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"As I gave up steering my own ship, I watched God miraculously open doors I had no business walking through; doors that I never could have opened on my own. "

  • Writer's pictureDenise Grace Gitsham



Less > More

The Joneses (Josh, Jack, and I) moved back into our home this week, after three months of hotel living. To recap, one third of our brand new house was demo’d and reconstructed in the wake of a flood. It took twelve long weeks for everything to be finalized between our insurance company, the demo crew, and our amazing contractors. It honestly felt, at times, like we’d never get home.

Now that we are, we’re thrilled beyond words. I’d forgotten how soft our pillows are, how much I love my Nespresso machine, and how awesomely liberating it is to sit around half-clothed, without

worrying about an unannounced visit from housekeeping. But the Joneses who left weren’t the same people who returned. In fact, we’ve undergone as much of a transformation as our home.

For one, we were forced to pare down to the barest essentials, living on 1/5th of our wardrobe, 1/1000th of my beauty products, and almost nothing in our refrigerator. Jack had 2 toys, instead of the 30 he usually stores in his bed. I wore the same 10 pairs of shoes, and my husband lived on a fraction of his as well. Even so, we were just as pulled together (which may not be saying much), just as well-fed, and just as happy with far less.

We also spent more time together as a family. Josh had no man cave to retreat to, and I had no reading room to hide in. Hanging out together became a thing, without either of us even trying. Our quality time quotient went through the roof, just by virtue of our living situation. Jack, too, benefited enormously from my lack of distraction. He’s always been a loyal pup, but at home he did his own thing. After spending three months together, 24/7, Jack got used to receiving far more attention than usual. I didn’t even notice that he’d become my little shadow, until one of my contractors pointed it out yesterday. “Does he literally follow you everywhere?” he asked. “I guess so!” I replied.

Three months ago, I couldn’t have imagined anything good coming from our situation. I felt angst-ridden as our beautiful floors were ripped out, plank by plank. I shuddered when they tore through the walls that separated our kitchen, office, and bathroom. I felt a deep sense of loss, leaving our pool behind for the warm half of summer (thanks, June gloom!). And I thought, “Why NOW?!” as I juggled mom-ing Josh’s amazing (but non-driving) daughter, a big ramp up in workload, and prepping my body for a second round of IVF. Being displaced on top of it all was the straw that should have broken the camel’s back.

But instead, it made ours stronger. Which is precisely what God promises He’ll do, if we let Him. God purifies us through simplicity. That’s why Jesus boiled 600+ Jewish laws down to two. And why childlike faith pleases Him more than "doing good." And why he values the lowly and simple, over the fancy and prominent. God delights in the simple – and I now see the beauty in it too.

Since returning home, we can’t help but notice all of the extra things lying around – things we couldn’t imagine living without before, that now seem excessive. Josh, whose hoarding tendencies are real, declared that he wants to get rid of a “ton” of stuff. I’m no Marie Kondo, but hearing him say that sparked a great deal of joy in me. That, and the hope that his cargo short collection could disappear for good.

As for me, I’ve committed to keeping my morning routine simple: early to rise, one-on-one time with God, and a cup of coffee with Jack. I’m also committed to cutting the fat - in my pantry, fridge, closet, makeup bag, shoe collection, and the many other places where I have a tendency to overindulge. At night, I’m prioritizing time with Josh, and keeping physical proximity a thing. As I type, my husband is working next to me on his laptop, in the smallest room of our house - something he never did before.

My cup runneth over. I have more than enough. And I'm so thankful for floods that wash away the "extra," clarifying all that really matters in life.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. – Antoine St. Exupery


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