My New Job as a PHM: On pulling all-nighters, chicken salad, and hashtags (Part 2)

PHM.

Don’t you love acronyms? True story: I have to go look them up on google or urban dictionary most of the time. This was particularly true when I worked in CPS (don’t worry, you can figure that one out by the hyperlink). A job which, by the way, I recently quit. Ah yes, you see, last week I wrote about that huge change in my life. This post is a sequel to that one, but it can stand alone as well.

So anyway, back to acronyms.

In that last post I referred to my new job as a “PHM”, and so I’m ready to share the meaning of this acronym with you…. are you ready? Okay…

Professional Help Meet.

I first got introduced to this term “Help Meet” from the book Created to be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl. I will warn you that this book is not for everyone. It’s quite traditional when it comes to the role of wives in the household, and I anticipate that many women will fine and have already found it limiting and old fashioned. This does not happen to be my opinion.

True, I was skeptical at first, but in “testing” out being a true Help Meet, I have found it to be absolutely Biblical and amazingly successful in the context of my own marriage.

Anyway, the term “Help Meet” is interpreted is to mean that God gave Adam Eve: a helper who was fitted to meet his needs. But when looking at it’s Hebrew translation–Ezer– it actually means something much more profound and powerful.

Ezer is commonly translated as “help”, but has a much deeper meaning. In her book Eve and the Choice Made in Eden, Beverly Campbell explains,

“This word is a combination of two roots, one meaning “to rescue”, “to save,” and the other meaning “to be strong.”

Diana Webb in her book Forgotten Women of God also clarifies this word by explaining,

“The noun ezer occurs 21 times in the Hebrew Bible. In eight of these instances the word means “savior”. These examples are easy to identify because they are associated with other expressions of deliverance or saving. Elsewhere in the Bible, the root ezer means “strength…. the word is most frequently used to describe how God is an ezer to man. “

dim fog mirrorThe other term, “Meet”, has a little trickier Hebrew translation, but with some research, I have discovered that it not only means “suitable” or “fit”, but “mirror opposite”.

When you really think about this in regards to males and females biologically, this is true. I mean, I don’t want to be graphic, but just the sexual organs alone are mirror opposites, and because of this, they fit perfectly together in order to create life.

Another thing to note: opposites are always equal, aren’t they? They are totally different in qualities and oftentimes function, but they are always equally themselves.

Many have interpreted the role as “Help Meet” as a diminished position of servitude unequal to that of the husband or man.

But I have come to understand Genesis 2:18 as something like the following, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a companion of strength and power who has a saving power and is equal with him.” (Beverly Campbell)

This is the job I have right now:

A Companion of Strength and Power who had Saving Power and is Equal to my Amazing and God-Fearing Husband.

Awesome job title? I know, right?

See, I have begun to help my husband, Dennis Florine, with his career. My job has no real title, as it encompasses so many different jobs– filming, editing, promoting, posting on social media, choosing outfits, booking photo shoots, setting up shows, editing posts, blogging, writing emails, offering advice, preparing meals while the man rehearses, making posters, updating the website, organizing papers and mail, making phone calls, communicating with designers and venues and merch options, creating album covers and artwork, taking photos, and a ton of other things that we’re still figuring out–it’s only been one month as a PHM!

What I am finding, is that my skills, talents, and general likes are exactly mirror opposites to Dennis’, which makes us a very powerful team when we’re working together.

I am also finding that Dennis’ primary love language, Acts of Service, is actually more specific than just doing laundry for him or cleaning up after dinner (which we both do, BTW).

He feels most loved when the Acts of Service for him are helping with his career-his work-his life calling. It makes him feel supported, understood, and believed in.

So, in addition to using my saving powers of strength as a wife and women of God to help his career, my hubby is also feeling super-hard-core-crazy-loved, which, as you can imagine, is pretty awesome for our marriage!

And you know what?–God is so good!–I’m finding so much satisfaction out of this! 

Whether it’s gaining new followers on D’Flo Productions’ twitter page by using specific hashtags, making healthy chicken salad from scratch that Dennis now wants to have on hand at all times, choosing his clothes for his next headshot photo shoot (pics to come soon!), or pulling and all-nighter editing the newest Flo’s Friday Flick, I am feeling so much more appreciated, loved, helpful, fulfilled, and joyful than I ever have!

If you know me personally, you probably know how hard this past season has been, and if you don’t know me, you can read about it in this post.

If you know me personally, you probably also know how hard marriage has been, and if you don’t know me, you can read about that in this post and this post.

Needless to say, this season is very welcomed in the Florine household. All-nighters, chicken salad, hashtags, and everything in between!

You can see our journey on the D’Flo Productions website, facebook, and instagram. Keep up with the story God is creating through our marriage and my new job as a PHM!

Do you have a non-traditional job? How would you describe it? How has your view of wifehood changed since you got married? If you’re not married, what questions do you have about the role of a wife?

Reclaiming “Our Song”

our songIt’s a Monday evening, and I’m sitting at a coffee shop with my feet up on the seat across from me like I’m at my own home. I’m all cozied up with a good book, ready to tear off a piece of my butter croissant and wash it down with a sip of my soy Café au lait when I am startled by a song that begins playing through the speaker directly above me.

It’s my family’s song– yes– family.

See my mom, my dad, my brother, and I have our own song.

No, we didn’t write it or perform it, but it has always, as far as I am concerned, been about us… at least the chorus is. I can’t make much sense out of the verses.  

We are 1 person

We are 2 in love* 

We are 3 together

We are 4 each other

*the real lyrics are “2 alone”, but I have always thought that the singer said “in love”, and that’s part of why it makes it our song, so I will keep it the way I hear it instead of the way it is.

I remember when I first recognized this as our song. It was when my mom was acting all weird one day, trying to keep it from me that she was a few days late and thought she might be pregnant. She told me though, and my dad and I waited patiently outside of the bathroom while my brother played with action figures on the basement floor.

She came out and handed a little pink stick to my dad. He smiled with something that wasn’t quite disappointment, but wasn’t quite relief either. He looked at me and at my mom, and he drew us all in for a hug.

“We’re still ‘4 each other'”, he sang, emphasizing the “four” with his fingers. 

And that’s when I knew it was, indeed, our song.

I lost track of this tune and it’s meaning for my family when I was a teenager, yearning to be independent, giving anything to break free from the “4” that I had been a part of for my entire life. I wanted my own song, to march to the beat of my own drum, proverbial though it may be.

And thus began my seemingly endless obsession with music– the quest for “My Song”…I cycled through many:

Walk Over Me- Dirtie Blonde

Summer Skin- Deathcab for Cutie

I Need You To Know- Superchick

Redlight Pledge- Silverstein

Tool Sheds and Hot Tubs- The Straylight Run

And any Bright Eyes song ever written by Connor Oberst. 

(Just to name a few.)

But of course these changed as rapidly as my taste in music did, or my relationship status, mood, location, ect.

It’s not until now– now that I am part of my own new family, that I recognize this song again– the “4 each other” song that my immediate family claimed as their own for so long.

And I wonder if my parents, who originally dubbed the song as ours, still think of it as ours. Or if they stop at “we are 2 in love” now…

Because their daughter’s married off. Their son is about to move out (right Tom?). And we aren’t really “3 together or 4 each other” anymore. Because it’s not just us anymore. It’s more or less, but it’s not just us.

This brings about so many other questions having to do with growing older and changing family dynamics.

Like, when does my “immediate” family of mom, dad, and siblings, get renamed my extended family?

Like, when do my parents become the matriarch and patriarch of my family? What do Christmases start being held with them as the grandparents?

Like, what is my family song and what will happen when my daughter hears it at a coffee shot some random weeknight after she’s tried desperately in her past to break away from it? Will she be brought back by the same floating lyrics and simple melody? Or will she even remember “our song”?

I realize that many of the answers to these questions involve marriages occurring, children being born, and perhaps even some people dying. I realize that I am still very much a part of my family of origin, and always will be. But I also realize I have my own new family.

It began when I “broke free” and was… 

“1 person”

and it continued when I met and married my husband…

“we are 2 in love”

It no doubt will continue when we decide to have a child, and then we’ll be…

“3 together”

and perhaps another, and then we’ll be…

“4 each other”

I’m not sure what lyrics we’ll have to add in, as Dennis keeps insisting that we will have 17 kids (better get started soon, I say!), but you get the idea.

It’s funny that I fought to break free from this song, and now I’m headed back to it… Maybe it’s the type of song that gets passed down, you know? Like a husband’s last name. 

Or maybe it just needs to stay as a song of the past, reminding my brother and I of where we came from, and my parents of what they created.

I think we all need something we can both look back on to remember and take forward with us to our future, making it our own. Maybe this song is like that for me. Maybe it will always remind me of where I came from and what I want to create.

Maybe it will always be a part of my legacy. Or maybe I’ll forget it and only be reminded when I hear it playing on the radio– something I imagine will happen less and less as the song grows older.

But the idea of a family, whatever the size, being for each other, will not fade from my mind, even if these lyrics do. I’m finding that as I grow older (or grow up), this fact has become truer and truer.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young had no idea they wrote my song, “Helplessly Hoping”, but I’ve cycled back to it nonetheless. Sorry, Bright Eyes– you didn’t make the cut this time.

A Week of Fasting and Prayer: Day 7- Prayer for Respecting the Marriage Vows

This is the last day of my week-long fasting and prayer for marriages. The Lord has put these specific requests and prayers on my heart, and I have learned a great deal from being obedient to His calling to me. … Continue reading

A Week of Fasting and Prayer: Day 6- Prayer for the Married with a Deceased or Ill Spouse

I’ll just get right to it. The first year of my marriage was pretty rough due to the state of my mental and physical health, among other reasons. I was still suffering pretty badly from a very damaging eating disorder … Continue reading

A Week of Prayer and Fasting: Day 5- Prayer for the Engaged

The day Dennis proposed to me was probably the most romantic and surreal day in my entire life. I was over-the-moon-happy and wanted to keep pinching myself that this wonderful man would choose me above all other women. But the … Continue reading

A Week of Fasting and Prayer: Day 3- Prayer for Struggling Marriages

Image Last night my husband and I were up late, reflecting on our own relationship, as well as the good and bad seasons that we’ve had so far in our almost 3 year-long marriage. Currently, we are in a very happy season; we’re getting along very well, enjoying each others’ company, and we’re feeling totally in love!

… but there is a reason why I call it a “season”. It isn’t always like this, and while I hope to have more happy seasons as our relationship grows and progresses, I know that there will be times, just like there already have been in the recent past, where we are at each others’ throats, so frustrated and irritated that we want to break things. In fact… that reminds me of a story…

On my husband’s new album, there is a song entitled “Up All Night”, and essentially it is about…. well, making up after an argument. It’s about transitioning from being up all night fighting to being up all night… doing something else. Get the picture? The lyrics were inspired by the many arguments and fights we’ve had in our marriage and how we’ve overcome them. Here are some of those lyrics:

Another fight tonight and,
I think we’ve had this one before.
By the light gotta catch my flight
But your words won’t budge, you’re blocking the door.
I know you wanna hit me,
I’ve lit a fire deep in your eyes.
I don’t know why every time I gotta try
To keep this up, I’m pushing for more.
You push my heart to the floor.

You keep me
Up all night,
Back up, I’m lovin’ it
Don’t hit the light
This is gonna take a little
Bit of Time
Oooh you know you’re driving me
Craaazzzy.

By the time we calm back down
The glass is smashed to the ground.
Both know what to say but we aint
Gonna break gonna make the first sound.
Your lips are looking sexy
If only we could apologize.
I see your frown turn upside down
Cause love aint lost, Love is found.

 

I was mad about something. At this point in time, I’m not sure what it was, but it’s safe to say that it may have had something to do with Dennis being late, me overreacting to something he said, or possibly even PMS. Anyway, we were arguing, and I was in the middle of telling Dennis about himself (it wasn’t very nice things), when he said the dreaded words: “I need to be alone. We will discuss this later.” To which he then turned, and walked into his office, shutting the door behind him.

He. Did. Not! My face was burning red. So I did what I now know is NEVER a good idea, and I followed him, flinging open the office door and blocking the entry way so he could not escape. I was literally trapping him in his office so we could have the discussion I wanted to have, which, as a tip ladies, never worked out for me. Meanwhile, this made Dennis feel pretty darn disrespected, so he probably said some things out of anger, to which I was made extremely angry. So angry in fact, that I decided I needed to throw something. Staring at him like I wanted to hit him, I saw a mason jar half full of water on his desk. In a few short steps, I walked over to the desk, picked it up, and, not even thinking about what the heck I was doing, I smashed the glass down to the floor.

Water splashed everywhere, threatening to ruin some of Dennis’ music equipment (by the grace of God, nothing was damaged), and tiny shards of glass littered his entire office floor. Since this little number left the doorway entirely open, Dennis took his opportunity and left the office, then the house. Image

Meanwhile, I was left crying hysterically, cleaning up water and broken shards of glass, hating myself for not controlling my emotions better and for resorting to something so childish as throwing things in a temper-tantrum.

A few hours later, when we had both calmed down, we realized how silly this fight was. We knew we loved each other and didn’t want to hurt one another as we had both done in the fight. We apologized, and (long-story-short) we made up. Afterwards, we spent a good amount of time assuring one another of our true feelings and attempting to take back the ugly words (or in my case, cups) we had previously flung at the other.

Can you see this fight reflected in the lyrics? Blocking the door, the fiery eyes, the smashing glass, the love afterwards?

It’s pretty much a given that, being married to a musician, my personal life may be getting sung about on stage at some point, so I’ve come to terms with this. That’s why I don’t feel too embarrassed telling you this story.

It also shows you that, as I pray for marriages and write about Jesus, my life is FAR from perfect, and I have a lot of things I’m working on in my walk with Christ and in my marriage. Before I say more, I want to first tell you that I am married to one of the most patient and loving human beings on this planet. I’m utterly convinced of this. And yet, even with Dennis’ amazing patience and ability to show love, we still fight. Probably because, while I’m married to a man with the largest tolerance level, Dennis is married to a women with the largest temper.

In any case, sometimes our fights have gotten so loud and volatile (thanks to my firey temper) that our up-stairs neighbors thought that Dennis was physically abusive–which he has NEVER been! But this is because I have slammed doors, cabinets, and hit things, then screamed and cried afterwards. To an elderly neighbor, this probably sounds like physical abuse, so I don’t really blame them for thinking this. But sufficed to say that Dennis and I have since grown in our conflict-resolution tactics, and I’ve become a little more mature with how I handle my emotions (AKA I’m not throwing as many temper-tantrums).

This fighting season was very real, but it was just a season. We didn’t stay there.

I share this story with you so that you know I don’t exclude myself when I pray today for struggling marriages. I need prayer for God to help me control my tongue, and I need prayer for God to teach me how to be less contentious. His word tells us that it’s better for a man to live on top of a roof than in a home with a contentious wife, and having been a contentious wife, I can agree with this proverb very well. So here I go, praying for struggling marriages and my own marriage along with it:

Lord,

I pray for the marriages that are struggling right now, for the marriages that are in a rough season. I know that it may seem difficult and that things may seem like they will never look better, but I pray that You give these couples hope. Whatever the situation is Lord, I pray You bring peace and restoration to these marriages.

Lord, the struggle could be unfaithfulness or adultery. I pray you strengthen the marriages in these situations. While your Word does tell us that adultery is the only grounds for divorce, I know many couples who have struggled through unfaithfulness, sometimes on one end, and sometimes on both ends. I thank you for these couples who have chosen to remain married and work through this trial; they provide a great testimony to couples that are dealing with this kind of hurt. There is hope for a marriage that is under this sin, and I pray that you give these marriages restoration, that they may become stronger on the other side of it. Be a comforter to the ones in this relationship that need it, and encourage and convict those that need to change their ways and repent. I pray that You would help these couples kill the sin and the unfaithfulness that is in their relationship, that both can rejoice in a unified marriage that remains faithful and loving.

The struggle could be addiction. I pray that You strengthen the marriages in these situations. It could be alcohol, or drugs, or even pornography Lord, and only You can deliver men and women from the snares of addiction. I pray You give patience to these couples, and convict those that need to repent. Give them strength and support and accountability so that these marriages can come through addiction and be stronger because of it. Bring healing and restoration to these marriages Father, and show each couple how to specifically take action to banish the addiction forever.

The struggle could be finances. I pray that you give wisdom and discernment to those marriages in these situations. Lord, money can be a point of contention in any relationship, especially in a marriage. I pray for unified decision-making and transparent honesty with the ways in which couples spend their money. Give them courage to cut expenses where they need to and give them the humble spirit to ask for help when they need it. I pray that they continue to be faithful in their dedication to tithing for You Lord, because I know how this has blessed my marriage and helped us to trust You more fully. I pray You give these couples a sense of security and protection, and give them the resources they need to get by, all the time praying to and relying on You for their every need.

The struggle could be a change in life (occupation, physical ability, location, additions to the family), a season of irritability, a testing of faith, a series of trials, a disagreement on a big decision, a family death, or a collection of arguments that lead to a deep struggle. God, You know the struggles of marriages around the world more than I do, so I pray for any other struggles not specifically mentioned. I pray You provide examples of couples who have been through the same things, and I pray You provide support for those that need it. Give them strength to make it through these trials and the perseverance to keep loving, despite feelings of discontentment and grief.

Lord, I know that you have delivered me from a lot of superficial struggles as well as some deep and hurtful struggles in my own marriage. Thank you for the restoration you bring. I pray you continue to help me be a better wife to my husband, especially in the areas of being respectful with my tongue, and with my actions. I pray you help all wives be respectful of their husbands, because I know showing them respect causes them to love their wives more. And I pray you help all husbands be loving and gentle with their wives, because I know that loving them well will help a wife be caring and respectful. Thank you that You have provided a manual for a struggling marriage in Your Word, and that we can go to it daily to receive wisdom and advice in our relationships.

In Your Son Jesus Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

 

 

What marriage struggles do you feel called to pray for today? Share so we can be praying along with you!

 

 

 

A Week of Fasting and Prayer: Day 2- Prayer for the Seasoned Marriages

“I only wanna be with you For the rest of my life I’m talking about growing old And wrinkling by your side…” At our church, we often call the older generation of our members “seasoned saints”. This often induces a … Continue reading

What my cat has taught me about connection and people

As many of you may know, I have a cat. She is the cutest kitten in the world (in my high opinion) and I love her very much, even when she gets vicious in her playful-kitty mode late at night (she thinks that biting our faces as we try to fall asleep is a very fun game…)

IMG_1169Now when I really stop to think about the purpose of a pet, the purpose of Evee–that’s my cat’s name in case you were wondering, I can’t really express what that purpose is. Is it to have a little companion all to yourself? Is it to own something? It is for protection? Is it for friendship? To stay busy? To teach kids how to be responsible? To practice love?

What is the purpose of a pet?

In Genesis Chapter 1, God creates the Earth, then, along with a bunch of other stuff, he creates animals….

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God makes a specification between wild animals, livestock, and creatures that move along the ground. Wild animals are untamed, they are not the kind of things you would probably be able to train very well… they aren’t domesticated. Livestock is usually used for food or clothing (cows, pigs, sheet, and so on). But now what about these creatures that move along the ground? Are they tamable? Are they domestic? What category would say a Golden Retriever or a Calico fall under?

One thing is for sure though, God created them so that humans, men and women, would rule all other living things. So is the purpose of owning a pet simply to have dominion over them?

To be honest, I like having Evee because she fulfills a part of me that is designed for nurturing, a part of me that desires connection and to take care of another living being.

That being said, I have come to recognize how dangerous this can be.

1.) My innate design as a woman is to nurture, but the primary purpose of that is to nurture children, not pets. Granted, I don’t have children of my own, but I do have 90 some students that come in and out of my classroom that need a heck of a lot of nurturing on a daily basis.

2.) If I am fulfilled by connection with a cat, it can take away my desire to connect with other people. In other words: I can start to turn to playing with and loving on my cat instead of playing with and loving on the neighbor kids across the street who really need some love and attention.

3.) There are many people, in not just the world, but in my own neighborhood that need a lot of taking care of. There are a lot of poor, sick, homeless, needy, uneducated, undernourished, hungry, and impoverished people living all around me. They truly need taking care of, and if I’m already feeling good about myself because I fed my cat and cleaned her litter box this morning, then will I be as apt to feed and clean the homeless man outside of the post office on my way to work?

Now I’m not saying that I want to get rid of little miss Evee. You all already know I love that cat to death! What I am saying is this: we need to be careful about where we place our caring, loving, and nurturing attention.

Yes, kittens and puppies are cute; it’s pretty easy to love them to pieces and give them treats, and pet them, and show them a ton of affection and attention. But as Jesus said in Matthew 10: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Many times we walk by a homeless person on the side of the road and avoid making eye contact. Many times we see dirty, sloppily-dressed kids and turn our nose up. Often we see people starving for attention and categorize them as annoying; we walk away and say we won’t pay them any mind. But when a stray kitten winds up on your porch, we bring her inside, dry her off, cuddle her, and give her some food and drink. When our puppy makes a mess in the mud, we wash him off and get him nice and even spend big bucks on a nice grooming. And when our pet wants our attention, meows, barks, or squawks, we pet them, give them treats, and play with them.

Why is it so easy for us to connect with our pets, but it’s so hard to connect with people who really need it the most?

Isaiah 58 gives us clear instructions about how we are to connect with one another as people:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injusticeand untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed freeand break every yoke?Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them,and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?Then your light will break forth like the dawn,and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you,and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Now these are “if-then” statements people. It’s a cause and effect that God is explaining. IF we end injustice, free the oppressed, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and welcome other people into our own homes, THEN we will be healed, be righteous, see God’s glory, and the Lord will answer us when we cry out for help or guidance.

Now I know this seems kind of silly, analyzing why we have pets and if they detract from our love of people, but it’s only because I take the scriptures very seriously, and it doesn’t seem to have much in there about loving little cute fuzzy animals, who are, frankly, pretty easy to love. Rather, the scriptures have a lot in there about loving people who are hard to love.

I see a lot of people, including myself, who care very much for their pets, and I don’t think that’s bad at all. But there are a disproportionate amount of people who are also inviting the homeless into their house, feeding people who need some nourishment, giving away clothing off their own backs to kids who need it, or helping others get out of the cruel cycle of prejudice, poverty, or oppression.

Jesus says that people are worth more than sparrows, implying that people are worth more than cats, dogs, and guinea pigs as well (I don’t think he was strictly talking about only birds). So if that’s true, then I need to be caring for and loving people more than I care for and love Evee. If that’s true, I need to be getting my need for connection fulfilled through other people, not my kitten.

When I see a kitten meowing out in the rain, I think “awwwwe poor little kitty-cat!” and I immediately want to adopt the creature and dry it off and feed it.

When I see a homeless man out on the street corner with a cardboard sign getting drenched in the rain, why don’t I have a similar reaction? Why don’t I immediately want to take care of this poor human being, dry him off, give him some warm clothes, and feed him?

Which does your heart go out to? The man or the dog?

For this week’s Monday Musings, I really want your feedback.

What do you think? Do you have a similar experience with your pet or am I just a weird animal lover who needs to get priorities straight? Have you ever had these kinds of contemplations before?

Oh Lord, Color me!

I just had an incredible time with my dear friend Datrice and my husband Dennis at the Color Me Rad 5K in Chicago! Dennis got second place and Datrice and I had a blast taking pictures along the way.

I feel so grateful for working lungs and legs this morning and I praise God for good friends who like to do crazy things together. Datrice agreed to do three more 5ks with me this year including the Hot Chocolate Run. Just thought I’d share!

My Life Verse

marriage counslingWe sat in the stranger-Pastor’s office. Me feeling like a giant cloud was hanging over us both, ready to be burst open at any moment, raining down all the blame, and him feeling… well I didn’t know for sure. But I was almost certain that his head was full of all the ways I was screwing up, was a crazy wife, and with reasons to leave me. I knew they were all there, just bubbling at the surface, waiting for the time to just explode and leave me with the aftermath to wade in until I could find some kind of self-pity pool to sit down in and cry about it.

Our first marriage counseling session seemed to be the best place for all of this to come out into the open.

…but to my surprise, no such downpour occurred.

It turns out that marriage counseling is not a place they make you go to before your relationship falls apart.

It turns out, I have a very loving husband who wants to not just be “okay”, like I keep asking him if we are, but more than just “okay”… He wants us to be thriving.

This, I recognize, is far beyond my own understanding. How can I trust that a mere mortal will love me and cherish me until I die when I know myself to be so unlovable and sinful? How can He or I know what will happen in the path ahead? What if something happens and he just can’t do it anymore? What if I’m just too much? What if even God can’t do anything with me? Where’s the guarantee?

It is times like these when my sinful, yes, sinful insecurities rise up from the deepest, darkest places of my doubtful heart and I start to want to control the situation–whatever the situation might be. I am looking for ways that I (me myself) can get a grip on my life, and I forget to trust the God who controls all, knows all, sees all, and has the master plan.

I believe that God created the Bible, through the hands of others, to be the manual for our lives. He had us as individuals in mind when He wrote it. I know He knew me and knew my struggles, sins, hurts, loves, and desires when He wrote this:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heat and lean not on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

This is my Life Verse.

In this verse, the Lord admonishes me to trust Him, something I have struggled to do all my life. He tells me that He never advises me to trust myself, men, institutions, medicine, formulas, or experiences; He advises me to trust Him. His desire is for me to lean on and into Him, not to rely on myself. For, as I well know, when I rely on my own knowledge, I am confused, anxious, and insecure of the future.

Instead of looking for ways to control the situation or searching for my place in society or people’s lives, God urges me to acknowledge His existence in the world. He implores me to acknowledge His hand on my life and the lives of others. If I keep my eyes on God, He promises that He will make my path straight, regardless of if I know where it leads or what is on the way.

The Lord God wrote the Bible with each of us in mind. He knew what verses we were going to read at what time and He placed them there to guide us, encourage us, and be a light to our lives.

This verse is my verse. It will be a light to my darkness when sinful anxiety and fear threaten to crowd out my joy.

What is your life verse?  How does this verse encourage and uplift you? How is God speaking to you personally through His word?