My Inspiration

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

Friday, August 20, 2010

He Answered

I posed the question earlier this week "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" and today my devotional answered that question explicitly. Directly to me for my purpose. I found myself re-reading it and shaking my head thinking "Wow, He really does know us and our needs." Today was just another confirmation that no matter what I think, feel or imagine in my small mind about myself and all the things I have done, thought or felt in my life there is one who looks beyond my faults, straight to my heart and knows the desires therein to be pleasing to Him, to serve Him and to be all that He desires me to be although I fall short time and time again. What a blessing these words were to me today and will be for many more to come.

I couldn't do justice in trying to tell you what the devotional said so I'm posting it here. No credit comes to me if it touches you as profoundly as it has touched me but to Sarah Young for her obedience in writing this wonderful book of devotionals (Jesus Calling) that continues to inspire and affirm God's love and desire for a deeper, more personal relationship with every single one of us.

Be blessed.

August 20

I Am A God Who Heals. I heal broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships. My very Presence has immense healing powers. You cannot live close to Me without experiencing some degree of healing. However, it is also true that you have not because you ask not. You receive the healing that flows naturally from My Presence, whether you seek it or not. But there is more-much more-available to those who ask.

The first step in receiving healing is to live ever so close to Me. The benefits of this practice are too numerous to list. As you grow more and more intimate with Me, I reveal My will to you more directly. When the time is right, I prompt you to ask for healing of some brokenness in you or in another person. The healing may be instantaneous, or it may be a process. That is up to Me. Your part is to trust Me fully and to thank Me for the restoration that has begun.

I rarely heal all the brokenness in a person's life. Even My servant Paul was told, "My grace is sufficient for you," when he sought healing for the thorn in his flesh. Nonetheless, much healing is available to those whose lives are intimately interwoven with Mine. Ask, and you will receive.

Psalm 103:3; James 4:2 (KJV); 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Matthew 7:7

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?

This song has been sung by many people over the years but in my opinion Al Green's version was the best. These words sum up how I'm feeling today as I navigate through a very difficult situation in the life of someone I care for very deeply.

I can think of younger days when living for my life
Was everything a man could want to do.
I could never see tomorrow, but I was never told about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow, no one said a word about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

I am a fixer of broken things or at least that's what I try to be. I feel like that's what I do best - fix things, people, situations. It stems from being broken myself, being told that it (me & my life) was too broken to be fixed and not being able to fix myself.

My husband says I try to save the world but I don't think I'm that bad. I know I have limitations although I admit I don't always realize that I've stretched myself beyond them sometimes.

As a mom, I have spent so many days, weeks and years fixing my kids - bumps, bruises and scrapes; their stuff - broken bikes, trucks, trains and video games; and the messes - forgotten schoolwork, dented fenders, fights with friends. As they grew up, left home and ventured into the big bad world I've rushed to their side and helped put them and their lives back together again one piece at a time, one step at a time, one prayer at a time and for the most part it has been a successful partnership. But now they are at the age and point in their lives where they don't always want my help and when they do it's only for certain things but not others.

Lately, I keep finding myself in situations where as much as I would like to I can't fix the situation, the person or the things; they are greater than anything I, a mere human being with so many faults of my own, can do anything about. Nothing tears me up inside more than to see my children hurting and suffering because of choices that they have made and continue to make that create messes in their lives of monumental proportions that could have been avoided if only they had listened or allowed us to help. It is because of this my heart is broken. I feel stuck, useless and unable to move on; like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and its beating me down.

It's even more exasperating because I know that God can fix it, but without the permission of the parties involved he can't and he won't.

I know that at some point in our lives as parents we are to let our children go and let God but what mother can truly let go of her child. It is inherent in us to nurture, to love, to support and in my case to fix. But until they decide that they want my help to fix it or God finally figures out a way to help me accept that I can't always fix it, I have to step back and pray. Pray for safety, pray for guidance, pray for deliverance and pray for peace and healing of my heart that is broken as I watch my children teeter and totter on the brink of destruction as they gravitate toward the enticing yet harmful things this world is offering them.

Oh how I long for the days when they were two and three and I could grab them before they fell, steady them and set them back on the straight and narrow path out of harms way and into my outstretched arms waiting to love them and keep them safe.

It makes me ponder the depth of heartbreak our Father in heaven must feel as he sits high and looks low over us, watching as we boldly and brashly step out there making wrong choices and decisions daily breaking his heart and rejecting his offers to fix it.

Let the count down begin

In 3 weeks my kids will be back in school! In 21 days they will be back in school. That is 504 hours or 30,240 minutes and if you really want to get technical in 1,814,400 seconds I will put the last child on the bus for school. Whew! Can ya'll see me doing the happy dance while tears are streaming down my face?! All of my kids will be in school. No more babies at home. Freedom!!! It's been a long time coming but it's just around the corner and I can hardly contain my excitement.

Now before you all burst into applause or start hating me because my home is finally empty during the day let's put this in perspective. There is a downside to all of this but I had to put the upside out there first.

I will have 4 kids in one school. You do the math when it comes to the first few days of paperwork times 4. And can I tell you what a nightmare that will be for back to school night, parent teacher conferences and a whole assortment of school activities? They will be in kindergarten, 1, 2 and 5th grade and each one is a milestone in itself so you can't discount one or the other. The really funny thing is that I have had a kid in this elementary school for 14 years. I've seen the staff come and go with the exception of the administrative assistant who has been there since the school was built and outlasted 4 different principals. I know the routine better than they do and we've become fixtures there. They know us and usually by the end of the school year they know our kids.

So over the next 3 weeks I will be packing backpacks, sorting through clothes, getting them back on their school schedule for getting up and going to bed and revving up the review of school work from last year so that they can hit the ground running and I can walk out the door smiling.

I thrive in a world of organization and order and I don't have to tell you that the summertime is anything but that. So yes, I'm happy that the time is winding down and life will soon get back to "normal" for us but I am saddened because my baby is heading off to school and thus closes another chapter in the book but also optimistic about this new phase our life is about to take because I know He has more good things in store for us as we continue to walk out this journey.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

She Speaks! A Recap

It's hard to believe that almost two weeks ago I was sitting in the lobby of the Embassy Suites hotel feeling like I had made the most horrific mistake of my life. At first it was fun watching everyone come and go but by the opening session I was deep in the throes of a panic attack in my mind of major proportion and my stomach was in knots. As I watched women of all sizes, shapes and colors flow back and forth through the lobby looking confident, secure and so well put together, even in their travel gear, I found myself comparing myself to them and feeling ever so inadequate. They exuded peace, joy, spirituality and confidence that I was not feeling. Had I not been dropped off by my husband and daughter I dare to think I would have hopped in the car and raced back to Richmond and the security of my own little world. After all, who in the world did I think I was or what right did I have to be there attending that conference. I just didn't feel like I belonged.

In the midst of this tangent going on in my head I had to change from my travel clothes to my conference clothes but I didn't have a room so I headed to the lobby restroom, squeezed into a stall and proceeded to change. It was tight, it was frustrating and I was already feeling so emotional that I thought this was going to do me in. As I stepped out of the stall I realized I was not alone. Out of the stall 3 doors down stepped an angel. My first smiling, friendly face and when she spoke to me my heart leaped. We chatted as we put on makeup and soon became fast buddies. Tammy Nischan was my first conference friend. I was thrilled. We parted and headed to our first session with a promise to hook up there and we did. She had to duck out early for a meeting with a publisher but she sure did help me settle my first round of nerves. We bumped into each other several times over the conference, had our picture taken together and promised to stay in touch and we will. I now have a friend in Kentucky and one of these days when that travel bugs hits me I'll hit the road and look her up. In the meantime thanks to modern technology we'll stay connected via our blogs, facebook and such.

After our first session we had a couple of hours to kill until time for the opening general session and so again I sat in the lobby waiting for the arrival of my roommate and a room to be assigned to us. We were late getting to the opening session as they had finally found a room for us at 3:55 and we took our stuff to the room before going. In the dark we found a seat at the front of the room next to the screens and the speakers. Up close and personal you could call it. Lysa Terkeurst gave the most awesome opening speech, the music was just right and the spirit was high in the room. I was overcome with emotion and feeling very lost and alone as the lights came up and I looked out over this sea of amazing women and thought wow, how awesome is this and in the same breath it was replaced with what are you doing here?

So here I am sitting at a table all alone, caught up in the spirit emotionally and Satan whispering to me when up comes Susanne Scheppmann and she speaks! to me! I tried to speak but all I could do was cry. The dam broke, the tears flowed, she hugged me while I gathered my wits about me and then we talked. She assured me that many of the women there probably felt the same way I did and that over the next two days I would be fine. She gave me her cell phone number and told me to call her if I needed further encouragement or just needed to talk, hugged me and sat down one table over. I had to pinch myself because I couldn't believe that she came up and talked to little ole me, held me while I sobbed into her shoulder and encouraged me in my moment of weakness. It was in that moment I knew I had stepped into something so much greater than I had ever imagined. True unconditional Christ like love in the flesh. These Proverbs 31 women were the real deal. I was flying high.

By that time my table started to fill up and I met 5 very nice ladies and we had a lovely dinner while talking about our families and lives and how excited we were to be at the conference. All of us were first timers except one. She was there for her second go round and just as excited as her first time. As the meal wound down and it was time to go our separate ways I got a little nervous about the speakers group. What would the group be like? Who would be in there? How would the three minute talk go? (I felt ill prepared even though it was my story) And last but not least, how I would measure up against them? I knew we were not supposed to be in competition but using the three minute exercise to break the ice to get us prepared for our five minute presentation but the flesh is weak and it was hard in such an emotional state to put it aside.

But ya'll can I tell you that God is so good and merciful. By the time we were done with our talks I knew that He hand picked everyone of those women for our group for reasons only He knows and the blessings from the introduction was upon us all. We came in strangers and left sisters with a deeper understanding of how God uses us in our weakness to get the glory and the honor. I felt like I could have stayed there and talked all night even though I was tired from a very long and emotional day. I couldn't wait for Saturday evening and our five minute speeches. I just knew that if they were half as powerful as Friday's we were in for a treat.

Saturday's sessions flowed like a well oiled engine. I met more spirit filled women, learned so much about speaking do's and don'ts but mostly just basked in the glory of God. I skipped two sessions to work on my speech and felt that I was ready no matter what but the funny thing is I didn't say a third of what I had rehearsed. The spirit rose up in me and that was the end of that. The words that came out of my mouth were his and his alone. I was just the vessel he chose at that moment to say what he wanted to say.
I was amazed at the breathe of experience in the room and how we had all blossomed into beautiful roses overnight. Everyone did a fantastic job and although our styles were different, our presentations and visual aids varied it was all just as he orchestrated it to be. Our dinner was fabulous. In fact, the food for the entire weekend was very good. But what was truly amazing were all the wonderful speakers they had lined up for us. We had Renee Swope, Lysa Terkeurst, Angela Thomas, Beth Moore and Karen Ehman for our general sessions and for the break outs I had the pleasure of hearing from Micca Campbell, Whitney Capp, Mary Beth Whalen and Rachel Olsen.

I had so much love, wisdom and knowledge poured into me those two days I could scarcely take it in. We closed out with a worship service on Sunday morning that began with a message from Beth Moore and ended with Karen Ehman. Our hearts were full. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. My evaluation group sat together one last time, we took pictures and exchanged our information. Zoe Elmore, our evaluator, offered us a guest spot on her blog over the next couple of months and I am thrilled and in awe of her request.

I look forward to continuing what God has started through the connections with these awesome women. I'm already gearing up for next year's conference and continuing this journey into this calling bigger, better and bolder than before. Although this conference was called She Speaks! HE SPOKE! and I was blessed to be on the receiving end of his words!

Family Reunion 2010

Thurman Oliver Person and Thurman Oliver Person, Sr.

My grandmother Mary Person.

From back to front we have Thurman Person, James Person, Annie Person, Mary Person, Bobby Person, Mary Louise Person, Shirley Person, David Fowlkes, Michael Person and Yvonne Fowlkes.

This weekend we had our family reunion in Crewe, Virginia. This is where Thurman Oliver and Mary Person put down their roots and raised their family. It is where I grew up when we moved from New York to Virginia. And this is where the majority of the siblings make their home today.

We had a great time. There was good food, lots of fun and fellowship. We saw daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, cousins one, twice, three times removed that we hadn't seen in a long time. We had a video camera set up for everyone to leave a message or tell a favorite story to be shared at the next reunion. We had the family tree and a short lesson about where we came from. We ate and then had a family meeting complete with a testimonial period where we got to give thanks and praise to God who is the head of our family. We had a time of remembrance for those that have gone on ahead of us but are never forgotten. This was bittersweet as we have had a few links in the chain broken over the last 9 months and the pain is still fresh.

The kids ran around playing, singing, dancing and acting like kids do. And all too soon it was over. Time to put away the food, pack up the decorations and clean up. Addresses were exchanged and hugs and love abounded. Everyone left on a high note and plates of Aunt Marion's homemade cake for a late night dessert. As we got in our cars to go our separate ways a few of us were already planning what we would do next year and thinking about those that couldn't make it this year and praying that they will be there next year.

Despite being tired, my spirit was full. I felt blessed to be a part of this great family that still carries on the legacy of my grandfather. We are a family that prays together and it is through that prayer that we have stayed the course over the years. We love, we fuss, we fight, we have our disagreements as most every family does but in the end when it's all said and done we are there for one another and that's what it's all about. So I am grateful to my grandfather who ruled with an iron fist and a love of God that rivals no other I've experienced in my life. We grew up reverent and fearful and because of that we have been blessed and it is my prayer that the legacy of love for God, family and friends will continue to carry on for the future generations of the Person family. A family that prays together stays together.

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for[a] you serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:17-24 (NKJV)

Monday, August 9, 2010


The definition is of change is: to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone; to transform or convert.

I feel several different ways about change. They contradict each other but they are true nonetheless.

Change is good. It brings about lots of new opportunities; exciting adventures, growth and/or transformation into something greater than what you are.

I embrace change and look for it every where I go. As a type A personality change is paramount in my life because I’m always looking for ways to go from good, to better, to best in my quest for perfectionism.

On the other hand, change is hard, it’s scary and I run from it. Life is just fine the way it is so why do things have to change?

Change leaves me feeling lost, discombobulated and totally out of control. I know control is a perception and not a reality but change shatters that perception and I don’t like that.

My life has been fraught with change for the past 9 years. Some good, some bad, some necessary and some too painful to put into words, but change nonetheless.

I can’t say that I want things to go back the way they were but sometimes I long for things to slow down and stay the same just so I can catch my breath. Right now I feel as if my world is spinning out of control at the speed of sound and if it doesn’t stop soon and let me off I’m going to lose my cookies.

The past six weeks have been surreal. I woke up one day, went to work, got a call to come to the hospital and nothing has been the same since then. For 6 days we kept a bedside vigil for the shell of a man that would never have the opportunity to speak to us and impart his wisdom again. We disconnected life support and 20 minutes later my dad died. Not only did he die but a piece of each of us went with him. The most frustrating part of this is that we don’t know why and might never have an answer. We had a week to prepare for the funeral and there was a lot to be done including living our lives which most of us did on automatic pilot. Four weeks ago we put his body to rest in the family cemetery, had a repast at the church and friends and family went home, back to their lives and we were left to do the same except we can’t because life as we knew it doesn’t exist any longer.

Change had landed on my doorstep once again; uninvited, unwelcome and so very unfairly.

Yet I know that this change is meant to stretch me and take me to the next level. Greater dependence and trust in God. Instead of calling my dad each morning I will have to call on God. When I have something weighing heavy on me I can’t call the farm and get the voice of wisdom on all things in the earthly realm I’ll have to retreat to my quiet place and lay it all at the Master’s feet and allow him to minister to my soul, my ear gates and my eye gates. When I need comfort and solace or a swift kick in the rear to get me off my pity pot I’ll have to turn to God who will provide the necessary remedy and just when I think I can’t take anymore He will lift me up and carry me through until I am strong enough to stand again on my own just as He has done time and time again. I know these things, I trust these things but I still resist the changes that take place in my life that bring me back full circle into the arms of the one who is never changing and thankfully so.

Eleven days ago I experienced another change. A life affirming change that has been three years in the making. I attended the She Speaks! Conference in North Carolina hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries. It was a wonderful event. 600 women for all across the United States and Canada together for 2 full days of fellowship, teaching, training and change. I went from wondering to confirmation, from feeling out of place to feeling like I finally belonged. I felt an overwhelming rush of emotions that can only come from the Holy Spirit ministering to your soul and I felt release, healing and awakening. It was revealing and refreshing. I was renewed and inspired. It was a blessed time. I made new friends and reconnected with old ones and look forward to seeing how they will grow from here. The changes that took place this time around were the kind that challenge you to grow, to become, to do something a little different from what you normally would. It's the kind of change that beckons at you emotionally and spiritually. It's a call to change your life and live it to your God given potential.

It made me think about something I read by John Maxwell in his book "Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work."

Thinking for a Change

1. Changing your thinking, changes your beliefs.

2. Changing your beliefs, changes your expectations.

3. Changing your expectations, changes your attitude

4. Changing your attitude, changes your behaviour.

5. When I change my behavior, I change my performance.

6. When I change my performance, I change my LIFE!

This is the kind of change I like. It's full of hope, it's full of promise but it is also dependent on me. So if nothing changes, nothing changes and the fault therein lies with me.

I don't like change, I like things to stay the same and I'm glad that my Heavenly Father is the unchangeable thing in my life.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)

I like knowing that no matter what I do or don't do that I have his unconditional love as a constant but when/if I do step out and make a change that puts me in tune to what He desires for my life I like knowing that there is a whole other world awaiting me. I can only imagine what blessings, adventures, and experiences that he desires for my life to have when I change my thinking, my beliefs, my expectations, my attitude, my behavior and my performance from my way to His way.

"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2 (NLT)