Aunt Debbie

Campus Blog

Three lessons for Dr./Aunt Debbie

July 19th, 2013 | Dr. Debbie Johnson


My favorite thing in life, after being a Christian, is being an aunt.  Loving Brittany, Bethany, Ryan, Kelsey, Kaylee, Robbie, Zach, Sara, Jordan, Wesley, Stephanie, and still coming … is the best!  I have learned some of my most important lessons from them:

1. God’s heart beats love

A young Ryan asked me once if I loved him more than the nieces.  I told him he didn’t need to worry about how much I loved anyone else, because every time my heart beat it said, “I love Ryan.”

A few weeks later I was going out of town and telling him goodbye and said “I love you, buddy.”

He replied, “I know cause that’s what your heart says!”   I was so thrilled that he said that and was thinking about it as I drove away … and then felt God say to me, “And that’s what my heart says to you with every beat!”

2. Playing can be worship

Brittany woke up way early from a nap one day, when I had just gotten into heartfelt journaling and Bible study.  I tried continuing that as I cuddled my infant niece, but it just didn’t work.  I told the Lord that I didn’t understand why He didn’t keep her napping while we were having devotion time together.   How was I supposed to have spiritual time with baby Brittany?

I felt Him say to me, “Enjoy cuddling and playing with Brittany.”

Hmm … God’s idea of spiritual time can be very different than our categorizing.   It is not just in specific tasks such as Bible reading, fasting, church attendance, etc.. where I worship Him.  His idea of my worship is in my lifestyle, attitude, heart focus and love.  I can worship God when I play and care for the kids, when I teach a class well, when I show kindness and patience.  What a great God!

3. He is big; we are small

“Aunt Debbie,” toddler Bethany called from the back seat of the car.  I tensed a bit.  She had used ‘that’ tone.  The tone that signified a tough question or sharp observation would be forthcoming (very intelligent Bethany could give either of those from a very young age!).

I replied, “Yes?”

She said, “I guess to God we are all like Polly Pockets.  He is big and we are small and we need Him to take care of us all.  Nothing moves without Him.”

“Yes, Bethany.  That is absolutely correct!”

I continue to learn and enjoy and love and thank God for them all … with every heartbeat.

Dr. Debbie Johnson

Dr. Debbie Johnson

Dr. Debbie Johnson, professor of psychology, served on the faculty of Southeastern University and Central Bible College prior to coming to Evangel University. In addition to holding degrees from Evangel, Bradley University and Capella University, she is also an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. Still, she says her favorite role in life is that of "Aunt Debbie" to her nieces and nephews.

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