Forever my Lydia


After fourteen hours of travel, as a very tired and weary traveler, I pulled onto the tree line streets of Windom, Minnesota for the very first time in my life. I had loved seeing a part of our nation I had never had the opportunity to visit, but I had no idea on that day how much I would come to love the city of Windom, but even more so the people. I had little to no apprehension of stepping out of my car and knocking on the door of an address I had been given to meet a woman who had opened up her home for the purpose of hosting me during my stay. Her name was Loretta Jackson. A woman small in stature, but huge in heart. She answered the door with a smile that lit up the outdoors and we were fast friends.

We had two things in common. First of all we both loved and served the Lord. Secondly, we were married to fire fighters, although her fighter husband had retired. We started talking when she opened the door and we didn’t stop until she and I hugged goodbye a week later. Her home was modest and filled with memories of her life that showed her love for her family and friends. She and I shared our work in the ministry and how God had changed our lives through allowing us to serve. God has been good to me to allow me the privilege of knowing some of His greatest servants.

Loretta will forever be my Lydia.

Acts 16:14-15 KJVS

[14] And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us : whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. [15] And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

By the time I came to know Loretta, she was retired and up in years, but like Lydia she never stopped working. While there were certainly younger women who could have stepped in and did what Loretta did for the Lord, she knew that God had called her to serve, so serve she would!

One story that will let you understand her heart as I came to appreciate it was the call she received from another church, not of her Denomination. This is how crazy our religious world has become. Loretta had such a reputation as a woman of God in the Windom community, that this church of what I would consider dead religion, called her to teach their children. They had no people in their own congregation who would volunteer to teach the children about the Lord Jesus Christ, and even thought they knew the doctrinal differences that they had with Loretta’s Baptist background, they wanted her to do it. And so, armed with her baptist curriculum, she taught and the children learned that God loved them, because Loretta loved them. Oh, that story brings me such joy! Because it wouldn’t happen just anywhere and it wouldn’t happen with just anyone. Loretta, like Lydia, worshipped God with an open heart and she attended to the things of God and the people saw.

Oh to be known as a Lydia! Oh to be known as a Loretta!

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at or find her on Facebook!

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