Local author hopes to help others find joy
Published 8:31 am Friday, October 16, 2015
Local author Cindy Johnson suffered through infertility, the death of her newborn son and the decimation of her home from fire and yet she tells a tale of victory and of hope in her new book My Journey to Joy.
“My son Jacob is not here with me and my house is gone, but God changed me and let me see things with a different, eternal perspective so that I can say, ‘I have hope,’” said Johnson. “I know what I was, where I was and the point of desperation I was in, but God has delivered me from all of that. Joy is real, and I tell them how to have it.”
She began writing the book in 2008 from journals dating back to 1997, when she was dealing with infertility, anxiety and depression. Spread out on her dining room table, she sorted through them, reliving the pain in hopes that one day someone struggling would find hope from her story.
She said she has already had one woman approach her while shopping to ask if she was the author and to say that she could not put the book down; the woman had passed it along to her daughter-in-law who has been struggling with infertility.
When Johnson found out that she would not bear children, she was devastated and sought help at the Christian book store to find hope from another person’s story of overcoming trials, but she found only sad stories.
“They never took it to the next level so that I could see there really is victory in Jesus; there is a brighter day,” she said. “People say, ‘Why me?’ But I say ‘Why not me? Why not let Jesus use me, there is victory in Jesus.’”
Johnson wrote one chapter, the Forever Factor, to teach people that they have a heavenly, eternal hope they can anticipate with expectation because of what Jesus has done for them.
With her new hope, she began to write her book from the reflections within her journals’ pages. The book includes text from her journals, Bible verses, songs and narrative.
“I wanted it to be real and raw, so that if someone is going through something, they can look into my story, see the good, the bad and the ugly and relate,” she said.
She and her husband Anthony had a son, Jacob, in 2004, who lived for two days and then died in her arms in the hospital. They suffered immensely coping with the loss, but were unexpectedly blessed with another son, Isaac, who is now eleven and shares the musical passion of his mother.
In 2010, their home caught fire and was destroyed. Standing outside, clad only in their pajamas and undergarments, they watched it burn, as Cindy screamed for her journals. They were still out on the dining room table, and she felt certain her memories and life’s stories were being incinerated. Jeff Lyons, a deacon at her church, whose daughter lived near the Johnsons, arrived and learned about the journals.
That night, the family stayed with friends and they had nothing — only the clothes they were wearing. They borrowed the neighbors’ clothes to get to the store and find something appropriate to wear.
The next morning, they taught Sunday school to 4-and 5-year olds and Johnson sang a solo in the choir.
“We knew we were going to church,” she said. “You can’t cry over spilt milk. It wasn’t our strength, it was the Lord’s strength.”
On Sunday, 50 people from the church helped them clean out their home, discarding most items.
Deacon Lyons saw the journals as they were about to be thrown away and remembered how she had worried over them. They saved and were all intact except about 30 pages from 2005, despite being soaking wet and blackened on all edges. At her friend’s home, they laid out each page on wax paper in a barn and numbered them.
“It seemed like the things that were irreplaceable and sentimental — just about everything that was closest to my heart — were what we were able to salvage, which is just a miracle,” said Johnson.
They also salvaged a white crocheted quilt that her grandmother made; it was inside a plastic bag that had melted and blackened.
In her chapter, The Refiner’s Fire, she explains that she learned from the fire, that, at times, the Lord has to take people through a fire to make them more like him, to purify them.
“The bottom line of this book is that you can have victory in life no matter what,” said Johnson. “We have to ask ourselves, ‘are we going to be better? Are we going to allow God to use our valleys to turn them into a mountaintop experience to bring him glory?”
Her book is available on Amazon, at The Coffee Company, on her website www.cindyjohnson4hisgloryministries.com and coming soon to her church, Valley Forge Baptist.
She is currently writing a children’s book and a devotional book. Her next musical performance will take place at 6 p.m. at Lynn Valley Baptist Church as part of the evening service.
“All this is new for me and my family,” she said. “I’d never written a book or produced a CD, but as the doors open, I just walk through them and asked the Lord to help me.”
She has a CD called “All the Glory,” inspired by melodies and lyrics she believes God gave her to record and perform. Isaac has also contributed one, titled “Strings and Scriptures” that he began recording at age eight.