Mississippi – My name is Julie Johnson and this is part of my God story.
I was asked to share my testimony. I don’t know how to adequately go about this. How does a saved sinner living by faith explain in a few words how infinitely faithful GOD has been your entire life?
From my earliest childhood memories, I believed in GOD. I loved singing the church hymns and did so with gusto! I attended church with my grandmother and walked the aisle during one of those old-time revivals where you had morning and night services. I was baptized and continued to attend church a while longer. I began to date, my parents divorced and I don’t exactly remember where or when I forgot about GOD. Time passed, I married young and would attend church off and on. It was when our son was around two years old and I wanted so much to be a good mother that I began taking him to church.
One of those morning services, the pastor was preaching on the Holy Spirit. I realized I did not have what he was preaching about. When I walked the aisle that day it wasn’t a “heard about GOD relationship,” it was a personal “I know HIM now for myself relationship.” I can truly say I haven’t lived one day without HIM since.
At that point in my life, I had no clue how fathomless GOD is. I’m still in awe of the vastness and scope of HIS great love and mercy. I can truly say I have never let go of HIS hand and HE has never failed me. Even the times my grip was a little weak, and my walk less graceful, HE never let go or missed a step. Great is HIS faithfulness regardless of me.
I faced the normal challenges of life as a wife and mother. Survived the teenage years. We had a very extended time of caregiving with several of our family members. Around five years ago, I began to face some health challenges personally. It began with undiagnosed fatigue and weakness. I visited several doctors with no clear or specific diagnosis. I tried eating healthier, exercising more, taking vitamins and supplements, all the while praying and believing in healing. I even had a short stay in the hospital. That was in August. By December I could walk only a few steps without stopping. I had some lab work done, the next morning the clinic called and told me to get to the hospital. I had to have four units of blood. I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had surgery, which went extremely well.
A few days later I was on my way to get new tires on my car before beginning my six months of chemo. For several years I had heard of eagle sightings near the river where we live. I had mentioned to GOD quite a few times I sure would love to see one! Just as I was crossing the river bridge, to my left an eagle flew up and over me. I knew it was my own personal sign from GOD. So, I got my tires, I got my port, I got my first chemo. Then I was lying in bed the Sunday after my first treatment, so sick, asking GOD how on earth can I do this, if it’s this bad first thing? I put on the DVD How Great Is Our God, trying to get my focus off how awful I felt. Not far into the DVD here came my favorite scripture, Isaiah 40:31. GOD would consistently use this over and over to remind me HE was with me, and we were in it to win it! Several times, I received get well cards in the mail with Isaiah 40:31.
Not far into the chemo, I fell down a flight of stairs and shattered my shoulder while on a prayer partner friend retreat. I truly believe my surgeon was chosen specifically by GOD. A friend gave me another eagle to add to my collection. My journey continued along. I was doing physical therapy for my shoulder and taking chemo. A friend took me to one of my appointments, and afterwards to see an eagle’s nest with baby eagles in it. I could literally feel the prayers of my family and friends undergirding me through it all. There were also all those gifts of delicious food, everything from kale salad to chocolate pie. Finally, another friend took me when my chemo pump came off for the final time.
I can remember during the caregiving years, wondering how well I would handle being sick, because I was such a wimp. I never even had my ears pierced! I am living proof GOD’s grace is sufficient! I came through that season, and my follow ups are cancer free! But three years later my blood pressure began to escalate. This rocked on and it kept climbing and I couldn’t get it down. I had my husband take me to the hospital, but because of Covid, my husband couldn’t stay. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t communicate. Then GOD told me all things work together for good. I cannot express with words the peace I felt.
I was diagnosed with a stroke, caused by a blood clot. I was given a blood thinner that has to be given within a specific time frame. I immediately began to get movement and speech back. When I left the hospital, I had no lingering side effects. During these past five years there have been other health issues along the way that I won’t even bother to give honorable mentions. I don’t want to focus on the negatives – only the positives of being the daughter of a good, good FATHER! Several times I had people pray over me and say don’t fear, and each time I would question that, because I didn’t feel afraid. I didn’t like it, and the best way I could explain it was that the whole thing had been a major inconvenience. It was during Bible Study one day it clicked. My fear had been that, faced with a serious enough trial, I would disappoint GOD. I knew HE would never let me down. I was afraid I would let HIM down.
I look forward to all HE has in store for all of us in the days ahead. I have been gifted several more eagles to add to my collection, but most importantly I look forward to soaring above the storms to come. To GOD be the glory always! “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Written By Julie Johnson
Contributing Editor – Robbie Watson