Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rise Up and Shine ...

"Don't let your trials outline you, let your faith and victory define you. 
 Don't linger in the miry clay, walk in the cleansing power of His way. 
Don't let evil trip you up in folly, but glory to glory rise up in His holy 'Halle'! 
Let your trials thoroughly refine you, and faith and victory, these shall enshrine you." 
~ the watcherswife

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Pastoral Couple Retreat

Day One
Spending a little time at the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Pastoral Couple Retreat - a worthy endeavor.
The husband and I have spent the afternoon as human beings as opposed to doings and that feels nice! Facilitator Norm led us through the ice-breaker which revealed several ribbons of commonality and then he talked with us about being off the spot as opposed to on the spot. Facilitator Cecil shared the story of how Jacob out redded Red with the red (it's all in the Hebrew ;-)) and how that story reveals wilderness experiences, a forsakenness, a being in-between things, that gives God an opportunity to reveal Himself - this happened both after tricking Esau and after tricking Laban - times of transition, a time to be open and ask "what are You showing up to tell me", a time ripe for revelation.

Facilitator Norm sharing
We also listened to a humorous monologue "Pastor Ingqvist's trip to Orlando" that peered into aspects of husband/wife interactions in ministry giving pause for as our facilitators would say 'percolation' - and truly it resonated with our group. Now we have a little free time - and we'll be back at it on the morrow.

Meanwhile we are 'percolating' on Life/Patterns/Habits adjustments we can make ... wonder where that will lead. And as we allow that to happen, we have a gift bag!

Day Two
We were supposed to read Shooting the Rapids but I forgot along with others; it was postponed to Day Three. Cecil insightfully takes Jacob's story further, into the life of Joseph - a story of loss (Rachel, Joseph, and Benjamin, respect and the actions of his children), living "in a minor key", behind closed doors.

We watched "High Noon at Mayberry" - very amusing episode with Griffith, Knotts and Pyle and others that showed the effects of anxiety and shared the Trevino brain research on how the brain reacts. Spouse to spouse, we shared the others behavior in the presence of anxiousness.

This day we were given the gift of the rest of the afternoon and of dinner with our spouse on the town. We had a wonderful trip up to The Valley of Fire as the sun set and a delightful meal at Applebee's.

Day Three
This arrived all too quickly, having warm and congenial community, and so many moments of 'oooo' and 'aaahh'.  Cecil had yet more to share about Joseph - about all the weakness of eyes that "don't see what you imagine they should". Joseph learned that God will show up, enough so he put his affairs in order wanting things to unfold as he believed they would take place. Cecil showed us the circle of Joseph's life was within the circle of Jacob's and that within the Hebrew people and that within the Church.

Facilitator Cecil sharing
Shooting the Rapids read - it was allowed to percolate within ourselves. We next talked about our story and how we tell it which our tables discussed afterward and tied everything up neatly - with Jacob, with Pastor Ingqvist, Andy & Barney - looking at the narrative and  connecting events. We talked about defaults of telling stories with characters as victim, villian, or hero. We talked about how with anxiousness we create mental clusters, how we do herding and become married and attached to preferred versions. We talked about our lives as film on the cutting room floor where we keep what we like, "cutting" and "splicing". It is impossible to replay the original reel. But we can re-evaluate how we tell and edit our story -  more whole & authentic with our community.

We were invited to loosen our grip on our narrative and to enter the cutting room floor of our lives - to  as Cecil would say "thicken" our story; share more of the "composting" (stinky stuff). Our anxiety would have to lower. We'd have to see the destinations like Jacob in the end - these not only in ministry, but our marriages and personal lives. As we do this, we can be alert to how we talk about the transitions in our lives so our sight would not be weak and we would approach our destination with clarity maybe not of the details of the path, but of Bethel and Peniel - the awareness that God is with us.

pastors and spouses
This summary does not begin to touch on the special conversations that took place, friendships - I think we ventured to begin this invitation in this place as a time to be open and ask "what are You showing up to tell me", a time ripe for revelation before we transitioned home.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Unwitting yet Willing

Every other Friday is a day off. Every other Friday I go to the get my hair done. This day off like every day off I had a lot of errands to run afterward before I settle down. This Friday my appointment was an hour later than the usual time, albeit still very early.

This damp cold, somewhat rainy Friday, when I parked, I saw a young woman with a little dog settled back in the alcove of a doorway to a credit union building. As I went as usual to the rear ATM to withdraw some funds, I ran the possibilities for this girls situation through my mind. She could have been waiting for the business to open. She didn't seem to be a homeless person, yet she seemed to be finding shelter there.

I went back to get my things out of the car and then I went over to her. I couldn't just leave her there. She hadn't eaten. She was cold. Her dog was shivering. She was surprised and glad to be asked to use my car as a shelter while I got my hair done. What's your name she said and I told her. And what's yours I asked? Brittany she said. I felt there the cold couldn't get to them directly, and the body heart would warm the car up even more. I wanted to take her into the shop, but when the owner arrived, he might not be pleased.

In the shop, talking with my friend who does my hair about the past two weeks and today and with others in the shop, my mind kept considering the young lady. I realized that the study I intended for the day could be started earlier. I could do the errands later in the evening when I had to be out and about again anyway. That left me a little time to see what was going on with this young lady. My friend reminded me not to be Lord led, not heart led. when I departed.

The young lady had fallen asleep as suspected, her and the dog. She didn't hear my tap on the window and barely the remote opener. I took her to get something to eat after fueling my car. Her cellphone was inaccessible to her at the moment. I let her use my cellphone to try and locate her friend, to try to get access to her things. All things were not working out. She didn't know where to go, what to do. I didn't want to just leave her. She considered her options and she seemed to be lacking any. Then ... as we sat in my car in an Ontario parking lot she asked me 'a really big favor', if I would drive her to Perris, CA. Although not for long, I gave consideration to this 36 mile drive on this Friday of cold intermittent rain. I had just gotten gas and the Lord had just opened up my day from my usual activities.

Letting the dog out for one last time, we rode the 10 to the 215 out to Perris. She had opened up earlier and continued to do so. She had cheered up before when we had eaten and then despaired when she couldn't locate her friend. Now she talking easy about family, friends, the dog and past pets, jobs and her life in general. She knew the Lord and was very familiar with the gospel artists on my radio station. Kirk Franklin is a favorite of Brittany's. Just the past week she was baptized at a church in Moreno Valley. She shared plans about how was going to get her life together as we got lost on rural streets of Perris and eventually found our way.

Today Brittany found good people in the world. She realized mistakes she had made, and was planning on moving on. Today Brittany knew people on facebook that were my friends were praying for her. Today she was glad she knew Jesus! Today I was glad I knew Jesus, because Jesus took Brittany to a safe place to rethink her life and let me meet her and share in that.

As I drove home with a rich contentment I wondered how the 'good samaritan' felt that day he stopped and helped someone. Did he consider the inconvenience, how this might alter his schedule, how the expense might set him back? We know the others who had gone before him had their considerations. Did he consider possible harm, adverse effects, the possible loss of something for taking this time? Did he too feel a rich contentment? Did the person he had cared for realize that they had found good people in the world? I wondered. And I was grateful to ponder these things rather than to wistfully wonder what ever happened to that young lady left huddled in the cold of an early morning'.

When our 14 year old came home from school, I shared my day with him.  He said to me, "you know when Dad preached Sunday, he said we would all be tested this week," and I remembered. Yes he did. Be it big or small we are always tested. Sometimes when a test is heralded, we look for it - is it this, is it that? I didn't. Just like when I was 13 and told I would marry a pastor one day, I forgot in the business of life. I remembered that foretelling in a conversation with my husband, then to be; a conversation that was yet before he was even in the path of being ordained. Now, recalling 'a test' was in the pastor's message, I realized although unwittingly involved I was willing. God just wants us to be willing. The Samaritan was willing. The Samaritan and I passed the test.

Be willing!
Luke 10:25-27

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Worship Before Christmas

 written two years ago and shared with Friendship Community Church ...

Twas the Worship before Christmas when all through God's House
All the creatures were stirring; yes, even a mouse.
All supplications were placed at the altar with care
in hopes that the Holy Spirit would answer them there.
The saints were all nestled, hope on each face;
the comfort of angels was filling the place.
And the Pastor with his Bible and his wife in her ware
had just settled down for a long time of prayer
The Spirit how He tarried! His presence how merry!
His comfort was like balm in a world grown so wary.
His gifts He distributed to each little soul
and the truth He conveyed with salvation goal.
New life was given to each who believed,
knowing it was on a cross this achieved.
He spread through the congregation now whole,
leaving every heart light and aglow,
ready to depart and wanting to the world convey
Christ our salvation was born Christmas Day!

By ShelleyRenee Norman 2010

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hiding on the prodigal road

Sometimes we want to avoid what we should hear/do, so we stay away from the ones who will give us truth because we don't want to deal with/acknowledge it.

It's like that with God too, we'll withdraw from where we'll hear from Him. Don't do the Adam 'hide' avoiding His house, His people, His Word. The 'prodigal' road is deceptive and lonely.

“Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” Psalm 139:7

"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you"
James 4:8.

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

Thursday, January 12, 2012

collector of coal - blessings for a wintry heart

If you act unpleasantly I will not emulate it; I will not return it in kind, nor it collect or recollect. I make it of no consequence and instead extend one I would have preferred with a smile,
praying it warms your heart.
And then I will smile all the more, for by this process therein will be created burning coals.
But, if you rather extend a behavior pleasant to partake of, I will make it my own and give it away generously
and be blessed all the more.

~a coal miner's blessing~  'collector of coal - blessings for a wintry heart' ~SRNorman Proverbs 25:20-22

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Are YOU Ready for Christmas?

Christmas is Here ...! So, ARE you ready for Christmas? It seems like before Halloween ebbs, tossing Thanksgiving by the wayside, people begin asking 'Are you ready for Christmas?' - have you completed your regimen for the day of celebration by buying and wrapping gifts; putting up trees, lights, and decorations; purchasing and preparing the meal; and acquiring the garb and other machinations for the day ... whew!

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, 
even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Pet3:4

The season of Advent looks to the coming of Christ, His second coming, with all the thankfulness, joy, and anticipation of understanding the fulfillment of the first coming. So, really, are YOU ready? Have you wholly given yourself to Him? Lk10:27 Have you abandoned this world as a home and made ready for your heavenly one? Mk10:21, Mt6:19 Have you prepared everyone you could to have the opportunity to join you? Mt28:19
Christmas Day is yet to come! But as no one knows the day or the hour Mk13:32, we should be ready now. Be ready today! If you are ready, CELEBRATE! Jesus is coming again! Amen.

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also
. Jn 14:2-3

Occupy Christmas in your hearts every day, now into eternity!

About Me

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"whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice"~Philipians 1

who watches the watcher; I do - it's what I do
. Wife, mother in blended family of eight kids, almost all grown.
Marriage, ministry, musing & meandering