Check Out My New Website

Dear Faithful Friends,

Just a reminder I’m no longer writing here at Mother of Pearls. Please join me at my new website – Cheri Dee Johnson: Discovering God’s Heart for the Mom Raising Nonbiological Children.

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In fact, you can click on over to read today’s thoughts: What Mom Gets a Labor-Free Day?

While there, you can scroll to the bottom of the article and subscribe to continue receiving my weekly blogs in your email. I’d love to have you follow me there. Not only will you get my blog articles but you’ll also receive more personal notes from me and have a place to visit more privately if you’d like.

Also, if you’d like to receive more of my devotionals, I share once or twice a week on Cheri Dee Johnson Facebook page, where I also share weekly live videos. My Facebook devotionals also appear on my Cheri Dee Johnson Instagram page.

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I hope to see you soon at my new places where my goal is to come along side you with lessons I’ve gleaned through the years of parenting nonbiological children.

Aug 28 - Come Alongside

Blessings from God’s Heart,
Cheri Dee Johnson

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Let’s Build a Village

Can we, you and I, enter a symbiotic relationship for a bit?

Where you help me help you?

I’m a writer. Okay, you already knew that. I’m hoping to make a career out of it. Maybe you knew that, too. But the thing is, for writers to reach the people they care about with a message they’re passionate about, it truly takes a huge online village. I’m needing people in my village.

So here’s what’s going on. Almost two years ago I started:

  • this Mother of Pearls weekly blog,
  • bi-weekly devotionals on my Facebook writer’s page Cheri Dee Johnson (previously on Mother of Pearls page),
  • bi-weekly Facebook live videos on the Cheri Dee Johnson page,
  • and began sharing everything except the videos to an Instagram account (also called Cheri Dee Johnson).

All of this is an effort to reach more nonbiological moms with messages of hope. Messages that assure moms they are not monsters, their children aren’t evil, and God is faithful to fulfill His purposes for them and their children.

Even though Mother of Pearls has a good visual message to it, …

Professionals encouraged me to drop it. The topic of “pearls” is way overused. And authors do better if they simply use their names for all their online work. With a name like Cheri Johnson, that’s a bit of a faith step. After all, how many ways can you spell Cheri? And how many thousands of us Cheri (Sherri, Sherrie, Cherie …) Johnsons are there? So I added my middle name to help distinguish me.

As I’m learning what it means to be a writer, I continue to work on my online brand—not an easy task for this not-so-techno grandma. I started working on a new website last October—11 months ago, y’all!

Finally, it’s ready! Woo hoo! I’m so excited to introduce you to …

CHERI DEE JOHNSON: Discovering God’s Heart for the Mom Raising Nonbiological Children

So, here’s how you can help me build a village.

Aug 28 Village

1. Check out my new place and subscribe.

Read any page, scroll to the bottom of the page, and subscribe to receive my blog straight to your email.

2. Inform me if the subscription process doesn’t work.

Because I so appreciate your allowing me into your inbox on a regular basis, I have a free gift for you: a printable of The Nonbiological Mom’s Declaration of Truth. Once you subscribe, that gift should download straight onto your device. Boom! Just like that. And in short order you should receive a thank you letter from me in your email.

This should all happen automatically but in case it doesn’t could you please let me know?

3. Spread the word and help me grow my email list.

My dream is to publish books—books that will land in the hands of moms who need healing from the wounds they’ve encountered while raising children from hard places. But publishers now require authors to do most of their own marketing. The first statistic a potential publisher considers is how big an aspiring author’s email list is. In fact, just yesterday I heard it needs to contain at least 5,000 subscribers. Y’all! I think I have like maybe 25. I’m really struggling to find my “tribe”. So you can see why I’m reaching out to you and asking for your help.

But, I want this to be as organic as possible. Meaning, you don’t have to tell every single soul you know. But if you know any nonbiological (adoptive, foster, step, grandmother, aunt, etc) mom who could use the regular encouragement I offer, please, please, please refer them to my site. (Yes, I would love it if you told every single one of these souls.)

4. Evaluate my site.

I need people, other than my husband, to visit every page (No need to worry about the Write 31 Days page). I’m looking for feedback, especially if something’s not working: it doesn’t appeal visually, the content isn’t clear or meaningful, the technical transitions aren’t smooth, etc. Let me know how I can better serve you and those you know.

I’m used to pretty tough criticism, and if I’m going to enter the publishing world, I’ll have to face it anyway. So, don’t be gentle. Kind, yes, but be as honest as you can. Remember, you’re helping spread encouraging messages to people you care about. You want them to have meaningful engagement with me and my content.

5. Interact with me.

Again, I want this to be organic. Many friends tell me they love what I share even though they never comment. But, it’s those comments that help spread the encouragement. First, they let me know what’s working. Second, they extend messages of understanding and hope with other moms who walk a similar path.

Also, write me personally. Corresponding through email, allows for conversations to happen privately. In fact, by subscribing to my site, I’ll be able to send notes privately to subscribers. But you don’t have to wait for me to initiate conversations; you can email me at cherideejohnson@cherideejohnson.com

In the end, my goal is to step into the kind of opportunities Paul’s mentions in 2 Corinthians.

Aug 28 - Come Alongside

I’d love to be that “come-alongside” person for you, and for those moms you know whom I’ve not yet met. Would you help me in doing this? Would you become a part of my village-building team? It would means so much to me, bless your friends, and help grow God’s kingdom.

To get start just head on over to Cheri Dee Johnson website and subscribe. My next blog will land in your inbox next Monday.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The Formation of Pearls

Pearls are formed when a foreign particle enters an oyster.  To protect itself from irritation the oyster secretes nacre—the same substance that strengthens the inside of the shell, known as mother of pearl.  Nacre contains calcium carbonate, a nutrient taken from the food the oyster has consumed.  Nacre surrounds the irritant in thousands of layers over the lifetime of the oyster, building the pearl.  The more nacre that has been applied, the larger and more valuable the pearl.

I wonder how many layers of nacre it takes before the oyster’s irritant no longer causes wounding.  Once the pain ceases, does the oyster still experiences a measure of discomfort, requiring continued applications?  After multiple ministrations, does that nacre-enveloped irritant eventually become the “new normal”?  Even then, I suspect the oyster will never identify this substance as a jewel.  It will take the eye of an outside observer to recognize its immense value.

Perhaps you thought your life was sufficiently attractive without the need for jewelry making.  I know I sure did.  In fact, I thought I was a much lovelier person before I became a parent.  Like that in the oyster’s shell, the nacre in my life had already produced strength and beauty.  But the rare and enduring quality is found not in the shell; it’s found in the pearl—and pearls require an irritant.

In our lives, irritants enter uninvited.  Once there, they don’t go away.  We must deal with them whether we want to or not. It matters not that we feel undeserving, intruded upon, or victimized; the new inhabitant needs attention.  If we respond with resentment or bitterness, wounding will result.  However, if we secrete spiritual nacre, we will find what was once an affliction has emerged a priceless gem.

And how do we develop healthy spiritual nacre? By continuously feeding on the Word of God and anything else that contains Scriptural truth (like worship music). Surrounding ourselves with people whose lives reflect Biblical values also enriches our nutritional resources.

I am sharing my pearls with you, developed through the challenges of parenting rough-edged children.  I trust you will find nutrients to ingest and apply to the irritants in your own life.  I pray that the truths of God’s Word, given to express God’s heart, will coat your heart with strength and beauty.

I pray you’ll cherish the treasures God has chosen to plant deep into your soul—not the treasures you thought you’d find, but those from Him—those of eternal value—those that someday you’ll witness as you pass the pearl gates into His kingdom (Revelation 21:21).

copyright February 2016 by Cheri Johnson

My Story Matters

Just a little bonus material I wrote for @DaySpring #mystorymatters Contest. I thought it appropriate to add here.

My story matters. As an adoptive mom of five Russian orphans, I limped my way through parenthood much like tens of thousands of step, foster, and other adoptive moms have. Our stories need to be heard.

We need someone to cry as we share how we have suffered broken hearts, mourned shattered dreams, feared for our safety and emotional well-being, and failed miserably.

We need someone to pray when the road seems endless, the battle grows intense, the challenges overwhelm, and the enemy comes in like a flood.

We need someone to cheer as we graciously overcome scandalous attacks, respond in a Christ-like manner, give from the marrow of our souls, rejoice in praises we eventually receive from our children, and finish the race.

My story matters because I did it all. I cried. I screamed. I packed my bags. But, I never quit. I started over each morning, clinging to my Father. I successfully launched my children into adulthood. And now, I play with ten grandchildren.

Moms to “other women’s children” can find thousands of how-to books, many of which offer excellent techniques and tips. But little encouragement is available in the area we need it most—how to parent with the heart of the Father who adopted us all.

He alone was my salvation. Through His Word He transformed the irritants of my soul into gems, just as an oyster transforms an unwanted granule of sand into a precious pearl.  He sent fellow adoptive moms—sisters in Christ—who came along side me (2 Corinthians 1:4), offering encouragement and prayer at my toughest moments.

My story matters because second-round moms need to know they are not alone in their struggles. They are not monsters. They are not failures. They will survive. They will succeed. They will glorify the Father.

Because my story matters, I started a Facebook page (“Mother of Pearls”) and a blog (https://motherofpearlsblog.wordpress.com). I can’t wait to publish my first book, Pearls of the Heart, and I have a second book in the works, Strings of Pearls.

This little snippet of my story is an invitation for moms to open my treasure chest and handle the gems God has formed in my soul through almost 20 years of embracing rough-edged children. I envisioned an adoption story far different than the one I experienced. I would never have written it as it ended up playing out. But that’s just it. God never intends us to write our own stories. He wants us to sit back and trust that the story He writes for our lives will have a glorious ending.

His stories always conclude in triumph. His painting always transforms drabness into brilliance. His handiwork always molds gems around irritants.

This is my story—His story—of beauty emerging from the grit of my heart.

copyright January 2016 by Cheri Johnson

 

Let me introduce myself

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Greetings, SAFE mom!

My name is Cheri Johnson. I, too am a SAFE mom: a Step/Adoptive/Foster/or Every other kind of mom to non biological children.

I am a mother of five children all adopted from Russia in 1997 and 2000.

Five adopted children? Yes!

Crazy? In-sane!

Worth it? Ab-solutely!

But many days I wanted to run away. Many days I screamed at my kids; screamed at myself; or screamed at God. I felt alone, misunderstood, and beaten down. Yet, God took the painful, confusing, and scary times and turned them into wholeness, beauty, and treasures.

Pearls

Can I show you my pearls? They are lessons I’ve learned of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and purposes.

They started as a grain of pain cradled in the dark, hidden years of parenting young wounded souls. They grew until my heart felt so crowded and overwhelmed I thought I would suffocate. They were spewed out into the world with a gush of tears and a rending of spirit. But when I turned to examine what was produced I found beauty instead of ashes.  Truth to replace lies.  Softness where there had been hardness.

If you find yourself in a parenting situation that threatens to shred your heart with fear, failure, and fatigue, then this Mother of Pearls offers understanding, comfort, and hope. Hold tight, dear friends. By applying soothing nutrients to your soul, you too will one day display jewels of immeasurable value.

 

copyright January 2016 by Cheri Johnson