Did cancer ruin my child or did I do that myself?

This whole time I’ve felt so fortunate that our kids were young when dealing with the cancer. I hated hearing I could die before they’d be old enough to remember me, but it was so much easier than having to deal with the emotions and questions that an older child would have posed. Or, so I thought. It’s been almost a year since the diagnosis and the toll it’s taken on Abigail has finally become apparent.We tried to keep everything as “normal” as possible during treatment, but obviously we didn’t succeed. Everything changed, as it had to. She was only 3 when the doctors first started telling me I was going to die, so she hadn’t been through anything difficult. Nor did she have any clue what sickness, cancer, or death were. Added to that, she used to only see Grandpa for holidays, and suddenly he was here full-time, babysitting several times per week. Then he moved away and Grandma moved down. Now she’s going to preschool every day, but I drag her to doctors or leave her with sitters at least once a week. She was a trooper through all of it and I thought she was unscathed–a few months ago she said she’d never seen me cry. Clearly she had forgotten the low times from last year, like when she’d begged me to go just one day without crying.

Well, my treatments have been done since June, but the aftermath has just begun. And worsening. I’ve had to leave overnight a few times and it sets off really bad behavior. She’s also having nightmares and outrageously naughty behavior at school. Anytime I will be away from her she wants to know exactly what I’m doing and I have to promise I’ll be back. Most issues seem to involve control–she wants it–so we’re trying to help her feel super secure but still teach her that she isn’t the boss.

I’m blaming cancer for ruining my child, but I might have done it myself. I’m a behavior analyst, how did I end up with the child who behaves so badly at school? There’s nothing innately “different” about her, I really believe this is a nurture (not nature) issue. We’re praying a lot about her behavior but don’t know what to do. Maybe we’re reading too much into it, and she is noncompliant because I gave her way too many choices until now. And now she thinks she should always have the chance to have some sort of “say” in what she does.

I don’t like either of these hypotheses. So much of my fight against cancer was because I didn’t trust God to raise them without me. I’m not sure I ever admitted that before. And now it turns out I don’t know what I’m doing anyway. Awesome.

It will all work out, we just need to trust God with everything, and wait on Him for how to proceed. So much of parenting seems time-sensitive, but it will be better if I focus on being God-sensitive instead. God did one of the nicest things ever for me, and I’m going to focus on that: This morning I could not stop singing this song about trusting the Lord. Then I realized I was promising to trust Him but not really meaning it. I started to pray about it but got interrupted and figured I’d think about it more later. Instead, I checked my email and a friend had written to me about how she had this vision while she was praying for me (not about Abi, just generally). She could see anguish, doubt, and fear filling up my cup. Then those things were poured out and trust replaced it. Isn’t that awesome? I often joke about how easy it would be to do what God wants if He would just send me a to-do list. This time He basicallly did! He made sure I got an email with His message, “TRUST ME”.

People have had dreams and visions a few times for me before, but never anything so specific and timely. I take it as a HUGE honor, that He would do something so bold and clear to get through to me. It must be very important, and those are all issues I’ve been having. I can’t tell you the comfort I get from how personal that message is. So, I will trust Him. God is mightier than my mistakes. I will trust Him today. And tomorrow.

Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Deut 1:30-32, “The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God
carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. “

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