By Jacki Ragan and Stephanie Johnson
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to speak with Stephanie Johnson and hear a little about her life and her powerful testimony. She has been through a lot in her life, but through it all, God has protected her, guided her, and ultimately healed her deepest wound. Now, He is using her amazing story to reach out to others and offer that same guidance and healing.
Stephanie had two abortions, the first when she was 18 and another at age 24. Neither were decisions she made casually and both took a tremendous toll on her life.
The second abortion reflected what pro-life counselors recognize as the “replacement baby syndrome.” Stephanie now recognizes that, at the time, she was seeking to fill a void–an emptiness she experienced because of her first abortion.
In her own words, “As is typical in women who have had an abortion, I was not aware that I was subconsciously trying to replace the baby I had aborted.”
Stephanie made a statement about the second abortion that I can’t get out of my mind…”I sobbed uncontrollably as my boyfriend yelled at me all the way to the abortion clinic. He dropped me off, paid for it, and went to work.”
I wonder how many young women could tell a similar story about an unwanted abortion.
Fast forward through many ups and downs, including a marriage, three children, and becoming a widow at only 38 years old. During the stress of being a single, self employed Mother, God pursued Stephanie “as the hound of Heaven.” She finally surrendered and gave her life to Christ. Then through His divine intervention, Stephanie met the love of her life and in 2003 became the wife of Rev. Stan Johnson. Together, they have been serving at First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, S.C. for the past 16 years.
In 2005, Stephanie went through an Abortion Recovery Assistance Bible Study called, “Forgiven and Set Free.” Although she received God’s healing through the course, she still did not feel “safe” enough to share her testimony. She knew God was calling her to do so, but the evil one used the fear of being judged to keep her silent. But as we know, God’s timing is perfect…
Ten years later, her senior pastor included the topic of abortion in his sermon. He shared a video called “God help us (the sound of abortion).”
This was the moment Stephanie sensed the Holy Spirit saying, “Now is the time!” After the service, she immediately went to her pastor’s office and shared her story with him. With his support and the power of the Holy Spirit, she overcame her fear of being judged and slowly began sharing her testimony…forty-three years after her first abortion!
Stephanie’s abortions had devastating effects on her life that are very similar to what the lead actress portrays in the play,Viable. This play has been discussed a great deal recently by the National Right to Life.
Stephanie said to me, “God used Viable to help me process feelings I thought I had dealt with but hadn’t”– and that was just through reading the script.Stephanie continues:
“God helped me to finally face and come to terms with my aborted children’s humanity, where in the past, I would push down my thoughts and emotions of the true reality of what the abortion caused – the loss of their life, the potential of what they would have grown up to be.
“The feelings surfacing were agonizing…I thought of my 3 grown children. I cried as I wondered what their sisters or brothers would have looked like, sounded like, what they would have done with their lives and what generations never lived because of a ‘choice’ I made. I asked them, by name, to forgive me.
“I know in my heart God has forgiven me, set me free, and for that I am eternally grateful. But I, like all post abortive men and women, must live with the pain of the consequences of our choices. The scars from these wounds never go away.
“Through this healing process, God (in His still small voice) again reminded me that He loves me and I am forgiven. He comforted me by reminding me that I will see my children one day in Heaven.
“Viable has taken my healing to another, deeper level…I will always be grateful to Godfor bringing John Hoover andViable into my life!”
You have the opportunity for three more weeks to see“Viable” in the comfort of your own home and, at the same time, help the National Right to Life Committee continue its vital programs and projects. For more information, visit https://www.nrlc.org/viable/ or go directly to WatchSalemMedia.Com/Viable.
This amazing play will be streamed through June 10.
Don’t let this unique opportunity pass without sharing this information with your Church, your community, your neighbors, family and friends. You can never be sure whose life might be touched or even saved.