Earline Johnson, My Story
My parents, Earl and Frances Head were very close to Brother Ralph Mullins who was the pastor of many country churches. That being said we did not have one certain church that we attended regularly. In my early teens, my friends were always inviting me to go to church with them; which I did. I went to Baptist churches, Methodist churches and Presbyterian churches. I can recall holding on to the pew during invitation, not giving in to the drawing of The Holy Spirit. At age 18, I surrendered to that call and gave my life to Christ at Shackleville Baptist Church. The pastor was my brother-in-law Roy Herring. After graduation I moved to Montgomery and found a wonderful church and became very active. I received a degree in computer programming and moved to Birmingham working at a Bank in the computer room. In this large city and living by myself I soon had many friends that were not as loyal to Christ as I was and I made some bad choices. Even during this misguided time in my life, God was still trying to bring me back to Him. On Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights I was being drawn to church. God did not give up on me!
I thought my dream of a wonderful life with a husband and a child on the way was coming true, but Ashley’s daddy thought differently, he left. Broken hearted I returned to Greenville to raise my son alone. I made sure my son had a good foundation of knowing love of a mother and a heavenly Father that would always be there for him. Ashley started having medical problems with his stomach when he was 15. I took him to several doctors and nothing seemed to help. I prayed earnestly for relief of pain and healing for my son. At 18 Ashley was diagnosed with Chron’s Disease and referred to a specialist in Birmingham. At 19 he had surgery that removed 18 inches of his small and large intestine. As Chron’s disease is incurable the surgeon said he would be facing surgery again in 10 years. But God had other plans for Ashley. He did not have another attack for 20 years and God is still healing without surgery. God is Faithful and Just, and He answers our prayers in His time and His way.
At age 51 my church family stood beside me and lifted me up as I suffered through a difficult divorce. I thought the divorce was the worst thing that could have happened to me; but then I remembered Romans 8:28. “God works all things together for good to those who love God, and that are called according to his purpose.”
God sent a man that I had known all my life to be a very important part of my future. At first I wasn’t sure this was meant to be, but I could not get this man out of my heart. After four years of dating Bobby and I married. I look back now, 14 years later, and realize this was God’s plan, yes we were meant to be together. During that time God moved on Bobby’s heart and placed in our marriage a stronger ministry, not only to our Southside family, but to surrounding churches in our association. I have grown so much spiritually just watching the Holy Spirit work in our lives and seeing the blessings God has bestowed on us.
“My soul, Praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases, He redeems your life from the pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion.” Psalm 103: 2-4 HCSB