Lead Me On

**I have to add a thank-you here, after spending the last hour writing up this post. Thank you for reading my words and following along. Blogging this experience has been almost crucial to the processing of all these events. I’ve sat down at this keyboard uncertain, and through honestly confessing on-screen and in my heart before The Lord, I am going to walk away emboldened by the freedom that can only be found in Christ. Praying that He will use these words to relieve you of the regret, guilt, control, anxiety that you’ve been clinging to tonight. Thank you, readers. Now read on!

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Drawing by my incredibly talented friend, Lauren Zook. Instagram: @laurenzook

Since we’ve been home I’ve really struggled. Mainly with these things:

1. I don’t know how to, in every day mundane life,  maintain the intimacy I felt with Christ while we were at St. Jude. I am frustrated beyond belief with this. I feel down. The closest thing I can compare it to is coming back home after working a summer at Doe River Gorge. It makes sense…the past few weeks definitely can’t be described as a mountain-top experience, but spiritually, in our desperation, we were lit up and bonded with The Lord in almost every moment. We had to be to get through it. So now what? We get good news and get sent home and then just…forget? Wouldn’t you think God would just get so frustrated with us for proving Himself over and over only to have us continuously choose countless idols over Him? We desperately need the Gospel. BUT MAN! I just want to finally get it. And stop forgetting that in every season I am desperate for Him. It is my state. My glorious state that propels me ever onward into the arms of grace. Whether in progress or poverty…always desperation.

2. I feel like we abandoned families that didn’t go home when we did. There are so many children with disease, in situations that seem incredibly hopeless, and parents that have been pleading for good news for a.long.time. We get the scare of a lifetime, hop over to St. Jude, have Dr. Wilson pop out an eye and then high-tail it back on home. Or, that’s what it feels like. What about everyone else, Lord? What am I supposed to do with this overbearing feeling of needing to help them? How can I fully relax in your miraculous work in our daughter, but also continue on in heartbreak for the other faces I passed at St. Jude? The countless faces I studied, hours on end, marked with #childhoodcancer. It seems almost oxymoronic or cruel. And deep down I know that it truly isn’t and that one day I will have clarity, but tonight, I am so heavy and confused.

3. I miss the bond we shared between each person at St. Jude. Sometimes, being back home, I feel like people have elevated us, or maybe displaced us a little, like we’re a little bit foreign because we’re going through something most people won’t experience. But the truth is, I’m just as clueless. I was never one to have the right words to say to someone in hard seasons. I still don’t have the right words. I don’t even know what I would tell myself. I miss the freedom we had in knowing that the couple sitting next to us has a child battling disease too. You get to skip all the obligatory or awkward steps, and cut right to it. It’s just understood. And it’s not that our community hasn’t been amazing. Everyone during this season has increased my faith in the body of Christ tenfold. I just miss the unspoken familiarity that came with St. Jude families.

4. Tonight I am more scared of cancer than ever before. Maybe it’s because it’s so real now. I can’t deny any longer the problem our humanity has with disease and sickness. I can’t protect myself, my husband, or my kids from falling victim to its brutality.

5. I am experiencing incredible levels of regret and guilt. I want to jump into Mr. Peabody’s time machine and rewind the clock to January, to the moment I decided to stop trying to nurse Willa. I had just gotten mastitis and with two other young children, I felt like I just couldn’t do it. I had no idea there was a tumor in her sweet little eye. I HAD NO IDEA! And if I had just waited, just pushed through, a few more weeks and I would’ve known that my baby was sick. I don’t have a lot of regrets…usually with time I am able to make sense of every situation. I’m not there yet. I want to take that back so badly, with every fiber of my being. I want to give her what every mother was created to give their baby. I want to nurture her and provide for her. And I can’t. I keep hearing these stories of people and children who were diagnosed with cancer and then switched to an incredibly healthy lifestyle only to be declared cancer free not long after. All I want to do is juice as many leafy greens and good things I can get my hands on, down 32 ounces of it every hour and then breastfeed my baby all day long.

6. I still think I can control cancer. I still think I can control my circumstances. Just read numbers 4 and 5 on this list. I’m scared of cancer because I’m trying to control it. I’m holding onto regret and allowing guilt to batter my heart because I honestly think that if I could nurse Willa then cancer won’t ever be able to harm her again. God proved His goodness to us in miraculous ways last week, and it only took four days being home for me to try to take the reins again.

 

I feel exposed and beat-up. You entertain fear and then Satan doesn’t waste a second of opportunity to snag you. I feel snagged. Anxiety is tripping me up, guilt is weighing me down. I’m exhausted. I’m sprinting circles in my mind: Kale! Chia seeds! How can I get the kids to eat better? I have to toss out the clorox wipes, like right now. What’s better than peanut butter? GMO. Non-GMO. Stomach aches, why does Finn always have a stomach ache? What about fluoride? Plastics, crap! Plastic is everywhere! I need glass baby bottles. Hydrogenated oil. What the heck is soy lecithin? Sunbutter. Almond butter. Whole wheat is bad? Bread is sugar. Sugar is bad. Sugar causes cancer. Thank God I haven’t had a coke in weeks. Coke. How is coke regulated by the FDA and still allowed. FDA. They allow too much. Cheetos? Toxins in everything. FDA approved. Approved to make you sick. Or fat. Or both. Maybe they want us to die in mass numbers. The U.S. has the highest rate of cancer. Other countries have banned food that our government says is okay. Let’s sell our house. Yes, let’s start a homestead. Grow everything. Everything from scratch. Beets. Goats.

STOP! Stop! You can’t continue like this. You’re losing it. Stop and meditate on these words…

Oh how I love You! How I love You! You have not forsaken me!!!

He has not forsaken me. He has not forsaken Willa. He has not forsaken you. I don’t know about numbers 1-6. I just don’t. But, I don’t have to know. I just have to know my God and King. See His steadfast love. Live into His faithfulness. Oh, what a brilliant thought! To stop and only know one thing. The one thing.

Oh Lord, keep us from stumbling. Good Shepherd of my soul….take my hand and lead me on.

(Lyrics taken from Shepherd by Bethel Music)

14 thoughts on “Lead Me On

  1. Carla says:

    I feel like I am reading my own thoughts. Oh the balance of sanity and insanity! Our relationship with God is so key we have to keep on pushing. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. kaymaboutique says:

    Allison, your raw emotions are just so beautiful. Each time I read your posts I’m fighting back tears, not why you may think, but the idea of how strong Willa is, and how loving Johnnie and Finch are towards their baby sister. In every way children are one of the most precious gifts God can give us – their innocence and sincerity is so pure. I also get teary because I know the inner struggle you are battling right now as a mother but you just need to have faith in Him, let Him worry and focus on loving those sweet sweet babies of yours. Sending lots of love and prayers 😘😘😘

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  3. Lee Anne says:

    I identify so much, with losing the high of desperation after a life threatening illness, to mourning the loss of nursing ending to soon, to the fear that things could strike again and of course still having a sense that I can control it all. Thanks you for sharing your heart. you are not alone in the daily struggles.

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  4. Lauren says:

    You have no idea who I am but I have been following your story since diagnosis. I have been praying so hard for sweet Willa and your family. I am so thankful for your result at this point. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story with the world. Your vulnerability and words have blessed me more than you can imagine.

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  5. daisyeyes says:

    I am so happy to have found my way to your words through the work of your hands. While it’s been just a joy to share the “sameness” in our love for needle and thread, it’s even more a joy to share the “sameness” in our faith. I have to say that your description of that high (in the midst of fear and the realization of how out of control we really are) and the low (when you come back to real life) is so real to me to. While I haven’t been through a terrifying diagnosis with my child, I’ve been through the almost loss of a marriage. And in the midst of that “event” that happened and in the midst of our incredible brokenness, it was crazy how easy it was to remain steadfast and in His hope. It’s in the months after – when honestly the real work of faith occurs, that I’ve been so lousy at hope and steadfastness. How eager I’ve been to just shove all of life back into me so that I don’t have to deal with the reality of sin. How easy it has been for Satan to weasel (well honestly he didn’t even have to weasel) his lies back in and tell me that it’s not worth it to fight for us and remain hopeful.
    I’m thankful for you honesty and for opening up this part of your story. I pray that the days to come He continues to meet you richly and shows you clearly where this part of your journey will lead.

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  6. Neide Colson says:

    Wow! Can’t imagine the battles you are going through! But I can tell you’re being approved on your trials and tests. God must’ve thought you were worthy of going through all this.
    Praying for continued peace through the storms. Peace that surpasses all understanding!

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  7. Andrea says:

    I was there in a different way. Just like you I was bombarded with eastern medicine and I researched until my fingers bled and my eyes faded. I came up with so much anxiety that I was rendered helpless and terrified. It took me months… I still see danger everywhere… In our water supply… The grocery store… Our closets… Our bathrooms… Literally everywhere!!! It is a real struggle… But in my struggle I realized that in the end what healed my son was western medicine and doctors that know so much more then me or some obscure blogger. I have found that moderation is the key. Yes we eat kale and spinach and juice and eat probiotics like candy but me and my children indulge in mcdonalds from time to time. The Lord tell us… Fear NOT for I am with thee… Even to the end of the age. God did not intend for us to live in fear but to live victoriously! Deep breath and do not let your trial be wasted.

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  8. Trish says:

    Hey, I know we haven’t spoken in years, but you have always been very dear to me. Your spirit is so uplifting and unique. I’m blessed that we could share space that one summer at Doe River Gorge. While I read this post, a scene from the musical Into the Woods…of all things…came to mind. The lyrics from this scene talk of the fact that the character had a very joyful and awakening “moment.” She is sad for a bit that this “moment” is gone, but by the end of the song she realizes, “but if life were full of moments, then you’d never known you had one.” I feel Christians (me included) tend to get so caught up with being frustrated that we can’t maintain that mountain top experience, but there is beauty in the stillness after and the remembrance of these, as well as in emotional recovery. Embrace silence and remember what Faith feels like….that subtle content feeling that no matter what….it will be ok…and when it’s not, you are never alone. The beauty of God’s comforting promises come in their simplicity. “I will never leave you.” “You are precious and honored in my sight and I love you.” Etc. You are so dearly loved by so many. Thank you for sharing your heart. You’re one of the strongest people I know, so blessed to have crossed your path in this life.

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