Thursday, September 29, 2011

Always Have A Plan B?

Left the house at 3:30 am today to catch a plane.
My day has been crazy.

While I always make up the plan as I go along, I always make Plan A, AND Plan B!
Let me explain how this took place today:

Plan A: Get on the connecting flight in Philly and fly to AZ.Follow all the rules for airline passengers and deplane in Phoenix.

Assault on Plan A: Back up in traffic pattern for the plane to take off and us sitting in the middle of the runway for an additional 30 min.

Plan B: Getting up when the flight attendants are stating to stay in your seat, breaking rules BIG TIME, because I had 2 cups of coffee AND a bottle of water prior to getting on the plane, AND I have delivered 7 children.

Plan A: Old friends from childhood times pick us up from the airport, we have lunch, then they drop us off at my sister's home in time for them to get their daughter from school.

Assault on Plan A: GPS cannot find my sister's address. We cannot locate my sister's house. It is getting late to pick up friend's child. Go to call sister, who is in Hawaii, on vacation while we are in AZ, and both mine and hubby's phones die. Don't know sister's phone number and since the phones are dead....

Plan B: Use Friend's cell phone to call younger son to get his Aunt's phone number. Call Sister, praying that she answers the phone while lying on the beach in Hawaii since this is a number on her caller ID she doesn't know. Talk to sister, find out hubby had address wrong. Call family friend of our friends to pick up their child who is now waiting, all scared and alone after choir practice. Find sister's house FINALLY. Realize we must call her back because alarm codes are in the dead phone's text messages.

Glad I had a Plan B today, or I would have been totally lost when Plan A took its frontal assault.

As I was giggling looking back on the "Three Stooges" kind of day I had, something occurred to me.

I most often get in trouble when I make a Plan B in my walk with Christ. Let me explain.

I pray and ask for wisdom and guidance for a certain situation. Then as I read God's Word and seek out Godly counsel, I get frustrated with God's Plan A. I just can't see how it could possibly work out. I can't make sense out of why He is taking through all the things that are going on.
So I revert to Plan B. MY Plan B.
That is where the trouble begins. I think MY Plan B is better than God's Plan A.

Isaiah 55:9
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.

When I am on the path and follow God's plan, there NEVER needs to be a Plan B!
It is all about knowing WHO He is, and trusting His Plan A!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Uh Oh, Tomorrow!!!!

It has been a very busy week.
A great week, but very, very busy.
We are having a revival at our congregation that started Sunday morning and will end, (the preaching by the guest speaker will end, not the revival), tonight.
Tomorrow morning my husband and I will fly to Arizona so he can preach his uncle's funeral. We will then fly back on Saturday to then attend a local event.
Like I said, VERY busy.
The first thing I thought of when I opened my eyes this morning was tomorrow.

We have to be at the airport at 5:30 am.
The airport is 90 min. from out home.
That means we have to leave at 4 am.
This translates to a 3am wake-up time, after a late night at the revival.
I began to worry, just a little, about the day tomorrow.
Oh and did I mention, we change two time zones, so we will have a VERY LONG day!

Then my daughter came in to do her quoting for Bible Bowl this morning, and she quoted this verse:

Matthew 6
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Wow! A message from God to me.
I have enough going on just to get through today!
I have people to minister to.
I have a family to get ready so I can be away for three days.
God has work for me to do, that I cannot get done, if I only worry about tomorrow!
SO today, I choose to be about my tasks at hand, not to be concerned over the schedule of tomorrow, and embrace and enjoy the precious gift of TODAY that God has given me.
I will also be prepared for the little bumps that will come with today, God said EACH day has it's own TROUBLE, so I am now prepared!

Thank you God for you words of love and encouragement to me today!!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Will A Sign Handicap My Faith?

You've heard them.
I've heard them.
A story about how something really silly kept someone from being part of the church.

Several years ago I wanted to get to know a widow lady better who seemed unhappy and possibly a little bitter. So, I set my bible down near where she always sat in HER PEW. I went around the room and greeted people as I always did, and came back top sit down, and my stuff was gone. I looked puzzled, and this lady replied,

" I moved your things up to the second pew where you belong. That is where you will be sitting."
Oh my, I could tell I had better not push the issue, or as I had been warned, she may get mad and not come back.

There was a clock on the wall in auditorium that drove my husband crazy. The reason it did was because at about 11:50 am, 3/4 of the congregation would begin to look at that clock on a regular basis. This was usually during the invitation. He knew that people were missing this important part of service where people were challenged to make a decision.
He mentioned it one day to someone. The next Sunday, the clock was gone and a picture of the Ten Commandments was in it's place. You would have thought Jesus himself had been removed. There were actually people who got mad and refused to come over the removal of a clock.

I heard a story this week that once again broke my heart. There was an elderly lady who always parked in the same place each week at the church building. As the congregation was growing, the preacher realized they needed a designated handicap parking space because there were some  people who needed it. The best place to put that was right next to the front entrance. Where this woman always parked. She drove in on Sunday, saw the sign, and then drove out. She called the preacher and informed him that when "THAT SIGN' was removed she would be back, but not before.

Each Sunday she would drive in the parking lot, see that sign and drive out. This went on for months. The preacher was at wits end. He asked opinions and finally he chose to move the sign and the woman came back.

This story makes me mad. It also breaks my heart. It also convicts me.
I never want to be that older person who has to have her way all the time. I never want to be that grumpy old lady that everyone walks on egg shells around. I never want to be the old woman that everyone sees as bitter and contentious.

My friend Debbie, who is also a preacher's wife, and I discuss this all the time. We see older people who are demanding, unwilling to let anything new happen and try to throw up a roadblock anytime they can. And we have promised each other that we would never become that way.

And then...
I complain because I don't like the way that thing is done.
I get angry because someone has a different view point on ministry than I do.
And I am convicted.

It starts early.
It sneeks in.
It is justified.

I never want a "sign" to handicap my faith.

But Satan does.

So today I choose to be convicted by Matthew Chapter 7.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Time to get a chainsaw out and make firewood out of this plank.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Sunday, September 25, 2011


For the soldier's wife this word means her hero will be in her arms again.

For the high school football player this word means one of the most important games of the year.

For a teenage girl this word means the chance to be crowned queen.

Today, at our southern church, this word meant 172 people came to worship together from all over several states. Some of these people have moved out the area and came back to visit. Some were invited by friends to come to our big celebration.
And Homecoming is a BIG celebration in a southern church.
We have been preparing for weeks.
We have cleaned.
We have purchased flowers, 58 mums to be exact.
And food. Oh my was there food prepared. A feast like no one will see this side of heaven.

And then my mind went there. Thinking about this day and wondering.
I love seeing people I haven't seen in a while. I love reuniting with old friends. It is usually a joyous time!
But Heaven. When we get to heaven the Homecoming there will make today pale in comparison.
But that really was not what I was thinking about.

Do we prepare each Sunday to have a joyous celebration because a person who is lost, comes home?
To a person without Jesus, that word means finding hope for the first time.

Every day has the potential to be a Homecoming.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How I Can Fix The Problem

I am a problem-solver by nature.
My personality is one that never sees a problem I don't think I can solve.
While I might be willing to admit, grudgingly, that there are some things out there beyond my control, it is hard to accept.

I am a mom. Moms fix things. Mom can do anything.
I am a wife. I can make the problems of the day disappear for my husband.
I am a preacher's wife. I can teach any class, that no one else wants to that is. I can settle down a disgruntled member. I can help a hurting person see the solution to a problem.
 I can fix lots of things.

Sometimes, I feel like all I am doing is problem solving. Fighting battles, some that are not mine. Using my energy to handle things that simply put, I am not called by God to fix.

What am I called to do?  There are many things, but as I was meditating on scripture this morning and really asking for wisdom, this is what I found.

Rom 12:16  Live in harmony with each other. Don't be arrogant, but be friendly to humble people. Don't think that you are smarter than you really are.
Rom 12:17  Don't pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you. Focus your thoughts on those things that are considered noble.
Rom 12:18  As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone.
Rom 12:19  Don't take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God's anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, "I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord."
Rom 12:20  But, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will make him feel guilty and ashamed."
Rom 12:21  Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil with good. 

There are somethings I think I need to fix or battle for, when in reality, God is calling me to
Live in harmony with others. (vs 16) I am to live in peace with EVERYONE. (vs 18).

Most importantly, and I must admit, this is where I really get hung up,
God is telling me NOT to take revenge or try to handle wrongs done. (vs 19)
God alone will handle it! It is HIS church. It can protect it, defend it and see that wrongs against her are avenged.

He actually asks me to love and care for those who are wronging it. (vs 20) This is how God is asking ME to FIX a problem.

Wow, who would have thought, that care, love and living peacefully was an answer to so much?

That's why He gave us His Word.
To see His heart,
so we could chase after it.

Chasing Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Friday, September 23, 2011

An Important Reminder

Just felt the need to be reminded today of WHO and WHY I do what I do! So, I re-posted this blog from October 2009 as a reminder to myself. I hope maybe you too will find it helpful!

Increase My Faith Lord! I Feel So Unappreciated!


All those meals I cook.
All those beds I make.
All those loads of laundry I do.
All those places I transport kids to.
All those hours spent cleaning the house!
All those times I clean the church building because no one else is signed up!
All those times I fill in as teacher to the children's classes because no one else will!

Do you ever feel under-appreciated? Ever feel like not doing what you do everyday because it really must not matter because it seems to be unnoticed?

I would be a liar if I said I hadn't felt like I had done more than my share and I should just quit because it is someone else's turn to step up and serve me!

I feel like Cinderella! Maybe I just need to increase my faith!

I read a passage about increasing my faith this morning and God came in the back door and "Gibb's slapped" me upside the head!

Read with me:
Luke 17:5-10  Then the apostles said to the Lord, "Give us more faith."
  The Lord said, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Pull yourself up by the roots, and plant yourself in the sea!' and it would obey you.
  "Suppose someone has a servant who is plowing fields or watching sheep. Does he tell his servant when he comes from the field, 'Have something to eat'?
  No. Instead, he tells his servant, 'Get dinner ready for me! After you serve me my dinner, you can eat yours.'
  He doesn't thank the servant for following orders.
 That's the way it is with you. When you've done everything you're ordered to do, say, 'We're worthless servants. We've only done our duty.'"

I am always asking God to increase my faith. I know that as my faith increases so will my trust and obedience grow. That's what the Christian walk is all about, right?

Funny thing I found this morning. Maybe you see it too.

Jesus tells the disciples if they only have enough faith to equal the size of a mustard seed, they will be able to uproot a tree with just their words.

( Those seeds are small! See them to the left of the pencil tip!)

I have some trees in my day to day walk that I would like to be able to move just by speaking! Digging them up gets tiring, and I am already exausted and doing plenty of other things!

Right after that, Jesus talks to them about being a servant. About doing what a servant is supposed to do. About a servant knowing who THEY are and WHO the master is.

The very last verse is where I really received my "Gibb's head slap". Here it is again;

He doesn't thank the servant for following orders.  That's the way it is with you. When you've done everything you're ordered to do, say, 'We're worthless servants. We've only done our duty.'"

Everything I do, is as a servant to Jesus, who is my master. If I sit around and wait to be acknowledged for doing exactly what God has called me to do, then I am out of line. 
God has created me to be a Christian woman to serve in the Church, in my home and in my community. I need to do what he has called me to do knowing that I am a servant.

It all comes down to humility. Know what else? If I am a servant with a servant's mind and attitude,and I am serving King Jesus, my faith will increase!

To quote Perry Noble: " You are only as deep as the last person you served".

Here's to knowing who I am and who I serve!

Chasing Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Stormy and Sweet Romance

Fabulous post from the Christian Standard that really sums up what a lot of people do, and few will admit!

A Stormy and Sweet Romance


Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Today is a special day.
Twenty-one days ago I took a challenge.
I was challenged to write a blog everyday for a month.
I have written for twenty-one days now.
It takes twenty-one days to change your behavior and establish a habit.
I am excited that I have been on track to achieve my goal of blogging everyday for the month of September.
In blogging everyday, I have gained a larger audience and the discipline to write each day.
As I have pondered this, I wonder what other new habits I need to form in my life.

I need to lose weight- I need to exercise for 30 min each day for 21 days.
I need to get my basement organized- I need to unpack one box a day for 21 days.
I need to grow in my personal relationship with Jesus- I need to do a personal study for 21 days.
I need to grow in my prayer life- I need to pray for 30 min each day for 21 days.
I need to make progress on the book I am writing- I need to work on book everyday for 21 days.

If I can make a habit of blogging, I can make a habit of these other things too.
I will choose to start praying and exercising for 30 min each day.
I wonder just how my life will be different at the end of the next 21 days.
I will let you know on October 12th!

What will you choose to make a habit of? How will your life be different 21 days from now?

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Good Eye

The eyes are our windows to our minds, our hearts and our souls.
What we look at affects who we are.
More importantly, what we look FOR, is the building block for how we perceive and are perceived by those around us. 
Matthew 6 (NIV)
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

As I read this verse, the first things that came to my mind were common to most people when thinking of looking at something bad.

Horrible Movies

Then I reread this verse several times and it occurred to me that it says that the eyes are a lamp. A lamp casts light. A lamp sheds light on things.

As I go through my day, WHAT am I looking FOR to cast light on? Am I searching out the wrong in people? Am I looking for all the bad things going on around me? DO I want to discover the awful side of situations or am I looking to cast the light on the beautiful?

If my eyes are only looking for the wrong, I can only be filled with darkness because that is all I see.
If my eyes, (and my heart), are looking for the good, the beautiful, the wonderful, then I will be filled with light because that is what I am looking for.

Jesus walked around on this earth seeing to the core of everyone's darkness in their soul. Yet He chose to see the good, praise and love on people instead of just seeing the darkness everywhere. And people LOVED to be around Him.
Have you ever met "Negative Nellie" who only sees things in the worst possible way? Not very fun to spend time with is she?

I want my eyes to be good and casting the light of Jesus everywhere I look. Darkness has taken too much already, I choose today not to be a part of it!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Monday, September 19, 2011

The New Addition

For nineteen years, when I said, "We have a new addition to the family", it meant that we had just brought home a new baby. For the last ten years we have had no new additions to the family.
Until today.
We have a new addition to our home as of today.
It is not a newborn baby.
It is my mother-in-love.
My husband's mother arrived today, to make our home, her new home.
You should know that my MIL is vibrant, healthy, and very independent.
She CHOSE to come live in our home.
And we CHOSE to celebrate this decision.
I am very excited, as is the rest of the family about our new addition.
Today, when she first arrived, she made a phone call to let someone know that she had safely arrived.
The words she spoke to that person made my heart sing with joy.
"I have arrived at MY new HOME!"
Sweetest words I heard today.
Welcome to the newest member of our home!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Words And Feathers

The power of words are underestimated by so many. Women use more words every day than men simply because we are made differently.

In my ladies bible class today we studied a scripture from Proverbs that was a good reminder and a warning about our words.

Proverbs 15 (NIV)
28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
   but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
 29 The LORD is far from the wicked
   but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

The mouth of the wicked gushes evil. That is a solemn reminder to watch our words. I shared a story I once heard a preacher tell with my class this morning. I do not remember where I heard it, but it really illustrates how we must watch what we say.

A woman was feeling very guilty about gossiping about someone in her community. She had really spoken badly about this person to numerous people. She went to her preacher and asked how she could fix the situation. The preacher asked if she was willing to do whatever it took to remedy the situation no matter how hard it was, and the woman enthusiastically agreed.
The preacher gave her these instructions; take a basket and fill it with feathers, then go and place a feather on each doorstep of every person you gossiped to, then come back and talk to me.
The woman was a little perplexed at the instructions, and a little overwhelmed because there were a lot of homes to visit, but she was willing to try to fix this problem.
That very afternoon she went and got the basketful of feathers and spent several hours traveling around the community putting a feather very carefully on each doorstep. As she was doing this very tedious task she was contemplating just how this could possibly fix the gossip issue.
When she finished she went to the preacher and asked how this fixed the situation. He told her she needed now to go back out and gather up all the feathers as quickly as she could and then come see him in the morning.
As she set out once again, a breeze started blowing. When she got to the first house the breeze had blown away the feather, it was no where to be found. The same thing was true at each house she went to, and she began to become frantic. 
She couldn't wait until morning, she went to the preacher's home in tears. "I couldn't get back any of the feathers, they all blew away! What can I do?"
The preacher with a knowing look said, " Those feathers are just like the words used to harm that other person, they can never be retrieved once they are said. They blow where they will, and can never be taken back."

This is such a poignant reminder, a word said can never be taken back.
My we never "gush" evil, but always weigh our words.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Makin' A Momma Proud

My youngest daughter brought me a "home edition" of her newspaper she had created. It was entitled "News Today". She was very proud of her creation.
This newspaper had a sports section featuring Miley Cyrus playing NFL football. An entertainment section all about a drama performance (that she was in) that has 1,000,000 people in attendance. An obituary for Justin Bieber, two recipes, a game page, advertising for a vacation spot, and a story on a national Bible Bowl  champion and his brothers. My favorite story however was her front page story, that I am sharing, with permission.

(The above picture was on the front page)

In a shocking turn of events these cuddly companions have revolted against the human race. The FBI has discovered robotic chips implanted in this line of popular stuffed animals. They suspect that terrorists are behind this. The government advises the public to get rid of ALL beanie babies by controlled fire or explosion.
More about this in the next issue.

I love see the creativity being cultivated in my daughter.
Now, off to burn some little stuffed animals.....and send flowers to Justin's mom, I wonder if he collected beanie babies...
(I think the little guy in the left bottom corner is the ring leader)

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Friday, September 16, 2011

Life Lessons

Thirteen years ago, on my oldest son's sixteenth birthday, a black lab mix puppy named Abbey was born. We brought her into out family and loved her.She quickly became my oldest son's dog.
Abbey had a litter of puppies. We kept a female, named her Milcah. She also a a litter of puppies and we kept a male pup. This puppy was always getting into places that required someone crawling on their belly in a crawl space under the house to rescue.So he was aptly named Trouble.
When Milcah was about three, she was unfortunately hit by a car and died. We were all very sad.
We have had many years with Abbey and Trouble. They have been part of our lives for a long time.
My oldest son, who will be twenty-nine in a couple of weeks, has moved on into adulthood and has his own home. My youngest son, who is ten, became Abbey's owner and caretaker. This has been a wonderful and loving relationship for several years now.
Abbey became ill a couple of weeks ago. She had some sort of cancerous disease. The last four days, she has gone downhill rapidly.
The family made the decision to care for her at home, not to put her to sleep, but to let nature take its course.
My youngest son has held water up to her mouth so she could drink several times a day. He has prepared special food for her and encouraged her to take bites. As she has wandered over our acreage, during the last few days, he followed her, watered her, made sure she was comfortable.
It was a beautiful thing to watch him care for Abbey in this way, without help, and without being told.
Today, with tears and shovel, he said his final goodbye, alongside his dad as he buried his dog.
His first lesson in death. I think he learned a lot about compassion and care.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Was I Thinking??

Saturday is going to be a fabulous day.
My husband and I are hosting an open house for the members of the new church we are serving. I moved in just a couple of months ago, and I want to be hospitable.
I love entertaining. I am really excited to have a large number of people in my home. There was an invatation to the entire county in the newspaper today to our open house.
Started baking with my daughter today. Major cooking begins tomorrow.
I am starting to feel just a little overwhelmed.
Then I unpacked a little book by Janet M. Congo, Julie L. Mask, and Jan E. Meier entitled,
" Time For Myself, Quiet Thoughts For Busy Women".
It was book marked on a page that had this scripture:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

The book then said this:
"Every calling-even to housework- is a holy calling if I am doing it for the Lord."

I was literally stopped in my tracks. Just when I thought I would never get it all done, I was reminded WHY I was doing it.
I am wanting to do life with the people pf my community so we can serve the Lord together. Every effort I put forth is NOT for me, but for Jesus.
So now that I have relaxed, blogged, and caught my breath, I think I see a box....

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Darkness Of Depression


Falling, falling, falling down a dark shaft, unable to see the bottom, unable to stop.
Profound loneliness but afraid to be with people.
Unable to get out of bed some days, other nights unable to sleep at all.
Finding no joy anywhere you look, no activity worth the effort, and yet, so desiring to have a purpose.

The above statements are just some of the ways people describe depression.  There are many, many more, too many to list on this, or any other blog.

My heart breaks for people suffering from the illness of depression. Their illness many times is very misunderstood.
They are told:
"Just get up and brush it off!"
" Look on the bright side."
"Things will get better."
"You could get better if you REALLY wanted to."
"If you loved God, you wouldn't be this way."

All of these statements are untruth. A clinically depressed person can no more, "Brush it off", than a person with appendicitis can take a warm shower to make the problem go away.

I have been touched by depression on a personal level, within my own family, and had many friends who have been affected by this ugly, relentless stalker.

I blog this today to really only say two things:
1. If you are depressed, GET HELP from a health care provider or qualified faith based counselor. Depression is an illness just like high blood pressure, a urinary tract infection or a heart attack! Please, please, please have the courage to ask for help. And know, there are people, like me, who love you.
2. Pay attention to those around you. If someone is depressed, treat them with love, support and respect. Don't judge. The last thing they need is to be rejected by someone who thinks they can cure depression with a simple change of mind. Help walk the person through whatever it takes to get them to the right person for the care they need.

Love like Jesus. Someone's life could depend on it!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cha Cha Cha Changes!!!!!

 It is rapidly changing seasons. I can see it all around me

The leaves are changing colors.
The kids are back in school.
The nights are cooler.
The pumpkins, straw, and scarecrows are replacing bright flowers in everyone's yard.

And things in my life are changing too.
I am serving the community around me with a new group of awesome women.
My family dynamics are changing with the arrival of my mother-in-love who is joining our family home permanently.
I am teaching and speaking again after a healing hiatus.

I am encouraged and excited for all the new CHANGES in my life.

My favorite quote is:
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." -Author Unknown

I am ready to have the things in my life that need to change to fall out of my life like the leaves are falling off the trees.
I don't just want what I've always gotten. I want BETTER!

To be more effective for God's Kingdom.
To be a better friend.
To use God's resources in a way that glorifies Him.

I want to be the woman God has called me to be!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
-2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Monday, September 12, 2011


I am thinking a lot about my sister today. Not because I am really jealous because she is sitting under an umbrella in Hawaii, but because today is her birthday.
So today, I honor Lara.
I was five years old when she was born. I still remember her coming home from the hospital. It was actually really beneficial for me. You see, I had been an only child for so long, my parents wanted to make me still feel special. So, every time my sister got a gift, well by golly, I did too! It was AWESOME!!

It was interesting, as we grew up, we actually grew apart. The years that separated us made a huge difference, especially during the adolescent years. I was out of our family home at the age of 17, and she was only 12. We had already really drifted apart because I was an outdoors, animal person and, well, she wasn't. We were as different as any sisters could be.

I married and moved across the country. I saw her very occasionally. But, as I grew and matured, I knew family was important. When she was expecting my beautiful niece, who turned 22 three days ago,  and contracted preeclampsia, I got on a plane and took care of her. It was an awesome day when my niece was born beautiful and healthy. Although my sister was not the best labor and delivery patient! Hence, Alicia being an only child!

After Alicia was born we had more in common. I had three children and now that she was a mom, we had lots to bond over. Then something happened. I still am unsure exactly what caused it, maybe lack of communication, or a hurt feeling, but once again, we drifted apart. Barely speaking to one another. For years this went on.

Then as quickly as it happened, one day we were once again sharing life. And it has been beautiful ever since. My sister and I are VERY different. We look at life differently. We live life differently. And yet, we are so similar, sometimes it is scary.

We tend to get together a couple times a year just to have fun. I live in the southeast and she lives in the southwest, so we really have to sacrifice to make this happen.
People can always tell when we are getting ready for a meeting. Thing 1 (ME) and Thing 2 (LARA) appear on our Face Book profile pics. We also begin to talk in Dr. Seuss rhyme.  It is worth everything we have to do to make it happen. 

I love my sister very much. I will do ANYTHING to protect our relationship.
After all, who else would I go the beach with and entertain the idea of yelling  "Help!" simply because there is a new class of (very young) life guards training just yards away.

Or, who else would go with her to help celebrate my niece turning 21, and being able to embarrass my niece beyond anything Thing 2 could do alone.

Or who would she call when she is missing her husband who is in the Navy and stationed over seas?

Or who would I call when my husband is diagnosed with cancer and I am feeling scared.

As everyone knows there is no Thing 1 without a Thing 2.
I would say to any out there with a sister. It is a special relationship. Take care of it. Get over the little things. Love one another. It is so worth it!

I love you Lara, and I am glad you are my sister!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How To Make Sure 9/11 Never Happens Again

 Like almost everyone else in our country and across the world, the main thing on my mind today has been the ten year anniversary of 9/11/2001. Remembering the horrible loss of life that so unexpectedly occurred in a blink of an eye on that fall morning that began like every other. But it didn't end like every other. Over 2900 people died that day. And no one felt safe in their own homes.

So today I say:
I am so sorry for your loss to those families who lost loved ones ten years ago.

I say thank you to the firefighters who ran to all three scenes, and lost their lives trying to save others.

I say thank you to those firefighters who made it out alive. And I am sorry you have a horrible image that only one who was up close that day knows of, that comes into your mind when you close your eyes every night.

Thank you to the police officers that went above and beyond their job duties to try to protect the people from an enemy they could not be prepared for.

I say thank you to our military who have been at war for ten years now. For those who have died, I owe a debt to your families I cannot repay. To those who have returned home, thank you for your sacrifice of time that you can never get back with your loved ones. I know many of you return with scars that cannot be seen on the outside, but run very deep.

But I have a message now that is only for the Church. If you serve King Jesus, the answer to the issue of how to stop the death and tragedy lies within you.

You see, we need to realize that the government cannot stop the terrorists.

The soldiers are not able to keep terrorists from being. They can do their very brave best to keep them from attacking us. And they will continue to die to keep you safe. But they cannot keep people from becoming terrorists.

The police officers can work with the government to try to make sure they enforce the laws, but they will mostly still just continue to clean up the messes the terrorists make.

The firefighters will continue to respond to the effects of terrorists, but they cannot stop them.

You CHURCH do have the only thing that can stop terrorists. The only thing that will keep someone from becoming a terrorist.

The life changing message of Christ, The Gospel. The Good News.

Only when we, as the church, step out of our safe comfort zone, and share the most powerful thing on this earth will there ever be a hope of there not being another atrocity like we experienced ten years ago.

Only Jesus' saving grace can stop someone from choosing to kill for darkness and turn them into a shining light that dispels darkness from the world.

So church, the first responders and the military are willing to do their part, what are you willing to do?

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'd Like A Super Taco Please

Jack in the Box.
A childhood memory. A very GOOD childhood memory.

Not the toy, but the fast food restaurant. Oh how I long for a "super taco". Those aren't even on the menu anymore. They do still have tacos though. And the Jumbo Jack with cheese. Maybe the Ultimate Cheeseburger. And lest I forget, onion rings!!!

Depending on where you live, you might be thinking, "What's the big deal?'.

I have lived on the East Coast since 1987. The furthest east there is a Jack in the Box is St. Louis, Mo. Many, many, MANY years of it only being a very occasional treat when visiting AZ.I craved "super tacos" when I was pregnant. I loved, loved, LOVED that restaurant!

Thursday night, I came into ST. Louis about 11:00pm.

And there it was, the sign!
It was like an angelic choir began singing.

My husband smiled, and asked, "Do we stop?"

Now the dilemma.

I had already eaten.

It was late.

 To save money, we had packed food, for our trip so we would only have 1 meal out.

I have been working REALLY hard on losing weight' and this was NOT a health food stop.

Hubby asked again, "Do we stop?" After all, it IS the first stop we make after getting off the plane in Phoenix.

I realized I must depend on the return of discipline to get me through this moment.
So I said no. Keep driving.

Then we passed another. And another. AND ANOTHER! Actually five in total that I said "NO!" to, as we drove.

And it felt good.

A very close friend of mine and I came to a conclusion several years ago. Every issue we have, from the spiritual to the physical, has to do with discipline or lack thereof.

Money Issues- The discipline to not spend more than we make, and only make wise choices to get out of debt or not to incur debt.

Weight Issues- The discipline to not eat what is unhealthy, and over-eat, and to choose to make time for exercise.

Spiritual Issues- The discipline to read God's Word and pray daily, and trust and obey what we have read.

Housekeeping- The discipline to clean and pick up daily, sometimes hourly, or just as we see things that need to be handled instead of putting them off.

Raising Children- The discipline to be consistent, and present, and adhere to the biblical way of doing things when the world view is more popular and seems easier.

Discipline. For now, it is residing with me. No Jack in the  Box.


It will be what's for dinner tonight. But that is ONE meal, instead of what would have been 4 by now.

What in your life could change if you let discipline return, or show up for the very first time in that area?
 Your waistline, bank account, or even your eternity might just look very different!

"Simply let your "Yes, be yes", and your No, No." Anything beyond this comes from the evil one." Matthew 5:37 (NIV)

Give discipline a try.

Chasing After Their  Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Swamp

In 2000, my husband took his first located ministry in Roper, NC. It was right in the middle of the swamp and had mosquitos so big they could carry off a mini van. There were bears, water mocassins, and did I mention the mosquitos?
I would return in a New York minute!
Not for any of the reasons that are listed above, definitely NOT the mosquitos, but for the people. 
There in that little swamp of North Carolina, are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I was loved there in that little town. And I could love the people there as well. 
Of all the people that I fell in love with, one stands out just a little more than others.  He is Norman Furlough. I loved him like a father. He loved me like a daughter. He made me laugh and he made me cry.

My favorite memory of living there was when we were roofing the parsonage. It was really cold outside and many men came and went working on the roof. Norman was there EVERY day. One day I looked out of my window, and saw a sign that said, "Will work for coffee!", written on cardboard. Norman's face peeked around from behind the sign and smiled. 
There are many others there I love too. I get to go back and visit occasionally. I always say if I ever have a crisis in my life, Roper, North Carolina is the first place I want to run to. 

The sad part is, I have to wait until heaven to get to see Norman again. You see, Jesus came to take him home a couple of years ago. I miss him, but returning to see him one day on the streets of gold instead of the streets of Roper, is something I am anxiously awaiting!

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Betrayal Returns


It seemed to permeate everything I read this morning. It shouldn't surprise me. Betrayal is everywhere.

I talk to women everyday that feel betrayed. By husbands. By children. By friends. By employers. By the church. Some betrayals are deeper than others, but betrayal is still, just that, betrayal.

So what do you do when your husband betrays you?
When a child betrays your trust?
When the church, that is supposed to show God's love and truth, betrays you?

Run to Jesus. He has been there.

Mar 14:18  While they were at the table eating, Jesus said, "I can guarantee this truth: One of you is going to betray me, one who is eating with me!"
Mar 14:19  Feeling hurt, they asked him one by one, "You don't mean me, do you?"
Mar 14:20  He said to them, "It's one of you twelve, someone dipping his hand into the bowl with me.

A close friend, one that Jesus hand picked, one he has shared three years of his life with. Betrayed him. And for all those three years, Jesus knew the betrayal was coming.
He loved him anyway.

Ok, Ok, so Judas HAD to betray Jesus for the plan. Maybe, maybe not. But just in case you need something else.

Mar 14:29  Peter said to him, "Even if everyone else abandons you, I won't."
Mar 14:30  Jesus said to Peter, "I can guarantee this truth: Tonight, before a rooster crows twice, you will say three times that you don't know me."
Mar 14:31  But Peter said very strongly, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never say that I don't know you." All the other disciples said the same thing.

But Peter did just that. Betrayed Jesus that very night. All the other disciples ran away. In his darkest hour, those closest to him, left him alone and betrayed.

So what does this mean for you?

When you are betrayed by those closest to you, you get one step closer to being like Jesus.
That's what the purpose of life is to be, right? Become more like Jesus and point others to him.

So what do you do when you are betrayed? Let's let's see what Jesus' last words were after his betrayal:

Luk 23:34  Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they're doing."

It all lies in forgiveness.

Who do you need to forgive in your heart today? Talk with the One who has been there, then do it. There is a new day waiting for you free from the bondage betrayal puts on us.

You can beat betrayal with love and forgiveness.

Jesus did.

Chasing Their Hearts,

Glenda Johnson

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What Did He Say?

Living in a new area and a new culture takes some getting used to. Somethings are more difficult than others to adjust to.

I have decided that I will continue to look for the positive things that make it wonderful to be in our new home.

While shopping at a new grocery store, I experienced something that I thought was long gone in our world today.

I had finished my shopping, and to be honest, I was a little exasperated. Finding items in a new store can be frustrating. Looking for the brands you are used to, figuring out  how the store sales work, it can just be overwhelming.

I walked up to the check out line, and had one person in front of me. The clerk was doing as much chatting with the customer as he did ringing up of groceries. Have to admit, I was a little irritated. After all, my time was being wasted. You see I had moved from an area in the east where everyone is at a fast run all the time!

This was unacceptable!

My turn FINALLY came, and the young man said, " How are you today?"
I just smiled a little with my head down as I continued to put my groceries on the belt. Where I came from, that is just a greeting by cashiers as they begin to check you out. An answer is NOT expected.

Then I noticed that this young man was not ringing me up yet. He was looking at me, now making eye contact. As I looked at him, he repeated, "How are you today?" And he waited for an answer.He really wanted to know.

I answered and then began a delightful conversation with this young man. You know, as much chatting as checking...

It was refreshing to have a young man, (17-22), who was polite and caring. He had obviously been raised in a home, and a culture where this type of behavior was emphasized and encouraged.  It was lovely, and made me glad to be living in this community.

As I walked away, he said, "Honey have a great rest of your day. Please come see us again real soon!" And he meant it.

I thought, he called me "honey", how sweet.

Then I realized, people, including me, tend to call older women "honey".....hmmmm...

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Déjà vu Returns


I am having ANOTHER colonoscopy tomorrow. I had one in 2002, and apparently, the doctor thinks I need another one. So my day today has been filled with a joyous cuisine, that really is only staying with me about 30 seconds. This is entirely due to the "magical water" I drank at 10am today. Only one hour before I get to drink more "magical water" .

The event that topped it all off today was the nurse that called to tell me what time to be there tomorrow. "Why?', you might ask. Well, let me digress just a moment. I am a preacher's wife. The nurse is a member of our congregation. For me it is Déjà vu.

Why is it that my husband tends to be called to serve God where the nurses all work in the colonoscopy department??

So I decided to rerun my blog post about this very thing. Enjoy. And Stacey, if you are reading this; I really actually feel much better knowing you will be with me tomorrow!


The Secret Life of a Preacher's Wife- The Test

My name is Glenda.
I am a preacher's wife.
And I have a secret.
As a matter of fact, I have a secret life, that only God and other preacher's wives see.

And I am going to give you a peak inside.
Everything I am about to say, is the truth. (Though my friend, and fellow preacher's wife Mandy Richmond says you won't believe it!)
I hope if you are reading this and you are married to the man in the pulpit, you will get a chuckle and know you are not alone.
If you are not married to the man in the pulpit, (please don't desire to be, but that's another blog post) I hope you get a glimpse of the life of the woman that is probably sitting alone on the second pew.

So here we go.

My husband preaches that we are not to just read and know scripture, but to live it out. This is about the day Romans 7:15 became my nemesis.

My husband was preaching is a small southern town. I mean population of 2000 and that includes counting the college students that they lump together with this towns population. And the college has 1000 students. So that leaves about 1000, (and I think they are counting flies) to establish small.
I loved that congregation. Lovely people. We knew everybody in town. And everybody in the Church.

So the stage is set. For my colonoscopy.

Now most you, if you have to have this test done, you make an appointment, show up, get some feel good medicine so you don't remember, wake up, talk to your doctor and go home.

For me it goes like this; I make my appointment. The head nurse of that unit tells me on Sunday, "Oh I see you are coming to see me next week!".
Ugh. Remember, this is a colonoscopy.
The day arrives, I go back and  am introduced as the preacher's wife. Patient hat comes off, Preacher's wife hat comes on. I greet and chat with everyone in the room as I am prepped. Don't know why I changed hats, no one was looking at my head! Ugh.
The nurse member of our congregation gives me something to make me forget what is going on. As I am getting this medicine I am told I will be awake, I just won't remember anything.

This is where you and I might differ some. I begin praying fervently, "Lord, please let me be nice. Please don't let me say anything that might not be appropriate. Please let these women see Jesus (although I was sure they WERE NOT going to find Jesus where they were looking at that moment)!

Sometime during my procedure, the meds starting wearing off, and I began a conversation in my head with myself that went something like this:
"Oh that hurts"
"This really needs to stop NOW"
"Ok, be nice Glenda. be careful, don't say anything you shouldn't"
"Ok ladies this needs to stop"

I then said quietly to the nurses, "Umm, ladies, excuse me but that hurts." They looked at me , rolled me over to my other side and started pushing on my tummy. Not the response I was looking for.

Then Romans 7:15 comes into play.
 "I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate."
In my head again, " This has to stop now or I'm going to take someone out!!"
"Jesus, God, Church, Husband is the preacher."
"Ok say it louder, but nicely!"

I spoke aloud again. Quite loudly to make sure they heard me this time.

"LADIES! This really MUST stop now. I have had quite enough!"

My nurse who goes to our church, must have heard me then because she came up to where my head was, and gave me some more meds because the next thing I remember is waking up with my husband and the doctor.
I started to get panicky because I wondered if I was rude, or mean to the nurses. After all, a preacher's wife cannot do that!

I saw my nurse at church the following Sunday, and I asked her, " Was I rude or mean to you or your staff when I had the test done?" She was confused at the question but said no. I then recounted my conversation with her and she looked horrified.
"You aren't supposed to remember that!"
I smiled at her,winking and said, "That's ok, there are a few things from that day I hope YOU don't remember!"

Such is the "Secret Life of a Preacher's Wife".

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson


Monday, September 5, 2011

Have You Told Someone They Are Beautiful Today?

 The earthquake of January 12, 2010,  had totally wiped out anything standing in this already poverty stricken area of Haiti. We were at a school there that served these very poor children. One of the Pastor's wife teaches there on a daily basis. She loves these kids, points them to Jesus, and helps them to learn to read and write. We came there to do what is called the "Popcorn Ministry".  We brought a plastic contractor's trash bag FULL of popcorn to this school.

We then went out through the village and handed out food and other needed items to the people and invited all the kids to come to the school for some fun.

We easily had 70 kids in a big circle. They were led in songs by their teacher and one of the other local pastors. Then one of our preachers, through a translator told the story of Daniel and the lions den. Charles did a great job. Then we handed out popcorn to the kids. They all had a great time.

As the kids were hanging out still in this big circle, I took picture of the kids. I always ask before I take anyone's picture, simply out of common courtesy. These kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have their picture taken. They also LOVE to have you show them the picture on your camera.

Then I met Melinda. She was a little girl who was about 8 or 9 years old. She shied away from me and hid her face. As I looked closer I could see she had some kind of issue with her skin. When asked if I could take her picture she said no and pointed to her face. I saw a young girl who was in pain from  being made fun of, and feeling ugly. As I looked at her, I told her she was, "bel" which is beautiful in Haitian Creole. She relied with no! No Bel!

Then she ran and hid behind some other children. My heart was breaking for this precious little girl. As I watched her, she never smiled. I kept feeling the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go and speak to her again. I took the young preacher there with me so he could interpret.

I knelt down in front of this image bearer of God, and with help from the interpreter, I told her,
"Jesus made you. He only makes beautiful things. He wanted me to tell you, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. He loves you very much. I love you too, because you are such a beautiful creation of His!" And then I walked away.
A few minutes later she returned to me, and had a smile on her face and was speaking very fast. I could not figure out what she was saying. The preachers wife standing close by said,"She is saying she loves you very, very much." Then Melinda said something I understood very well, "Photo!" and pulled me close indicating she wanted a picture taken with me!

A very simple thing. Telling a young woman she was beautiful. It made all the difference to her. Forever.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecc 3:11a (ESV)

Is there someone that needs to hear they are beautiful today? Seek them out. Share with them. They will never be the same.
Neither will you.
Melinda and her smile is forever part of my heart.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Do You See What I See?

He approached the front of the auditorium this morning with his guitar.It has been a long time since he has stood in this same place.  As he began to read a scripture and then pray, I was deeply moved. He began to lead the congregation in the first song, then the next, the voices began to rise and this worship leader did what he is so uniquely gifted to do. Using his musical talents, and showing his love for Jesus, the congregation was blessed by an awesome time of worship.

But, do they see what I see?

Can they see beyond the talented man standing before them, to what is really happening right before their eyes. Do they get what happened this morning, or do they just appreciate the wonderful sound?

Not too long ago this very man made some poor choices. Committed a crime, and went through some very tough times. Very public tough times. His story does not stop there. He paid the consequences for his actions. He returned to Jesus. He repented publicly and asked for forgiveness. He changed his ways. His family has been healed.

Do you see what I see?

This morning was not about a man returning as the worship leader.

This morning was about what God is all about. It is the story of Jesus. It is the story of how someone messed up really bad. How Jesus forgave him. How a church family showed grace and forgiveness as Jesus has called them to do.

Do you see what I see?

I see grace flowing freely, not just being academically talked about.

And it is beautiful.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Fabulous Return To Simple

The thunder and lightening came rolling across the mountains.  The clouds began to pour out much needed rain on our dry mountain peaks and the valleys that surround them.

And then, the one thing we all dread; the power disappears with the latest crash of thunder. No lights. No internet. No stove.

Now what? The time to prepare dinner was rapidly approaching.  I had steak marinating, potatoes to cook and a veggie to serve.  I had 2 choices:

My husband thought I had lost my mind because it was raining. I explained that it was just "spitting" outside now, and we needed to get the charcoal started.

Out on the grill, as I put my cast iron skillet on the grill to cook the potatoes, and waited as the coals became just right for the steak, something amazing happened.

My entire family gathered outside, and we laughed, played football, loved on the dogs, and watched the the storm clouds and lightening in all its glory. No one asked to play a video game. No one commented on a television program. No one desired to use the computer. (Except me, because I needed to write my blog).
We were unplugged! And it was nice for the couple of hours that it continued. We got to have some family discussions on how this was really close to the way most meals would have been cooked many years ago. A simpler time in many aspects.The kids really were enjoying the change of pace.

Gathered together, cooking dinner together, made me yearn for more, less tech driven time with my family.  I will make that happen.  I will not wait for the lights to go out before our family makes a return to a simpler way of life, and just enjoys being together.Quite possibly french toast on the grill tomorrow morning...:)

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson