Janet is available for virtual and in-person events, including keynotes, breakout sessions, panel discussions, retreats and podcasts. Additional topics are available and can be customized to meet your group’s theme or need.
Janet Johnson is a speaker, award winning author, and mentor in spiritual formation whose passion is helping others draw strength from God as they experience more deeply the faithfulness and love God has for them, especially during life’s most difficult times. For Janet those times included a family suicide, a murder, and the loss of a son. Janet brings to her audience a heart for those encountering grief as she helps them grow in acceptance of their own journeys, the stages in grief, the struggles, and the ultimate joy God can bring to hurting hearts.
Janet Johnson is an award winning author, speaker, and mentor in spiritual formation. With a passion to help others draw closer to God in all of life’s situations, she is an encourager with a focus on God’s faithfulness and unconditional love. 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.
Formational in her own growing deeper in love with God, was her journey in grief. In addition to the loss of her parents and several very close friends, Janet and Richard lost a son in a car accident, Janet’s brother was murdered, and Richard’s brother committed suicide. Accompanying the pain and grief these tragedies brought, Janet found God’s unending love permeating each situation bringing healing and inner peace. She found an unshakable joy which comes from God’s love. Through insight, story, and scripture, It is that joy she shares with others experiencing life’s tragedies.
Her first book, Grief: The Unwanted Journey, Reflections to Help Navigate Your Way through Tragedy and Loss, was birthed out of her own journey through grief. She is acutely aware It is God’s love that has sustained her on her life’s journey. Her second book, Surviving the Holidays While Grieving: Practical Tools for Experiencing Joy When Facing Grief and Loss, encourages readers to find ways to celebrate and honor the one who is not present. It includes hands-on ways for all ages to find joy amid their sorrow.
Recognizing the need for children to find ways to express their emotions, her next two books, Fly High: Understanding Grief With God’s Help, and Fly High (for the general market) help children identify their feelings through a family of birds. Co-authored with award winning author Michelle Medlock Adams, these books encourage conversation through prompts and additional information for the person reading to the child.
Janet has BA, MSW and MDiv degrees in addition to the completion of the Academy of Spiritual Formation and the Pastors of Excellence Program. She has served on the Board of the Blue Ridge Walk to Emmaus and is on the Board of Aldersgate Renewal Ministries. She worked as a medical social worker, psychologist’s assistant, home-school coordinator and elementary school teacher before God called her into full time ministry in 1996. Now retired, her focus is to help others draw strength from God and find joy in God’s love, especially in the area of grief.
She and her husband Richard (a 30-year veteran of the Air Force), along with their four children, experienced living in many areas due to frequent military moves. Each move brought excitement and new adventures, including new friends, but also brought the pain and loss that accompanied leaving friends and family behind. Through the many transitions, Janet leaned on God as her strength and comfort. Her life passage of scripture is from Nehemiah 6:8, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”
Suggested Interview Questions
- How has your journey with grief paved the way for you to write books?
- Your books help others identify their emotions that accompany the pain that comes with loss. What are some of the typical emotions people experience?
- You’ve experienced incredible loss in your life—your brother to murder, your son to a car accident, and a b-i-l to suicide. Did writing these books offer continued personal therapy for you?
- The book you wrote about surviving the holidays is a tender mixture of supporting others who have lost loved ones and practical activities for processing grief in healthy ways—specifically during holiday seasons like Thanksgiving and Christmas. From your experience, how is grief different over the holidays from the rest of the year?
- Many of the ideas and activities in your holiday book focus on keeping traditions special to the one who died or that helps the one grieving to create a new tradition in honor of their loved one. How does keeping traditions help with the healing process?
- What makes your book unique among others on the market that cover the loss of a loved one?
- You mention in one of your books that “When we share grief, our burden becomes lighter.” Expand on that, and why grief in community brings healing faster than grieving alone.
- In your books, you mention how emotions have unexpected triggers, especially during the holidays. Is there a way to minimize the triggers, or should a grieving person welcome them and deal with them?
- The your holiday book offers targeted chapters for helping children process and express their emotions. Why is it so important to help children grieve? How did your journey with the loss of loved one’s impact writing these chapters?
- You have co-authored two books with Michelle Medlock Adams for children. Would you share a little about how children grieve differently than adults, and why it’s crucial to involve them in activities to help them process their grief—and what some of those activities might look like.
- I noticed you have two books entitled Fly High. Why two books with the same title?
- You mentioned that when you were in your darkest places of grief, scripture reminded you to stay focused on God. Can you share some passages that carried you during these dark seasons?