Judging Others

“1 Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and [a]by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-3

This past month I was assigned a seminar message to a group of prisoner on “Judging Others.” As I read through the material in preparation for the class, I was convicted on judging others myself. God has a special way of getting our attention. In judging others, I don’t necessary get in someone’s face and call them out. However, I do contemplate on their behavior, actions and even looks. Yes, I judge people. There’s no other way to put it.
As I was studying this lesson, there were several questions asked but there was one main point. By whose standards am I judging others? Am I judging others by God’s standards or my own standards? If I am using my own standards, what right do I have to judge another? My standards are based on my own beliefs and what I have learned and experienced over my life’s journey. These beliefs and ideas many not be true for another person because they too have developed their own beliefs. I believe our beliefs are our driving force. It’s what drives us to action. Just like our outer appearance is different so is our inner makeup.
This realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Romans 2:1 told me I had no excuse for judging others. When I judge another person I am only condemning myself. Whatever I am judging another person for I do the same things. God will judge me for my judgmental behavior.
God sent further confirmation that He was speaking to me on judging others by way of some family members. I don’t believe they knew God was using them to speak to me…again God is so perfect.
What I’ve taken away from the seminar is when we judge others we also condemn them, then reject them and eventually send them into a living death. This cycle continues until we decide to do something different and that is to see them as Jesus sees them. Jesus came to save us and not to judge us. Jesus loves us and if we choose love there is no room to judge or condemn.

Take off That Mask

Take Off That Mask

Over the Christmas break, I notice one of my co-workers wasn’t posting on Facebook as usual. When we returned to work, I asked her if she was still on Facebook, she said, “I decided to take a break.”
A week or two later I noticed, I had a contact that I didn’t recognize. I really didn’t give much thought because people change their names all the time. However, one day this person posted an article that I thought was interesting. After reading the article, I went down the timeline. I immediately noticed a picture of the co-worker who had told me that she was taking a break from Facebook. She did take a break, a break from using her name instead using an unrecognizable name that she made up.
Now, I don’t know why she changed her Facebook name, but it made me think about why we as a people (particularly people of our God who is all, sees all, and knows all.  God will help us to rid ourselves of the distractors and feelings that make us feel the need to don these masks.) sometimes feel the need to wear masks.  Many times we put on a mask to hide from others.  I believe, however, that we are actually hiding from ourselves.
We may wear a mask for various reasons. One such reason is that we’ve been hurt. We don’t realize that we have on this mask; it’s our comfort blanket. We keep the world at an arm’s length distance as to say: stay out of my world and don’t come near me.
Psalm 139:14 tells us to praise God because He made us in a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was! (ERV). Other translations say we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
If we truly believe God’s word then we have no need to wear a mask. God said He made us is in such a wonderful way. The Greek word for wonderful is thaumastós , which means marvelous, describing an awe-evoking sight (dramatic sense of wonder), moving the beholder to their deepest emotions.
He also said we are made in His image, His son’s image, and the Holy Spirit’s image. How awesome is that?!
We are wonderful people created by a holy and righteous God who loves and adores us.
Leave the hurts, disappointments, failures, failed relationships where they belong: in the past.
Ditch the mask and allow the world so see the person God created you to be. Hold on to what God’s says about us. God took time out to create us in a marvelous, dramatic way with a sense of wonder. We are an awe evoking sight to look at.

“For Those Who Honor Me, I Will Honor”

“For Those Who Honor Me, I Will Honor”
1 Samuel 2:12-36

This pass week my long time army buddy called me to tell me she had plans to move to Texas. She didn’t know what city I lived in, but her plans were taking her to the Dallas area.

We hadn’t shared a long conversation in such a long time. She shared with me her up coming moving plans, and we laughed about the snow that Dallas normally gets. She is from Jacksonville, Florida, a huge difference in weather.

I asked her what she thought about the election. She was reluctant to speak on it, but she did. If fact, she gave some interesting insights. She addressed issues from a biblical prospective. I could understand that, being a Christian myself. One of the topics that came up for decision was Roe vs Wade. She mentioned that she had thought about having an abortion herself many years ago although that admission was not an acknowledgement that it was the right thing to do. I have to admit this conversation got me to thinking, not only about the election but my own life’s decisions.

My thoughts about our conversation lingered on as I lay in bed. The Holy Spirit spoke to me this night, giving me words of encouragements.
I have never shared this with anyone, but as I lay in bed after my conversation with my friend, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I too had contemplated having an abortion.

As I sat in a clinic over 32 years ago, I remember thinking this could be my little girl that I have always wanted. I was given an ultrasound, and I found out that I was pregnant with not one but two babies. I got up from the table, put my clothes on, and walked out. I never looked back. The Holy Spirit spoke to me; I had honored God and He had honored my girls.
God said he had a plan for us. Thirty two years ago, I was a young wife and mother. I had accepted the Lord as my Savior as a young child, but I didn’t know what that meant. As I reflect on God and His goodness, I am reminded that even then God was there.

God had (and has) a plan for my girls, one in which they would prosper and be in good health. As I reflect on the goodness of God and how He is totally in control of our lives, I know that God is not finished blessing them in ways they can’t imagine. When I see my girls, I see God’s handiwork, His master craftsmanship, His splendor and so much more.
As I look at these two young ladies, I am amazed at who they have grown to be. They have accomplished more than I could have imagined at my age. God is working in their lives even when we don’t know it. As I lay on that table 32 years ago, God was working things out. He was ordering the ultrasound, showing me what was inside of me (not the sex of my precious babies. Back in those days, you didn’t find out until the birth day!). God’s hands was all over me that lonely day.

Be reminded that God is in control of our lives whether we think so or not. He is making things to happen or not to happen; we just have to trust the process.

Protected From Fire by God


If you throw me into the hot furnace, the God I serve can save me. And if he wants to, he can save me from your power. Daniel 3 (ERV)

I had a dream two years ago. In my dream my car that sat in the carport was on fire, deliberately started by someone. I remembered just standing there as the fire grew; I was looking, not saying a word, watching the car burn.
Like most dreams I didn’t give much thought about it until my door bell rung, the same day, and six or seven firefighters stood on my porch. This is the first time I had ever encounter firefighters; they stood there eager and expecting to put out a fire. However, there was no fire to put out. I explained to them I did not call the fire department, in fact I was on the phone when I opened the door. In their minds, they had been called and they needed to find the fire and quickly. Fires are a big deal and getting them put out as quickly as possible is paramount; I understood that. There was one who spoke to me in a harsh voice; he was frustrated because he needed to put this fire out. Sorry Sir, but there is no fire here and I didn’t call the fire department was all I could say.
I have pondered on this dream and the the firefighters visit ever since. Dreams have meaning and I knew mine did too. During a bible study, I took this past summer, I learned that God, in facts, speaks through dreams.
As I was got ready for work this morning, two years later, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came to my mind. I was reminded of them being thrown inside of the furnace. Oh, there was a fire at my house that day and God showed up in the form of six or seven firefighters to tell me that it won’t consume me nor will I get burned.
Tamela Mann said it so perfectly in “This Place”, “There’s a place in God where we can all be free. A place where God can get the best out of me, there’s a secret place in God where He covers me”. I can say for the first time in a long time I’m in a good place. God has showed me I can trust Him, it’s all up to me now.

Encouraged by Daughter

1 Thessalonians 5:11–New International Version (NIV)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

My daughter, Marlene, and I went to a speaking engagement where my younger daughter, Charlene, was the guest speaker.

As I listened to her, she was speaking my life. Every word that she spoke, I have felt a one point in my life. I had lost me because of the many hats that I worn at one time or another through the years. I was a daughter, a sister, a mother and a wife. These roles along with life hurts and pains have shaped me and in the process have buried me. I love each of the roles and would never in a million years give them up. However, as I navigate through each of these identities I wondered where the real Juanita is.
God is amazing! I went on our monthly visit to the prison with the Prison Ministry this past Saturday. Lula, another member, also went on this trip. We attend Sunday bible study together as well. We began to talk about our lesson and our lives. I mentioned to her that people used to call me stuck up when I was growing up and even now. I told her I didn’t do the things others did. She replied, “God called you at an early age.”

I have been pondering on my daughter’s speech every since I heard it. Now Lula gave me something more to ponder on. As I look back on the different stages of my life, I can see God’s hands. Although I have to admit, I didn’t always see it or recognize. There are many facets of Juanita, and one is in Christ. That’s who I am. I am a Christian mother who enjoys being creative. Over the next few months, it will be my prayer that every part of me is blossoms so I too can live the authentic life Christ died for. I can be a mother, sister, wife and daughter without compromising my true identify.

Each of my children leaves a different print on my heart. Both of my daughters are encouragers. However, Charlene, thank you for planting the seed for me well as other women so we too can be butterflies.



For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14 New International Version (NIV)

Forgiveness is one of the hardest acts to do but also one of the most rewarding. Many have heard the saying, “Forgiveness is not for the other person but for you.” Although it might be hard to wrap our minds around, it is actually true. Allow me to paint a vivid picture for you:
When we hold on to unforgiveness it kills our joy. It steals our peace and destroys our future. Sometimes unforgiveness has an irreversible impact on others. Unforgiveness does the same things the thief does.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10
July has been a trying month for our nation, and it has weighted heavy on my heart. As I think about the victims and the shooters in all cases, my question is why? Although I don’t know the full details of any of the cases and can only speculate, what I do know is the Dallas shooter said he wanted to kill cops. The Baton Rouge shooters were targeting cops. I wonder: Did they have unforgiveness in their hearts?

Sometimes we carry unforgiveness for many years. I can understand that. I can understand being hurt by others for no apparent reason. I can also understand people not liking you simply because of your skin color. Although I have never knowingly been a victim of racism, I have been caused distress by my own family because of the pigment of my skin. I don’t know which is worst, but what I do know is hanging on to someone else’s opinion of you will leave you bitter, angry, and unforgiving.
As a child, I was oblivious to what the name they called me meant; I was called it for many years. It wasn’t until I got older that someone told me. I don’t ever remember crying about it or trying to retaliate; my parents raised me to respect my elders.  Beyond being raised right, I attribute my lack of anger to God’s natural design.

As I reflect on my childhood, I’m reminded when Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”- Matthew 19:14
Children are so pure in heart; they hold on to no wrong and are forgiving by God’s design.

I believe this single event in my childhood was the catalyst that allowed me to forgive others.  Because I was a child, and the intent was beyond me, I didn’t know that I should be angry or resentful.  I think back and realize that I have just never really held on to unforgiveness.  Perhaps because by the time I realized certain members of my family were using derogatory language towards me, it was too late to be angry about it.  At the same time, however, I have been mad at others and retreated away, BUT in the back of my mind, I always knew I had to make things right regardless if I was  right or wrong.

I could have very well allowed this event in my childhood to become the pathway to a life of unforgiveness. There have been many times I found myself perplexed, hurt, and betrayed by others and life’s situations. It was during these times that I knew I could find comfort in Jesus.

As a Christian, forgiveness is expected of us from our Heavenly Father especially if we want Him to forgive us. Secondly, forgiveness frees us from bitterness, hatred, and strife. Forgiveness allows us to live a life full of peace and unshakable joy.

Unfortunately, unforgiveness has killed, stolen and destroyed so much in our nation. When you count up the cost, families are destroyed, dreams and possibilities are buried, children and parent bonds are cut short, photo album pages are left blank and hearts are left with holes. Unforgiveness affects so many lives, some lives that had not part of the act(s) that caused the brokenness. We must learn to forgive and forgive quickly.

Satan tried to harm me, oh but God

Genesis 50:20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing.

The first quarter of 2014 my life had taken a turn I didn’t see coming nor anticipate. My mom was diagnosed with an illness the beginning of 2013. I know God is a healer, so I immediately started knocking on heaven’s door. I called believers that I knew without a shadow of a doubt were prayer warriors. I have to admit God was active during her illness and it was evident. However, I soon had to face the fact that God is in control, but most importantly that God is a perfect God. He loves my mom and wanted her home. The middle of 2014, God called her home.

What I didn’t see lurking around the corner was I would be facing two deaths at the same time; death of my mother and death of my marriage. God, why are you doing this to me? My heart was already aching, how could I possible deal with another trauma situation; why now?

I knocked at heaven’s door once more: God save my marriage. I truly thought my marriage would turn around before I laid my mom to rest but it didn’t.

As I wrestled trying to make sense of my life, God was not only tugging at my heart, He was drawing me near to Him.  God hates divorces, Malachi 2:16 tell us so. I read the Word. I believe it. So God, why are doing this to me? It wasn’t until many months later that God told me this situation wasn’t from Him but he would use it for the best. What did that mean? For who’s best?  I knew He had to have a plan.

So who was trying to harm me at one of the most difficult season of my life? I never thought my ex was out to harm me.  It just never felt like he was purposefully trying to add insult to injury.  During this time, however, I really worked at seeking God’s face and studying His word.  I additionally read and studied other Christian writings.  It was during my study of The Armor of God by Pricilla Shirer that I learned exactly who was trying to harm me: Satan.

I had to actually sit down and go over the events that had taken place months prior. Things came to my mind as if they happened yesterday. Satan had been studying me. Just like Job, Satan wanted me. Even though I was not the Christian I should have been Satan knew I was anointed for greatness. I didn’t have a perfect marriage, but I had a great marriage. We were close, but we had a thorn that we didn’t address at all. As Satan was studying me, he also studied my marriage. He knew when to attack and how. Satan saw me at the darkest season of my life, and he threw confusion on top of an aching heart to cause me harm. Rather than talking,my ex and I separated, and the rest is history.

Satan thought the death of my mom and the death of my marriage would send me cursing God. He tried to cause me harm. What Satan didn’t factor in was that I was raised in a Christian home.

Train up a child [a]in the way she should go, Even when she is old she will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

I’ve been in church all my life and even though I wasn’t fully committed, I knew the Word of God and I knew how and when to call on Him. Satan tried to take my mind and lead me down a road of depression and to lose all hope. He tried to harm me, oh but God.

I serve an all powerful God and I know He could have stopped my divorce procedures, especially because His will is not to have marriages broken apart.  As I dug in the Word, I found out God could turn this nightmare into the best, so He could save all these people, as he is now doing. God had a plan for my good and His glory.

Before God could execute his plan for my life, He had to do some work on me first. He changed hearts throughout the bible.  He changed the hearts Jonah, Pharaoh, and Saul just to name a few. Just like He changed their hearts to accomplish what He wanted them to do, I knew He was a heart changer for me as well.

After God got my full attention, He began working on my heart. I needed a spiritual heart transplant and slowly God was changing my heart right before my eyes.

“I will give you a new heart [Juanita] and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh,” Ezekiel 36:26.

I was still on the potter’s wheel when God put it in my heart to find a new church home. When I first moved to Houston, I would always see a commercial from Fallbrook Church. I visited the church one Sunday and joined the following Sunday. Upon joining Fallbrook, I immediately began working in two ministries (something I had never done before). My passion is sharing God’s Word and helping women. Currently I serve in the prison ministry where I visit prisons speaking to women who are incarnated. I wasn’t sure about speaking in front of a crowd and wanted to watch others first. God had other plans.

My first visit I gave my first presentation, and it felt as if I had been speaking for years, it was all God and none of me. God has further opened the door for my daughters and I to share His Word with the Facebook community. Before my youngest daughter approached me with the idea of a blog, God had already placed in my heart to share His Word. I just didn’t know where to begin.

This was a dark season in my life, the death of my marriage was was sent by Satan to discourage me but it did the opposite, it helped me to put God first. God used this divorce to turn out the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing.

I am strong and very courageous; I am victorious.

2 Corinthians 12:9

2 Corinthians 12:9 New Living Translation
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.


As slowly as 2014 crept in, it seemed to creep out just as slowly; I don’t believe the sun ever shined that year. I was left with a mountain of questions without answers. I played over and over all the decisions I had made in my life, trying to find the clues to the missing puzzle and which wrong road I turned on.
I spent time reading all that I could, searching and searching. What I know now is this: God is in control.  He always has been, always will be. I could muster up question after question, but in the end the answers no longer matter. I had to wake up and realize just who God is. If I believed in God, I also had to believe that He is sovereign, period.
As I longed for God, I knew I could find everything I need through Him and with Him. I recall one day in late 2014 getting off the phone saying “God’s grace is sufficient.”  As long as I was wrestling trying to make sense of my life, I would continue to wander in the desert. I had to surrender to the one who is the Creator of life. I had to let God be God and the finished work of the cross be true to me. God is more than able to wipe my eyes. God is more than able to mend my broken heart. God is more than able to give me a clear mind. God is able.
My dark days in 2014 came at no surprise to God; He already knew the events of my life well before the day I was born.  God was thinking about me before the foundation of the world.  He was also ordering my steps. How many know God will get you where He wants you to be?
Romans 8:28 became a scripture that gave me hope, it breathe life into my dying spirit, and I became excited about my future because God said He would use my pain, my past for my good and for His glory. This experience has pushed me into the arms of The Man that I love with all my heart.

2 Corinthians 12:9 became one of my favorite scriptures because God placed it on my heart during my time in the desert. God’s grace is all that I need. It was in my weakest moments that His powers worked best.

It was God’s power that I was able to put my pending divorce procedures on the back burner and care for the woman who cared for me when I was a baby. It was an honor and a privilege to take care of my mom during her last days here on earth. My mom had taken care of others her entire life, and she needed all of me, and I needed all of her. God gave me what I needed to be completely present with her.  This was all God and none of me. If I had my way, I would have found that rock. God’s grace was all I needed to plan her homecoming and lay her body to rest. It brings me tears as I write this blog, but I know God doesn’t want me crying and neither does she. Her body is at rest but she’s in heaven, this I know. This weak vessel can do nothing on her own.
It is because of God’s grace that I was able to endure one of the toughest years of my life and can now share my story with the world. First and foremost, I love The Lord, and secondly I want Satan to know he doesn’t have a hold on me.
I’m a warrior now. My girls need me.  My son needs me, and my family needs me to go to battle with them and for them. I am victorious because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. He said, “It is finished,” and that settles it.  God’s grace is sufficient!

Hope + Faith + Prayer

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Two years ago I was in a dark place. I wanted to find a hole and crawl in it until all the pain that I felt went away. In my despair, I knew God was a present help. That’s what they taught me in church. I felt like the woman with the issue of blood; I need to press my way through so I could touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. I would be made whole again.

I cried a bucket of tears daily. God said he has my tears in a bottle. How many know it’s not easy trying to hide your pain from your family? I didn’t want to be around anybody. My mom was dying; my husband was leaving, and I wanted to go with my mom.

Oh, but God. God was tugging at my heart, and I was tugging at His. I was looking for the bush that was on fire, so I could hear from my God. I needed God. Oh! How I needed God. I wanted to be just like Moses. It sounds funny, but it’s real. I searched the Word. I read other people’s inspirational books. I played praise and worship music. I needed to have an encounter with God. This went on for months. Then one day during my praise and worship, He said “Here I am.” God said He would never leave us nor forsake us. The darkness from my world went away. I stopped crying, and I no longer felt pain.

What’s amazing is one day I realized, “Hey, I’m not crying.” I had to tell myself that. That’s when I experience God as my comforter. I lost my mom to cancer. Actually, I didn’t lose her; I know exactly where she is. I did pray throughout her illness. When God called her home, it’s because God loves her more than I could ever love her. However, God is a healer. I prayed for healing for my mom, and my mom is healed. My mom is in heaven where cancer is not welcome.

I’ve learned a lot about prayer since then. I will share what I’ve learned in other posts. I know what it means to depend on God. Prayer is our time with God. Do I believe that prayer works? Absolutely! The bible has countless stories of people who prayed and God heard their cry. I have seen God move in my own family as well.