Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

A Christmas Tree Angel December 24, 2021

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 7:39 am

This year, as I unpacked our fragile angel tree topper, I felt somewhat prepared for her condition. Each Christmas the impact of her years is unmisable, even more so since our Christmases are frequently on our boat. Though carefully tucked away in a protective box, a boat is no place for such fragility. Once again her head, reattached with glue just last year, was seperate from her torso. A thicker layer of glue now forms an ugly necklace around her delicate neck. Her wax candle has discolored even more and barley recognizable as it extends from her mishapen hand. But as always, and perhpas even more each year, I love her. I love her not only becasue of the sweet memoireis I have of her in her splendid early years, but also becasue with passing time I am reminded of the fragility of life. This year I am mindful of the treasure of each day and thankful for a God who loves us and holds our future. So here again is the retelling of a lesson I learned many Christmases ago as I sat in the quiet of my livingroom, a lesson that I will never forget each year she is placed on our tree in all her glory.

I’m not sure where she came from. (update: someone recognized her and informed me she is a Nuremberg angel!) I’m not even certain of her age. (update: As a Nuremberg angel, we probably acquired her when my family lived in Germany when dad was in the Air Force…this would make her well over 50 yrs!)

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 re-attaching her long held candle to her now miss shaped 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.


Has Anyone Seen Baby Jesus? December 18, 2021

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 3:38 pm

It is the fourth week leading up to Christmas. In some homes a candle will be lit as hearts are bowed to consider the theme of Love. While we won’t be lighting a candle, I am filled to overflowing with renewed understanding of God’s love.

This Thanksgiving we were blessed to host both of our moms (from Florida), our daughter (from Texas) our son, his wife and our three awesome granddaughters.  Traditionally, when we manage to be together as a family anytime near the holidays, we celebrate Christmas early. It may be a faux Christmas, but it still gets plenty of attention, which means Christmas décor goes up days before guest arrive (I am not complaining, I would put up décor in October if the hubby would let me).

We wrapped ourselves in the sweet chaos of a house filled with multiple generations. My heart was full! At some point in the festivities, I noticed baby Jesus was missing.

We have two nativity sets. One is from when our kids were little. Its resin figurines have withstood many years of being handled as our kids, and now our grandkids, rearranged the stable scene regularly.  Our other Nativity is from when I was a little girl. For as long as I can recall, my parents allowed me to set up this wooden hay filled stable. I have fond memories of strategically placing each plastic nativity participant. Because of its age, we do not encourage little ones to play with it, but we also do not panic if curious fingers inspect its contents. This was the case when Parker, our 3yr old granddaughter cradled the tiny baby Jesus and declared his name was not Jesus, “His name is Love”.

After a days of feasting, gifting, movie watching and playing I noticed the little manger was bare. “Has anyone seen the baby Jesus?” I called out to the family. Nope. Oh well, I knew it would turn up, so I delayed the search and rescue. On the final night of their visit, my husband established a reward. “$20 to whoever finds baby Jesus!”  The next hour was filled with a hilarious hunt for baby Jesus, pitting grandmothers, grandchildren and great-granddaughters against one another for the prize. Everyone was busy searching…everyone except Parker, who continued to quietly sit at the table playing with her playdough. We knew she was the last one seen with baby Jesus…cue her mommy sitting down beside her and starting a gentle interrogation:

Mommy: Parker, do you know where baby Jesus is?

Parker: no

Mommy: are you sure?

Parker: Yes

Mommy: you played with it earlier, are you sure you don’t remember where you put it?

Parker: Oh, you mean Baby Love? (OOOOOHHHHH a collective understanding filled the room)

Parker: Baby Love is taking a nap in the bed.

Competitive “baby Jesus” hunters rushed the doll bed…sure enough, tucked beneath the bedding was little baby Love….and THAT is how a new Miller Christmas tradition called find “Find Baby Love” was started. (We intend to recreate a version of this each year)

It is also a wonderful reminder to not loose baby Jesus in the midst of Christmas chaos. The greatest revealing of God’s love for us can be found in a manger…not hidden. This week may we all be “Baby Jesus hunters” …. finding God’s love in the beauty of His creation and the grace and forgiveness He offers us through Jesus Christ His son.

“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)


Peace Stealer December 13, 2021

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:36 am

First, we are safe. For anyone new to our blog, we live aboard our boat some of the year, and we are currently headed South aboard her. As I sit to write this advent post about PEACE, things are not too peaceful aboard our boat. The best news is that none of our current problems put us in great danger, the boat is not sinking or in peril. The bad news is that we are encountering some rather large mechanical issues.  We are aware of a stabilizer that is not working (A big deal when we go offshore as they steady the boat in rough seas), and we have a propeller shaft that is not right (which could create bigger issues if not addressed).

I know of all manner of ways to keep this in perspective: we pass sunken/damaged boats daily on the waterway, we are afloat, we have good weather, we are able to get to a marina safely, we have access to resources to help us, we are blessed to even have this boat, it is not a life or death thing…and so on and so on.  Yet, when our boat is broken, it inevitably leads to a very unsettled state of mind. Visions of “where to go, what needs to be done, who can do it, how does it impact our cruising plan” soon overwhelm our thoughts. It is not the broken systems that are creating the lack of peace though…it is more the unsettledness of it all.

Unsettled…I let that sit for a bit in my head as we discussed our plan A, B, C for dealing with our situation. Blessed to have options, my heart still sank at the loss of our well-planned trip. The not knowing for certain what the next few days will look like, or how it will change in the next few weeks, is a powerful peace stealer. This last sentence makes me laugh as I realize the lack of peace I feel is NOT due to our broken boat. My lack of peace is due to feeling out of control of my situation. To be honest, this in not an uncommon battle for me.

I am sure it is not by accident that I was in the middle of writing this post when all this began to take place. As usual God was nudging me, not so gently, toward Him. Way too often I let my unsettled mind drift toward anxiety as I seek to wrestle my circumstance into my control. In little things, like boat issues, and huge things, like health/family/finances, God has always been in control.  He has yelled loudly “I’ve got this!” in my life through Phil 4:6&7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.  And a peace that surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And yet, here I am…still allowing my peace to be stolen away by things of this world. Life does not always go as planned. While this time it is just a boat, I realize this is true for all our lives and in more impactful ways. Today I consider the PEACE we are given through Jesus Christ. He came to redeem us all and by grace, through his life, death and resurrection, we are reconciled to Him. In Him I can be forgiven of my sin, know His love and trust He is in control. This is a gift…peace in my heart that God still loves me even when I stumble, peace in my life even when the world goes wonky. He is greater than me and greater than the world.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27

This week may we all know His peace…Let Him settle our hearts during unsettled times.


Blinded by Baubles, Bells and Bright Lights December 5, 2021

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 3:55 pm

Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause to remember the birth of our Savior.  Observing advent is a way to keep the focus on the true reason for celebration at Christmas.  It is a time to pause and reflect on my own struggle as a sinner in a fallen world and my deep need for God’s grace, forgiveness and love.  The birth of Jesus Christ is worthy of great celebration when we are aware of our great need and understand His birth, life, death and resurrection is the only thing that meets that need. 

Too often we are blinded in the baubles, bells and bright lights of the holidays and miss the point of it all….you know, like when you host the family for Thanksgiving, celebrate an early Christmas since everyone will be in town, then a few days afterward prepare for extended travel and busy yourself with planning, packing and losing all sense of the passing days as you sip hot cocoa and listen to Christmas tunes…YEP totally me, and the reason I find myself just now (an advent day late) sitting down and looking to God’s Word for His advent message for me.   “Lord, I missed the day of HOPE and now I need to consider JOY. I don’t want to be so caught up in life that I missed the most important parts.”   I looked at my hands folded in prayer and saw the fingers of HOPE interlocked with the fingers of JOY.  I may have missed last Sunday’s focus on hope, but I have not missed the message.

Hope is defined as a “confident expectation”.  It is often confused with wishing, it is not the same.  Oh, a wish is an expectation, but it is not rooted in confidence of completion.  Hope, Biblical hope, is deeply rooted in confident expectation.  This HOPE is what sustains us in difficult days, uncertain times and unsettled futures.  This hope, confident expectation, is found when we place our hope in God.  We can be confident because HE fulfills His promises…always has, always will. 

The world waited for the fulfillment of God’s promise to send salvation.  They hoped for a savior to reconcile a broken world with a Holy God.  In the birth of Christ this hope was realized….our hope was realized.  In Him we find forgiveness and grace.  Believing Jesus is the Son of God, that he died and rose again to pay for our sins, asking for and accepting forgiveness is the salvation of man.  THAT is the good news of great joy of which the angles spoke to the shepherds in that darkened field.

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great JOY which shall be for ALL the people.” Luke 2:10

This JOY is more than happiness.  Happiness can be fulfilling, but it can also be fleeting.  Joy is NOT fleeting.  JOY is like a weight lifted, a door opened, a breathe taken, a debt forgiven. It is from inside and not due to our own actions or circumsatnce. Joy is knowing God loves us, forgives us, and has a plan for us and will not leave us.

This week the days may continue to speed past, or perhaps the days will get bogged down under the weight of a chaotic world, but my desire is to let every bauble, bell and bright light, not blind me, but remind me of the HOPE I have in God and the JOY salvation brings to us all.