Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Laundry Toss Lesson January 26, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 1:07 am

          I was attempting to be more organized with our laundry.  My husband appeared to be resistant to my efforts.  “How could he get this so wrong” I thought to myself.  I had placed two laundry baskets in the floor of our closet, one for whites, the other for darks.   Their designation was obvious as they were already somewhat full with white and darks respectively.  I stood over the two laundry baskets , my mouth hanging open in astonishment.   There, atop the whites basket was a wad of my dear husbands dark shirts and jeans….and, no surprise, his whites were laid across the darks basket.

          I turned to him with needless impatience, “Seriously, how hard is it to put your darks in the darks and whites in the whites?”  I said.  My tone reflected my frustration with his lack of compliance with my laundry system.  At first his only respose was that cute little puppy dog tilt of the head as if to ask “What are you talking about?”  Then he realized the source of my snippiness and simply grinned.  “You need to understand the process for how they got there” .  He picked up a tee shirt he had just taken off, rolled it in a ball and tossed across the room and into the closet where it landed randomly between both baskets.

          Ahhhhhaaaa. So the problem was that he did not take the time to go near the baskets and careful place his laundry in the correct place.  His method of tossing his dirty laundry across the room may have saved him a few steps, but it resulted in dirty laundry chaos in the floor of our closet.  If he would only take the time to get closer to the baskets he could tell there was a system and follow my laundry plan.  His distance kept him from the needed perspective to achieve laundry system compliance.  It was not the placement of items in the baskets that was the issue, the problem was the process that got them there.

          I realize I cannot fault my husband for his lack of dirty laundry efficiency for two reasons; first, I have a tendency to be MUCH less organized than him in most things so I really don’t have room to talk.  Secondly; when we operate from a distance we are all prone to missing the mark.

          A dear feind of mine recently returned from a Community Bible Study leadership conference.  She was so excited by all she learned and saw while away she was overwhelmed in trying to share.  In Christian circles we call this a “mountain top” experience.  Her spirit had been revived and her desire to know God more was at an all time high.  Her enthusiasm was infectious.  If found myself reflecting on my own relative lack of enthusiasm.  I used to hunger for the Word of God, now at times I struggle to be consistently in the Word.  Before, I could not read enough and no matter how often I read a passage over the years,  each time it was new and applicable to  life. 

         Reading God’s Word consistently is how we draw close to Him.  When I fail to stay in His word I soon find that like my husband’s laundry toss, I too miss the mark.  God has a plan, a system.  Sometimes I follow close and can see with ease His direction for my life.  Sometimes I stay distant from Him.  Instead of intentionally, obediently following Him, I instead toss my efforts to please Him aimlessly.  The end result…I miss the plan, create chaos, miss His intended blessing.

          If I am going to hold my husband to a standard of taking the time to get close enough to the laundry baskets so he can follow the system, I must then hold myself accountable.  I will get closer to God so I can follow His plan for me. 

One of my favorite verses is Psalm 63:8…I like How the KJ version puts it

”My soul followeth hard after thee;

Thy right hand upholdeth me.”

This week I pray I find myself following hard after my God and seeking to know Him even more.

 

A Slippery Lesson January 18, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:14 pm

         It iced last night.  I’m not sure if that is the correct term for it, but it sure seems to fit.  This morning we woke to a world coated with crystal.  It was beautiful, still, and quiet.  I thought it was just lovely until I recalled that the beautiful ice on my trees and lawn would mean an impassable driveway.

        The condition of my driveway would not normally be a concern early in the morning on a day such as this, many things closed or canceled and my husband working from home, but with dread, I realized I had yet to put our mail in the mailbox.  Bills needed to get out and since my mail carrier would be not be stopped by “rain nor snow nor sleet…” I needed to get to my mailbox.   

        Now let me attempt to paint the picture for you.

       First, the terrain: Our driveway is approximately 75 ft. of gently sloping asphalt…upward sloping.  It is flanked on either side by swaths of yard, which eventually narrow to foot wide grassy sections separating the driveway from significant ledges.  It was at this time completely sealed by a quarter inch of ice.

        Second, the attire:  Having been up only a few hours and lingering over a second cup of coffee, I was still in my PJs.  My hair had yet to meet a brush, which means it was plastered on one side of my head and reaching to the sky on the other.  After poking my bare feet into the nearest pair of boots in the hall closet, I topped off my ensemble with an oversized Pea coat.

         Third, the plan:  Yes, I actually had a plan.  I decided I could get traction in the crunchy, crusty grass along the driveway.  I would avoid the slippery surface of the driveway for as much as possible.  I even determined I would take the longer way around the side of the house and use the garbage can as a safe anchor if needed.  AND, just in case, I told my husband to be sure to check on me in case it did not go as planned.

         So, there you have it.  That is how a 1 minute walk to the mailbox turned into a 20 minute lesson in control, or lack of it. 

        After painstakingly making it all the way to my destination, and chiseling open the mailbox, I began the homeward decent.  Feeling a tad brave due to my success, I ventured onto the driveway for my return trip.  Slowly I began to slide like butter on a hot griddle.  I managed to keep my head above my feet and not fall, I am sure purely out of fear that IF I did fall, 911 would need to be called and I was NOT going to be seen looking like I did lying flat on my backside.  As I perfected my slow motion slide into home one thing was infinitely clear…I was out of control.  It became apparent my only part in my safe return to the front porch would be to keep my head over my feet no matter where they lead me.

          Once safe and warm within my house I assessed a few things.  First, my husband was enjoying his cup of coffee not even remotely aware of my perilous adventure.  Had I fallen, apparently my worries of being found by 911 responders were without merit.  Second, and most important, I realized how often my life is like my mailbox journey.

          How often do I set out to accomplish something out of my own ability?  I will map out a path, plan and prepare for the journey.  I may even try to attire myself for the task.  Ultimately, it is God who controls our steps.  My job is to keep my head over my feet no matter where He leads.

“Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me” Psalm 139:10

 

 

Lessons from an Octopus January 11, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:00 pm

          Okay, I am a clicker.  I am that annoying person who, when given control of the TV remote, will rapidly click through ALL available channels until something catches my attention.  Much to my husband’s dismay, I tend to forget the existence of a TV guide.  While this may not be a very efficient method of seeking out entertainment, it has yielded some viewing gems I would have otherwise never happened upon.  For example, just last week I expanded my knowledge of the amazing giant octopus. 

          I am not quite sure what the entire program was about, but I was quickly drawn into the goings on of a group of researchers capturing an octopus and then performing behavioral studies on it at sea.  I watched as they placed their captive octopus into a clear acrylic box below the surface of the ocean.  The narrator informed us the box had one circular opening, which the octopus could use to escape.  The octopus is basically boneless, which allows it to squish in and out of extraordinarily small places.  This attribute has lead the octopus to be considered by many the Houdini of the sea.  The diameter of this exit hole was just large enough to allow for the ONE part of the octopus that cannot be changed or manipulated.  The octopus has one small bone section located between its eyes. 

          I watched as this amazing creature used one of its sucker lined arms to feel around the opening before beginning its escape.  Arm by arm, body section by flattened body section; the octopus quickly extricated itself from the confines of the box.   Next  the researchers reduced the available exit opening to a diameter that would NOT accommodate the only bone structure the octopus had. 

          As soon as the little guy was placed back in the box he again used his arm to investigate his escape route.  Surprisingly, within minutes the octopus had ascertained it would not be able to get out of the small opening.  There was no attempt to escape at all.  Instead, the octopus settled into a corner of the box.  The researchers were excited!  The experiment confirmed that the octopus has a very keen understanding of self.  Apparently, most would have expected the captured creature to try to remove itself from the undesired circumstance.  It was assumed the realization of the impossibility of escape would have come from trial and error.   They discovered that because the octopus KNEW it had a body structure that would prevent it from escape, it did not even try.

          Hmmmmm, an octopus knows what it can and cannot accomplish.  This spineless mass of gelatinous tissue is capable of knowing something about itself that even I struggle with at times.  It knows that although it can morph into almost any size, shape or color, there was something in its core being that defined it.  While the small bone in its head like body may be seen as a limitation, the octopus’s understanding of it was liberating.  It did not attempt to push, pull or stretch itself into something it could not become.  It did not waste time or energy trying to form itself into something it was never meant to be.  God had made it just so.

          How often do I fail to recognize the core of what God has placed within me.  Sometimes in my attempt to live out “I can do all things through God..”  I forget that He has not made me to be all things to all people.  He has placed within me abilities or gifts which may not always fit into my own expectations.  How much needless effort would be avoided if I could seek to understand the person God has created me to be.  What a wonderful attribute that would be, knowing myself as He sees me and seeking with confidence my fit in His plan.

“For You created my inner most being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful , I know that full well…all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”  Psalm 139:14-16

 

 

A New Year January 4, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 6:15 pm

           Happy New Year!  Hard to believe we are past the days of celebrating the birth of our savior and well into the days of self-contemplation.  It seldom fails that each new year we are compelled to consider the previous year in great detail and determine adjustments as needed for the coming year. 

          New Year resolutions often focus on careers, family, health, and even our spiritual walk.  We vow to improve, stop, or start various activities in hopes that the next year will yield better results based on our efforts.  I recall numerous resolutions I have made over the years to lose weight, be a better wife, better house keeper, better mom, better friend, better follower of Christ, etc…  Now I’m not saying I did not accomplish these tasks entirely, but suffice to say I spent more time agonizing over my failures than reveling in my success.

          Why is it that at the start of each year we place such pressure on ourselves for improvement?  Why not seek such resolve year round?  Maybe because it is such a daunting task we can only handle this level of goal setting once a year.  For me, the unfortunate result is that I expect my personal “course corrections” to take place instantaneously.    I am quick to feel defeated when I have not achieved my resolutions by February or March.

          This week I ran across a familiar scripture following my reading of the account of Jesus’ birth in the book of Luke.  Although this verse is not new to me at all, it was as if I had never noticed it before.  I pray you find the freedom and relief I felt as I read these words…

Luke 2:52—And Jesus INCREASED in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

          Yep, there it is…He “increased”.  Jesus may have been without sin, but wisdom and self-improvement was not instantaneous…it was a process even for Him.  I want to remember that this year.  When I’m working on an aspect of my life, when Satan tries to discourage me, when it seems I’ll never meet my own expectations….I want to remember my life is a process and my God has His plans for me.

“For I know the thoughts  that I think towards you saith the Lord,  Thoughts  of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end….you shall seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:11-13