“I’m Haley. I’m a Taurus. I like long walks on the beach…” Kidding. Although all true.
I first met Haley as a contributor for Birmingham Moms Blog. But we have several mutual friends, so I knew a bit about her story prior. Haley and her chicken farmer husband, Bobby, are about to celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary. They have two absolutely perfect babies, curly-headed and vivacious Presley (3 ½) and constantly smiling Knox (22 months). She grew up in Birmingham and now lives with her family on forty acres in Moody, Alabama. Haley says she’s been a reader and storyteller her entire life, which has recently led to God opening some doors to share her family’s story and her testimony. Oh, and, she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer December 2016, and has actively been in treatment since.
How did you celebrate Mother’s Day?
I spent Mother’s Day at the beach this year. With my husband’s chicken schedule, we take vacations where he can fit them in and it just happened to fall close to our birthdays (mine is May 8th and his is May 19th) and Mother’s Day this year. May is always an incredibly busy month for our family, we literally left right after my daughter performed in her dance recital and headed south. We also took my rockstar mother-in-law with us. She keeps our kids the days they aren’t at MDO so every time we can treat her to trip or a special something we try to do so. Mother’s Day was spent slathering sunscreen on two wiggling littles, blowing sand off snacks they haphazardly dropped, and trying to fit some quick reading time in in front of the waves. Which is practically motherhood in a nutshell, no?
What is unique about your motherhood journey?
I have been blessed with the perspective that only comes when your health and your future are in question. I have breast cancer. Stage four metastatic breast cancer. Knox was only five months old when I found the lump (breastfeeding him, to be exact) and my greatest fear from the moment I found out was for them. Not for me. Not of dying. But for my children having to live a life without their mom. Your mommy is supposed to be your constant. Your safety net. Your one true love. So from the day of my diagnosis until now, I try to be as intentional and as present as possible with my kids. They want to go through the whole process of getting paint supplies out and only using them for ten minutes? That’s cool. Because it is us and it is a memory and that’s what they need from me. Their love and admiration are easily nurtured and fueled by these simple moments of interaction. Plus, the normalcy of everyday life raising two toddlers is the best possible motivator and distraction I could possibly ask for. I know I’ve done so well throughout treatment because I refused to slow down our lives for this disease. I work full time. We go on trips. We build playhouses. I have treatment on Thursday and we go hiking on Friday. Why? Because I’m not letting what the Enemy intended for my harm steal our joy. We have honestly had the most amazing seventeen months since I’ve been diagnosed. People look at me sideways when I say this but I have never had to fully rely on God until now, and the blessing and peace that come with getting to that place are everything you think they would be and much, much more. Is every day easy? Good googley no. But it is so worth it to experience all these things together.
A few weeks ago my daughter Presley had her first swim lesson. This child has been athletically gifted and drawn towards the water her entire life so she was pumped to be going to the pool. I remember sitting on the sidelines and feeling so overwhelmed with gratitude and thinking, “I made it.” I made this milestone. I’m here. She sees me here. We’re here together. I MADE IT. I got that same feeling the other night when Knox was standing on our bed, smile wide, shrieking and giggling and bouncing, screaming, “JUP! JUP!” (Jump! Jump!). I made it. It’s all important and I’m here. God doesn’t promise us forever but He does promise goodness. God willing I will be there for so many more of these moments but being able to look at their little lives through that lens of prayerful thanksgiving is a lesson I wish could teach all the mommies out there.
What is something about motherhood that has made you strong in Christ?
I’m not sure I really understood the profound sacrifice that God made by sending his Son to die on the cross until I had my own children. He didn’t send his wife. He didn’t send his brother. He didn’t send his friend. He sent His child. And that, to me, really puts into perspective His love for me. Thinking of God as an actual father really humanizes Grace for me, and makes it easier to relate to and understand. I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and now having my own children, I can apply that feeling of limitless love and affection to how God must feel for me, only tenfold. I am proud to be a Daughter and a child of the One, True Living God.
What is something that the Lord has taught you recently that you would like to share with others?
So, about two weeks ago, after my 23rd chemo treatment, a fresh round of scans, and a lumpectomy surgery I found out that I am currently in what they call “complete response” from my cancer. They can’t find it anywhere in my body right now. Let’s just pause a second for what is truly an incredible and miraculous moment of healing from Our Lord and Savior. Thank you Jesus for this mountaintop! When the doctor told me (over the phone while I was at work, no less) I quite literally didn’t know what to do with my body. I honestly just felt, in that moment, that I needed to quit my job and walk the streets to tell people what God has done for me. I was bursting with a need and a drive to talk to strangers or anybody that would listen to my first hand testimony of healing. Well, I can’t quit my job because #healthinsurance, but shouldn’t we always live our lives like that? Bursting to tell others about His incredible power and what He is capable of doing? It may not be being healed from cancer, but it could be an answered prayer for your children or your husband. It is all worthy of His praise and admiration. We should always lead with His goodness. I honestly feel like our excitement and awe are the exact thing that others need to see to be led closer to Christ. This miracle has also taught me to pray audacious prayers. God is still very much in the business of miracles and we should pray in a way that not only acknowledges He is capable of incredible things, but that we can, and should, expect incredible things when we pray.