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One year ago, our world was shaken in a way that we could have never imagined. Many have questioned why we DID NOT do certain things and some have asked why we DID do other things.

All I can say is this – we immediately put ourselves under the authority of some godly counselors, and from there we discovered that God’s promises started coming to life like never before.

We have learned that people are going to be people. Now, as the reader you may think that to be negative toward “people.” However, I do not mean that at all. I believe that many parties thought that what they were doing was right, others may have taken no consideration as to right or wrong and just spoke, acted or reacted, and some just got caught up in the current of whichever crowd they were running with at the time. I can say this about Sarah and myself; we have grown closer to the Lord and each other through this last year and we are so very grateful, not necessarily for everything that transpired over this last year, but we are grateful for how God has used it to accomplish far greater things than we could have ever thought possible.

Over this last year we have seen how that obedience to our earthly spiritual authority yields safety and strength.

The Bible is so clear in Proverbs 11:14 and 24:6 that, “in the multitude of counselor’s there is safety.” Immediately after the storm started, Sarah and I knelt and prayed that God would give us strength to follow Him all the way through, and He has!!

As we prayed we knew that who we were in Christ was not because of “where” we serve, but because of “Who” we serve. There was never the thought of changing our family values, changing our dress standards, changing our independent, fundamental Baptist beliefs (which by-the-way are rooted in Scripture and founded upon Christ Himself), nor were we going to go on the attack to try and smear the names of others.

For years Sarah and I had taught and preached to the people of God that when the storms come you must keep your eyes on Christ. Well, now it was time to “practice what we had preached.” I wish I could say that I was spiritual throughout this whole year. I hope I was, but that is for the Lord to truly evaluate. I do know that there were times when it seemed all hope was lost and then the phone would ring, my wife would say something, or as I stared at the Bible – all of a sudden, the blank stare turned into the Lord speaking directly to me with a powerful truth for that moment, day, week…well, He always is willing to speak if we will listen, isn’t He?

Now it is one year later; our marriage is stronger than ever, our family is so happy and our home filled with laughter, our lives are busy with ministry, our Pastor and his family are absolutely incredible, we love our church, and we are so thankful that God is faithful!

God has blessed the “GiovanelliFive!” We are alive and well, and we are serving the Lord Jesus Christ with greater determination today than yesterday. We have been able to use our trial, and others we have faced over the years, to counsel others through theirs. We have watched God do the unthinkable by way of meeting our financial, emotional, and spiritual needs every step of the way. We love and believe in God and people more than ever before.

There is a joy in our heart that can only come from the Lord.

I know I can speak for Sarah when I say that we have no anger, hatred, or bitterness in our hearts. Yes, it hurt, but the Comforter was there EVERY STEP of the way.

So, what would I tell someone who finds themselves going through an unexpected trial, or bearing an unexpected cross? Well, I would say, stay close to your godly counselors, keep reading your Bible even when you find yourself just staring at the pages, talk to God more than you want to vent to people, keep tithing, stay faithful to all the church services, never take a blessing for granted (small or great), and do not let hurt take root because it always leads to bitterness and that will destroy those you love and care about the most.

Stay faithful and watch God do what you never thought possible!