Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

A Christmas Tree Angel, A Reminder of Grace December 25, 2019

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:42 am

A Christmas Tree Angel….reposting this story has become a tradition. Each year I continue to be reminded of God’s grace as I see her oddly perched atop our tree.  This year my angel is still carefully tucked away in storage, we are on our boat for Christmas, but her image is never far from my thoughts this time of year. I hope you have enjoyed the advent posts this year as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and new beginnings!

            I’m not sure where she came from.  I’m not even certain of her age.   I do know that she sat atop the Christmas tree for many of my growing up years, quietly presiding over each holiday season.  I acquired her from my mother many years ago.

Her gold foil, cardboard wings, once ended in perfect points extending her stature to seven inches.  Now her wing span is slightly reduced, as the tips went from being slightly bent, to folded, until they eventually tore off.  Her dark red velvet dress, trimmed with gold brick brack, fits snuggly to her waist before flowing over her cardboard form.  Her once silky, radiant white hair, now hangs in brittle coils around her shoulders.  A little gold foil halo covers a place on her head where some of her hair has given way to the passage of time.

Her head and hands are made of wax, as is the candle she holds in one hand.  I remember her as a beautiful lady, her face perfect and delicate.  Those qualities are now faded.  Her head, once held high and straight, has melted somewhat.  It now bows lovingly downward and a bit to the right.  Two years ago a significant amount of time and effort was put into re-attaching her long held candle to her now miss shaped hand.  Yep, she’s a bit of mess you might say.  I like that about her.

She doesn’t light up or sparkle, and quite often she is too small for the tree, making her look even more out of place.  But I look forward to her presence in my living room each Christmas.  Late at night, when the tree is lit and others have gone on to bed, I find myself thinking of her and all we have in common.

I too, know what it’s like to have my wings bent and torn.  I know what it feels like when your body gives itself over to the challenges of time.  My hair is no longer silky or radiant, and I only wish had a halo to hide the places where it has become thin.  I understand the sagging of her shoulders and the bowing of her head.  I have felt the weight every mother bears for her family.  I know the need to bow my head in constant prayer.   I love her imperfection.  She’s a holiday reminder that God loves us in our imperfection.

A love full of grace, a savior born to take on the sin of the world, a reason to celebrate, reflected in the melted features and unraveled edges of our Christmas tree Angel.

God’s love was revealed among us in this way. God sent His son into the world so we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

 

A CiCi Kind of Love December 24, 2019

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:01 am

Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of Advent themes. This week we take the time to consider LOVE.

It started as a casual perusal of FB posts. I had just picked up my phone to make a note, but found my thumbs instinctively hitting FB and scrolling along mindlessly…. until THAT post. THAT post was from my Daughter-In-Law, Cori.

There was the picture: a great shot of her holding Aubrey, my oldest granddaughter, both in the middle of laughing.

These were her words: “I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said ‘I know sharing is hard, but we have to do it’ recently to this spunky girl. I wasn’t a very good sharer growing up either. Now, as a stepmom, I’ve relearned the importance of sharing. Without it I wouldn’t have you, Aubs. Forever grateful your mom and dad share you with me.”

Suddenly I am not only teary eyed, I am full on quietly sobbing. It has struck my heart so deeply that my every remembrance of it creates a lump in my throat and threatens to bring tears out of nowhere. This is a very special LOVE.

Oh sweet Aubrey, in the years to come I will tell you a great story of your beginning….of a mommy who loved you even when she was unsure of the future, of a daddy who loved you before he held you and fought to find his way to you, and of a CiCi who loved you deeply and instantaneously.  I will tell you about how all your parents worked hard on your behalf to do what was best for you in all things. You, my granddaughter, are crazy loved by three parents. Their love is a courageous kind of love, some may even call it reckless. This is a love that walks, runs, chases down it’s recipient and once acquired, stands firm.

Cori’s words were especially impactful as I thought about this week’s theme of Love.  God’s love for us is reckless and courageous. Jesus, the son of God, the embodiment of a holy God, came to this earth to live a sinless life, lead the lost, and out of love, suffer and die on the cross. His death and resurrection allow us to believe in Him and ask forgiveness for our sins. God’s love for us provides salvation for us. God’s love seeks us out. It runs after us, chases us and once we receive His love and forgiveness, His love stands firm forevermore. This Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the provision for our sins, God’s courageous and reckless love of us all.

That image of Aubrey in the arms of her CiCi keeps running in my mind…this is how I want to be found today, and in the years to come…swept up in the arms of my God who sought me out and loves me recklessly.

If you have not already, stop and allow His love to wrap you in His arms. He is seeking you, providing forgiveness for you, loving you.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Baby Burrito December 22, 2019

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:03 am

Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of Advent themes. The third week’s theme of Peace kept bringing me images of swaddled babies.

This time of year the term “swaddled” is found in books and songs about the baby Jesus in a manger. These days many mothers and fathers seek to perfect the art of swaddling…making the perfect “baby burrito” is a grand accomplishment. I recall trying to get my first baby to settle into a sleep. There was striving on both our parts even at that young age. He was obviously so sleepy, yet he flailed his arms about and wiggled as if he were trying to keep himself awake. Eventually we managed to wrap him in such a way that he calmed and gave into the rest he needed. A precious little baby sound asleep is a picture of great peace. The striving has ceased, discord faded away, and a sweet little sigh is uttered as eyes calmly close. The swaddling matters. The carefully placed swaddle surrounds the little one keeping them safe, secure and still. It allows the baby to relax and feel the embrace of a parent without fighting against containment. How often do I strive against my heavenly Father, Who only wishes to surround me, comfort me, or protect me. Oh to be wrapped in His arms, to know His peace and give in to the rest He offers.

I read an article recently that spoke to what the term “swaddling” meant to the shepherds when the angels told them, “You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”  The shepherds in the field that night were “Levitical Shepherds”. They were keeping watch over a flock of sheep that produced the sacrificial lambs used in the temple on the Sabbath. According to laws of that time, these lambs were to be “spotless and without blemish”. These sheep were tended to differently than other livestock. When a ewe was to give birth, she would be taken to a special cave, kept as clean as possible. Following the birth, the lamb would be swaddled in strips of cloth to ensure it was kept spotless, protected and without blemish.

When the angels made their declaration, these unique shepherds knew exactly what to look for and where to look. When they found the babe, He may have been lying in a feeding trough for animals, but He was swaddled with care just as their lambs would have been. I wonder if they could even fathom what they saw and heard that night? The gift of reconciliation between our sinful nature and our holy God was not tied with a bow, but He was wrapped with great care.

The birth of Jesus heralded the hope for forgiveness of our sins. This baby would mature, live, lead, love, suffer, die and rise again, making the need for sacrificial lambs obsolete forever more.  In Christ alone we find forgiveness for our sins, allowing us a relationship with a holy God, love, grace and life everlasting.  In this, we find PEACE. Striving can cease, we can give in to the rest offered in the arms of our heavenly Father. Today, as the final prepping for guests and gatherings takes place, let us be mindful of God’s PEACE. No matter what is going on, in the midst of it all, let us be swaddled in His arms like the BEST baby burrito of all time.

“for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find the a baby wrapped in cloths; and lying in a manger” Luke 2:11-12

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond The Bench December 17, 2019

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 1:35 pm

Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of Advent themes. Last week’s theme of JOY seemed almost eclipsed by the chaos of life…but then, just like our God always does, it showed up in a big unmissable way.

There is a good sized community of homeless people near where we are currently staying. My friend reached out to a local library to inquire about how we might be helpful. They shared that they allow them to use their facilities, but that local folks simply leave things on the benches for them. Following a farmers market each Saturday, vendors leave left over baked goods, fruits and such. We decided to follow that example. My friend provided toiletries to be left in the library restrooms, and we packaged clean socks and undergarments to be left on nearby benches. This has proven to be an efficient delivery system. Later, when my friend and I were discussing, okay okay…it was more like I was complaining about, a situation in my life, she said, “Well, at least we are not getting our clean underwear from a park bench.”   Going forward, anytime either of us begin to give too much attention to negative things we can simply say, “BENCH”, and our perspectives will be jerked into alignment. Please don’t judge me too harshly. It is not like I was saying “Let them eat cake!…But Life can be a struggle for anyone. Sometimes it is the enormity of worldly events/attitudes that weigh on our hearts. At times, the circumstances closer to home threaten to overwhelm us. For many, the struggle is either physical or emotional. For all of us, whether mild or mighty, the struggle is real. We all have a sort of “bench” in our lives. It is easy to let circumstances rob us of our joy, even during the holiday season. I was reminded of how easy it is to hold fast to joy at a concert the other day.

We, along with some friends, were attending a benefit concert at a local fairground. We sat in plastic folding chairs waiting for the first of several acts to begin. A local DJ was playing random sets of music. Wedding line dance tunes, “oldie but goodies” and an assortment of island jams filled the time. Then IT happened. I cannot even recall the name of the song, but only a few notes into it, one of the ladies in our group jumped to her feet, literally shook with JOY and began to enthusiastically dance. I was transfixed. She was obviously instantly transported to another time in her life…hips swaying, arms swirling, and body bopping and dancing “as if no one was watching”.   Something in that song connected with her and she could not seem to help but dance. By far, it was my favorite thing about the night. I LOVED seeing so much radiant joy.  And that is it…God’s unmissable message. To know His JOY, to radiate His JOY, we must be connected to Him. Knowing Him, knowing His love, forgiveness and grace, seeing His handiwork all around us, can literally jolt us to unstoppable joy. With the understanding of Who He is and Whose we are we too will not be able but to dance with JOY.

His joy is beyond circumstance….His Joy is beyond the bench.

“And the angel said to them, do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great JOY which shall be for ALL people.” Luke 2:10

 

Helmet Hair December 8, 2019

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:40 am

Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of the Advent themes. I am late in posting the first week, but it’s theme, HOPE, has been on my mind a lot.

We are currently in Florida. I have been startled by the number of motorcyclist riding without a helmet. Apparently there is no helmet law here. I cringe when I see them recklessly barreling down the streets woefully unprotected…but I have no business judging their lack of judgment. For years Scott and I have not worn bike helmets when cycling around town on errands. Two reasons for this: 1. Felt we were not cycling in risky situations 2. Vanity (for me at least).   I hate HELMET HAIR. When that helmet comes off, short ride or long, my hair is a hot mess! This year I am committed to better protecting my head. Helmets have been purchased.

I am kind of shocked I allowed myself to be so carefree/careless about something this important.  Protective head gear is even mentioned in scripture, because, well, life comes with collisions. Life can be remarkable and full of blessings, but sometimes life collides into us with shattering effect. But friend, God does not leave us unprotected.

The Apostle Paul, in a letter to new believers, wrote: “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the HOPE of salvation.” (1Thess. 5:8)

Our head, the very seat of thought, wages battle daily with doubt, discouragement, disheartenment, confusion, anger, loneliness, heartache. A helmet of salvation can protect our minds from such debilitating attacks.

This season we stop and celebrate the reason for our HOPE of salvation, the birth of Jesus Christ. God sent His son, God in flesh, one night in Bethlehem. This is our helmet, the hope of salvation. When we accept/believe in His birth, life, death and resurrection, He gifts us with forgiveness of our sins and a relationship with a holy God.

He is Emmanuel, “God is with us”! When life is good, easy, and burdens light, He is with us. When life is hard, when it doesn’t make sense, when we cry out loud or cry in the depths of our hurting souls, HE IS WITH US. “The Lord is near to the broken hearted, and saves those crushed in spirit” (Ps 34:18)

BRING ON THE HELMET HAIR!

This year, in addition to my new bike helmet, I will pray on my spiritual helmet! I will guard my thoughts with the reminder that my salvation comes from God and He is with me always.

“Lord, thank you for the precious gift of forgiveness for our sins and knowing You. At all times…when life is good or when hardship visits, when satan threatens our peace, help us to tighten ours helmet straps with the assurance that we are yours and You are with us. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

Christmas Tree Angel December 25, 2018

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:23 am

Each year I continue to be reminded of God’s grace as I see her oddly perched atop our tree.  This year her placement on the tree was a bit precarious.

Traditionally our daughter, with the help of her dad, had the task of placing her on top the tree.  This has become a much more complex endeavor as our trees have gotten taller and so has she, but not matter what, they always pulled it off.  This year we celebrate Christmas with new family members.  Our son now has a wonderful wife and two precious kids.  Our daughter is now married as well.  So dad decided THIS year her husband would have the task of getting her, and the tiny/fragile angel, to the top of the tree.  Let’s just say hilarity ensued as she sat on his shoulders and they wobbled toward the tree.  After a few failed attempts, and a little more repair work, she finally sits in her place of honor.

She is more worn this year, she lists even more and it does look as if at any moment she will topple over….it has been quite a year for her.  It’s been quite a year for all of us…but there she is still.  She continues to remind me of the gift of grace, the gift of not being perfect, yet being loved.

May you find it easy to grant grace to others as you bask in the grace of our God.  I hope you have enjoyed the advent posts this year as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and new beginnings!

           The Christmas Tree Angel

  I’m not sure where she came from.  I’m not even certain of her age.   I do know that she sat atop the Christmas tree for many of my growing up years, quietly presiding over each holiday season.  I acquired her from my mother many years ago.

 

Her gold foil, cardboard wings, once ended in perfect points extending her stature to seven inches.  Now her wing span is slightly reduced, as the tips went from being slightly bent, to folded, until they eventually tore off.  Her dark red velvet dress, trimmed with gold brick brack, fits snuggly to her waist before flowing over her cardboard form.  Her once silky, radiant white hair, now hangs in brittle coils around her shoulders.  A little gold foil halo covers a place on her head where some of her hair has given way to the passage of time.

Her head and hands are made of wax, as is the candle she holds in one hand.  I remember her as a beautiful lady, her face perfect and delicate.  Those qualities are now faded.  Her head, once held high and straight, has melted somewhat.  It now bows lovingly downward and a bit to the right.  Two years ago a significant amount of time and effort was put into re-attaching her long held candle to her now miss shaped hand.  Yep, she’s a bit of mess you might say.  I like that about her.

She doesn’t light up or sparkle, and quite often she is too small for the tree, making her look even more out of place.  But I look forward to her presence in my living room each Christmas.  Late at night, when the tree is lit and others have gone on to bed, I find myself thinking of her and all we have in common.

I too, know what it’s like to have my wings bent and torn.  I know what it feels like when your body gives itself over to the challenges of time.  My hair is no longer silky or radiant, and I only wish had a halo to hide the places where it has become thin.  I understand the sagging of her shoulders and the bowing of her head.  I have felt the

weight every mother bears for her family.  I know the need to bow my head in constant prayer.   I love her imperfection.  She’s a holiday reminder that God loves us in our imperfection.

A love full of grace, a savior born to take on the sin of the world, a reason to celebrate, reflected in the melted features and unraveled edges of our Christmas tree Angel.

God’s love was revealed among us in this way. God sent His son into the world so we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

 

Stink Free December 17, 2018

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 4:52 pm

This is the fourth week of Advent.  Each week four prior to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior.  In some households a candle is lit in recognition of each of the Advent themes.  This week, we light the candle of LOVE.

I am addicted to holiday smells.  I stop in my tracks when I smell peppermint mocha steam rising from a hot mug, evergreen and balsam wafting from trees and wreaths or glorious cinnamon floating forth from everything from scented décor arrangements to baked goods.  No matter where I am, a friend’s home, bakery or store, I will stop, close my eyes and take a long breath.  Knowing my weakness, I try to avoid entering a store with a candle display this time of year…I have been known to over sniff.

These seasonal aromas can lift my spirits on the worst of days.  They remind me of family, friends, special times and tasty treats. Every sniff fills my heart with warmth, comfort and calmness.  You see, I get it.  I GET the impact of a fragrant aroma like the one mentioned in Ephesians  4:32- 5:1 & 2

“…be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has also  forgiven you.  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ has loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

God loved us so much He sent His Son so that we would have a way to Him.   Christ’s love was on full display as He gave up His life so we may know forgivness  for our sin.  This sacrificial love was a fragrant aroma to our God.

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ…”For God so LOVED the world, that He gave his only Son”, let us also be mindful of the example of LOVE He showed us.  Let us strive to be a FRAGRANT AROMA.

“Lord, help me to walk in love, to love others as I have been loved by You.  Lord may my life be a fragrant aroma to you, help me not to stink!”  Amen