Jesus Is A Refugee (poem) reposted

See the  mother on the journey, tiny baby in her arms,
Running from the soldiers who’ve come to rape and kill
She’s tired from the running, desperate, hungry, full of fear—
How can she know God loves her, and that He walks beside her there?

He is there beside her in the dark and in the cold.
He knows what she is feeling, in the Bible it is told
That He was once a refugee. His parents ran to save His life
From the soldiers sent to kill him in Herod’s infanticide.

The way that God has chosen to loose the bands of wickedness
To give bread to the hungry and to help free the oppressed
Calls us to walk beside her in our prayers and in our hearts:
As the body of Christ, the servant king, it makes her burden ours.

But words and prayers are not enough, no matter how well spoken
God’s love requires our presence so He can walk beside His children.
Even though we’re broken, we are His feet and hands.
We stand in need of grace to obey His commands.

Though she sits in darkness, He came to be the light.
Though she now is hungry, He is the bread of life.
Though we turn aside sometimes or don’t know what to do,
We are all called in some way to help her make it through.

He chose to entrust us with His reputation
And to make us His body throughout every nation
As a king become baby, He risked everything
Calling us to embody the love that He brings….

I was hungry and you gave me bread
Thirsty and you gave me drink
A stranger and you took me in
In prison and you came to me….”
Lord, when did this happen?
His answer is quite clear
“When you did it for the least of these
It was for me, for I am there….

Teresa Norman March 2001


Sometimes it’s just time for a meltdown

I try to be pragmatic, practical, reasonable and emotionally stable.  But once in a while, that just doesn’t work.  Last week we went for the pre-surgery appointment to make sure we could schedule surgery for August.  Everything looked good.  I was thrilled to finally have this “end” of this stage in site and on the calendar, but that night I lost it.

A whole new range of undefined challenges come with having surgery scheduled.  Radiation will follow surgery – how will I react to 5 days a week for 6 week while working full time?  How tired do you get?  What if the hoped for “100% pathological response” to chemo (the one that means you are a lower risk for re-occurrence), doesn’t happen?  What if the MRI shows that not much really changed after the 6 treatments with Taxotere, Herceptin and Perjeta that I am in the process of enduring?  I want some good news here!

While I try maintaining an attitude of gratitude (I have a truly amazing husband who loves me (the kindest person I’ve ever met), fabulous friends, neighbors who are kind, coworkers who are supportive, three children who are fiercely loyal and loving, and four little grandbabies who know who to drive depression and anxiety far away.  I know God is in control of my outcomes.  But some days, fear creeps in.  Words like aggressive and invasive are scary words.

Thursday was my day for a meltdown.  A good cry (if there is such a thing), a warm blanket, a hug, and some sleep, and Friday I was ready to drag myself through another fun day.

No lump-still cancer

Somewhere, a long time ago (a lump decades ago), I remember hearing that a breast cancer lump doesn’t hurt.  So when something was hurting, I wasn’t that concerned.  I had regular mammograms, it didn’t hurt=it couldn’t be cancer.  I had a mammogram scheduled in a few weeks.  I feel pretty fortunate, that unlike some of the women in the video below, my doctors recognized right away what it was.  Since a lot of people have never heard of inflammatory breast cancer, I’ve included the link to the video below.  Good information.  Hope you and those you love never need it.


Where do refugees come from? (2011)

Refugees to U.S. by Country of Nationality – Fiscal Years 2009 to 2011
2011 2010 2009
Country Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total              56,384 100          73,293 100          74,602 100
Burma              16,972 30.1          16,693 22.8          18,202 24.4
Bhutan              14,999 26.6          12,363 16.9          13,452 18
Iraq                 9,388 16.7          18,016 24.6          18,838 25.3
Somalia                 3,161 5.6            4,884 6.7            4,189 5.6
Cuba                 2,920 5.2            4,818 6.6            4,800 6.4
Eritrea                 2,032 3.6            2,570 3.5            1,571 2.1
Iran                 2,032 3.6            3,543 4.8            5,381 7.2
Congo, Democratic Republic                    977 1.7            3,174 4.3            1,135 1.5
Ethiopia                    560 1                668 0.9                321 0.4
Afghanistan                    428 0.8                515 0.7                349 0.5
All other countries, including unknown                 2,915 5.2            6,049 8.3            6,364 8.5
Source: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (Wraps)

Report (May 2012), from Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics is linked here: Refugees and Asylees:2011.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Last night we spoke with a friend who is going into a difficult situation and asked for prayer.  He is the in-between person to help try to resolve conflict, ascertain priorities, and work for peace between conflicted factions of his people, who are trying to end the ongoing oppression of the government ruling their country.  This morning on the bus, the Scripture reading of the day was Matthew 19:26 ” Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking it is impossible.  But with God everything is possible.”  

Last night as we spoke, he spoke of Nehemiah and how they had their weapons in one hand, and their tools in the other-building safety for their people (a wall of protection), but watching in case the enemy came, or their were divisive, devious, sneaky attacks to keep them from building peace and safety.  Well chosen Scripture, as he goes to seek peacemaking.  He is a soldier.  I have seen him pastor those around him, although he doesn’t call it that.  He’s a good listener.  

God bless you, my friend.  May God, the source of all wisdom, give the wisdom you’re asking for.


Sound Bite Psychology

This week, to my great surprise, I developed sympathy for the presidential candidates and the problem of having your life, your purpose, and your value reduced to a sentence or two. My value, how I view the world and my place in it, or what I am capable of contributing cannot be summed up in a sound bite. It’s frustrating and a bit infuriating when they try!

My sound bite moment came during a job interview. When I was asked why “at this age” I had taken an “entry level” position (implied: what’s wrong with you-are you stupid or crazy?), I was caught unprepared. I felt I was being reminded of “my place.” (I am not a college graduate. I am not young:) But, I love my job. I took my current job when financial reality dictated I couldn’t keep putting huge quantities of energy into my passion of being part of a team that got resources to teams serving internally displaced people in Burma who were had limited options for getting medical/dental care without their help. I am a sucker for a mission! I was blessed to find a job where I have been able to help people here in our area access dental treatment, even if they don’t the have huge quantities of money that frequently requires. I can live with that. There is still mission involved. It is still serving people. It is my compromise.

I have never fit well in the box. A test we took once at the dental office I worked at on Whidbey Island said that I was a “circle”: a person who likes to build team work, values people, nurtures other, like to get along, sees the bigger picture. My “career path” has included ample time on the “Mommy track” – a privilege I would not trade for anything. It is what was important and of eternal value. I am grateful.

Too bad job interviews don’t let you do your answers by essay instead of by interviews, judged by the sound bites. I would have had much more to say. I may not be much by the world’s standards, but I am a mother of three amazing adult children who still love me, for 34 years the wife of a kind, gentle, loving man, a child of God-saved by His grace and bought back from destruction. I am called to follow Him out of the safety of the box into the land where the wild things dwell. My life has purpose, even if the suit and tie crowd will never comprehend it. They don’t get to take away who grace has made me.

Afterflash (a poem)

No longer helpless, unloved or alone—
A woman with choices.
Redeemed to the bone.
I’ve come through the fire-
Felt the heat of the flame.
But I am God’s daughter,
Called by His holy name.

Empowered by His Spirit
By grace I can stand,
My face towards the future
Fulfilling His plan.
A channel of mercy,
A bearer of light
Redeemed by His goodness-
I will not fear the night.

The God of creation
Walks each day by my side.
I will trust in His mercy-
There is nothing to hide.
Though chaos surround me
And angry winds roar
I am safe, I am strengthened
For He is my Lord.

The Lamb is a Lion,
The servant, a King.
He is my shelter.
Of His grace I will sing.
He will lead me and guide me-
I have nothing to fear.
Jesus is victor.
He loves me…He’s here!