A new home

It was Christmas Day.  The weather proved unusually warm for Cincinnati, and I couldn't help but think that every Christmas from here on out would feel much the same.  I would miss the possibility of snow, but it wasn't a necessity.  I had woken early to the promise of delicious food and excited children gathered around the table.

In the shadows of my room, I took a quick glance at my phone that showed a message from Chris Bagwell, my ministry partner, my friend.  She had some news to share.

I hadn't seen Chris since my trip to Nicaragua in July.  She was just as I had remembered her from the year before.  Her southern accent a pleasure to hear; her genuine spirit a delight to a world that grows increasingly tired of pretense.  I recall the first time I met her and how she told the story of a dream she remembered from her childhood.  There on the doorstep she would find abandoned babies that needed to be rescued.  I find it no coincidence that she has been called to do this very thing with her life.  I cannot stifle the smile that overtakes me when I think about how intentionally God plans the moments of our days.

I won't forget the details of that trip this past summer.  It was strange and wonderful and terrible.  I loved seeing Nicaragua with eyes of future ownership, but I was also painfully aware of the feeling that my life in Ohio, the only life I have known, was changing.  We had put our lovely home up for sale just before I left, and in broken conversations over the phone, I learned that it no longer belonged to me.

I have discovered that even the necessary moments, the ones we have intentionally chosen to endure, can be so very hard to live through.  The fullness of it pressed in on me as we bounced along the dusty roads of Nicaragua.  I pulled my hat down over my eyes, and I mourned the loss.  My mother was sitting across the aisle from me on that yellow bus, a witness to sorrow, speechless.

Later in the week, Chris invited me to see her home, and the neighborhood where she and Tim lived.  Right next door to them was a lovely house that piqued my curiosity.  It was only a few passing moments that held my imagination of what it looked like inside, but I remembered it immediately when Chris called me a few months later to tell me that the occupants might be moving.  She wanted to know if I would mind being her neighbor.  I wanted to know if she was willing to put up with me.

It seemed the opportunity was forsaken when the owners decided they would like to sell the property rather than rent, and we all settled into the fact that God was going to provide for our housing in another way.

Then Christmas Day comes with a message from Chris, a gift in itself.  But I read it through slowly.  Then I read it again.  And again.  Her words told me the owner of the house changed her mind.  She changed her mind, and she wants to rent to us.  Of all the houses that I could have taken notice to, how could it be that this was the one that would become available?

It feels a sacred gift to me.  I have held it carefully in my hands, and enjoyed unraveling the mystery of it all.  A divine provision that speaks of a God who loves me intentionally, gives to me abundantly, and seeks to surprise, delight, and amaze me.

I am solidly unworthy.  And I am wholly grateful.


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