Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

I Almost Saw A Whale! February 28, 2012

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:23 am

          “A dolphin!, my husband yelled from the back of our boat. I rushed to where he stood and looked quickly the direction he pointed….no dolphin.   I could see only the concentric rings of rippling water marking a place where something had no doubt surfaced.  I scanned the area, squinted into the sun reflecting off the water, and tried my hardest to see the dolphin.  “Over there!” , the husband now bellowed as I scurried to his side of the boat and followed his pointed finger…again only ripples and waves did I see.  I really, really, wanted to see the dolphin!  I stared into the swift moving current for a  long time.  I was drawn to any disturbance in the water, certain I almost caught a glimpse of the dolphin.

          This brought back a memory from when I was a little girl.  The details, of course, are not clear, so I will no doubt embellish the story a bit…but I do recall being in the Seattle Washington area and visiting a place where it was possible to see whales at times.  My family was there along with and aunt, uncle and my cousins.  I remember my cousin and I trying hard to see a whale…I really, really wanted to see one.  Every white capped wave, every shimmer of sun off the ocean surface, seemed like a promise of a whale sighting…to the point that I convinced myself I had seen, well, almost seen, a whale.  That is when I uttered the memorable line, “I ALMOST SAW A WHALE!”  Yep, the adults thought it funny…my cousin and I felt we had succeeded in our effort to spot a whale.

          Dolphin spotting this day felt much the same.  The hubster kept seeing the elusive dolphin and I kept feeling like I was only “almost seeing” one.  I thought about how in life, it is easy to miss seeing the important things God has for us, lessons, blessings, evidences of Him and reminders of His care for us.   Am I the one who only sees the “rings or ripples”, the one who is a bit late to recognize something, or too distracted to take the time to really look?  Do I look everywhere but where God wants me to look?  Was I destined to be the “ring, ripple” spotter while others get to see the real thing?  Is that enough?  No, I want to see the real thing!  I want to appreciate when I see the “rings or ripples” that mark a place or situation that God had impacted…but I also want to be busy seeking God always, heart open, eyes wide, and ready to witness His grace and mercy.  I want to be able to shout “There He is!”

          I did learn that day that sometimes to see what others see, you have to be where they are and be patient.  I stood on the dock for quite a while, but eventually the dolphin came into my view.  I don’t think seeing dolphins will ever get old…it is always exciting.  We watched as a small pod of them  played  around the marina and then disappeared into the deeper water, but not before I had a chance to point to them for others on the dock nearby and shout, “There they are!”

“How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart” Psalm 119:2

Lord, help us to seek you with all our heart and not just “almost see” , but to truly see Your work in our lives!


Wow, Weird and Wonderful! February 21, 2012

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:29 pm

          Had a rather odd thing occur today….Quick background:  I donated a kidney to my dad about 20 years ago (I’ll save that for another blog post someday).  Recently  the university medical center that performed the procedure contacted me about participating in a research project following living kidney donors.  A gentleman from the center has been working with me over the phone and by mail.   I have filled out questionnaires, submitted test results, and stuff like that.  Normally he contacts me, but I have tried to return his call at least once.  I entered his number from a voicemail into my phone a few months ago.  Wellllllllll, apparently I managed to enter in a wrong number…but this is where it gets really really  weird.

          I hit the call button to contact the kidney research guy , I needed to confirm he had all the info he needed.  A nice woman answered the phone.  Obviously, a wrong number…but before I could excuse myself the voice on the other end of the line said, “Teri? Is that you?”   SOMEHOW, I managed to enter a wrong number that just happened to be the phone number of the woman I met last year while running my first half marathon down in New Orleans! 

Let that sink in a minute……….it took me a while to wrap my head around what had transpired too.

         The only thing she had in common with my kidney guy was an area code….what are the chances of that!!!!   I did not even have her number saved in my phone!   She had entered my phone number into her phone following our race, so when I called it came up as “Teri 13.1”….she said the last time I called, I left a message about kidney stuff, but it did not make sense to her.  She wondered what the deal was. 

         Imagine dialing a wrong long distance number and finding the person on the other end is someone you know!!!  Definitely a wow, weird and wonderful happening.  I might say I don’t know why it happened, but I know my God enough to know it was not the freak chance it seems to be. 

          It was so good to talk with Angie again.  My relationship with Angie began as we trudged alongside each other to complete our 13.1 mile run.  She was just a stranger amid the mass of runners but, after a short exchange of conversation, she quickly became my encourager, inspiration, and running buddy.  She lives in Alabama and my only contact with her since then has been through e-mails, and sadly not even recently.

         After trying to reconcile my brain to the crazy circumstance that found me talking to this distant friend, we quickly fell into comfortable conversation again.  It was great catching up.  We may not have a lot in common, but we have a common God.  He continues to use this sweet lady to inspire me.   I’m pretty sure I could not do all that she does, homeschooling, caring for her family and extended family, and working full time and dealing with the occasional health issue.  I love how we kind of get each other too…when I confess that sometimes I am too lazy to go for a run…not because it is hard, but because I don’t want to have to shower again, she laughs…not because it’s funny, but because she knows what that feels like! 

          By the time we said goodbye I felt refreshed and inspired.  To be honest she had not been on my mind in some time, yet now I find myself eager to pray for her and her family.  I am also reminded of our first meeting and the half marathon we managed to complete…even though it was a life impacting event, time had already begun to thin the memory a bit, and I want to always remember that time and the lessons I learned. 

Thank you God, for the wow, weird and wonderful moment today, and for the inspiration found in the faraway friend!


Illuminating Love February 14, 2012

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:51 pm

          When I was a little girl, I was afraid of the dark.  This posed quite a problem since I shared a room with my sister who preferred a dark room in which to sleep.  Each night there would be a quiet battle about just how far to crack the door and how much light we could let in the room.  She would try to give me tips on going to sleep in spite of my fear…count sheep, talk to the Sheppard, think happy thoughts…none of which helped in the least, until one night she told me to close my eyes.   She then proceeded to make the point that when I closed my eyes, it was dark and no different from the dark room.  Now, that could have gone badly, I often wonder why I did not start feeling afraid to close my eyes, but it worked.  I also knew that I could banish that mean old darkness with nothing more than the flick of a switch or the opening of a door…peace at last.

          Today is Valentine’s Day.  Today I am not only thinking of those I love, but of a love far greater than any I could imagine.  I am thinking of the love bestowed on us all by God through His son Jesus Christ.  Today I am reminded that in Him there is no darkness.  Today I am thankful for a love that immerses me in light.

          I hope that as you read these Words you will know that you are loved beyond measure by a God who defeats darkness, immerses you in light ,who created you, knows you, sees you, protects you, plans for you and thinks of you more often than there are  grains of sand…that is LOVE. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

1 God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. 2 I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. 3 You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight.

4 You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. 5 I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence, coming and going.

6 This is too much, too wonderful – I can’t take it all in! 7 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? 8 If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! 9 If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, 10 You’d find me in a minute – you’re already there waiting!

11 Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” 12 It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. 14 I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation! 15 You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

16 Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. 17 Your thoughts – how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! 18 I couldn’t even begin to count them – any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!

(Psalm 139:1-18)The Message




When the Wheels Come Off the Wagon February 9, 2012

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 1:05 pm

I have had quite an adventurous few weeks. 

          Two weeks ago, I went into the hospital for a medical “procedure.”   (I will try to walk the fine line between being transparent and honest with not over sharing.)  Late last year I discovered I had developed uterine fibroids.  Not cancer, not even a big health concern, but after discussions with my doctor we agreed it was best to have them dealt with at this time.  Suffice to say it was not life threatening, nor was it a big deal.  Rather, it was a fairly common procedure requiring a short overnight stay in the hospital and an easy two week recovery.  

          All went as expected.  I had great care and was home by noon the following day.  Recovery was nothing more tasking than rest and medicine; I am a fan of both.   Five days later I was feeling fine and excited to see life close to normal around the corner, that is until I went to the grocery store.

          It was Tuesday.  I remember it well.  I had stopped by the local grocer to pick up a few things.  As I was checking out the kind cashier simply uttered , “Hello, how are you today?”  Suddenly, out of nowhere, I was overcome with emotion.  I wanted to crawl over the counter, throw myself into her arms and cry.    I hurried out to my car, thankful I was able to fight such a crazy urge, and drove straight home, crying all the way.  “WHAT WAS THAT?” I kept asking myself once I was safely home.   All throughout that day, I kept having odd bouts of crying, no reason, and not long lasting.  Something was not right.  I admit I am an emotional person, but this was not normal even for me!

          My husband was out of town, which may have been a good thing since I am certain my behavior would have worried him.  The next day I continued to feel on the verge of tears throughout the day.  Anytime someone asked how I was on the phone or in an e-mail, I had to fight back sobs.  Yep, as if crying easily was not bad enough, now I was SOBBING at every kind word sent my way.  I began to pray asking God to keep kind people out of my path.

           I had to go to Target.  I purposefully went to one further from my home in hopes of avoiding running into someone I knew who would ask, “Hey. How are you?”   I knew this would trigger illogical sobbing in public.  I even prayed asking God to place disconnected, stern faced people in my path this day.  It almost worked.  I was practically at the check out before a worse case scenario crossed my path.  Not only did I run into someone I knew, but it was a couple I had not seen in some time, he, a compassionate local pastor and she, a typical kindhearted pastor’s wife complete with a sweet southern accent.   Pastor: Hey Teri how are you? It is so good to see you!  Wife: Oh my goodness, it is good to see you, HOW ARE YOU?(said with a sweet and very earnest tone)Me: I’m good.(do you get in extra trouble with God if you lie to a pastor?)  I hold my shopping cart with white knuckles and we manage a brief surface exchange of pleasantries before I hurry back to the car.  I am grumbling under my breath to God, “Seriously God?  What were you thinking?”

          By Thursday, it is safe to say the wheels were coming off the wagon.  I was sure I was going crazy and convinced it had something to do with the afore mentioned procedure.  Satan latched onto that and soon I was imagining all kinds of reasons why I no longer had control of my emotions, none of them good of course.  That morning I had a previously scheduled doctor appointment, not at all related to the procedure.  It was a simple check in with a doctor who has been working with me on my overall health and diet.  On the way there, I prayed, pleaded, with God. “Please don’t let me cry in front of these people, please do not let them be too kind.”    Felt fine, pleasant hellos in the waiting room, all seems good….yep, as the nurse is simply taking my blood pressure I begin to SOB, not cry, SOB.  Confused and worried she held me and the dam broke.  I am sure I got snot on her shirt as I fell heartbroken against her shoulder.   No reason.

          The doctor entered the room with the kind of caution one would use when approaching a crouching tiger.   I cried as I tried to explain the events of the last few days.  He encouraged me to see my other doctor and confirmed that yes, this was not normal.  Before I left, he took my hand and prayed with me, that I would find an answer and peace. Yep, I cried.

          I then went to the hospital where the procedure was done in hope of securing a follow up appointment so I could ask questions about this turn of events.  As I walked up to the receptionist desk, the two ladies who handle registration and scheduling recognized me and greeted me with big smiles and a sweet refrain of my trigger phrase, “Hey! How are you?”  Once again I fall apart. Who cries when someone asks how they are?  Apparently, I do these days.  It did not take long for one of the dear women to take me in her arms.  Both of them uttered loving encouragement.  “God has this.” ,“The Holy Spirit is here, you are here for a reason.” “We’ll figure this out.” 

          They had a nurse come and speak with me.  Of course I cried as I told her about my problem, which was obvious I guess.  She was kind and caring.  Even though I did not have an appointment, one of the doctors agreed to see me.  As I sat waiting for her, one of the nurses who remembered me from my procedure stopped in the midst of her busy day and asked how I was doing.  Instead of hurrying away when I burst into tears once more, she gave me comfort and assurance. The doctor arrived and asked, “How are you?” (At this point I think everyone is saying that because they know I’ll cry.)  Eventually, after listening to me and asking all the right questions, she confirmed I was not crazy, whew, but that my hormones were a mess in part due to the procedure and a change in medicine I had recently had.

          Today the sun is shining and I am sooooooo much better.  Things are leveling out and I no longer feel compelled to launch myself into the arms of unsuspecting kind people!  God is GOOD!

          During those days I spent considerable time asking God to KEEP kind people from me.   Instead, God in His infinite mercy, put kind people in my path.  His people, who would reflect His love to me.

         I was surrounded by friends, medical professionals and even strangers who lived out Colossians 3:12 “…those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;”    They were the hands and feet of our God.

           I share this challenge with you, that we not only be the  hands and feet of God to those He puts in our lives, but that we also welcome and recognize when God is using His people to love us….even when the wheels start coming off the wagon.