Tell us about yourself!
I currently live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most recently in my life, I transformed my career into my hobby and my hobby into my job. By this, I mean that I was a social worker and have my Master’s in Social Work. For 10 years, I worked in the non – profit sector with single moms and dads – as well as troubled youth. In the last 6 months, I moved from writing/blogging in my spare time to my new job. I am actually the new blog manager for Wonderfully Made and the Editor – In – Chief of Tirzah Ministries. I started blogging for fun at the age of 17 and would write poetry/blogs in my spare time. As I spent more time working in social work, I knew I would LOVE to work in writing so I could share stories with others of the amazing women and men I met who overcame so much and helped transform the lives of others. I knew I also wanted to still utilize my degree to give back to families in the inner city – since I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri in a rougher area.
When I’m not writing or helping people, I am 100% a nature girl. I LOVE being outside in any capacity. I’ve recently found friends who enjoy horses and we spend a lot of time working with horses. A perfect day for me would be driving to a small town away from where I live, finding a local coffee shop, doing some writing, and then hiking around a local trail. One day I’d love to have a horse and a trailer & find local horse trails as well.
What is your God story?
My God story, I’m told, is pretty unique. I grew up as a pastor’s kid whose parents went to Bible College while I was a baby. Some people would say I have an “advantage” growing up in the church. My church had some strange rules that were not aligned with the Bible, however. They told us that girls shouldn’t wear jewelry, nail polish, pants, etc. In addition to this, they said that girls were meant for marriage and kids – we weren’t given opportunities to speak or told we would get jobs some day. The church was very legalistic (focused on the law of God) and made me as a “pastor’s kid” feel I was never good enough. Despite all of this, I thought hell sounded horrible and so I decided to choose Jesus at the age of 14.
My journey of faith has been different from others because rather than learning what the Bible says (I memorized/read Scripture A LOT of my childhood while sitting with head pastors and missionaries), I’m learning what God’s goodness is. It always amazes me how God continues to show me His side of GRACE. I was surrounded by so much of His laws growing up that He continues to show me what His lavish love looks like. It has been from the day – to – day moments to crazy/insane stories.
There have been so many moments that I have prayed and God has delivered the simplest things to me. One of my favorites was the eccentric house I lived in recently. I visited it and knew I would want to live there one day. God divinely opened the door for me to live for a year off of the lakefront in downtown Kenosha, WI with two treehouses, a zip line, and trampoline in the backyard in the city. It was such an amazing time of playing with friends, laying in the backyard, and walking along the lakefront. It’s the random moments like these that show me that God truly wants what is best for me and wants to give me the desires of my heart. He has continued to bless me – despite the moments I question His goodness or remember the unnecessary rules of my childhood.
What are some challenges you have faced as a girl or young woman and how have you persevered through them?
My last full – time job was as executive director of a pregnancy medical clinic in the inner city of Kenosha. There were so many challenges I navigated as a white/female in the inner city of Kenosha running a faith -based non – profit focused on pro – life issues. I had to learn to balance cherishing/owning my feminine side and being a leader. There are not enough faith – based females that own their leadership abilities – nor is there a lot of mentorship or guidance. Pregnancy Medical Clinics are also faith – based programs that are run by donations from the church. This means a major part of the job is meeting with pastors to discuss where their donations are going, how they can help, and why they should be involved. Many times you find yourself as the only girl in the room in your role.
For me, I was also 29 years old while doing this. It was very intimidating, but I learned that there were some strong pastors who advocate for women to have a voice. I found my team of male pastors and worked hard to learn that they were my team & how to communicate effectively with them. Several of my Board Members offered to meet with me weekly and discussed any issues. I learned to advocate for being treated like a woman and also being a leader.
One of the ways I did that was actually asking for a security guard. I was in a dangerous area – with an all female staff and all females coming into the center. I went to our Board and advocated that while I may be the best suited leader to lead these women and serve women who did not have healthy male role models in their lives, I was not suited to constantly handle the catcalls from outside. The Board was incredibly gracious and hired an amazing man who monitored the premises and also treated every woman with respect.
There were also male pastors in my life who advocated for me to have a voice within their congregation. If I ever faced an issue where I could not handle a situation alone, I had different men (and women) who would come alongside me and help lift me up. I continue to persevere leading in the church/pro – life world by recognizing the power of men & women working together. I’m not perfect at this, but I am learning every day.
God recently gave me a friend who helps me continue to balance my perspective of working with men when I am constantly surrounded by women abused by men. In addition, I invested in a life coach and he taught me how to grow in my own awareness and finding confidence in who God created me to be. Lastly, I DO NOT compromise on my femininity. Right now I am single, but I look forward to the day I marry and raise a family of my own. I can lead as a girl, while looking completely feminine. Family, ministry, and leadership can co – exist for a female. Don’t let anyone tell you that your life needs to be boxed into one category.
How do you live out and grow in your faith each day?
Community is the strongest way I develop my faith. My relationship with God has continued to grow because I have been through so many situations that only God could help me through. Due to the many hard things I see in life from my time in the inner city and as a social worker, I have to continue to seek out Godly community to see the beauty in God’s people. God has graciously blessed me with incredible women who I pray, do Bible study with, and picnic with. We have a constant group thread on our phones where we consistently send prayer requests. In addition to studying the Bible together, we schedule consistent times to have fun together. This continues to show me so much of God’s goodness!
What is your favorite verse right now?
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
– Psa. 23:6
This verse has been continually reminding me that God is surrounding me with His love and to be in Godly community – two important themes He continues to speak to me about in this season.
What message of encouragement do you have for other young women struggling with similar experiences as you?
Don’t let anyone box you in. Be who God called you to be. If He has called you to leadership, embrace that gift. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be something God has called you to. If He has called you to lead, learn everything you can. Don’t be afraid to seek out men for appropriate mentorship as well. There were simply no females doing some of the things I was doing and there were men who stepped in and appropriately guided me in the right direction. One thing I am learning, even as a single woman, is don’t go “all in” with one thing. God has taught me to balance fun, leading, and loving my family. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other or live under one label!
Alycia Johnson is a daughter, sister, and friend to many. She is the new blog manager for Wonderfully Made, in addition to assisting in social media. Alycia is currently the Editor – In – Chief at Tirzah Ministries and co – founder of Tirzah Place: A Home for Teenage Mothers. As the daughter of teenage parents, she spends her time advocating for strengthening families and giving parents the tools to break generational cycles. Her passion in life is for women to know their value and carry out their personal God – given callings.
Connect to her on Instagram.