Teresa Bourgeois serves as a Stonecroft speaker, Board Director, and volunteer leader in the New Orleans area. Teresa is a former technology facilitator, programmer, and teacher. She enjoys traveling, learning, and ‘fixing stuff’. She and her husband, Eric, live in Covington, Louisiana, not far from their daughter and son-in-law. Lately, Teresa has been busy sewing not only facemasks but also pink ruffles for their precious grandbaby Adalynn Grace. She shares with us how she has managed the many trips and tumbles in her life.
“God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
For who is God except the Lord?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
God is my strong fortress,
and he makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights.”
– 2 Samuel 22:31-34
Oh my! When I read this, I just have to chuckle a little at ‘as surefooted as a deer’ (giggle). Me? You see, I have a nickname in my family: Tumbling Teresa. It’s well-deserved. I am kind of known for tripping and taking tumbles, and when I tumble, it is always BIG. I NEVER fall small.
One of my most famous falls was in a large gym. I was walking across the gym floor, and I thought I was looking PRETTY GOOD in my fine looking new dress and my way cool new shoes.
Anyway, you know those falls where you feel like you are tumbling and tripping and falling for an hour and a half and you desperately look around to find something to grab hold of? It’s like slow motion as you are trying to save yourself from falling. Right?
Well, THIS was NOT one of those tumbles! This was one of those falls that I never even saw coming! One moment, walking; the next moment, flat on the floor. I can still hear the sound echoing through that gym.
Well, I popped right back up and continued on my way before anyone could help me.
Later, in the car, I groaned and rubbed a few sore spots. My husband noticed and said, “Oh, I thought you were okay. I mean, you got up so fast!” I explained that I could have broken both arms and a leg and I STILL would have gotten back up and kept walking!
I have had many other unforgettable falls and terrible tumbles in my life, but somehow I’ve managed to regain my composure through most of them. Some of them you may find quite interesting.
I grew up the oldest of three children. I was always told that I could achieve anything that I put my time and energy toward. I guess that is where I got my “get up and keep on walking” attitude! I made pretty good grades and always tried to please my dad, who expected 100’s on every test.
In college, I met someone who I thought would make my life perfect. I had a new plan in place, a wonderful dream to hold onto; but that plan fell apart and I tumbled hard!
I came out of that more determined than ever to be in control of my life. I managed a clothing store and my store rose to No. 7 in a company with 750 stores. I lived alone and worked every moment I was awake. I built my life on meeting the corporate goals for my store. As I rose to top of the company, I found those achievements left me feeling empty. I realized I was not in control after all; my work and the company controlled me.
I felt so empty, like such a failure but remembered the message I had heard many times growing up: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I knew as I child I hadn’t measured up to my dad’s standard of perfect grades, but sin seemed like such a harsh word. I’d never done anything really terribly bad. Yet I understood that God is perfect, sinless and anyone who doesn’t measure up to His level of perfection is a sinner.
The pastor also said, “The price for sin is death,” or eternal separation from God. That was scary. I had earned death. I deserved eternal separation from God. BUT God loved me so much that He made a way for my sins to be erased. God sent His son Jesus Christ to live a sinless life and to die a terrible death that paid the price for my sins. After He was buried, Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered not only sin but also death itself. He lives today. The best part is that if I believe that God sent His son Jesus Christ to die and pay for the wrong things I have done – and will do – and I accept His forgiveness, when I die I will spend eternity in heaven.
I accepted His gift of forgiveness and asked Jesus Christ to be the Master of my life. I began to read my Bible to learn more about Jesus. By praying, by reading my Bible, by developing relationships with godly women, and by developing my relationship with Jesus himself, I learned more about His plan for my life and His love for me.
Soon afterwards, I met the most wonderful man in the world, and we were married. After two years of marriage, we decided that we would think about starting our family. The next month we found we were pregnant with Jennifer.
We later decided that we would like to have another child. The first few months passed with no success. Once again, this was a reminder that I’m not in control. The months turned to years as we prayed and asked God to give us a child. After many attempts with top fertility clinics, I was angry, depressed, and anxious. Was I going to “fall” AGAIN?! I felt myself tumbling into depression, but this time I saw the fall coming and reached out for the surest thing I knew: Jesus and His promise to never leave me or forget me. I held onto the truth that He had His own plans for us.
A few years ago, we received a message to go to Eric’s mother’s home. We both headed out, Eric from his work place and me from mine. Nothing could have prepared us for driving up to our precious loved one’s driveway and seeing caution tape, police cars, crime scene investigators, and reporters all around her home. What we hadn’t known was that Eric’s precious mother had been killed in a home invasion.
I am so glad that even when we did not see this terrible tragedy coming, we knew to hold on to Jesus with all our might so we would not stumble. God’s Word says, “He will never leave me.” He was true to His Word. All through the eight-month investigation for the killer, Eric and I felt an incredible peace that only the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, could have provided. Of course, we wondered why or how a loving God could allow this happen, but we held on to His promise that “All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.”
We may never know WHY this happened, but God does. He may choose to never show us why. That’s His choice, and I just have to hold onto Him to keep from tumbling when I don’t have answers.
A few years ago my father battled colon cancer and later may mother lost her battle with ovarian cancer. When they died, it shook my world, but this time I was able to hold on to God’s promise that I will see them both again in heaven.
You see, earlier in my life I was holding on to what I thought was a sure thing, things that I thought would keep me from falling.
Holding on to something that I thought could support my life makes me think of an image you may have seen on television of the tsunami victims in Thailand. One piece of footage that was played over and over on television was a man and his wife. As the unexpected tsunami waves come, this man is holding his wife as he has braced them both behind a sturdy metal railing, the safest, strongest, surest place he can find. The waves come, and they hold fast. The waves come again, and you can almost see a look of relief come over his face as he feels satisfied that he has found the strongest structure to hold to keep from tumbling into the waves. Just then the next wave comes and as it recedes you then see no man, no wife, and no railing.
I guess this image is so strong for me because I was holding onto the strongest, surest thing I could find just like that man, until I realized that Jesus Christ and His Word are the ONLY sure and eternal things.
I don’t know where you are in your life today or last week. But are you tired of holding onto something that may hold in one storm but get swept away by the next wave? If you are holding onto anything other than Jesus Christ, then my friend, it will move. It will fail you sooner or later You will take a tumble. Like that iron railing in that tsunami footage, sooner or later, it will give way.
I depended on my own strength. I depended on my career achievements. I depended on my father’s approval and even medical science. But I, and so many others throughout the ages, have found only Jesus Christ to be the only eternal foundation. Don’t bet your life on anything less than Jesus, His love, and His faithfulness.
“God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
Who but our God is a solid rock? He makes me as surefooted as a deer.”
He is not only my eternal Hope, He is my Rock when my life is shaken, He is my Peace when things are scary, He is my Sustainer when situations are out of control.
He is the God who loves us and has planned our lives and knew our names before the beginning of time AND knows our future. Nothing is a surprise to Him. He knows the tumbles we will take, and He knows the waves and the storms we will face.
He planned that today I would be here on this Zoom to tell you how much He loves you and wants you to trust Him with your life.
If you have never trusted your life to the God, you have the opportunity to do that right now. You have the opportunity to let go of that railing you are holding onto that is about to give way (if it hasn’t already) and hold onto the promises of God. He promises to erase all your mistakes and failures – your sin – He promises to never leave you, even when you tumble and fall. He promises to make everything work together for your good, even when you tumble and fall. He promises that when death comes to your body you will live with Him for eternity.
Please bow your head with me. If you would like to accept these promises, please pray silently along with me. “Dear Jesus, I do believe that you are the Son of God. I have become aware that I need You. Right now, I turn from my own way, and I ask You to forgive my past failures. I invite You to come in and take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving me and for giving me the gift of eternal life. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
If you prayed along with me, I want to welcome you as a new sister in Christ. The Bible says you are a new creation. The Bible also says that the angels are dancing. Remember I told you that God had planned this before He created the earth? Well, He has waited a long time for you to turn to Him and trust Him with your life.
If you prayed along with me today, I would love to celebrate with you and share some resources to help you grow in your new faith. Please let us know by going to stonecroft.org/know-god
If you weren’t quite ready to pray along with me today, there are materials on that same website that may answer some questions for you or you are welcomed to email us at email@example.com.
If you’d like to grow in your faith or get to know some wonderful women, who will love and accept you, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect you with one of our online or local Bible studies or groups in your area.