Day 16 – Surrender

For the past three and a half weeks I have had more hope than I have had in a long time. Making it through the Induction Phase of treatment with NED is as good as it gets. That news has carried me through these weeks. In spite of everything I have watched my daughter go through, I have known that we were moving in the right direction and I no longer had a looming sense of fear hovering over me. Yesterday all of that fell apart.

Izzy has developed a serious complication from transplant called TMA. It is very complicated but here’s my attempt at an overview: the chemo triggered an alarm in her immune system and now her body is attacking itself over and over again. Because of the attacks, tiny blood clots are forming all throughout her vascular system and now her kidneys. They started a medicine today that they believe can stop the attacks, but it takes time. It can take several doses and it is only administered weekly. The good news is they caught it early so they seem confident they can shut it down quickly. That’s where I’d like to end. I wish I could ask you to pray and stop typing there, but unfortunately that’s not the full extent of the news. The other news, that is not so good, is that the TMA is not the greatest concern. What’s of most concern is how long it takes the kidneys to heal and if there will be any permanent damage. Permanent kidney damage would mean she may not qualify for the remainder of treatment that we desperately want. There are other options for the remainder of treatment but we want the best of the best and you have to have healthy kidneys to have it.

Needless to say, I am devastated. It isn’t the end of the road and there is still hope but I can’t see it right now. I am angry. I am angry at myself for letting my guard down for a few weeks and I’m angry at the world for being so massively unfair.

I had originally started another post before I found out about the TMA. I left it unfinished and unpublished because it wasn’t time for it yet. I think it’s time is for today. It’s a fundamental part of our journey and today I find myself grasping for some illusion of control just like I did back then. Here it is:

Back in July I began to feel convicted about the way I was praying for Izzy. I found myself refusing to acknowledge that she was God’s child first and unwilling to care what His plan for her life was. All I cared about was my own plan for her life. I wanted her healed. I wanted Him to make the cancer go away and that’s how I prayed. But I started sensing that He wanted me to surrender her to Him.

I thought about Abraham and how God told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. I began to think about that story and how God promised them a son and then asked for it back. Honestly, I began to think it was a pretty ridiculous story. I told Him, “I am not about to surrender her to you, so stop asking.” But I knew in my heart that He never would.

Finally, at the end of what seemed like the longest week ever, I lay in bed weeping at the thought of losing my daughter to cancer. I was so afraid of what was going to happen to her. My way wasn’t working so I finally agreed to try His.

I closed my eyes and pictured myself at the bottom of a large grassy hill. The sky was grey and overcast and on the top of the hill was a large wooden cross. In my arms I carried Izzy, wrapped safely in white robes. I carried an Izzy who still looked full of life. Her skin was vibrant and her hair was long. I knew I had to climb to the top of the hill and lay her at the foot of the cross. I began to weep in my bed. Even though it was just an image in my mind I did not want to do it. But slowly I walked to the top of the hill and laid her down. She was asleep and rested comfortably where she lay. Even though my heart really wasn’t in it, I had done it. I looked up to the heavens and waited, “Are you happy now?” But my heart wasn’t in it.
It didn’t feel complete. At first I thought it was just because it was inauthentic but then I realized something was missing. I sat in my room for a minute and waited. And then I understood. He wanted me to walk away. Taking her to the cross was only part of it, but to really surrender I had to leave her there in His care. Absolutely not. There was no way I was doing it, so I went to sleep.

But the next day I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I still felt horribly out of control and I knew I had to do something. I couldn’t go on like this. So that night I tried again but again I failed. I tried the next night and the next one and so on. Some nights I saw myself carry her back down the hill with me and some nights I curled up next to her at the cross. But I could never leave her. Until finally, I began to realize that not being able to walk away was really more about me than it was about her. I began to learn that she was safer in His care than she was in my own. So one night I turned around and walked back down the hill…alone.

That night I had the sweetest, most peaceful sleep. And in the days to come I could truly say to the Lord, “I surrender all of this to you.” And pretty soon I felt like He gave it back to me to ask for whatever my heart desired. ****

If I close my eyes today and look at that cross I know I won’t find her laying at the foot of it anymore. I have since picked her up and am clutching her with such fear and such anguish because I have grown so afraid again. Because the pain has been to much. Picking her up has been a comfort to me, but it has done nothing for her. I am not in anyway saying God is punishing us for that. I don’t believe He works like that. But I know that He is calling me to surrender her again. My prayer is that in my surrender I will find freedom, but most importantly that He will be able to fully embrace her, like only the Heavenly Father can. And He can’t do it if I’m standing in the way.

19 Replies to “Day 16 – Surrender”

  1. Dearest Molly-when I saw you Sunday I told you I was praying for you that morning. I told you I wasn’t praying anything unusual besides the obvious. (Which was true.) But there was something different about how important it felt to pray that morning and it has continued all week. Now I have a glimpse as to maybe why. I can only imagine others who have been praying in a similar way because our Heavenly Father prompted them before you ever published a blog post. All that to say, I think it’s fantastic that He cares enough for Izzy as her Heavenly Father to prompt people to pray even before being asked. Thank you so much for yet again sharing your heart with vulnerability. I not only love you as a friend, but am so inspired by you as a woman of God.

    1. Christine and Molly, I have felt that same thing as I was pulling out of my drive way this morning. God was telling me to keep praying. Prayers are being said.

  2. I continue to be truly amazed and inspired by your posts. Through everything that you and your family has and is going through, you continue to have a faith I hope to someday possess!

  3. Oh Molly! This brings back such a vivid memory of my early days, after losing Emily. I had driven Dakota to school one morning and on the way back home, in the darkness of the morning, I cried out to God in sheer anger! Like you, He immediately reminded me of Abraham sacrificing Isaac and I replied with “but you gave Abraham the CHOICE to surrender his son!!!! You didn’t give me THAT choice!” almost immediately, I sensed Him saying to me – “would you have sacrificed her if I would’ve given you the choice?” and again, like you, without a moment’s hesitation, I said “NO!” ~ surrendering our children to Him is so very difficult, even if we know, logically, that they are already His to begin with! I wish that I had more words of wisdom for you, but just know that I understand and that I am praying for you!!! ❤

  4. God be with Izzy and family you and she have gone through more than what most could handle. W e will keep on praying

  5. I think about Izzy often, hoping and praying for her. Before I lost my mother to colon cancer we did everything we could to get her the treatment that would keep her alive and cured. My mother agreed to everything we threw at her because she loved us. Deep down I could tell she was done. She was ready, she was tired and ready to rest. Nobody knows this, this is the first time I have expressed this but, a few weeks before she passed, I made a decision to let go. It was so hard. That day I went to church and sat in a pew and cried and cried for God not to take my mother away. I placed all of my pain in writing and placed it on the alter. I told God that I could not bear this weight I need him to take it. My mother passed a few weeks later, but during those weeks I was able to love her as her son and not her caregiver.
    I still cry today thinking of that day. I pray you find comfort.

  6. I was brought to tears by your moving post. I will continue to pray for sweet Izzy every single day, as well as your family. I pray for grace to shower over you all.

  7. along with your devoted carla, we join in lifting you and your daughter and family up to the foot of the cross. your honesty gives us clear direction on how to pray for you right now… and we are. your sister, mary-elizabeth

  8. Oh Molly, my heart aches for your pain. I am so grateful for your beautiful faith. I can picture having to see that vision & only imagine how very difficult & painful it is. I know He is carrying you as well. I don’t believe you would have that vision if He wasn’t. I am praying for that sweet surrender for you & praising God that when the unthinkable happens, He doesn’t abandon us. I know He is right there in that hospital room with you & Izzy. I wish I too could be there hugging you both, I love you girls!!!

  9. Molly,
    Awful and beautiful. I don’t understand it all, obviously. But God IS with you, and equally important, you are choosing to be with Him. We love you and so wish there was more we could do.
    Peace (that only God can give),
    Randy G.

  10. How my heart goes out to you Molly- the anguish of a mother that not too many people have had to experience. thanks for your raw honesty and for clinging to God and surrendering fully your precious daughter. He will be faithful.

  11. God is soooo proud of you, His humble servant. When you cry, He is weeping too. He does not want to see you hurt. You are touching so many lives right now. I pray you find the peace and comfort you desire. We pray for Izzy everynight. Continued prayers for courage and strength for everyone to endure the unendurable. Love from Fishers Indiana

  12. Molly, words cannot express what all of us feel when we read your blog. But I can continue to pledge to you my constant prayers. I still have a little yellow post-it note on my computer monitor that simply says, “Izzy.” It reminds me to pray and I do so often…..

  13. Molly and Izzy- I know we don’t know we have never met, but I first heard and read this blog in one of my college classes. I lost my father almost 4 years ago now, and its been really rough. Molly when you talked about the story of Abraham it got me thinking about how I often will say “God I lay this at your feet”, and yet I still hold on to things and just can’t seem to let them go. Me and my dad were really close and I miss him daily but knowing that he is with his creator is so comforting. Molly you are an amazing writer and such an inspiration to me I admire you so much. After reading this story I went back to my dorm room and cried. Wondering why I hold on to the things that are out of my control and that God is begging me to give to him. I know it is something that I am going to have to work at daily. Letting go and letting God is sometimes the hardest yet easiest thing to do. Molly thank you for sharing this you are loved and being prayed for by many. Izzy- I am inspired by your strenghth and faith. God is holding you in his arms! My professor was telling us the story about when you talked to God one night and asked if he would take care of you forever..Izzy I have asked that question so many times myself and God repeatedly tells me that he is holding me in his arms. You are such a precious and beautiful young lady and God is using you in ways that you don’t even realize. You and your mom have touched my heart! I am praying for you both and for those that surround you! You are loved! Blessings!

  14. I have never met you or Izzy. Each time I read a post from you, I cry. I am realizing that you teach me to stop looking at the temporary and see the eternal. Thank you. You are all in my prayers.

  15. tears….tears…tears…. oh what amazing strength God is asking of you. I believe you can do it. Because your love is as strong as God’s. You will know when it is time to leave her in his loving embrace as you continue to move through the “junk” that is Izzy’s path to a healthy, amazing life.
    Thank you for sharing your journey, your heart, your fears and your child with all of us.

  16. God is the only Salvation. Surrender everyone, everyday to our Creator. Only He knows what is best & right for us. Stay strong. Peace to you.

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