Weeks ago when I posted about my desperate longing to find a home for my 9 month pregnant wife and I, there were many comparisons to the Christmas story. At the time, we didn’t realize just how many resemblances there would be. We had been encouraged by reflecting on Christ’s birth, because although we believed that we were going to have an anointed son (in his own way), so many details seemed unsure about where he would be birthed, and how we were going to be able to take care of him.
We had planned, in faith, for a home birth, but when the idyllic farmhouse we were set to move into suddenly became unavailable days before move in, we found ourselves staying in a hotel three weeks before our due date.
We actually even had difficulty finding a hotel because it was the busiest weekend in Atlanta that we happened to be needing a “room at an inn.” We did however find a place at an obscure hotel in Norcross, GA. And there we stayed for a week while we tried to convince ourselves that we could be happy in an apartment in Atlanta. We could have been happy with it, but after hundreds of hours of prayer, conversation, and soul-searching that put us on the hunt for an agrarian home, a decision to stay put felt like a move backwards. Honestly, it felt like failure. Failure to actualize what we had been telling our friends God was going to do.
But our son was coming, and a major requirement of a home birth is a home. So, instead of moving from our friends’ spare bedroom into our dream house, we checked into an Extended Stay America, and spent days visiting apartments all around metro Atlanta. None of them seemed to work. The list was narrow, because although we weren’t looking for luxury, we were wanting a comfortable atmosphere with a 6 month lease that was immediately available. After 2 solid days of touring, and two very swollen feet on Tori, we found nothing.
Then, we got a peculiar email. Friends of Tori’s old youth pastor owned 50 acres about an hour outside Atlanta, and were looking for a young couple to come live in one of the homes. The arrangement would be free housing in exchange for work to develop the farm into a permaculture homestead. Naturally, our interest was piqued!
It seemed absolutely perfect, but “perfect” was a scary idea after watching the last “perfect” situation blow up in our face. So we prayed, “God, is this what you had in mind all along?” We responded to the family that owned the property to get more details. The people seemed really nice, and they had a daughter and son-in-law living on the property in one of the three homes with their 1 year old son. And, they had been praying for a Christian couple with a baby to move there too. But that wasn’t our sign.
We really “stopped in our tracks” when we found out that the closest town to their property was Bethlehem, GA. We said, “Seriously, God. Are we really going to be displaced from our home frantically looking for a place to give birth to our son, and end up having him on a farm in Bethlehem?” We’re still waiting for the shepherds and wise men to arrive. Actually, the wise men sorta already did. More on that in a bit.
To make a long story short, we decided to go to Bethlehem. Although the family was so gracious and genuine, and the situation was even better than we were hoping for–it was an hour closer to our friends and midwife, way more affordable, and 49 more acres–we said yes with great trepidation. Ultimately, there were a lot of unknowns, but it was a place that we could make into a home. It actually could be an amazing home for us, and especially for our son to grow up.
I should reiterate that regarding the nativity comparisons that we are not at all trying to elevate ourselves, or our son, to Messianic proportions, but the way that the metaphor kept unfolding was almost comical. For instance, we sent out a Facebook event asking for help moving, and three of our friends happened to join. After we finished moving, one of the friends who had been away and knew nothing about all the Christmas comparisons or that we were going to Bethlehem felt inspired to buy anointing oil to put on our heads while they blessed us on our journey. When he heard our story, he bursted out laughing. The oil he had bought was scented, “Frankincense and Myrrh.” As they anointed us, it was also not lost on us that there were exactly three of them.
So, it is in our home that I proclaim to you the goodness of God to provide more than we could ever ask. In our case, 50 times more. No, our house is not perfect–it’s an old modular home that hasn’t been updated in 30 years–and there are many things to still figure out with the landlords and neighbors about how things are going to work, but we have found a home that we can grow with, and into.
Hopefully soon, I will tell you about the outcome of our amazing homebirth, and beautiful baby boy. But for now, just know we are so grateful, blessed, and amazed by our journey to Bethlehem, and all who helped us get there.