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Ordinary People. Ordinary Things. with Melissa Radke

Dec 17, 2019

I am sitting down with my friend Billie Jean Johnson on this very special Christmas, because any Christmas we are lucky enough to have is special. Even more so for some of us. Billie Jean is funny, sarcastic, and loud. She has a smile that spreads all the way across her face. She’s the queen of laughing at her own jokes, and she thinks she’s the funniest person in the room. The first time we met, I attended a party she was hosting and nothing was home cooked.

She's been married to the love of her life over 25 years. She’s a parent and a grandparent. She’s a faithful and loyal friend who’s never met a purse or a fake set of nails that she doesn't love. She likes big Texas cars and long hair extensions. She is more girly girl than I am on my best day. Every time I've seen her she's been dressed to the nines. Yet, she's never uppity and has zero pretense.

She is someone who believes in community. She built a rehabilitation and recovery center for people with addictions. She has fed inner-city families on Thanksgiving with her giant walk-through Thanksgiving buffet. She has literally brought hundreds of volunteers together to serve dinner plates to shut-ins. Billie Jean isn’t on the show today  for the amazing things that she has done. She’s here because of where she’s going.

Unless a miracle happens, this will be the last Christmas that Billie Jean has with her husband Jeramy and her girls, Haley and Jessica. It will be the last Christmas she watches her grandson or son-in-law open gifts. Stupid, horrible, spiteful cancer may very well win this one. I asked Billy Jean a few weeks ago if I could sit with her in silence and grief and ask her some questions. We often want to ask questions of those with one foot on the other side, but are too afraid too. It’s an honor to sit and talk with Billie Jean on this episode.

Show Notes:

  • [05:17] Billy Jeans go to meal in Lufkin would be a turkey burger from Mom's Diner.
  • [05:54] Friendship means family and being there through the good and the ugly. 
  • [06:20] Every one Billie Jean knows has risen to this season. 
  • [07:13] Billie Jean has many roles and the actress who would play her might surprise you.
  • [07:43] Billie Jean has always been an optimistic person. She believes that God is good and only gives good gifts. 
  • [08:19] Her perspective on life is taking care of what God has put her here to do and nothing else matters.
  • [09:40] Her family is her greatest testimony, so she's letting them see how she can live and die graciously.
  • [12:12] Billie Jean had a great health report from the doctor. Two weeks later they went back to the doctor, and found out that the tumors had grown. There were so many tumors that Billie Jean wouldn't make it through the surgery to remove them.
  • [13:17] When Billie Jean and her husband heard this news, they were shocked. 
  • [14:22] Billie Jean doesn't worry about the fear of dying, it's what she leaves behind that has to wrestle with the pain. 
  • [15:17] Years ago, Billie Jean dealt with losing her dad from addiction and her sister's addiction. She then took care of her sister's children. The whole experience was an emotional roller coaster for Billie Jean. 
  • [16:28] She cried out to God, and he took the pain away from her.
  • [19:29] She can't complain about cancer or ask God for anymore, because of all the wonderful things he has done for her in this life.
  • [20:26] Billie Jean trusts that God's going to help take care of her family. She believes that whatever the reason for all of this is that God's fulfilling his purpose.
  • [21:16] Moms want to prepare their children as much as they can, but they don't really know how. We don't know what we're doing, but what we do know is that we're going to be gracious to each other.
  • [22:45] Billie Jean's relationship with God is very sweet. 
  • [23:40] When she is really having a hard day, she listens to worship music and let's her family know she loves them. 
  • [25:36] God's love is so rich. If your emotions aren't benefiting, you try something else. Don't stop talking to him, and he won't leave you stranded.
  • [27:25] Billie Jean used to think that she was introverted and didn't have friends, but the love and support of her community has been overwhelming.
  • [27:55] Treat everybody well, because you never know when you'll need to be treated well.
  • [29:55] For Billy Jean, material things mean absolutely nothing. Her perspective is shifting from worldly to heavenly. Spiritual awareness and relationships are what matter to her now.
  • [33:30] If everybody got to choose how they live, they wouldn't be so overburdened with their schedules. The big things are teaching your children how to deal with everyday life.
  • [34:28] Stop and let your children see you for who you really are.
  • [36:57] Everything that was once important has shifted.
  • [38:23] Billie Jean used to be the girliest girl ever.
  • [40:06] Billie Jean shares her favorite uplifting songs and scriptures with us. John 14:27 and Joshua 1:9
  • [41:18] Her family is being strong for her, and she knows that it's hard. 

Thanks for joining us on Ordinary People Ordinary Things. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and leave a nice review. Just like your mother taught you.

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