Little did I know that as I was concluding the “Saints in Glory” series in June, that the Lord would take my dear wife, Jenni, to Heaven. I had written the final article but had not yet sent it to our editor at Reasons for Hope* Jesus. After Jenni’s passing, and with a heavy heart, I sent the last article, “Saints in Heaven and Saints Below,” to our editor.
Now, two and a half months later, I desire to add a fourth article, sharing my thoughts on my wonderful wife’s transformation from her earthly positions as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, and more to her heavenly position as a saint in glory. It all began with…
A Trip to the ER
On Sunday morning, June 14, 2020, I took Jenni to the ER at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. After many tests and discussions with several teams of specialists, it was determined that Jenni had renal cell cancer and it had spread throughout her body. They told us that she was too weak to survive surgery, chemo, or radiation treatments. So with regret, they said our only option was hospice/comfort care.
The ambulance brought Jenni home on Friday, June 19 at 4:45 p.m., and one hour later, she went to be with Jesus. All four of our adult children, their spouses, and our two oldest grandchildren were gathered around Jenni’s bed (the other 10 grandchildren were playing like little angels in the basement). Jenni was clear-minded, but not able to keep up with her severe dependence on oxygen, and she slipped away from us into the arms of Jesus. We were stunned that she had left us so quickly but so thankful that the Lord took her so gently into His presence.
One of my favorite songs is “Finally Home”. The chorus says,
Just think of stepping on shore, and finding it Heaven,
Of touching a hand and finding it God’s;
Of breathing new air and finding it celestial,
Of waking up in glory and finding it home…
(Finally Home, by Don Wyrtzen and L.E Singer, 1971)
For many years, because of Jenni’s allergies, she often found it hard to breathe. Now she is breathing the pure, celestial air of Heaven, and she will never struggle to breathe again!
It blesses me so much to envision her enjoying the presence of Jesus, her parents, and all the saints in glory, for she has now become one of them!
Jenni Has Joined the “Great Cloud…”
When I sent that final article to the editor at Reasons for Hope* Jesus, I said, “Jenni has now joined that Great Cloud of Witnesses spoken of in Hebrews 12:1.” Having Jenni as my wife and best friend for over 46 years made me a better man, husband, father, grandfather, and preacher. Now that Jenni is in heaven, I am inspired to continue to be a man whom Jesus and Jenni will be proud of, and by God’s help and grace, I want to finish strong like Jenni did.
Life Without Jenni
Honestly, every day is a struggle, and the future without her is very intimidating. But my goal is to live one day at a time, to keep the faith, and to finish my course with joy.
I’m learning to lean, learning to lean,
learning to lean on Jesus;
Finding more power than I’ve ever dreamed,
I’m learning to lean on Jesus.
(Songwriter: Jeannie Vee Clattenburg)
And I’m “Looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”. “Even so come, Lord Jesus!!!” -Don Johnston 8/27/20
In Loving Memory of Jennifer Sue Johnston
March 23, 1955 – June 19, 2020
Jenni’s Favorite Bible Verse:
Call to Me, and I will answer you,
and show you great and mighty things,
which you do not know. (Jer 33:3)
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