‘Along for the Ride’

Having grown up in church and accepting Jesus into his life at age 5, Craig Johnson of Elgin, Ill., doesn’t remember a time in his life when he didn’t know the Lord. But things haven’t always gone smoothly for him.

“Like most Christians, [I had] ups and downs,” says Craig. His relationship with God became particularly intense and intimate after Connie, his wife of 10 years, died in childbirth, along with their third child.

“I was thrust into a position of depending on Him for all my needs, all the time. With His special provision and help from others, God got the most important things done; I was just along for the ride,” Craig said. “I received the comfort, strength, and wisdom to raise two boys, teach school, direct a church choir, and manage an apartment building.”

Two years after Connie’s death, God brought a special woman, Karen Dorsey, into the lives of Craig and his two sons, Matthew and Cameron.

As new teachers at the same school years earlier, Karen and Craig, both Christians, had become good friends. But they lost touch after Craig transferred to another school five years later. More than a decade after that, they met again at an education event.

Craig considers that reconnection with Karen part of God’s miraculous provision for him and his sons.

“Common interests in athletics, music, and church activities helped overcome the unique courtship complexities of four people discovering if they have a future together as a healthy, loving family,” said Craig. Karen’s even temperament, love of children, common sense, and desire to guide her new sons toward Christ helped her climb the steep learning curve of being an instant parent.

The Johnsons have been a happy family for almost 30 years. “Most importantly, our two sons and five granddaughters follow Jesus, which is an incalculable blessing!” Craig says.

 by Anne Urban

For many years, Craig has been involved with the Salvation Army’s red kettle effort during the holiday season. See ‘Elgin Brass Band’.

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