I closed my talk by describing my formula for happily ever after. For me it involved:
1) exposing the shame
2) embracing the pain
3) extracting the precious from the worthless.
As I greeted individuals in the book line, one conversation brought life to my three points. Jenny introduced herself and told me she was blind. Immediately she asked if she could feel my wheelchair. Then she asked if she could feel one of my stumps. She gently held on to my left stump as we talked.
At that moment in time living happily ever after happened: Judy’s shame came out of hiding, Jenny embraced my pain and together we extracted the precious from the worthless.
What about you? Where has happily ever after shown up for you recently? Tell me about it and we’ll celebrate with a tea party. Let’s call this one Tea with His Majesty….
What a delightful surprise!
A package arrived today with a thank you gift for my speech at the Renew Therapeutic Riding Center’s fundraiser in Holland, Michigan. These diamond decked pink boots are the joy of my life – carefully chosen by my little friend Molly, who let me borrow her boots the afternoon of the fundraiser.
Thanks Molly girl and thanks to Renew’s Board of Directors who must have read my mind and heart –
“I’d give anything to have a pair of boots of my VERY OWN!!!”
Note: I blogged about similar boots in my March 30th, 2011 blog entry entitled:
I’m still glowing after the Broken and Beautiful Retreat in Palo Alto, California. Peninsula Bible Church asked for stories from my book His Majesty in Brokenness which were fun for me to tell bringing laughter and tears to the 150 women in attendance. What amazed us all was how our God could take a little girl born without legs, grow her a set of sturdy spiritual limbs, strong enough to carry others to His nail-scarred feet. Miraculously, feet and stumps were set a dancin’ to the wonderful songs and music of Tapestry worship band and lifelong wounds were set a healin’.
Truly Broken met Beautiful through a freeing foot/stump washing ceremony followed later by a long line of women handing over their pain and shame at the foot of the cross to a Savior who longs to set us free.
It was all good. In fact for me it was a fifty on a 1 to 10 scale. But ultimately for me the highlight came while witnessing a beauty this world knows nothing of. Shortly before the Friday evening session began, I watched an octogenarian stumble as her tennis shoes caught on the carpeted floor. Timber. She was down. (Yes, I remembered well the embarrassment of many falls during my fifty years walking on seven sets of artificial limbs.)
Was she hurt? Was she mad at her decreased mobility? She was able to twist to a sitting position, though she couldn’t get up. She explained she had peripheral neuropathy. She wasn’t hurt, nor was she upset. In fact she blessed my socks off as she proceeded to offer up a prayer for my upcoming talks and for God’s blessing on the women of all ages coming through the door.
More than ever before, this retreat convinced me that we are all broken. And I now see that the invisible disabilities can be much harder than the visible. The shame of years in prison. Unvoiced pain from a dysfunctional family. Unfulfilled marriages. Deceased children and spouses. Abuse and Addictions galore. Eating disorders. Bad decisions that haunt us.
In community we can and did come out of hiding, exposed our brokenness, handing it over to God. May we live in hope – expecting that in the bowels of life’s suffering, we will be met by His without-condemnation embrace, the only one that can truly satisfy. But there’s more. May the condemner’s voice be forever silenced as we hear the Lover of our Soul whisper: I’m wild about you.
Here are some photos of the fun we had:
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like information about the Broken and Beautiful women’s retreat. Maybe you could bring it to your church!
Take a close look.
See the BOOTS?
A little girl named Molly lent me her cowgirl boots for my speech for the Renew Therapeutic Riding Center’s fundraiser in Holland, Michigan last week.
Wearing Molly’s boots did something deep within my soul.
Her little pair of boots taught me:
What missing piece is glaring at you today?
God has big plans for using that very missing piece to bless you and others. Join me. Borrow someone’s walkin’ boots and let’s bring a smile and an Alleluia for the God who fills our missing pieces with Himself.
I was honored to be honored early this month with a book signing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Thank you to Kristin Day, the perfect hostess who welcomed us all into her castle in Portola Valley. Hot cider, scrumptious cookies, cheeses and fruits were served around His Majesty’s humble manger, as forty dear friends and family members celebrated my impossible dream come true. I read Chapter 15, “Keeping Jesus In,” sold and signed many books, then gave everyone a glittering star, celebrating the BIG MOMENT in this wanna-be-a-published-writer’s life.
I still remember the BIG MOMENT on August 13 when we received the proof of His Majesty. Some books flow and some grind. My book required ten plus years of writing class after writing class, where feeble attempts were tweaked and tweaked and tweaked with finally one story then another making it to paper. Despite my waxing and waning discipline, God birthed His Majesty in Brokenness. As I behold the finished product, my goose bumps whisper: “I can’t believe I lived every one of these stories!”
What’s your BIG MOMENT for this decade? Or are you praying for it to happen in 2011. A goal? A relationship? A healing? To fan the flame of your longing, I pass on my favorite quote from Ann Kiemel, the author of the book I Love the Word Impossible: “Life is filled with ordinary days, when there’s no one there to praise you and no one to pat you on the back. But throw your very best into today and one day all those ordinary days will make a BIG MOMENT in your life.”
Here are a few photos. More can be found on my Judy Squier Facebook Page.
What a joy to share my story at two Christian Women’s Clubs on the Oregon coast this past week. My second speech was over and my traveling companion, Ginny, and I were about ready to get into the car and head home. Suddenly a honking car pulled over to the curb and the driver jumped out. We recognized her from the luncheon.
“I’m wondering if you want a stepping stone for your garden,” she looked me in the eye as I sat there in my wheelchair. Her words caught me off guard: A stepping stone? How would footless Judy ever need one? My honest response caught her off guard, “God does love paradox, yes, I’d love a stepping stone.”
Her trunk contained five beautiful cement blocks she’d decorated. I chose the one with chips of broken blue and white English plates shaped in a star. Beauty out of brokenness. How perfectly her art fit the message I’d just given: Getting What’s Broken Fixed for a Lifetime.
The stepping stone found a home in my garden and in my heart providing a daily reminder that one day I’ll be able to use it when my heavenly body can not only step but skip and dance. Not today but soon now very soon we are going to meet the King. He sees His finished work long before we do.
What about You?
A wedding dress, Lord, but the man of my dreams hasn’t proposed yet. A sobriety badge, but I just joined Alcoholics Anonymous. A frame for that coveted college diploma, but I’m only a freshman. A size 12 birthday dress when my closet is bursting with 4X.
Lord, give us eyes to see what You see, but better yet give us eyes to see YOU!
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!