Vapor Mist Life

These are some crazy times we’re living in, amiright?! If nothing else, can the world just agree that we’re all crazy and it’s not a contest? No matter where we each land on today’s [feisty] hot topics like masks v. naked faces, vax v. no vax, freedom to choose v. mandate everything – there’s many a topic we could choose from to get divisive about. Christians and non-believers alike are fired UP about any and all of the topics and which is right, who is dumb, how it should be… and it seems like no one in any of the camps is having stage fright speaking their mind and reminding you that if you don’t agree with their stance, you are literally THE worst. 

I wonder, though, what would happen if we Christians were this passionate about reminding people that there’s actually an eternal life we should all be worrying about more than this current one we find ourselves in. The Bible tells us like it is – this life is but a vapor. It is a mist, that appears and then is gone. And once it vanishes, it’s on to the actual life that this quick, dress rehearsal one was preparing us for. “…What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14

Insert spoiler alert here – we are all terminal. We will all die. Every single person you meet on this earth will spend eternity somewhere. Either in heaven or in hell. Why aren’t we screaming it from the rooftops?! Why isn’t that on the newsfeed blowing up your phone? Because the enemy is real and his tactic is to steal, kill and destroy… #oldnews. He’s stealing your peace and killing your hope and destroying your relationships. And we’re just standing around letting him. Well, I, for one, am done. 


If you are a Christian and you believe the Bible, we are instructed (repeatedly) not to fear. Should we walk around and lick doorknobs and be reckless? No. But we should be so focused on making disciples and sharing the Good News (aka the GOSPEL) that clickbait headlines about all the horrible ways we’re going to either die or inadvertently murder everyone we know and love would be irrelevant to us. We are supposed to be living on mission! If we truly love our neighbors, wouldn’t we be sharing Jesus and letting our lost friends know there’s a way to ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ rather than making an idol out of this vapor mist life?!

The situation is this – God is holy. We are not holy. We are all sinners condemned to die. Even if you’re a “good person” and your “family is Christian” and you “go to church” and you “are kind to people #beakindhuman”. The Bible says there is no one good, no not one –  “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’” Luke 18:19 

But God, in His infinite love and provision, sent His son Jesus to pay for our sins by dying on a cross. Your sins will all be paid for – either by you in hell, or by what Jesus did on the cross. He offers up a free gift to anyone willing to admit they are a sinner and repent and come to Him. Jesus overcame death – after He died on the cross, He came back to life three days later and conquered death, making a way for those of us who accept His gift to live eternally. And not only that, but to have the peace that only He provides as we live out our days on this earth with His Spirit indwelling us.. “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were appointed for me, when as yet there was not one of them….” Psalm 139:16. God has numbered our days before we were even born and we can rest and trust Him. We can trust that the God who created the entire universe and numbered every person’s days before He created them, is trustworthy and true. Let’s all decide to focus on our mission here on this planet – to love God and love others, to go and make disciples and to share the Good News! .

Home Is Where Our School Is

You know that nudge? You know, that really, really quiet inner voice in your spirit that ever so gently nudges you along? You have to get real still and real quiet to hear it. Lots of times life keeps us all so busy and occupied that we forget to get real still and real quiet to do much listening. Personally for me, there were many months of 2016 that I spent with my “listening ears” turned OFF instead of ON.

For those who know me, you know I am as stubborn and strong willed as they come. Yielding that kind of spirit to the Lord is something He and I work on daily. I felt God had been putting homeschooling on my heart for the better part of a year. It was something I often thought and wondered about. My gut told me it would be a wonderful fit for Hayden. My strong willed spirit said we had a plan in place, hours of ARD meetings behind us, a plan we had made and by all means we were going to stick to. I could’ve written a list of cons vs. pros and come up with a 100:1 reasons why public school was where Hayden was going to remain. But, somewhere, deep in the back of our minds, Ryan and I always knew there would eventually come a day when Hayden would “age out” per se, of public school.

In 2016, I entered a difficult time in my life. I was feeling down, discouraged, lost, abandoned. I think everyone endures different seasons in life. But this one was the roughest I had ever been exposed to. Now, I have never been one to have panic or anxiety attacks. Even with everything we have going on in our “normal” life, and people always telling me about the stress I’m under *eye roll emoji* ;), I never really felt stressed out – just “my normal.” Until 2016. That’s when I began waking up in the middle of the night from a dead sleep to be tortured by my own body. This got my attention.

I knew I needed to address some things going on in my life and get to the bottom of the cause. I met with a new doctor to review things from a medical standpoint, but I also began meeting with a wonderful Christian counselor who I have now grown to adore. It was during my work with her that I had a realization that possibly I was so strong willed and hard headed that the reason I felt so oppressed was of my own doing. It’s like if you were holding onto a rope so, so tightly that your hand has no more blood flow and the rope you will not let go off is actually what’s dragging you down deeper. The minute you let go and let God take over and trust Him, He pulls you out and the weight that was dragging you down can be replaced by freedom. There were so many things in my life that I was trying to control and worry over that the rope had me and it was dragging me down with fierce power lower and lower. As He promised, God never left me; He was just waiting on my old hard head to let go of the rope so He could carry me. I’m now reminding myself often that I don’t have to be in bondage to any thing, any worry, any person. I am free. And who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed!

This whole thing circles back around to homeschool because there was a day my counselor and I were discussing all the things that stress me out. We rated each individual item on a 1-10 scale and they were all mostly 12s. 😉 And as an exercise she asked me, “Picture yourself homeschooling Hayden. What’s the stress level doing that?” I didn’t skip a beat. It was a 0, no question. Five days later I withdrew him from public school. And would you believe, that right this minute, I can’t even tell you what all the 12s were on that list that day. The minute I heeded the call the homeschool Hayden, I had this incredible, overwhelming sense of peace and calm.

And you know what, I think Hayden did too. We began homeschooling in October, and I would say within just a couple of weeks, he was a completely different child. And I was a different person, too. The weight lifted off, joy was restored. Now, please don’t misunderstand me and hear that I’m never stressed and always organized! Ha! It’s still a hot mess over here and some days are just a wash and we try again the next day. I just think when you’re doing the thing He called you to do, the peace you find in that is so wonderful and reassuring that it makes those everyday stresses more bearable.

We loved his public school team and his teachers, therapists, principals, and they all bestowed their blessings upon us and wished us well. We still keep in touch with them and visit campus on occasion. Grayson still attends that school as a Kindergartner.

Hayden and I both adore homeschool. I treasure my time with him. His health has improved as he is more well rested and gets to sleep past 5:40am each day. He has energy in the evenings and has more play dates as a non-student than he did when he was attending school. The things Hayden endures daily to maintain a baseline of good health is vast and he was doing sets of treatments, catheterizing, g tube feedings all at school plus trying his hardest to get work completed like his other 4th grade peers. Now that we’re at home, he just thrives. I don’t even know how to put it into words. His sense of humor is back. He’s got energy. He has so much interest in learning about topics that he thinks of himself and he asks critical thinking questions – none of which ever happened when he was in public school. And it’s not because it wasn’t there, he was so exhausted and quite honestly, I think he felt an enormous amount of stress from the work load and trying to please everyone and do his best. Bless his soul.

None of us know how much time on this earth we’ll get to enjoy with our loved ones. For our family, this thought is always on the forefront of our minds. We want Hayden to have the best quality of life for as long as possible. And I would say Hayden’s quality of life has improved ten fold since October. Heck, so has his confidence level! I love the honesty, the humor, the love this sweet child offers the world. We may not be taking the STAAR test in this house, but that’s not what life is about anyway. It’s about living your best life, loving people and showing God’s love to others and if those are the only lessons Hayden takes away from his entire homeschool experience, then I have done my job as his mother.

It’s Not You, It’s Me….

In about one hour from now, one of mine and my son’s favorite artists will be getting on stage for a concert in my hometown. The wheel chair accessible tickets my mom purchased for us to enjoy are being used by someone else. Someone else will enjoy the concert and hear the beautiful music that my son and I sing along to in the car. And that is life.

I have missed a great deal of events in my lifetime as a special needs mother. I missed the opportunity to stand beside my best friend as her bridesmaid at her wedding because I was pregnant and needed to be close enough to the hospital in case the baby came sooner than we planned and needed the Level III NICU. I missed attending the wedding of another childhood friend because my son had already been born and was two months in to his seven month stay in that Level III NICU. I’ve missed countless birthday parties, sporting events, dinners, you name it….I probably flaked out on it. It’s not you, it’s me.

More recently, I have just this week canceled an upcoming weekend at Spina Bifida Family Camp, tonight’s concert in my hometown, and most likely we’ll be completely reworking a family vacation we have saved for and planned for over the last 18 months. But none of those events are my number one priority. Serving Hayden and making sure he is healthy and safe is the job I have been called to.

I know caring for Hayden, and my other boys, is my calling. That is not something I have any doubt about at all. I know it’s a calling because God has equipped me for that purpose. The old me, before Hayden, would never have been able to endure and manage the life I lead now. That is how I know it is divinely appointed and orchestrated by God. He equipped me to fulfill His purpose and to use this life and Hayden’s precious life as a beautiful platform to share His love for Hayden, for me, for you. The old me would have loved to roll over, play dead and offer to the world every pity card I could dig out of my back pocket. “Is this fair?” “Why me?” “I don’t deserve this!” “What kind of life is this for Hayden?”

But God made a new me. By offering up His son, Jesus. Jesus went through something not fair that He didn’t deserve so that Hayden and the entire world could have a beautiful life. Jesus bore all of our sins so that we could be made new. And I completely trust in that gift. My number one priority is serving Hayden and my children. The most important thing I could ever do for my children is show them the One who gives life its purpose.

I hope that tonight, in Longview, Texas, Francesca Battistelli sings the words that bring me to tears every time I listen to them.

“Now I’m filled by a love that calls me to action
I was empty before, now I’m drawn to compassion
And to give myself away

That’s the motion of mercy
Changing the way and the why we are
That’s the motion of mercy
Moving my heart
Living for the lost, loving till it hurts
No matter what the cost
Like you loved me first
That’s the motion of mercy, oh
God give me strength to give something for nothing
I wanna be a glimpse of the kingdom
That’s coming soon”
-Motion of Mercy by Francesca Battistelli
(I highly encourage you to listen to as many of Francesca Battistelli’s songs as possible. They all have such a wonderful message and she has a beautiful voice.)
I live this song everyday. I pray this song everyday. All I want to do is be a glimpse of the kingdom that is coming soon. It is coming soon. Because of His mercy, because He loved me first, I am now filled with His love and His compassion and I am blessed with an opportunity each day to give myself away to a purpose far greater than myself. And I don’t mean just to Hayden. I mean to God. I can dedicate each day, each action, each word, to Him. He has given me the strength and in all things my prayer is to glorify Him. That’s the motion of His mercy. He will change “the way and the why we are.” Let Him. Let Him change you and feel the joy from giving yourself away to something more than self. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-26 NLT, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?…”
I know that the mission handed to me is to use Hayden’s precious life and our family to show others Jesus. I don’t understand why this is the lot I have been given and I don’t need to. I’m not negotiating with our Creator over this. I trust Him. It’s not easy. But daily I’ll choose to take up my cross and follow Him. And if He’s not leading me to the Francesca Battistelli concert or to Spina Bifida Family Camp or to the social event of the year, I have to believe that He can still use me. He can still move in my heart from the PICU in Plano, Texas as my son is hospitalized again. He can move you, too. Ask Him. You’ll see.