Stories of How Generosity Can Change Lives
CRISIS LEADS TO DEGREE IN COUNSELING
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
“God doesn’t waste our pain,” Mariah Johnson ’12 said. “Today, I am walking out a plan God obviously has for me, one that my fears and lack of resources were holding me back from. I am in the midst of one of my biggest steps of faith and obedience.”
Johnson was not raised in a Christian home, and a traumatic childhood event left her victim to heartache and pain and self-destructive behavior for years.
When she was 22, Johnson was hospitalized for a bleeding ulcer and deep depression. The woman in the next bed shared with Johnson the love, joy and acceptance that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Overwhelmed by the hope of Christ, Johnson accepted Jesus as her Savior.
Through the years, Johnson and her husband took every opportunity to listen to and love people. Knowing full well the power of encouragement in her own life, Johnson taught discipleship classes, mentored young people, and ministered in Washington County Jail.
Then, in 2007, Johnson experienced a family crisis that shook her trust in God. Hurt and broken, Johnson took a custodial job for Samaritan House and met interns from JBU who encouraged her to finish a degree in counseling. The administration at Samaritan House also urged Johnson to complete her degree, but she was certain she would not find the funds for a college education.
“I saw all the reasons why it wasn’t a practical decision,” Johnson said. “But if it is God, He’s going to make a way. I was still trying to support my own kids through college, but counseling is what I’ve been doing for years. I love people and I love being a part of their lives.”
Johnson applied to JBU and the financial aid package she received stood as confirmation from God to respond to the urgings of those around her. Due to the additional resources that became available due to the Keeping Faith Campaign, Johnson enrolled at JBU. She is studying family and human services and plans to receive a master’s degree in family counseling.
Ultimately, Johnson wants to build cottages on her land to house and mentor young mothers and children while equipping them to succeed in life. “JBU is another step in God’s redemptive plan for my life. I am truly grateful,” Johnson says.