[Judy and Elisabeth - For both of us, we were much younger twenty plus years ago...]
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
My friend Judy Squier of Portola Valley, California, is one of the most cheerful and radiant women I know. I met her first in a prayer meeting at the beginning of a conference. She was sitting in a wheel chair, and I noticed something funny about her legs. Later that day I saw her with no legs at all. In the evening she was walking around with crutches. Of course I had to ask her some questions. She was born with no legs; she had artificial ones which she used sometimes, but they were tiresome, she said (laughing) and she often left them behind.
When I heard of a little baby boy named Brandon Scott, born without arms or legs, I asked if she would write to his parents. She did:
The first thing I would say is that all that this entails is at least one hundred times harder on the parents than the child. A birth defect by God’s grace does not rob childhood of its wonder, nor is a child burdened by high expectations. Given a supportive, creative, and loving family, I know personally that I enjoyed not a less-than-average life nor an average life, but as I’ve told many, my life has been not ordinary but extra-ordinary.
I am convinced without a doubt that a loving Heavenly Father oversees the creative miracles in the inner sanctum of each mother’s womb (Psalm 139), and that in His sovereignty there are no accidents.
‘What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Creator calls a butterfly.’ As humanity we see only the imperfect, underside of God’s tapestry of our lives. What we judge to be ‘tragic–the most dreaded thing that could happen,’ I expect we’ll one day see as the awesome reason for the beauty and uniqueness of our life and our family. I think that’s why James 1:2 is a favorite verse of mine. Phillips’ translation put it this way: ‘When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends.’
I love Joni Eareckson Tada’s quote. When I saw it on the front of Moody Monthly, October 1982, I was convinced she’d penned the words for my epitaph. Now my husband David is aghast to hear me say I want it on my tombstone! Glory be!
People with disabilities are God’s best visual aids to demonstrate who He really is. His power shows up best in weakness. And who by the world’s standards is weaker than the mentally or physically disabled? As the world watches, these people persevere. They live, love, trust and obey Him. Eventually the world is forced to say, How great their God must be to inspire this kind of loyalty.
Being Christian didn’t shield my family from the pain and tears that came with my birth defect. In fact, ten years ago when David and I interviewed our parents for a Keepsake Tape, I was stunned to hear my mother’s true feelings. I asked her to tell the hardest thing in her life. Her response: ‘the day Judy Ann was born and it still is….’
And yet when we as a family look back over the years, our reflections are invariably silenced by the wonder of God’s handiwork. Someday I hope to put it in a book and I know it will be to the glory of God.
Getting married and becoming a mother were dreams I never dared to dream, but God, the doer of all miracles intended that my life be blessed with an incredible husband and three daughters. Emily is nine, Betsy will soon be seven, and Naphtalie Joy is four. I’ve decided that every handicapped person needs at least one child. They are fantastic helpers and so willing to let me ‘borrow their legs’ when I need help.
You as a family have been chosen in a special way to display His unique Masterwork. I pray that your roots of faith will grow deep down into the faithfulness of God’s Loving Plan, that you will exchange your inadequacy for the Adequacy of Jesus’ resurrection power, and that you will be awed as you witness the fruits of the Spirit manifested in your family.
- 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.”