My Story

Approval. Affirmation. Validation. 
That I matter. That I am liked. That someone would notice me.

From the time I was young, I’ve sought attention. Growing up in a big family was great, but pretty chaotic, and looking back I can see I was looking for my place to stand out. I looked to academics, athletic accomplishments, and a “perfect” body to form my identity and make me special.

Christ became my Savior at age 14, but I continued into my adult life seeking to achieve a standard of beauty determined by the world. I believed I could do this by being a certain shape and size, and anything less would make me unlovable. Chasing the next diet, exercise fad, or metabolism-boosting pill, years later I found myself a slave to an eating disorder and extreme body hatred. When the “next thing” didn’t deliver as promised, the chains of shame and guilt got tighter and tighter. At the end of my rope, I knew I was at a crossroads: continue placing my hope in the physical, and die—or begin hoping in the Lord, and live.

A public speaker for nearly 20 years, I have spoken to groups from 5 to 500, including church conferences, youth groups, college ministries, women’s retreats, and MOPS. I love to share the story of God’s great rescue and the freedom that can come only through Him. Although my story is about the body and food, I believe its implications are universal. Seeking your value in anything other than Christ will leave you empty and dissatisfied.

Johnna is actively engaged with an audience on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as her blog Her forthcoming book in 2019 will address ways moms can help their daughters navigate diet culture and live free from the expectation to be thinner.

I live by this creed:

God's Word gives us TRUTH.
In Christ we have HOPE.
And where there is truth and hope, there is FREEDOM.

A graduate of Indiana University, I now live in Noblesville, Indiana with my husband and our two teenage daughters.

  • In my house, you will usually find me in a hoodie. With the hood up….at all times….no matter the temperature.
  • I’ve heard personalities that love to learn and love to teach go hand in hand. I can confirm that that is not just a theory.
  • My first best friend was a girl named Caffanee. She paid attention to me. She was loyal. And she was imaginary.
  • I tell people that my job is meeting friends for coffee. Just wishing that came with a paycheck.
  • Reading and writing is nourishment for my soul.
  • My brain works in pictures. Illustrations are my love language.
  • I love a gross story. TLC’s “My Strange Addiction" and “My Shocking Story” too often become part of my dinner conversations.
  • Extra hot, please.
  • I am ALWAYS in a conversation. Sadly, it’s usually just with myself.
  • I’ve always loved doing hair and even thought about being a hair stylist. It’s ironic that I have two daughters who can’t stand me touching their heads.
  • When you meet your husband at age 15 at the county fair, you can’t help but get butterflies when you hear Def Leppard’s “Pour some sugar on me.”
  • I love Valentine’s Day. Like, wear pink and red all week and make sentences out of candy hearts, kind of love.
  • Apple products, hands down.
  • As a high school cheer coach, I have more spirit wear than any well-functioning adult should possess.  
  • I’m a project girl. Give me a glue gun, a pallet of wood, or any idea to make life better, and I will do my best to get it 50% completed.
  • I dream.BIG.

Popular Posts

Blog Archive