Hello, I'm JJ!
This is my life.
I am a corporate-career-women turned homeschool mom, writer, speaker and ministry leader. I share a lovely two story home with my husband of 25 years and our tween daughter. Our two oldest daughters have entered into adulthood and we are new grandparents. I think being a grammy will be the greatest blessing of all.
I am passionate about seeing women grow in courage and faith. Often you’ll find me starting new small groups. I care deeply for the anxious woman who’s ready to give up. I also have a heart for the law enforcement wife (I myself am one). These brides are often forgotten in our culture today. And having three daughters I think God carved out a special place in my heart for tween girls.
I accepted Jesus as my Savior 26 years ago. The best decision of my life! Everyday since I’ve been growing and changing in miraculous ways. I am a lifelong Bible student because nothing is more important to me than knowing God. His Word is my guiding light, my joy and my strength. (See my testimony below)
Most days you’ll catch me with my Bible, listening to a podcast, writing words and sipping iced tea with my sweet German Shepherd named Bella.
xo, JJ Gutierrez
Several years ago I found myself tired, worn out and beaten up by Fear, and Fear’s best friend Anxiety. I became obsessed with learning how to defeat these unwanted but loyal companions. But, I struggled with shame because I believed being fearful meant I was a bad Christian, however nothing was further from the truth. As I began to break-up with Fear and Anxiety, I discovered I didn’t need to hide anymore because God loved me just as I was.
Thankfully God never leaves us as we are! During a very fearful time in my life God provided a special word just for me. It came from my six-year-old daughter. I kept saying, “I chickened out again!” That’s when she said, “Mom, just Chicken IN.” I don’t know why but God used that spoken word to transform my mindset from fear to courageous faith.
Also, I imagine God must have known how much we would struggle with fear, worry and doubt because He provided over 300 scriptures encouraging and commanding us to fear not, do not be afraid, and have courage. These verses along with the other thousands of life changing words in the Bible worked diligently to tear down strongholds, defeat lies and produce an inner courage beyond my own.
I’ve been on this journey for many years now. I’ve taken brave steps of faith but I am still learning and growing. The process of transforming is lifelong. I want to share with you what years of counseling, 25 years of studying the Bible, life coaches, career coaches, reading and listening to a LOT of books and podcasts, 15 years in corporate America and then, taking two BIG faith steps to becoming a homeschool mom and a writer/author has taught me.
Do you struggle with fear and anxiety too?
Then, you may have found a home right here, with me and the other women around the world who are looking for practical tools and biblical insight for the journey.
The single most important decision of my life was the day I said, “YES” to Jesus Christ. I was 23 years old and had just moved to a new town to marry my husband. We went to church and I accepted an altar call to come forward to receive Christ. Simple right? Well, no not so simple…it’s everything that led up to that moment that I want to share with you.
So many of us have dysfunctional childhoods. Mine encompassed a mother who didn’t know how loved she was. She hopped from one man to the next looking for the perfect one to fill the void in her life. By the time I was 18 years old she had been married 5 times (4 during my lifetime) and she had 3 live-in boyfriends. That is seven men I lived with during my first 18 years of life!
I was the oldest of 3 girls and because of that I took on a lot of responsibility. I was angry, and I could never understand why we (my sisters and I) weren’t enough for my mom. There is story after story of the dysfunction that the men brought into our home. Ranging from alcoholism to white-collar business fraud (literally hiding from the authorities and lawyers) to molestation.
About 2 weeks before my high school graduation we found out that my mother had stomach cancer and needed life-saving surgery. She fought a good fight, did chemo and radiation, but the cancer took her life 8 months later. Watching my mom die was painful. It didn’t seem real and it took months for reality to hit…my mom was gone.
There I sat, 18 years old in a house about to be foreclosed on with threats from the utility companies to turn off services. My mom’s current husband had abandoned us. He couldn’t handle the cancer journey with my mom…being caught up in drugs, he wasn’t a good person to be around anyway.
It was a surreal moment sitting there in the dark, empty house staring at the bills and thinking, what comes next?
Though I had a good father, he struggled with alcoholism and emotional pain from Vietnam. I had grandparents and friends, but no one willing to step-in and tell me what do to. Ultimately the burden to deal with everything fell on my shoulders.
My two sisters were 16 and 12. My 12-year-old sister had a different father and he was currently in prison with restrictions on talking to or seeing her. My 16-year-old sister had suffered from my mother’s lifestyle and she dealt with it by running away.
Pain, brokenness, fear, anxiety…it all flooded my heart. But I stuffed it. I pulled up my big girl pants and got to work on dealing with the bills, settling my mother’s affairs, cleaning out her possessions…and dealing with her “not so nice” husband who demanded to be paid off to leave us alone.
My 12-year-old sister lived with me and we headed to Los Angeles where I was attending college that fall.
My life began to unravel. I fell into a depression. Loneliness gripped my soul. I had nightmares about my mom faking her death and coming back home.
That next year I got pregnant with my daughter Kayla. I was so close to having an abortion because I didn’t want my child to live the life I had lived. I wasn’t married, and her father wasn’t one to be counted on. But I just couldn’t do it…I could not go through with the abortion (keeping my baby was the second most important and life impacting decision of my life!) so I headed back to Northern CA to make a life for my baby and me. I tried to make it work with her dad, but I couldn’t tolerate the lying and secret drug use.
Being strong-willed, I wouldn’t give-up. I wanted a better life for my daughter. I had been going to church off and on with my grandmother. One day I stopped by the church and asked to speak to a pastor. Graciously one made himself available and he gave me a Bible. He told me that God loved me and then asked me to go home and read James(LOL usually you ask people to first read John).
I read the Scriptures like a sponge. Soon after, I met my husband to-be. We got engaged and I moved to his hometown. A new life for me and my daughter.
Little did I know I would be accepting an altar call a few weeks later…April 5, 1995 to be exact!!
My soul longed for forgiveness and relief from the burdens of my childhood, loss of my mother and my failures. I was desperate for a new way of life and I wanted a relationship with God. That day was the most pivotal moment of my life…God before me and my old life behind me!!
It has been 26 years since that great day. It hasn’t been all sunshine and butterflies. In fact, life got harder as God and I began to confront the lies I believed about myself (there were a lot!). The journey to healing has been a gradual restoration one issue at a time. Personally, I am thankful that God is kind that way. I can’t imagine how overwhelming it would be to have to face everything at one time.
I said Yes to Christ because He loves and forgives me. He heals and restores me. He is my strength and shield. He is my Father and King. I said yes to Him because He first said yes to me!
If you don’t know Jesus, please don’t go another day without Him. That burden you feel or the unforgiveness in your heart for someone or towards yourself…all your failures, hurts, pain and sickness…don’t go another day of facing life without Him. The strength, unconditional love and healing you will gain is far beyond any human understanding. God, your Creator is calling you to His side and I pray you will respond.
Becoming a Christian
Deciding to become a Christian is the most important and life-impacting decision a person will make. It is an individual decision that no one else can make for you. Each person must decide for themselves, and not making a decision is still a decision.
God Loved You First
Regardless of how you may feel (unworthy, shameful or not good enough) God loves you. His love is not dependent upon you because He loved you first. This love is revealed to us though Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection. Christ, although perfect himself, died on the cross and paid the price for the sins of all people. God offers you forgiveness. And by Christ’s resurrection God offers the promise of eternal life.
While Christ died and rose again for everyone, He comes to you personally…as an individual to establish a personal relationship with you. To accept His offer of forgiveness and eternal life, you must respond to Him.
Revealing God’s Love for You
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
God loves you today…exactly as you are. He longs to be in a close relationship with you…to bless you, strengthen you and give you an abundant life. His offer is not only for here on earth but also for eternal life with Him in Heaven.
Mankind’s Sinful Nature
“All have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23
Not one single human is perfect. Every one of us falls short, and when we acknowledge this truth, we can clearly see our separation from God. God is holy and we are not.
Sin has a Price
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
The price of sin is spiritual death and ultimately, eternal separation from God. BUT, with God’s free gift, we can receive a pardon for our sin and provision for eternal life.
Christ Paid the Price
“But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8
Many people believe that doing good, charitable acts will make God love you. Not true. Even in your sin…God loves you. There is nothing that we can do to make God love us or to earn His love. God sent His Son to take your place and pay the price for your sin while you were still a sinner. Why? So you can be reconciled to Him.
Redemption is a Free Gift!
“God saved you by His special favor when you believed. And you cannot take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9
God’s special favor or grace means getting what you don’t deserve. By God’s grace He offers you what you are unable to do for yourself- salvation and eternal life with Him. Receive and believe…that’s it! With all of your heart believe that Christ died for you…to deliver you from sin and to give you eternal life.
You Must Accept Christ
“But to all who believe in Him and accept Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
To become a child of God, you must receive Him and accept what He has done for you. Jesus Christ is standing at the door of your heart inviting you in…BUT, you must receive Him.
Are you Ready to Receive Him Now??
Why put it off? You can invite Christ into your heart and life right now by simply praying this prayer:
Dear Lord, I know that I am a sinner and that I need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died in my place to take the penalty for my sin and that He rose from the dead. Right now, I invite Jesus to come into my heart and to be my Savior. Thank you for creating me and making a way for me. Help me to learn and grow in the knowledge of your love so that I may please You in every part of my life. In Jesus’ name Amen.
Congratulations! If you just prayed this prayer you are a Christian and we are family!! Please, please send me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org)so we can celebrate together. You have made the most important decision of your life today!! I encourage you to tell someone close to you and get connected to a church. If you need help finding one close to you, I am happy to help.