When God told us to open our eyes

A year and a half ago, I prayed a prayer out of a prayer book for Andrew. It was a prayer against learning disabilities. As I prayed, I repented of accepting something as a life sentence that God could heal. I confessed my unbelief and prayed on his behalf for complete and total healing.

We claimed his sound mind. We claimed victory ahead of time.

That very night, Steve and I lay in bed reading when Andrew walked in upset saying he just wanted to be able to read like all the other kids.

We laid hands on him and prayed for healing. After we prayed Andrew said his body felt tingly from his fingers all the way up his arm. I felt the Lord say, “Go read.”

I know I repented of unbelief that morning, but I felt it still there. Surely, God didn’t simply snap His fingers and cause Andrew to read. Or did He?

I walked Andrew back to his room and reached for a book on the bookshelf, Devotions for Beginning Readers, and opened to the middle.

The title read: Open Your Eyes. The first line read, “If you want to read a book, you need to open your eyes.”

Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes to see the wonderful things in your teachings.”

At that point I had chills over my entire body. I knew the Lord was speaking. Andrew would be healed. All connections would be made. And I planned to claim that healing for him.

The following morning I sat with the Lord and wrote out what had happened as well as my prayer for Andrew.

Here’s part of my prayer journal on that day:

“Andrew will be an avid reader. Lord, let us walk out our healings by faith. May we pick up our mats and walk.”

Everyday we’ve picked up our mat and walked since that day. It was one year after this incident the Lord led us to vision therapy. It was one and half years later to the exact day that reading finally clicked for Andrew.

Andrew is 10 years old. The Lord faithfully did what we believe He told us He would do.

It didn’t come in our time. In came in God’s time.

The healing didn’t happen overnight, it happened over time. Day by day, God healed Andrew. He used doctors and therapists and homeschool. But mainly, God connected the disconnects and that is what we’ve been praying.

A few weeks ago Andrew had an appointment with the doctor at his vision therapy office. Andrew passed tests he couldn’t even take when we first started. The change has been miraculous and a total answer to prayer.

I stand in complete awe of God.

I shared on Instagram last week this:

When we started this school year and when we started vision therapy Andrew could only handle reading a page at a time. He read aloud then I’d read aloud a page. We took turns. He’d have to use his finger to track the words, he’d skip lines, I’d have to hold the book so he could track.

Y’all!  He’s reading chapter books totally on his own!!! And he’s able to report back to me what he read. And because his brothers have read these dozens of times they can verify.

He’s devouring books now and is in love with reading. We’ve told him for years that when God healed his vision processing issues, he’d fall in love with books. And we are seeing it.

We’ve prayed for these moments since he was in preschool when we knew something was amiss with how he processed information.

God is so faithful.

And now we enter our last 3 months of vision therapy. He needed this boost to carry him forward.
I had to share this update with you. So many of you have been here on this blog with me since Andrew was a toddler and preschooler. You’ve walked this road alongside us. You’ve traveled to different states with us. And some of you have even been here when this blog was Be Still then later Barefoot Walks. It’s been a long time, friends.
So many of you I feel such a bond and closeness to because I’ve shared some of our most personal journeys and triumphs. I continue to be amazed by your loyal readership. In a world where there’s so much to read online, you still show up. I’m grateful you allow me to share with you.
I added a new page to the blog. It’s Good Stuff. Just like the name implies it’s all my favorite things I think you’d love too. Check it out. I have much more I’ll be adding in the coming days!
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How to See God in the In-Between Moments


The doctor placed oversized glasses on his eyes. One lens blue, the other red. The lights dimmed low, she held her flashlight tool inches from his face. “Ok, buddy, how many lights do you see?”

His slumped back straightened, and that dimpled chin I can’t get enough of took a slight turn north, “Three!”

“Great, how about now?” she inched closer to the door.

His shoulders drew back, “Three!”

The doctor repeated at several distances, and each time, his confidence grew. The doctor put her tool away and turned on the lights. The assistant led him outside to the treasure box, as the doctor gently closed the door behind them.

“Put these glasses on. I want to show you something.” She performed the same tests on me as she did my 6-year-old. At each distance I saw four lights rather than the sure three Andrew saw. Taking notice of my confusion, she said, “Now cover your left eye and tell me how many lights you see.”

Despite the questions running relays in my mind, I answered, “Three?” At each distance, with one eye patched, I saw three lights. Slowly exhaling, I removed the glasses and met the compassionate eyes of the doctor.

Join me over at Crosswalk for the rest of today’s post where I’m sharing how my son’s learning disabilities are teaching me more about seeing God beyond the obvious and the “big” and  seeing Him in all the in-between moments. Aren’t the in-between moments where we tend the hang out the most? 

Full post published originally on

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When Your Child’s Successes Look Different


In my opinion, grades are overrated. In fact, I wrote about it, reposted it, and it’s been one of my most popular posts. I think because we are such a visual world and share successes with such ease, some of us are left to feel a bit like a failure when our successes take on a different wardrobe.

Andrew has learning disabilities. He thinks in a way I can’t understand. He processes life differently than I do. I hold fast to the truth that we were created in God’s image, He knitted us together in the womb, He knows the number of hairs on our heads. God does not form us haphazardly. He doesn’t rush and multitask. He doesn’t make mistakes. In fact, He has a perfect track record. He’s never made one mistake.

I hold this truth, and I live in the knowledge that we live in a world of problems, difficulties, and challenges. But God didn’t make a mistake when He formed us. When He made Andrew to think the way He did, He was pleased with what He created.

I also pray every single day that God would connect all pathways in his brain so that learning would come with ease. I live with the tension of gratitude for the gift of learning disabilities and desire for learning to be less challenging.

Andrew is social to the nth degree. He is also very athletic. Because of this it is hard to notice that he is challenged in other areas. Like I mentioned in previous posts, for years I knew there was something when everyone said there was nothing. I lived on a daily basis with watching him live with frustration rooted in his lagging of both receptive and expressive forms of communication. I heard the comments from well-meaning people that focused on the behaviors they noticed and what I needed to do to “get him in line.”

I’ve come to realize that when you have a child with learning disabilities, and you are around others who have never experienced the challenges that come with it, they simply don’t understand. And that is okay. Before I had begun to walk this road, I didn’t understand either. Therefore, I don’t expect anyone to understand the difficulties we face or the exhaustion that accompanies us daily.

But I’ve experienced something this year I wouldn’t trade for anything in this entire world. I’ve experienced triumph in the tiniest of moments. I’ve felt my heart about to burst right out of my chest as I watched Andrew reach a new milestone, a milestone that was never on my milestone chart before.

We entered kindergarten only knowing a handful of letters and no letter sounds, not recognizing numbers, spatially unaware, and a severe lagging in communication understanding and expressing. Most kindergartners are sponges and learn letters, sounds, clusters, and blends with ease. They soak it in, and by the end of the year are reading with ease.

I can’t compare our year to the children in his class or I would become discouraged. His teacher and his therapists reminded me all year to compare where he is to where he started. I stand here a week away from the end of the year astounded at how far we’ve come.

Midway through the year, we discovered that in addition to language processing disorders, he had some visual tracking, memory, etc issues. Turns out his left eye suppressed his right eye. All these year he’s been using one eye. I can only imagine when both eyes are functioning together properly what he will be able to do. I wait with anticipation to see the places God takes him.

I pray over him every night that God would rewire his brain. I’m seeing it happening daily, right before my eyes. I stand amazed at what God is doing.

As a mom I’m naturally protective. I’m quick to come to his defense when I can tell that people don’t get him. I’m always hoping that when he is around his friends, they don’t notice his inability to learn easily and shun him or look down upon him. I know how cruel kids can be, but I also know that kids simply say things they don’t even understand.

I recently overheard Andrew and a friend having a conversation. Andrew pointed out an observation, and someone corrected him. Andrew saw something, but it was actually something else. The little friend said, “Andrew gets everything wrong.” My heart felt squeezed and broken. I knew it was a child who didn’t know what he was saying, and I know loves Andrew. But everything in me wanted to say, “No! You don’t understand. He gets so much right! He can see things I can’t see. He has ideas I’d never have the creativity to think up.”

I held my tongue, and silently let my tears fall on God. I’m ok with that now. That allowing myself to both hurt and rejoice at the same time. I’ve learned that in many of life’s trying moments, there is this delicate balance of heartache and deep joy. God knows I want my son to be like all the other kids while at the very same time thanking him that he is so different from all the other kids.

And now I realize that this post is twice as long as I intended. But it’s my child, so I know you get it.

And don’t we all stand on the side of our kids cheering them on, thinking at times people just don’t get them? It’s ok. God gets them. He made them. And we have the honor of praying over them and for them without ceasing all the ways we want to see God move in their lives. What power we hold through prayer.

Whatever challenges our children face, we aren’t powerless to stand and watch with breaking hearts. We stand and pray with breaking hearts to a good and compassionate God who hears the cries of His children.

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Grades Are Overrated


“Hi, Renee. Can you come in next week to discuss your son’s test results?”  My heart felt that familiar momma squeeze. You know the one.  The phone call wasn’t surprising.  I’ve asked every doctor, teacher, and friend I know to help me solve the mystery of his little brain for years.

Preschool teachers reassured me that everything was fine.  All kids develop at different rates.  I knew this to be true.  He’s my third, not my first.  A momma just knows when something isn’t quite right.  Even when everyone else tells you it’s nothing, you know in your heart it’s something.

At a preschool meeting  when he was 3, I shared my concerns.  After listening they offered, “Now that you mention it, there are times we can give an instruction and he seems to understand perfectly.  Minutes later we can give a similar instruction, and he can’t seem to follow it.  There is no rhyme or reason.”

At 18 months I took him to the pediatrician.  “He screams.  A lot.  Way more than the average toddler.”  The response was typical.  “He’s just a toddler.  They get frustrated.”  I felt there was more to his frustration than toddler frustration.  We kept on.

I asked the doctors if he could see well.  Was his hearing ok?  Everything seemed to check out.

God creates exactly what He wants to create.  God doesn’t create mistakes.  God doesn’t form a human being, send him into the world, and say, “Oops, guess I messed up on that one.”  He says, “It was very good.”

He knits us together in the womb.  Precision and attention to detail are undeniable.

I sat in Andrew’s classroom surrounded by loving teachers and administrators to discuss what I’ve seen for years and am now grateful others see as well.  His teacher and I have been communicating even prior to enrolling him in her class.  God used her and others in his school to comfort a momma’s heart that wants to know everything will be ok.  They didn’t make any promises about his learning path.  They couldn’t possibly.  But they love him.  His teacher loves him and sees what I see.  A unique soul filled with a love for God that is mature beyond his young years.

I knelt at his bed the night before the last day of school and watched him sleep.  Those arms are longer, feet are bigger.  Facial features are maturing.  Little hands becoming big boy hands.

And I thanked God that He made Andrew exactly the way He made Him.  I poured out my heart to God at that bedside.

“God if you had made learning easy for him, I would take for granted the magnificent ways you have created our brains to function.  I would have taken for granted the ease with which learning seems to take place.  I would have been prone to pride in my heart over the academic successes of my boys.  I would have taken the credit for what is not mine to claim.”

“God, if you hadn’t created him the way you had, I may have never been able to see the interesting treasures of his heart that cover where he is weak.  The parts that really matter.”

“God, you love this child more than I do, which is beyond my ability to comprehend.  If my heart aches at his struggles, what must yours feel?”

“God, he may have trouble learning letters, numbers, and sounds, but you have graced me with a gift that I treasure more than any gift I can remember in a long time.  You have allowed me to see a glimpse of a child’s heart that is sold out to you.  A heart that loves you with the most genuine love I’ve ever seen.  A heart that knows the giver of all things and knows who he belongs to.  Lord, thank you for the gift of this child, created exactly the way he is created. Let me love every unique twist and turn we encounter knowing that along the way, I will see you more clearly.”

We closed out another successful year last week.  We are realizing that success looks different for each of our children.  To celebrate and broadcast boldly an all A’s accomplishment of one sends a message to another that that is the picture of success.  All A’s are fine.  But it’s not everything.

We’ve never talked about grades much in our home.  Kids put enough pressure on themselves without us adding to it.  It’s attitude and effort.  Have a great attitude and work with your best effort.  If God has given you a brain that learns easily, all A’s will come.  If He has given you a brain that needs to work a bit harder, you may not get all A’s, but with a positive attitude and effort, you will succeed, and God will be glorified.

As we begin to navigate new territory of learning disabilities, I’m seeing scholastic achievement in a whole new light.  This year we aren’t rewarding or praising our boys for receiving good grades.  We are praising for working at school as if they are working for the Lord.

We give all we have to the Lord, the results are up to Him.  If the result is A’s, great.  If the result is B’s, great.  If the result is incredibly low test scores, great.  As long as we give all we have to the Lord, trusting in His ultimate plan for our life, God is glorified.

Grades are overrated.

A heart doesn’t receive a grade.  Loving others doesn’t receive a grade.  A good work ethic doesn’t receive a grade.  Integrity doesn’t receive a grade.  Putting others first doesn’t receive a grade.  But God sees it all.  He sees into our hearts, and when we work out of a deep love for Him, He will work everything out for us.  It might not look the way we want, but God doesn’t make mistakes.

My prayer over the summer, leading up to a new school year, is, “Lord, let us not focus on results, grades, and test scores.  Let us focus on effort and attitude.  Cultivate in our children hearts that love you so much they want to give everything they have to you.  May you receive glory and honor through their little lives.  Thank you for the gift of another school year with these kids.  Thank you for one more summer.”