Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Sea Oats in the Storm August 25, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:49 pm

        P8180275                                                        We drove along the familiar road along the gulf shore.  It was good to be back home visiting family and enjoying the beauty of Pensacola Beach.  The sand is known for its pure white color, resembling snow on a sunny day.  Several years ago this area was devastated by hurricane Ivan.  Even though we have visited the area several times since then, I am still amazed at the impact the area sustained.  Entire roads broke apart, bridges collapsed or had sections washed away and lucky home owners had extensive damage while unlucky home owners could not even locate home remnants.  It was both heartening and humbling to see how much the area has rebuilt and repaired infrastructure.   The beach front is dotted with stout old structures that have weathered numerous hurricanes mixed with shiny new construction of replacement homes with upgraded hurricane resistant architecture. 

           Hurricanes are not new to anyone whose home is on the gulf coast, as are tropical depressions and storms.    Rough surf, high winds and powerful water surges are sure to leave a mark on the face of the area each year.  The road we now traveled was lined on one side by high sand dunes.  Twisted trees and seaside shrubs protrude above the white sand held in place by the root system of the vegetation.  On the opposite side of the road is flat desolation.  The shore is like a whiteboard wiped clean.  It reminds me of a barren desert and a snow covered valley at the same time.    The wind is blowing and sand is drifting.  The edges of the road begin to blur and blend as the sand sifts and settles beyond the boundary which normally marks where asphalt meets beach.  There is a tropical depression in the gulf and we are getting a little preview, reminder that hurricane season is in full bloom.  There would be no hurricane this visit, but the images we surveyed were striking reminders of the importance of roots.


          Beach restoration requires extensive replanting of Pensacola’s infamous Sea Oats.  Sea Oat root systems are perfect for anchoring the windblown sand and allowing the grains to pile up and form the familiar dunes one expects to see at the beach.  Sea Oats are protected and respected by most Floridians who understand the need for these plants to survive.  Beach goers carefully walk on paths or designated areas to avoid trampling these seemingly fragile plants.  It doesn’t take a large oak tree, concrete forms or forestation to build up the dunes; it only takes some well placed, well anchored and well protected roots.P8180164

            How much like that are we?  The world will blow us and wash us where it will at times.  Sometimes I feel in control of who I am and what I tend to be, yet other times I fall into step with the powerful surge of the world and find myself leveled or misplaced.  Like those lightweight grains of sand comprising the snow white beaches before me I require anchoring.  I need something to rest against and build upon.  I need to be able to grasp something larger than myself and hold fast to that which has been in place for all of time.   

Lord I want to cling to you as the anchoring root in my life.  Your faithfulness, strength, grace and love are sufficient for all the storms which may try to move me from your will and shake me from my foundation.


So Much to See, So Little Vision August 18, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:20 pm

      P8141020                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As I looked out the window of the plane I saw the familiar clouds dotting the sky beneath me.  I’ve seen clouds before…I’ve even seen them from the window of a plane on more than one occasion…but for some reason this day they looked different.  The white puffs were protruding toward me like an image on a 3-D screen.  The bright blue sky looked as if it hung miles below the suspended stacks of billowing clouds.  They hovered like the giant helium balloon figures in a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  I felt compelled to look for the numerous ropes leading to hundreds of people on the ground tasked with keeping the clouds from floating out into space.  These were just clouds…but I saw them this day in a different way.  I’m not sure why I never saw them like this before…was it just perspective?  I thought back to a sermon I heard recently.

          “How many of us see the world, but not the work of the Lord?”  The question floated out over the congregation like a rain filled cloud.  We had just read the accout of Saul’s encounter with God.  Saul’s sight was lost for a while, but this would lead him to become a follower and servant of  the Lord.  In the midst of these verses was a short powerful note… “Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing..” Acts 9:8.    I could not stop thinking about those words.  I’ve always thought I was spiritually aware…but this question, and those words, hung around my heart as if an early morning fog was settling in.   My eyes are open, but am I seeing what God wants me to see?  Do I see His workmanship?  Am I missing a better view?  Is there more to what I am looking at?   It is possible to “look” and not “see”.    It is like when we hear something, but do not listen.  As a former high school teacher I can attest to the possibility of someone “hearing” your words and still missing your message.  I have given numerous “brilliant” lectures, unlocking powerful educational truths, only to later realize none of them had any idea what I was trying to teach them.

            The more I watched the volumous piles of white outside the plane window, the more I realized how much I may be missing.  God surrounds us with so much of Himself, I don’t want to miss any of it. 

 Lord, help us draw closer to You, so that we  may not miss

 one moment, movement or message which You set before our eyes.


Being A friend Like Carly August 11, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 12:34 am

I have this story I like to tell.  It is just a story, it is not true, but it reveals a truth I think.  It goes like this….

          Several years ago the minimally famous actress, Dinah Wheeler, received quite bit of attention for her friendship with a woman named Carly Smithe.  Carly considered herself to be one of Dinah’s closest friends.   Whenever Dinah was  out of town on a movie shoot, Carly would take care of her place.  She would dust, vacuum, collect the mail and water the plants.  Carly would even sleep over on weekends whenever Dinah was going to be out of town for an extended period.  Dinah’s neighbors were accustomed to Carly’s comings and goings.  She was always pleasant and they’d often wave or engage in neighborly chit chat at the mail boxes.  Dinah’s neighbors considered her to be fortunate to have such a good friend as Carly.  Everything seemed fine, better than fine even….except Dinah had no idea who Carly was.

           She had never met her before and had no idea Carly had been in her home on such a regular basis.  One weekend Dinah returned home a few days earlier than scheduled from filming on location.  She found Carly in her house and immediately phoned the police.  When the authorities came to take Carly away neighbors heard her crying out, “But I’m her friend, I watch over her house and take care of her things!”   Sadly, Carly was mentally unstable.  She was a devoted fan for many years and eventually considered herself to be a close friend of Dinah’s.   Carly may have known a lot about Dinah, but she never spoke with her, wrote her or spent time with her.  There was not a “personal” relationship between them .   Carly had imagined one existed.  She believed it was true and so did all of Dinah’s neighbors. A lot of people thought Carly and Dinah were very close friends.

          Are we like that with God?  Do we hang out at His house on Sundays, watch over His things, do stuff “for God” and consider ourselves to be close to Him?    Like Carly, who was certain her attention to  Dinah’s things made her one of Dinah’s friends, do we fall into the pattern of doing things for God, but not really knowing Him in a personal way?   A relationship requires attention to the heart.  Do we listen to Him through His Word?  Do we talk with Him through prayer?  Do we rely on Him in faith and trust? 

          Sometimes I  ask myself have I become like Carly?  Does my life only look like I know God in a personal way.   2Timothy 3:13-17 warns of imposters and gives us guidance for how to not become a Carly.   “…continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; …from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus…all scripture is inspired by god and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for  training in righteousness; that the man of God be adequate, equipped for every good work.”     


What I did not know before I said “I do” August 4, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:17 pm

           On this date 25 years ago my husband and I said “I do”.   We stood before family and friends at East Brent Baptist Church on August 4, 1984 and launched ourselves into the journey of marriage.  We were young, in love, and had only a smidgeon of a clue about life.  There was so much to learn, so much I did not know.

          Before I said,”I Do”….

          I did not know how to cook much more than multiple variations of macaroni and cheese.  I did not know that my first grocery purchase, totaling $50, was not a month’s worth of groceries.   I did not know the first furniture we purchased would last for nearly 15 years before we finally took the last remaining chair to the dump.(I would have picked prettier colors had I known)  I did not know how important a pilot light was to a gas heated home.(linoleum floors get very cold). I did not know using Bisquick is not considered baking “from scratch.”   

         I did not know how hard it was to pay bills or keep a car running.  I did not know how exhausting being a wife and mother would be.  I did not know how infuriating my husband could be, or how much his sense of logic would frustrate my emotional arguments.  I did not know how often I would cause him to hurt.  I did not know how often I would cry.  I did not know how much we would laugh. I did not know how many mistakes we would make.   I did not know how much I would depend on my husband for encouragement and strength.  I did not know how full my heart could become.   I did not know how patient he would need to be with me.  I did not know the partnership we would need to form.   I did not know I could love him more than on that day.  I did not know I could love him differently.  I did not know my love for him would grow in admiration, respect, honor, delight, passion and dependence.   I did not know how much I would enjoy each new stage of our lives. 

    After I said “I Do”….

      Understood more clearly the love of my Heavenly Father.  I understood the gift of  grace…I have needed to both grant and receive it.  I understood God’s unconditional love…my love for my husband is not determined by circumstances which may change or challenge us. 

Happy Anniversary!