I warned you that it might get quiet around the ToG blog for awhile…and indeed my attention has been elsewhere the past couple of months! The Garibaldi family is in the midst of a season of chaos. Crazy times, I tell you!
Those of you who know me, know I like to have my ducks in a row. It’s not a wonder where my son gets it! At age one he was sorting cereal on his highchair tray by category. This is a true snapshot of how he leaves the shower every day:
Literally…ducks in a row!
My ducks are currently anything but in a row! It feels like they’ve been blown out of the bathtub!
Since I last posted to this blog two months ago, here is a *somewhat* brief synopsis of what’s happened in our lives:
* My husband and I (pretty much out of the blue), felt led to take a step of faith and put our home of the last 8 ½ years up for sale. Then, in the span of 5 days , we met with a realtor, prepared the house, got it photographed, and had our first open house.
* With just a few days notice (and with the house newly on the market!), I left my husband and kids and jetted off to Utah with my sister and her family for 8 days to help with the adoption of my beautiful niece Georgia.
* Due to the adoption trip conflicting with the annual big Throne of Grace trip to the Believe Boutique, we had to cancel Throne of Grace’s plans to travel to Arizona. The Believe Boutique is usually one of our top-selling boutiques of the year. Instead, my resourceful sister, Emmy, hosted an “Instasale” on her Instagram account and in a matter of about 2 hours, sold more than 45 sets of prayer cards and about 15 prayer journals!! Praise God for his incredible provisions! Thankfully, He also provided the help of some dear friends upon my return to invoice, package, and ship all those orders!
* After just a couple weeks on the market, our house sold and we put an offer in on another home in our same town on the same day, hours before heading to Northern California to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. Our offer was immediately accepted but then 5 days later we learned that the home we were in escrow on had to be taken off the market due to the fact that the sellers had fallen out of escrow on the home they were purchasing. (Did you follow that? One of those chain reaction things…)
* We ended the Thanksgiving vacation with a trip to urgent care (after I had endured horrible, unexplained foot pain for several days) and then a sudden and violent onset of the stomach flu that wiped out the whole family for a week!
* The past several weeks have been spent pounding the pavement looking for a future home for the Garibaldis – to no avail! We finally came to the point of deciding a small apartment would be the best bet to give us more time to scrimp and save and keep us “free” to jump on just the right house when it becomes available. Yet, finding an affordable apartment that offers short-term leasing options has proved to be extremely difficult as well!
So now you are up to speed! Here we are, attempting to pack but not really knowing if we are packing for a new home, packing for an apartment, packing for storage…wondering why we ever brought this on ourselves! We’ve been waiting for the neon signs from the Lord pointing us in the direction we should go and they aren’t coming! Yet, the Lord has given us confirmation that He is asking us to let go of this home we have loved and enjoyed and that we need to trust Him to provide in His perfect timing.
God has given me several seasons of life like this one. Thankfully, I can count them on my fingers! But each time He does I find Him whispering the same eternal truth and each time He does, the reality of this truth sinks just a little bit deeper.
“Be still…and know that I am GOD.”
(Psalm 46:10a NIV)
You see, just about anyone can experience peace next to a quiet fire with loved ones gathered ‘round while familiar Christmas carols play in the background and a soft snow falls outside (being an Orange County girl, it is interesting that this is the picture of peace that comes to mind!). Just about anyone can experience peace walking barefoot along an empty beach at sunset, listening to the waves lap along the shore. (Better?) 🙂
But the real challenge, the real calling we have as Christians is to experience peace in the midst of the chaos.
In the midst of boxes.
In the midst of mess.
In the midst of family strife.
In the midst of devastating diagnoses.
In the midst of marital strain.
In the midst of unpaid bills.
In the midst of over-packed schedules.
It’s when the storms of life are swirling around us, and yet we have a treasured inner calm, that we can really see the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s nothing short of supernatural! And you know what excites me even more? It’s when the storms of life are swirling around us, and yet we have a treasured inner calm, that OTHERS can really see the work of the Holy Spirit! That’s when we give the Lord the opportunity to really get the glory for what only He can do!
Life is chaos around me but by the grace of God, as I abide in Him, He promises me His unexplainable peace! Admittedly, my mind and my heart waver almost daily between walking in faith and swirling with anxiety right now. But I’m clinging to that promise!
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
(John 15:4-6 NIV)
Oh how I want that! Yes, I want to experience His calm and His peace! Desperately! But even more, I want to bear fruit as I go through this challenging season. Don’t let it go to waste, Lord!
My garage is piled high with boxes that have yet-to-be packed.
Escrow closes on my home in a couple weeks and we’ve currently got no place to go. Plans A, B, and C have all fallen through to this point! But our foundation is firm.
“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
(Matthew 7:25 NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, help us to keep You at the center of all the chaos! Let us not forget that You are the foundation of this house. Thank you for the reminder that even as the storms blow around us, You will not let it fall. May we look back in the months and years to come, may our children look back, may those watching our witness look back, and glorify our Lord because of what You have done!
Thank you, dear friends, for your faithfulness to the ministry of Throne of Grace even as we have been out-of-touch!
We would certainly love your prayers and would be especially blessed if you have a few moments to share your stories of God’s provisions of peace in the midst of seasons of chaos. Leave us a comment below!
If you, too, are finding yourself in the middle of a storm right now, seeking HIS calm, we’d love to be praying with you! Leave us a comment, or contact us by email so we can do that!