Hope Helps TN- Beginnings Pt. 1

By: Connie Johnson

People often ask how I ended up running a food pantry, and I usually smile when I think about it.  It definitely was not a straight line or an instant knowledge of what I was going to do, only that it was where I was needed.

God called me.  It sounds simple enough; after all, God asked ME, so how hard could it be. God said that He had a job for me to do at home, and I needed to quit my job and follow him. LOL, this is where I want to smile as I think back to that time.  I had no idea what God had in store for me; I only knew that He needed me. Let me start from the beginning.  

I drove a truck with my husband when I first got the feeling (call) that I needed to quit my job and go home to work for God.  I resisted since I did not feel worthy to represent Him.  I tried to say that I could not leave my job because of financial reasons, but that did not work. He just gave me a way to solve that problem and gave me time to get it done.  So in 2013, I started working on the issue, and he made it work so that I could leave my job.  I planned on leaving in November of 2015, but I ended up going in March because all things work in His time.  Since I did not have things lined up how I planned on it, I had to really lean on Him and trust that God would take care of our needs.  I stepped off a cliff without knowing what was going to happen or where I would land. 

It is not comfortable stepping off a cliff and not seeing the next step or knowing what will happen.  I knew that God would take care of things as he saw fit, and I thought that I had the faith it would take to trust in him, but was I in store for an awakening.   When you lose half of your household income earlier than you plan, it causes you to doubt and hesitate.  I started second-guessing and thinking, “what am I doing?  How could I be someone that the Lord wants to work for him?”  Satan starts working on you before you even begin because he thinks he can get you to stop.  After all, if you do nothing, then you cannot hurt him or his cause.  You are not a threat. 

All I knew was that God had something for me to do at home, and since he showed me a dream about feeding His people, I thought I knew what he wanted.  I could grow a garden; after all, I wanted to do so for my household. So what is the problem with adding a few more rows to share with those in need?  I plowed my garden and commenced planning and planting.  Never mind that I could barely walk 50 ft without being out of breath or that my feet hurt so bad that I hated to get up on them most mornings.  I had a mission, and I knew how to grow things.  I loved to watch the transition of bare ground to rows of beautiful plants that could be eaten and preserved. Does it sound like I needed God or was listening? No, I was doing things my way.  When it came time to give away the fruits of my labor, no one wanted what I had to offer.  Only 1 or 2 people took any of the vegetables I provided.  I was hurt because God told me to “Feed His People,” and no one wanted what I offered.  I believe God was preparing me physically because, by the end of that season, I could walk easier and was in better shape.  I had been studying my Bible (most of which had to do with faith), and I decided that I would continue with the garden, and I would increase it by three times its size.  I trusted God to send the folks who needed the food. 

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