Saturday, January 22, 2011


January 19, 2011 was a tough day for me, to say the least.  My mother would have been 75 years old on that day.  She passed away on February 10, 1972.  It has been 39 years since she died and I know I miss her more now than I ever have before.  I have shed a waterfall of tears this week.  The tears were mostly cleansing tears.  Tears I had not been able to shed before because of a lie I had believed.  And tears of sorrow because of the loss.

But finally - after years and years - I have come to know the truth and the Truth - and can now cry because I truly miss her and because of what I missed by not having a mother around during the pivotal moments of my life.  I would have loved for her to be around for my first date, my first love, for the birth of my child, for my broken marriages, for the birth of my first grandchild and for all the broken promises.  But it was not to be. 

And, since I have now "grown up", I can kinda imagine what she must have been going through herself.  I am sure she was grieving while she was alive, knowing that she had a very short time to live and whose heart must have been literally coming apart at the seams knowing she was leaving 7 children behind in their cruel, cruel world.  And there was not a single thing she could do about it. 

The healing began for me in the realization that I had been told a lie at the tender age of 13.  It was years, 2005 in fact, before I was able to trust Father enough to let him comfort me and show me it was a lie.  But I came to that point and I am eternally grateful.

Death is a now a part of life.  It is not natural.  God did not intend for it to be so, but because of the sin of Adam & Eve, death entered the world.  People die and people are left behind.  Grief is now part of our world.  However, there is hope for "He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."" (Hebrews 13:5)  He will never leave me. He is with me wherever I go.  And that is where I get my comfort.  He has shown me the truth over the years and brought me to this point today where I can truly grieve the death of my mother in truth and in Truth and rest on Him.

Mary Ann Johnson - my mother!  I love you Mom and I miss you so much.  I can't wait to see you in heaven with our Father!  What a day of rejoicing that will be!  

Friday, April 23, 2010


I lived at this address from 1966 - 1972.  Carefree years, for the most part.  Kids could be kids and didn't have to be watched constantly for fear of the unknown.  We ran Rainbow Drive as if we owned it and we surely thought we did.  Lots of families lived on this street and the kids all ran around together.  Oh, there were the different age groups, but we could all get together and just have fun.  OK, so my brothers & the older boys on the block could be mean, but all in the name of fun!  I can laugh at it now even if at the time I thought I would be scarred for life!

We were all hidden anywhere we could - behind cars & trees, beside houses.  Kids, lot of kids, had just watched the older kids in the neighborhood run a clothesline between two trees that were across the street from each other.  They had hung a dummy from it and it was unseen high up in the trees.  Now we were just trying to stay hidden, trying to stop the giggles and laughter, waiting for the next car who would be driving through.  We waited, not knowing if the people in the car would find it as funny as we would when the dummy was dropped in front of them as they unknowingly became our next victim.  Screeching tires. Screaming drivers.  Car doors flying open as well as flying kids who tried to find a better hiding place now that we knew they weren't finding this funny at all.  Unfortunately, many people failed to see it as humorously as we did! 

There must have been 20 kids who played together most days and nights.  Kick the can.  Witches.  Hide 'n Seek.  Tag.  Any game that could be thought of, or created, we played.  Playing baseball in the backyard.  My big brother getting hit in the chest with a baseball and I was so scared because he couldn't breathe!  The clubhouse in our backyard built by my brothers who dubbed it the Heaven's Devils Clubhouse.  (The Hell's Angels were very well known back then!)  The teasing that went on between the girls and boys.  The first crush.  The second crush.  Watching the cotton-filled baby doll blow up because someone (yeah, I know who!) had put M80's in the head.  Raining cotton everywhere!  My hula-hoop torn apart at the seam and put quickly back together.  Around a big tree limb, of course!

I remember us as being an inseparable group.  We went to school together - Somerset and Meadowbrook Junior High.  And I'm sure we had to have our fights. C'mon, we were kids!  But for the life of me, I can't remember one fight.  Although I do remember when one of the Vogt boys was asked what song would best represent someone loving me he sang "The Impossible Dream"!  Silly boy!  Was he was being prophetic?  Or maybe he cursed me?  Hmmm.......!!! 

Our parents knew each other and talked to each other.  (They also made sure each parent needed to know what the kids were up to!)  They actually helped out when it was needed.  We knew most of what was going on in each family and what they were doing.  Like the time the roofer fell off our roof.  The neighbors said he must have gotten into Mom's homemade wine.  Yep, they all knew about it and had probably tasted it! 

I remember a party that my parents had and most of the neighborhood families showed up.  The adults inside playing cards, talking, smoking, drinking and talking about whatever adults talk about.  (I know now what they talk about and it isn't so different from what kids talk about!)  Kids outside, screaming, yelling, running, just being kids, like kids should be.  Carefree.  Innocent.  Childlike.  Because we were.

Do you hear the bell clanging?  The kind of small metal bells teachers used to have on their desks?  That's what my parents used to call us in to dinner or bed or just in.  Saved them from sore throats because the bell could be heard further than a yell. 

And then 1972 came and my family left Rainbow Drive.  Left Madge, Kelly, Joey, Debby, Mark, Larry, Ethan, Evan, Eddy, Pam, Mark, Valerie, Greg, Phillip, Benita, Bunny.  And so many others that I can't remember at this time.  That was the last year I saw any of these kids - kids who helped shape my life.  Kids who let me have fun.  Kids who were fun.  And I have always held that time on Rainbow Drive safely tucked in my heart.  Believing that it was a time that was gone but would live on forever because of the memories.  Never expecting to see or hear from any of them again because of the years between us.  Ahhh, good times, really good times!

But, oh, the power of technology and the far reach of Facebook!  After 38 years, four of these families have reconnected because of this social network.  Not all the kids but a few.  Whodda thunk? And you know, even though I see current pictures, I can't really think of them as adults.  Because in my mind, we will always be kids, having a groovy time on Rainbow Drive.  Sunshine Days!  (From the Brady Bunch but I may be way off on the year!)  Doing what kids are supposed to do - be kids! And until I see some of these kids face-to-face, they will still be kids to me, running up and down Rainbow Drive.  Red Rover! Red Rover! Send Greg right over!

P.S.  I reserve the right to have my memories as the way I remember them.  We all have different perspectives and I like my rainbow colored memories!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I was at IHOP the other night and just started writing. It's rather scattered and long, but hope you endure to the end!

Isaiah 53:2 "...There is no beauty that we should desire him"  Him being Jesus.  To me, this means he was not the good-looking man that He is depicted as in so many pictures.  He was a man whose looks did not warrant a second look. How many people do I walk by every day without giving them a second look?  Had I walked the earth the same time as Jesus, if I ran into him on the dirt road, I would have walked right by him, never giving him a second glance based on looks.  But there is something about Him, something that compels us to give Him a second glance.  It is the shechinah glory that draws people to Him.  The glory of God.  .

I may not have given Him a second glance - my life proves it - but how many times a day did He look my way?  I would venture to say that He has never taken His eyes off of me - even when I was denying Him.  He was always looking at me, always beckoning me and always wooing me, while I silently screamed the words "If this is God, I want nothing to do with Him!"  But Jesus never took His eyes off of me.

I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 14, and then did it again a couple of months later because I wasn't sure it took.  Oh, I said the Sinner's Prayer (hopefully a subject for another blog!) both times - meaning it both times - and then promptly walked away.  But I had positioned my heart to His and it would not be let go.  "Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows."  Matthew 10:31.  His mark was on me at the age of 14.  More importantly, my name was now etched in the palm of His hand and His eyes never left me.

But I left Him as quickly as I had asked him into my heart and did what I wanted for the next 23 years of my life, with barely a thought of what He wanted.  Of course, I had my limits.  A friend once accused me of not doing something I didn't need to be doing because I was such a good Catholic girl. Oh, if she only knew!!!  But Catechism must have taught me something.  Or scared me!  I know now that it was the Holy Spirit protecting me. 

He could not take His eyes off of me, always looking at me, always beckoning me, always wooing me until that day in 1997 when I surrendered to Him and became free.  And it has taken me many many years to realize that all He wants me to do is look at Him, beckon Him, woo Him.  He wants to be my bridegroom, my lover.  And He is!  "You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride.  With one look of your eye."  Song of Solomon 4:9.  Me?!  The girl people don't give a second glance?!  I have ravished His heart?!  How can this be?  He has called me beautiful.  With one look of my eye, I ravished (captured) His heart!  Me!  Wow!  He finds me desirable.  He calls me beloved.  He calls me His.  He etched my name in the palm of His hand and it can't be removed!  And He wants me to "get" that I am His.  He has called me His own.  And I get it, most days, although sometimes it is easy to forget.  But He is looking at me, beckoning me, wooing me and won't let me forget it for long.  Because my Daddy is the King of kings.  My bridegroom is the Lover of my soul.

Before I was born He knew me, sanctified me (Jeremiah 1:5) and wanted me.  All that was needed for me to be His was to use that free will thing and choose Him.  Because although He created me for Him, He was not going to make me be His.  I had to choose Him, as He was not going to force me to do anything - ever.  Free will - the gift that puts the choice in my hands.  Would you want a god that makes you love him?  That's control.  I believe rebellion would erupt pretty quickly if someone forced me to love them.  By the way, how can you make someone love you?  My heart would not be in it, that's for sure!  And a god like that would soon end up with a bunch of robots as followers.  Not for me, thank you!

My God wants me to desire Him but lets me make that choice.  And yes, I chose Him back in 1973 to get my "get out of hell free card" but like a true lover, He revealed Himself to me by looking at me, beckoning me, wooing me.  Come, follow me.  Let's go!  How abandoned will you let us be?!  My choice. I set the slow issues, you know! But He had me on a fast track of learning about Him.

And one day it dawned on me - religion kills!  I personally do not like religion.  It is based on man-made laws and rituals and there is absolutely no way for me to keep them.  No way for me to keep them, so I am set up to fail.  At the same time, I discovered that He doesn't call me to a religion but to a relationship with Him.  How close can I be?  How close can I come?  How much do I want to know Him?  It's all my decision.

I don't believe that when I see Jesus face to face, He'll ask me what I did about religion.  But He just may ask me what I did about Him.  And the conversation will be just about me and Him.  I won't be able to bring anyone else into it.  I won't be able to say "But s/he said....." "Me, Greta, what did you do about Me?" 

Contemplating....what have I done about Him?  Well, I accepted Him as my Savior.  Got my "get out of hell free card".  Then, a while down the road, I made Him Lord and Friend.  Trusted Him.  Believed Him.  Loved Him.  And do you know how many times I have turned my back on Him?!  I sure don't!  But He always sees me through the eyes of mercy.  He always affords me grace.  I am dark. He says I am lovely.  My shame is gone because I know I am beautiful in His eyes.  Nothing can take me away from Him, because I belong to him....willingly.  And He will fight and has fought for me.  I have played the harlot, but He sees my beauty.  (My beauty is the blood of Jesus Christ.  That's what God sees when He looks at me.)

I have tried to run away, but then I remember what I was before Him and do I really want that?  No, I have tasted live death and I never want to go back there.  I want Him!  I want to be His lover, bride & friend.  You see, He desires me!  And when you know you have been desired by the Lover of all lovers, what else is there?  There is only Love.

Love is an action word.  Love is the living, breathing, walking, talking Word of God.  And the Word of God is Jesus (John 1).  And He knows me.  He knew me before I was born...knew what I was going to be named.  (And my parents thought they named me!)  He knew me on that day He was nailed to a cross, dying for me (Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!).  He knows I was going to reject Him and He did it anyway.  He also knew that I would fall in love with Him.  (What does He know about you today?)

He is alive today!  Looking at you.  Beckoning you.  Wooing you.  Like a lover waiting for His beloved to return.  Not with thoughts of anger or punishment but with open arms.  And He will not quit waiting.  Because we never come to the end of God!

Who am I that You should think on me?  Like me, you are His creation, made for Love.  Turn your eye towards Him and see what happens.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I am in Kansas City, MO, soaking at the International House of Prayer.  A very good time of soaking and spending time with God.  Today one set was intercession for the ending of abortion as well as for revival in America.  I was also praying for my granddaughter Mallory, whose cardiologist appointment has been moved up by six weeks.  Healing, healing, healing.  Talking to God.  Pacing.  Wondering if I could ever shut up long enough to hear His answer.  Started writing to Him, asking a question.  I believe I got an answer from Him, straight from His heart.

Abba, I believe in You.  I believe that Jesus died, shedding His blood on that cross.  And that He lives, seated at your right hand.  And I only ask this question because you are big enough and you know I'm thinking it.  Daddy, where are you?  Don't you see what's going on?  Of course you do.  So, again, where are you?

I AM in that still small voice leading you.  I AM!  I AM in the prayers of my saints.  I AM in the hearts of my saints.  I AM here - right now, right beside you, in front of you, behind you, leading you, guiding you.  Hear the war drums?  Time is drawing closer.  They are getting louder, stronger, fuller.  They are beating as my heart.  One who is ready to do war with my - our - enemy.  Listen to the cries of the saints.  They are not unheard.  Listen to the war drums.  They are the cries of my heart.  They are the cries of my heart.  Crying out for my people, my bride, my lover, the Ones given to me by the blood of the Lamb.  Feel the drums.  Feel me.  I AM here.  And I AM coming quickly.  Hold on!  Do not lose faith and do not be afraid to ask.  I AM here.

After writing His answer I noticed that all prayer / singing / music had stopped, with the exception of the drums.  There was absolutely no other noise but the beautiful sound of the drums.

God bless you all!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


just can't wait to get on the road again!

One of my favorite songs and it really fits who I am right now.  I lived in KS all my life until 2006.  And since then I have lived in Utah, Missouri, Mississippi, California, Texas and Kentucky.  I just can't stay in one place for too long any more. I figured out there is a world outside of KS....and I love it!  I remember when I got engaged and my future husband & I talked about moving away from our hometowns of Pittsburg and Franklin.  How I wanted to get out of Kansas!   To see the world.  He said we would!  But it wasn't to be, at least not the way I had envisioned it.  After we were married, we moved to Frontenac!!  Argghhh!!!

Most of my travels are in my car.  I really like driving.  In 2007 I took a drive from MS to CA to UT to KS, back to MS to pick up passengers, then on to FL and back to MS.  And I've done most of it on my own. I've taken several mission trips.  Ukraine in 2004.  Christmas 2004 I spent in Mexico.  And in 2006 I was blessed to take a mission trip to Israel.  (I am ready to go back, thank you very  much!)  I went to Mississippi for six weeks one time and ended up staying for 14 months.  That was my first domestic mission trip and it ended up changing my life.  I would love to have that experience again.

Wow!  Who would have thought that this girl, who was scared to drive to the Kansas City airport by herself, would end up going to all these places and, in some cases, with people she had never met before!  When I went to Ukraine (not knowing anyone else on the trip) I was privileged to minister alongside two great people - Paige & Taffie - and I am still in touch with them.  A lifelong friendship, based on the love of Jesus Christ, was formed and I love both of them! And I laid in a pothole while there just so we could get a picture of how big they were!  And in Israel I sat in some kind of big round stone pot / planter that was in the square of the Old City.....just cuz.

A really amazing experience in Israel:  we had just landed, deciding to go the bathroom before picking up our luggage.  We didn't take that long....I promise!  But when we got to the luggage carousel, there was no luggage there but ours and it was surrounded by IDF....they wanted to know why no one had picked it up yet.  They had guns! We had to pee.....again!  When I went to Mexico (again, no one I knew was on the trip) I got to participate in handing out Christmas love packs to the poor.  I'll never forget the Precious Moments dolls that had been donated for the trip.  Or the day we were stopped by the Federales who had guns, really big guns.  We were eight hours south of the US border, in the middle of nowhere.  We had dolls.  They had guns.  The dolls won.

Do you know how fun this is?  To be free enough to go wherever you want?  There is nothing like it....absolutely nothing.  And I would highly recommend it to anyone. Are you sitting there thinking there's got to be more to life than those four walls?  There is!  There are bathrooms in Mexico that have hardly any water pressure.  There are bathrooms in Ukraine that don't have toilets in them.  (You have to ask for the toilet in order to get the toilet.)  And they have "squatty potties" in public places.  And yep, what you have pictured in your mind is just what they are!  And in Israel you can have either a small flush or a big flush....just pick the knob you need to get the job done.  I'm thinking this is something we in the US should really look at seriously.  And I'm wondering why I'm suddenly fixated on the facilities in foreign countries. 

All this to say........on the road again.  Just can't wait to get on the road again!  Which I will do on Friday morning.  Driving.  By myself.  And guess where I'm going?  Kansas!

Monday, March 22, 2010


I made one of the hardest decisions of my life tonight.  It was the right decision, but it was still hard.  Because I made this decision I was unable to have dinner with several people, including one of the best people I know....a friend that I love and admire and don't get to see very often.  But I did the right thing.  After a very hard few months, months in which I have been an "it's all about me" person, I looked at what I truly believe and I made the right decision.  The people that were the reason for my decision may never know about the decision made.  And that is OK with me.  If they ask, I will tell them.  But I won't offer it up to them.  I believe I looked at the whole scenario, thought about what Jesus would do and did what I believe He told me to do.  And if I do that, what else matters?  My friend and I will be able to have dinner again soon.....May is just around the corner! 

And I can go to bed tonight knowing I did the right thing.  And I will able to look my friends in the eyes, the ones I supported tonight.  I lived up to what I said I would do.  And I can thank Jesus that He is my Savior, my Salvation, my reason for doing the right thing.

God bless you all!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Can I?  I guess the answer to that question is "yes, once I know who I am".  I am a daughter of the King of kings. But do I truly know that? If I know that to be true, why am I not able to tell most people my true feelings, my true thoughts, my true dreams?  Why do I feel that if anyone knew the true me, they surely wouldn't like me, would look down their nose at me and judge me?  Why am I afraid that if someone knew what I had done in my past, then they would walk away from me?  Why do I have this mask? 

And why do I let myself get to the point of hurting so bad, that the only way to "fix" it is to walk away from the one who I believe has hurt me?  I would rather not have any further contact with that person than face them and say "I am hurt."  And yes, I know it doesn't fix it, it only puts it on a shelf to raise its ugly head at a later time.  And besides, most people today don't care whether or not they have hurt you.

And why does it still affect me so deeply, the things that have been done to me?  The things I allowed to be done to me?!  The things I have done to me?  And why does it matter?  Why do I allow these things to make me stiff, unable to have a good time?

And why do I keep running into articles, posts by friends and email daily devotions that talk about telling the secrets and not letting them control me any longer?  And about cleaning house, metaphorically speaking, and not just throwing the stuff into another room and closing the door? And ones that say it's OK to dream and that I am only hurting myself...and God...if I walk away from my dreams?

And why am I afraid to crawl upon my Daddy's lap and cry on His shoulder?  And to tell Him my dreams and what I desire.  Doesn't He know already?  Why I am afraid?  Because I don't trust Him enough to be there for me and to not walk away, or throw me away, like most everyone else has.  Rejection.  The core.  I need to look at that.  Because my Daddy will not reject me.  I just want to be myself.