Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Black Friday December 22, 2015

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:28 pm

This is the fourth week of Advent. Each week, leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of the Advent themes.   This week we consider LOVE and the birth of Jesus Christ.

 

USUALLY, our family enjoys our various holiday traditions, “usually”….but SOMETIMES, I drag my family squirming and pouting through the festivities. There were the numerous years when “tree getting” was a less than Norman Rockwell inspired endeavor. My sweet memories of Christmas music filled car rides to a tree farm with the kids are coupled with memories of rides with sullen pre-teens, squabbling siblings, and disinterested participants forced to listen to me sing along with Christmas music on the radio.

 

There have even been glitches in our traditional tree decorating. Traditionally we pour eggnog, bake cookies and decorate the tree the day after Thanksgiving. It is always fun to talk about each ornament’s origin, giggle at the ones with the kid’s baby pictures or preschool crafts, all while listening to Christmas music of course. Admittedly, over the years, we have had a less than enthusiastic tree trimming crew….teens are not always as excited to spend the day around the house/parents. Sometimes our tree trimming tradition was impacted by work schedules or mood swings. But no matter what, we always managed to get it done.

 

This year was one of THOSE years. I will forever refer to this year’s tree trimming day as “Black Friday”.

It is not important to know WHY there was tension in our home, but suffice to say that certain events had created an atmosphere of frustration, awkwardness, anger, and dismay.  The eggnog was poured, the cookies baked and Christmas music filled the house. I desperately tried to make everything normal, although it was far from so. Each of us half-heartedly placed ornaments on the tree in silence, and various degrees of unhappiness. I am amazed we actually got all the ornaments placed on the tree at all. It was a very Black Friday. But God is good.

 

Eventually, that same day, we gathered in our living room, had necessary conversations, shared, cried, and laughed. Normalcy was restored, well, as “normal” as we can get for us. Later that night, as we sat around the table playing a game, I was especially mindful of the treasure that is my family. I love them so much. I love them when everything is going great. I love them when things seem perfect. I love them when nothing is perfect. I love them when we struggle. I love them when we are broken. I love them with a love that overwhelms me…the kind of love that flows from my tears to my toes.

 

You should see my tree. Many years, when the kids were small, I would “reposition” the ornaments their little hands had placed on the tree. Once they were nestled in bed, I would balance the ornaments by size, move older/broken ornaments to the back and in general try to make it look perfect.   This year, I decided to not touch one single ornament on the tree. Even though the kids are now adults, our “Black Friday” tree trimming resulted in lots of haphazard placement of ornaments.  Ornaments are hung backwards, some branches are too full, while other branches are bare and “gasp” a few less desirable ornaments have prominent placement on the front of the tree!

Every evening, I sit and take it all in…I love it! I love it because it reminds me of my imperfect, perfectly wonderful family and I love them.

 

In the glow of our tree, in the quiet of the night, I can’t help but think about God’s love for us. He loves us when we are doing great. He loves us when we are seemingly perfect. He loves us when we struggle. He loves us when we are broken. He loves us with a love that is overwhelming and flows from His tears to our toes.

This week we celebrate God’s perfect, overwhelming love for His imperfect children.

“This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1John 4:10)

 

 

The Ugly Orange December 13, 2015

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 2:35 pm

WP_20151213_001   I like my oranges “orange” in color, smooth with slightly dimpled skin and blemish free…even it takes injections of chemicals and dyes to produce this appearance.   I did not know this about myself until recently.

 

I ordered a box of Florida oranges from a friend’s daughter who was selling them as a fundraiser. When the huge box arrived I was thrilled. The scent of citrus permeated from the cardboard crate. I opened it and discovered quite sampling of oranges. Some were pale orange, some had a green tint and some were indeed “orange”. All were marked or scarred to some degree. They were kind of ugly.

 

My dismay was quickly alleviated when I saw an insert from the owner of the grove from which they arrived.

The letter assured us the color variations, specifically the greenish hues, were due to a lack of cooler temperatures in Florida this fall and not indicative of ripeness. The scar marks were also a natural result of branches from the trees brushing against the fruit in the wind. They promised we would not be disappointed with their oranges, they were surely ripe and juicy. They were proud of their effort to NOT use chemicals or dyes to alter their appearance.

 

I had reservations as I cut the first orange in half. Sure enough, the fruit inside was bright, sweet and very juicy. As a matter of fact, every orange thus far has been wonderfully ripe and yummy. Still, every time I set my knife to make the first cut in another ugly orange, finding it to be perfectly delectable is entirely unexpected.

 

As I hold one of the oranges in my hand, I think of all the unexpected things in my life, and am reminded of the blessings and joy that often can be found even in the unexpected.

 

This season we celebrate a JOY unexpected.

 Unexpected, would surely describe how Joseph saw the news that his young bride-to-be was pregnant.

Goodness knows Mary handled her unexpected pregnancy with grace and obedient courage.

The Shepherds had no reason to expect an angelic encounter in the field.

The people in the town of Bethlehem had no expectation for the child born while they slept.

The wise men, who even studied prophecy, could not have expected to meet this “king” as a toddler in simple surroundings.

In an unexpected place, in an unexpected way, at an unexpected time, He came to us.

JOY to the world!

 

This season I will look at oranges differently. A perfect orange or an ugly orange…each is a reminder of that first Christmas long ago…a baby…wrapped in swaddling cloth, tucked in the arms of a young mother not of noble birth, in a place meant for cattle and sheep…the King of kings, our Savior, the hope of the world.

“And the angel said unto them, fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great JOY, which shall be for ALL people, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10&11

 

Worth It December 7, 2015

Filed under: advent,Christianity,Christmas,devotionals,humor,life — tlmiller82 @ 9:56 am
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This is the second week of Advent.  Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior.  In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of the Advent themes.  This week we consider PEACE.

“Whose idea was this?”  I thought to myself as I turned off my alarm and rolled out of my very toasty, snuggly, comfy bed.  A month ago this plan seemed brilliant.  My dear hubby decided to offer to fly up to New York, pick up my daughter Ashley, and her new puppy, and rent a car to drive her home for Thanksgiving.  Of course this grand plan meant that I would drive her back the following Sunday and then fly home.  That is how I came to be rolling out of bed long before sunrise.

 

I squinted at the clock (because my eyes had not entirely gotten the message it was time to wake up), 4:15.  Our goal was to be on the road by 5am and we were well on our way to meeting that goal…then the hubby woke up.  Apparently he thought we’d be out the door long before 5!  Soon he was urging us onward and fussing that we were not moving with the appropriate “urgency”.  We picked up our pace and tried to relieve his concern…but soon found ourselves ushered out to the car, WITHOUT COFFEE!  “You don’t have time.” he pronounced as he waved goodbye.  Who in their right mind would send two women out on the road, in the predawn hours, without coffee?   That was just crazy.

 

The first thing we did was stop at a McDonalds near the interstate to get two coffees.  Here is an abbreviated version of the day…

  • Kindly attendant handed us 2 piping hot coffee cups, no protective cup sleeves(they were out)
  • once on interstate discovered cups too full to add creamer and there were no stirrers or napkins
  • daughter concedes to allow me to listen to Christmas music the entire trip, as long as I promised to NOT sing along.
  • stopped again to “fix” coffees…coffee spills inside and outside of car somehow (refer to previous mention of no napkins)
  • discovered rental car’s GPS is programmed to avoid interstates and is constantly trying to reroute us…
  • dog happily sleeps the entire time (mostly) thank goodness.
  • finally able to sip cooler, bitter coffee and relished the last bit as it contained most of the sweetener (refer to previous mention of no stirrers)
  •  approx. 3hrs into drive, found a Starbucks!(thanking God for New Jersey turnpike rest areas!)
  • enjoyed a fairly stress free drive, until we actually got to NY
  • managed to survive negotiating through NY traffic, avoiding the worst areas thanks to Ashley’s navigation skills and NO thanks to the two GPS devices we were depending on.
  • Arrived safely at La Guardia airport in time to drop off rental car, hug Ashley good bye as she and her dog got an Uber ride home, and I caught my return flight back to Virginia.

WHEW!

It was quite a journey, but it was worth it.  She was worth it.

 

Once I was back home,  I marveled that I been to NY and back in a single day.  Before heading to bed I stopped to finish setting up the nativity set we had placed on an entry table.  I thought of how each figurine represented someone who had also been on a journey.

 

I imagined Joseph’s burdened heart as he  escorted his pregnant fiancé across difficult terrain and uncertain future.  Young Mary’s advance stage of pregnancy surely made her journey uncomfortable and anxiety filled.  The shepherds left the familiarity of their fields.  Each step taking them to Bethlehem moved them far from their comfort zone amongst their sheep.  The wise men understood their journey was to not be taken lightly.  A lot of thought went into the gifts they would carry with them for the long trip.  Each of these travelers knew their journey was worth it.

 

I looked at the tiny baby Jesus, nestled in the little plastic manger painted with hay.  This figurine represented the one who had taken the greatest journey of all.  God left the enormity of heaven, came to a broken world, in the confines of flesh, to give us PEACE. 

He brought us His peace, not peace that exists because everything is okay, because often it is not.  This peace is knowing He is with us, He is for us, and He is victorious!

He made the greatest journey because He considers us worth it!

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

(John 1:14)

 

 

 

Seat 15D December 1, 2015

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,life — tlmiller82 @ 4:52 pm
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This is the first week of Advent. Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of the Advent themes.   This week we consider the hope we have in Jesus.

 

It had been a rough month, followed by a horrible week and I was really struggling. Which is how I came to download a Beth Moore book onto my Kindle. The book was perfectly titled for this season of my life, “Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk About God’s Deliverance”. I could not wait to start reading this book on a recent flight to Florida. I thought it was a good way to start getting myself out of my pit…but God did not wait for me to get myself out. He, of course, met me where I was…flight 1650, seat 15D.

 

I was not more than a page into the book when I read this line, I’m writing to tell you I believe God has scheduled your flight out of a pit.” Just then our pilot came over the intercom, “we will be turning the fasten seatbelt signs back on due to impending turbulence”.   I continued to read… “you can really move out of your pit…I’d like to be your flight attendant for a while. I’ve taken this trip before. It’s a bit bumpy, but the destination is worth it…”  It was as if Beth Moore knew I’d be reading her book on a plane!   Well, she may not have known, but God sure put that book in my life in His perfect time!

 

I was thankful for the dimly lit cabin as my eyes filled with tears.   A “DING” sounded and the “fasten seatbelt” sign went off.   I kept reading. The next page held this Scripture…. “I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry.”(Psalm 40:1) I turned off my Kindle, laid back my head, closed my eyes and listened to the soft rumble of the plane’s engines.

 

      In the confines of seat 15D, God reminded me He knows my struggle, sees my tears, hears my cry and meets me in my pit. And just like that, His forgiveness and grace replace guilt and condemnation. Hope lifted my weariness and discouragement. As I stepped off the plane that night, I looked up from my pit and thanked God for joining me on my journey.

 If you too are looking up from a pit,

may this season bring you HOPE restored!

Because of the birth of Christ, His life and sacrifice for our sins, we have the HOPE of forgiveness for our sins, a relationship with our heavenly Father and eternal life.  This week may we celebrate the fulfillment of our HOPE in the birth of Christ and in the continued HOPE He brings to all generations.

          The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them….For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:2& 6)