Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

A Christmas Tree Angel, A Reminder of Grace December 24, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:16 am

            I’m not sure where she came from.  I’m not even certain of her age.   I do know that she sat atop the Christmas tree for many of my growing up years, quietly presiding over each holiday season.  I acquired her from my mother many years ago.

Her gold foil, cardboard wings, once ended in perfect points extending her stature to seven inches.  Now her wing span is slightly reduced, as the tips went from being slightly bent, to folded, until they eventually tore off.  Her dark red velvet dress, trimmed with gold brick brack, fits snuggly to her waist before flowing over her cardboard form.  Her once silky, radiant white hair, now hangs in brittle coils around her shoulders.  A little gold foil halo covers a place on her head where some of her hair has given way to the passage of time.

Her head and hands are made of wax, as is the candle she holds in one hand.  I remember her as a beautiful lady, her face perfect and delicate.  Those qualities are now faded.  Her head, once held high and straight, has melted somewhat.  It now bows lovingly downward and a bit to the right.  Two years ago a significant amount of time and effort was put into reattaching her long held candle to her now misshaped hand.  Yep, she’s a bit of mess you might say.  I like that about her.

She doesn’t light up or sparkle, and quite often she is too small for the tree, making her look even more out of place.  But I look forward to her presence in my living room each Christmas.  Late at night, when the tree is lit and others have gone on to bed, I find myself thinking of her and all we have in common.

I too, know what it’s like to have my wings bent and torn.  I know what it feels like when your body gives itself over to the challenges of time.  My hair is no longer silky or radiant, and I only wish had a halo to hide the places where it has become thin.  I understand the sagging of her shoulders and the bowing of her head.  I have felt the weight every mother bears for her family.  I know the need to bow my head in constant prayer.   I love her imperfection.  She’s a holiday reminder that God loves us in our imperfection.

A love full of grace, a savior born to take on the sin of the world, a reason to celebrate, reflected in the melted features and unraveled edges of our Christmas tree Angel.

God’s love was revealed among us in this way. God sent His son into the world so we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9





Enthusiastic, Tenacious LOVE December 20, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 7:42 pm

         This week we continue our advent celebration.  Each week, four prior to Christmas  Eve, we gather to light a candle and consider the coming of our savior.  It is a  wonderful time to stop in the midst of the season and truly focus on the reason for all the wonderful merriment of Christmas.  This final week we celebrate His LOVE for us.

         As I sat at my computer beginning to compose this week’s devotion, I was met with a bit of an intrusion…my pesky, porky Yorkie, Hughie.  I had finished my Christmas shopping, house cleaning and dinner preparations and was looking forward to collecting my thoughts in a rare moment of quiet and calmness.  Hughie normally sits at my side on the bench with me as I write devotions for the blog.  Today he had other plans.  Today he kept jumping up onto the desk sticking his wet nose in my face, laying down on the mouse pad or licking my fingers as I tried to type.  Hughie is a Yorkshire “Terrier”, which is by God’s design a very persistent breed.   This may be a handy quality if you need him to track or catch prey…not so fine a quality when the task he is focused/driven to accomplish is to have your attention.

          No matter how often I placed him off the desk or scolded his efforts to distract me, he continued to insist I stop everything and love on him.  Yep, all he wanted was for me to stop typing and pet his head, scratch his ears and hold him in my lap….none of which are easily done while writing.  When placed on the floor he sat below my desk and cried/whined nonstop.  He was not going to give up; he is a terrier after all.  He wanted love and attention, and NOTHING was going to keep it from him.  I finally conquered his strong will by placing him in another room altogether, along with a nice bone and his favorite blanket.  I tend to get frustrated with his antics; dogs should not be this needy.  Of course, I realize I am to blame in part…he loves me.

         In the morning, he seeks me out.  He needs to lick my face and feel me rub his furry noggin before he even thinks about eating his breakfast.  If I am still upstairs, and the hubby lets him out of the kennel, he races to the bedroom door and whines/waits for me to emerge and greet him.  Every time I come home, no matter how long I have been away, to the mailbox or mall, he wags his whole body with absolute relief and joy. 

        I have often teased my family that if they would love me as much as Hughie does life would be so much better for all of us.  I’m not saying my family doesn’t love me, they just don’t  love me with the tail wagging, face licking enthusiasm I get from the dog.  (I am not saying I want my face licked by any member of the family by the way…you know what I mean). 

        Now that I think of it, I do know what it feels like to be loved enthusiastically by someone other than my dog.   My God loves me like that and more.   God desires to be close to me.  He never gives up on me, never stops loving me even when I try to shut Him out or quiet His calling on my heart.  He never tires of my pushing Him away, He waits patiently for me to turn to Him and experience His love.  He does not love me because I have earned or deserved it.   He loves me because I am His creation and it saddens Him that my sin separates me from Him.  He has provided a way for me to be restored to His fellowship, be forgiven of my sin, and find peace through the sacrifice of His Son.

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins.”   ( 1John 4:9&10)

Our God is more tenacious than any terrier and loves us with unfathomable enthusiasm!  This week we consider His great love evidenced by the birth of His son, our Savior.  Let us respond with an enthusiastic, tenacious love for our God!



Missing Pieces, Finding Peace December 15, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 6:41 pm

          It has been a while since I worked a jigsaw puzzle.  I used to like having one set out on the kitchen table so everyone could work on it throughout the week.   The other day, as I was cleaning out a cabinet, I found a small pile of puzzle pieces in far corner on a shelf.  This seemed odd at first; I did not have a boxed puzzle in the cabinet.  I laughed when I realized where they must have come from. 

          One year, when my mother was in town visiting us, I emptied the contents of a puzzle onto the kitchen table.  It was a puzzle we had tried to complete before but had eventually put away .  My mom is good at working puzzles and I thought she would enjoy the project.  We all worked on the puzzle from time to time, but it was my mom who managed to fit most of the pieces into their proper place.   She seemed to enjoy working on it throughout her stay…until she came to the final stages of the puzzle.  With almost all the stray pieces nestled in place, it was obvious there were numerous pieces missing.

          Yep, I had inadvertently given my mom an incomplete puzzle!  In my defense, I had no way of knowing there were missing pieces, but that did little to detract from the cruel reality that she had started something she would never see finished.  The beautiful scene was marred by a severely lacking sky, bits of a house and carriage and even a few vital “edge” pieces.  I have no doubt the small pile I unearthed from the cabinet was comprised of those missing pieces.   I tossed them in the trash; the puzzle they belong to had long since been discarded.

           I thought of that day when we concluded our puzzle would never been complete.   It was frustrating and deflating.  How much is humanity like our puzzle?  Nations and generations of individuals have tried to work things to fit a plan or expectation.  How much have we strived to find our place in the world and to be happy?  We are not complete.  By our own deeds we find we are lacking.  We are separated from one another by so many aspects.  We are separated from our heavenly Father by our sin…we are as a group and as individuals, incomplete. 

           The missing pieces of my puzzle may have been found on a back shelf in a cabinet, but the piece we are missing in our lives was been found lying in a manger long ago.   This week we consider the PEACE brought to all of man at the advent of Jesus Christ our Savior.   It is through his birth, life, death and resurrection that we find the pieces that reconcile our imperfection with the perfection of our God.  Through Christ, we find true PEACE and forgiveness for our sin.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For He himself is our peace…”  Ephesians 2:13-14



Broken Crayons December 9, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:20 pm

        This week we continue our advent celebration.  Each week, four prior to Christmas Eve, we gather to light a candle and consider the coming of our savior.  It is a wonderful time to stop in the midst of the season and truly focus on the reason for all the wonderful merriment of Christmas.  These devotion entries will center on the advent themes of Hope, Joy, Peace and Love.  This week we consider JOY.

           I could not help but smile as I read this facebook post from one of the young moms at our church, she wrote…

“I asked Zachary to pick out the little broken crayons for a project. He comes back with a handful and tells me that there weren’t enough so he had to make some (by breaking our good crayons). God is testing me…”

         Beyond the hilarity of this miscommunication and Zachary’s creative problem solving skills, I keep thinking of those broken crayons.  Though I do not know what sort of project his mom had in mind when she asked for the little broken crayon pieces, I am assuming it might involve melting them into something new, beautiful or useful.  Broken crayons are perfect for things like that…they are easier to melt and are more than likely not being used in their current state.

          While it may not have been his mom’s intent, little Zachary’s efforts were meant to provide his mom with all the pieces she might need for her project.  Are we like these crayons?  Perhaps we are whole and finding ourselves being put to use just as we are, where we are.  Perhaps we are broken, waiting for God to repurpose us for His glory and melt us into His perfect will.  PERHAPS we are intact, but find God snapping us into the piece He needs for His perfect plan for our lives.

         I think of the many times I have felt broken and realize that it has been in these times that I found growth and God’s grace.  When I am broken, I am eagerly seeking my God.  When I am broken, I am listening to God.  When I am broken, I am more easily molded into what God’s plans are for me.  Just like Zachary broke perfectly good crayons, maybe God breaks seemingly perfectly good people so He can use them and melt them into something even better!

This week of advent, we consider the JOY the birth of our Savior brought to us all.  Today I am praising God that the advent of the Christ child, means that though I may be broken He can restore me for His glory.  The birth of our savior was indeed, “good news of a great JOY, which shall be for all people”!

May we take JOY in knowing He has provided redemption for all people…

broken people.

“And the angle said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold I I bring you good new of a great joy which shall be to all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”   Luke 2:10-11