a blog by Jon Johansen
School Counselor

Jon_Head_Shot

When my older buddy Jason died in a car wreck, just after his senior year in high school, I realized that life was finite. As a result, a few weeks later I asked Jesus into my heart. And Christ became my first true love.

After that year’s football season, Mom drafted me to help out each afternoon at her home daycare. And my second love appeared: pouring into the lives of young people.

Just about a decade ago, my then-infant son’s brain tumor hemorrhaged. Faced with losing him, I became terribly aware that I’d spent far too much time seeking approval at work, and not nearly enough moments with my beautiful wife and amazing children.

A third passion arrived: cherishing my loved ones.

As the years have slipped by, those callings—to follow Jesus, pour myself into my family, and to serve kids—have only grown stronger.

My “On Faith and Family” blog posts are one way that I try to pass that precious sense of calling on to others.

I have a long way to go in my faith, but I’d love to have you join me on that journey…
Warmest blessings,

Jon Johansen

Lighthouse Christian School Counselor


  • It Really DOES Go By Fast

      I so badly wish that, on the day my little ones were born, a Heaven-sent movie would have played in my mind. It would have warned me how TRULY “speed-of-light” the imps would grow. On a recent Saturday, while drinking my morning coffee, it......

  • Even Christian Kids Get Suicidal. It’s True.

      During every single year of my counseling career—now approaching two decades—I’ve had at least one boy or girl come to me to say that they, or a friend, was considering ending their life. Kids as young as third grade have described suicidal ideation— confirmed......

  • How my Christmas Sorrow was Replaced by Christ’s Joy

    I’m just gonna level with ya—the holiday season wasn’t all that jolly when I was a boy.  The first Christmas morning memory I have from when I was a kiddo? Only Mom and I were awake.  As she stirred scrambled eggs in the kitchen, she......

  • Love and Logic… at Lighthouse!!

    [Warning: Space for the event described below is truly limited]* Earlier this month I became a certified instructor for Parenting the Love and Logic Way.  Little did I know that—the night after I’d returned home from that training—I’d get THREE hours to practice said skills.......

  • Help! I need some parenting tips! :)

    Turns out that being a dad (or mom) is often humbling and hard. I didn’t always understand this. Throughout my school-age years, the concept of someday shepherding children, day in and day out, seemed easy. In my own mind I was already an expert. When,......

  • HARD TIMES: We’re either coming out of ‘em, in the midst of them, or heading into more of them.

    “The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 I always figured that—if I pretty much followed Jesus—I’d be......

  • Hope in the Darkness

    “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (emphasis mine).” John 16:33 Full disclosure? I am something of a poor-man’s,......

  • God’s Light (via Gig Harbor) in Iraq

    From Fighting to Philanthropy:  An American soldier’s heart to save the children of Iraq From behind the door gun emplacement on a Blackhawk helicopter, Sargent Jonathan Webb’s eyes scanned for enemy Iraqis. Webb concentrated. Though AK-47 muzzle flashes were the most common harbingers of danger,......

  • Ways to Support Hurting Families

    Just as the sun is coming out over the Harbor—after months of rain—so the Son is shining on my little family, after a long season of pain.  I won’t lie to ya; it feels good! Now that I can think more clearly, my heart is......

  • As my father journeys Home

    Norwegian farm boy, war survivor, and proud American. Nuclear missile electrician, Boeing Manager, and world traveller. All those things were part of my dad, Knut (kuh-NEWT) S. Johansen’s life, but they were not who he truly was. Some descriptors come closer, yet still don’t fully......

  • Soothing the beast inside me.

    Tires and tears. Helplessness, not Holiness. Sanity more than vanity. Some Saturday morn’s I go to a local school and flip a truck tire, over and over and over.  With each modified power clean, I try to wear away the sad stories I heard that......

  • Happy-sad Holidays

    Fall and winter celebrations always bring forth a mix of memories—sweet and sad. They transport me back and forth, across my life, to the moments they occurred. Christmas morning. Mid-1970s. 6:00 a.m.; Great Falls, Montana. My brother “Ethan,” the addict, has disappeared. Again. I kneel......

  • A Father’s words…

    [From Mid-September] Dad isn’t making much sense any more. From his hospital room he calls to his unseen dog, Ollie. Though my mom is in Canada, he hollers out her name (“Judy!?”). Lots of gibberish. But every once in awhile he shares something poignant: “You......

  • They melt me…

    [From my column in Gig Harbor Life] Wind whipped across white-capped Lake Roosevelt, pushing our suddenly adrift vessel toward a rocky shore. While my wife and kids watched in dismay, I clung to a mooring rope—straining to halt the rental houseboat. Upon seeing me dragged......

  • You! Yes, you! You’re precious to Him.

    As I mentioned on Facebook, last Friday night the darkness seemed to whisper, “You’re a failure. Just LOOK at you.” Does that ever happen to you? I love that God makes a compelling retort: “You are My precious poem.” Say Whhaaattttt?? As Rick Warren aptly......

  • Beauty from the mud…

    Have ta give credit where credit is due. I am well aware that God is not a genie who gives us everything we want. In fact, I know that terrible things can, and do, happen to His people. When I consider the span of church......

  • As my daughter leaves me.

    In a few days my sweet girl will leave the safe halls of Lighthouse Christian School and prepare for ninth grade.  So far I’ve been able to avoid freaking out and having a so-called “ugly cry.”  But it’s getting harder.  You see: One touching tradition......

  • Comeback “Kids”

    Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years…. Makin’ the tears rain down like a MON-soon, listen to the bass go BOOM…. I gotta thank God cuz he gave me the strength… Yeah, that’s right—I just dropped some old-school street lyrics on ya......

  • My broken hero…

    Writer’s note: Please bare with me…this story ends happily. My father—my hero—was transferred to a nursing home last night. I can’t believe it’s come to this. A week ago he still laughed and joked. Five days back he was able to walk his yellow Labradoodle......

  • Five tricks to becoming a Godlier man

    When folks only know me from afar, some put me on an undeserved pedestal. Upon actually spending time with me, others are disappointed to find out that I’m just another imperfect dude. But for friends who stick around long enough, they come to discover that—despite......

  • Why I LOVE Christmas at Lighthouse…

    Dear Friends, Late yesterday afternoon a group of elementary music students crooned “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” in my office.  Did you catch that? I SAID that kids from a SCHOOL sang about CHRISTMAS in my OFFICE! Trust me: in this day and age, hearing......

  • The Kind of Daddy I Want to Be

    In all honesty, I often fall short as a parent. As such, my role as “Daddy” to my precious children is simultaneously heart-filling and discouraging.  Thankfully, older, wiser men than I continue to “speak into my life” with love and truth. Fellas like Dean Neal......

  • LCS’ Very Own Holiday Miracle

    God is so, SO good, is He not? I find myself smiling as I type those words. Our Father has led our children to this school—Lighthouse Christian. Our kids are learning and laughing and growing, and—most of all—developing a greater love for Jesus. But what......

  • Daddy’s, Daughters, and Dirty Looks

    I trust my kids, but I’m a nosey dad. And I try not to put up with any shenanigans. 🙂   I do web history searches. I go through my oldest child’s texts. I secretly see what she is posting on Instagram.   And I......

  • School Counseling Update (a Plea for Prayer)

    Counseling Update Dear Friends, I’m dead serious when I say that your prayer cover is cherished. The Father seems to be stoking a mini-revival at LCS, and your intercession fans those flames. As such, I’d love it if you might take a few moments to......

  • “And Now They Are No More”… a Pastor from Baghdad Brings Joy Despite His Sorrow

    A recent chapel deeply impacted my life.  No lie. Dr. Canon Andrew White, AKA “The Vicar of Baghdad,” arrived.  And what he shared with our middle schoolers left me speechless: “When people hurt my loved ones–those are the hardest times.  Seven days ago some men......

  • The Night My Life Changed Forever

    You should have seen me as a youth: angry, sad, and on my way to addiction. My grandpa and uncles? Drunks. My older cousins and brother? Addicts. My extended family’s calling card? Profane arguments and occasional fisticuffs. Despite Mom dragging me to church most Sundays,......

  • Moving from Deep Sadness Toward Peace

    For a couple of days over break, I felt like I was going under the water… but I love how the Giver can turn things around, in spite of me. I headed out in my SUV, alone, where I could better hear Him.  While driving......

  • From Cast Iron Weights, to a Conceivable Conversation with the King

    During our last cold snap, before dawn, I sat on a duct-taped weight bench in my garage.  While literally steaming from exercise, I cracked open my Bible. Feeling inexplicably led to the Psalms, I somehow “needed” to stop on chapter sixteen, verse six.  Here’s what......

  • From Worry to Worship

    Did you notice a pale, smelly man visiting a local church this past Sunday morning?  Yeah? That was yours truly. Perhaps you are wondering how I ended up in the Chapel Hill balcony, sporting slightly damp workout clothes.  If you can bear with me for......

  • Blitzkriegs, Babies, and Blessings

    As the Nazi blitzkrieg pushed toward my father’s little village in northern Norway, allied troops began to retreat past wee Knut’s farmhouse.  All too soon, word came from his papa: time to head into the mountains for safety. In those fretful mid-day hours, the family......

  • Learning to Show Grace and Mercy

    Grace and Mercy By Jon Johansen As I work on this column, I am sporting a black, left eye.  In addition, my lower jaw is sore, and my lip is stitched. No, I’m not in a “school counseling fight club.” The real source of these......

  • Safe Harbor in Life’s Storms

    Dear Friends, A few years ago it felt like my family stood at the edge of a great precipice. Years of stress, sleeplessness, and desperation—resulting from month-after-month of overwhelming fear for my son’s life—left my brood depressed, and my marriage distant. But God, the same......

  • A Few Good Men, who invested in me…

    When the Nazi’s finally pulled out of Dad’s small village in northern Norway, they abandoned it in a state of utter poverty.  Even worse, they left the tiny town’s children filled with fear. From those days forward, deep down inside, my father was worried that......

  • Protecting our children (and ourselves)

    Parenting humbles me.  There, I admitted it. Despite all the classes I’ve taken about children, and notwithstanding the extra effort I’ve made in becoming a better dad, I… Still. Fall. Short. But be that as it may, By God’s grace I keep trying.  And, just......

  • Light Hearts at Lighthouse

    My three favorite things about working at Lighthouse Christian? Seeing students spontaneously skipping, attending chapel, and enjoying fellowship at “Lunch Bunch.” The wee boys and girls randomly bouncing down the hallways are so cute that I never have the heart to tell ‘em to stop......

  • Plans Change by Jon Johansen

    It’s interesting how the Lord modifies our arrangements, and shows us something better. Just recently that happened to me. My twelve year-old daughter Abby and I traveled to a memorial service north of Seattle. As she sat next to me, on the grey seats of......

  • School Counseling at LCS by Jon Johansen

    Over the summer I began to realize something that most of you already know— our Lighthouse staff is amazingly talented. One person who stood out was, and is, Denise DeWalt. Thankfully, I get to work with Denise this year as she completes an internship. Truth......

  • After two decades spent working in public and private education, I can honestly write that serving at Lighthouse Christian is the only job I’ve ever loved. The reason why? Folks here are passionate about faith and family. Those core values first bloomed in my own......