Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

After the Fall… April 14, 2017

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 3:59 pm

I think I can confidently say I have perfected FALLING.  As evidence, I present a few of my accomplishments:

  • Getting into or out of my Kayak (each one, and there have been many, more hilarious and humbling than the next)
  • Off boats (one from mid-ship, while barely underway, others were ungraceful attempts to exit a boat.
  • Down stairs: Missed steps getting out of pedestal bed on boat (don’t judge, it was dark and early in the morning!), sliding down last few steps on landings.
  • UP the stairs. (yes, you read that right, UP the stairs, not even sure HOW it happens, but it happens fairly frequently)
  • I have landed on my backside a few times doing nothing more than walking, (down a ramp, on a cobbled stone street or on an icy sidewalk)

There have been numerous lessons learned from my “falling” experiences….”Be More Careful”,  “Hold Handrails”,  “Watch Your Step”,  “Ask for Help”,  “Slow Down”….but of all my “falling” lessons, the greatest is this:  Falling is NOT always failing….The GETTING UP MATTERS!

This lesson is vital, because not all falling experiences are physical. My imperfect walk through this life has landed me squarely on my rumpus literally AND figuratively.

  • I have fallen out of good habits.
  • I have fallen away from reading the Bible.
  • I know what it feels like to fall out of favor with family or friends.
  • I have found myself on the floor emotionally, discouraged, disheartened or displeased with myself.

I have discovered that after my fall, satan likes to sit on top of me. His messages assault my heart.. “Don’t bother getting up, you’ll just fall again.”, “People are looking and judging you, pretend you didn’t fall”, “Stay down, its easier and no one will notice.”

Falling is not the hard part, the hard part is the getting back up. GETTING BACK UP is the difference between falling and failing.

Later today, my hubby and I are heading out to do some kayaking. This man has sure seen some impressive falling skills from me over the years. I have no doubt that he will be doing all he can to reduce my chances of falling. He will steady my kayak for my entry or exit. He will keep an eye out for me at all times. He will make sure I have adequate safety gear. Most importantly, IF I do fall, he will be there to help me…when he is done laughing of course! He is always there for the “getting back up” parts of life.

 

Likewise, my God is prepared for my falls. He walks with me through difficult times. Sometimes He prevents my falls. Often, He allows my falls to change me. But at ALL times, He is there for the “getting back up” part of life.

 

Today is Good Friday. Today my heart is heavy as I think about the death of Jesus Christ.   His crucifixion was a part of God preparing for me to fall. My God knew I would fall short of being without sin.

 

How could I, a sinner, have a relationship with a Holy God? I can because with His death on that cross, He bore my sin, and all the eternal condemnation that comes with falling down in life.

 

Because of His death, His burial and RESSURECTION, we can go before God and ask forgiveness for our sin. This is AMAZING GRACE. We do not deserve forgiveness, yet God sent His son to make a way for us, that whenever we fall, we can seek Him, He will forgive us and HE will be there for our “getting back up”.

 

If this season of life finds you struggling from a fall, know this…God is with you, His forgiveness is available, and His grace (unearned favor) is sufficient. It is time to get back up!

 

“For it was the Father’s good pleasure to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of the cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Although you were formerly alienated and hostile mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now RECONCILED you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach…” (Colossians 1:19-22)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black Dog March 29, 2017

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,humor,life,running,worry — tlmiller82 @ 5:01 pm

 

While running, I try to stay aware of my surroundings. Even though I run with earbuds in, I keep the sound down and continually scan the area around me and up ahead. This practice helps me avoid collisions with traffic, bicycles, other runners and stray dogs. You can never be too careful.

 

Even with these efforts, I was once accosted by a five-pound fur-ball named Skip. His owner was a contractor working on a house along my route. Skip escaped out the front door, and gave a short chase before attempting to latch onto my foot. I was saved by a lucky combination of his tiny mouth/teeth and my thick shoe. It was far more funny than fear inducing! But, this episode did fuel my slight paranoia about dogs when I run.

 

There are several yards along my route which are lined with chain-link fencing and contain one or two large dogs. Every time, before I pass, I survey them, looking for any damage or opening through which the dogs might escape. I also try not to provoke the dogs…hard to do since my mere presence is reason to charge the fence…but I never get eye contact and always hurry past. No big deal, just a matter of being cautious.

 

SOOooooo, this is why, when I came upon a guy washing his car in his driveway I slowed my approach. He was accompanied by two large black Labs off leash. They did not look aggressive, but out of courtesy that my jogging by might cause them to want to chase me, I took out my earbud and shouted, “Are your dogs okay with me jogging past?” He looked a bit confused at first, but then he called one his dogs over to his side and waved at me to pass.

 

As I passed him, I kept my eye on his other dog on the other side of a large bush beside his driveway…and it was a good thing I did!

The “other” dog I had seen was actually a large concrete statue of a big black dog! No wonder the guy looked so confused.

You will be happy to know, I had NO problem out running the scary black dog statue and I made it home safe and sound.

 

This harrowing event took place almost a month ago, but it has been on my mind a lot lately. I let a decidedly “unreal” dog cause me to worry. I felt silly afterward.

 

I think there is a difference between being situationally aware of things that may impact your life and taking them on as a worrisome burden. I am certain I am not alone in my struggle with this very thing.

Sometimes my mind races, usually late at night, with all the “what ifs” that are on my horizon. I spend a lot of emotional effort working through how I will deal with something. I look ahead and allow myself to get overwhelmed about the future. And like my concrete dog, what is beyond my natural vision can easily be distorted.

 

As I think of my concrete dog, I am amazed at how easily I am fooled into a fearful heart. How often do I live my life as if my God NEVER does anything! That is NOT the case at all. I have a God Who feeds the birds of the air, clothes the lilies in the fields, and knows my EVERY need. (Matthew 6:26-32)

 

I am not meant to ignore what needs tending to in my life, but I need to remember what God has called me to be about. There is much greater clarity and focus when I seek Him each day and take on only what He has for me and when.

I think this is a good time to stop running from concrete dogs.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. (Matthew 6:33&34)

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A Christmas Tree Angel, A Reminder of Grace December 23, 2016

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:36 am

A Christmas Tree Angel….reposting this story has become a tradition. Each year I continue to be reminded of God’s grace as I see her oddly perched atop our tree.  This year my angel is still carefully tucked away in storage, we are on our boat for Christmas, but her image is never far from my thoughts this time of year.  I hope you have enjoyed the advent posts this year as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and new beginnings!

            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 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.

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

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

 

Christmas Coat December 20, 2016

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 7:22 pm

This is the fouth 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.

 

It’s a gorgeous, red and black Christmas plaid, sweater coat and it is CRAZY SOFT! I may have squealed in delight the first time I touched the fuzzy fabric when I opened this gift from my friend. It hangs past my waist and easily wraps around me like a big bear hug. I think the best description for it would be COZY.

 

The obvious “coziness” of the sweater coat has led to a few kind encounters, and a few awkward ones as well. I appreciated the compliments I received about it throughout the day. “Wow, that looks warm.”, “I love your sweater!”, “Where did you find that, it looks cozy?”, “That looks really comfortable.”, “What a pretty coat.”, were just a few of the comments my sweater coat inspired. A bit awkward, but still kind, were the encounters I had with a couple of sales ladies who wanted to “pet” my arm and talk about the softness of the fabric.

 

I sent a text to my friend, the giver of the gift, and shared with her the compliments I had been receiving. Her reply was, “That’s great. I definitely saw you wearing it during the holidays.”

 

As I sit to collect my thoughts for this advent post about LOVE, the sweater coat is resting on the back of my chair. I find myself quieted by God’s sweet whisper of His message for me today.

 

Today, as I ran errands and finished my shopping, I was wrapped in a gift from a dear friend. The beauty of the gift was obvious to those who saw it. What was not obvious, was what was below the gift. Under the gift, my attire this day was wrinkled, possibly stained (I tend to spill at every meal), and generally not my most flattering top. The people I saw today did not see any of that…they saw Cozy, they saw WARMTH, they saw COMFORTABLE, they saw the GIFT.

 

Lord, this season, and all year long, may we be ever mindful of your LOVE for us. You sent your son, Jesus Christ, to this fallen world, to give us a hope for forgiveness.  You cover us with Your grace, wrap us in mercy and overwhelm us with the gift of Your LOVE. In all that we do, wherever we are, may others see that GIFT in us.  I pray you “definitely see me wearing it during the holidays.”

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to judge the world; but that the world would be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t see THAT everyday! December 14, 2016

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:14 am

This is the third 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 PEACE and the birth of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 I was enjoying a nice jog on a local beach boardwalk when I had another “you don’t see THAT every day” moment. I saw the two ladies heading my way.  They were not in a hurry and were very engaged in conversation. As the ladies came closer, I noticed they were dressed in mismatched Christmas PJs, but THAT was not what made for the “you don’t see THAT every day” moment (because oddly enough, PJs in public on our boardwalk is not uncommon, sigh…). What made these ladies appearance a  “you don’t see THAT every day” moment was what one of them carried. Tucked up against her side and nestled in her arm was a small pale feathered CHICKEN!  You do NOT see THAT everyday!

 

 

As I continued past them, I kept looking back over my shoulder trying to confirm what I just saw. For the remainder of my run, I kept mulling over why someone would be carrying a chicken on a walk. I could not make sense of it. It was unexpected, unusual, and strange.  All I could do was shake my head, smile and think, “Whelp, you don’t see THAT every day”.

 

There are times in life when things do not fit into our expectations or understanding.

 

I imagine the look on the face of the cow who found a baby in his feeding trough one night. I picture his wet sticky nose inching over the edge of the manger before being shooed away by Joseph.

 

The cow had to have been thinking, “You don’t see THAT every day.”

 

I wonder if the shepherds turned to one another, following the appearance of the host of angels, and said, “you don’t see THAT every day!”

 

I think about the message those angels proclaimed that night,

 

“…today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord. …you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger….Glory to God in the highest, and on earth Peace among men…” Luke 2:12-14

 

A baby, the son of God, placed in a feeding trough?  

 

Swaddled and tucked into an unexpected place, born in an unusual way, amidst strange circumstances, laid our Savior. Jesus Christ, the son of God, born to bring PEACE and reconcile the sinfulness of man with the Holiness of God.

“You DON’T see THAT every day!!!”

 

 

 

 

Toilet Paper Roll Santa and other symbols of Joy December 5, 2016

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 6:16 pm

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 each of the Advent themes.   This week we consider the JOY we have in Jesus.

 

It’s early in the morning, the darkness of my predawn living room is broken only by the lights from our Christmas tree. As I sip coffee from my favorite Christmas mug, I look over each ornament and am filled with Joy.

 

Pretty, blown glass balls of silver and blue are recent additions to our ornament collection. I love how they reflect and amplify the lights on the tree. Several of the ornaments are funny, gifted to us over the years, most of them themed in someway; beach, crabs, golf, boats, each conjuring memories of the crazy friends/family who gave them. But my all-time FAVORITE ornaments are those made by my mother-in-law and mom.

 

For many years, when the kids were little, my mother-in-law(Grammie) would make them ornaments. Tiny creations made from scraps of felt were perfect for little ones to place on the tree without supervision. They always got to hang their own. She lovingly turned plain ball ornaments into funny clown faces and even cute reindeers complete with antlers! Time, and my poor repacking skills, have lead to the demise of a few of these, but several have lasted and continue to hold a place on our tree. This morning my eyes rested on my favorite one and I smiled. There tucked sort of toward the back of the tree(sorry Grammie) was our one eyed reindeer. One of the reindeer’s googly eyes went missing many years ago, but he continues to be a valued part of our Christmas décor and memories.

 

My mom(Maw Maw) was always surprising me with unique creations for our tree. Small V8 cans were crushed, painted and transformed into angels. A bundle of small sticks, spray painted gold, became a lovey place for a small ornate birds nest with ribbon. A broken egg shell held a thimble full of moss, a small bird perched atop, and hung by a small red ribbon. But perhaps the best were her toilet paper creations. Toilet paper was somehow soaked, pressed into molds and came out as works resembling plaster angel faces. Even the empty toilet paper roll itself gave her inspiration…to someone else it was just trash, in my mom’s hands it became a painted, bearded Santa Claus.

 

I ran my hand over the rough beard of the toilet paper roll Santa Claus and laughed to myself at the uniqueness of her gifts….and then I considered Joy.

 

Maybe this season finds you changed by the years, perhaps it feels like something is missing, like our one-eyed reindeer…but know this my friend, you are a valued creation because of the God Who created you, not because you are perfect, but in every imperfection as well.

 

Maybe this season you are feeling empty, used up, cracked or a bit broken…we have a God who REDEEMS the lost, RESTORES the broken hearted and RECONCILES us to Himself even in our sin and imperfection.   In the hands of God, what is empty, used up, cracked and broken is made beautiful.

THIS is the GOOD NEWS OF A GREAT JOY of which the angels proclaimed….and it is STILL Good News to us all today, every day, to All PEOPLE.

And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you good news of a great JOY which shall be for 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

 

 

Deck the Halls with Fluorescent Orange… November 29, 2016

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 2:15 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.

 

I think ORANGE is my new favorite Christmas color, FLUORESCENT ORANGE to be specific. I may have a hard time finding orange wrapping paper, but if it can be found, that’s what will be around my gifts this year! Here is why:

 

I signed up to run the Christmas Town Dash with a friend this next weekend. It seemed like a good idea at the time…8K through beautiful Busch Gardens Williamsburg, holiday décor, cool t-shirt, free park passes and fun with my friend…then I remembered all the HILLS in the park.   In a panic I decided I needed to find a good running path with hills for practice. The Noland Trail is a gorgeous, wooded trail and perfect for running hills…or if you are like me, for lumbering up and down hills.

 

It was a breathtaking day. The trees, and the forest floor, were filled with the colors of fall. Various shades of red, yellow and brown scattered around my feet as I ran the worn path. There was also an additional color at my feet…a bright, “see me now” orange paint coated every exposed root along the path! There were A LOT of exposed roots. We have had a ton of rain which caused an amazing array of tree roots to emerge throughout the trail. I soon discovered I was running with my head down more than up, careful to notice each painted root.

 

The success of my run depended on my ability to see each obstacle and make decisions on whether to go around or over each random protrusion. Those bright markings were my savior, I was grateful for every fluorescent orange root I passed!

 

I keep thinking about those orange roots. Someone had gone before me and marked those roots. Someone anticipated my risk of falling and tried prepare a better way for me. Someone who did not even know me, knew my nature, the nature of most of us, to not look down, to trip, to fall.

 

These last few months I have been keenly aware of my tendency to “fall” in life. I have been humbled by my failures. Discouragement and depression have sought, and found, a place in my heart at times. The struggle to choose wisely is real. I am not without sin. In this life, I have been tripped up by all sorts of life events and challenges…but I know Who picks me up after EVERY fall, it’s the God Who also marked a path for me, planned my steps, and in anticipation of my nature to fall prepared a way for forgiveness.

 

         Jesus is sort of like my bright orange paint! Every root once hidden from my view, was brought to light that day with fluorescent orange paint…likewise, every dark place in my life is brought to light by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

I LOVE that one of the names of Christ is “The Root of Jesse”, in reference to His descent from the line of King David.   That’s MY SAVIOR>>>> a fluorescent ORANGE “Root of Jesse”…the one Who marks my way and brings light to darkened paths, the hope of my salvation!

“And again Isaiah says, ‘There shall come the root of Jesse, and He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles HOPE’ Now may the God of HOPE fill you all with joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:12&13