staff_b_color_stacie_johnson

Born in New Orleans and raised in a military family, I have always been a bit of a gypsy.  As a college student I planted myself at Louisiana State University for 4 years, where I started a forever changing relationship with the God of the Bible.  With the help of some friends and a woman named Amy, I began to discover the God who created me, rescued me from my moral sickness and called me to a life surrendered to His purposes.

The next ten years included full time vocational ministry where I learned to live in His care as a single woman working on financial ministry support.  No two days were the same.  No two paychecks where the same.  I had a deep longing for marriage, but with every passing year, it looked as though God’s plan for my life would exclude the fulfillment of this desire.

This would become perhaps the most fruitful lesson of my life.  Can I love life if even my deepest longings go unfulfilled?

By the age of thirty, I found myself living in New Orleans again, training medical students to engage their world with the gospel and taking a few seminary classes with an ever growing desire to teach.  Then the unthinkable.  Hurricane Katrina landed on my front doorstep.  My ministry to medical students shifted to serving my beloved city in disaster relief work.  Gutting homes and praying with residents became my daily existence.  Life started from scratch.  No income. No school.  No certainty.  Still, no husband.  Only two things were certain… God’s faithfulness was not in question and I was not alone.

The winds of Katrina blew my course the southern California and a seminary degree in the the philosophy of religion and ethics at Talbot School of Theology.  These were glorious years of discovering the richness of God’s creation and character.  I was forever changed by the generosity of a family that took me into their home and made me a member of their family.  I saw life lived with Jesus up close, for all of its joys and challenges.

Then an offer for a PhD program in philosophy led me to Tennessee.  Thirty five, still single, and I was just beginning to discover how my life intersected God’s plan for His world.  It was here, at the foothills of the smokey mountains, I would meet my soon to be husband.  Andy was unexpected and challenging.  Did I want to give up the life God had taught me to love?  Marriage, once believed to be the easiest decision I would ever make, became the hardest and best.  Over the next 5 years, I would know the goodness of God in the birth of our daughter and the two difficult miscarriages that followed.

I would also come to learn the irony of God, when he called me to join the staff of a local church.  I never thought I would work for a church.  After all, as I told my husband, “Churches don’t make disciples… they build buildings.”  God would laugh as I ate my words, learning from people who love Jesus, His word and strive to bring the Gospel to the lost and broken.  I am still learning, growing, partnering with God in His work and loving life, thriving in His goodness.