Category Archives: Personal

How Many Friends Do You Really Have Or Are You Really Friends With? Real Ones? Or Superficial Acquaintances? Are You Really a Friend of Jesus?

Superficial Acquaintances Joaynn.pngSomething to think about:

Oftentimes we confuse true friendships based on the number of people we “know” or the ones who influence us the most, or even ones we have known for a lifetime and have been through the fire with. This by no means is an indication of who your true, real friends are. Check your circle.

Social media lets you “friend” just about anyone and everything you want. Choose your friends wisely. Be careful who you call a friend or who you really are friends with. Everybody is not your friend. Once upon a time you didn’t even know them.

Think about this, would Jesus call you a friend knowing the person you are? Do you love one another as He loves us? “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends…These things I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:12 – 13, 17 ESV).

Do you obey his commandments? “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14 ESV). Do you understand the truths he has revealed to us from the Father? By the Holy Spirit in the word of God? “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15 ESV). Are you seeking to do these things when you call Jesus your friend?

Stop calling everybody your friend just because you know them. Many people you know are only acquaintances. It is better to have one friend who you call a true friend than to have many of superficial acquaintances. True friends stick by you in good times and bad. They will listen, care, and offer help when it is needed. They will not judge you or constantly remind you of who you used to be. They will celebrate who you are and love you unconditionally as you are. Jesus love us, no matter what we’ve done. Yes, Jesus loves us!

Would Jesus call you His friend? Yes he would, if you are loving others, if you are seeking to obey his command as he desires, and if you are developing an understanding of the truths revealed by the Holy Spirit in God’s Word. Ask yourself these questions, answer them and you will know if Jesus calls you His friend.

The Bible says “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” not everybody on social media. Stop calling everybody your friend. Some are superficial acquaintances. “What a FRIEND we have in Jesus.” Know the difference.

Be blessed! – JD

James 2:23 “And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God” (ESV).

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Stop It! Social Media Is Not Going To Solve Your Problems. Tell God. Stop Telling The World All Your Business!

IMG_20180616_081601_550The Bible says surrender your problems to God and not to everybody on social media!

Stop telling everybody your business or exposing your problems to them. Bring it to God. Give it to him and leave there.

Thank you. And you’re welcome.

Be blessed! – JD

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

#randomthought#stoptellingyoursecrets #morningthought #itsonmymind #wordofadvice #quote#quotestags

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What Are You Waiting For? Waiting On? When Are You Just Going To Do It?!!

Special Purpose JoaynnWhat do you do when you find yourself waiting on special conditions to begin something that may never come because you are waiting on something to happen that may never exist? Time waits for no one or nothing. We’ve got to be ready for whatever comes.

Oftentimes we sit and wonder about things we desire to do but believe we need the perfect time or the perfect resources to do it with. We are waiting on the perfect time and place to realize our dreams or put into action the very things we are believing God for when in actuality, it may never happen because we put conditions on God and what he will and can do.

As such, if we wait for a perfect time and place to accomplish anything the time will never be right to do it. If we wait for the perfect time to read our Bible, we’ll never begin if it’s not the second thing we do after prayer. If we wait for the perfect time to start our ministry we will never serve. If we wait for the perfect opportunity to grow, we will never mature. What are we waiting for? The perfect time may never come because the perfect time does not exist.

Stop looking for the perfect time to do something, and just do it!

Be blessed! – JD

Ecclesiastes 11:4 “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” [a] (TLB)

Footnotes: Ecclesiastes 11:4 If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done, literally, “He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.”

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Stop Asking God for Stuff You’re Not Supposed to Have! Whatever You Are Believing God For, If It Doesn’t Come From Him, You Don’t Want It!

Already Blessed JoaynnGod gives us gifts for free that cannot be earned. He did not give it to us for our own benefit. Your gift is to be used to glorify God. Let that marinate for a second.

Oftentimes we hear others profess, “your gift will make room for you” (Proverbs 18:16) but do you really know what it means to you and the vision God has given you to fulfill his purpose on this earth that he may be glorified? Here’s my thoughts:

Every person on this earth has a gift or talent God has put inside you that the world will make room for. It will enable you to fulfill your vision. A way will be made for you in your life. But in order for it to do these things, you have to exercise the gift. It cannot lay dormant while you wait for something to happen just because God gave it to you. He expects you to do something with it.

When you put to use the gift God has given you to fulfill your vision he gave you, you will find true contentment, purpose, and fulfillment in the work you have been called to do to build God’s kingdom. Every good and perfect gift is from above. Whatever you are meant to have, God will send it.

What do you do when you know you have a gift from God and you’ve worked every area of your gift only to find you are not seeing any results? Do you believe, “your gift will make room for you” when you’ve ran out of room to exercise your gift because you keep doing things your way and not God’s way?

The Bible does not tell us the cars we drive, the education we have acquired, the houses we own, shoes or clothes we wear, looks we have been blessed with, or the titles we hold will make room for us. But the “GIFT” does. Society wants us to believe these things are the key to our success, when in fact it can have the opposite effect. Change your perspective. Think on this.

God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. If you are not exercising your gift in alignment to his word, his way, and his will, the idea of what the world believes is success will never happen the way God intended. Your GIFT is the key to your success. Get out the “my way of thinking and wanting what I want box” and develop your gift, discover it, and manifest it.

Suppose you took a moment and reflected on all the things you are good at, things you are passionate about, and talents you were blessed with to help, bless, or inspire others. Do you think it was by your own merit these things were given to you to use for your own benefit? Or do you believe it was because God was behind it and blessed you with what he imparted inside you before you were even thought of or born to serve others? Thank you and you’re welcome to leave your answers in the comments.

Yes, your gift will make room for you but you have to exercise your gift. Don’t do what people tell you to do or do what they do because you think it will bring you lots of money. Do what you were born to do that you may be edified, God will be glorified, and the devil will be petrified! Use your gifts to build God’s kingdom.

Repeat after me, “God, whatever it is I am believing you for if it doesn’t come from above, I don’t want it! Return it back to the sender, unsigned, sealed, and undelivered. I want whatever you send God because you sent it!”

God you are good and your mercies endure forever. Your greatness is unsearchable. When I can’t trace you God, I trust you.

Be blessed! –JD

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)

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May is not over yet. Happy Fibromyalgia Awareness Month to all my Fibro Warriors!

Fibro Warriors 5-2018Please forgive me for being late with my post to celebrate May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month. I am thankful the month is not over and I haven’t missed it. As a person who suffers daily with symptoms associated with this “invisible disease” and consider myself a “silent” advocate and warrior, I would be remiss not to celebrate and inspire my fellow Fibromyalgia warriors. Happy Fibromyalgia Awareness Month!

This year I decided to do things a little different and rather than just celebrating the month of May in honor of Fibromyalgia, I want to share information on what is Fibromyalgia and its symptoms to educate others and those who wonder why we celebrate Fibromyalgia Awareness Month. In a small yet meaningful way, it is an opportunity to enlighten others on what we as fibro warriors go through every day when dealing with its symptoms. I promise I will be brief. *smile*

Fibromyalgia Awareness Month to me, is so important because it is considered one of the most seriously misunderstood diseases. Why? Glad you asked. Because it can be very difficult to explain why many sufferers, including men and women, do not “look sick” but are, and how it affects us when dealing with constant chronic pain, fatigue, and the fibro fog.

So, what is fibromyalgia? Glad you asked, again. The list can be exhaustive so I didn’t list everything but you’re welcome to visit the links for more information. Here’s a portion of a broad summary of the symptoms by The Mayo Clinic taken from http://www.fibromyalgiatreating.com/you-have-fibromyalgia/ and Lyrica.com taken from https://www.lyrica.com/fibromyalgia/managing-fibromyalgia-pain which include:

Widespread pain – this is typically characterized by a dull ache that lasts for at least three months. Fatigue – If a patient with fibromyalgia can sleep at night (insomnia is very common), they frequently wake during sleeping hours due to pain. No sleep or poor sleep causes fatigue during waking hours and can make it difficult to function and focus. “Fibro fog” – Cognitive impairments such as difficulty concentrating on mental tasks, feeling “hazy,” or the inability to think clearly. Other problems – Anxiety, depression, migraine headaches, and conditions that fall into the “other” category that include abdominal cramping, burning sensations either on the skin or from within, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), intense itching, muscle and joint pain, as well as hypersensitivity to pain, medications, cold weather, foods, physical touch, and more.

Fibromyalgia affects more than 5 million women and men in the United States (lyrica.com). And although it is a so-called “Invisible disease,” the pain is real and is not all in our heads. Sharing a kind word, spreading love, or checking on a friend or loved one who suffers with this debilitating disease will go a long way. Be intentional. Make a difference.

Now for the fun part, if you have a moment please share your thoughts, in love, in the comments below in honor of someone you may know who suffers with fibromyalgia or say “hello” to your fellow fibro warrior(s) and let them know you are here for them.

Happy Fibromyalgia Awareness Day!

Be blessed! – JD

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What if… ???

Not Envious JoaynnWhat if God treated you the same way you treated others with animosity, bitterness, resentment, hatred, and disrespect when you get offended, are simple-minded, inconsiderate, unthoughtful, and unloving?

What if God stopped speaking to you, stopped loving you, and looked down on you because you made one mistake, you don’t fit in his circle, or you failed him on a regular?

What if God didn’t forgive you or care about you at all because you’re a hot mess, you’re not worth his time, you’re useless, and don’t deserve his attention?

What if he wasn’t the loving, forgiving, sovereign, faithful, wonderful, marvelous, counselor, friend, he will always be? Think about it and then tell me where or who would you be?

Be blessed! – JD

Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (NIV)

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Hey Part-time Servant of God, Listen Up! I Need Your Full, Undivided Attention!

Leaders JoaynnSorry for the long post…My heart is grieved. Not because I’m sad but because it saddens me when we profess to be Christians and do the opposite of what God desires from us, especially when we place conditions on him when making excuses to justify who we are not in him because we think we are entitled.

If you are in a REAL relationship with God, you will serve him. No ifs, ands, or buts. There is no gray area or middle ground with God. Either you will wholeheartedly serve him or you won’t. When you make the decision to give your life to him, you’re offering your life as a living sacrifice. You will desire to grow, mature, submit, giving your heart to God, be an example of Christ, and love as God does.

There are different ways we serve God but what we are not here for, TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE. Our service MUST be rooted in love. And should be a love-filled response and not an apathy-filled one. Too many times I witness people who profess to love the Lord but are not in the right relationship with him or are living examples of Christ in their actions, words, deeds, service, and obedience to him.

We put God in a box with only enough room to move in our lives as we see fit, when it’s convenient. Yes, we fail God every day and fall short of his glory on the regular but we must be careful when we offend him.

My observation: WHAT SERVING GOD IS NOT,

1) Judgmental, envious, jealous, hateful, spiteful, gossipers, doubters, and lack of compassion for others.

2) Serving ourselves instead of others.

3) Coming to church on Sundays, praise and worshipping but in a split second the moment someone strikes a “my nerves bad nerve”, you telling them what you ain’t gone do if it doesn’t benefit you.

4) USURPING God’s authority. Making deals with God like he’s beneath you because somewhere you were given authority and think your position supersedes his authority.

5) Wanting things to go your way because you think your position entitles you to it but fuss and complain when it doesn’t go as you insist and then tell God, “Okay…I’ll do it even though I don’t want to but…I’m serving you.” Like you’re doing him a favor!

6) Being ugly towards others, not humbling yourself before him when you’re wrong but expecting the highest level of respect because you think you deserve it.

7) Having a title, a fancy car, degrees, big houses, money, want people to look up to you, follow your own instructions but are not willing to take direction or instructions from others.

8) Looking down on others because they are not in your class, or hold the same status, or they merely don’t fit in your “circle.”

9) Not loving the unlovely or serving ALL mankind.

10) Looking for something in return just because you have “selfishly” or “unapologetically” given of your time to God…..and that’s just the beginning of the list of what not serving God looks like.

You may have missed the memo but last I checked, God doesn’t need anything from us. And he certainly does not need our help. If you’re serving God out of obligation and not out of obedience, it’s meaningless and not what God desires. Think twice before you commit to it and check yourself, your attitude, and your ways before you do it. Whomever thinks it’s okay to NEGOTIATE with God is playing a dangerous game with their soul.

As for me, I hold the highest reverence for God and out of my respect for who he is and what he means to me, I work daily to glorify him in all my doings even though I too fail him. If you profess to be a Christian, please stop playing with God and act like one. If you profess to be a Christian and serve God, please stop taking your servant role for granted and act like a servant.

Be careful how you treat God. He will humble you. He can take you from where you are and bring you to the lowest valley in 0 to 60 seconds, taking that which he has given you away until you can be humble.

If you want to be a leader, you MUST be willing to be a servant (Matthew 18:3-4). Anyone who is great or a leader is a servant. In order to be great, you MUST be humble with a lowly mentality, and not one full of pride. If you want to be a servant of God and lead others to Christ, act like one. Thanks for listening.

Be blessed! – JD

Matthew 18:3-4 “and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (ESV)

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Can’t See Your Way? Have Doubts? Hopeless? In Despair? What If…Why Not…Will You…Do This?? Trust God When You Can’t Trace Him!

Every Plan Joaynn.pngGod is…..faithful, sovereign, trustworthy, awesome, amazing, good, loving, marvelous, never failing, and more. So if we know all these things which clearly does not cover all who he is, then why do we worry?

When your situation seems hopeless, the least unpleasant thing happens, and you don’t know which way to turn that may cause you to doubt God, what if you were to stop right in your moment of desperation or frustration and ask yourself, “Wait a minute, time and time again when I couldn’t see no way out didn’t God work it out for the greater good?” What if….why not….will you….do this???

The moment you find yourself weary, discouraged, worrying or concerned about something you have no control over is the moment you need to give it to God, speak out loud or whisper “I trust you Lord,” and leave it there. The God I serve knows all about our troubles. And will answer in his timing. Fear is not option. Faith is. When we put our total trust in him he will work it out in our favor. What I know about God, He can do anything but fail.

Every plan has a purpose. Every promise is yes and amen. Every season has a lesson. Every trial or test is for a greater purpose. So, the next time you are fearful, start having doubts, and can’t trace God, trust Him!

Be blessed! – JD

Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (NIV)

 

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God’s Blessings Keep Finding Me! Blessed to Be a Blessing. I’m Now a Published Author of Unspoken Testimony Memoir: Secrets of a Southern Girl

JTD Front Book Cover.pngBoy I tell you, when God begins opening doors suddenly, unexpectedly, immediately, one after another, overflow and blessings pour out in abundance that your arms don’t have enough room to receive.

On March 9, 2018 I self-published my first book Unspoken Testimony Memoir: Secrets of a Southern Girl, now available on Amazon and can also be ordered on PayPal. Words cannot express how humble I am God saw fit to use me to demonstrate his power in my weakness.

After twelve years of traveling an unknown journey met with fiery trials, insurmountable obstacles, and numerous tests allowed or ordained by God to prepare me for the place I have now arrived, I could not have ever imagined I would ever publish a book let alone show the world how great is my God. Without God, I don’t know where my life would be. I love the Lord more than words could ever express. Without him I would be nothing.

When we make the decision to remain faithful to God, we don’t have to go looking for anything or announce everything to anyone to reveal his power. Blessings will find us. He will expose what he kept hidden, in his timing, when he elevates us. You don’t have to tell your secrets to everyone. Keep your secrets to yourself. Announcements are only necessary after everything is done, when God says it’s finished!

Blessing after blessing have been coming my way. I am overwhelmed yet so very grateful. My business Jonnay Designs® is an officially registered LLC with an EIN and a DBA coming soon under the same umbrella for my book. Copyright office has received book materials for copyright review. Guest feature on Internet Radio show. First book published . Whew Lord…I don’t know if I can handle anything else.

I am so humbled and thankful to God. I could not have done any of this without him. I don’t know where this next season will lead but what I am assured of, God has much confidence in me to complete the assignment for which I have been equipped. Glory to God. Lord, I’m willing.

Be blessed! – JD

1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”

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OMGosh! Guess What? I’m Going To Be a Featured Guest on Royal Pen Network with host, National Best Selling Author Kendra Norman 3/29/18

28958411_10160277308265226_6391235563529175040_nI have been blessed with the astute opportunity to appear as a featured guest Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 7:00 pm (EST) on the Royal Pen Network with host, National Bestselling Author Kendra Norman Holmes. Words cannot express how humble I am God saw fit to bless me with this opportunity to be a blessing to others.

Please mark your calendars, SAVE the date March 29, 2018, and join the conversation tomorrow. Click on the Royal Pen Network link above or below for more details to listen in.

And please share!! Your support will be greatly appreciated. To God be the glory for all the marvelous things he has done. God is an awesome wonder!

Here’s the post from Royal Pen Network’s Facebook page detailing the event:

Royal Pen Network 

On Royal Pen Network’s next LIVE edition, you’ll meet JOY T. DARDEN, a woman who has championed through physical challenges to become a warrior for the kingdom of God. You may not know her by her full name, but it’s quite possible that you’ve seen many of her inspirational quotes posted throughout the Internet… all of them signed simply, “Joaynn” or her uplifting online blog, “Joaynn510.”

Reading her words of empowerment, one might never even guess that she faces the daily challenges brought on by a debilitating disease. The Bible clearly tells us that life and death lies in the power of the tongue, and every day, using her voice and her pen, Joy speaks life over herself and into the hearts of many others who read her frequent posts and blogs.

Tune in THIS WEEK… Thursday, March 29th at 7:00 p.m. (EST) as Joy shares the mic with host, national bestselling author, KENDRA NORMAN on Royal Pen Network. Hear her share her testimony and talk about what inspires her to keep inspiring others. She’ll also share details about her book, “Unspoken Testimony Memoir: Secrets of a Southern Girl.”

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN!! Log in at www.blogtalkradio.com/RoyalPenNetwork and listen via the Web, OR dial (929) 477-1993 and tune in via phone for a chance to ask questions and make comments on the air. However you choose to tune in… just DON’T MISS IT! Join us and be PENspired!

Be blessed! – JD

 

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Calling All Prayer Warriors, Please Say a Prayer

Our Thoughts And Prayers Are With You #2I know this picture looks familiar but with all that is going on in the world with yesterday’s senseless tragedy where 17 innocent people were killed in Parkland, Florida, I couldn’t help but share a revised copy of this post again today. In remembrance of those who have lost loved ones, to let them know we’re thinking of and praying for them.

There are times when I can’t look at the news and find myself far removed from things that trouble me. But yesterday was a day I couldn’t help but hear and see news of yet again unspeakable tragedy that took the lives of innocent people in Parkland, Florida. Now my heart is saddened and my soul has been stirred and shaken.

Once again tragedy has struck and taken lives of the innocent. God, I know I mustn’t ask when it all will end, because some things will continue to happen because of the fallen world we live in. I can’t keep up with all that’s going on in the world. The best thing I can do is pray for the loss of innocent souls. As well as those whose mind may have left momentarily because of the enemy, who may have convinced them only to confuse them that their life and the life of others needed to end.

Father, please forgive them for they know not what they do. Father, I ask that you cover them because of what they unknowingly may have done to hurt others and disobey you. I pray for the families who are now left behind bewildered and distraught, trying to figure out what happened to bring about this tragic time.

My prayers are with the victims and families of senseless tragedies and violent storms that continue to occur across the nation. God send strength, comfort, peace, and healing in light of devastation. Jesus, be a fence. May the blood of the Lamb protect them. I pray for strength of families who have lost loved ones, no matter the circumstance which they’ve lost loved ones. God calm the troubled waters of those who will cry endlessly, because of pain felt so deeply. Heal the hearts of those who may feel distraught, because of a void that has left a hole in their hearts. Peace be still. Heal their hearts.

God I know you are healer. You are a strong tower. You are God Almighty in every waking hour. Surround the homes of every family and friend. Dispatch angels of mercy to cover them. Your grace is sufficient no matter the tide. Let the hearts of those affected by tragedy be healed in the face of those who have been hurt, who are lost, or who have died. You are God all by yourself. For every family across the nation you are a present help. This is my prayer I pray. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Here’s a candle and a comforting scripture to let you know across the nation we are saying a prayer and thinking of you. We are praying for you.

Calling all prayer warriors, please say a prayer. Light a candle. Let them know God is there. Say a prayer for every family and victim across the nation everywhere. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matt 18:20). God hears the prayers of the righteous. May the peace of God be with them.

Be blessed. –JD

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (ESV)

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October Breast Cancer Awareness MonthPlease forgive me for such a late post but I made it with two days to spare before October Breast Cancer Awareness Month ends. Many across the nation launched campaigns and walks where everyone was invited to participate and show support during the month of October to increase awareness. The National Race for the Cure and Susan G. Komen 3 Day “For the Cure” are to name a few. There a number of resources, referral agencies, and support groups available to provide emotional support in the journey.

About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). While breast cancer in males is rare, let’s not forget to honor and show support for them as well, who either have been diagnosed, are going through treatment, or have survived breast cancer.

There are also male breast cancer advocacy groups Out of the Shadow of Pink, A Man’s Pink, and the Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer in men who join together globally to establish the third week of October as “Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week” (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month). Please show your support.

“If you learn that you have breast cancer, you may find it helpful to talk with someone who has already been through breast cancer. The American Cancer Society has a Reach To Recovery® Program,” which is “available in most communities, and is one of many programs that may help you. This program can put you in touch with a woman who has been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer. To talk with or receive a visit from a Reach To Recovery volunteer, call your local American Cancer Society office or 1-800-227-2345” (You are not alone: Getting emotional support).”

With early detection, treatment advances, screening, and increased awareness the incidence of death rates have decreased since 1989 (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). Any woman at or over the age of 40, I strongly urge you to make an appointment to have a mammogram. Develop a plan. Get tested early with mammogram screenings. Early detection can help with early prevention. Regular checkups will also aid in early prevention. It can save a life.

Each of us either know someone who suffers from, lost the battle with, or is a survivor of breast cancer. Celebrate loved ones, relatives, and friends who have lost the fight as well as those who have survived. As well as those who are going through treatment. Show your support in honor of those who lost their lives in the fight and are no longer with us. Honor those who survived the fight and are living testimonies who have overcome and are still with us. Please know that you are not alone. We are here for you. You are more than conquerors. You won. You are a breast cancer survivor.

Donate your time. Volunteer. Simply wear pink or a pink ribbon during the month of October. Together we can make a difference.

As for me, I wear pink for someone special to inspire hope and love. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, join in the fight, be a source of support, empower, and inspire.

Be blessed! -JD

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October is National Domestic Violence Month. Join in, show your support, help end Domestic Violence.

October Domestic Violence Month-Forgive me for being so late in posting this. Late is better than never. Thankful October has not yet ended.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’m in! Join me and show your support and help raise awareness to end domestic violence. Take a stand. Be a voice. Send a strong message. Wear PURPLE. Abuse is NEVER OK! It will not be tolerated in our communities. *National Domestic Violence Awareness Month*

Because of my own personal struggle with domestic abuse, I am passionate about this cause and believe it is important we come together collectively as a nation to bring a greater awareness to issues surrounding domestic violence that need to be addressed to help end it and bring hope to those who have fallen prey to it. Be a voice for the voiceless. Silence the voices of those who either oppose or deny the seriousness of domestic abuse and violence. Take a stand. Make all things purple. Use a pen, drink from a purple cup. Or simply wear something purple.

If you suspect someone is being abused or you are the victim of abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) and don’t be afraid to speak up even if it may be uneasy for you. Seek help. It’s available. Someone is there to help. Someone will help get you or someone you know to safety.

Let’s join forces in honor and support of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and let the world know Domestic Violence will not be tolerated in our community, our schools, our homes, or workplaces.  We are in this fight together. Be encouraged! Thanks for your support!

Be blessed! – JD

#domesticviolenceawarenessmonth #showyoursupport

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I Am #MeToo. Are You?

I Am Me Too- JoaynnLet’s talk about this #MeToo hashtag viral sensation. First and foremost I would be remiss not to acknowledge the true person behind the ‘me too’ movement, Tarana Burke who planted the seeds for the movement in 1996 when working as a youth camp director. She is the Founder and Director of Just Be Inc. (http://justbeinc.wixsite.com/justbeinc/the-me-too-movement-cmml). As noted on the Just Be Inc. site, her organization “is a youth organization focused on the health, well being and wholeness of young women of color.” As then program director for Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity, the goal of Burke’s program was to empower young women of color.

After bonding with and hearing the story of a young girl who asked to speak with Burke privately after an all-girl bonding session event hosted by Just Be Inc. that left her horrified, Burke wrote on http://justbeinc.wixsite.com/justbeinc/the-me-too-movement-cmml, “I will never forget the look because I think about her all of the time. The shock of being rejected, the pain of opening a wound only to have it abruptly forced closed again – it was all on her face. And as much as I love children, as much as I cared about that child, I could not find the courage that she had found. I could not muster the energy to tell her that I understood, that I connected, that I could feel her pain.”

“I couldn’t help her release her shame, or impress upon her that nothing that happened to her was her fault. I could not find the strength to say out loud the words that were ringing in my head over and over again as she tried to tell me what she had endured… I watched her walk away from me as she tried to recapture her secrets and tuck them back into their hiding place. I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper…me too.” Ms. Burke said she never forgot the look on the girl’s face after hearing her story. A heartbreaking, sad unforgettable moment…This for me was more than enough reason to start a movement. To read the full story go to the Just Be Inc. link mentioned above.

Essentially, this is what started the ‘me too’ movement – “to help young women of color who had survived sexual abuse, assault and exploitation.” It has now become an online hashtag viral sensation and every women who has been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted have joined in making a statement to let the world know, #MeToo – I am not ashamed, I am not alone, I am a victor, I am a survivor. Ms. Burke I applaud your drive and tenacity to make a difference in the lives of young women of color. Kudos!

When I first stumbled upon the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter a few days ago, I was curious why I was seeing just these two words from so many people (men and women alike) without an origin or explanation behind its meaning. It was not until I clicked on the hashtag on Twitter and discovered Alyssa Milano’s tweet, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet – ‘Me too. Suggested by a friend: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.’”

As of October 19, 2017 ABC News reported Alyssa Milano’s ‘Me Too’ tweet has now garnered “1.4 million and counting tweets included the hashtag, along with more than 13 million posts, comments and reactions on Facebook” (http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/alyssa-milano-metoo-campaign-vocal-stops/story?id=50582023).

Being the person I am, before becoming a part of this sensation, I did some research and realized after taking a deep look inside myself and thinking of the countless times I too was a victim, I found #MeToo is who I am too.  It hit too close to home. It was personal. And now I desire change that goes far beyond what we see with the hashtag itself. My desire, ‘Me Too’ becomes more than a viral sensation but an entry point to healing at a deeper level than what we’ve seen in society with other movements that gain maximum exposure after going viral but we never see or hear anything about once the hoopla goes away.

Let’s have a discussion, critical dialogue and a real conversation about its effects, what we can do to end it, continue to increase awareness, and what programs we can develop on a larger scale to include collaborative efforts with Ms. Burke’s organization and others like hers to empower not only women of color but those who have been affected by sexual harassment or sexual assault and are afraid to come forth out of fear of retaliation.

Let’s build a community of safety in the creation of safe houses for survivors and non-survivors to go to for ongoing support. Let’s establish a platform with someone like Iyanla Vanzant and Ava DuVernay to reach the masses on a continuous basis and not drop the ball after getting the attention and exposure we desire only to “make a statement.” Let’s design programs to empower, inspire, and influence survivors and those that haven’t to encourage and motivate them to reach their fullest potential.

Let’s reach out to and join forces with Tarana Burke and her Just Be Inc. organization as well as similar organizations to create change. Let’s join forces with Alyssa Milano, and others, who wants to fix the problem and asks others to reach out to her for suggestions to help grow the #MeToo movement. Let’s flood their inboxes and social media outlets to make a difference. Let’s be a strong voice and not stop until we are heard. Let’s get involved and show the world how we will be the change we want to see. Let’s do this!

As for me, I am #MeToo – I am not ashamed, I am not alone, I am a victor, I am a survivor!

Be blessed!

Signed,

#MeToo

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I’m On My Way Up. My New Website is Up and Running! Here’s To New Beginnings. Thank God for My Village!

Me 9-2017It takes a village to raise a child. I also say, “It takes a village to help you reach your destiny.” With the help of an amazing web graphic designer Adrian Bostic of @Bosgraphdesign who also designed my cover for my book, my website www.JoyThomasDarden.org is finally up and running along with my Facebook page www.facebook.com/JoyTDarden!

Adrian did an excellent job on both designs and I am forever grateful. Praise God!

Boy, I tell you, when you know God has placed something inside you and you follow his order, taking one step at time, persevering and never giving up no matter what obstacles you may face, you will see the manifestation of his power and his glory.

Once the web designer finished building my website on the back end, I had to take full rein. After going in make additions on the back end, of which I clearly am not qualified to do or have ever done since my other blog is totally front end work, I was totally overwhelmed, exhausted, and extremely frustrated.

When I managed to complete the daunting tasks necessary to present the site as it is now, all I could do over and over was quietly send up a few “breath” thank you to Adrian for a job well done! But God! It took me every bit of three days to finish. I researched and researched and found every answer I needed to make it a success. 

My website and Facebook page are still in the beginning stages and there is still much more to go. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will be my website. But I will take my time and move as God lead me.

When I began this season, I remember I asked God to stretch me. Be careful what you ask God for because you just might get it. Well, he did, and it wasn’t pretty. I thank God for the village of family, friend, and my dear sister friend Johanna for encouraging me and inspiring me to not give up when it seemed too hard.

Thank you Johanna for a profound statement you made the other day that stuck with me and helped me realize how God was stretching me, pulling me towards my destiny one way and I kept pulling myself the other way because I wanted to stay where I am, comfortable and complacent.

I’m getting out my own way and will allow him to elevate me. Sisterhood and family are two of the most precious gifts a woman can ever want, have, or ask for. I thank God for my village! And while I am not sure where he is taking me with this ministry, what I am assured of, he will equip me with all that I need to fulfill his purpose that I may glorify him.

Be blessed! – JD

Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (ESV)

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So You Say You Know About God, but Do You Really Know Him?

Especially For You JoaynnTo say you know God, know his Word, know what he desires from you to please him, and not do what he desires is to not know him but only know about him when you choose not to walk in obedience and enter into a relationship with him.

It’s easy to profess “I know God” “I love God”, “I know the Word of God” “God is good” when things go the way YOU expect. But do you really know him or only know about him because of what you profess? Genuine love reflects God’s love. Your life will reflect the love of God in your heart when you choose to keep his commandments and live by His Word.

For every occasion in life, many of us have an agenda we wish to accomplish. There’s something we want to do and we will make plans to do it. But we must always be reminded God’s agenda is not our agenda. Yes, sometimes things will work out as we plan and some things will not. In reality, it’s not supposed to. If it did when would we need God? I’m inclined to think never.

When faced with situations that are beyond our control yet are resolved because of decisions we made without God, don’t think it was because of you it worked out. It was all God. His grace was sufficient, in spite of. Don’t let your circumstances call for desperate measures in desperate times, or cloud your judgment and cause you to make decisions outside of God’s will, without God. Let him do what he knows best.

If you were to sit down and think about why that thing didn’t work out as you hoped, do you suppose it was because God allowed it to show you who is in control? Do you ever think maybe it was to get your attention to something he needs you to know about him to show his power?

Remember this, God is in control; not us. It is grace that works in and through us, not in spite of our weaknesses, but in and through it. God is working things out in our favor. It is a testament of our faith. Wait on God and let him do his work.

Wake every day with great expectancy from God. Allow His will, and not your will, be done. Get out of your own way and make room for God to do what he knows best. Don’t get it twisted. When things go right and you say, “That was God.” Yes it was but it was not by your agenda. It was his!

Be blessed! – JD

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (KJV)

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You Are an Unlikely One, Chosen by God. Stop Trying to Walk in Someone Else’s Anointing and Walk in Your Own!

Not Their Anointing JoaynnGod uses the most unlikely people and circumstances to accomplish His purpose. You can be used by God. Follow your calling. He will get the glory. Trust in Him.

If you were to reflect on your life and think about how God used a broken vessel like you to accomplish his purpose no matter what you were going through, would you believe you are called and anointed by God? Would you believe your calling is your calling, your anointing is your anointing, you are an unlikely one to be used by God?

Get this, your gifting is your gifting. You have been chosen by God, to do a work in a special area that is not meant for anyone else. What God made specifically for someone else will not fit you. Stop running after gifts that are not yours. Walk in your own anointing. No one can lead in the specific area God has called you to lead. No one can do what God has called you to do. Stop trying to fit in with the rest of the world only to be like them.

Remember David? He was chosen by God to fight Goliath with the gifting God gave him. Saul tried to give him his armor, dressed him in his own tunic, put on a coat of armor on him, and a bronze helmet on his head (1 Samuel 17:38-39), but it didn’t fit. Why? Because it was tailored to fit him and not David.

After David fastened his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, he said, “I cannot go in these because I’m not used to them (17:39).” So David took it off. He took the very things he was familiar with to fight the way he knew how; a staff, five smooth stones, and his sling in his hand (17:40). With his sling and one stone he killed Goliath.

God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. David used the things God equipped him with for the battle. David was not Saul. Therefore, he could not use the armor Saul gave him to fight the battle. It was not the right fit. He was not called to be a soldier. He was God’s chosen shepherd. He was anointed as the new king over Israel.

In order to fight like who he was called to be, he had to wear the clothing God gave him to complete what he was called to do. He was also an unlikely one. He was a murderer, betrayer, liar, and an adulterer. Ahh…he was not perfect. He was an unlikely 15-year old shepherd boy, chosen and anointed by God. He was a man after God’s own heart.

God doesn’t want your skills, or need to know how many degrees you have, or is looking for what you have done. He’s looking for an ordinary person to make a difference for His Kingdom. He chooses, not the best ones but broken ones to do his will. Don’t compare yourself to others. He anointed you for a special purpose. Be the person whom God has called you to be. Be used by God, just as David the unlikely one.

Be blessed! – JD

1 Samuel 16:11-13 “So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.” (NIV)

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September Pain Awareness Month has arrived! Be a Voice. Get Involved. Make a Difference!

Fibromyalgia Friends Chronic Pain Warriors-.pngIn case you don’t already know, September is Pain Awareness Month. Join me for the next 30 days and show your support. Wear or do something PURPLE. Be a voice. Get involved. Make a difference.

Through the month of September many across the nation are joining in to help raise awareness for the need of effective pain treatment and pain management for millions of Americans around the world who suffer with pain.

As a behind the scene pain advocate and one who is truly passionate about the cause, I try my best to do what I can when I can to make a difference. Before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a host of other conditions that cause me to suffer daily with chronic pain, I could not imagine what it would be like to be in pain indefinitely. Or knew of anyone who experienced what I find myself experiencing every day for over the past 14 years. Even so, I cannot imagine one individual that does not know someone who suffers with pain.

What I have learned throughout this pain journey, it does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any given time without any warning. You never know when it can happen to you. And sadly, I find it is not until someone experiences pain at a level beyond comprehension that will last past infinity, they may never understand the significance of the need for effective treatment and care. It is my hope one day, new treatment and new research develops that will help other American pain sufferers find some form of normalcy and have a better quality of life as a result of their findings.

There are a number of ways you can get involved. It can be something as simple as calling a friend or love one you know who suffers with pain and letting them know they can count on you for support just by checking on them from time to time. Love and compassion can go a long way. Let them know you love them and are there for them.

Lastly, find an organization that offer information and resources to consider during the month of September. You can visit various pain organization websites like U.S. Pain Foundation, National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA), or Power of Pain to get involved with planned events and activities. And by all means don’t just get involved during the month of September but show your support throughout the year. You don’t know how much your support, no matter how big or small, can change a life.

As for me, I may have Fibromyalgia and suffer in silence with chronic pain every day but you wouldn’t know it when you see me. When you say, “But you don’t look sick” you’re right I don’t. But I am sick. I don’t need to look like it for you to know.

I am a chronic pain warrior. I’m a victor and not a victim. I’m taking back my voice to raise awareness. I have a condition but my condition doesn’t have me. I may have been diagnosed with a disease but this disease does not define me. I may suffer with symptoms of fatigue, chronic pain, insomnia, muscle spasms, loss of concentration, and memory loss to name a few. Make a declaration today,

To My Fellow Fibromyalgia Friends, Chronic Pain Warriors, and Love Ones: Here’s to more pain-free days filled with laughter, joy, and praise! Proudly Wear Purple!

Be blessed! – JD

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Stop Wrestling With God. Your Arms Are Too Short to Box With Him. When He’s Trying to Take You to the Next Level, Stop Resisting. Be Intentional. Let Him!

Every Blessing JoaynnGod will break us to bless us before he makes us great. Don’t resent preparation before elevation. It’s required. Trust God. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

Have you ever noticed what happens when God is about to elevate you and take you places you’ve never been before? How things change in your life unexpectedly when He has you in transition while in a place of waiting and you feel uncomfortable?

You begin to lose friends, valued possessions, haters and the opinion of others are at an all-time high, and relationships become a lost memory as a result of the change. Yet it doesn’t have a thing to do with you, even though your mind will try and convince you that it does. You begin to think you’ve done something wrong and think it’s all your fault when you begin to lose things and people who leave without warning. Trust God. It’s all for a good reason.

Everybody can’t go with you where God is taking you nor can they see what God is about to show you. While there will be some people who can’t stand to see you blessed, some will not be able to handle the blessing God is about to provide you when you pass the test. Some people will have to fall off. Don’t regret the process. Count it all joy.

And if that doesn’t help, remember Moses, Jacob, and Job who all found themselves alone wrestling with God in unfamiliar territory as God led them to the “other side.” He had to take them to a place where the crowd could not follow. He was positioning them for what he was about to do in their lives. He was preparing them for the next level. Revelation before elevation is a not a myth, it is a fact. Pay attention.

Moses tried everything he could and made all kind of excuses to get out of going to Egypt to deliver God’s people from bondage. Jacob was full of fear, anxieties when faced with meeting his brother Esau who vowed to kill him and found himself alone in the desert where he wrestled with God, and won. Job wrestled with God as he sought answers to why all the afflictions had come upon him. But they never lost their faith in God. Nor did they give up. They stood on God’s Word and fulfilled His promises.

Here’s a thought, God has set you apart for his purpose. It will be uncomfortable. You may even be confused when others are not happy for you, especially those you thought were close to you. It’s just a test. This means war! And the devil knows this. The devil knows what God is about to do and will do everything in his power to distract, destroy, and discourage you from reaching your destiny that you may never get to experience the manifestation of God’s glory. Do not be dismayed. Don’t give up. Be encouraged. God’s up to something.

When you begin to notice the very things you become complacent with that will change for reasons you may never understand and can be frustrating when faced with a fear of the unknown, know that God is changing things in your life for a greater purpose. You may not know what to expect without knowing what’s ahead. Have faith it will work out for the greater good.

You may find yourself having trouble with adapting to change, wanting to stay with what’s familiar, and keep things as they are because it’s easier to accept or settle where you are because you’re so used to things working out as they have been. Change your mindset. God desires you grow and with that will come tests, trials, and struggles. God wants to bless you and bless you more abundantly, if you allow him. Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will elevate you. Be ready.

Some of the best of the best men like Abraham, Moses, Jacob, and Job wrestled with God and His will for their lives and they made it through. Many couldn’t and didn’t go with them to their next level of destiny because they weren’t meant to. You are no different. You are on assignment for God. Be bold. Embrace preparation before elevation. Be fearless. Be intentional. Walk into your next level of destiny!

Be blessed! – JD

Isaiah 40:28-29 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (NIV)

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No Matter The Situation, Praise God. He Will Do It, Won’t He!

Crooked Places Straight JoaynnIf you were to look back over your life and reflect on everything you’ve been through that God has brought you through, and count your blessings one by one, your arms wouldn’t be long enough to carry them.

For every tear you’ve cried, every obstacle you’ve faced, God wiped the tears from your eyes and made a way out of no way.

For every person that has hurt you and talked about you behind your back, God took care of it. He made the crooked places straight. He placed the enemy under your feet. He turned it around in your favor and blessed you more abundantly.

For all the fiery trials you’ve met with, God took care of that too. His grace and mercy saved you. So when you find yourself complaining about anything, change your mindset. Give thanks to God. Count your blessings. Look at God! He did that!

When we pray and ask God for what we want, unanswered prayers is God saving us from what he knows we don’t need. Thank God for answered prayers for what we need and not for what we want. Thank him for unanswered prayers of what we wanted because he knew what was best for us.

Because we know what it is to be in need and not want, we know what it is to have plenty, even when it looks like we don’t have enough. We may have more month than money, but God! He will supply all our needs. His grace is sufficient. He already worked that thing out. Praise God. He provided. He will do it won’t he!

Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

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