“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
An outfielder for one of the most elite softball teams in the country, Jenna Johnson has become a fan favorite throughout her time playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide. With an infectious energy and always positive spirit, the impact Jenna has had on those around her is tremendous. As she has navigated the highs and lows that have come throughout her collegiate career, she says it is her faith that has remained constant.
Growing up in Franklin, Tennessee, faith was always an important part of life for Jenna and her family. Jenna says that growing up in a family where faith was a priority helped always keep her grounded.
“I am grateful to have grown up in a household that loves Jesus. My parents have both raised me up in faith since I was young. Jesus has been a constant for my life in a changing world.”
That foundation of faith and family for Jenna has been monumental in her life both on the field and off of it. A star in high school, where she set records for on base percentage (.686), home runs (11), slugging percentage (1.114), and batting average (.591), Jenna committed to Alabama for her college years. After arriving in Tuscaloosa, Jenna has helped the Crimson Tide to some of their best years. But her time there hasn’t been without its challenges.
Sidelined by multiple injuries throughout her time in college, Jenna says she has had to rely on her faith more than ever to trust in God and His timing.
“During my recovery, fear surrounded my comeback process. I was fearful of re-injury, fearful I wouldn’t be back the same player, and fearful that I would be forgotten. During these times when I was consumed with doubts and worries, God gave me a purpose. When I lost my identity in the sport, I found one in Jesus. Though these times may have been some of the most hopeless and painful times, my faith grew stronger.”
Jenna says the game of softball is like life, sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don’t.
“A softball season mirrors the real world in so many ways. Sometimes you are feeling great and everything is working like you want it to. Other times you’re in the middle of a slump where everything is difficult and nothing seems to be going your way. I’ve played through many softball seasons in my life and I have learned that in a seemingly uncontrollable sport you must have your constants. For me, it was knowing that God’s got a plan for me and I need to trust the timing of his process.”
As Jenna has gotten healthy and looks forward to the upcoming season with the Crimson Tide, she says her faith is the center of her life every time she steps onto the field.
“I know that at the end of the day, I’m playing for something greater than myself. I am a follower of Christ and that is who I represent.”
Jenna has also formed a number of habits that remind her to keep God first and not get too caught up in the results of the game. One of those is a prayer between her and a coach that reminds her of what is most important.
“Before every game, I run down the foul line and stop at the fence to pray. Me and my coach, Alyson Habetz, like to call this my ‘Jesus time.’ I usually take this time to pray and ask for the opportunity to be a light to other people and for the guidance to represent His name in everything I do.”
Although both softball and life can be unpredictable, Jenna Johnson says she has been able to stand firm in her faith knowing God is in control. As she gears for a highly anticipated year with Alabama, she says she hopes the impact she makes extends far beyond the field. For whoever is watching, Jenna says she hopes she can be an influence and encouragement and always use her gifts to make an impact. Jenna says before every at bat, she reads a certain verse that she holds close to her heart.
“My bible verse I’ve said every time before I step in the batters box is Philippians 4:13. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’”
That verse has helped Jenna to eliminate any worry and have fun playing the game she loves.
“When I put my faith in Jesus, there is no room for fear.”