A Story Of Grace And Forgiveness Interview with Karen Johnson [Episode #36]

Karen Johnson is a woman of faith, a mother, and a life coach with a background in wellness and fitness.  Karen Johnson is the author of an autobiographical book entitled Covered and Kept, The Tearing Between Two Worlds, which is a true testimony of her experiences in dealing with a very traumatic and public tragedy, through the strength given her by God.

Ms. Johnson’s husband, Jon Johnson, a talented videographer for the Sacramento Kings and 24-year veteran of the media field, was gunned down right in front of her at a restaurant during a night out for the two of them. Aaron Dunn, Johnson’s killer, was high on methamphetamines, carrying a gun and a satanic bible. In her interview with Towanna Freeman, Ms. Johnson tells of how surreal the experience was when her husband, who had helped to cover innumerable tragic stories during his 24 years in the media industry, suddenly became the story himself. Her book is the story of her painful personal journey following that tragic night – and how she was empowered to forgive her husband’s murderer and have the strength to not only survive, but to help countless others live victoriously beyond tragedy as well.

Highlights of the Interview

  • Ms. Johnson says her story shows that God has his hand on you even in the midst of tragedy. She was able to live through her personal tragedy and recreate her life so that she could move beyond it, by purposefully applying the principles of faith and self-care that she taught to clients. The lifestyle she was practicing and living before tragedy struck helped her to get herself back into living triumphantly, and come out mentally strong and the woman of character she is today. She says that she told herself, “You teach this, you preach this every day; now you’ve got to live it.”
  • Karen Johnson sees her wellness and fitness coaching not just as an occupation, but as a ministry. She tells how she found herself unfulfilled after working for several years in the secular environment of California health clubs as a certified personal fitness trainer, and began to look at helping within the church to encourage wellness and fitness for Christian women.
  • In her wellness coaching, Ms. Johnson takes her teachings from the Bible, with the basic principles of health that God has provided from the beginning: 1) Nutrition such as whole foods, whole grains, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables, which she calls “the original diet;” 2) Exercise, which she says many women fail to get enough of because they put everything and everyone ahead of their own needs; 3) Water, which she says is the natural way of hydrating ourselves that God intended; 4) Sunshine and fresh air for natural mood lifts through the light and warmth of the sun; and 5) Temperance, or life balance, so that people learn to rest when they need to, and don’t expend all of their energy and endanger their health with workaholic habits. Ms. Johnson explains that in today’s society we have moved away from these basic principles of health, and in doing so we are reaping failing health, with high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
  • When asked about the journey of self discovery she went through, Ms. Johnson explains that as she struggled to survive the aftermath of her husband’s murder – and subsequent shocking information about him that surfaced in the trial – she escaped the crowds of reporters and well-meaning friends and family to go with her sister to a retreat location called Angel Camp. During this retreat, she says she “threw up her hands” and admitted that she could not fight the battle on her own, and that the Lord had to take it from her. The process by which she handed it over to God was by writing. She began journaling, chronicling the details of what had happened as well as all of her thoughts and feelings about what she was still discovering and living through day to day.
  • The author admits that Covered and Kept is a “very raw book.” She says she knew that if she was going to tell her story right, she would have to tell it all, even the most painful and personal details. In the end, she says the book is about forgiveness. Writing it helped her along the journey of growth and healing, allowed her to process what she had gone through, and gave her the ability to be victorious, based on the strength she was given by God.

To learn more about Karen Johnson, and to purchase a copy of her riveting book, visit her website: www.coveredandkept.com

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Dr. Towanna Freeman
As a much sought after speaker and leadership development coach, Towanna Freeman is also the creator of BlackLifeCoaches.net. She is also the co-author of an award winning book, Purposeful Action, 7 Steps to Fulfillment.