Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Are There Asphalt Burns on Your Backside? July 27, 2012

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 1:41 pm

          It started with a cup of coffee and a justified prayer time on the couch, several friends are facing health concerns and I wanted to be sure to lift them before my God in prayer.  I then deftly transitioned to a second cup of coffee and a morning news program.   I plugged in my laptop intent to spend some time writing.  Long story short, I alternated my time between staring at my blank computer screen, reading, rotating laundry, and researching or seeking inspiration for writing (translation: frequent visits to FB and sucked into the depths of pinterst).  Before long, I was pacing the floor, making list of things to get done and trying to write. (translation: promptly sitting back down and doing nothing in particular.)

          To call the day sedate would be underselling it.  I could only hope my husband would greet me at the end of his long workday with “How was your day?” and not specifically ask me, “What did you do today?”    I looked at Hughie, my porky little yorkie, who had sat sleepily by my side all day and knew I needed to take action.  “Hughie”, I said(because when you are home alone  you talk to the dog…you know you do too), “If we do not get out for a walk we will not be justified in going to bed tonight!”  He perked up his ears and tilted his head quizzically.  When I showed him the leash, he enthusiastically leapt to the floor, his tubby tummy hitting the carpet before his hind legs.

          It was late, but not dark.  It was quiet on the street and a sliver of moon peeked about the trees.  I sighed to myself, “Great, perfect setting for introspection, NOT what I want to do after such a non- productive day”.    In an effort to avoid self loathing I prayed God would give me something to share and that He would help me move out of my self-made rut. 

           I was deep in thought when I noticed the dog and I were already almost a block down our street.   I was surprised to find Hughie trouncing along at a normal pace.  Usually walks with Hughie require patience.  His little legs do not take him far or fast and his incessant need to smell EVRYTHING makes for very slow short walks.  Mind you, he wasn’t exactly pulling forward on the leash, but he was not requiring me to tug him along, which is what I usually end up doing.

          I was kind of enjoying this new dynamic.  For a brief moment, it felt like I was a normal dog owner, walking a normal dog….then it stopped.  Actually “he” stopped.  I looked back, there was Hughie, standing stiff legged and leaning back with his head down, and his eyes rolled up at me.  Apparently, he wanted to stop.  It amazes me how an 11 pound puppy can suddenly morph himself into a surprisingly effective anchor.  Oh, I could move him if I wanted too, but that would require dragging his dead weight across the rough pavement, and that would result in asphalt burns on his backside and cries of animal cruelty from the neighbors.  I tried coaxing him, tugging at him, encouraging him and promising him lots of treats when we got home….nothing was going to move him.   

          After a bit, I walked back toward him resigned to simply carry him the rest of the way home.   As soon as I was alongside him he began walking forward.  Hmmmm, was he objecting to my leadership?  Did he just want to remind me he was there?  Why couldn’t he just follow me?  Didn’t he know that if he just sat there he would never know the rewards of getting home?  Did he not remember that I had clean water, treats, and a comfy couch to offer him?  I watched his tiny tail wiggle slightly as we now slowly plodded homeward…and there it was, God’s answer to my prayer in the form of my own reflection evident in my dog.  Sigh…That day I too had been immovable.  I had resisted motion and had accomplished little. 

          All day, and perhaps most days, God tugs at me and tries to lead me forward and I yet I resist.  I start out enthisiastically following Him but, like Hughie, often find myself stopped.  Sometimes it is because I do not understand the way He is going, sometimes I am just not paying attention and sometimes I just want to be in control I suppose.

          Does God get frustrated with me when I pull against His leading?  I know I am capable of simply sitting when He desires me to move forward.  It is sort of surprising I do not have asphalt burns on my backside from God dragging me along.  No doubt, there have been times He has had to pick me up and place me where He wants me.  How often have I, like Hughie, just stopped moving forward?  How can God bring me through things in life if I simply stop?  I know God has a plan for me…

“For I know the plans I have for you….you will call upon me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you…you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart…” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

 

I don’t want to be found with stiff legs, head downward and eyes rolled up in defiance…I want to be found moving and meeting Him every step of the way

Lord, today we pray for Your continued guidance in our lives.  Help us to see You as we walk in the world and to know Your direction.  Forgive us when we sit and fail to follow You, lead us in the path You have set for us.  Father, thank you for graciously returning to us and bringing us along our journey.  Thank you for being a compassionate master and a worthy of all our trust and praise!

 

 

 

 

Closeness=Clarity July 11, 2012

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:13 am

       The hubby has joined me in my goal to run a marathon by the time I am fifty!   I am thrilled he is running again, but it is kind of a good thing/bad thing for me at times.   Sometimes it is frustrating, as I find it impossible to keep up and he ultimately ends up waiting quite a bit for me to finish, but I love having a common goal and he is always encouraging.

      One Saturday we went for a run together.  It was a new route for us and we had not communicated exactly how we would go.  We started up a 1-mile steep road and I watched him, as usual, pull increasingly ahead of me.  No problem, I usually see him on the return as he passes me by.  When I got to the top of the street, I realized I could no longer see where he went.  I was not sure if he took another street or if he turned and followed the intersecting street.  I paused at the top of the hill for some time straining to see him in the distance.  At last, I saw him far away, bobbing up and down in the rhythmic pattern I recognized as his running gait.   I turned left and followed him. 

       I was glad to be running down a hill at this point, but it was a loooooong road.  It seemed no matter how fast I ran I was not catching up. He was just a distant figure in dark running shorts and white tee- shirt.  Eventually he slowed to cross another street and I was able to gain on him a bit….that is when I realized this WAS NOT MY HUBBY!  Yep, I was following a stranger for almost a mile!  Fortunately, for all involved I discovered this from a far enough distance away as to not embarrass the family too much. 

       I quickly veered from the path he was on and headed back to the place I began my run, certain my hubby would meet me there.  He did.

       How could I have mistaken a stranger for a man I have been married to for almost 28 years?  I will tell you how….distance.   Oh, it was more than that I am sure…the guy had on similar clothes, was a similar build and pretty sure respiratory distress from running also blurred my vision…but without a doubt the number ONE reason I made such a mistake was DISTANCE.  If I had been closer, there is no way I would have followed this man for that extra mile.  This week “distance” has been on my mind a lot.

       I feel certain that I am not the only believer who struggles to keep closer to the Lord.  I am saddened by how frequently this weakness presents itself in my life.  At times, it is as if the Word of God is like oxygen and I cannot get enough from it.  I take it in every chance I get and it gives life to each step of my journey.  However, there are times, of which this has been such a season, when I lean solely on a past closeness to God.  I find being a good person is easier than being a Godly person and yet there is a HUGE difference. 

       While my long relationship with my Heavenly Father continues to buoy me up, I neglect seeking Him in all things.  I find myself striving under my own accord and not within His will for my life.  Recognizing His direction for my life becomes increasingly difficult and I practically putter to a stop like a car out of fuel.   (It has been some time since I felt lead to post a devotion, when usually I cannot keep up with the lessons I wish to share…all because I let myself drift away from the One who leads me.)

       The less time I spend in The Word, the further I drift from my God.  He, of course, does not lose sight of me…but my lack of closeness to Him influences all parts of my life almost instantly.  The further I get from Him, the easier it is to follow the wrong lead, mistake my personal opinion for wisdom, and accept less than He has planned for me.

      While it was surprising that I could have mistaken a stranger for a man, I have loved and known for more than half my life….it was a striking reminder of how important it is to follow close for clarity.

       Today I went on a run alone.  I had no one to look for and no worries of catching up…but I felt driven to close the gap I created between God and myself.  My prayer today is that God will draw me closer to Him and that I will regain my hunger for His Word.  I pray we will all be challenged to draw closer to God, mindful that He waits for us and will meet us with His mercy and grace.