My disordered, divergent mind
Has been calmed, restored and refined
But to live in my body is new
I have not really liked this view
The temple God filled with his grace
Was abused and degraded, defaced
The next thing on the list of to do’s
Is to learn to love it like You do
To give it the sleep that it needs
To give food that is fuel to live free
Father, forgive what I’ve done
Help me honor you, live in your love
Lord, we are scattered, tribal and confused
We shout aloud and louder trying to be heard
It’s as if we are speaking a different language
And no one is listening -we wound each other…
It bears no good fruit. We wonder what went wrong –
Why can’t the “other guy” just know we are right….
But your Word gives us hope –
At Pentecost, you sent your spirit
Those gathered heard a loud noise, like a wind from heaven.
Tongues of fire rested on their heads
You touched them and then
They spoke language your spirit gave-
Language understood by those gathered from every nation…
The people marveled that they could understand
Our words, our actions, our Christian cultural thing –
It’s so foreign to so many…are they “lost” or are we?
People of every nation listened to the words of God
In language they could understand because the Spirit came…
God, breathe on us,
Wind from heaven
Fill our mouths with words
that will be understood by those who listen…
Pour out your spirit on every nation
Help your sons and daughters speak your word…
Breathe on us, wind from heaven.
Give us strength to walk the good road with you
Release us from our broken, twisted ways.
Give us humility to learn from and hear one another.
To see the beauty in the variety of humans you have made.
Together we meet at the foot of your cross
Together we take the bread and wine and remember who you are
Why you came…we remember you.
Teresa Norman 6/7/2022
She sits hidden in the darkness
Of her well-appointed home
The Lies she has believed
Make her heart feel like a tomb
She says she’s not a “victim”
That her mind is “doing fine”
But hates all those around her –
Says they’re hateful and unkind.
God, can’t you feel the anguish
As her children hear her rage,
As they try to bear the burden
Of making their mom “OK”?
Oh God, where is your comfort?
Why do you seem so far away?
Are you on vacation?
Is there nothing You can say?
You are the loving Savior,
Redeemer, Sustainer, Friend
Who died to free the captives;
Be the light that brings life again
Please free this lonely captive
From the Liar’s choking vines
She is drowning in the darkness –
Let her breathe in Your Light again.
(Haven’t been writing for a while….I know the world right now is so FULL of incomprehensible trauma, and war and war crimes and racism and power-grabbing, life crushing, country destroying evil and sadness, but last week the sadness and pain of one young woman I carry about was where my heart was most focused.) Nobody deserves the crap going on in Ukraine.
Who is He who calms the wind and sea?
Yet gently calms raging storms in me?
Who is He who opens eyes once blind?
Yet made birds and animals of every kind?
Who is He who walks on the water?
Yet calls us friends, sons and daughters?
Who is He who wept for His friend?
Then with a word, gave Him life again.
Though He existed before time began
He saw me, loved me as my life began
Who is this one who redeemed my life?
My Savior, my Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
There is brokenness-frail humanness
In relationships entangled
By biting, angry bitter words
Screamed from a heart that’s wounded
But Your presence, Lord, brings clarity,
Dispels the fog of dark delusions
The oil of joy gently given
Poured out onto the hurting
Soothes the soul in mourning
And the heaviness is lifted
You give beauty for ashes,
But first we go through fire
As by Your hand our lives
Are delivered from the Liar.
Spirit of the living God,
So gratefully I praise you.
You do for us what only You can do-
You call us from the ashes
And make us new.
December 27, 2020
Sitting around , heart on the ground
Feeling like kind of a slug
Wondering if life would have been better
If I had been born as a bug…
No choices to make-just chances to take
And runnning the risk of being a lunch
For something to munch
And not really having much say.
It’s not that much different-this being a human
It’s all just a matter of size.
So this human slug with the hope of a bug
Sure doesn’t feel very wise…..
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).