Sheila Kelly Johnson
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It is always amazing to me how God can turn the bad into good "for those who love him and are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

When I was eight years old God captured my attention, and by the grace of God, this one thing I understood - I was a sinner and in need of the Savior Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of an eternal relationship. I am still a sinner, but with a changed heart and a changed desire. I am still not perfect, nor will I ever be on this earth. Still just a filthy rag, but because of my faith in Christ and what He did by taking my sin upon himself, and dying as a punishment for everything that is not holy, I will walk into Heaven when I die. That is an extremely bold statement, but I can say it not because of who I am, but because of who He is, and His Word is Truth. I will be covered with Christ's righteousness when I stand before the Holy and Perfect God for judgment. How's that for turning bad into good.

The rest of my life seems inconsequential compared to the heart of the matter which I just shared with you. However, God puts us here for a reason, and the things that happen in our lives do shape us and others for His Eternal purposes. I've discovered that He is big into networking!

When I think back to my childhood, I remember how much my mother and daddy loved music and sports. They would take me to every concert, ballpark, and golf course around Georgia to see the best of the best play or sing or bat. On family visits to my grandparents' homes, there was always music. My mother's dad would play the banjo and sing songs like "Jesse James" or "Little Brown Jug". My daddy's father would play the guitar and the piano and sing "Beyond the Sunset" and other songs and hymns. Life was full of piano lessons, guitar lessons, golf lessons, skating, softball, and tennis lessons. There was scripture memorization, girls' auxiliary coronations, recitals, children's choir, junior choir, church "gigs," and then, garage bands when I got older.

When I turned 13, however, things began to change and life suddenly had a serious side. First, my dog of 13 years died (you pet lovers will understand!) Then, my sweet piano teacher died with breast cancer, and soon after, my mother's dad died of a heart attack. They were all three very dear to me. When I was 16 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a radical mastectomy and was home from the hospital just a few weeks when my brother (my only sibling) was killed in a car wreck. Mother died two years later and my other grandfather died two months after my mother.

During those teen years, Eternity grew feet and walked all around me, and at times, stopped and stared me long and hard in the eyes. Eternity was a serious matter. Faith became a living reality. As I stand and look back I can see that:

  • I loved the good times, but it was pain that shaped me.
  • I loved the music, but it was the silence that followed that made me listen.
  • I loved my childhood, but it was the void that was left that made me realize that only Christ can fill it.
  • Out of the crucible of suffering does the hope of Christ shine the brightest.

A few years ago my father died of a heart attack while playing tennis. During those first deeply painful days, God whispered loudly into my ear—repeatedly—Go, sing My Song to the World, Go. Thus began this new journey. I have been singing all my life, had stopped to raise my own family, but now He has called—Sing my Message—Feed my Sheep. So in obedience to His command, I present this cd to encourage you, to lift you up, and it is my prayer that He will use it to speak into your heart as well.

Only For His Glory,