Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Reflections February 23, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 3:17 pm

          You know that “larger than most” mirror the wicked queen peers into in Snow White? Well, that is about the size and appearance of the mirror which greeted me as I entered a hotel room recently.  No doubt the use of numerous large mirrors in the small room was intended to create the optical illusion that guests where in much larger spaces.  Unfortunately the only thing the mirrors made look “larger” was my midsection. 

          It was impossible to not look at yourself as you passed this enormous, gold rimmed mirror plastered against the entry wall.  I averted my gaze at first, but that only drew my attention to the sink to ceiling mirror in the bathroom.  To make it even worse, the hotel kindly included a movable magnifying mirror in the bath area as well.  When I sat at the desk in the room to check e-mail I had two choices, stare at the screen or my own image which was reflecting back at me from the 3X4 mirror which hung above the desk.  Seriously, five various mirrors total in one small room? 

          I have to say, after eight hours on the road to visit my daughter in South Carolina, I was not pleased with how I appeared in each of those mirrors.  I kept turning on lights in the room hoping maybe it was just the way the room was lit, sigh…nope, it was me.  I definitely looked like I had been on the road all day. 

          My hair, which is quite thin by nature, looked like it belonged to someone else.  I tried a “new style” recently and, for the first time, I was getting a chance to actually get a good look at it I suppose.   I have just returned from a vacation and the deep brown of my face caught me off guard.   My wrinkles, which normally I don’t mind, looked more prominent than I recalled.   I was also alarmed at how “puffy” I looked.   I knew I had recently located some pounds I had previously lost, but the plethora of reflective devices brought it to the forefront of my thoughts.  I needed to get out of the room.  

          The next day, as we walked past places of business which lined the old town streets, the sun’s rays struck each storefront window in such a manner as to create very reflective surfaces.  It was impossible to avoid glimpses of myself as we walked from store to store.  I tried to look at other things, people or cars, but this only resulted in a very embarrassing, thigh bruising encounter with a fire hydrant. 

           The inside of each store did nothing to provide me refuge from my reflection.  Mirrors of various shape and size dotted every wall it seemed.   I darted between the racks of clothing trying to NOT look.  All this did was distort the images I glimpsed into a Picasso like version of myself.   

          Those few days in “reflection city” brought some things to my attention that I had, until that time, managed to delude myself about.  While I am thankful for this recent reality check, it is striking to me given the situation I found myself in only days prior to this trip.

          I had just returned from spending a week on a boat.  The only mirror was on the medicine cabinet door in the boat’s bathroom.  For an entire week I maybe saw myself once or twice a day, and even then it was never the entirety of my being.  As I went through each day, I never wondered if my hair was in place or if my attire was complimentary to my figure.  I paid no attention to my makeup, or the lack of it, once I walked away from this solitary mirror. 

           At first it seemed liberating.  I experienced a sort of carefree attitude about my appearance.  This was a much easier existence than my normal need to take care of myself, but it would come at a price.  You see, eventually my vacation photos would reveal the reality of it all. 

          I know many of you would argue that the mirror less existence would be in line with the Godly principle of humility, not caring about things of the world, appearances or what others thought…but  having an accurate reflection of one’s self is key to making choices and changes.  I was happy not knowing what I looked like because it absolved me from needing to make corrections…but that is not good if correction is needed.

          As I drove home from South Carolina I kept thinking of all those mirrors.  What if my spiritual self was placed before so many reflective surfaces?  What if, at every turn or encounter in my day, I could see the true state of my spiritual walk?  How often do I attend church, or a Bible study, and in that time see clearly how God is revealing the places in my life in need of His touch, or the sins that I need to confess and lay at His feet?  How often does my desire to tend to these spiritual revelations fade once I am no longer in those surroundings?  It is easy to forget what we look like on the inside and even easier to avoid the challenge to change once we look away.

          Suddenly I am feeling the need to surround myself with the most effective spiritually reflective surface, The Word of God

For anyone who is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in the mirror; and once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he is. James 1:23-24

 

A Lot of Snow February 16, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 2:17 pm

          It sort of looks like a bunch of snowmen had a get together on our back deck while we were away on vacation!  Yep, while we were relaxing in the Bahamas our home in Northern Virginia received record snow fall.  All this snow severly reduces one’s desire to be out and about.  I have spent these few days settling back into place, doing post vacation laundry, working on posting our vacation blog and photos(www.travelingwithteri.wordpress.com) and in general contemplating my relationship with God.

          What am I doing, where am I going, am I doing as God desires?  What is His will for me?  These are questions I have sought  answers to many times over the years.  Sometimes I felt sure of the answers, other times I struggled to know the difference between God’s will and my own ideas.  This time I found an answer that will always be correct no matter what season of life I may be in!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1Thessalonians 5:16-18 

          Tah Dah!!!!  There it was, in print, in the WORD of God!  His will for me was written quite plainly for all to see….how had I missed this before?  At first I was elated to find such solid instruction and direction written clearly before me, but then my heart sank as I realized the difficulty of each of those mandates.

Joyful always”?   Seriously?  Wouldn’t, “joyful as often as possible” be sufficient?

Pray continually”?  I’m guessing my current habit of prior to meals, during a crisis or after volunteering for something beyond my own abilities is not enough?

Give thanks in all circumstances”?  No way!  Surely this is a type-o…they left out the word “favorable”…all “favorable” circumstances, right?

Eeeek!  Once again the Word of the Lord faithfully yields wisdom and instruction.  Lord may Your words continually challenge and change me.

 

The Anchor Holds February 9, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 3:46 pm

          Good Day!  As I write this I am sitting on boat on a small island in the Bahamas called Elbow Cay.  On one side of the island the Atlantic is raging.  Waves are crashing and spraying against the sea rocks and beach.  On the other side is the Sea of Abaco.  We are currently tied up in a marina nestled in a protected harbor between the two.  Yep, I’m in the middle of my husband’s dream vacation.   We are bareboat chartering in the Bahamas, which means it is just us, a 37ft. Trawler named “Semper Fi”, and the Abaco Sea.

          Our first day underway was a pretty crazy experience.  High winds and rough water kept most charter boats at the dock until late in the day.  We eventually left with the intent of staying in the protective cove of Settlement Harbour.  When we arrived, the expected moorings, anchored floats boats tie up to in harbors, were not to be found.  The sketchy weather had forced an overload of boats into Settlement Harbour. 

          The sun was quickly sliding behind the horizon and we soon found ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, literally.  The local marina had closed for the night and without sufficient daylight we did not have time to make the next marina/harbor down the island.  We were getting rocked quite a bit and trying to fend off panic when a voice crackled over the radio.  The captain of the boat “Reflections” hailed us to let us know the marina was closed, but that anchoring in the harbors’ entrance was both safe and acceptable.  So, following his advice, we dropped anchor just off the rocky cliffs on the North side of the harbor entrance.  Behind us, a rather uncomfortable distance of 50yds, were the rock jetties which protected the south side of the marina.  With our anchor set and the recommended 100yrds. Of chain laid out with it, we tried to settle in for our first night.

          It was difficult to relax.   Visions of drifting into the cliffs, jetties, or other moored boats kept running through our minds.  We had dinner, played cards, admired the magnificent star filled sky, but all the while monitoring our position.  We were told by the charter staff that once we set anchor we could trust it to hold. “Once it’s down, pick a point on shore, if you don’t drift, you’re not going to drift at all.  It will hold.”

          Falling asleep that night to the rocking and banging of the boat was not too difficult when I remembered those words, but then I would startle awake and find myself peering through a porthole for proof we had not drifted into danger.  It was a long and restless night.

          Sure enough, when morning came, the sun rose and our anchor held.  There we were safely secured between a rock and a hard place.  I couldn’t stop the onslaught of numerous melodies that ran through my mind that next day, hymns and songs of praise which refer to our God as our anchor.    How often do I deprive myself of the peace He affords me, by not trusting Him to securely hold me between rocks and hard places?

 (Mom, if you’re reading this, we are doing fine and are perfectly safe!   No worries!  Love you and hope to post a journal soon on a separate blog of all our adventures!)

 

A Very Loud Quiet February 2, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:10 pm

          It’s quiet tonight.  I know I’m late in posting to the blog…sorry about that.  But here I am.  Throughout the day I have thought about what I should write.  I have prayed for direction and listened carefully to all that was said around me, as often God uses the words of others to teach me new lessons, yet as of about an hour ago I still did not have great clarity as to what I should share this day.  Then I noticed the very loud quiet.

          There is no one else home.  (Husband is traveling, son is at work and daughter is away at school)  I am sitting on my couch, with my feet propped up on an old trunk we use as a coffee table.  To my immediate left  is my porky little yorkie Hughie.  He is curled up against me as close as possible and a faint grunt like sound escapes his fuzzy muzzle with every other sleepy breath.  To my right is the newest member of our family, our son’s wiemariner puppy, Lucy.  All 25 pounds of her stretches out beside me as if she owns the couch and her soft, sleep induced grumble keeps time with Hughie’s snoring.  It is a very loud quiet.

          Beyond my outstretched feet I can see out to our back deck.  A porch light illuminates the snow as it falls as steady as rain.  No howling wind or clashing thunder, just snow falling.  It’s sort of like watching a silent movie…seems that something so capable of accumulating such mass and encasing landscape should produce a dramatic noise of some sort, but no…instead it’s simply a very loud quiet.

          The furnace is making a hushing sound as it works to heat our home.  It’s as if all the other household appliances are obediently submitting to the furnace’s command to “hush”.  The ice maker, which usually rumbles as it turns out ice, is silent.  Even the usual clicking and whirling of the thermostat, refrigerator and coffee pot have fallen to the hush of the furnace.   The quiet is very loud.

           All day I have wondered what God would want to me to share.  It’s not that I don’t have things to say….I do.  I want to tell you funny stories about my misadventures, fun times with dear friends and humbling moments in my walk.  It would be so easy to fill this page with all the wonderful chaos and blessings of the week and yet I know that is not what I should share.  Tonight I share with you a very loud quiet.

          Stop with me for a moment if you can.  Turn off the TV.  Step away from the kids, or work, for a little bit and listen.  Sometimes we’re so busy shouting out to God, that we fail to hear Him whisper, in a very loud quiet…”I love you My child”.