Sunday, August 31, 2008

Getting out of my way

I can't tell you how hard it has been to write tonight. I've started and stopped. I've cut and pasted. I've deleted only to undo. I can't seem to make any thoughts clear in my head. Why am I having such a hard time writing "It's not about me". Maybe because there are times (sometimes more often than not), when I feel that it is "all about me". For 23 years, I was Tiffany Anne Bentley, daughter, sister, friend, healer, consoler, listener, swimmer, musician, designer, burger-flipper, editor, designated driver, babysitter, etc. For the past 11 years, I have been Mrs. Tiffany Anne (Bentley) Boardman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, healer, consoler, designer, sitter, creator, writer, head and shoulders, knees and toes. Who am I? And why can't it be all about me? Because, it's not all about me. There are people I've met in 34 years that have needed different things from Tiffany Anne Bentley Boardman. They have needed their wife, their mother, their daughter, their sister, their friend. They have needed their listener, their burger-flipper, their designated driver. They have needed me, or various parts of me. The good and the bad parts of me.

It's not about me. It's about giving of myself so others can see/feel/touch/smell the love of someone who has saw/felt/touched/smelled the love of God. It's about the people around me that I interact with every day. It's the people I pass by on the street, on the road. It's the people whose names I once knew, but have since forgotten. It's for the friends I've lost, and the new ones I've made. It's for those who I will never meet, but know that their lives have been touched because of something I've helped to do for them. It's about God. It's about Jesus. I live with myself because deep down inside, I know I don't always put me first. Often times, I am the last person I think about. I know that sounds cliché, and probably self-righteous, but when I exercise, I wait until the girls and Don have gone to bed so I can spend more time with them. When I sit down to write, I do it after the girls and Don have gone to bed (most of the time), so I can spend more time with them. I'm certainly not a saint, nor am I proclaiming to be. I do stay up late for selfish reasons, too. When everyone's gone to bed there are no pressures, no interruptions. I can sit and type, play games, pray, talk to myself and I don't have to think about anyone else. I can have that bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup and peanut butter and only have to face the guilt of myself. It's not about me. It's about how God uses me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Just do it... and see what happens

I've been wanting to lose a few extra pounds (okay, 20 extra pounds) for the past 4 years (See my darling Ava - now 4 years old!). I've prayed, I've begged, I've cried, I've walked, I've laughed, I've bought bigger clothes! Nothing! I haven't lost any weight! Not surprised, are you? Me either. So, one day a few months ago, May maybe, I decided to do something about it. I started to... Exercise! That dirty little word we all dread to hear, dread to say, dread to do. E - X - E - R - C - I - S - E. There, I've said it and spelled it for you! Do you know what's happened/happening - I've lost a few pounds. My clothes are starting to fit better, my body's starting to tone. I am seeing results. I have been exercising 4-6 days a week on the Nordic Track and doing Tae-Bo (remember Billy Blanks and his fitness craze a few years ago? A little kick-boxing, regular boxing, aerobics...) since May. It's driving me crazy let me tell you, because I do not want to have to wait to lose 20 pounds. I don't like to wait for anything. (You will not find my name under "PATIENCE" in the dictionary.) Guess what, though - I've found that I actually - dare I actually write these words down for future use against me - ENJOY it! Shhh, don't tell anyone!!! I have actually found that I enjoy exercising and I miss it when I'm not able to do it.

Waiting around for the weight to come off just wasn't cutting it. Telling myself how badly I wanted to lose the weight didn't do it. Sitting around on my bum watching TV every night wasn't doing it. Looking in the mirror every morning at myself didn't do it - although it did scare me on most occasions! Eating chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner didn't do it. So, I had to "Just do something and see what happens."

Remember "Action speaks louder than words." The same goes for our lives, if we want something to happen, we can't just sit around and wait for it to happen on its own. We can't will it to happen, we can't expect someone else to make it happen for us. We need to "Just do something and see what happens."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Great is your faith

A few years ago, while at Creation, Don & I were visiting the many vendors and stopped at "Remember Me". They sell charms, necklaces, rings, earrings, etc. The first time I was there, I bought a charm called "I Know". If you look sometime around my neck, you'll see it there on a silver chain. It's kind of funny looking, like a flame in a jar. What it really is is a tear in God's bottle and it represents His compassion. The writing included with the charm says this: "He captures each tear that drips down your face, and tenderly places them into His bottle. When you cry, you are not alone. When you think no one could possibly understand the pain you feel...He knows. He is right there beside you, collecting those precious drops. A weary mind, tears you sow down your cheek the pain it flows tattered...on your knees you go He'll hold your face and say, "I Know". If you've ever seen me in church on a Sunday morning, you'll see that I shed many, many tears. The thing is, I know that He knows...

Most recently at Creation this year, I bought another charm from Remember Me. This one is a hand with a cross cut out of the palm and its name is "Believe". The writing with the symbol says "This symbol represents child-like faith. Fear not, only Believe. Do not doubt, extend your hand, touch my own, you'll understand I've been here, lovingly real despite the questions that you feel like a child. Trust in ME to lead and guide continually, I'll never go, I'll never leave. All you need is to believe." I was immediately drawn to this symbol because I so often feel like my faith is child-like - complete, innocent and pure. Although I do have questions, my love and faith are stronger than my fears. Although I may not always trust in Him to lead, I have felt His guidance in my life. Just recently, it seemed like everything was going wrong, and I couldn't foresee the end. It wasn't that I was having major problems, but just lots of little problems all at once (I know you've all been there, and some of you are probably there now). However, even in those struggles, I never let go of my faith. I didn't question "Why me", although I often wanted to. I did shed many tears into His bottle, and prayed many prayers, but most importantly, I extended my hand, asked for guidance and Believed with the innocence of a child that He would get me through. He did.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Out of the boat

If you've ever gone canoeing, you know how awkward it can be getting into and out of the canoe. First of all, you're standing on this dock that is constantly moving because it's just floating in the water. Then, the canoe you're trying to get into is below the dock's ledge and you have to step down to get into it. (All the while, the dock and the canoe are just floating in the water and you have NO stability whatsoever). You have a bulky life jacket on, an oar in one hand and you're trying to keep the canoe from drifting away from the dock so you don't end up "kerplunk" in the water. All the while, the people on shore are laughing at what a spectacle you are making of yourself. Not to mention the people on the dock who are cheering you on this whole time (and they call themselves your "friends")...
Finally, you get settled in and you're off! On the water, the waves have settled into a dull ripple, and the wind is just a soft breeze lightly tousling your hair. The sun's warmth is on your face and you are basking in the glory of it all. Oh, what a beautiful day! There's nothing better than being on the water where no one can reach you. All your troubles melt away and it's just you and your thoughts. For a while, everything is calm and peaceful and you're having a wonderful day, but as all things do, they must come to an end. You see storm clouds in the distance and you know you need to get back to shore.
The only problem is - how are you going to get out of this boat you had so much trouble getting into? The same way you got in, with grace, dignity, a lot of laughter, and most importantly, help from your friends.
No matter how awkward the boat you find yourself in, how rough the storm appears, know that Jesus as your friend will be there to guide you to safety and OUT OF THE BOAT. Like Peter did, we often ask Jesus to command us to GET OUT OF THE BOAT into life's toughest battles, then we lose our faith and ask Jesus to save us again and again. When are we going to just GET OUT OF THE BOAT without asking Jesus to command us? We already know that He will NEVER leave us alone in the choppy waters to drown. He is our best friend and He will get us SAFELY OUT OF THE BOAT.