Abba’s Shoulders has a new home! Have you seen it? The new site offers a lot more features and more room for growth! Jump on over and see what you are missing! 

 

http://www.BethanyBoring.com 

 

See you soon! 

As I heard my name spoken out loud that evening, my hands trembled and my throat tightened to swallow hard. My mind was racing as I seemed to float my way to the front of the classroom one week ago on a selected Thursday evening – an evening I decided to let one label stick. 

A week ago, I presented my first speech, notoriously named “The Icebreaker” to affirm my new Toastmasters membership (a club for those wanting to find their public speaking confidence and voice). Never before had I ever shared a speech, let alone a talk about my life. As I peered into the eyes of my fellow club members, most advanced in their public speaking passion, I felt like an ant amongst butterflies…starting as a caterpillar even seemed too far of a stretch. 

Yet, I decided to share my labels because I finally allowed one to stick that I was proud of. 

Below is my speech transcript. A side note to those of you in the Limitless Life Study – this speech that God put on my heart was crafted and delivered before I even cracked the cover of our book. Just this past weekend my jaw hit the floor as I read through the introduction for the first time. Indeed, our God has us right where He wants us to be. 

 

In life, we are handed many labels, whether we like them to define us or not. Labels can be handed to us from circumstances, others or even our own markings. But tonight friends I want you to remember – 

A label can only define you if you allow it to stick. 

“Disabled”

I was born with vision-loss in both eyes, severe hearing-loss in both ears and a right arm that was considerably smaller (most would say even weaker) than my left. The label “Disabled” loomed over me like a brick. Yet, this label did have its advantages. I was able to purchase contacts for half-off being I only had good enough vision in one eye. Hearing the world for most was a necessity, but with hearing-aids any unnecessary noise for me could instantly become optional through the “off” switch. If you ever want to witness a stranger squirm, watch an instantaneous prayer circle as the new friend on my right tries to decide if it’s descent to hold my right hand or not (I for one have enjoyed this reaction). 

Yet, as I accepted this label, I suffered with feeling that I had absolutely no value. I heard the stories in church about this loving Creator God that made the moon shine bright as the stars. Yet, why would such a loving Creator simply stop when creating me? Why was I His mistake? The feeling and constant reality of my insignificance just ate away at my childhood. 

But, a label can only define you if you allow it to stick. 

 

“Wife And Mom”

I never dreamed of a wedding, or collected bridal pictures or even really dated anyone until college. Why? Because girls with disabilities are told by wise and caring individuals (all married by the way) that sometimes God calls people to a single life (advice – don’t ever pitch this line to a single girl). I’m so thankful God had other plans. Just weeks before I was headed off to my first full-time position deep West, my boyfriend asks for my hand in marriage. Because he was completing his last year of college back East, we spent our one year engagement period literally on opposite ends of the country. Now…

9 years 

9 moves

3 dogs

3 kids

3 states

and way too many goldfish later – God still has us together and I accepted my new role as wife and mom. 

Although I like this label a lot better than the previous layer, it too shared weakness. I am a wife and a mom that constantly fights to measure-up to that woman appearing all-together, always organized, meeting everyone’s needs and summarizes Proverbs 31 perfectly each and everyday. So many nights I would crawl into bed feeling so far from hitting anywhere close to the ballpark parking-lot with my husband and kids. It’s hard to have a label that you never feel like you deserve. 

But a label can only define you if you allow it to stick. 

 

“Cancer Survivor”

What started out as a month-long headache (literally) eventually revealed double malignant brain tumors. I did not welcome this label. Truthfully, there were days I could not talk to God because of the pain I felt was keeping us apart. I went from running around the yard with my two young boys to barely able to sit-up in bed without wrenching in pain. Lying next to my eldest son, then a 4 year-old, I was asked the question, “Mom, are you going to die?” For any mom to even think about this question, you honestly wish you could disappear just to allow your family an opportunity to move forward. Yet this question echoed in my mind the day I was told, “Mrs. Boring, we can’t locate the tumors on this scan. We will need to schedule a follow-up.” Many follow-ups later, with the same results, I finally entered into remission status. I wasn’t going anywhere and as a wife and a mom I gained the title of being a “Cancer Survivor.” 

As days, weeks and even months passed, I found it incredibly difficult to move past the trauma I had limped through. Under the “survivors pride” sat a little girl scared and frozen to move. Is this permanent? What can I do safely? Even with the unexpected birth of our third child, I wrestled through each rescan. I was defined by my past. 

A label can only define you if you allow it to stick. 

 

“Child of God”

There is one label I just recently allowed to stick, pierce my heart, root in my core and change the way I view my identity. Because of Christ, I have the right to be labeled as a child of God. This changes everything. 

This is the only identity that welcomes Truth and allows me to overcome my disabilities, be the best wife and mom I was created to be and encourage others from my past.
GOD SAYS –
I may have disabilities but I am valuable.
In my role as a wife and mom, I belong to Him first.
I am a cancer survivor and I have a future being written daily by His hand.

A label can only define you if you allow it to stick. 

I finally found a label I want to stick and I love the freedom it brings! 

And now Bethany, just as you accepted Me as your Lord, you must continue to follow Me. Let your roots grow down into Me, and let your life be built on Me. Then your faith will grow strong in the Truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6, 7 NLT)

 

A Birthday Wish

Posted: May 14, 2014 in Family, God Moments
Tags: ,

Today is my birthday. I celebrated the way most women with a hard working husband and three knee-high boys do – hello movie night! As I snuggled up with my three freshly washed boys, basking in the afterglow of the vanilla brownie sugar rush, I smiled in the simple reality that this had been the best birthday I had ever celebrated to date. 

No surprises. 

A simple card from my husband with the kids names sketched on the inside.

A homemade “Blondie” dessert my husband made for me before whisking off to work.

A quick stop at Taco Bell for my late lunch, in the drive-thru as my 1 year-old date finally crashed in the backseat. 

A kids movie that brought the entire clan from tears to cheers – “The Little Rascals Save The Day” right before bed. 

 

And you ask, “How in the world is this a birthday to remember?” 

Indeed, there were no big gifts and no breath-taking surprises. I enjoyed messes to clean-up and faces filled with endless sugar. But one very important detail of my normal birthday routine had changed…one very big desire had been met in an ultimately fulfilling way. 

For years I had silently struggled with my birthday. I would rise in the morning with my stomach twisted in knots, disappointed when others forgot to acknowledge my day, awkwardly trot through the failures of my previous year and of course vow to do better for the coming year. My birthday seemed to be more unwinding knots of confusion than enjoying a reason to celebrate. 

Until today. 

A passage that God has placed into my rooted foundation shouted in celebration all day today:

Even before I made the world, I loved you Bethany, and chose you in Christ to be holy and without fault in My eyes. I decided in advance to adopt you into My family by bringing you to Myself through Jesus Christ. This is what I wanted to do, and it gives Me great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:4, 5 NLT)

From the moment my head lifted…slowly, off the pillow, God spoke this Truth to my heart. He indeed called me forth with a purpose and a plan. My life is never overlooked by Him and this day, indeed is for celebration by Him, with Him and through Him. Smiling throughout my day today I saw each token of celebration so rewarding, like a gift from my Abba Himself. 

I had no need to wonder if anyone remembered me because He already had. 

This day was no longer about a number, but instead reconciling a Father-daughter relationship.

 I am not looking for others to fill any emptiness – He already has that covered. 

My worth is found in a Him first…everything else indeed has become icing on the cake.

 

So, just in case someone hasn’t told you – God chose you before the world was formed. When He created the salvation plan, my friend, He had your face in mind. You are never overlooked by Him. May you find freedom in the Truth that your life has meaning through Him today. 

Listening

Posted: May 4, 2014 in God Moments, Health, Uncategorized

Silence is pure agony to the one that feels alone, yet to the child of God it is an ordained appointment with Abba.

God brought me into existence with the gift of severe hearing loss in both ears. My world has no lack of noise. I am a wife and mom to three young boys. Therefore, when God decides to grab my attention early one morning by short-circuiting my hearing-aid during the craziness of the carpool routine, it throws a static blow to this mom’s world.

Silence is gut wrenching abandonment. Suddenly, I lost the ability to truly connect with my husband. My mind spiraled trying to interpret his body language, his temperament and my satisfaction rating. My mind rushed through the endless possibilities like a puppy playing fetch with my emotions. My boys temporarily lost their over-communicative mommy. Not even abruptly invented gestures could ease the barrier of finding a fishing experiment gone bad in the toilet…again.  

I found myself in tears one night feeling incredibly alone, and unprotected while trying to stand for the ones I loved the most. As my heart shattered before His presence, I listened intently for a reply. What I received was far greater than what I had lost. I listened as I heard Him speak to me. His comforting hands held me in that moment in a way this orphan had never experienced. I needed to listen to His voice – filled with sounds of Truth, echoes of peace and resounding waterfalls of love. His Truth seemed to instantly put a soundproof barrier from my negative thoughts and I was overcome by the applause that He had chosen me as His child, dearly loved and cherished. Once you listen to that sweet song, life truly never sounds the same again. Silence is filled with a constant lullaby celebrating the end of loneliness. As His Child I took my place in His great symphony with confidence. 

God directed His music to allow my left ear to receive sound for the first time in my life and now I listen to the world around me in stereo. It seems so surreal that all of these events occurred in the order they did over the course of a month. God interrupted my life of hearing to show me the art of listening. 

Here I am Lord. I am waiting and listening. Use me today. 

Why I Run

Posted: April 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

True change is only evident when others point it out to you. Over the past few weeks, I have found myself answering various questions regarding my new fascination with running. I began my new journey in January of this year…yes, as in a few months ago. Why? Because I thought it would be fun. Yes, fun. 

I started running back in 2004, a few months after my fiancé decided he wanted to marry me. I was in full-time ministry on the complete opposite side of the country far from his embrace. I was fresh out of college, suited with the keys to my future and of course I had everything figured-out. I started walking with my new black and white ipod, mouthing the words to podcasts and DC Talk as I strolled. One day, I decided I would try jogging just to see how far my post-college cafeteria body could endure. I don’t remember how far I went, but I do recall that from that day on, I was determined to go a few steps farther. Each day, one step more at a time, I found myself dropping pounds and actually enjoying the stress-relief. I even signed-up to play soccer, which led to coaching youth soccer, then youth basketball. I looked great in my wedding dress too by the way. 

Over the years I ran or walked when I could. Ministry is stressful, period. For me, getting out and walking or jogging simply allowed me to process through a temporary escape from my need for answers. I enjoyed running to get away from my problems and to stay in shape (or at least look like I was trying). 

A few years back I finally started jogging again. I was doing well, trying to go out and jog every other day. I had 2 young kids, so I would rise early, jog, shower and then grab the kids before rushing off to work. It helped get my mind going before I was slammed at the office. 

I still remember asking the doctor if I could continue jogging. “Jogging Mrs. Boring? I don’t think you understand. You have a spinal fluid leak. You will not be jogging, let alone walking anywhere for a while.” 

The running shoes were thrown into the closet. I was so angry, stressed and desperately wanted to run…away…from all of this just like I had done so many times before. To me, this felt like a cruel joke God was playing on me. I was stuck. Alone. Nowhere to run. No clue how to process exactly what was going on or why. 

January 2014 was my first run since my battle with cancer and my first run with God. 

I’ll pause and let that line sink-in a bit…

You see, it took desperate measures for my Abba to get my attention. In my life, I ran alone. I needed to run in order to feel like I deserved to be loved. I needed to solve my own problems…or run away from them. Frankly, He knew I was tired of running way before I knew my shoes were wearing thin. During a retreat that God allowed me to attend in October of 2013, I got the message from Him so very clear – “I love you. Rest in me as you are. Stop and simply receive my love.” It still took months to really digest the closeness He desired for my life that I learned on that retreat…but eventually, I did stop. Eventually, I learned what acceptance looks like in His eyes. Eventually, I stopped running away and simply collapsed into His arms. 

So…why did I start running again?

I crave time with God and with three wound-up boys, there is no better place to have my time with God than running with Him. I started the Couch-2-5k program in January and completed my first two 5ks on Saturday, April 19th. I run three times a week – Monday and Wednesday mornings I try to complete 3.25 miles and Saturday I run 5 miles and walk 3 miles home. I’m not a runner by any means…but I love just getting out before the sunrise and coming before Him, as I am, with all that I am and simply run with Him. It has become the highlight of my week, calming my heart, refocusing my thoughts and allowing Him to breathe life into me first thing in the morning. Absolutely nothing can compare to this. Nothing. 

I run to be with God.

I run to hear His voice.

I run to see the sunrise.

I run to get stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I run to finally be healthy inside and out.

I run to keep up with my boys.

I run to go father and accomplish goals.

I run to learn determination and the power of relying on God with each step.

I run so I don’t try to do life alone anymore.

I run determined. I run renewed. I run with God. 

 

I think that pretty much sums it up. 

 

Run Or Dye 5k

 

EggScramble 5K

 

Here we are in week 6 of our Proverbs 31 “Made To Crave” journey. I spent a few minutes today looking back at the pictures on my camera roll…and wow! I found a photo taken literally one week before Made To Crave started. The picture was of me and my older two boys just goofing off, preparing to enjoy some hot chocolate. I compared this grin to a picture I took just two days ago, snuggling with our eldest kiddo. I was shocked at how different I appeared in the more recent picture. Funny how just a few weeks can truly make such an impact. 

 

But I’ve decided my journey living a healthier life – a more fulfilled life – leaving the ” I’m a survivor” mindset behind and embracing the reality that I will live for today in His promises….that journey is still continuing. I’m far from done yet. 

But going down this new road is scary. I’m not exactly sure about my next move. I’m not sure how far I will run, or the right foods to try with our family, or if shooting for running a 5k in March is just plain crazy. In fact, I’ll admit this…most days I find myself gazing back at my reflection going, “Who are you?! I like the new you…but who are you really? Are you here to stay?!” Sometimes it takes a bit to allow changes to grow on you. 

I want to go beyond hoping this change will indeed occur permanently. 

I want to go beyond simply just believing and memorizing Gods plans for my life.

I want to have the courage, daily to make change stick. 

 

Thus…

I will have a daily quiet time with my Abba Daddy.

I will continue on my c25k plan and eventually just run three miles three mornings a week.

I will continue to choose wise food options and keeping a food journal tracking my eating habits. 

I will continue to remain accountable to my study group.,

I will continue to live as His loved and precious child. 

 

Life is way too short to get comfortable and blend in. God gave us a joy to stand-out and take courage to make the changes we know that will bring us closer to Him. I believe I’m on my way. For the first time in a long time I feel like I know where I’m going and I have the courage through Him to press-on. 

So…who is with me? 

Because of the Lord ’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV)

The faithful love of the Lord  never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord  is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT)

 

Here we are in week 5 of the Proverbs 31 “Made To Crave” Online Bible Study! Im on week 3 of the couch-to-5k program, making my goal of at least 10k steps a day using my fitbit, pretty much drinking just water (though Velentine’s Day threw me off a bit) and FINALLY my energy level is rising! YAY!!! Finally finding a balance between “mommy needs to eat healthy” and “boys don’t.” 

Lets dive-in to this week’s passage mentioned above…

Now, I love dissecting verses (the proper term is exegesis) but I won’t consume you with all of the interesting facts. However, let me entice you with a few pointers – 

– This passage is the climax (most emphasized portion) of Lamentations

– The book was originally written after the Babylonians seized Jerusalem – Gods Holy city (if you were fortunate to live during this time, you lived in horrific circumstances under the Babylonian oppression) 

A few key verses I found that describes the state of living…

Jerusalem’s gates have sunk into the ground. He has smashed their locks and bars. Her kings and princes have been exiled to distant lands; her law has ceased to exist. Her prophets receive no more visions from the L ord . The leaders of beautiful Jerusalem sit on the ground in silence. They are clothed in burlap and throw dust on their heads. The young women of Jerusalem hang their heads in shame. I have cried until the tears no longer come; my heart is broken. My spirit is poured out in agony as I see the desperate plight of my people. Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets. They cry out to their mothers, “We need food and drink!” Their lives ebb away in the streets like the life of a warrior wounded in battle. They gasp for life as they collapse in their mothers’ arms. (Lamentations 2:9-12 NLT)

In other words…life was over for these promised children of God. Their prized city was demolished. The temple was rubble. Leaders killed. Families separated. Children dying. No food. No water. No shelter. No hope.

And you thought your day was headed downhill. 

Have you ever lost hope? I’m not talking about simply having a bad day or wrestling with internal temporary struggles. No friends…I am talking about crouching into the shape of a ball, head drenched with tears, hands trembling and fighting to simply make it through the day. I’m talking about waking-up in the morning and cursing God for making you live another day. I’m talking about living every moment with the fear of uncertainty, the inability to trust anyone around you…even the feeling that you are becoming alienated from God. 

I’ve been there…but more about that later…

Circumstances in life can lead us down this road. By starting from the beginning of Lamentations, your heart sinks for these people. The writer expresses their pain and suffering so vividly…it’s really hard to read, let alone really comprehend. 

No…you really don’t understand where the writer was coming from. Trust me. Why? Because even though these people and this writer were going through what many may define as hell on earth, together, we see hope. 

The faithful love of the Lord  never ends! His mercies never cease.

SERIOUSLY?! In the midst of devastation the writer finds hope. The writer does not define Gods love by looking at the current circumstances. He defines Gods love through His promises. 

Let me repeat that one more time here…(I need repetition!)

The writer does not define Gods love by looking at the current circumstances (devastation, destruction, separation, death). He defines Gods love through His promises (the writer knows Who wins in the end and that he is never alone). 

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Regardless of the trouble, pain, suffering, heartbreak or loss that occurred yesterday, the writer has an active relationship with God. He starts each day new in Him and with Him. God gives him hope. God is his hope. The writer chooses to live life to the full in Gods love. Wow…

 I say to myself, “The Lord  is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

For the writer, God is enough. 

Let that sink in just a bit…

The writer isn’t saying…

The Lord is my inheritance, therefore, I will hope He reunites my family.

No.

The Lord is my inheritance, therefore, I will hope He destroys the Babylonians.

No.

The Lord is my inheritance, therefore, I will hope He gives us food to eat tomorrow.

No.

The Lord is my inheritance, therefore, I will hope He returns now. 

No.

Now, don’t believe for a second that I’m saying the writer was happy, skipping along singing “Overcomer” in the streets. No…quite the contrary. I’m sure he felt pain. I’m sure he felt sorrow. He had to feel loss. He must have felt alone even if he knew he wasn’t. 

Yet, friends…he had JOY. Joy is not happiness. 

Happiness is the result of a circumstance or event. 

Joy is the ability to rest in confidence in the promises of God. 

Joy can only be found through the hope we have in Christ…period. 

Do you have joy? 


I thought I’d share a video I made (scroll below) a few years ago showcasing a few pictures I took during my battle with cancer. I’m now in full remission, but I’ll never forget how true the reality of this lesson of happiness verses joy came and pretty much smacked me across the face. It wasn’t truthfully until much later that I discovered the joy in this trial. 

Friends, if you are going through your own hell on earth right now, let me give you a glimpse into my little world through this video. The song my oldest son and I sing at the beginning and the end of this video was the song I continue to sing to him at bedtime. Even with a bald head, lying in bed next to my oldest kiddo, I would sing Joshua 1:9…scared, shaking, fighting back tears…but you know what? 

The faithful love of the Lord  never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord  is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT) 

Love y’all! Thanks for reading and watching! Live with JOY this week and live like you know WHO your Abba Daddy is!!!