Meet Brenda Johnson, a healing writer

From time to time, we will interview or do a guest post from someone who is worth getting to know.  Brenda Johnson is a healing writer as I like to think of her. She's been writing and listening and many of her subjects are related to the wounds people carry with them and how to find release from them. These are common threads running through many of my stories so I'm happy to host her today.  She also has a giveaway happening.  Be sure to go to the very end so you can enter.

Brenda’s ministry is for those who cannot change the regretful choices of their past yet long to find release.  It is not based on theory or textbooks, but on her own personal experiences of surviving the guilt of abortion, the shame of divorce, and the embarrassment of financial despair.  Brenda discovered she did not have to settle for God’s “second best” but could enjoy “promised land” living at its fullest by reconciling who she used to be with who she is today. She has helped thousands of others do the same through conferences, speaking events, her blogs, website, and everyday living.

Why do you find this topic of letting go of your past so important? 
Brenda: It’s there.  No matter how hard we try and forget it, we can’t deny the past exists.  We find ourselves living in our personal hells trying to hide the secrets, when we should be spending our time releasing them and moving on.  Many believe “we have made our bed, and now the only thing to do is to lie in it.”    Yet God commands us in order to be whole we have to take up our bed and walk.  He doesn’t say to leave the bed or to drag it behind us, He says to carry it.  For me, that bed included some pretty heavy things like abortion, divorce, and financial ruin among other things.  Yet, once I decided to carry them, my life would forever be changed.

In my book A Gathering of Finches, Cassie is a woman troubled by past decisions. She has a hard time letting go. I really like your image of picking up our beds rather than "you made your bed, now lie in it."
Brenda: Psalms 34:18 says "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." He doesn’t want you to stay down but wants to pick you up. Many times others have crushed our spirits and sometimes we keep crushing our own.  I am trying to give people the tools they need to pick up their own beds and walk into freedom.  

So many of us are held hostage by our past. SO, how do you reconcile the past with the present?
Brenda: You own your past, You ask for forgiveness. You forgive yourself and others. You move on and allow God to rewrite your story. Simply written but not simply done…but possible!!   Our website is a place that moves you through this process.  Many times someone can attain courage simply by seeing that others have walked the same path. We want this ministry to be a safe place for confession and restoration.  We help each other by sharing our own journeys. Once a person comes to terms with their regrets they can move through the forgiveness process.  This can be the hardest step and many times it’s not just about forgiving others but about finally forgiving yourself.

How did you get yourself out of those feelings of shame, despair, and regret and begin to change?
Brenda: I was reading the story of David and Bathsheba.  To make a long story short – David committed adultery with her and she became pregnant.  David had her husband murdered.  He tried to cover his sin just like I had done.  God was so angry with David.  The baby died.  Yet David cleaned himself up and worshiped God and was forgiven.  That very day he also went in to console Bathsheba.  The Bible tells us she became pregnant.  Then the next words were: “And God Loved Solomon”.  He did not just like Solomon or accept him, He LOVED him!  What a story of grace.  God did not hold a grudge or shame - He not only forgave…He blessed instantly.  That’s what He has done in my life.

Stories are so powerful. The Greek word for comfort translate as 'to come along beside.' And that's what the story of David and Bathsheba and Solomon did for you, bringing you comfort. What did that process of Forgiveness Restoration & Redemption look like for you?
Brenda: I realized that if God loved Solomon then God did not hold any grudge nor did he heap shame on me.  He had forgiven me the moment I had asked years ago – I just had not accepted it or believed that He would. Jordan went from being my dead baby to being my partner in ministry.  God forgave me - restored me, and redeemed me.  I am now married to the most wonderful Godly man He ever created and am also financially blessed so that we can help others.  He took my story where I handed it to Him and rewrote it and I am so blessed to be living it every day.

What does your website have to offer?
Brenda: It is full of my stories and my reader’s stories that offer hope and healing.  Unlike most websites, it is interactive.  I love that so many are taking this journey with me – We rejoice and cry together, we celebrate and mourn together.  I can tell we are becoming a family with everyone eager to read what’s next.  So excited to see what God has in store.  I feel as if we are all changing the world by sharing our testimonies (we call them Your Stories, you can share yours today!).  My website is a safe place to share your past anonymously if you choose.

What final piece of encouragement do you have for our readers?
Brenda: Because of redemption nothing in our past is wasted.  Just because we are a product of our past  it doesn’t have to control us.  We can be forgiven, restored, and redeemed and go on to live fully blessed lives And like the playwright Oscar Wilde once said,” All Saints have a past and all Sinners a future.”  It is never too late for healing!!!

Thank you Brenda for your healing words & ministry.  May others be encouraged by meeting you today. We look forward to reading more stories of triumph from you and from others.

In closing, I wanted to share an excerpt from my A Simple Gift of Comfort.  Many of you may still be looking to accept your past.  This might be one perspective to find healing.  From Page 15.
A Simple Gift of Comfort, pg 15
The Acoma, indigenous people of North America, are know for their pottery of great beauty and strength.  What distinguishes their pots from other pueblos' is the mix of the clay.

Grandmothers search the dessert for shards of pottery once formed, fired, used and then discarded.  Lifting the broken pieces from beneath the sage and white sand, they grind the old shards into powder.  The potters then mix the old powder with unfired new.  

The two clays-the old and the new together- are molded and when fired become the strongest pottery.
So we are formed, if we allow it. Old powder from our past experiences once thought useless, broken, lacking value, can be combined with new, and through the fires of life, can give us strength.  I wish for you this kind of strength.

As a thank you for hosting Brenda, and to celebrate her manuscript and proposal being sent to publishers from her agent, she is having a giveaway.  Go to the very end of this post to enter to win $100.00 gift card.  Hmmmm.... I wonder if I can enter!?

Connect with Brenda here:

Meet Brenda now and hear her story as her church does a series called “This is My Story”.

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