Sunday, September 23, 2012

Judy Siegle

Note: Last week I introduced a new series called Turning the TapestryOnce a month I will be featuring a guest blogger who is connected to disability in some way to share how they have seen God at work in the midst of the challenges they face.  This month, I am honored to introduce you to Judy Siegle.  I hope you are encouraged by what she has to share. 

Jenny asked me to share a little bit about how I have seen God at work in the midst of my paralysis. Wow. Where do I begin? It was thirty-three years ago, the summer after I graduated from high school, that I was involved in the car accident that left me a quadriplegic. Life as I had known it came to a screeching halt!   Although I had faith in God, for the most part I had no idea what this was going to mean for my life. I discovered that going with God was to be the greatest adventure I could ever imagine!   

In addition to a spinal cord injury, I sustained a mild traumatic brain injury in the accident, which was a blessing. With my memory coming back gradually, there wasn't the sudden blow of being able-bodied one moment -- to looking at life in the wheelchair in the next moment. While my days were positive – my nights were interrupted with nightmares. I couldn’t understand what was going on, because I knew God was with me. So why the difficult nights?

Judy with her dad, "Dad taught me about the Father's love.  He is my hero!"

Through some words with a pastor, I learned that there were going to be many times that I would be frustrated and possibly even angry at God.  It was okay to cry.   God understands.  He told me to imagine God so close to me that I could beat on His chest with my anger. God could take it!  The conversation with the pastor totally ended my nightmares. In their place, I experienced God’s peace. Even though there was still a huge loss in my heart for several years, as I continued to share my thoughts and grow in my relationship with God -- even sometimes beating on His chest with my anger -- He healed my broken heart.

Over the years, God has taught me many lessons for life through my paralysis.

·         He gives me courage to step out in the development of myself, even though life is going to be very different than I had planned.  Never will I leave you…Heb 13:5
·         He gives me strength to develop my talents and abilities, which moves me from being a back-of-the-pack wheelchair racer to a two-time Paralympian and national record holder. I can do all things through Christ…Phil 4:13
·         He gives me purpose and passion to reach outside myself and serve others.  As a Chair Corps Rep for Wheels for the World, part of the disability ministry of Joni Eareckson Tada, I traveled to Romania, Egypt and Jordan on wheelchair distributions, and organized drives that have collected over 1250 wheelchairs.  One of my favorite weeks of the year is when I volunteer at Joni and Friends’ Family Retreat.  For I know the plans I have for you…Jer 29:11
On a trip to Egypt with a Wheels for the World distribution

It has been my striving for independence, as a quadriplegic, that has actually brought me to dependence on God. I have experienced that He is intimately involved in the details of my days and that when I am going with Him, absolutely nothing has to keep me down.  It is THE GREATEST ADVENTURE!

You can read more about Judy by visiting her Website:
Next month Turning the Tapestry will feature thoughts from Krista Horning.   


  1. I'm a bit confused; the phrase "quadriplegic" was used and yet I saw both arms being used in the YouTube video. Some form of partial paralysis in the arms?

  2. According the Wikipedia, it can be partial loss of the use of limbs. Read more here:

  3. Thanks for doing this post, Jenny!
    I love reading your blog. It is so encouraging!
    I enjoyed getting to know you at JAF camp!

  4. Judy's really the one to thank :) She told me this was her fist experience writing a blog post, but she did a really nice job! It energizes me to know this blog is encouraging for you to read. Thank you!