Ronda Oaks drove all the way from Long Beach to hear Judy Squier speak last week at the Oakhurst Library. Oaks is an amputee, and said she was browsing the Internet when she stumbled onto Squier’s story quite by chance.
Bonnie Phillips, of Fresno, knows Squier, has heard her speak before, and has read her book, “His Majesty in Brokenness,” which gave her personal insights. She made a special trip up to Oakhurst, with her friend, Kim Bagato, of Clovis.
Phillips said readers don’t have to have a physical disability to relate to Squier’s book. Bagato agreed, calling her book inspirational, and meeting her even more so.
Before beginning, Squier went up to each person, warmly introduced herself, engaged in a brief conversation, and then asked all to draw closer, to make for a more intimate and cozy setting.
An inspirational author and motivational speaker, Squier, 70, was born with no legs. Her parents were told by doctors that she should be institutionalized, but they refused to listen.
Squier proved the doctors wrong, going on to major in speech pathology at the University of Illinois, where she joined a sorority, and became a cheerleader. She married her college sweetheart, David, the same month she received her masters degree in speech, and after working as a speech pathologist for 10 years, she became a full-time mother to Emily, Elizabeth and Naphtalie.
Somehow, Squier found the time to write three books - “His Majesty in Brokenness,” “Living in the Names of God,” and “Living in the Names of God Bible Study” - and has given hundreds of speeches on God’s faithfulness.
Squier, who was engaging, interactive, and inspirational throughout her speaking, believes in a down-to-earth God, in dreaming big, and has a passion for helping others find Jesus in their brokenness. It wasn’t until age 55, that Squier finally accepted her own “brokenness.”
“Everyone is broken, and having a physical brokenness is easier than having an invisible one. Having kids helped me begin to realize that,” she said. “When they arrived with legs, I thought life would be perfect, but our oldest daughter has struggled with a life-long battle with depression. So we have the same brokenness, and the same Mender, which is Jesus Christ.”
During an impromptu moment, Squier, who began public speaking at the young age of 13, took a detour, asking if there were any writers in the audience.
Instantaneously, Brysan Estes, 11, shot up his arm, as though he had a sense that question was coming. He proudly stood, telling everyone about the poem he had written, “I Am.” Squier invited him to share, he eagerly did so and his reading was met with appreciative applause.
Squier then went on to explain how the book, “Hinds Feet on High Places,” (the story of facing fears and overcoming dangers along a spiritual journey), applied to her life.
“I wake up every morning fearful, starting off each day thinking of all the things that can take me down,” she explained, “but then, I read my Bible, and off we go, Jesus and Judy. I’ve gone from Little Much Afraid to Braveheart.”
“If I had been born with legs, I would have been a ho-hum person,” Squier, who lives in Southern Oregon, continued. “I truly believe adversity brings out the best in us.”
Besides the library, Squier was also guest speaker at an Oakhurst Community Park event and the Yosemite Lakes Park Church last weekend.