Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Beauty for Ashes May 25, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 1:15 pm

          “MMmmmmm”, said our waitress as she reached to retrieve an empty dish from in front of Dorothy, my new friend and dining companion at a recent writer’s conference.  “What is that you’re wearing, it smells great?” Without so much as a beat Dorothy proclaimed, “Hard work!”   The poor girl didn’t know what to say next.  The awkward silence was soon filled with laughter.  Throughout the evening Dorothy’s unique wit had us rolling.  “I want to be like you when I grow up!” commented one dinner guest, obviously in awe of Dorothy’s easy laughter and sense of humor.  Dorothy’s response was uncharacteristically somber. “Thank you,” she said, “that means a lot to me.”   She went onto share she had only recently come to a place of healing following a severe mental disorder.  Our laughter subsided as we leaned closer to hear her testimony.  

          After a lifetime of struggle and hardship, she had found mental health. She shared how God had protected her and provided a way for her in the midst of a tragic childhood. She praised God and desired to write her story so others could benefit from her journey.   Although Dorothy’s story was unique, trials and triumphs seemed to be a consistant theme in the many lives of people I met during this week.   

           I looked out over the crowded dinning  room and recalled all the stories and testimonies I had heard.  I took in the bubbling scene of clanking silverware, loud laughter and thoughtful expressions.  There were many faces whose names and stories I did not know.  I wondered what wounds they hid beneath their radiant smiles and dining pleasantries. 

         Then it all became clear… Dorothy’s revelation at our banquet table was just one piece of a beautiful puzzle.  The banquet room, packed with writers and speakers from all walks of life, was  full of God’s beauty.  Lives once filled with heartache or hurt, now sought to share hope and grace to others through the words God had given them.  Truly God had turned their ashes to beauty.

 Isaiah 61:1-3 reminds us of our savior’s ministry to us all, “….to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; …to comfort all who mourn…giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”

          We were all like Cinderella at times, sitting amid ashes in life. Unlike Cinderella, who needed a fairy godmother to whisk her away from her ashen abode, we have a God who turns our ashes into beautiful garland.

 Lord help us to recall your faithfulness and praise you even when times are trying.  Help us to become “oaks of rigteousness” that You might be glorified.


Are We There Yet? May 18, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 6:15 am

          “Are we there yet?”  While you might expect these words to be uttered by a young passenger on a long trip, they are in fact my very words to my heavenly Father just two days ago.

           A friend and I were on our way to our first ever writers conference.  Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the conference center was approximately six hours from our home in Virginia.  Notebooks, pens, books, laptops, back packs and suitcases filled the nooks and crannies of my VW bug.  On the road by 7am we were duly pleased with our timely departure, fully expecting to be at the center by 2PM.

          In our defense, my archaic bug lacks a GPS.  We relied on old fashioned printed directions to complete our journey.  Two glitches impacted our plans.   1. We seemed unable to decode the difference between BUS 40 and regular old 40West. 2. I managed to throw away our only copy of the directions not long after glitch number one.

          After 8 hours on the road I was definitely asking, “Are we there yet?”   My eagerness to be where I was going was causing anxiety.   My “co-pilot” on the other hand had no such worries.  “It’ll be okay, I refuse to let myself worry about it” she said, before tipping her head back and falling asleep.  As I watched her peaceful slumber I tried to imitate her attitude.  The passing exit signs did little to remove my concern as the numbers did not seem to be drawing close to our designated exit at all.

          “Lord, are we there yet?” I prayed in a pleading voice.   Hoping His response would arrive in the form of a sign proclaiming, “Ridgecrest, next exit”.   The more I prayed the more I realized I had the same question regarding other things in my life.

  • Working toward initiating a new aspect of discipleship with our church, “Are we there yet?”
  • Raising our children, now young adults, “Are we there yet?”
  • Becoming a writer,“Are we there yet”

          These last few days it has become quite clear that God is not working within my time frame concerning these things.  I wonder if He wearies of my constant questioning of His pans for me just as I once did when my kids asked me “Are we there yet?”

          The sign for our destination popped up on the horizon and relief and delight flooded my heart.  I know it is time to stop asking “Are we there yet?” and experience the peace of knowing a sovereign God will bring us to where we need to be in His perfect time.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts you’re your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)



Raindrop Races May 11, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 4:47 pm

          It’s raining today, and it seems so very right.  Some days are just meant for rain.  It is gray, chilly and a very dreary sort of day.  It’s the kind of day that makes it easy to work because there are no outdoor activities tempting you away.  It’s the kind of day that seems to demand you drink hot tea, even if you’re not a tea drinker.  It’s the kind of day that compels one to spend a few minutes staring out the window in quiet contemplation.  Maybe it was a car window, maybe an office window or the window in your home, but admit it, you stared at the rain drizzled glass separating you from the outside world. 

          I was in the car with my son, who was driving me to get my car from the shop.   As we waited at a traffic light I found myself focusing on the numerous raindrops littering my car door window.  I was soon transported back in time.

          I remember staring out the window from the back seat of the car as a little girl.  I especially loved it when it rained.  The little droplets would pile up across the window like transparent polka dots on a crystal sky.  “Back in the day”, as they say, we didn’t have DVD players or IPODs in our cars so I would entertain myself with the raindrops on the window.

            I liked to look at the different sizes and would often count them to help pass time.  My favorite activity though, was to watch them race!  Yep, maybe you’ve never noticed, but raindrops race down windows and across car windows.  When the air passed  the car window it would cause each sticky drop of rain to jiggle in anticipation of the race.  I would pick two or three such “jiggling” drops and wait for them to move.  Eventually each would begin to crawl across the window.  I would watch as the littlest one might slide out of the race or be pulled to the air.  The thin ones would stretch out into slithering worms pushing past other drops.  The best, and usually the winners of my imaginary races, were always the thick miniature puddles that adhered to the farthest edge of the window.

          As the raindrop began to slide across the window it would roll into other drops.  Each time it bumped into another dollop of rain it would swallow it up.  With each gulp the droplet would quicken its pace, as it gained in size and momentum.  Eventually this monster of a raindrop would soak up an entire path of droplets and end in a small river at the base of the window edge.

          Today as I caught myself watching the raindrops jiggle on the car window, I thought of how much we are like these drops….

          Sometimes we are barely holding on to the surface as life blows past us like wind on a car window.  The passing of time propels us forward.  As we journey some of us let go and allow ourselves to be taken out of the race.  Sometimes in our rush to finish we spread ourselves too thin.  We weave in and out of life’s journey never growing, never gaining, and ultimately find we are lonely and tired.  But sometimes we find along our path others who join us in our efforts, people who add to our lives and make us better.  Sure, the journey may seem long at times, but the extra passage affords more opportunity to gain strength, wisdom, understanding and grace each time we “bump” into others.

“Let us hold fast to the  confession of our hope without wavering…let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our assembling together…encouraging one another all the more..” Hebrews 10:23-25


Fish Pull May 4, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:47 pm

          So the other day I had my first Kayak fishing adventure!   A few years ago my wonderful hubby got me a kayak for mother’s day….best gift EVER.  I love tooling around the river inlets and coves…just exploring.  Scott also set up a special fishing pole holder thing on it this last year so I could fish from it. Of course I had visions of a wild, wiggling fish flopping around in my kayak and me panicking and falling into the water…so I sort of put off using it for a while. Last week I decided to try it out for the first time.

          I gathered my gear…tackle box, lures, hooks, clamp, pliers, pepperoni(catfish favorite in these parts), sun block, life vest, knife, pole, my favorite pink  “Fishin Chix” hat courtesy of my  sister–in-law Stephanie, hand held emergency radio, and a bottle of water.  I was a force to be reckoned with…at least that’s how I must have looked.

          My husband dutifully helped me get set and shove off.  Actually, I think I saw a bit of a smile eek out his mouth as if he was a little TOO happy to be getting me out of his hair for a bit.  No matter, I was happy to be on the water, and ready for some fishing!  I paddled out like Pocahontas and found my place along with the burly men folk buzzing along in their bass boats.

          It was early in the day and the water was calm and quiet, except for the nerve jarring splashing of nearby fish.  Honestly, for two hours numerous large fish erupted out of the water at various intervals.  Each time my line was in the opposite direction of the jumping fish.  I thought a few times one was just going to plop into my kayak.  Alas, I got a few nibbles and several clumps of Hydrilla(river water plant). 

          I was certain I had snagged on plants again, then I felt the tell tale vibration of life on the other end of my line!  I was so excited!  Upon reeling I discovered a problem I had not anticipated.   As my fish began to swim away from me I found my kayak being pulled along.  Yep, with no anchor and my hands too occupied with my rod and reel to paddle, it soon became unclear as to who actually had who in this game of tug of war.   I was immediately happy I had not landed a REALLY BIG fish!

          Eventually I overcame the rascal.  I was especially pleased that I was able to pull him up and remove the hook with minimal damage and release him back into the river without creating total chaos in my kayak!  I even managed to snap a photo or two!

          The lesson here is pretty hard to miss and has played over in my mind these last days:  You may not anticipate being “pulled” along in life a direction opposite of your own choosing, but sometimes the thing you think you have control over actually is controlling you.  It is not always the big things that tug us away from our calling or path, sometimes it is little things and we are just not anchored.

          Since we plan on going after big fish in life, maybe we should re-examine our anchorage.  Let us set our anchor firmly in the knowledge of our God and His love and grace.

“….so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge, that you may filled up to all fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19