First-time author Joanne Johnston's recently-published book - 'Healing in the Innermost: Letting God Do What Only God Can' is a story of love, loss and faith.
At a book signing at Carlyle's Second Chance Thrift Store, Johnston, a longtime resident of Kisbey, says: “The book is about my life, but I didn't want to focus on me, but rather to write in a way that I could use what I went through to help other people get through their own loss and tough life issues.”
“After all, we all have our own hard and sometimes unfair or devastating issues to get through,” she says. “However, no matter what we face, I've discovered that the people who can move through them into a better future are the ones with a positive attitude about themselves as well as the hope and faith that things can change.”
Johnson says the catalyst for the book was a “brutal” five-year period in her life in which she suffered a series of life-altering losses.
“A friend and I started a business in Arcola - Coteau Place - which was a seniors' residence. Because we were starting out, we didn't have a lot of extra money for staffing, so I worked there a lot. Two weeks before we opened the doors, my sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I was a caregiver for her. She was only 36-years-old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and left four little kids.”
“A month after she died, our son was in a motorcycle accident and sustained head injuries,” she adds. “He's okay now, but at the time, we didn't know how things would turn out for him.”
“After that, my dad had a stroke and lost the ability to speak and my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer.”
Johnston was also diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, which she has overcome.
Then, Johnston and her family experienced what she calls “the greatest blow of all” - the death of her 18-year-old daughter, Danielle - as the result of a motor vehicle accident.
“I had a really love-hate relationship with God after my daughter died,” says Johnston. “This book is about my journey and how I got to have the faith I have now, but you need to build a cornerstone of faith because when trials come - and they will - that's what I believe will get you through.”
“I compare it to a tornado,” explains Johnston. “You can read about them and study them, but until you've experienced one, you can't really know the force and the power. And that's what God getting me through those losses is to me.”
“My book is for anyone who has suffered a loss,” says Johnston. “And a loss can even be a divorce or a job loss.”
“I wanted to show people through my own successes that no matter who you are, what you've done, how old you are or where you're at, God can always restore your life.”
“My prayer is that by reading my story that I will show the reader that when you get God involved, the healing and restoration process is possible in any situation for anyone,” says Johnston. “You're never alone on your journey.”
“I don't want to make it sound like it's always going to be easy,” she adds. “Like anything that's worthwhile, it takes work and we will have setbacks. But we're never alone. I encourage people if they keep going and don't give up on themselves or God, they will make it.”
“Two of my favourite sayings that you can take to the bank are: 'God is never looking for perfection, just participation.' and 'You just have to take the first step and God will always be there to help you finish.'”
“I'm living proof.”
Johnston has partnered will Choose Life Ministries and Second Chance Thrift Stores and books purchased at Second Chance Thrift Stores in Carlyle, Estevan and Weyburn will receive a portion of the proceeds of the book's sales.
'Healing in the Innermost' retails for $29.95 and can also be purchased via www.lifesjourneyministry.com or at Arcola Pharmacy and Carlyle Pharmasave.