Why I Didn’t Cut My Hair For A Year (How God Brought A Baby Into Our Family)

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My wife and I dated each other for less than a year and then were married. We spent the first four years of our marriage investing our time and energy into serving others and getting to know each other before starting a family. 

After year four of marriage we were in a small, cold doctor’s office room being told by a fertility professional that I was 100% infertile and would never be able to help conceive a child for my wife. 

The next morning we started the paperwork to adopt an infant domestically. We entered into a journey to share love with a baby even though we were grieving the reality of the death of a dream of wanting to be pregnant.   

Last year, my wife prematurely gave birth to triplets at 22 weeks pregnant. Each baby died (you can read about it here). 

After a month of grieving, resting and allowing our church to love on us, we started the paperwork to adopt an infant domestically. We entered into another journey to share love with a baby even though we were grieving the reality of the death of a dream of parenting triplets. 

On September 1st, 2020, I decided not to cut my hair until the Lord answered our prayer to adopt a baby. On September 1st, 2021, He answered that prayer in an amazing way. 

We’ll get to that answer. 

Over the past year there has still been grieving. There’s been an empty nursery with the door shut in our home. My wife pursued professional counseling for six months. There’s been tears in worship services. With every Friends episode where Phoebe Buffay was pregnant with her brother’s triplets (if you don’t know, don’t worry), the TV channel was changed. 

As deep as the sorrowing reminders were, we were faithful to God in all of it. We weren’t sinless over the past year, but when it came to this specific pain of trusting His plan for our family, we were faithful. 

Over the past year we’ve been truly excited for each birth announcement shared with us. We’ve also empathized with those who miscarried and shared their pain with us. Even in the mountain of confusion on why God would permit my wife to be pregnant with three babies, knowing all three would die, we still held onto the promises of Scripture that He is good, He is loving, He works all things out for the good of those who love Him – and – even if in His divine plan He would not add another child to our home, we had Jesus and Jesus was more than enough for us. 

In Luke 9:62, Jesus says, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.”. My wife and I decided to focus on what was ahead for our family instead of being stuck in the past of what happened. And while the lamenting of what happened will continue to be with us, the hope of an answered prayer helped keep us from being lesser versions of ourselves for our children, our friends, our church and our community. 

I made a Nazarite vow (Numbers 6:5) with God on September 1st, 2020. I was not going to cut my hair until the Lord brought a baby into our family. This was not an ultimatum to the Lord, my God is not a genie. This was a reminder for me to pray to the Lord, because, my God is faithful. 

And the hair did not look pretty. 

Being a pastor at a church with 3 worship services, I got asked weekly what was going on with my hair, when was I going to cut my hair, did I own a mirror, did my wife approve of what was going on with my hair – and all of it were reminders to pray for a baby. 

Of the triplets that died and are now with the Lord, the third of three babies that was born lived for 17 hours. We thoroughly enjoyed the time we had with him. We named our son Samuel Dominic. Samuel, meaning, “God heard” and Dominic meaning “of the Lord”. Hang onto that name.

In mid-August this year, my wife and I spent 10 days in Kenya serving the impoverished and encouraging missionaries. Part of our time there was visiting schools of children who were given the gift of education, nutrition, medical care and spiritual training through an amazing mission our church supports. 

On one of the days were were touring a school, the school was actually on a break. All of the students were gone. But, for some reason, there was one 5th grade class that was meeting in-person to catch up on their studies. At this school, of the 27 classes, only one was on campus. On campus on this particular day we were visiting, there was one head teacher (the principal), one teacher, one class. 

When we walked into the classroom we were greeted by the students with big smiles. They welcomed us. They cheered for us. They sang for us. And they recited a memory verse for us, Proverbs 19:21, which says: 

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

My wife and I introduced ourselves and answered all the questions this class had. Then we asked them to introduce themselves and we learned that the school’s principal’s name was Samuel. 

Then we learned that the only teacher on campus that day’s name was Dominic.

Samuel. Dominic. 

And my wife and I cried in the classroom.

We cried due to a mixture of emotions. On one side we were looking back at a reminder of the pain that we went through. On the other side, it was a stark, obvious reminder that our God was working. Meeting Samuel and Dominic at a school where only one class was meeting encouraged us. It was as if God was whispering, “I’m still making all things good for you”. 

We were able to share our story of pain with the classroom as a testimony to the memory verse they recited for us that they might have big dreams and plans, but no matter how it all unfolds, Jesus must be held onto tightly because it is truly God’s purpose that will prevail. 

We landed back in the States on a Wednesday at 2:00pm. At 8:00pm the same day we received a call from our adoption agency that a birthmom in Texas had chosen us to adopt her baby. 

The day we got this news was September 1st, 2021. Exactly a year after I had decided not to cut my hair. 

6 hours after being back home, we were told that a birthmom had chosen us to adopt her baby and that she was scheduled to have a C-section the following Wednesday and that we were to be present for the birth. 

Wow! Our God is so amazing. It gets crazier. 

The next morning after finding out we were going to be parents again, I’m mowing our backyard due to be gone for 10 days, and I get a phone call again from our adoption agency letting us know the birthmom went into labor and gave birth to a child earlier that morning and that we were to get to Texas ASAP. 

Without even being able to think, we threw clothes into bags, grabbed our two daughters and boarded a plane to Texas. Our daughters were going to miss their first day of school but they were not going to miss out on this adventure. 

After connecting flights, a rental car and some more driving, we arrived at a small town hospital in central Texas. We were given our own hospital room as the sweet nurses of the hospital rolled a newborn baby girl into our presence. Instantly we became a family of five. 

Two days later the birthmom courageously signed the baby girl over to our guardianship to raise her in our loving home and we were able to name her. 

As with all of the previous five children we’ve been honored to name, we have prayerfully given Scriptural meaning and truth to our kids names. Not only do we see that the names of people in the Bible have meaning, it’s also a daily reminder to us of those Scriptural truths to us and our children. 

We have named this beautiful baby girl Raphaela Jean. 

Raphaela means: “God heals”. While Jesus alone brings the only true healing in the brokenness we experience, Raphaela’s presence immediately brought elation, gratitude and joy. God has already worked through her to help heal us. 

Jean means: “God is gracious”. He is so gracious. We don’t deserve another child. We don’t deserve a story of adventure like this to share with others. We don’t deserve another testimonial example of how faithful God is and yet we have these things because He is gracious.

Raphaela Jean. God heals and is gracious.

And that’s what we would want you to know in whatever pain and confusion you are grieving. God does heal and He is gracious. He will heal the brokenness you carry and even when it seems the pain is taking so long to bear, it’s also healing to focus on the areas of our lives where He has been gracious to us. He has given us so much. 

6 hours after being back in America God brought healing and grace to us. 6 hours on a cross, Jesus brought healing and grace to the world.

My family and I are utterly grateful for the support of our community of faith, our church, the past year. They have uplifted us in prayer and encouragement and we can’t wait to share this miracle of God with them. 

Thanks for reading. You are so loved by God. 

Z

4 thoughts on “Why I Didn’t Cut My Hair For A Year (How God Brought A Baby Into Our Family)

  1. Karen Gresham

    Zack
    I’m sitting in my grand daughters swim class crying tears of joy for your family!
    What a beautiful story!!! For beautiful people! God truly does bless!!!
    I’m sure you have plenty of offers but I’m always available to babysit!😍😍
    Karen Gresham

    Like

  2. Elmer Jr. (Butch Sr.) & Barbara Kittle.

    I just want you to know that as pastors, you and Whitney, are amazing. You are setting examples for your flock, of which we are members of, to follow the rough road when God leads us there! I love your hair because I love different more than I love artificially perfect. More than anything, I love the two of you, Pastors Zach & Whitney, because you are real! I love your testimony of your discussion with God about your hair and your future addition to your family! That was just being respectfully real with God. Please continue to allow God to use you as our very real pastors! We love you and your family!

    Elmer Jr. (Butch Sr.) & Barbara Kittle.

    Like

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