Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

The Best Turkey Day of All November 24, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:39 pm

        This will be our 23rd thanksgiving with our son.  Steven was born November 27, Thanksgiving Day, 1986.  My husband was stationed at Little Rock Air Force base in Jacksonville, Arkansas.  Just as any mother will attest, it was a memorable day. 

          I was excited, anxious and happy all at the same time.  Eventually my doctor, his tone calm but full of concern, announced I would need to have a cesarean section.  Tears came to my eyes and he gently patted my knee.  “I’m sorry” he said “I know this is not what you wanted.”  He did not understand.  How could he?  He had not experienced the months prior to this event as I had.  I had spent the summer and fall months dreaming of this little one.  I had felt the tickle of its tumbling.  My back ached with the additional weight, ever a reminder that I was not just me…I was a “we”.   Each day I made choices I hoped would be best for the growing child whose little heart beat I heard at each doctor appointment.  I could hardly wait to see my precious baby, this little stranger I had already come to love more than myself.  No, those tears the doctor saw that day were not tears of disappointment; they were tears of joy and relief.   Soon I would hold this baby in my arms. 

          Later that night, in the quiet of my hospital room, my son sleeping in his basinet, the enormity of it all overwhelmed me.  Would I be a good mother?  Was I ready for it all?  What if I messed him up?  Could I provide for him always?  How would I protect him?  Could I protect him?  Did God really know what He was doing when He gifted us with this son?  Would he be funny, athletic, curious, courageous, complicated or compliant?  We were embarking on a journey together and I could not even imagine all the next few weeks would hold, let alone the next 23 years.

          In 23 years my son has amazed, exhausted, entertained, surprised and mesmerized me.   I watched as he discovered each phase… baby steps, walking, running, learning, caring, serving, and living. I have witnessed his contagious giggles bloom into deep heartfelt laughter.  I have experienced the pain of seeing him suffer and not being able to take his hurt away.  I have shared in his triumphs and staggered through his stumbling along with him.   As most mothers, I have known what it’s like to have my heart ache one day and filled with pride the next.  I marvel at how he has impacted my life and the life of others around him.  He is just as precious to me today, with his towering height and size 11 feet, as he was when he fit in the crook of my arm. 

          I am thankful to a God who placed the hand of this little one in ours so many years ago.  I thank God for His abundant grace.  I am thankful for a loving family and caring friends.  I am thankful for the glimpses of God seen in the lives of those He places in my life.  

 I am thankful for a son, whose birthday will forever remind me of the God who holds our future and the reason for all I am thankful for.

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Rest Stop Ahead November 17, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:54 pm

                     When my husband and I were first married we were on a  long car ride home to see our families.  I was driving at the time.   I smiled at the sight of my sweet husband sound asleep in the passenger side of the car.  Our windows were rolled down because our little 2 door car had no air conditioning.  I was enjoying the fresh air.   

               I had just started my “shift” and was not even remotely sleepy.  You know how sometimes when you get sleepy behind the wheel you find yourself trying to stay alert?  Well, I had not gotten to that point.  I was not nodding off.  I did not need to chew gum or turn up the radio.  I did not for even a minute think I needed to wake my husband so he could take over driving.  I felt wide awake and in total control.  That is when it happened. 

WHAM!

          Suddenly a large amount of grass was flying past my face.  Literally bales of it filled our car as I plowed through the high grass of the median.  My husband,no longer sleeping of course, grabbed the wheel, keeping us from oncoming traffic on the opposite side of the median and  brought the car to a stop.  We sat there for a while letting the totality of the moment find its way past our pounding hearts to our brains.  The freshly cut grass clippings which filled our car gave off a sent that would forever remind me of this day.  By the grace of God we did not harm ourselves or anyone else.  

          Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this event was that I did not see it coming.    I was not attempting to drive while sleepy.  I felt very much awake, and yet obviously I was not equipped to be driving at that time.  I needed to rest.  It is important to realize, that no matter how “okay” you think you may be, when you are on a journey you need to rest.  This point has been driven home to me (pun intended) in a spiritual sense as well.

         Like many, I tend to fill my days with activities and events.   During the holiday season we are even more inclined to allow schedules to become too packed.  There are things we need to do, things we want to do, things we enjoy, things we should do, things we’re afraid to miss and things we do for others.  These are all good things.  But sometimes on life’s journey we forget to rest.  

            God commands us to rest.  The One who created us knows us best and knows we need rest.  He rested.   This week, this season, this year, this journey,  I desire to be more intentional in my rest stops.  I hope you will join me in an effort to reclaim a day of rest.  A time to rest in God and know His peace.  When we hear the Christmas music in our churches and our stores, when “peace on earth” and “God of Peace” is seen on cards and decorations, may we be reminded to pull over on our journey, find fellowship, encouragement and stretch our spiritual legs…find rest in God.

 

Paid In Full November 11, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 12:35 am

          I no longer watch the popular television show, Extreme Home Makeover.  Of course when it first began I was as enthralled as the rest of America with the wonderful premise.  A very deserving family, usually one which had endured a significant tragedy or had sacrificed much for others, received an over the top home makeover.  I only stopped watching because honestly I got a bit tired of predicting my own tearful response at the show’s final “big reveal” moment.  Although I am no longer personally “into” the show any more, it is still a frequent favorite for others in the family. 

          The other day, as I was working in the kitchen, I heard the familiar voice of the show’s popular host.  I was strangely drawn to the TV.   I was not too surprised to find myself standing at the edge of the living room.  The show’s story lines are always compelling and this one was no exception.  So there I stood, between the kitchen and living room, wet dish towel in hand. 

          The family being treated to this special makeover had selflessly provided a place for those in need to secure food and items for everyday survival.  They spent so much time meeting the needs of others that they neglected their own housing needs.  I tried to look away.  I knew what was coming.  I knew the more I listened to their heart filled story I would be incapable of not crying when they arrived home to see all that had been done for them.  Yet, even though I knew the outcome would be nothing less than a tear jerking sweet ending, I could not look away.  I was busy anticipating the show’s ending.   I was NOT prepared for the scenario that soon filled the screen and left me in awe.

          The family had been sent to Disney while the work was being done on their house.  (This was typical of the show and every now and then the show’s host would send the family a video of work in progress.)  I listened intently as the family gathered around their small laptop and exchanged hellos with the host.  The host then told the family there was a special gift for them in “the box” which appeared before them on the table.  The cameras zoomed closer as the father opened the golden box and reached for its contents.  Slowly he pulled out a piece of paper clearly labeled, “mortgage”.  Immediately below this word, written in bold, were the words PAID IN FULL.   The enormity of this moment was evident in the eyes of the father.  Anyone who has been under the weight of mortgage debt could comprehend the relief he now experienced.  It was not even my mortgage, yet I felt a release of stress.  I let out a gasp and then felt myself completely relax.   The host explained the gift was meant to take the burden off of him and his family so they could continue to serve others.

          Can you imagine such a gift?  What would you do if someone knocked on your door and gave you just such a paper?  What if they offered the same gift to anyone who asked for it? I know what I’d do.  I’d call family and friends and tell them all about it!  I would make plans for the financial changes and options.  I would live my life differently if I did not have a mortgage.   It would be an unforgettable event in my life.

          “PAID IN FULL” are wonderful words to any debtor.   I could easily comprehend this man’s relief because I have felt an even greater relief.  I, like everyone, am a sinner.  I struggle every day.  I deserve condemnation for my sin.  But God, in His amazing grace, allowed His son to die for my sin.  Jesus took on the debt of my sin, our sin, and gave Himself as payment.  The debt of my sin has been PAID IN FULL.   The relief from this debt is worth telling others about.  It frees us to serve others and live differently.  Instead of condemnation, I have been given grace, and that STILL amazes me.

 

Breath Taking November 3, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:11 am

          A friend of mine was experiencing a family health crisis.  After several phone conversations, I became convinced I needed to make the hour drive to be with her.  I knew by the time I got there I would have a limited amount of time with her.  Sometimes it just does not seem adequate telling someone you’re “there for them” when you’re miles away, especially when those miles are not insurmountable. 

          So there I was, traveling late in the day, down a remote highway in northern Virginia.  The sun began to shift toward it’s resting place below the horizon.  In the calmness of the afternoon my thoughts were focused on where I was headed.  I wondered what I would say to my friend.  I worried I’d say the wrong thing.  I struggled to imagine what words could bring comfort.  I did not wish to be inappropriate or ineffective.   I wanted to give her support.  I wanted her to know she was not alone.  I wanted to not say too much or too little.  I wanted…and I worried….then it happened.

          I was passing farms, farm houses and barren fields when a rather large bend in the road oriented my car alongside an expansive rolling, mountainous, hillside.  In an instant my mind snapped from its previous diversion and I let out an audible gasp.  I was not expecting the sight before me and it was without a doubt breath-taking, literally.  The land for as far as I could see was a radiant golden hue.  I’m not sure what sort of trees covered the area, but unlike the colorful fall foliage of reds, orange and yellow we often see in these parts, the entire hillside was glowing gold.  The sun had almost completely set on my right, but its remaining rays were bouncing off the vision to my left .  For several miles I was given a brilliant light show of glittering trees.  It was as if God had laid a fluffy golden blanket over the earth.  You know when you throw a sheet on the bed and it sort of puffs up before settling onto the form of the bed?  That is the way these huge hills looked, only radiant as well.

          It was as if God was saying, “Here’s your sign.”  God had used His phenomenal creation to startle me into remembrance that He is God.  He is in control.  He holds my loved ones.  He cares for my friends.  He, and only He, can bring peace to a hurting heart.  He is the mighty comforter.  I no longer needed the right words or actions to help my friend.  All I needed to do, was show up.  He only asks us to love Him.  In loving Him, we are able to love others.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2