I stood alone behind
My self-made wall of fear and pride.
It kep the world locked out
(Me with my fears, locked up inside).
There were no doors or windows
In this fortress I had made
(I couldn’t take a chance
Someone would see my guilt and shame).
One day, you knocked upon my wall
And old me of a light–
The light of God’s acceptance
That could put my fears to flight.
You said if I surrendered,
Laying down my will, my pride,
That He would be my fortress–
(There’d be no more need to hide).
Carefully, with trembling hands,
I lifted off one brick.
Then I removed another
(Thought I wasn’t moving quick!).
A ray of light came shining
Through the window I had made–
As time went on, I found
I was a little less afraid.
I took more bricks down one by one
Until I built a door.
Then I ventured out
(A risk I couldn’t take before!).
Not only did I tip-toe out–
I let some people in.
They weren’t a threat–
They were a joy!
I found some special friends.
I built an altar from those bricks,
Offered up my fear and pride,
Then found to my amazement–
There was more room for peace inside!
Tearing down my fortress
Was the beginning of hope for me.
Now life is becoming better
Than I ever dreamed it could be
A Morning Psalm
Last night I dreamed about Psalm 61 as I prayed for a very special little person I know who is having a struggle with school in a Zoom-filled virtual school day.
This morning I am reading the first few verses from “the Passion Translation”:
O God, hear my prayer. Listen to my heart’s cry.
2 For no matter where I am, even when I’m far from home,
I will cry out to you for a father’s help.
When I’m feeble and overwhelmed by life,
guide me into your glory, where I am safe and sheltered.
3 Lord, you are a paradise of protection to me.
You lift me high above the fray.
None of my foes can touch me
when I’m held firmly in your wrap-around presence!
4 Keep me in this glory.
Let me live continually under your splendor-shadow,
hiding my life in you forever.
Psalm 61 for a seven-year-old:
God, I am overwhelmed!
I need your help!
This is hard.
Everyone else gets done quicker.
I don’t want them to laugh
I need your help.
This is hard.
I need your help.
Let me know I am loved.
I need your help.
This is hard.
Lead me to the safe place
Let me know I am OK.
Letting go of what’s behind,
Embracing what’s ahead,
Going through the changes
As I feel I have been led.
To learn and trust and grow.
Believing when I ask His will
He’ll give me grace to know.
Grasping for serenity
And fragile peace of mind
Praying for the power
To do what I may find.
I make now this commitment
(which I know won’t be the last
for it is but a stepping stone
along this winding path)
So now that I have given it
My all, my very best,
I have to LET IT GO
And trust in Him to do the rest.
August 28, 1988
In the Mending the Soul group I was in, the chapter we were on was on deadness – how abuse deadens your soul and how God wants to help you get out of that …. I was like – if I knew how to do this different, I would have done it by now!
Then, one night I dreamed of a coffin laying in the yard with a lid off as we tried to move on. Wondering who died. Had to make a decision what to do with this. Wanted to leave it but knew I couldn’t finish moving until I dealt with the body in the box.
Lazarus, what was it like for you?
You’d been with the Master, knew what He could do….
Did you feel abandoned when He let you die
Instead of coming to save your life?
(Did you cry?)
Your sisters wept in anguish
They hated to see you go-
You were all friends with Jesus-
(Or at least you thought so….)
(Why was He so slow?
Your friends bound you with grave clothes
And wept at your tomb
Comforted your sisters
While you lay in darkness, alone
He came when you’d been dead four days-
(Martha said that you would smell)
He didn’t hold back –this was nothing new….
(He knows broken people so well).
He came and he wept
Told your friends, “Roll back the stone”
He called you out into His light.
Said, “Unbind him and let him go.”
How did you feel when you saw His face?
Did it matter how long it had been?
Or were you just grateful to out of the tomb
To be able to live again?
I was born imperfect
(Not just the obvious imperfections of sin nature, self-will and human depravity)
But in an actual tangible, provable kind of imperfect way—
The kind of imperfection that you had to pay to have fixed.
This was unacceptable…. only a perfect child would prove their place in the world….
They both badly needed something to be proud of.
Instead, they got me.
(Battles over whose genes did it—
Who could take the blame,
Or why this happened were pointless….)
Back to the hospital I went…
Something as simple as being born
Could get complicated in their world—
(One brimming with anxiety and depression
Guilt, shame and fear).
But God’s saw things differently (as always):
He formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate insides and my intricate outside,
and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.
He even formed every bone in my body when he created me in the secret place
carefully, skillfully shaping me] from nothing into something.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
His understanding of me brings me wonder and strength
I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
Everything you did is marvelously breathtaking…
It simply amazes me to think about!
You saw who you created me to be before I became me!]
“From my mother’s womb, you have chosen me,
Love has called my name. I’ve been born again into your family
Your blood flows through my veins”.
I am perfectly imperfect. I am loved. I am blessed. I am His.
(excerpts paraphrased from Psalms 139-The Passion Translation
and No Longer A Slave by Zach Williams)
Teresa Norman – Summer 2020
I cried November 4, 2016.
Some of my friends laughed at me –
They said, “It’s just an election,”
“He’s only the president.”
“God is still really in control.”
But I have seen bullies win before —
Ones not any different than this one –
(Just less powerful)
Bullies who say “I thought you liked it.”
Or maybe, “You asked for it.”
Or, “If you tell, no one will ever believe you.”
Today’s bully wants to “make America great”
But this bully doesn’t understand greatness.
Greatness is not small minded and mean.
Greatness is kind to all (not just to those he deems worthy).
It refuses to be petty and mean when success comes to someone else.
Greatness does not continually lie about its achievements,
Does not over inflate its own importance.
Greatness does not traffic in shame and disrespect,
It does not demand its own honor at all costs,
As a result dishonoring those who serve with honor.
Greatness finds no delight in continually doing wrong.
It is not afraid of truth.
Someone truly great knows how to serve others, not just himself.
62 days til the election…..
God have mercy on us!
Dreamed tonight of my cup of sorrow–
Sitting in a garden on a stone table, moonlight reflecting off its surface.
Jesus said it was time to deal with the cup –
I tried to argue saying, “No, right now this cup is too full.
I can’t drink from this without it spilling all over…”
But the Man of Sorrows had seen each sorrow when it came into my life.
He walked with me into the garden as together, we approached the cup….
When I was an innocent child and the monsters came-it was not my fault
He too was hated and rejected by people (Is 53:3)
When they told me never to speak of it again-and I locked myself in silence, gave up my voice
He too was beaten down and punished but he didn’t say a word. (IS 53:7)
When I was raped at school and went home feeling violated and alone
He was wounded for this wrong (Is 53:5)
When others dumped their shame on me, saying “If something bad happened, you deserved it.”
People would not even look at him either (Is 53:3)
When they said I was worthless and everyone I loved would abandon me
He was hated and we didn’t even notice him either (Is 53:3)
When I found the nest of snakes and memories came back of being covered with them
He was wounded and crushed for this evil (Is 53:5)
When I could not carry Dad’s depression for him and wanted to die from the weight of it
He took our suffering on him and felt our pain for us (Is 53:4)
When those I loved suffered and I could not protect them from
We are being healed because of his wounds. (Is 53:5)
Songs that help:
Under My Feet-Zach Williams
The Hidden Face of God-Michael Card …
The Suffering Symbol-Michael Card
Arise My Love-Michael Card
How do you forgive a ghost, a monster, a memory?
They have no name – just the devastation they left in their path–
Like an oozy-sticky-gooey sucking trail of toxic waste
It still runs down the mountain like volcanic lava
Burning generations left in its wake…
How do you stop it?
One of my childhood monsters reappeared in a dream
when my children were young.
He said, “You can’t protect them from me.”
I was afraid, but I thought surely this was from the Liar –
The monster I knew was gone –
Fled the country.
Surely those I loved were out of his reach.
But monsters can reach through time,
Slipping under the radar like stealth bombers
Sneaking in to drop their payload
in the depth of a starless night.
I cannot control other people’s actions.
I can only seek recovery and lay down the fear.
How do I forgive a monster?
(Or am I the monster I need to forgive?)
Each generation seeks an answer.
For those who follow us
We’ve got to make this end.
April 27, 2020
The road looks so uncertain
Although you’re really hurtin’ –
You wonder ’bout the choice that you have made
To commit to real life changing
And permanent rearanging
Is enough to make us all a bit afraid.
But on the path you’re moving
There’s sure to be improving
And with each step comes strength to carry on.
For one day at a time
By God’s grace we shall find
That in our weakness we can be made strong.
So don’t look back, my brother.
Take one step then another
And the strength you need will surely be revealed.
As you choose to walk this pathway,
Please know you chose the right way
And in your life His grace will be revealed.
(written for a friend, August 12, 1988, as he was on his way to treatment….
he died this week clean and sober, restored to his kids, grandkids and great grandkids, and loved by a lot of folks in his community who had been encouraged by his gentleness and kindness and helped out by his practical assistance in so many ways….gonna miss you, Tim).
Trembling inside, I walked through that door
Unsure just what I was looking for
But hoping that somehow there’d be a way
To find the strength for another day.
I hid in a chair in the back of the place
Averting my eyes from each friendly face.
Afraid of being rejected again
And not expecting to find a friend.
Experience shared gave me strength to hope
As I heard how the others have coped
With the things that threatened to do them in-
How they’re learning to trust and starting to mend.
But as the meeting neared its close
I heard these words and my heart froze–
“Anyone else? How ’bout the blond?”
(Oh LORD, how I wished that I was gone!)
I couldn’t run – made a quick reply,
Curled up inside and wanted to cry.
As soon as I could I headed for home
Too scared to reach out, staying safe but alone.
As I went down the highway I started to see
The wonderful gift that had been given to me.
Acceptance had been there when I walked in the door
‘Cause each of those present walked in these shoes before.
The fear and the pain to them were nothing new.
They didn’t crowd my space ’cause they’d been through it too.
Now by that acceptance I’m drawn back again
To experience the strength and the hope of these friends.
She’s looking back
to the nowhere track
That self-made hell
where drunks and addicts dwell.
Torment inside —
Emotional downhill slide.
Didn’t think to make a call.
Set herself up to fall.
What a fearful place
Alone again to face
That choosing the easier way
Means with her life she’d pay.
Thank God, she can’t forget–
(The memories haunt her yet)
As to her knees she falls
And for deliverance calls:
God of my sanity,
Quick! Calm the storm in me!
The waves are oh so high.
I cannot see the sky.
The boat is shakin, Lord.
I cannot find the oars.
Help me choose life again,
Let go and let you in.
I surrender, Lord,
‘Cause I can’t afford
To do it any other way.
Little girl, quiet and shy,
Afraid of the secrets
That are buried inside.
She’s got lots of questions
But no one to ask
How she can be free at last.
But in the arms of Jesus
She is finally free
To tell her story
And be believed.
He gives her His comfort,
She can rest in His care.
God’s loved little lamb
Is protected there.
In the still of the nighttime
She cries in her room
As the memories close in-
Make her heart like a tomb.
Here brutal oppressors
Once had their way,
But Christ the Good Shepherd
Is her comfort today.
Singer and Shepherd,
Savior and Lord-
What some came to steal
He has come to restore.
With tender compassion
A broken heart mends.
Where once lived despair,
There is laughter again.
Tiny, looks so fragile
Wings like paper-thin but strong
Hovering gently near the flower
Gathering nectar-storing energy
Knowing intuitively what she needs.
Challenges waiting-storms to come
Difficult journey to be done
Takes massive energy-leaves nothing to waste
Gathering strength-she hibernates.
For a time, the hummer is still
In darkness waiting til the sky is filled
With the light of a brand new day
To begin the journey for which she was made.
Sept 26, 2013
My boat seems very little, Lord,
And the waves are very high.
The clouds are moving crazy fast
In an ominous looking sky.
Can’t find a sheltering harbor
In this sea of constant change.
Holding course by years spent knowing
My anchor is in Your name.
So many life transitions
Swirling in this sea of doubt…
Do You have some new directions?
How are things supposed to work out?
Will valuable things be strengthened
Or is meaningful service done?
You know our hearts
You know Your plans….
Lord, let Your kingdom come.
The room is empty
My heart is full
Sing redemption’s song
Child of God
Not trash, thrown away
I rejoice in His love
It is a new day
My heart like a tomb
Was locked and closed
But the stone’s rolled away
From that empty room