Monday, December 21, 2015

#sistersofinfluence: Cortney Norris

Y'all, today I have the privilege of introducing you to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Cortney Rae Norris. Cort and I met when we were wee wittle high school babies at Piedmont Baptist Church. Her dad was a pastor at our church, and we both sang together on the praise team in our youth group. We. go. way. back. Leading worship with her is such a sweet memory, and we will still jam out together when we can. :) She did all of the music for our wedding and #killedit. Not only is her voice amazing, but she has a beautiful heart. The Lord has used Cortney in my life as a source of truth, encouragement, and constancy. She is a true and loyal friend, and she loves Jesus in such a pure and beautiful way. I know you will be encouraged by her story today!

Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Hey everyone! My name is Cortney Norris and at this moment while I am writing this, I live in Aiken, SC. That may sound strange, but I am currently in a huge transition in my life. So a little bit about me... (By the way, I am giving Jessica the permission to use this on a dating website...hahaha) Well, I am 28 years old and I am a worship leader. I am originally from Texas, a former college athlete, and I was a teacher and coach for 3 years. Then the Lord did something in my life on June 29th, 2011 at 3 pm that I will never forget- I was called into full-time vocational ministry. In May of 2012, God called me to begin and build the Modern Worship service at Millbrook Baptist Church in Aiken, SC. Couple of things here: 1. I am a woman 2. I am young 3. This would be in a Southern Baptist Church 4. In South Carolina. (long pause) If you have ever been asked by the Lord to do something insane, then please keep reading and we can be crazy together!
I served for 3 years at Millbrook and it was the hardest but most rewarding season in my life thus far. (I have 5 tattoos to prove it.) In September, God asked me to step out in faith away from Millbrook-- no job lined up-- but He simply asked me, "Would you do anything that I ask of you?" Needless to say, I am taking one day, one moment, and one breath at a time. When the Lord asks us to walk by faith, He means for our lives to be in complete desperation and direction from Him every moment. To be Spirit-filled and to be Spirit-led every day. As I am writing you, there have been certain doors that have opened up, but I cannot tell you that it has been easy. What I can tell you though is that the Lord provides and it is rewarding to follow His voice each day. If He does not speak, sit still and worship. When He gives the next step; surrender, obey, and worship again.

How did you come to know the Lord?

I grew up in a Christian home and it was pumped into me since I can remember. When I was 13 years old, I came home from my first youth camp and pretty much was scared that I would go to hell, so I transparently tell you that I accepted Christ more out of fear at that moment. My fear was genuine and I really did not want to be separated from God, but when I got into college, God began to teach me about having a love relationship with Him. I would take it a step further though and say that in the past 3 years, God has crushed and torn down so many former ways of thinking of self-righteousness and legalism.

What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are? 

The fact that God gives us the opportunity to be someone of influence in a godly sense is a miracle to me. The Gospel is very clear about how there is nothing good inside of us but that Christ is the complete reconciliation between us and God. He lives and breathes and moves in and through us. I think that being someone of influence is capturing that with a heart of humility and allowing His Spirit to live out in all that we do.

How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through leading worship? 

Eeeeish... such a hard question to answer. I will answer it this way... I want each of you to embrace the fact that you are a worship leader right where you are. Crazy thought, huh? I know, you might be saying, "Cortney, I do not sing on a stage." My friend, worship is a lifestyle and if you think that the few of us who lead from the stage can teach the whole world, you are wrong. If you are a mom, you are teaching your kids to worship something...whether that be Jesus or something else. If you are working in a coffee shop, you have the power to influence those around you to love and follow Jesus. In saying all of that... if at any point in time, you think that you deserve to have the calling on your life, know that the Lord cannot shine His light through you. His glory and His light shine most radiantly when we clear the stage of our ego and we stand on the platforms in our lives with humility; knowing that there is nothing we can do to deserve to be placed where we are. At that moment, He uses anything and everything for His glory. The beautiful, the ugly, and the broken. That's grace.

{Elissa Ewald Photography}

What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?

1st Corinthians 15:10: "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect." I have learned that the older I get, I do not have anything figured out. But the deeper I go with Christ, I surrender to the fact that He does. I am nothing without Him nor could I ever aspire to be. The more I see my sin, the greater I see Christ's power in His death and resurrection.

What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to? 

Truth: Coffee is the key to living an energetic lifestyle for Jesus!!! (It's true...) I want each one of you to cling to the fact that God is for you... He is not against you. And my prayer is that in your worship to Him, you feel freedom in being His!

And last but not least: coffee or tea? 

If you asked me this question a hundred times, it would remain the same: Coffee.

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