Dr. James Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson, and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener-supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.
Roger Marsh: Well, welcome back to Family Talk, the broadcast division of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Roger Marsh, and on today's classic program, we're going to hear the conclusion of a heartfelt conversation between Dr. Dobson and Judy Squier, an excellent author, a godly woman with an inspiring story of turning hardship into glory for the kingdom. Judy is doing great work to encourage people to grow deeper in their relationship with the Lord.
In yesterday's interview, Judy opened up about her very difficult childhood. She was born with a rare birth defect, which left her with deformed legs and only three fingers on one of her hands. The doctors, along with Judy's parents, tried to give her the best quality of life they could, but eventually, the decision was made to amputate the problematic part of her legs so that she could walk on prosthetic limbs. Judy had the support and protection of her parents to be sure, and her childhood was filled with much love, faith, persistence, and grit. But in spite of having those advantages, at times, the outside world could still be a hurtful place for this little girl. So let's listen in to the conclusion of this fascinating conversation with Dr. James Dobson and Judy Squier right here, right now, on Family Talk.
Dr. James Dobson: Judy, we talked about your childhood, and we talked about what your experiences were like. What happened when you became a teenager? You're 13, 14, 15, those are the toughest years of life anyway for everybody, almost. You said yesterday that you had low self-esteem. Some people sneer at that and say, "Well, that's just psychological bunk." But I'm telling you, a child who has been through something like you've been through asks the question, "Am I worthy? Does anybody care? Will I have a place in life? Why did this happen to me? Look at me. Look at my hand." Did you experience all of that?
Judy Squier: All of that.
Dr. James Dobson: And much more.
Judy Squier: Everything you've said, yes, yes, yes, yes.
Dr. James Dobson: Did you go to sleep at night with a tear on the pillow?
Judy Squier: I didn't cry. I still don't cry.
Dr. James Dobson: You make me cry. Do you know that?
Judy Squier: You're making me cry. Where's that hanky? But you've had dogs.
Dr. James Dobson: Yes.
Judy Squier: And I had a dog. And David knows that my dogs are key in my enjoying life.
Dr. James Dobson: Did your dogs make a difference for you?
Judy Squier: So much.
Dr. James Dobson: Yeah.
Judy Squier: So much. They didn't stare at me. They didn't give me that look like, "There's something wrong with you."
Dr. James Dobson: Did other people stare at you?
Judy Squier: Lots.
Dr. James Dobson: So when you would go out in public, they would turn around and look at you?
Judy Squier: Yes.
Dr. James Dobson: How cruel people are. It takes my breath away that people can't see that a child needs to be accepted just the way he or she is.
Judy Squier: Mm-hmm.
Dr. James Dobson: And not, "I'm staring at you because you're strange, you're weird, you're different. There's something wrong here." That's the message they're giving when they sit and stare at you. Don't ever do that to a child or to an adult either. We all need to be accepted for who we are.
Judy Squier: Well, you're voicing the thoughts that I've always carried with me, but no one else ever put in words, Dr. Dobson.
Dr. James Dobson: Judy, come on now.
Judy Squier: No one ever did, no. And the interviews have been more on the happy ending rather than the painful years.
Dr. James Dobson: You know why?
Judy Squier: Why?
Dr. James Dobson: They don't know how to deal with it. It is difficult for someone to identify with another person's pain. We've got pain of our own and we're pretty wrapped up with ourselves. And I think people don't want to go there. And yet, you fascinate me, Judy, because you are a survivor. You are indomitable. I saw that when we met at a conference a while back. I knelt beside your wheelchair. Do you remember that?
Judy Squier: For the photo of a lifetime?
Dr. James Dobson: That's right.
Judy Squier: Oh, yes.
Dr. James Dobson: Because I saw something of great value within you.
Judy Squier: That's why it's a sanctity of life story. Dr. James Dobson: It is, for a fact.
Judy Squier: Because humans would put us on the trash heap.
Dr. James Dobson: Do you realize we're talking to a lot of people right now?
Judy Squier: Hello, out there.
Dr. James Dobson: Yeah.
Judy Squier: Don't quit.
Dr. James Dobson: I mean, a lot of people who have similar stories to yours, different disabilities, different pain. We're talking to them right now. And I want them to draw strength from you, because you refused to be a victim. You felt it for a time, but you don't now. Tell me that that's true.
Judy Squier: It's so true, because now I see the reason why. And I see the strength that comes out of hopelessness because of Jesus Christ.
Dr. James Dobson: Well, let's talk about that. When did you find the Lord, and how?
Judy Squier: I found the Lord when I was at the University of Illinois, flunking out the end of my sophomore year, and my parents took us on a trip to California and we visited our holy roller relatives. That Aunt Ginny explained to me that Jesus could help me in my tragic...
Dr. James Dobson: Circumstances.
Judy Squier: Circumstances. And I said, "He can?" So somehow in my Sunday School upbringing, I didn't understand the relationship, or maybe I wasn't as desperate because my human father was such a champion. But at that point in time, at age 20, I said, "I want to know this God." And so, I left California, went back to the University of Illinois, and instead of flunking out, I became an A student.
Dr. James Dobson: And so, talk about the moment that you gave your heart to the Lord. Were you alone?
Judy Squier: I was alone, upstairs in Aunt Ginny's extra bedroom. And everything she said to me made sense. And so, I invited Him to be my Savior and to take my life from there and be the Lord.
Dr. James Dobson: Did it really make a difference in your life?
Judy Squier: Totally. Yeah. I went back to campus. I moved into a sorority where the leaders of the sorority were all Christians. We went to Campus Crusade for Christ meetings on Friday night instead of frat parties. And I read the scriptures and flew out to Arrowhead in the summer and got training. It just was life-changing.
Dr. James Dobson: Yeah. You went on to get a master's degree. Yeah.
Judy Squier: The same month I got my MRS degree.
Dr. James Dobson: Oh, really?
Judy Squier: And became Mrs. David Squier.
Dr. James Dobson: Oh. Tell us about that. How did you and David meet?
Judy Squier: Our families had known each other from before we were born, and we reconnected in college. And I would say we reconnected because I needed a ride home at holiday time. And so, David volunteered. But he was not excited about this chatter box. And so, it was a very slow-in-growing romance. In fact, he told me after we were married that he remembered when we were young and my dad was performing a wedding for his aunt, that I walked in on my metal stilts with buck teeth and he was in the front row thinking, "Pity the man who marries her."
Dr. James Dobson: You're kidding me.
Judy Squier: No. And he made me-
Dr. James Dobson: And when did he tell you that?
Judy Squier: He told me that after we were married. So he ultimately became the groom waiting for me on my artificial limbs to walk down that same aisle to become his bride.
Dr. James Dobson: Wow. He's in the control room on the other side of the glass right now. And I can tell he loves you. He loves you a lot. Yeah.
Judy Squier: It took me a long time to be able to believe that.
Dr. James Dobson: Did it take you a long time to love him? Because you didn't have a lot of love for yourself.
Judy Squier: I know. And Dr. Dobson, I say often, "What is love?" So that's a whole nother area.
Dr. James Dobson: Yeah.
Judy Squier: And at 20, I learned that God loved me, but I would say I was at least 60 before I could say, "I am lovable."
Dr. James Dobson: I said at the end of the program last time that we were talking to a lot of people who had experienced some similar emotions to what you went through, not the same disabilities and not even disabilities in some case, but that feeling that, "I am worthless. I have nothing to offer. No one could ever love me. How could anybody love me? Because I don't love myself. I don't even respect myself. I'm miserable. I don't want to be in the circumstances I'm in." We're talking to thousands and thousands of people who feel that way.
And in fact, nearly everybody, Judy, goes through a time usually in junior high or high school, but sometimes for many, many years feeling that sense of misery and worthlessness. It's really a shame that we do that to each other and we do it to ourselves.
Judy Squier: Even as Christians.
Dr. James Dobson: Yeah. Yeah. Were you accepted in your church? Did your church community come alongside you?
Judy Squier: I would say yes. It's rare when a church sees you as someone disabled who can give to the church. Lots of churches, the mentality is that, "We'll welcome you and we'll take care of you." But the highest place, when they recognize that you have something to give to them that they wouldn't get otherwise.
Dr. James Dobson: Yeah. Well, it's very sad to me that if you go into many, many churches, there's not a single wheelchair in there. Where are those people? Where are those who are mentally disabled? They're not in church. Do they need Jesus, too? Do they need somebody to love them, too? Judy, do you talk to people who are going through similar things? Do you reach out to those that are in need?
Judy Squier: I've always been drawn to the physically disabled. And I have to add, I always thought we were the only broken people in the room. So it's-
Dr. James Dobson: In your book, you refer to your attitude toward brokenness. Describe that for us.
Judy Squier: At first, I hated it. I didn't want to be segregated. And now, I've gone to the complete opposite side, His majesty in brokenness. I see, until we come to the end of our rope, we aren't going to need God.
Dr. James Dobson: Yeah.
Judy Squier: And so, now I love broken people. I want to be their friend. But I am uneducated about the invisible brokenness that so many people carry. And so, I'm a work in process. I have so much to be taught about people sitting in the pews that look like their lives are perfect, and then finding out about their sexual abuse or finding out about an alcoholic parent or an unfaithful husband.
Dr. James Dobson: Judy, let's spend the rest of our time talking about the sanctity of human life. You have a passion for the pro-life cause, don't you?
Judy Squier: I do. It's where I would have been deleted. As far as my imperfections, the worldview, "Oh, this baby has no legs," telling the parents, "You would be better off and it would be better for that child if that child wasn't born." So I'm that child. And the Downs babies that are, I think it's 80% eliminated now.
Dr. James Dobson: Killed is a better word for it.
Judy Squier: Thank you.
Dr. James Dobson: Yeah. Let's call it what it is.
Judy Squier: The murder. The murder-
Dr. James Dobson: The murder of those children. Maybe that sounds glib for somebody that doesn't have a Downs child, who has not raised one. But I've worked with a lot of them. I was at Pacific State Hospital for the Mentally Retarded. That's what it was called then. It's now out in California and it's called Lanterman State Hospital. And there were 3,000 patients out there and many of them were Downs. And many of them had parents who took them out there and just kind of dumped them and never came back. And I learned to love those people and to be concerned about them, because they are so sweet and so loving. And why we would kill a whole section of humanity, for that matter, killing any baby?
And Shirley and I live right near a Planned Parenthood clinic. And I drive by there on the way to work every day, and I see the cars that are out there. And my heart grieves for the mothers who are in there who are making a huge mistake, not just in terms of the value of the baby that's being sacrificed, but for the mothers themselves, because they've been told a lie and have been led to do something they will probably regret the rest of their lives and what they miss by not bringing those babies to term.
Going back to Lanterman Hospital in those days, 3,000 patients out there at the time. And that's a good hospital. I haven't been there in a long time, but there is a real caring atmosphere out there. But there wasn't enough staff time to go around, and all of these little children were so hungry for love. And I would walk onto one of the wards and maybe 30 kids would come running toward me with their arms up. And they were calling, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy." And they would almost knock me down with the press of these kids that so desperately needed love. Even for those, or maybe especially for those who are mentally disabled, they're like the rest of us. They need to be loved. And you know that, don't you?
Judy Squier: And I know that they're the teachers and the healers of our nation. That's what I've discovered about broken people, whether it's mental illness, emotional, social, physical, that God tucks His glory in those places. And so, it's-
Dr. James Dobson: You don't feel at this stage of your life deprived, shortchanged, insulted by life. You don't carry any of that today.
Judy Squier: No.
Dr. James Dobson: You're in a wheelchair. You cannot get out of there and run around and shop and do everything everybody else does, at least while walking. And yet, you're not unhappy over that.
Judy Squier: No. The joy of the Lord has made up for all of that.
Dr. James Dobson: I've said it twice. Now I'm going to say it for the third time. Judy, you're a very special lady and an inspiration to Shirley and me. And I appreciate so much you coming to be with us. Your two books, the first one is His Majesty in Brokenness. There's a photograph of you and your dad here on the cover. And it's written by Judy Squier, our guest today. Finding God's Masterpiece in Your Missing Piece. And the other book is Living in the Names of God. You said there are 18.
Judy Squier: There were 18 Hebrew names that showed up when David shattered his ankle and I needed help from above. And so, those have been my bulwark as I have journeyed through this life without legs.
Dr. James Dobso...: As a place to end today, and this is the second day, I would like you to speak directly to somebody out there who is today where you were, who feels worthless, who feels shortchanged by life, who feels maybe God doesn't even care. And what would you say to them if they were here?
Judy Squier: I would say that that is the reality that is defined by Earth. Yes, you are feeling insignificant. You are feeling unvalued. And what can you give to life? Can you make a difference? But Jesus Christ is cheerleading you on. And in Him, you are going to become His masterpiece. And I say, don't quit before the happy ending. The happy ending will come. And the punchline to me, my mom who was so wounded, knew before I was born that she wanted to name me Judy. She didn't know that Judy means praise. And so, it was her broken daughter who taught the whole family how to praise. And that's why it ends in joy. But it's still bootcamp going through it. But don't miss Jesus there in the pit with you. And He will bring you out and He will glorify not just His name but you in the process.
Dr. James Dobson: Judy, we're right down at the end of the program now, so this will have to be brief. But in addition to what you just did, I ask you to speak now for just a moment to the parents who have brought a less-than-perfect child into the world, and they're going through some similar pain. Talk to them.
Judy Squier: I feel with your pain, because I have mothered three children. And I have feared that they would have my disability even though I know there's such blessing from my disability. And so, first of all, I say I think God gives us lots of wobble room for fear, but He meets us in it.
I also know firsthand that my mom struggled more with my brokenness than I did. She stayed stuck and I progressed through it. So as a parent, you are probably feeling the brunt of it, but open your eyes and watch and see what that little life can do. Your child will break all records and there's no stopping that child. It's just God in us that causes us to do things differently, but surpass all opinions and all hopes.
Dr. James Dobson: Yeah.
Judy Squier: So wade through the pain. And the shame, give it to Jesus. Cry it out with Him. Shake your fists like my dad did. But know that it is going to be the most amazing child in your life. I've seen parents who cradle their broken child like they are cradling the Son of God. So let God bring you to that peace, and enjoy the journey.
Dr. James Dobson: Judy Squier, you've been a blessing to me today, an inspiration, and I'm sure to many others. Thanks for coming.
Judy Squier: I loved every minute of it. Thank you.
Roger Marsh: What mighty words, Judy, enjoy and take note of the journey indeed. That is a good reminder for all of us, and especially for the parents of children with special needs. I hope you've been encouraged by today's conversation featuring Judy Squier and our own Dr. James Dobson today here on Family Talk. If you missed any part of this two-part interview, as always, please visit our website at drjamedobson.org/familytalk to listen again, or you can easily share the broadcast with a family member or friend from that web address as well. Again, D-Rjamesdobson.org/familytalk.
Now, kids and grandkids are back in school, and there are many things parents and grandparents need to keep track of as they watch them continue to grow and learn. We're going to be helping out with homework. Maybe our younger ones, we're helping them to do something as basic as to tie their shoes. And trust me, don't blink. One minute, you're helping them tie their shoes or learn how to play soccer, and the next minute you're watching them defend their doctoral dissertation like I did for my daughter, Kaylee, a couple of months ago at Dr. Dobson's alma mater, at the University of Southern California. Fight on.
Maybe your kids are starting a milestone year of school and they're getting pretty independent. As you face the world together, some challenges that affect the world can be difficult to talk about, including the attack on gender. So if your child has a question about gender identity or a new situation arises, how should you respond? How can we as Christians effectively engage with and address the rising tide of transgenderism? Well, Dr. Owen Strachan has been a tremendous resource for the church in this area. He's the author of the book called What Does The Bible Teach About Transgenderism? He has a unique understanding of the complexities involved, and he has some insights that can help deepen your perspectives on this crucial issue.
Now, in addition to that resource, Dr. Strachan has collaborated with us here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute and compiled a wide range of helpful resources for you on this topic. To make it easy, we've designated a web URL just for this purpose. It's drjamesdobson.org/transgenderism. So to get this list from the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute and Dr. Owen Strachan, go to D-Rjamesdobson.org/transgenderism.
I'm Roger Marsh, and thanks so much for listening today to another edition of Family Talk, the voice you trust for the family you love. Be sure to tune in again tomorrow as our guest, Pastor Louie Giglio shares with us how we can see God as a perfect Father. You will not want to miss this outstanding presentation right here, next time on Family Talk.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.