"Is there ever a good time to have a baby?" How many of you fellow moms {especially Army wives} have found yourself asking the same question?

A little bit about our family timeline: Our first little boy Asher {updated birth story here} came five weeks before my husband's temporary out-of-state move from Georgia to Kentucky. While I was less than thrilled to relocate to a hotel room with a newborn for four months {especially after working tirelessly on his nursery}, there was no deployment or training that separated our family during the time of the birth. And in the Army, that's a privilege.

Then came my second pregnancy. This baby was anticipated not long before our move from Georgia this past month, which meant this child would also be spending a lot of time in transitional living and hotels. My first reaction to this was dread. "Again?" I asked myself. But it turned out that the good Lord had other plans for her or him.

A few months later, we were blessed with a third pregnancy! And what would the future hold for the birth of this little boy? You guessed it...yes, another hotel! And a Dad who's scheduled to be away for training during his birth, immediately followed by another out-of-state training course lasting the rest of the summer.  Let me just pause for a moment. I'm not exactly laughing out loud, but I can't help but chuckle to myself. "Again, Lord?"

So, I'm approaching this June with a little bit of trepidation. We've just arrived at our new duty station at Fort Drum, New York, after living out a suitcase for the last month. And we'll continue to live out a suitcases for at least three more weeks. Then, two months after getting settled in a new house {and when I'm about three weeks away from my due date in June} Thane will go away for pre-deployment training. 

When I'm admitted to the hospital for delivery, he'll be flown home and likely be back with us the day after the baby comes. But this isn't the complicated part. A couple of weeks after my due date we will all be moving down to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, for a six week training course he's scheduled to attend there. The great thing about that- it's where all of our family is! A once in a lifetime opportunity to spend an extended period of time close to them all! The not so great thing- another difficult out of state move and upheaval right in the midst of welcoming a new baby to the family. 

Where Do I Deliver? So, do I stay in New York with our two year old toddler and attempt to deliver alone? Or, do I move in with family in Virginia a whole month earlier than already planned {after only being settled in New York for two short months} and spend three total months living out of suitcase again there? Frankly, both options stink.

News Flash: I'm Not the Only One Who's Been in this Boat  But in the midst of these pressing questions and unknowns, another delivery story comes to mind: "And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." {Luke 2:7}

Sigh. The hammer of conviction has fallen once again {just as it did regarding our housing situation}. Here I am, so consumed by my own greed for comfort and convenience that I hardly remember the story of the One who give it all away for us. God Himself, wrapped in flesh and born to die for the salvation of our souls, began His humble human life amongst the dirt and smell of animals.

Mary Delivered in a Barn. Joseph was the midwife. And Mary! How quickly I forget that the mother of God incarnate delivered her own Son not even in the modern day equivalent of a hotel, but an animal stall! With an inexperienced, likely terrified husband for assistance {picture the average guy here- my husband would have passed out mid-catch}. In addition, she had no medical care, no clean home or perfectly decorated nursery, and no relatives or acquaintances nearby. What must she have been thinking in the final days of her pregnancy as she journeyed over open terrain on a donkey towards a place she'd never been with little to no money or provisions? And then, in the midst of labor, when there was no space in the inn and an animal manger was the only option? 

Moral of the Story: it's about Jesus, not me.  I have to let go of my plans, preferences, and even fears in order to embrace Jesus. Not just His gift of salvation, but His very life. Which was not one of comfort or convenience, but of self-giving love and sacrifice. Lest we, as believers, forget our calling: "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." {Romans 8:29} How quickly I forget that He has a perfect plan, and He will bring it to pass in whatever way conforms us to His image and in whatever way brings the most glory to Him.

So, I will affectionately call both of our little boys "manger babies", not that I fancy their births worthy to be compared to Christ's, but out of a bit of good humor and tribute to Him. I have no clue how things will work out with this upcoming delivery in June, but I trust that He was a plan. Why should I should be anxious? He has done more for me personally as well as us collectively than we can ever re-pay Him for. In light of His great sacrifice {compared to our miniscule inconveniences} may we never cease to thank Him and trust Him in all things!

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