Margaret H. Johnson
Author. Inspirational Speaker. Self Publishing Consultant
Be Real. Be Authentic. Be You!
"I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14
I wrote my first book in 2010 when I was dealing with an illness that left me wheelchair bound. It was through that battle that I grew closer to God and discovered my calling as an author and inspirational speaker. Since that time I have written three other books as well as a workbook. I have traveled extensively to share my testimony and encourage people at conferences, retreats and church services. I felt like my life was falling into place because although I enjoyed my career in the financial industry, God was calling me to something different. As I was obedient, the doors began to fly open.
I never dreamed of being an author. I enjoyed English all throughout school. I loved writing but putting ink to paper and writing a book was never on my to do list of accomplishments, but God gave me a gift and I have been called to use it. As I sit back and think about all that God has done through me, I am amazed. I have always been quiet and reserved, but God uses those things that are seemingly weaknesses to His advantage. Yes my reserved spirit suits me when needed, but when it is time to speak about the goodness of God in front of people, there is no shyness there. There is no reservation. God gives me that boldness when I need it the most.
There is a saying that I am sure practically every one has heard: never judge a book by its cover. I thought about that saying as it relates to my own life and ministry. I have had mountaintop experiences in ministry and valley experiences as well. There have been seasons when I have traveled consistently ministering and sharing the gospel. Then there have been seasons when the phone stopped ringing. My health has been up and at times it has been down. If someone were to see me now bound to a wheelchair, from the outside looking in, it would seem as if I am in the valley. How did I go from writing four books in the span of two years, ministering about divine healing to now being confined to a wheelchair once again?
I am learning that just like the saying, we should never judge a person based on what we see outwardly. Discernment is an important spiritual gift for the believer. It allows you to see beyond the mere physical realm but it helps to divulge the inner workings of a person's motives. We should always be watchful to discern whether a person, opportunity or situation is right for us. Just because a situation is not right for you does not mean that it is not right for someone else. The important thing to remember is that seeking God before making any decisions will always lead you in the right direction.
I have had encounters with people throughout my illness and many of them have spoken things into my life. Some I have received and some I have not. Some people did not know me when I was traveling, writing books and sharing the gospel. All they see is a woman confined to a wheelchair. I may look weak physically, but God has not left me. The very thing that people may see in you as a weakness is not a weakness at all. It is the catalyst God uses to build your testimony and propel you into your destiny. We have to be careful who we allow to speak into our lives. This is another area where discernment comes into play. Discernment is defined as perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding. Anyone that comes to you with the following words: God said or God told me to tell you, should be an indication that discernment needs to kick into high gear. If it does not feel right to you, there is no law that says you have to receive it.
You know your story. You know what God has been telling you. Yes people can speak into your life but it should be confirmation of what God has already been sharing with you. We must be watchful and have a spirit of prayer at all times. The enemy is using ignorance in the area of discernment to confuse, divide and destroy the body of Christ. We cannot allow this to happen. Guard your heart and your mind against anyone that would speak a word into your life that you know is not from God. Trust God to lead you and direct your path. There are so many people out there who come dressed in godly apparel, say all the right things, have the title behind their names, but they are merely wolves in sheep's clothing.
I encourage you today to pray for discernment in every situation. God gave me gifts and talents to use for the body of Christ. I was obedient and He opened so many doors. I have had a setback but I know God is orchestrating a comeback for me. Even my weakness is an opportunity for God to show Himself strong in my life. God is using me through a difficult situation to show that He can still work miracles. He is allowing me to go through to build my testimony. I am not less than. I am not defeated. My circumstances don't define who I am. I can't allow people to judge me based on what they see right now. I am so much more than a woman in a wheelchair and you are more than your limitations.
God is not the author of confusion. If a person speaks into you life and it is from God, you will know it. There will be a peace that fills you. It will come with the cool breeze of confirmation. If you feel the least bit of heaviness or that unsettling feeling in the pit of your stomach, don't ignore it. Spiritual discernment is important because it keeps you God focused and not man focused. I want my knowledge and understanding to come from God. I cannot afford to be led in the wrong direction because I was swayed by the title of a man and neglected to discern his heart. Neither can you.
"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in the knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11
Until next time...Be Real. Be Authentic. Be You!