Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Summer Slips Away, Gives Rise to Hope August 31, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:53 pm

          Sigh…summer is slipping away.  I know this because the shelves of school supplies at local stores are almost bare.  The few remaining available lunch box choices do not boast of popular characters or idols, just basic vinyl without frills.  I see summer easing back into a thing of memory in the tearful eyes of moms preparing to send their first kindergartener to school.  Summer slides past me in the chaos of families trying to eek out one more summer activity/memory.  Grocery store shelves are full of “lunch friendly” foods once again.  I see summer waving goodbye as I watch the shopper in front of me unload a cart full of juice boxes, lunchmeats and snack packs of pudding.

          It is okay.  I have not been short changed by any means…I have had a great summer and although I hate to see it go, I must admit it does not seem to be too soon.  It is sort of like after you finish a really big delicious meal…you are sorry you’re done eating, but you could not fathom another bite.  I am ready for the next season.

          One of the things I like best about living in Virginia is the passing of seasons.  I like that just when you think you can’t take another day of humidity and heat, the air grows crisp and fall arrives.  I like that after the colorful leaves of fall have dropped the gray empty tree limbs are soon coated with a brilliant white dusting of snow.  I like knowing that the cold dark days of winter will eventually give in to the brighter days of a flower-filled spring…passing seasons represent hope.

          I hope for a new day.  I hope for a changed pace.  I hope for a fresh start.  I hope for restoration.  I hope for new memories to add to my cherished ones. 

“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more….since  my youth You have taught me, and to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds…Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things.  Who O God is like You?  Though you have made me see troubles….You will again bring me up…I will sing praise to You, I whom You have redeemed.”   Psalm 71:14-25

 

 

Momma Duck and Her Empty Nest August 24, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:36 pm

          I was fishing at the dock today.  It was a calm evening and the water looked slick and seamless.  Since I was not too busy reeling in my intended prey, the giant catfish we call “Moby Cat”, I had plenty of time to take in the picturesque surroundings.  That is when I first noticed them.  They were a motley crew, six young wood ducks gliding past the docks.  No doubt, they were on their way to glean an evening snack from among the water plants that populate the shoreline.

         These were decidedly juvenile ducklings.  They were smallish in size and lacking the vibrant coloring that will come in time.  I recalled seeing a male and female wood duck parading a small contingency of fluffy ducklings around these docks this past spring.  As the summer continued, we would see them from time to time and marvel at how quickly they seemed to be growing.  I wondered if these young ones were from that brood.

          My heart ached as I watched them confidently carrying on the business of being a duck, without the familiar sight of their momma duck.   Where was momma duck?  Was she watching them from nearby?  Was she somewhere on a distant riverbank trying to push her worry for them to the back of her mind? ….Will they make good choices?  Will they be capable of finding food on their own?  Did they pay attention to all the lessons she tried to teach them?  Will they be safe?  Can they survive out in the world on their own? …. I wondered if she was experiencing empty nest syndrome.  Did her feathers puff up with pride when she thought of them?  Suddenly I realized how much I felt like that momma duck.

          This last weekend we became empty nesters once again.  Our daughter, now 21, has begun her junior year at a college in South Carolina.  It is not her first semester there, yet it felt like I was leaving her for the first time when we dropped her off on Saturday.  Our 23 yr. old son had been living back at home while working and going to school.  He moved out this weekend as well.  I am thrilled for them both. 

          Ashley has found a good fit at the College of Charleston.  She has made good friends and seems challenged but not overwhelmed.  Her world is expanding by leaps and bounds.  She is happy.

          Steven works full time at a hospital and is a full time student.  His new apartment is only minutes from his work, but he will need to work another part time job to be able to afford it.  It is a good move for him.   He is taking on new responsibilities and investing his time wisely.   He is excited to be out on his own again and we can already see a difference in him.  He is happy.

I am happy too… They are smart, funny, confident, and caring young adults…it is just hard to shake the worry I share with that momma duck. 

        This is not the first time I have let them go….there was kindergarten, bicycle riding, first grade, first sleepover, first dates, first car,  learning to swim, middle school, high school…. too many times to mention, when I knew I could not protect them or hold their hand, times I did not have all the answers and times  I was decidedly not in control of their lives….and yet this is a different kind of letting them go.

          I know the God who saw us through all those growing up years will continue to hold them in His capable arms.  A friend once shared a prayer for her young adult daughter with me….I have echoed it myself many times…

“God, please give them wisdom, but until then give them grace.”

I may not always understand their journey, but it is theirs to walk and they do not go alone.

As I have since the day they were born, I will continue to “carry them to Jesus”

 

 

 

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Ooooooh Noooooooo! August 17, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:38 pm

          It was quite a vision of architectural mastery…my little nephew, Zachary, and his Uncle Scott had just completed a teetering tower of sand together.  The globular “castle” was formed from wet, drizzled sand and stood about a foot tall complete with a small “moat” in the front of it.  Zachary carefully placed small shells along its sides and top.  Both were proud of their effort. 

          Not too much later in the morning, as Zachary was showing his cousin Ashley their masterpiece, the rising tide began to whittle away the base of the structure.  We all watched helplessly as the tiny tower began to sag to its side and eventually collapse.  Little Zachary’s eyes grew wide and we braced for his disappointment….”ooooooh nooooooo!”  we heard him say, as he tossed his hands in the air in a gesture that seemed to ask, What happened?

          His wise cousin Ashley explained to him that the foundation was just not strong enough.  

        While it is difficult to be at a beach and NOT write about all the Biblical applications found in the tremendous amount of sand, even I could not pass up this topic.  Here in Hilton Head South Carolina the beaches are expansive.  Wide swaths of packed sand lead down to gentle waves.  I have never been on beaches so firm and flat.  Joggers, walkers, bikers, and even families with strollers are moving across the beaches all day long. 

          It is easy to forget how precarious the ground below actually is, but by mid day beach chairs are sinking into the sand as if being swallowed by quick sand.   No matter how firm you think the earth below you is, it will eventually give in to the incoming tide and become a gooey, spongy mess.

         I think that is exactly the image Jesus may have wanted us to have when we read his words in Mathew 7: 24-27.   “…and every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and when the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”  

         Hearing the Word of God and failing to be obedient to it is as foolish as building a house on gooey, spongy sand.  We will not be able to stand against the rising tides in life and I am pretty certain that we would all then find ourselves saying, “ooooh noooooo!”

 

Lacking Focus August 10, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:49 pm

Lucy is my son’s 10-month-old Wiemaraner.   She is about 60 pounds of puppy.  She is not well trained on the leash yet, making our daily walks a bit of a challenge.  The problem is not just that she pulls continually at the leash, but rather her inability to focus on moving forward on the walk.  Take today for example.

Today we walked one entire mile, down our street and back.  In that relatively short span, here is what she accomplished:

  • 2 newspapers retrieved from various drive ways, none of which were ours.
  • One squirrel chased up a nearby tree
  • 2 cats cowering below parked cars
  • One jogger who increased her pace to avoid Lucy’s advances
  • 3 dandelion tuffs devoured
  • One decorative flag waving seductively from a mailbox, narrowly escaped being eaten
  • Senselessly jumped in effort to catch bird perched on telephone line
  • A quick drink form a small puddle of water on side of road
  • Carried at least  3 branhces (not “sticks”, but branches with leaves) alternately dropping  then retrieving them
  • Sniffing every mailbox and saying hello to every neighbor working in their yard
  • Collected objects along the way including pinecones, rocks, acorns and a dead frog.

 My right arm, the one I held her leash with, is no doubt inches longer due to her eager pulling.  She will need a lot more practice walking on leash, but in retrospect who can blame her for her lack of focus on our walk.  There were exciting things to see, smells to smell and things to taste everywhere we went.  Maybe if I were she, I too would lack focus and bolt every direction except the direction planned for me.

As we both made our way back to the house I’m not sure who was panting more, we were both exhausted.  I could not stop thinking about how nice the walk could have been had she simply walked with me and followed my lead.  That’s when it occurred to me just how much I have in common with Lucy.

I too am quickly nudged off task by my own lack of focus.  God’s direction in my life is often clear, yet it does not take much for me to lose my way.  I take on things He does not ask me to take on.  I stop and dwell on things He is trying to pull me past.  I will trade His final destination for me for an immediate opportunity to bring myself satisfaction.  How nice my journey could be if I would simply walk with Him and follow His lead.

What an immense challenge, making God my one desire.   This week I will dwell on Psalm 63:1-8….

“Oh God you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you….Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in Your name will I lift up my hands…..On my bed I remember You; I think of you through the watches of the night…my soul clings to you…..”

 

Ode to My Hubby On Our Anniversary August 3, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:53 pm

           I love my husband for …the numerous meals he endured comprised solely of variations of mac and cheese(one of the few things I knew how to cook in the early years), the time I tossed hot biscuits in his lap(he had laughed at how they looked, admittedly they resembled snowballs with brown spikes), the simple rope swing he built just for me, the day I brought home an old wooden cable wheel and informed him it was our new TV stand and he did not look surprised, the many times he braved the frozen linoleum floors of our trailer to reignite our pilot light in the early morning,  the way he always helped with the kids, time spent with the kids building forts, boating and teaching them how to ride a bike,  taking us camping and exposing us to such sweet memories of campfires and adventure, the time I scratched the paint off our car while trying to scrape ice off the hood.

        I love my husband for…. all the times he struggled to reconcile my illogical reasoning with is logical mind, how hard he works not only to provide for us, but also to honor God in all he does,  his calm in the midst of my storms,  his wisdom ….this list could go on, but I guess there is no  need, I know I have tons of reasons to love him.

        This anniversary we celebrate 26 years of marriage, not 26 years of perfection.  We do not celebrate always being happy…instead we celebrate our lives together as a reminder of God’s grace to us.  We celebrate 26 years of not always knowing what we were doing or where we are going and thanking our God for the journey!

I love you Scott for all you are and do, but especially for how you love me…you’re my favorite!