Genesis (Poem)

Here in the quiet
as I kneel beside my bed
Waiting for directions,
He calms the noises in my head
And with a heart of gratitude,
I give Him thanks again
Because He gave me a new beginning
when I thought I’d reached the end.

Genesis, a beginning
When I thought I’d lost it all-
Strength for the journey
(Even though sometimes I fall)
Feet on the pathway-
I don’t have to walk alone
Because the God who loves and care for me
Has given my heart a home…

The end was the beginning
Of a brand new way of living-
He gave me back the will to live again.
Now a Higher Power I cannot see
Reminds me that He cares for me
When I spend some time with the people of Genesis.
I see His love in the people of Genesis.

Teresa Norman 1992

Tamar’s Prayer (Poem)

(Taken from thoughts in II Samuel 13–after Tamar was raped by her brother)

Father, my heart is broken and torn
Sackcloth and ashes are the clothing I’ve worn.
My guilt and my shame are too heavy to bear–
They burden my steps with the weight of despair.

I tried to be good-I tried to obey!
Now used and rejected, I’m sent on my way.
How can I bear it? God, what can I do…..?
(Except to pour out all my grief before you!)

Hear my cry, oh God, give ear unto my prayer!
Incline Your ear to hear, please hear!
Oh God, if You’ve even there…..do You care?

The future is changed now because of the past.
The hope that I had for my life has been dashed.
I cannot look up or accept what I see
Unless You come quickly and give strength to me!

Hear my cry, oh God, give ear unto my prayer!
Incline Your ear to hear, please hear!
Oh God, if You’ve even there…..do You care?

Teresa Norman 1992

Seasons of Change (Poem)

The scene is sparkling white, but icy cold.
The glacial grip of seemingly endless winter
Entraps the river of life that once flowed
Through the depths of my soul.

In other seasons,
It surged freely —
A life-giving torrent.
Now layer after layer of ice
Covers the frozen wasteland —
Its emptiness and desolation
Reminders of what’s in my heart.

The glowing sun tries vainly
To shed its life-giving rays
On the icy scene.
The shadow it casts gives an eerie feel
To the bleak expanse.
Then it sinks beneath the horizon,
Waiting for another chance.

Maybe next time the meager warmth
Will make the first crack in the ice
And signal the beginning of spring.
Maybe tomorrow the thaw will come.
Lord, why not today?

Sun of Righteousness,
Risen with healing in Your wings,
Shine on me…come quickly, Lord!
I stand in need of You!
Cause my icy heart to burst forth
In the song of new beginnings.
Repair my shattered hope!
Let Your Living Water
Flood my thirsty soul.
Turn the desolate scene
Into a picture of growth,
And bountiful fruitfulness.
Melt this silent, frozen, barren place in me.

Teresa Norman 1999

Staying with the Story (Poem)

Too easy to leave the scene on Good Friday
Convinced Hope has died and the story is over …
Even the disciples,
These ones who were chosen
Who had seen water turned to wine,
Loaves and fishes multiplied
Dead people raised
Blind people seeing and lepers cleansed
Even they still left confused and afraid…
Thinking they were abandoned.

I am so like them….
When dreams die or hope is buried
When I am dead
In my woundedness
Or pride
Or failures
Or unforgiveness
I so easily lose my way-sink back to the pit I came from…

But the finder of lost sheep (and lost disciples)
Does not abandon us on the shores of our desolation
Because He knows our hearts better than we ever will
He will meet us on the shore with fresh fish on the fire
To feed our hungry souls. He knows we are human.

Hope rose again.

Teresa Norman 2020

Tapestry (poem)

Our lives are as a tapestry
He weaves the threads so knowingly.
We don’t always understand
‘Cause we don’t see the Master’s plan.
We walk together yet alone-
The load each carries is his own
(Although sometimes we share the joy and pain).

Others have walked before us
On this road we’re traveling on.
By learning from their stories
We can see what makes you strong!
They left us Steps to follow
To a better way to live.
They shared what they were given-
Now we’ve got something to give!

When they look into our eyes
And see His love (they’re not despised)-
Their human pain and brokenness we share.
Our lives a portrait that He weaves,
His grace together we receive.
Together is much better than alone!

Even when the road looks long
And the mountains hard to climb,
If we’re walking with our brother
There’s a strength that we can find!
It’s the strength that comes from giving away
The grace we’re given today
And sharing our lives
Ina fellowship of friends.

(written for a funeral-can’t remember the year)

Teresa Norman

A Practical Savior (poem)

A Practical Savior
As Jesus hung on the cross
Son of God and son of a woman
Bearing the weight of our sins
He looked at his mom. He saw her.
She, who knew before anyone
That he was not an ordinary child;
Knew he would not be an ordinary man.
She who nurtured him, taught him,
Sang over him, prayed for him
And followed him, could not be left alone.
He told her John would be a son to her
He told John she would be a mother to him…
John took her into his home.
It mattered enough that even as He died for the world,
He took care of the practical needs of a Jewish mamma
Not to be left alone.

Teresa Norman 2020
(thoughts on John 19:25-27 from The Passion Translation)

Higher than the Heavens (Poem)

Higher than the heavens, wider than the seas
Grander than the oceans is the Love who cares for me
Tender as a shepherd’s touch, gentle as the rain
Softer than a summer breeze is the Love that bears my shame.

When destruction threatens all I value and hold dear
And my heart is crushed beneath the burden of my fears-
Save me, Lord, oh rescue me! Please show me what to do.
Erase my sin and help me, Lord! My only hope is you….

Higher than the heavens, wider than the seas
Grander than the oceans is the Love who cares for me
Tender as a shepherd’s touch, gentle as the rain
Softer than a summer breeze is the Love that bears my shame.

When I am too weak to stand before the coming storm
Hide me in Your presence-keep me safe from death and harm.
My foes rejoice in victory they think that they have won
(Until they see Your presence give me strength to overcome).

Higher than the heavens, wider than the seas
Grander than the oceans is the Love who cares for me
Tender as a shepherd’s touch, gentle as the rain
Softer than a summer breeze is the Love that bears my shame.

Teresa Norman 1998

The Empath’s Choice (Poem)

Raging river, gentle stream

Wild tsunami or hurricane

Volcanic eruption spewing ash about

Or flowers blooming when the sun comes out

Gentle breezes, gale force winds

Breaking branches, chaos again

Holy fire, life giving flame

Gift of passion bringing life and change

 

In the confusion, the noise and the change

The only constant is to cling to His name

The loving creator of earth wind and flame

Calls us to follow through all the of the change

He is the harbor, the anchor, the rest….

The one who can harness the power of His gifts

And keep them from crushing the vessel He made

To give honor and glory and praise to His name.

 

(I dreamed of a woman standing in the center of the dark wooded night with fire in her hands…having to make a choice.  Would she place the fire in the fire pit to bring warmth and light to the darkness and those gathered there, or would she loose the fire in uncontrolled ways that would “burn down paradise?  May God help us choose the wise use of our gifts!)

 

Feb 20, 2019

A Tribute to My Dad (poem)

The times we live in, and some opportunities I’ve availed myself of lately, have given me a chance to reflect on the legacy my ancestors have left me…my dad passed away at the age of 90 on April 5, 2016.

What I Learned from My Dad (one way or the other)

You taught me to solve problems and value my independence.

You taught me self-esteem is earned by living a life I can be proud of.

You took me to church where I learned God is good, some people suck, and even when they do, God is still good.

You let me make music that gave my heart wings.

You made me responsible to know my options in any situation and always have a Plan B.

You taught me to be grateful and that whining will never solve anything.

You taught me that, in the end, kindness matters (a lot!) and, by God’s grace, I get to choose what kind of person I want to be.

Thanks, Dad.

A Trip to Pandora (Poem)

Feb 2020

Today I returned to a journey I started long ago….

Meeting with others, sharing stories, talking truth…

Some people would say this is opening “Pandora’s box” –

It will let out all manner of troubles.

I’ve peeked inside this box before then shoved the lid back down tight,

Ran as fast as I could…

Tried to “unsee” what was seen.

Always figured I’d seen enough of what was in the box…

Dealt with what I saw and moved on…

(But not so fast…)

 

Troubles still arise uninvited.

Connections made to the things that crawled out of hiding long ago.

I have not outrun them as successfully as I had hoped.

(Perhaps hope was the problem?)

No one else in my gene pool had managed to outrun these things….

Some people sing “Blessed be the tie that binds….” –

In my biological family it was more like

“The chains that bind won’t go away.

You can’t escape what people say….

You’ll never belong so don’t even try…”

(But the story is not over……)

 

There is a God who saw me in my weakness,

He saw me in my trouble and loves me-one of the “least of these”.

This changes everything…I mean everything!

Trouble is not new to Him.

The Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief…

The Shepherd who searches for one lost sheep

The Master Potter who fixes broken vessels-

Restores them and makes them usable….

Hope is the answer – His name is Jesus

And He is mending my soul.

 

Fleeing from the Shadows

Little girl, hiding in the shadows
Listening to the terrors of the night
Pillow o’er her head–wishing she was dead
Praying that the darkness doesn’t win….

Half-grown girl, living in the shadows
Trying to be “good” (not knowing how)
Afraid of what it means–the way her life has been
Afraid that she can never be made clean…

Wife and mom, still fleeing from the shadows,
While silently inside she dies each day.
Half alive at best–feeling different from the rest
But not yet understanding what it means….

There is a Light that drives away the darkness
There is a Hope that rises like the dawn!
There is a God who loves you–even though He’s seen it all.
He’s there for you and longs to be your friend….
You can begin again…..to live.

(In honor of Aunt Eleanor, who suffered greatly and is now at peace)

People Like Me

Little girl, needing her father’s care
Vulnerable, trusting, and not yet aware
Willing to believe what the grownups say
(But paying a price, even to this day).

Seduced by abusers with smooth, cunning lies;
Next 20 years, got no tears left to cry.
Carrying for them the guilt and the shame,
It’s cause long forgotten–
Just a wound with no name.

“Nice Christian Women” don’t have problems like this!
So you think God’s forgotten (or has no help to give).
You deny it. You numb it. (But it won’t go away).
Their choice to abuse you left a high price to pay!

Now when I remember what I’d rather forget
I feel some of the anger (but it’s not over yet!)
I still want to shake those who stopped up their ears
When I tried to get help for the heartache and fears!

I want them to listen. I want them to know!
Little girls don’t ask for this! Dear GOD let them know!
It’s when people around them are too scared to see
That little girls grow up to be people like me.

They swallow their anger, give it to their guts
Then get in their 30’s and start going NUTS!
When flashbacks take over the hours before dawn
They grab a soft pillow and try to hold on.
Inside they lie screaming with rage and with fear
(But there’s no one to show them the way out of here!)
They want to do something to destroy who they are
But there’s nowhere to run to get away from the scars.

The “powers of darkness” the “Prince of the air”
Laughs at their tormented, weak little prayers.
He says they were purchased that day long ago
And he’s come to lay claim to their charred little souls.

The lies they believed long ago call their name
As the guilt separates them from God and their friends.
Religious pride tells them they must LOOK o.k.
(But honest confession is the only real way).

Unless they feel safe to speak out with the truth,
They are bound by the lies Satan knows how to use–
Like: “God doesn’t love you! You’re dirty and bad!”
(All the things that they learned from “dear loving dad”)

But Messiah, Redeemer, by His power and might
Can deliver from bondage those that give Him the right.
He purchased them, claimed them that day long ago
And He’s waiting to free those who give Him control.

************************************************************

(Wrote this a long time ago, when memories were still a bit overwhelming….haven’t done much writing the last few years but it’s time to integrate the pieces of my life….)

THE CAPTIVE TREASURE

Crouching in the darkness, In the nighttime of her fears
Struggling 'neath the burdens that have kept her bound for years....
Captive to the Liar -- the accusation she's received
That her life has no value -- not aware she's been deceived.

Hands that reach to hold her in her loneliness and pain
Are feared as those who've come before to hurt and crush and maim.
Her broken heart lies bleeding...the Accuser shouts with glee
For her captive heart confirms the lie she never will be free.

But the Lord of Life is calling His anguished daughter's name.
He feels each wound she's suffered and He died to bear the shame.
This precious captive treasure is a jewel in His hand
(Though her blinded eyes and shattered heart cannot yet understand...)

"You are not your own, My child, I bought you with a price.
Purchased as a special gem -- for you I gave My Life.
I've come to be your Champion -- the Accuser has no part!
If you place your life into My hands, I'll free your captive heart."

The Crystal Vase

Like a crystal vase smashed against the cement wall
The little girl was fractured by life’s blows.
Now hidden deep inside lie the pieces she can’t find-
The broken parts no one but Jesus knows….

Like catacombs in ancient Rome there are tunnels here…
She’s been lost in them and hiding out for years.
But she’s tired of trying to run 
She knows a change has got to come.
Believing He has seen it all and loves her still
And the emptiness is one that He can fill.

She was blinded by her tears,
Held captive to her fears,
Not sure if she should let His light shine in...
But when His love breaks through
Mended broken things become new
Reflecting once again His marvelous light….

'Cause He’s picking up the pieces of her shattered life
Cradling them gently in His nail scarred hands.
With tender love He comes to heal
Wounds she tries hard not to feel
And let her know she’s still precious in His sight –
That she will be alright.

(Written for a friend December 19, 1991. But like so many of my poems, still being worked out in my own life.  Grateful for a church community where broken people are welcome and redemption, grace, compassion, and humilty are seen as essential parts of faith…..)

A tribute to my mother (reposted poem)

You taught me the power of words-
You made me a poet.
You taught me compassion-
To see and to love those who are in pain.
You taught me to value diversity-
Helped me understand how it felt to be different.
You taught me the value of community-
Helped me learn to notice the lonely and left out.
You taught me to love mercy-
To treat people how I wanted to be treated.
You taught me to love my children-
To value who God made them as individuals.
You taught me to listen with my heart-
To hear the wounds of others that were hard to express.
You taught me that you don’t always
Get to choose how the lessons come
But to keep my heart open to God
And try not to miss them.
You taught me to value humility-
And to seek to do justice.
You helped me learn to look for the “jewels in the ashes”
and light in the darkest of places.

 

(Today or tomorrow may be her last day….she was exhausted, sick and in pain this afternoon but knew we were there).  The call where I was asked to confirm it was OK to give her morphine, avatar and just keep her comfortable and let her failing heart fail came today……praying you find peace, Mom.