Roy continued to attend church and one day when Pastor Craig asked if there was anyone out there who wanted to give their lives over to Jesus Christ, in tears my husband accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I truly believe that it’s a miracle that God can put a marriage back together again. If anyone had told me that I would trust my husband again and that I would fall in love with him all over again, I would never have believed them. We were married shortly after that, after counseling with Craig and just before the birth of our precious little girl Taryn, who’s now 15 years old.
I look back on that time when that bold lady came up to me in Colorado and suggested I pray that prayer asking God to change my heart towards my husband and I’m so thankful for her today. And I wonder if I’d have the blessings I have in my life today, if I hadn’t prayed that prayer with her that day.
The Lord really grew us up in those next few years here at Hope Chapel, with great friends, great teaching, Craig, bible study at Phinny Patterson’s and the Berrara’s house, fellowship in Koinonia groups, and Logos with Jason. And I believe we have a wonderful marriage now. I believe it is because we have our lives centered around the Lord. It’s not perfect and it’s not without problems but as it says in Ephesians, we try not to let the sun set on our anger. We’re both very stubborn people. We can stay up very late before one of us will turn to the other and go, “OK, I’m sorry”! But we do it. We try to be good stewards of all the blessings that God has given us. Proverbs 3:9 says to honor the Lord from your wealth. We try to grow in the Lord through fellowship with other Christians, our church, through bible study, and through praying together. I honestly feel that one of God’s greatest gifts in marriage is the ability to pray together as husband and wife.
We’ve been married twenty years now and the Lord has also blessed us with identical twin boys, Matthew and Adam, who are now 14 years old. And those two daughters that I was so at odds with in the beginning of the story are now integral parts of our family, along with a wonderful new son-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter named Meghan.
We moved from Hawaii and we’ve been living on a farm now for just about 9 years. And this farm has proven to be just an incredible blessing for us because, not only has it given us a chance to get closer as a family, but I truly believe it’s given us a chance to get to know God better. Do we have any farmers in the group? A couple. Well, you may know, but I didn’t know—I raise sheep—did you know that every sheep is different, every single sheep? I can tell you which of my sheep is ornery, which one’s real sweet, which one’s gentle, which one’s greedy, which one you never want to turn your back on. And I think of all the times in the bible that God calls us His sheep. He doesn’t see us as a flock. He sees us as individuals just as I see my sheep and He desires for us to be close to Him.
I consider my life now complete. I no longer look for things to make me happy, because they never did and they never will. I start my day, everyday, with God. I heard someone one time say that she gets up and reports for duty and I kind of like that. So I think of myself as getting up and reporting for duty. I start with praise and thanksgiving and then I ask for forgiveness for anything in word or thought or deed that might have been displeasing to God. And then I ask, everyday, that I might be used by God. I have a favorite scripture, Psalm 118:24: “This is the day that the Lord hath made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Our yesterdays are behind us and our tomorrows are truly in His hands but He commands us to rejoice and be glad in today.
Our priorities have completely changed. For, our life goal now is to have our children, and our family and our friends all walking with the Lord because it means the difference of eternal life with God. We’re all going to spend eternity somewhere. The question is whether you’re going to spend it with God or without God. I find that to be a very humbling responsibility but I also believe, as it says in the bible, that all things are possible through Christ Jesus because He is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life in my life today.
September 10th I lost my dad. When I got that call on an early Friday morning, I was just totally broken hearted. But I believe the bible is the inspired word of God and it says in the bible that our days are numbered in the Book of Life. And so I know that I know that I know that in Heaven that morning, Heaven was rejoicing, saying, “Olie Johnson’s coming home! He’s coming home!” And you see none of us in this room knows when our number is up in that Book of Life.
One of the reasons I accepted an invitation to come and speak today was to encourage you to see what an incredible difference Jesus Christ could make in your life if you’ve never let Him be a part of it. And, in a room this size, there’s just bound to be someone who is like me. Perhaps you grew up in the church. Perhaps you were part of a choir or maybe you were a part of a youth group. However, until today, maybe you didn’t realize that to truly be a child of God, to truly know that you are going to spend eternity with God, you have to take that first step. You have to ask Jesus Christ to come in and be a part of your life.
If you’re heart is being tugged on this morning, that maybe you haven’t made that decision, I want to encourage you to pray a prayer with me right now, the prayer that I prayed with Gretchen years ago. If you feel inclined to pray with me, would you pray silently along with me as we pray this prayer together. Would you bow your heads. Dear Lord, I need you and I thank you for dying for me. I open that door of my life and I ask you in as my Lord and as my Savior. Thank you for forgiving me and thank you for your promise of eternal life with you. And Lord, now make me in to the kind of person that you would have me be. In your precious name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with a quote from Billy Graham. He was once asked how he’d like to be remembered. He replied, and I believe they’re words to live by, “Number one, that I followed God. Number two, that I had God’s integrity in every area of my life. And, number three, that I truly lived what I believed.” Thank you.
Thank you for listening to my life story today. If you prayed that prayer with me for the very first time, may I share with you some thoughts on how to continue your spiritual journey? I strongly encourage you to begin reading God’s word daily. A good place to start might be in the gospel of John. Secondly, I want to suggest that you find a good bible-teaching church and then attend there on a regular basis. And third, pray. Pray daily and be open and honest with God. He loves you and he knows what you’re going through. And finally, when Jesus died on that cross, He was basically saying, “I would rather suffer a painful and horrible death, then to live eternity without you.” So, you see, he desires to have every person come to a saving relationship in Him. So, remember to share your decision for Christ with others and may God bless you as you continue your spiritual journey. Thank you.