My 2012 highlight just occurred at a Joni Camp on the Oregon Coast. I was scheduled to do my usual – lead the Woman-to-Woman support groups – but God promoted me to the role of main speaker when the camp pastor took ill the last minute.

What a privilege to give the three morning talks to 30 battle-weary families slammed by disability. I couldn’t help but think, where, oh where was a Joni and Friends family retreat in the 50’s when my family desperately needed relief?

Judy Squier SpeakingAs I spoke, I looked heavenward longing to tell my parents that:
– Our suffering was not wasted
– God kept His promise in Jeremiah 29:11
– His plan for my life – disability and all – was for good and not for disaster
– Low & behold, my life has become living proof to others of God’s future and hope

My deformed left hand stole the show preaching its now-revered, three-point sermon. Further proof that God transforms our broken places into Holy Ground.

Judy Squier Hand

Indeed Jesus showed up at Rockaway Beach, Oregon – in broken bodies, broken families, broken hearts and broken dreams. Why wouldn’t He? Wasn’t He broken so that He could make the dastardly holes in our lives, HOLY?

Heaven orchestrates an audible and inaudible chorus at Joni Camps throughout the world.

Holy, Holy, Holy reverberates as one beholds:

  • a devoted mom cradling the love of her life – her treasured child with Downs syndrome
  • a short-term-missionary (STM) teenager jumping in to feed his/her assigned camper giving the parents a much needed break
  • wheelchair-riders of all ages square-dancing to their hearts delight
  •  the severely disabled and their families bringing down the roof in a 2 ½ hour long talent show

Heroes are ubiquitous at Joni Camp. Stockpiling their courage supplies the strength we all need to survive until next year’s family retreat. I’m savoring the memory of:

Angel –a gutsy, fear-filled tween (not quite a teenager) who announced that she came to camp to make fear walk the plank.

Three of us who formed an Amputee Club to celebrate the fact that Jesus grows those without limbs –  spiritual limbs.

Brian, Cheree and me - Founders of the Amputee Club

Brian, Cheree and me – Founders of the Amputee Club

Ben, a 1st time STM, who was challenged by a teen camper who was in constant motion. After the families left, I asked Ben, “Are you relieved to be off duty?” Ben’s duo-reply summarized the wonder of Joni Camp: “I miss my camper and I’m going to ask to be his STM again next year.”

And then there’s Joni, the woman God used to redeem disability’s landscape around the world. July 30, 2012 marked the 45th anniversary of her dive into Chesapeake Bay, resulting in forty-five years of quadriplegia to date.  Anniversary, one might ask, does such a crisis deserve the blessed word anniversary?

You have to come to a Joni Camp to see for yourself. To see with your own eyes why Joni and the thousands of families impacted by her life would say YES.

By the way, it’s not too early to consider attending a Joni Camp as a family or volunteering as an in 2013. Check into it: (www.joniandfriends.org)

A final word of advice from this veteran camper, who attended my first Joni camp in the early nineties with our three daughters:

or do I mean SONGLASSES?

Be forewarned: you are going to have to wear them 24/7 even on our overcast Oregon Coast. WHY? Because Jesus shines blindingly bright in the broken of body, mind and spirit – who the world overlooks – but who are His Stars at Joni Camps around the world.

Joni Camp Group Photo

Judy Signature

About Judy Squier

Judy Squier born without complete legs, learned early on about God's presence in suffering. She's been an inspirational speaker since age thirteen with a passion to help others find God's gold in the rubble of their lives. Judy is the mother of three adult daughters and lives with her husband, David, in southern Oregon.
This entry was posted in Disability Ministries, Speaking, Speaking Events. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to HOLY, HOLY, HOLY

  1. Nancy Rejholec says:

    Beautiful My Friend!

  2. Connie Chan says:

    I love you and your viewpoint of camp. Remember the purple heart? It reminds me of your glowing personality and noble heart. Thank you for your encouraging words and great sense of humor. Take care and I hope to see you again soon.

  3. Deborah Bard says:

    Beautiful my friend…my hero and encourager you are, to be more about Jesus than the brokeness in life.

  4. Laura "Daisy" Cramp says:

    Thank you Judyann for sharing what I would like to share. I tried to share all that in my letter to my supporters. Joni Camp is rewarding, but not easy. It is a blessing, and I cried a lot there, but it was worth it. I have a craft ready for next year’s welcome bags…. Love you Lots, Daisy

  5. Adele Ames says:

    It was wonderful to be together after so many years. I was blessed to be one of the five who worked together as a team through many of your experences. Looking forward to our time together in November. Thanking God for you, Adele

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