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Learning to Be

Finding Your Center After the Bottom Falls Out

by Juanita Campbell Rasmus

It felt as though every nerve in my body was popping. Imagine large strong hands slowly applying pressure while breaking a family-size package of uncooked, dry spaghetti. I was the spaghetti. Breaking down one piece at a time.

This is how Juanita Rasmus begins the wise, frank, and witty account of what she later 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, on the spiritual front she experienced a 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.

Pastor Juanita writes from her life with kind attention to the life of the reader. She offers both practical and spiritual insights but never pat answers. If you are longing for a trustworthy companion through dark days, this book is here for you. Each chapter includes life-giving spiritual practices to help you discover your own new ways of being.

2020 IVP


Juanita and I have been friends for many years. I admire her preaching and teaching gifts, and value her generous contribution as a member of our Renovaré ministry team. Juanita describes herself as a type A personality. This is indeed true . . . although triple A might be a little more accurate description! Her 'crash,' as she describes her major depressive episode, was exactly that in every sense—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I say all this to underscore for you the importance of Learning to Be. This is a book of genuine substance dealing with the most heart-wrenching needs of the human soul. Learning to Be is an essential resource for every person seeking to navigate life in contemporary culture. I recommend it highly.
Richard J. Foster, Renovaré Founder
Carl Rodgers wrote, 'That which is most personal is most universal.' Learning to Be by Juanita Rasmus is a book of autobiographical vulnerability about her 'crash' with a depressive mood disorder. In her candid reflection she creates a psycho/spiritual worldview that is a resource for us all. This is a must-read for all who seek to find a faith that is both practical and functional, a nonsentimental spirituality.
J. Pittman McGehee, Episcopal priest and author of The Paradox of Love
Every perfectionist should read this book, every Southern 'good girl,' every person who has ever felt empty. 'The reality is, many of us stand in a circle with stones in hand all too often,' says Pastor Rasmus. Then she convinces us, her readers, to set down our stones.
Andrea White, novelist and civic leader

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