Janet Johnson

Meet Janet!

Janet K Johnson is an award winning author, speaker, pastor, and mentor in spiritual formation. Her passion is helping others draw closer to God in all of life’s situations. She finds joy in the “little things” of life and knows it is God’s love that has sustained her on her life’s journey. Janet is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, a Board member for Aldersgate Renewal Ministries, and an active member of the Blue Ridge Walk to Emmaus. She and her husband of over fifty years, Richard, live near Asheville, NC along with their much loved dog, Daisy. Janet especially enjoys time spent with their grown children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren

Formational in Janet's growing deeper in love with God, was her journey in grief. In addition to the loss of her parents and several close friends, Janet and Richard lost a son in a car accident. Additionally, Janet’s brother was murdered and her brother-in-law committed suicide. Through the pain and grief that accompanied these tragedies, Janet found God’s unending love permeating each situation bringing healing, inner peace, and joy into each day. Her life passage of scripture is from Nehemiah 6:8, “The joy of the Lord is my strength."

She and her husband, Richard (a 30-year veteran of the Air Force), and their four children, experienced living in many areas due to frequent military moves. Each move brought excitement and new adventures, including new schools and friends, but it also brought the pain of leaving friends and family behind. Janet leaned on God as her strength and comfort through the many transitions. Now retired, she writes, speaks, helps others draw strength from God through Spiritual formation, draws joy from the love of God, and ministers in the power of God's Holy Spirit.

Janet has...

a BA from the University of Evansville in sociology and psychology, BA in Education K-12 from Black Hills University, MSW from Rutgers University, and a MDiv degree from United Theological Seminary. Additionally, she completed the Academy of Spiritual Formation and the Pastors of Excellence Program. She worked as a medical social worker with both in-hospital and day treatment psychiatric patients, a psychologist’s assistant, a home-school coordinator for elementary school students and a lead elementary school teacher before God called her into full time ministry in 1996.

Having served congregations in Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina, she is now retired. Through her writing and speaking, Janet continues to share her passion for making God's love and joy palpable to others.

In addition to writing and ministering, Janet serves on the Board of Aldersgate Renewal Ministries and is the past Community Spiritual Director for the Blue Ridge Walk to Emmaus. She also is involved with many writer's and speaker's groups.

Her first book, an award-winning devotional, Grief the Unwanted Journey, Reflections to Help Navigate Your Way through Tragedy and Loss, helps her readers recognize the stages of grief, the emotions connected with them and how God’s faithfulness can help us find joy on our journey.

Her second book, Surviving the Holidays While Grieving, Practical Tools for Experiencing Joy When Facing Grief and Loss, brings tangible ways to honor a loved one who is absent while making new memories from old ones. It is a toolbox of encouragement for all who grieve and includes ideas for all ages, including children.

Janet's most recent books were co-authored with Michelle Medlock Adams, a multiple award-winning author. Both books, Fly High (written for the general market) and Fly High, Understanding Grief with God's Help (faith-based) are for children to help them understand their feelings during times of grief. With a story about a family of cardinal birds, the children can learn to recognize why they feel the way they do. A second layer on the pages helps parents, grandparents, or the person reading to the child to ask appropriate age-based questions facilitating conversations. These books recently have a global market and are finalists in several book award categories.

Janet K. Johnson

“When Janet takes the stage, joy fills the room. She brings deep understanding of God’s word into the toughest subjects-grief and loss-because she has walked the hardest roads. I highly recommend Janet as the speaker for you next event.”

Karen Porter

Professional coach of speakers and writers, author of eight books, and entrepreneur

“Jan Johnson is a wealth of wisdom on navigating grief. She’s been through more traumatic loss than anyone I know, and God is using all of it to instill joy and hope in others. Jan empowers the hurting with biblical, strategic, and practical answers for the lament that aches within.” 

Athena Dean Holtz

Podcaster, pastor’s wife, and spiritual abuse survivor


Most Requested Topics 
Janet K. Johnson
Pink Hearts

The Crooked Journey

Dreams. Hopes. Plans. One day life is going well; the next it is turned upside down by tragedy or loss. Grief can come into our lives like a thief in the night and along with it many unexpected emotions. While acknowledging the journey of grief is different for each person, the audience will focus on God’s love and faithfulness even on the most difficult days. In addition to examining the different stages of grief, participants will focus on God’s promises to believers and God’s involvement in their lives. They will find God's desire to bring each person into His joy which then begins a shift in how they live their lives. Participants will leave with new expectations of what their future hopes may be and be encouraged to live a joy-filled future. Yes! There is joy to be found amid grief!

The Bright Side of Darkness-Letters from God

One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy but how many of us truly live in it? I’m speaking about real joy-joy that cannot be stolen by life’s circumstances! Even amid our struggles with broken relationships, tragedies, or losses, God wants to provide for us in ways we might not imagine. Participants discover how to recognize and avoid pitfalls that prevent them from living in joy while being encouraged to cling to God’s promises and future hope because they have the “joy, joy, joy, joy, down in their hearts!”

The Unexpected Gift

Not all holiday gifts are found under the tree! When life has taken away our joy, special times become difficult to celebrate and often we miss gifts from God in our midst. During this presentation, participants discover practical and spiritual ways to shift their focus from grief to honoring and celebrating what once was. Grief is a journey but it can be accompanied by God’s love, future hope, and finding joy in God’s promises. This can be a hands-on experience, if desired, making it very personal and transformational.

Why Did You Kick the Dog?

Children often have a hard time understanding the feelings they have. This is especially true when they have lost someone or something they loved. Helping children navigate their emotions means we must understand how their emotions take on different ways of expressing themselves. There may be issues of anger, regression, clinginess, isolation, and even times of kicking the dog because they just don't know what to do. Janet shares age-level behaviors associated with grief and suggestions on how to help.

Janet K. Johnson Preaching