Tina Knowles Lawson, mother of Beyoncé, will feature an interview with longtime friend and IVP author Juanita Campbell Rasmus on Thursday, September 17, on her Instagram Live Talks with Mama Tina. This interview, with special guest Michelle Williams, will kick off the launch week for Juanita’s highly anticipated book Learning to Be: Finding Your Center After the Bottom Falls Out.
Tina Knowles Lawson and her family were some of the first members of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Houston, which Juanita and husband, Rudy, started in 1992. St. John’s is also where Beyoncé grew up singing in the choir. Thousands have joined the St. John’s family over the past twenty-eight years, making it one of the most culturally diverse congregations in the country.
Tina penned the foreword for Learning to Be and wrote, “I’ve experienced this light in my faith walk and with powerful, resilient people like Juanita Campbell Rasmus, a woman I met in 1986 when I opened my first salon, and she became a faithful client. She set an example for the power of prayer and worship, and I later became one of the first members of St. John’s Church. Over the years, I’ve witnessed Juanita navigate the highs and lows of marriage, motherhood, ministry, and womanhood. I’ve seen her journey from the self-professed ‘good girl’ to a leader who wholeheartedly seeks God with a level of authenticity, transparency, and grace that is unmatched. And in this book, she inspires us to do the same.”
After the official launching of Learning to Be on Tuesday, September 15, Juanita will be featured on Black Authors Matter TV that evening at 8:30 p.m. CDT. Juanita also has a TED Talk on the topic of her book titled Learning to Be: Why Is It So Difficult?
In Learning to Be Juanita describes what she called “the crash” and what her counselor labeled “a major depressive episode.” This experience landed Juanita, a busy pastor, mother, and community leader, in bed. In addition to exhaustion and depression, she experienced a spiritual dark night of the soul. When everything in her life finally came to a stop, she found that she had to learn to be—with herself and with God—all over again.
Juanita wrote, “I chose to share my story because all too often in Western culture, and especially in the church, we are reticent to discuss mental health along with the related spiritual implications. It is my hope that telling my story will shed light on the resources available to someone in the aftermath of a mental health diagnosis . . . and provide courage to wait in the darkness, because often that’s where the real treasures are stored.”
In addition to copastoring St. John’s, Juanita cofounded Bread of Life Inc., a nonprofit corporation, with Rudy in 1992. They began serving meals to the homeless in the sanctuary at St. John’s. Juanita most recently teamed up with Tina and Beyoncé to help forty thousand flood victims recover in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. In addition to addressing issues of health and disaster relief, Juanita launched the Temenos Community Development Corporation in 2006, which recently completed over thirty million dollars in housing development projects for the previously homeless in downtown Houston. She also founded The Art Project, Houston to empower the city’s homeless to become hope-filled painters and artisans who craft their own livelihood and create lives filled with new possibilities.
For more about Juanita visit JuanitaRasmus.com. Also tune into her Instagram Live interview with Tina Knowles Lawson, which will be posted on Tina’s Instagram profile page on Thursday, September 17, at noon eastern standard time.