One Word…

Hello everyone! How are you? I pray you are safe and healthy. Are you making plans for Spring break? If so, I hope you do something that brings you joy, gives God glory, and makes you happy. 

May I ask you a question? I hope the answer is YES. When was the last time you encouraged someone? Whether it was a word, prayer, deed, or a friendly smile, do you remember the last time you blessed someone in this way? Sometimes we get so focused on our issues that we forget other people have issues too. 

When I’m out and about, I ask the Holy Spirit to direct me to anyone who needs prayer, encouragement, or simply a smile – and He always does. It surprises how a smile can make someone feel better. 

For many years, I have battled terrible sinus issues. And unfortunately, it got to a point that I wasn’t able to breathe properly. In my twenties, I met with an ENT doctor who suggested surgery, but I wasn’t interested in another surgery. At that point I had already had five surgeries and I wasn’t interested in another one. So I prayed and decided to trust God for my healing. Unfortunately, over the years, my condition worsened. Late last year, I decided to visit a new ENT doctor, and after my initial visit and a CT scan, she also suggested surgery. It was not the answer I wanted but, at this point, I was tired of feeling unwell and not sleeping correctly. So I scheduled the surgery. 

The surgery was scheduled for Feb.19 of this year. But I was so nervous I canceled and rescheduled it for March 19th. The entire time, I prayed, and thought about not having the surgery. My husband and family encouraged me almost weekly not to change my mind and cancel the surgery. I shared with my doctor my concerns and she understood, but told me I would feel so much after it was done. I did trust her, but couldnt shake the nervousness. I believed I was going to be okay, but those pesky thoughts of something going wrong kept clouding my mind.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”
II Timothy 1:7

Well…the day finally arrived for me to have my surgery. I woke up ready to get it over with. I remember most of the ride to the hospital was in silence. When we arrived, I sat in the car for about 30 minutes and then prayed for the nerve to walk in. From the moment, I walked in, God encouraged me. 

From the moment I stepped in, I began to feel comfortable. The front desk receptionist was hilarious and made me laugh the entire time she was checking me in. When the nurse took me back to get things started, she asked me how I was feeling, I told her “nervous, but ready.” As soon as I told her that, she began making jokes and – this went on for about 30 minutes and it blessed me.

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired” Proverbs 17:22

 

BUT THEN, Stephanie, my nurse walked in. She asked if I was fine, I said yes and at that point I was. She made sure I was comfortable in every way and it helped because my surgery was delayed for a few hours. While she was in my room, I felt peace, and before she walked out she touched my shoulder and began praying over me. When she left, I just cried and worshipped the Father. Right before my surgery, I saw Stephanie again, and I said thank you. She said, “when you walked in, we all felt joy.” So little did I know, I was encouraging them too. Look at God! 

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18 

Wasn’t that a long way to tell a story of encouragement! 😉 

So today, I encourage you to keep fighting the good fight of faith. Don’t give up! Trust God’s process. Wherever you are in your walk with God, know that he is perfecting you daily. If you have fallen, get up, God is waiting for you. He already knows your weaknesses. Repent and be free. You are closer today than you were yesterday. God has great plans for you! He loves you and you are the apple of his eye. 

I love you….be encouraged.

Darlene @Healed to Speak

Just in case you were wondering…

My surgery went extremely well. The healing process is still going on. BUT I can breathe like never before and I’m sleeping very well. 🙂 Thank you Lord and Dr. Kansal and her team!

Time Keeps on Slipping…

Hello everyone! How are you? How has the first month of 2021 been? I know for some of you it’s been good and for others it’s been difficult. I know some of you are still struggling with the loss of a loved one. Please know I am praying for your comfort, healing, and strength during your grieving process. 

We’re already one month into 2021, and I am amazed by how fast time is moving. Each day, in my opinion, goes faster than the day prior. It reminds me of how fleeting our time on earth is. Psalm 39:4 says, “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is” (NLT).

I want to take a moment to ask a question. Are you using your time wisely? I know we all have commitments like work, relationships, raising our children, as well as outside activities, but outside of all your responsibilities, are you using the time God has given to you wisely? 

In a previous post I mentioned that in 2019, I lost someone I truly loved. She was someone I talked to or texted almost every day. I would call to pray, vent, laugh, or just have girl talk and sometimes endure a loving rebuke. I could just be myself around her. She was like a mom to me, which is what I called her. In February of 2019, I began dealing with some personal issues and I did not want to burden her with it, so I stopped calling her. It’s so silly when I think about it now, because she NEVER judged or looked at me differently when I shared my heart with her. During the time I didn’t call, she was on my mind heavily, but I still didn’t call. In July 2019, my very close friend called to tell me she was very sick, but truth was I already knew she was ill. To be honest, I didn’t want to face the fact that she actually was sick, nor face the thought of once again losing a woman of God I loved.

In September 2019, I went to visit her. We laughed, talked, and I layed my head on her lap and told her what she meant to me. I knew from that visit it would be my last time with her. Not too long after that she passed away. Although I knew it was coming, it hurt me in a way that I never expected. But what hurt me more than missing her presence, was all the things she wanted to do in her natural and spiritual life. There was so much she shared with me and I was hurt that she didn’t have the opportunity to accomplish her dreams. I couldn’t understand why God would take her home. I took my thoughts and prayers to God, and he didn’t give me an answer, but he did reaffirm that he is sovereign and reminded me in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”. 

Weeks before her passing, The Holy Spirit kept putting the word time in my spirit. At her memorial service, which took place about a month later, the subject of the message was “What are you doing with your time”? Can I tell you that message jolted me in a way that I will never forget?!! 

That word caused me reexamine my own life, and since that time, I’ve learned to value my time each day. It certainly doesn’t mean I’ve mastered managing my time completely, but I have become much more aware of how little time I have and how I should be using it. 

Time is the one thing we can never get back and it’s the one thing we all get the same amount of. Yet, I often think about how much time we’ve wasted, whether we realize it or not.  

So I ask you again? What are you doing with your time? Are you spending time in God’s presence? Are you seeking him about what you should be doing at this time?

Or are you wasting time on social media? Perhaps you’re wasting time being in a un-Godly relationship that should end. Are you wasting your time at a job you hate, because you’re too afraid to step out on faith and do what you love? Are you holding back on the ministry God has given you because of insecurities? Are you wasting time holding onto grudges or unforgiveness? 

I could keep writing, but this post doesn’t need to be any longer. I hope and pray you hear my heart and I encourage you to examine how you use your time. Tomorrow is not promised to ANY OF US.  

James 4:14-15 “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that. (NLT)

Prayer
Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to value the time you bless us with each day. Forgive us for not valuing the gift of time. As we can see from the perilous times we live in, it is important now more than ever to use our time wisely. Grant us the wisdom to make right choices that will align with your will for our lives and maximize our time to be a blessing to the Kingdom of God. Father, first and foremost, cause us to remember that the most important decision we can make when valuing our time is spending time in your presence. We ask this in Jesus name…Amen.

Love you all,
Darlene @HealedtoSpeak

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Is Your Vision 2021?

Hello everyone! How are you? Happy New Year! I am so grateful to be in the land of the living and I hope you are too. Isn’t Jesus wonderful! I am grateful that in times of uncertainty, He is still faithful.

Last year was difficult, right? Full of uncertainty, pain, sorrow, and death, but in spite of it all, God still sits on the throne. Since the beginning of the pandemic and for the better half of last year, the one narrative I continued to hear from several people was they couldn’t wait for 2020 to be over. I totally understand the reasoning for this, however, it reminded me of where our focus should be as Christians and that’s on Christ and his mission. 

It is so easy to forget what our focus is when we don’t keep God first – And I know this from my personal walk with God. I’ve had moments when I strayed in my thoughts and plans. I became focused on the things I desired for my life; which weren’t bad, but my desire began to lead me in a direction that put God second. I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit that showed me the direction I was going and to be honest, it scared me. It was a reminder that none of us are too far from falling.

Of course it’s okay to have desires, but they must line up to God’s will and plan for our lives.
Ephesians 5:15-17Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” ESV

While many of us desire for the year to be over, what makes you think next year will be better? You have to admit, we are living in a different time – different from any other time in history and as Christians we should be in tune with what the Spirit is telling us according to the Word of God. 

Colossians 3:2 tells us to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” ESV Remember this world is our temporary home. There is a bigger picture. 

Have you considered that our country may be dealt another blow that we didn’t see coming? The bible tells us in II Timothy 3:15 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.”  ESV

I am not trying to be dark, but it’s the truth… we don’t know what 2021 will bring. But what I do know is as long as we walk in holiness, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and keep our focus on things above, all things work out for our good according to Romans 8:28And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” NLT

I encourage you to make your Vision God focused and not 2021 focused.

Father in the name of Jesus, please forgive us for times we lose focus….we repent to you. Help us to remember, no matter what life throws our way, you are faithful. Give us the strength and wisdom to follow you always, because you have great plans for our lives. We know there is no greater place to be than in your perfect will, because there is safety there.  We love you and thank you. In Jesus name…Amen.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash
Photo by Davies Designs Studio on Unsplash

Merry Christmas

For unto us a child is bornunto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”
(Isaiah 9:6)

I believe this Christmas has more meaning than ever. I hope we are aware that life can change in the blink of an eye and we have to be grateful for every moment.

As I encourage myself, I also want to encourage you to be thankful for the natural gifts you received, and to be humbled by the gift we never deserved, which is the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

Whereever you find yourself this Christmas, I want you to know that God is with you.

Have a Merry Christmas!! And remember…Jesus loves you and SO DO I!

Blessings,
Darlene @HealedtoSpeak

Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

I Knew The Day Would Come…

Hello everyone! I missed you all. I know I haven’t written in a while and that’s a long story that I will share in an upcoming blog post. So much has changed since the last time I’ve written to you. We certainly weren’t dealing with Covid-19 nor the social unjust issues that have erupted in our country. Overall, I hope you are well and had a lovely Thanksgiving.

Back in August, I spent some time in my hometown of Philadelphia. My two youngest sons went with me, but my oldest son David (22) stayed behind. I wasn’t necessarily worried about leaving him as he’s an adult, but what I’ve come to learn about having adult children is that they’re still your babies. So… while I was in Philly I talked to him to make sure he was okay. He was fine except he realized I wouldn’t be there to cook…  🙂

It has been three months since I returned from Philadelphia, and two weeks ago my son told me what happened while I was gone. I could tell he was hesitant, but he told me anyway. 

The area we live in is beautiful and for the most part safe. We enjoy the quiet and taking walks in the neighborhood. My son LOVES walking and does it often. For most people in the area, walking is a strange activity because most people drive. On several occasions, I have taken walks by myself and with my husband and each walk has been accompanied by strange stares or the question why are you walking?

A few months back, my son decided to take a walk to our local Dollar Tree, something that he does often. When he arrived he realized he left too early and the store wasn’t open yet. He decided to find somewhere to sit and wait until they opened. Before completing his sentence, I looked at him and gave a long stare because I knew where the conversation was going. He said “I just didn’t think about it mom.” I knew he knew I may be upset by what he was going to say…then he said I decided to sit over where the bank is…my eyes widened.
He looked at my face and said “Mom, I know.” 

He walked over to the bank and sat down on the curb and was on his phone. Within five minutes two police officers approached him. He told me he wasn’t scared, but he immediately knew why they were approaching; because although he was just sitting there, he is a young black male sitting in front of a bank with a hoodie on. And whether you agree or not, that’s a bad move if you’re a young black male. He said they approached and asked why he was there, he explained why, and then they asked for ID. He produced his ID, one of the officers took it and stood with him. The other officer called on his radio to check his ID. A little while after, they gave him his ID back. He told them he would go someplace else to wait for the store to open – they told him he didn’t have to then got in their car and drove away. My son told me as they pulled off he walked away.
I’m glad he did because he said another cop car drove by.

People, prayer works! While I was gone, the Holy Spirit told me to pray for my son. To specifically pray for his wisdom. God protected him. But it doesn’t change the fact that it scared me and made me sad. 

Interestingly…about a month ago, my husband and I drove past that same bank and saw a young Caucasian male sitting in front of the doors with a blanket and his phone charging. We thought it looked strange, but just kept driving. There was not one cop car in sight!

I’ve been pretty quiet about everything that’s been happening in our world, because to be honest, I was afraid of what might come out once I started writing. My anger, fear, frustration, and sadness. 

As much as I’ve prayed and trusted God with the safety of my children, I knew in my heart this would happen. And what’s worse is that it will eventually happen to my two youngest sons, who are twelve and ten. Sadly, my husband and I are preparing them for it. 

A week ago, my twelve year old, who plays basketball, wanted to take a walk with his older brother. As my son was preparing to leave, he noticed his cell phone was dead, which meant I wouldn’t be able to reach him if something went wrong. Can I tell you how fearful I was? I just shrugged it off and they left. David (oldest son) came back five minutes later and said, “Daniel wants to run instead of walk.” I said, take my phone and my son Daniel (12) said, “we don’t want people or the cops to see us and think we’re running away from something.” 😦 

And this is where we are as a country that’s supposedly based on Christian values?? Why are we lying to ourselves? 

The Bible tells us in John 13:34 as believers to love one another, yet some of us place stipulations on that scripture. No where in the Word of God, does it tell us to love only those who are like us.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.|

For those of you who are Black, pray, for those of you who are White, pray. The bottom line is we need to pray and have understanding of each other. We need to talk and be honest about our fears, hang ups, and stereotypes. We need to allow God to show us the dark places in our hearts so we can be honest with ourselves so change and healing can begin. It CANNOT happen without God and without acknowledging the wickedness in us.

Sure there will always be people who chose to be ignorant and remain that way. But each of us has a responsibility to change and continue to pray for those who chose not to. 

Blessing to you.

Ephesians 5:-1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Darlene
Healed to Speak

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash