Friday, August 12, 2016


So.  I'm getting married tomorrow.

I haven't blogged in a while.  I feel pretty rusty.  It's also pretty early in the morning and I haven't gotten much sleep lately.  I wanted to take a little time to process life before this milestone though.  It's a big one.

How do I feel?  I feel OK.  I'm not nervous. I'm not anxious.  People have been asking me if I'm ready and if everything's all set and done.  My answer is usually, "yeah... whatever's done is done and whatever's not done won't be and it's OK.  Everyone's just gonna hafta figure it out for themselves."  I'm pretty sure it's just to make conversation but I'm pretty darn ready.  I think I've been ready to take this next step for a while and the wedding is just another line to walk across before I start the real journey.  Maybe it's like the Israelites crossing over the Jordan river and entering the promised land... yes... I've been wandering the wilderness for a long time and I am pretty darn ready for it to be over.  There is a battle coming... I know there is... but I also know that there are a lot of God's promises waiting for me on the other side of the river... and victory is guaranteed.  I just need to engage the giants and the land will be mine to claim.  I want to be like Caleb.  He eyed it, he made his goal, and he fought for his land and staked his claim... full faith, full courage, and full vigor.  I'm not afraid.

I heard this song on the radio the other day called "Dear Younger Me" by MercyMe.  It made me stop and think about what I'd say to my younger self.  What would I want to tell her?  There were definitely moments of despair where I felt like I would never find a man who'd love me or who would want me... who'd take me on... all my history and everything that I am... but I recall so many times where Jesus sat by my side in those moments of despair and reminded me that the answer to the question that Satan would always use to break my heart... "who would want you?"... is and always will be Jesus himself... and that He is more than enough to cover all my needs, all my hurts, all my pain, and every ache and groan of my heart for something more.  He is enough.  And yet, He also provides above and beyond what I can ask or think... He's provided me another man to journey alongside, to enjoy and to challenge me to grow into a new and different version of me... Tiff, the wife.

It hasn't been easy, but there's been much... opportunity... to grow and practice my faith and love.  I think I might want to tell my younger self to cherish every moment of every day.  Make the most of the time when you're single because it is just a season of life... and you've got the time and mental capacity to work out as many kinks and release as much baggage as you can before you transition into another season of life.  The less baggage you come in with, the less you hafta work through.  When I moved here for work... I felt like... man... school is finally over and now I get to work and make money... but once I started working, I felt like man... stuff just got real.  I thought school was hard.  School was protected.  Grading is "real" but it's still safe.  You get a bad grade and you basically get a do-over.  I get a bad grade now and it's real... it's on my license... it's on my record... and these are real people with real health situations.  I'm prescribing and I'm treating.  This is the big time.  It feels like this with dating as well.  When I was single, I learned and I practiced but if I messed up, it was just me and God.  We worked it out.  I maybe needed to work stuff out with someone else but it seemed pretty simple.  Nowadays, PB is here.  When I mess stuff up, it's not just say sorry and it's done.  It's every day.  I hafta change it or the problem keeps coming back over and over again in daily life and now there's someone who sees me everyday and who knows me at home or in the world and I can't get away with things anymore.  It's accountability.  And a husband is a little different... he's also a person who's got his own stuff to work through with God and now we're in it together so our issues just magnify.

OK... I've got an analogy that helps me through our conflicts.  It's the tandem bike.

Both of us have biked on our own... it's one of our favorite things to do together.  He was more a mountain biker and I'm more of a road biker.  He's left handed; I'm right handed.  You would think that putting us on a tandem would be easy since we both bike but it was not easy.  The first time we rode tandem, we were on vacation.

Riding while we were on vacation was easy.  We weren't really trying to go anywhere.  We rode along a path at a park.  It was slow and leisurely.

The second time we rode tandem, it was for a purpose.  I'd signed up for a 20 mile bike race + half marathon.  I pondered why I was so crazy in signing up for that combo when I'd never run a half marathon before and I hate running, especially long distance running.  I thought that maybe if we rode tandem, it would give me a little break... and maybe we'd finish faster so that I could start the half earlier.  I know myself and it would probably take me 1.5 hours if I rode at a leisurely pace... and if I wanted to push myself, I could do 20 miles in maybe 75 minutes... but I'd ridden tandem with a friend before and we averaged over 20 miles per hour on that thing so it was an idea worth testing out.

It turned out it was not a great idea for me and PB to do a bike race on a tandem.  It was actually really difficult.  When we were doing our leisurely ride, it didn't really matter how we started as long as we started.  When we were trying to bike for speed, it got more frustrating when he wanted to start with his left leg and I wanted to start with my right.  When we were on the tandem road bike we were also wearing bike shoes and were clipped in.  We were forced to pedal at the same cadence.  I also had a speedometer on this bike to see how "fast" we were going and we were going much slower than I anticipated.  I thought if we combined our "power", we'd yield higher speed.  Not so, my friends.  And on the back of the bike... I pretty much have no control over how we're "driving" and especially no control of how "we" were braking.

On a river trail, it's pretty flat.  The only variation is really the underpass below a bridge and it's a very small dip followed by a small climb.  My method is to accelerate during the decline and use the momentum to propel me up the incline.  His method was to stop pedaling on the decline and start pedaling on the incline.  When I got frustrated and asked why he stopped pedaling, he said he was resting, and I said, we need to go faster when we go downhill so we have enough momentum to get this big, heavy bike up the incline... (Ok I may not have said it like that, but that's what I meant to say) but it wasn't up to me.  He was in front and he was "driving" and no amount of me biking as hard as I could would make up for the fact that he stopped pedaling.  I'm not weaksauce but I physically cannot keep the tandem going on my own.

On the back of a tandem while we're on vacation... it was great.  I could take pictures... soak in the scenery... I could drink water... I could do a lot of things on the back of a bike that I wouldn't be able to do if I were on my own.  On the back of a tandem when I want to go faster than we're actually going... it was incredibly frustrating.  It was good pondering time.  I thought about why this time was so frustrating.  I gave up on the idea that racing on a tandem would be a good idea for me and PB.  I also thought about my own behavior and how difficult I was being.  Pushing him to go faster was not really working for us.  LOL.  All it did was make me more frustrated, make him more flustered, and generally make for an unpleasant bike ride.  It was ruining one of our favorite activities.  And also... he was getting tired.  He's not used to riding such a heavy bike or increasing his cadence or biking like a road biker for speed.  He wasn't used to having grip shifters and brakes or using curved handlebars.  I'm used to it, but I'm still not that great at it.  Eventually, I had to stop pushing so hard and just go with his pace.  I slowed down my cadence to match his... and I stopped complaining about how slow we were going... I started trying to encourage him.  Mostly because he was cramping, which made us go even slower, and he was overall pretty miserable.  I tried to pick up the slack and push myself to pedal harder so we could get back to the car faster but I could only do it in short bursts before my legs got too tired.  I just had to keep telling him that "we're almost there" and "you're doing great".  I couldn't care about speed anymore... just had to try to make it back to the car and hopefully not ruin him for the next bike ride.

I thought about how dating or marriage is kind of like riding a tandem.  When we're biking on our own bikes, we just need to match speed and we're OK.  We could be on different gears... high cadence on low gear or low cadence on high gear.. doesn't matter as long as our speed is similar.  Our own bikes are also much lighter than a tandem.  It's less weight to pull... and we're only pulling our own body weight.  The tandem weighs more than the combined weight of our two bikes and we need to pull each other.  On  the one hand, I don't need to "drive", but on the other hand... I need to sit back and trust his driving judgment.  I needed to submit to him and support him and not backseat drive.

The way we bike... is similar to the way we live our lives.  It's just a difference in philosophy... I will bike harder when it's easier to prepare me for incline ahead.  He will coast when it's easier and then start working harder when the incline hits.  I saw this philosophy of life come out while we were wedding planning.  I put a lot of work in at the beginning, hoping that when it came closer to the day of the wedding, everything would be done and I'd have more time to just rest.  He tended to procrastinate and he got more stuff done closer to the wedding date... and even to the very last minute or beyond a deadline.  It still ended up being OK.  People extended us a lot of grace, but it was frustrating trying to work together.  In retrospect, I can see how it helped us get things done.  When we first started wedding planning work was a lot slower for me so I had more mental capacity and time to get a lot done.  The past few weeks, work has gotten crazy and I just didn't have enough capacity to go home from work and get as much done as I used to... but then he tended to get more done towards the end.  I'm thankful that both of us aren't procrastinators and that I got so much done upfront and earlier.  It did help us in the last few weeks that I'd already laid a pretty good foundation.  Man, it was frustrating though.  Wedding planning was more like racing on a tandem.  I'm hoping that real life is gonna be more like tandem on vacation but who knows.

Being on the back of that tandem helped me realize what marriage is gonna be like.  No longer are we two single people pulling our own weight side by side.  We are going to be two people on one bike... pulling each other as one person drives.  It's not a demotion.  It's just a change in position.  I'm to be an encourager and a helper and he's to be the leader and driver.  In order for us to have a good "bike ride", we need to work together, adjust to each other, set some mutually acceptable goals and then just do it and most importantly, enjoy the ride.

Two become one.  It's hard, yo.

Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard

Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed [x3]

Not sure how I want to end this post.  Wanted to say that I'm thankful for this transition in my life.  I'm thankful for PB and the conflict he brings.  I'm thankful for his grace and forgiveness when I backseat drive and then apologize later.  I'm thankful that he paid for that bike race and did it with me... and woke up super early and packed up our bikes and drove us to Long Beach.

I'm thankful for God's provision and His promises.  I'm thankful that Jesus sat with me in the pits of my despair, walks with me on the beach of leisure, and runs with me in the halls of the hospital at work.  I'm about to cross over the Jordan and marry my Promised Man.  

I wrote my future husband a letter in October of 2011.  I think I'll end with that. Thanks, younger me, for helping future me.  

Dearest Beloved,

From the deepest depths of my heart, with every fiber of my being, I want to tell you that I love you.   

I... have nothing to say to defend myself.  I've made mistakes in my past and I cannot change them.  I wish I would have been wise and respectful to you and I wish I had waited for God to bring you to me rather than to compromise for a temporary, fleeting, fleshly gain.  I implore your forgiveness for my foolishness and blatant disregard for you and your feelings.  God had already told me that He has amazing plans for me.  I'm so, so sorry I didn't believe them with full faith throughout my entire life.  I... hope that you will forgive me and accept me as I am.

I know I may not be who you imagined or who you would have wanted to marry if you ever dreamt about it when you were younger.  I know you probably would not have chosen to be the second husband to a widow... you probably would have wanted to be someone's first and last.  And I know it takes someone very special not only to love me, but to love who I love... even if it means also loving my love for my first husband, which I am not sure will ever go away.  It is a lot to ask and I do not take it lightly that you have knowingly taken this burden as part of loving and carrying me... and entrusting me to be your helper and also maybe the mother of your children and queen of your household. And yes, honey, that makes you king.  

I cannot change the past... I can only do what I can from now on to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ... and worthy of your love.  I hope that I will not forget... I hope that from this moment on... the commitment I am making to you today... before I see your face smiling at me from the end of the aisle... will warm your heart and reassure you that I am wholly yours.  I will not split my heart again.  I am dedicating myself to loving and pursuing our God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength... preserving what I have, allowing God to grow me, mold me, and restore me... and guarding the best of me for Him... and also for you. 

Thank you for loving me and thank you for wanting to embark on the epic adventure of life with me at your side.  I love you and I'm excited... for us.  It's gonna be awesome!


p.s. you look hot in that tux.  or suit.  or whatever you're wearing when you're reading this.  Jeans?  Pajamas?  

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