“Hiding”

This summer I’m Leading a small group Bible Study within our Ladies’ Ministries at Church.  Last night as I was processing my Assignment, there was the reminder about Adam and Eve’s attempt to hide from The Lord after they had sinned.  As I was opening up my Bible this morning, the daily verse from Jeremiah was staring me in the face.

“Ok, Lord, You’ve got my attention …”

So then I must ask myself: “Am I hiding anything from God?”

Of course, my first reaction is: “How in the world is THIS possible?! God knows me ~~ what I’ve done, what I’m doing, and what I will do ~~ hiding is impossible!

Then I just “exhaled” and allowed The Holy Spirit to minister to my heart ❤️…

As my Study Assignment revealed, there are tendencies in all of us to hide within the confines of our insecurities.  And I knew the Author of the Study had me in mind when she mentioned a previous Study which I personally had led a few years ago that specifically addressed the topic of women and our insecurities.  

Like an onion, I sat back as The Lord peeled through the layers upon layers upon layers ~~ of stuff ~~ that I have been hiding inside of me, about me, and even from me (yes, I even try to ‘not see’ certain things ~~ another word for it is: ‘denial’).  And just like a response to an onion, I began to tear up.

Adam and Eve are well known for their fig leaf attempt at covering up a mess ~~ sin ~~ and thinking that God will “overlook” the “new wardrobe.”  And of course, as New Testament women, we view that as futile and maybe even ridiculous, right?!  But have we stopped to consider how we go out of our way to conceal the “flaws” that beguile our souls ~~ those tormenting behaviors that seemingly (and embarrassingly flow out naturally) have become part of who we are?

I will admit right here and now ~~ and those who know me but still love me won’t toss any pebbles my way ~~ those ugly insecurities still plague me; maybe not as bad as before, nonetheless, they’ve hung around and will rear their awful heads to get the best of me at times.

But as I worked through my Assignment last night, it was a different revelation on this topic of insecurities.  In this context, I am forced to see that I am hiding not only inside my insecurities but keeping them from The Lord as well.

Awrighty … now there’s something I hadn’t considered.

Could it be … just maybe … the reason why my load seems heavy these days?  Do I not think I’m significant enough that He is “concerned” about my woes?  

Speaking strictly for myself, I am one who tends to think that God has a lot going on in the world to be bothered by my insignificant trials.  After all, there are people dying in the streets, families and relationships being torn to shreds, children being sold into slavery, and refugees in every corner of the world.  Not that I ever doubted God’s desire handle it all, but … 

I just don’t value me that way … anyone relate?

Here’s the kicker …

His Love can handle it all, Girlfriend! ❤️

And all at the same time.  With the same intense love for us all, regardless of our particular situation ~~ He’s got us covered so that we don’t have to hide.

Our human fig leaf attempt at cover ups and concealing our shortcomings and sin are no match for the eternal love of God in Christ Jesus.  

He wants our transparency, Girlfriend ~~ so that we can totally experience Him in all aspects of our lives. This is the freedom in Christ if we have chosen it.

In another week, we will be commemorating our nation’s independence.  Consider the opportunity that we, as women in Christ, have to celebrate our freedom in Him ~~ freedom from hiding and concealing ~~ living in the openness of His forgiveness and love and strength.  To be able to exhale and receive all that we need, including the courage to live in transparency.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson 

T2T Visionary 



“Sure Footed”

Those who know me, know that I had major knee surgeries 2-1/2 years ago ~~ TKA: Total knee arthroplasty, both knees, at the same time.

For someone born with knock-knee deformities, it’s the inevitable ~~ and when it happens, you quickly learn how much it was badly needed. Yes, pain screams at the top of her lungs to draw your attention to the urgency at which you need the correction and restoration, but you adapt and adjust until the appointed time of surgery. And then finally …

You exhale.

But the Journey to restoration is only beginning.

The weeks leading up to surgery were dedicated to intense non-weight-bearing exercises that primarily focused on core training and upper body strength. Since both knees were going to be affected I had to really prepare myself (physically, mentally, and emotionally) as well as our home.

The night of my surgeries, the hospital physical therapist entered my room and asked me if I wanted to go for a “walk.” I agreed, thinking I was still on drugs from earlier and probably wouldn’t feel any pain anyways.

As he taught me “how” to get out of bed and properly use my walker, I remember how shaky and unsteady I felt. Visions of a newborn calf ran through my mind as I labored to struggle to hold myself up. Scared and lacking confidence, I took those first few steps with walker in front of me and therapist beside me. We made it all the way ~~ to the door of my room!

A bit disappointed at all the energy it took from me to go just that short distance (must’ve been less than 12 feet), I can recall exhaling back into the bed.

Something as simple as walking ~~ required every ounce of determination and perseverance on my part. I was terrified at the thought of a “misstep.”

That’s what this Scripture verse brings me to ~~ the blessed remembrance that God gives me the true CONFIDENCE to walk through my high places of CHALLENGE. 

Walking up an incline is a challenge to the human body ~~ it calls on those typically weaker muscles to rise up and get moving. Inclines challenge our hearts and lungs, causing us to breathe harder and so our hearts respond with beating harder and faster.

But God …..

Says He will STEADY our feet ~~ and make our steps secure ~~ SURE. To me, that makes all the difference in the Journey. Secure landing of each step taken forward ~~ unwavering movements from unwavering faith. Solid.

Every day of our lives we are met with challenges; some which I would not have chosen if I were “in charge.”  Nonetheless, these challenges bring us to a “place” of GROWTH ~~ character growth and development. At times, I know that I’ve asked God (begged Him) to remove the challenge in front of me ~~ for fear of failure. And for all the times that He has declined my request, I discover that He had my BEST interest at Heart all along.


Even though I may have “measured” and “defined” SUCCESS in the “incorrect” manner, I’m learning that true SUCCESS is in TRUSTING God for each step forward.

Do I still fear “failure?” Yes. Have I stopped asking God to remove the seemingly insurmountable “challenges” put before me? No.

I’ve learned that in the challenges ~~ is the opportunity and privilege to experience the love of God. It is here, Girlfriend, that He and I are closest. As the newborn doe takes her first attempt at standing only moments after birth, I, too, shake. But God generously gives me the strength to stand up to the challenge and lands my feet on solid ground. In fact, He pours out His Strength to continue stepping forward. Even through and to the places of challenge.

Allow me to encourage you this day, Sweet Sister, to take each step with Him, fully confident and sure footed.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson 

T2T Visionary 

“Authenticity”❤️

I just could not tear my eyes away from this verse this morning. And the BIG word I keep seeing is: genuine.

As my own children were growing up, I did everything I could to make sure that I demonstrated being genuinely proud of their accomplishments, genuinely concerned about their problems, genuinely loving towards them in every situation.

I’ll admit, that as a working parent, it’s a struggle to manage your emotions in front of your children when things are going awry at work. And in the busyness of managing a household too, the two can often come to a chaotic collision.

There were times that I found myself becoming clouded with outside stuff that my children were not even aware of ~~ and acting out in response to that bothersome stuff ~~ and not giving a thought to what my children were seeing in me.

For those times, yes, I am embarrassed. For the anger that they witnessed when my day was anything but “pleasant,” I wish I could roll back and fix. 

Because for a child, what they see is what they believe to be true. 

Children are taught to be suspicious, jealous, resentful, angry, etc. They learn by watching ~~ watching us.

Encountering adults that demonstrated these negative traits, I wanted to protect my children; it was bad enough that they would see me during my “bad hair days.” 

So I made a vow to myself to live a life that showed authentic and genuine love and concern. Note: this is ONLY possible if you have the Spirit of the Living God dwelling within you. Trust me, no amount of human effort could ever rise to the top of anyone’s game to be truly authentic and genuine all the time.

I prayed that God would SLOW ME DOWN enough to recognize “the moment” that He wanted me to see ~~ and respond to ~~ in love and affection. And you know what I learned from this life long “practice,” Girlfriend? There is NO end to it ~~ the woman of God has NO “limit” to when she ceases to practice genuine love and affection.

There is no “switch” that selects for this situation but not that one ~~ it’s all or nothing. God’s love doesn’t cease because we sin ~~ but it is more clearer and evident to us when we do! (Think about that!)

So how should that reflect outward from our own lives? Seriously, it’s a deep reality check ~~ when we look at that image in the mirror ~~ can we honestly say that we love authentically?  Without reserve ~~ without favoritism ~~ without expecting reciprocation? 

Transparency ~~ now, there’s a word that I’ve shied away from until the recent decade ~~ because it’s a vulnerable word ~~ it causes me to be …

Open.

Open to seeing myself the way others see me ~~ open to the way I behave towards others ~~ open to seeing the need for correction ~~ open to being hurt.

But God … 

He knows that openness that He asks of us ~~ He experienced those open wounds of being hurt by others ~~ He feels our embarrassment when we realize our need to apologize for improper behavior because He is there with us in it.

Girlfriend, there’s something very freeing in this authentic transparency. You find your true friends ~~ you see the real you ~~ and you become more humble in your pursuit of God.

I have found that as I slow down and interact authentically with my family and friends, I do experience moments of having to admit I don’t have it all together. And that’s “ok.” All the more they will see The Savior in me as I cling to Him for my every need.

That’s the mother I want to be ~~ the one who loves unconditionally, authentically, and without reserve.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson 

T2T Visionary 


“Just A Few Close Friends❤️”

I grew up during an era where it was relatively safe to walk home a “distance” with your neighborhood friends. Everyone looked out for one another, and the at-home moms would peek out their front windows at the usual time during the day to watch as each child made their way safely home from school.

Being raised by mama (who was not my biological mother), there was always some “explaining” to do with school friends. “Why don’t you live with your real mom?” Sigh. 

It didn’t take long for me to grasp the concept of having just a few close friends ~~ these treasured few never asked the embarrassing questions, nor did they ever make me feel less of a person. 

They simply accepted me and my unusual  lifestyle.

Growing into adulthood, I upheld the concept of the few close friends ~~ again, these treasured gems have always been there in sisterhood, good and bad times, and continue to share themselves in love.

When my children were growing up, I watched intently as they learned how to be a friend and select their friends.

I was front row center to many woes, having a firstborn daughter (I know you know what this means, Girlfriend). Seeing how mean some children can be, and the anguish that would result from immature behavior and a lack of proper guidance, I’ve mopped up many tears. History can repeat itself if we allow it.

Nonetheless, we forge ahead and we take our children with us ~~ and we encourage them and love them THROUGH the difficulties of developing friendships. That’s how they learn; that’s how we’ve learned.

But what happens when we encounter those adults that “missed that chapter” in the Book of Life’s Lessons?

Job 42:10 When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! 

This verse references the same three friends of Job as are mentioned in the Scripture verse at the beginning of this article. Yes, the very same friends that were so close to Job, they felt pity and compassion when Job had hit a hard time in his life. The verse says when they heard of Job’s tragedy, they left their homes and traveled (this sounds like it was a great distance) to console him. They made effort to comfort their beloved friend.

I’ve lived long enough to be able to say that not all the world is concerned with my daily trials, much less my bigger issues. And all the world need not be moved by my moaning and groaning over such. Everyone has their own load to carry ~~ I get it.

But Girlfriend, let’s be real here ~~ we need those few friends to help us SEE the reality of what’s going on in the amidst of our trials. We need those few friends to help us get moving when we’d rather just sit and sulk in our misery. We need those few friends to help us adjust our lens so that we can lay hold of the tasks at hand and be useful for The Lord. While even though we endure difficulties, we still have Purpose to fulfill.

There isn’t a woman on the planet that can make it through life without at least a few good friends. 

Sad to say, there are some who never learned the art of friendship. I’ve encountered some who, through the pain of their own mothers, were actually taught to NOT make friends outside of their own siblings. This, in itself, is a tragedy ~~ this says: “I lack the ability to trust you (or anybody else) with myself.”

I recently met up with a Friend at a baby shower. She inquired as to how things were going (she’s known of my “issues”). I openly told her that I’ve come to the realization that there’s comfort in the circle of friends that allow me to be transparent and real ~~ it’s a freedom that cannot be compared to mere acquaintance. She smiled and nodded.

Yes, transparency is difficult ~~ because it requires becoming vulnerable and trusting. But over time and with much “practice,” it becomes a way of life ~~ second nature. I’ve discovered that genuine friendships are built upon these foundations.

Honesty is practiced THROUGH humility. Authenticity is borne out of sincerity.

It’s impossible to require this of others if you’re unwilling to be this way for them. So the choice is clearly ours for the taking. Yet for many, this is viewed as a “risk.” So the question is: “Are you willing to take the risk?”

As a result of past hurts, some are reluctant to extend themselves in friendship ~~ I get it, Sister, pain is not easily forgotten. Maybe you were burnt so badly that the scars have yet to scab and heal ~~ sometimes years of reckless living cause people to lash out in hurtful ways unknown to them, and you are left sitting amidst the debris and the aftermath of “what happened?” doesn’t seem to clear away.

But don’t let those few bad experiences take ownership of the rest of your life, Girlfriend. Friends can still be made as long as you are willing. Our Savior lived the greatest example of friendship during His ministry on earth. He went out of His way. Selfless. No strings attached. Genuine.

Maybe you’re thinking that the rejection you experienced ~~ the judgements placed over you ~~ the misunderstandings ~~ have all sealed your fate and friendship with anyone is impossible. Or is it that you’ve wronged someone and need to reconcile or forgive them ~~ maybe you need to forgive yourself.

It is in these moments that we need just a few close friends ~~ to help us get back up and move forward. Sometimes it is us who needs to reach out and offer to be a close friend.

Mama used to tell me, “You don’t need the whole world to be your friend. But you DO need a few close friends.”  Oh, how I have found this to be so true!

That Girlfriend who is willing to be there ~~ to lend an ear or a shoulder ~~ to offer a different perspective or sound advice. A cup of conversation or a slice of compassion. Take heed: two imperfect Friends will result in an imperfect Friendship. However, the desire to be a friend will outweigh and overlook the shortcomings of either person.

1 Peter 4:8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 

It’s never too late to be a friend to someone you may have intentionally ignored or scorned in the past. It may be the opportunity to reconcile a broken relationship. The only “sacrificial act” on your part would be to release the pride that is holding you back from reaching out.

Are you willing to be someone’s close friend? 

No strings attached ~~ no ulterior motives. To be utterly transparent and honest. Offering up yourself as a place of sanctuary and refuge in times of need. 

There’s a Sister out there that needs you ~~ just look over your shoulder ~~ she’s coming up behind you.

I pray that you will be Blessed this day with such persons in your life ~~ and that you’ll give back to others by being the same in return.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson 

T2T Visionary 


“I Know It’s Hard, But …”❤️

Recently I was involved in a small group Bible Study at our church that devoted time to getting to know the life of Joseph (Jacob’s son).  The study revolved around the theme of forgiveness.

As Christians, I think this topic becomes somewhat trite and watered down ~~ almost to the point of considering it as “that” aspect of our lives. Of course we realize and understand that “this” is the foundation of our relationship in Christ ~~ but yet, I tend to think we don’t fully embrace “this” as a way of life.

I will be the first to agree with the old adage: “easier said than done.” Hurts ~~ well, they just down right HURT! Some seem to sting longer and stronger ~~ some don’t ever seem to leave us (no matter how hard we try to forget them) ~~ some come flying out of left field and smack us so hard that the scars always look fresh and the debris seem to never get completely mopped up. 

And yet …

We are instructed … encouraged … admonished …

To forgive.

I pen these words from fresh wounds, Girlfriend. Wounds that just seem to be the spot where if you could tell someone,”here, just follow the dotted line of the previous injury …” it would retrace the trauma of days gone by. And sad to say … with the same person(s).

Can anyone relate?

Recalling back on the days when tear-filled  eyes looked back at me and trembling lips quivered ~~ when there didn’t seem to be enough tissue in the box to dry up the fountain of pain flowing from the face then standing in front of me … I’ve seen and heard Girlfriends pour out their hearts in anguish, releasing the pain and sorrow that was stored inside them, with the hopes of finding answers and relief at the end of their trail of tears. It’s never easy to tell someone that forgiveness is the answer.

And maybe this is why I, too, wrestle with such an enemy of my soul ~~ because the answer is to continue to extend the grace of forgiveness ~~ just as God has freely extended towards me.

Whenever my children were learning how to do a task that just challenged them in a new way, I would observe their struggle to “get it right.” And as a parent, my own struggle was in simply letting them experience this learning curve so that they “could get it right.” It’s never easy to let your child “trip” or “fall” ~~ but sometimes that’s par for the course ~~ because the Journey includes the potholes and speed bumps.

Forgiveness is the same way ~~ if we view it from the perspective that our God wants us to learn to keep persevering through it, and to truly offer it along the Journey to those who may not genuinely know what forgiveness looks like or tastes like or sounds like. Let’s not forget that we, too, were once so ignorant.

A Girlfriend once asked me, “why do I have to keep experiencing this?” In other words, why must she continue to experience the hurt of pain in relationships

If only there were a “pat answer” to cover all of that ~~ but then there would be little opportunity in life to explore the wonderous possibilities of friendships and love.

This I do know: that as we continue to forgive ~~ and here’s the most challenging part (at least for me) ~~ even when it doesn’t make sense ~~  even when you think that it’s giving the other party “the edge,” or “the victory” ~~ you are actually being part of God’s Victory over sin.

Forgiving is NOT excusing ~~ if you’ve been hurt, please DO acknowledge it for what it is and the damage it has caused. Forgiving does NOT require you to invite the other party to dinner or to dwell within your house. Boundaries can be safely set in place for irreconcilable situations (but NOT as a solution to avoiding or ignoring the other party). Forgiveness is a genuine act of love that comes with practice.

Trust me when I say, I, also, have “difficult” people in my life ~~ some whom I would prefer to not be with in the same room for any length of time. And if you’re like me, these “difficult” people are in the family tree so you can’t simply “shake them loose.”

These “difficult” people just seem to know which buttons to push and which “wrong words” to say. Every attempt at “pleasing” them fails miserably. 

I get it.

And with nearly every encounter, something goes awry. Before you know it, words have been hurled so fast and strong that the speed of light would seem slow! BOOM! Damage done and no way to retract any of it.

Whether you have been the victim or the assailant in such a situation ~~ maybe you went toe-to-toe and matched word-for-word … doesn’t matter which side of the battle you stood … if you’re a Follower of Christ, every step you take puts you on Holy Ground. And on Holy Ground is where we Worship.  Worship and inflicting pain by withholding forgiveness cannot coexist with anger and bitterness ~~ there just isn’t enough room in your heart for the ugly stuff.

You may have lived through some VERY UGLY experiences, Girlfriend ~~ I get it. There’s NO comparing ~~ regardless of the “intensity” or “frequency” ~~ it’s ALL UGLY. Living in a fallen world guarantees the occurrences will be there throughout our lifetime. 

But God … (aren’t those sweet words?)

Has made a provision of love that heals if we will yet follow through with His Remedy for dealing with hurt and pain. Forgiveness does not assure us that all will be well with the other party. However, it does deal the issue of how God continues to relate to us ~~ in and with love. The other person ~~ that’s His Business. We pray for that part, and sometimes that’s all we can do.

Personally, I have found this comforting. I’ll admit, it’s an ongoing work in progress ~~ but that’s what I am ~~ a work in progress. I must constantly remind myself that progress does not sit still; it moves forward, while learning from past mistakes.

Yes, it’s hard … but Girlfriend, God calls us to peace.

 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:15 NLT

I hope and pray for your hurts, Girlfriend. That God will pour over your current situation with the assurance that He has you wrapped in his Arms of love. Let His Love fill you to overflowing ~~ so that forgives and healing will be part of your legacy.

I love you to Heaven and Back ~~

LindaRJohnson 

T2T Visionary 



“Heartbeats ❤️”

You are Invited ~~ to join me for a special edition here at T2T ~~ as I open up this month to Celebrate what I call: Heartbeats.

As this chapter in my life opens up to having an adult daughter who is now raising her own daughter, there are a myriad of things that swirl through my mind that I hope to pass on to this precious next Generation. I’ve often told my daughter, “Mom’s are the heartbeat of the home.”  And as Scripture tells us to guard our hearts, and that what we hold in it flows out of it, I believe it’s important to care for it wisely.

Heartbeats this month will hopefully encourage you, Girlfriend, to also share your tho’ts and insight ~~ it’s all for God’s Glory and the Ones coming up behind us.

“Who’s in?!”🙋🏻

The Scripture verse above was the opener for my daily Reading this morning.  I’ve come to learn that when my eyes land on Biblical wisdom that seem to cause me to re-read words more than once, there’s good reason why God took my eyes there in the first place.

Digesting the words, my mind jogged back to when mama would tell me: “Be careful about what comes out of your mouth; don’t intentionally offend others.”

Whether you’re a Believer and Follower of Christ or not, that makes for good sense and peace among people in your immediate sphere of influence.  But for the Woman of God, whose influence is deeper and far reaching, we need to lay hold of why the Scriptures admonish us to behave with such diligence.

I can recall being within earshot of conversations that probably were not meant for public notice. In other words, the persons involved likely would have been embarrassed had they realized that a stranger overheard their conversation. In such cases, I’ve trained my puny brain to simply “delete” and physically “escape,” so as to permit “privacy” for all involved.

As a Believer, it’s imperative to remember that the world watches us ~~ our every move, gesture, word, response, and reaction ~~ these are the reasons or the evidence that will cause them to either embrace Christ or reject Him.

I’ve encouraged my daughter to be mindful of how she reacts and responds to specific occurrences in the presence of her own daughter.  While Zoë is yet only six months old, no doubt she is demonstrating her ability to “imitate” big people actions like holding a plastic cup and pretending to drink from it.  If Zoë can pick up on simple gestures, she’s capable of soaking in behavioral nuances as well.

As with non-believers, Women of God need to be “ultra-sensitive” and compassionate towards those who don’t “see” with a spiritual lens. Living in a fallen world, this isn’t always easy ~~ and too many times the opportunity slips by and we don’t realize it until the damage is done. However, since we do worship a God of second (and third, and fourth, etc.) chances, we must also remember to willing extend grace to those who may not know what that looks like or tastes like.

I recently told a friend that I have come to terms with the fact that I am most happy being in the company of those women who allow me to be transparent without judgement ~~ because there is freedom there. I can also testify that this kind of freedom is best enjoyed and found in the Body of Christ. It is here that women can find rest and comfort for their souls ~~ because her Sisters have all been through their part of The Journey and live to tell about it. And it echoes beyond the galaxy: “The Journey is best spent with Christ.” Apart from Him, The Journey is empty, lonely, and without genuine meaning.

It is in this freedom, that I say to all my Girlfriends: share what God has freely given you ~~ your heart beats for the One Who Created it ~~ so share what He has put in it!

Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson 

T2T Visionary