Artist Spotlight: Johanna Spangenberg
Hi! I’m Johanna Spangenberg – a follower of Jesus, local Christian singer/songwriter, missionary wife, and homeschooling mom of three cute boys.
Q: When did you start following Jesus, and how has your relationship grown since then?
A: I heard the Gospel from an early age. I had the head knowledge, but my heart hadn’t yet been transformed. When I was eleven, I understood that I was a sinner and saw my own personal need for Jesus. I remember it like it was yesterday – the moment I believed on Him and accepted Him as my Savior. I was flooded with so much joy!
That was the beginning, the moment of birth… and since then it has been 20+ years of growing pains. I just mean that this Christian life is similar to the physical life we observe – continual growth, learning, changing. Baby steps. Running to my Father’s arms… a lot.
I’m grateful for God’s grace. As a perfect Father, He convicts me of what still needs to be yielded to Him. He does this lovingly, pulling me into His lap and reminding this child of His, “I am doing a good work in you.”
God’s unconditional love overwhelms me. Throughout my life, the Lord has been so tender with me. One chapter of my story is that I went through a time of childhood sexual trauma as a very young girl, which deeply wounded me. I carried the heavy burden of that shame and PTSD for many, many years. When I was 31, God allowed me to go through counseling for the PTSD. Facing that past trauma head-on brought me into the most difficult, darkest year of my personal life. Yet I desperately clung to Jesus and He never let me go. He carried me through. His truth shone brightly into the darkness and set me free! He healed my brokenness and pain.
I stand tall now (even though I’m only 5’3 😊) with a confidence in my identity in Christ and how I am dearly loved by my Father. He is My Redeemer and the Source of my joy.
The story continues, and each day I love Him a little more.
Q: What role does art play in your faith? Worship? Service? Your relationship with the church?
A: I look at life through a unique perspective, ever since God has made my spirit alive. Even though this world has pain and brokenness, I am still filled with an enduring, solid HOPE. I catch glimpses of God’s Art in so many things around me – a baby’s belly-laugh, a breathtaking sunset, a rainbow after the rain. But it’s not just that… I see potential beauty. I gaze at the thundering dark clouds and drenching rain, and anticipate the coming splendor of that rainbow.
Even while looking at man’s art: when I ponder a painting, listen to a song, or observe a play, quite often tears spring to my eyes. I feel amazed at the way God works through all of us broken vessels to display something redeemed, something glorious. Art strengthens my faith, the way I worship and how passionately I serve Jesus.
It is so important to be part of a community of believers, so we have accountability and opportunities for growth. I need the weekly fellowship with those around me who also love Jesus! I love singing in my church and serving there. My prayer every time before I sing is “Lord, please be glorified, and use me to turn people’s eyes to YOU.” I am grateful for wonderful opportunities to reflect glory back to my heavenly Father through the artistic abilities and spiritual gifts He has created in me… gifts of encouraging, music, compassion, spiritual sensitivity, teaching.
Q: Can you think of a time when Scripture inspired you to create something?
A: Nearly every song I write has been inspired by Scripture. Through various difficulties – as I’ve prayed for wisdom or comfort – the Holy Spirit has gently reminded me of Bible verses that perfectly applied to each specific situation. As a result, a new song would pour out of me.
One time I remember crying out “Lord, what do you want me to do?”. Then I paused quietly, and that still small voice answered “Be still, and know that I am God.” He filled me with His peace. Sometimes He doesn’t want me to DO anything but rather to just BE IN HIM, to rest in the fact that He is in control. This was the start to creating the song “Be Still”.
Q: Do you see faith and art as something that can co-exist, or do they need to remain separate?
A: I’m going to say that I believe faith and art can co-exist because I am coming from an Artist’s perspective 😊. They can co-exist if the main purpose of your art is for Jesus and if it is pure.
Q: Are you a Christian artist or an artist who also happens to follow Christ?
A: I would say I am a Christian Artist. I am an imperfect, whole-hearted follower of Jesus. HE is my life, and this affects every area of my life and art. My songs flow out of my personal relationship with Him, and I believe they reflect this.
Q: What are your favorite “go to” methods and/or resources for Bible study?
A: I try to begin every quiet time with a simple prayer that the Lord would give me wisdom and understanding so I will clearly see what He wants to say to my heart. The Bible is incredibly powerful! God has used it to bring about such transformation in my mind and life!
I love comparing parallel passages. For instance, Colossians and Ephesians have several parts that line up with each other and bring more clarity for how to live as a follower of Christ.
I always want to know what words mean, so Strong’s concordance is helpful. And the “Blue Letter Bible” app is great. Reading verses in their correct context is crucial to understanding and applying the Bible, and experiencing heart-change.
You can connect with Johanna at her website, www.johannaspangenberg.com, or her Facebook page. You can also find her songs on YouTube and Soundcloud under her name: “Johanna Spangenberg”