By Laurie Winslow Sargent (with encouragement from Shelly E. Johnson):
I’m finding God in the lovely music ministry of Shelly E. Johnson, including her hit “All Things Beautiful“.
Shelly E. Johnson is a LifeWay Christian musician who recently signed with Maranatha. I asked Shelly to share with us at Finding God Daily bit of her life story. I’d heard she’d felt a calling on her life to ministry as young as a teen, after her father died.
I asked Shelly how that tragedy impacted her faith in God. She wrote this heartfelt response:
“I’ve always been a very literal person, straight-forward, logical, practical. I think about things in terms of black and white, what makes the most sense, and I was even more this way as a 14-year old.
” In those short fourteen years, I watched other people in my life go through difficult things. Some of those people became angry at God and turned their back on Him and ran as far away from Him as they thought they could. That never ended up being a good thing for them. It always seemed to make things worse. Running from God and depending on self only intensified their pain, their anxiety, their struggle.
“But the people I knew who faced difficult circumstances and, in those circumstances, chose to trust in God, to seek Him, to worship Him, those were the ones who found peace and comfort and were able to best cope with their situation.
When I found myself as a 14-year old in this awful circumstance of watching my sweet, strong, healthy daddy who I loved so very much begin to wither away to nothing right before my eyes, I did what made the most sense to me. I ran straight to the only One who had the power to do something about it. I ran to Jesus and begged Him for a miracle. The entire 10 months my daddy was sick, I knew in my heart that God was going to work a miracle and heal him. That belief is what got me through those 10 months, as my daddy began to slowly wither away more and more each day.
“But then, when he died and I was overwhelmed by the reality that God had healed him eternally, but not earthly, that I would never see Him again this side of heaven… I went before the Lord again, this time with no words. Not words at all. Just an aching heart.
“And it was in this moment, for the first time in my life, I felt God’s presence in the most tangible way. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loved me, that His Word was true, and that He would always be faithful in everything. The best way I can think to describe it is that I felt God drawing me to Him. It was an unmistakable “pull” on my heart, a power greater than any I’d ever known, drawing me, calling me to come to Him, to trust Him, to follow Him. So that’s what I did. It was the only thing I knew to do.
“Because I grew up in a solid Christian family and a solid church, I had been taught enough about God and His character to know with my mind that He is trustworthy. But now He was inviting me to know Him with my heart, to experience first time His faithfulness. God did not answer my prayer the way I wanted. Not at all. I still wish my daddy had not died. I wish he was here today, 12 years later. I wish he could have seen me graduate high school and college. I wish he could have walked me down the aisle at my wedding. I wish I could just call him on the phone and talk to him about stuff. I miss him more now than I ever have.
“But, despite all of that, God is faithful. And who am I to question or doubt that for a moment? God is the smartest, most intelligent, most brilliant mind that ever was or ever will be, and the love He has for His children is too great to be measured. He owes me no explanation for why things happen. I exist for His glory and His glory alone, and when my daddy died, God began pouring songs into me that have ministered to tens of thousands of people and have drawn people into a closer relationship with Him. He has been glorified through my daddy’s death. He has been glorified through me choosing to trust Him despite my pain and despite my lack of understanding. And He is glorified every time I share my testimony with others. And His glory is what’s most important – it’s the reason behind everything that exists and everything that happens.
“So, as painful as it still is, I can hang my hat on that. I’m satisfied in knowing that one day, Jesus will make all things beautiful, and the pain we’ve experienced here will seem like a flickering moment, instantly fading away in light of the joy that’s to come. Hallelujah!”
In this video, In Their Own Words: Shelly E. Johnson, Shelly shares how she was inspired to write the song “Power of the Cross” after spending time in a women’s shelter.
Shelly’s song “All Things Beautiful” can be heard and purchased at LifewayWorship.com or on iTunes. Her four-track EP, Power of the Cross, will be available August 14, 2012. For updates and to see Shelly’s blog, visit shellyejohnson.com.) Shelly will be lead worship in cities this summer in GA, TN and NC. (Click here for her schedule).
© Laurie Winslow Sargent. Laurie is the editor for Finding God Daily, a multi-book author/contributor and magazine article writer. She blogs for parents at ParentChildPlay.com and for writers at SellYourNonfiction.com and is on Twitter as @LaurieSargent.
FTC Disclosure: Finding God Daily’s editor participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Occasionally books or music will be linked from our site to Amazon.com if we believe those will help nurture faith in our readers. Any small commission generated will be donated to Right to the Heart Ministries to help support FindingGodDaily.com, ThinkingAboutSuicide.com or GodTest.com.