Thursday, March 26, 2020

That makes sense to me

As I'm trying to heal I realized I have a lot of spiritual condemnation for myself. I feel like a failure, or that God was disappointed in me for being so furious at him. I thought I needed to forgive God for letting Grace get cancer. Maybe I need him to forgive me for being so angry and refusing to accept his will. Though I know he understood me in it more than I did.

I don't think He was angry at me or felt like I was a moral failure. I see now that he accepted me as I was at that time. Maybe he didn't expect me to be anything else. I saw my anger as so big and strong, like lethal weapons that I was always shooting at him. But maybe I was more of an angry toddler, hurting and confused, throwing toys, who was still loved just as deeply by a much bigger, stronger and secure Father.

I think I wanted to hurt God so he would feel my pain. At least there is a touch of that in here somewhere. But he loved me, understood me. "Hmm. Yes. That makes sense to me. I might feel like that if that happened to me." And I guess that's a big part of why Jesus came to earth. So he could say that. He really could understand, that it really did make sense to him, because he was human.

I talked to a friend who has done EMDR therapy. She said that the closest way she could describe it, is that it changed your physiological reaction to traumatic memories. The panic and terror are gone. She said that she still remembers the memories, but her memory of them has altered so that she now remembers herself at that moment as being resilient, brave, and capable of change, instead of just as a helpless victim.

Even though psychologists are offering EMDR therapy online, I feel like it'd be hard to do for the first time that way. But I was able to revisit the root of a lot of my pain yesterday. I didn't see myself as resilient or determined then. I felt like I was the victim of cosmic injustice. I felt angry, robbed, frightened. And I felt like Jesus was disappointed in my less than spiritually-wise attitude.

But I think from now on when I think of that memory I'll hear the words of Teri in the mouth of Jesus. "Hmm. Yes. That makes sense to me. I might feel like that too if that happened to me." It's a compassionate Jesus. One who understands how frail and human I am, even if I don't. He accepts me and loves me as I am, not as I "should" be.

And I want to change my perception of myself in those memories. I was broken. I was scared. I was angry. I couldn't say to God, your will be done. But I refused to curse him. I didn't leave him. I still sought him. I reached out to my community and admitted when I needed help. I did my very best to be a good mom to my kids, though it still hurts that I couldn't do it all. I think that's another condemnation I need to heal from. I couldn't do it all.

"Hmm. Yes. I think I'd be frustrated by not being able to be in two places at once, even though I loved both of my kids. I might feel angry at myself for not being able to do that. But it's not fair to yourself to judge yourself for not being omnipresent. Only God can do that. You did the best with what you had as a human. You put in 200% whenever you were with either of your children. I can understand how would be painful it would feel to not be able to give them everything they needed. But if I were you, I might also feel proud of myself for putting them first and for loving them with every exhausted ounce of energy I had. And I would forgive myself for not being God. Yes, I think I would feel that way."

That's both Teri and Jesus saying that to me. And it's also me, saying it to my broken self.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Thank God I went to see Teri Reisser again. There's a lot to be said for saying something out loud, especially when there's an empathetic listener.

I finally admitted out loud that I didn't want to heal from the emotional scars of Grace's cancer. I wanted to be able to hate every bit of her cancer and show it no mercy by keeping myself under the crushing weight of hatred and pain. I thought I was appropriately punishing it. And somehow, appropriately punishing myself for the deep-rooted belief that somehow, maybe, I did something wrong.

But I'm stuck. And I'm tired of being stuck. every time I start to thaw and every time I start to feel near to God, that hatred and anger for her cancer hits me like a bus and sends me crashing back to the moment when Grace was diagnosed for the second time. It's always there. Because at that moment I felt totally abandoned by God. That is the moment that holds all of the pain.

If I look at the photo of Luke smiling on "bug day" from preschool, my heart aches because it was one of the few events I was able to attend. I am heartbroken looking at it, since he was smiling so big because I was finally, actually there for him. And at the root of that moment of pain, I feel totally abandoned by God, immediately back in the first moment of her diagnosis.

Teri has recommended EMDR therapy for me. To help deal with the pain of the first moment that is so deeply entangled in all my memories from the last two and a half years.  That's when I realized I didn't want to let go of that pain. It's also when I realized I have to if I'm ever to heal. I have to heal. I'm on a trajectory of bitterness and regret and anger. That would be a horrible life, especially as Grace is cancer-free.

Maybe its because I'm secretly afraid that if I let my guard down, and admit to healing and happiness, that it will curse life and bring her cancer back. Or even if not, if her cancer ever came back, that all my defenses would be gone and I'd be too vulnerable to the pain.

But I'm so angry. And that's so tiring.

When my best friend's boyfriend died suddenly from a heart attack, the first thing Chad and I did was get on our knees and worship God. Because we didn't want to go into the grief and pain without the Holy Spirit leading us. Similar to the Old Testament when the worshipers went before the armies in war, making the battle God's, molding their will to his. When Grace first had cancer, it was similar. We felt God's presence so tangibly, and that may have been because we accepted that whatever happened, we wanted God's will instead of our own. We were determined to worship and obey him no matter where he lead us. There was so much peace in that.

That didn't happen when she relapsed. We were in escrow on a home in Indiana, trying to escape cancer. I had family there. It was close to a great children's hospital. The schools were stellar. The house was brand new, on a culdesac designed for family living. We'd be paying off all our debt from the sale of our house in California, and have money left over after the purchase of the new one in Indiana.

We had been playing in the pool together the night before and life was starting to feel safe again. Her oncologist had told us just three weeks before that Grace was unlikely to relapse and to "go live our lives." Grace's hair had grown back, she was back in school. Luke's phobias had healed and he was feeling secure again. I was leaving the SSFL behind, which was good according to many concerned family members who felt it was too emotionally damaging for me. Chad was going to change careers and trying living out his dreams. I was going to become a writer. Everything was lined up for our happily ever after.

And she hadn't had any signs of relapse until the day it was obvious. No bruises. No petechiae. No lack of energy or appetite. After the pool she cried because her arm hurt, we figured she somehow hurt herself in the pool. By the morning it was apparent to Chad and I. She was in pain like she had broken her arm, and that type of pain is often a sign that leukemia in her bones was swelling and putting so much pressure on the inside of her bones that they felt like they would burst. And that's exactly what it was. I think the nurses and doctors knew, just like Chad and I did, the moment we walked in.

The first thing they did was give her a shot of morphine. Not oral Tylenol. Because they already knew what they were dealing with before her bloodwork came back. Still, we were all praying we were wrong, though no words were spoken.

I went to get the kids some food from the cafeteria while a child life specialists watched cartoons with the kids. Coming back to the infusion center I was intercepted by a nurse. His eyes were so sorrowful. He was so sad for us. I knew then the bloodwork showed cancer. He brought me to the procedure room so I'd be away from the kids when they told me.

When the doctor walked in, it must have already been on my face. You know already, don't you? she said. After holding me while I cried, she told me to wash my face, dry my tears, and put on a brave face for the kids.

It was a brave face. I already knew that if she ever relapsed she would immediately need a bone marrow transplant. I already knew that her survival statistics would plummet. I knew a lot of kids with her type of PH+ Leukemia didn't always make it.

And so I did not start her relapse with worship. I didn't start with wanting God's will to be done. I was so angry. So hurt. I called Chad so he could be there when we told Grace and Luke. I called the realtor and canceled the sale from the hallway. I called the grandparents and heard their grief.

I was so frightened for Grace. I grieved for Luke. I let go of my hopes for our happy ever after. I was so angry. So angry that God let this happen. Such an opposite attitude from her first cancer.

And so I wonder now, what would have happened if we had started on our knees like the first time, determined to follow God's will. It wouldn't have changed Grace's treatment, just like it didn't miraculously heal her the first time. But maybe I wouldn't be in so much pain now. Maybe I wouldn't have felt so abandoned. Maybe I was the one who abandoned God, not the other way around. I didn't want his will. I didn't want his presence. I didn't want cancer. I didn't want Grace to die.

Maybe it was because I had no time to grieve. She was hospitalized that day and the two of us lived there for five weeks straight. Even now, over two years later, the memory is terrible. It goes to the root of who I am. And even now, I don't really have time to grieve. I have to go make breakfast for the kids. Life has to continue, just like then.

But at least now I want God's will, no matter where he leads. Clearly, life without him didn't work so well, I almost destroyed myself with my anger. I was losing who I am. And it's still so scary to trust him, even to trust him to heal.

But heal I must. I don't want to waste life in anger. Or debilitating pain. And I pray that as I open myself to that opportunity, and to accept God's will, that I will feel his comforting presence through such a frightening time in my life as I reexamine that time.

And if Teri were here, I know she'd say, "Hmmm. Yes, I could see why you would feel that way. That makes sense to me. I might feel the same if I had all that happen." She's always such a merciful listener.

And maybe Jesus would say the same too.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


In Celebrate Recovery, one of the hardest of the 12 steps is the dreaded step 4...inventory. It's an opportunity to list out every harm you've caused and every harm done to you. It's an incredibly painful step but thankfully my sponsor helped me through it. Several times she helped me see that my beliefs about certain events were based on a child's reasoning, but I was carrying the guilt and pain into adulthood. Whenever she pointed these out it was an immediate relief, because children's understandings are 90% emotions and fears and are often interlaced with superstitious equations, not logic.

But if she hadn't been there to give her objective opinion I wouldn't have questioned what already seemed settled.

At church last Sunday we talked about surrendering to God's will for our lives. That's been a really hard topic for me. When Grace last had cancer I surrendered and did my best to trust and obey God. (And as I write this, the feelings in the pit in my stomach is sprouting into a choking weed). The thought of being willing to surrender to God's will feels like Grace would get cancer again. I know it doesn't make sense, but sometimes logic made under duress is a lot like the reasoning of a child. And the thought of Grace relapsing again is so frightening that I won't allow myself to think about it.

But God took the role of my sponsor last Sunday.

He gently reminded me that I hadn't surrendered to Grace having cancer. I had surrendered to God in the things that coincided with Grace's cancer- to try to trust him.

Grace's cancer was never in my realm of control, though realizing I have no real control in my life is also frightening. And that might have been an unconscious reason I allowed myself to think I had let Grace get cancer by obeying God- because then somehow I could prevent it in the future. It seems so childish on paper, but it's been a daily influence in my walk with God lately. The fear that somehow my willingness to obey Him in the hard things could open the door to another relapse.

He also gave me a prophetic word, "Also."

I've been angry again that Grace's cancer is one of the main reasons that the SSFL is getting cleaned up. I would have never become the woman who could be brave, people wouldn't have listened without my personal experience with Grace's cancer, and it was the medium which revealed the problem in the first place. I hate Grace's cancer so passionately that sometimes I resent the work God has me doing to help fix the problem.

I've been so angry at God for letting Grace get cancer. I know it was because of the decisions made by greedy people, but I also believe He is a miracle giving God and I know he could have stopped her cancer with one word, especially when it existed as 1 or 2 cells. And he chose not to. I know it's not the same as giving her cancer, but in his sovereignty, I believe he allowed it.

And I've been so mad again. The PTSD rips open the wounds every single time I think I'm getting better, and every single time I'm back at the beginning again. I feel like it's the day Grace relapsed and I have to decide if I will continue to follow God, or if I will reject him. It's been so emotionally exhausting.

And I've also watched the good God is bringing out of her cancer. I feel so conflicted that some days I think I'll implode.

But "Also" is an important word for me, a word I need to hold onto as if it were life support.

  • God allowed Grace to get cancer. Also, He is using her cancer to protect others.
  • My faith in God was completely devastated. Also, I continue to trust him.
  • I am broken. Also, I am healing.
  • I hate Grace's cancer so much I want to burn the world down. Also, I am grateful for the good things God has allowed to come from it.
Again, it seems so simple on paper, but it's been a nightmare living in my brain lately. My faith (and emotions) have been ricocheting from one extreme to the other until I think I'll lose my mind. It's been exhausting. 

But there's calm in Also. It's a place of rest where my extremes can coexist.  It's where I don't have to make sense. 

And that seems to be where God keeps leading me back to, the place where I find him waiting for me, the place where he understands me when I don't understand anything.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


Dear Jesus,
I think your name Immanuel, God with us, is one of the most tender aspects of the whole Bible. It is the name we remember you by at Christmas. It is the whole purpose of Christmas.

When I was feeling so separate from you a while back, you gave me a vision of Jesus weeping at Lazarus' tomb. I felt the grief of Jesus in the dream.

But what surprised me was that you weren't weeping about Lazarus dying. I may have read this or heard it another time, but you knew you'd raise Lazarus from the dead. You intentionally waited days before going. You talked plainly that Lazarus was dead and that you were going to "wake him up." His death wasn't a surprise to you, and knowing you were going to raise him back to life, it doesn't make as much sense that you would grieve his death.

And maybe I'm reading too much into this, but Jesus what I felt in the vision, you wept as you entered into the full understanding of humanity's hopelessness.

We are so fragile God, so prone to death. But that was not your original design for us. You created humans for community. Death rips families and people apart. I think that's apparent in the all-encompassing grief of when a parent loses a child. Our souls know what is true, even if our minds refuse to believe, that death is unnatural. Perhaps if there is a "universal truth," that is it. Innocent children suffering and dying seems to go against every fiber in our being, regardless of time or culture or beliefs.

A child's birth brings the overwhelming joy of a miracle and a feeling of communion with our creator. Giant redwoods and singing birds, towering mountains and gentle streams, these have inspired songs of your praise. The stars and vast space put wonder in our hearts. The spring after winter, full of new life, makes our souls feel new. All of these are from your hand, meant to testify of your goodness and love for mankind.

But death? Grief? Death is as unnatural as being taken from a safe and comfortable home and being thrown into an icy lake.

Death and grief separate us from you, God. Sometimes we put on a good face and praise you for the resurrection to come, but that is a choice. It is not the natural feeling of humans towards death. Unless a person is completely and utterly despised, death always brings pain to the human who grieves them. And that pain does not testify of your goodness God, it speaks only to this life's brokenness. You understand this more than us.

Jesus, because you became a human, you came into the grief of humanity. With human eyes you saw our completely powerlessness against death. You heard the wails of parents who had lost their children. You felt the agony of the two sisters who lost their brother.

I believe that at Lazarus' tomb you were weeping because you felt death from a human perspective, the grief of our naked souls when someone we love dies.

Like a child in the womb, we only see an infinite chasm and muted vision of what the "real" life will be like. We were stripped of the ability to connect with that truth in the garden of Eden. It's no longer part of our natural makeup, we have been made inane to even imagining life past the mists. We can't see past the impenetrable veil, that nameless space that separates this broken life from wholeness of life in eternity.

But not for you Jesus.

You saw both sides. You knew the fullness and goodness of God, and the restorative life that heaven holds for us. You wept because you saw how trapped we were by our limited understanding here on Earth. You felt our despair. You knew our hopelessness and helplessness. And you wept.

That's why Immanuel brings me to my knees every Christmas, no matter how rushed or distracted I may be. Jesus, you had so much tender love for the messy humans you created that you couldn't abandon us. You came.

Your birth, death, and resurrection permanently tore the veil between this life and heaven. We remain unable to see it with human eyes, but you restored hope to humanity. By your Holy Spirit, you comfort the depths of our soul by grieving with us. Holding us. Breathing hope into our lifeless souls because of you death has lost its power to seperate us.

Thank you Jesus. Even when I can't understand you, when I can't seem to find you, your name comforts me.

Immanuel. God with us. God as one of us. God to rescue us.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Dear Jesus,
This seems to be a safe medium for me to be honest. I feel much less burdened today, knowing that I can come to you imperfect, and rushed, and as myself. I do imperfect very well.

Yesterday I had a hard time buying things for Chris. I'm honored to be able to decorate his room, but Jesus it really hurt knowing that it could behis last Christmas. And it reminded me of a lot of BMT details I had forgotten. I felt very lonely thinking of them, and I had a hard time not being able to really share that with Chad. I know he's stressed about the finances. Maybe I need to try again, because I'm really heart broken about it.

And Jesus it always takes me back to the "how could you let this happen?" Even though you were threre with us. For a while I said so confidently that all I needed to know was that you'd never leave me nor forsake me. Maybe it's because life is so nice again, the fear of ever returning to cancer is more terrifying. She's been two years cancer free. It's the longest break we've had from cancer in five years God. And I know that every time a kid relapses, their survival rate tanks. And children dying is so hard to bear.

Last week I had a dream that someone asked where Grace was. There was Luke, and a baby sister, and somehow I had forgotten that Grace had died. And in my dream I collapsed to the ground, totally paralyzed. It's the worst dream I've ever had in my life. I know it's because I got Bailey and Charlie mixed up at Karate, they look/ed so similar. But that dream really hurt, and I didn't find the comfort I need.

It's hard because I refuse to feel the depth of my fear and horror, thinking abut cancer. And I don't know if that's good or bad. I don't know if you need me to go there to heal, or if it's ok to have that defense mechanism. And sometimes i wonder how long I'll have to feel this way.

I can go weeks without remembering and life feels so light again. But with Nicholas and Navy, it's at my doorstep again. And the weight of it is hard during such a busy season.

I know today's saving grace will be the understanding that I can come to you broken, which I am. I can be the black sheep. I can come to you with nothing and know you can accept me, and love me. It's what i've been all along, it's just that I had forgotten. And the concept of "healing" hurts again, I just need to be myself and rest in your comfort instead of always trying to get better. That thought wears me out. But resting in your arms, that brings me peace. And that's what I need to survive today- it's going to be a busy day too.

Please give me the energy I need, the patience I need, and the motivation to get things done today. Thank you most of all for bringing me back to you.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Spiritual Hot Mess

I wish I were one of those Christians who bounce right back. I seem to be one who is skilled at stumbling. Sometimes I guess I'm like the person tossed by waves- but that's not entirely true. I know who you are. That doesn't change. I think that the trauma is so deep, and is resurrected so easily, that I am still a spiritual hot mess, two years later.

When I have a mountain-high and feel so close, it feels like the doubts and fears were just dreams. I feel so confident and bold. I feel proud of myself for being better.

When I hit the bottom of the pit, I feel so abandoned, like the sun itself was just a dream. I feel ashamed and paralyzed. And right now, I feel apathetic. Like maybe it's too much work to find you again and again and I should just live my life like so many do.

I feel empty. I don't want to leave you God, and I know you won't let me. We have an understanding- should I get lost, you will come find me and bring me back. I don't ever want to lose you, but I have not felt refreshed by your spirit for a long time. I think it's because I haven't been seeking you daily. So I'm very parched and have almost forgot what living water tastes like.

It's just that I have associated guilt with seeking you, so that I feel like it's harder than swimming against the current.  And about as much fun.

Chad is having great morning time with you and I feel a little jealous. I feel like I often do about exercising. He does it so well, commits himself to plans and then follows through like it was no big deal. I feel like everytime I start an exercise plan, I get injured or sick or too busy and then I feel like a failure. And feeling like a failure is rather exhausting. Really exhausting.

But the mornings are hard Lord. They're so busy and lately have been full of issues with Luke not obeying. I'm often very tired and groggy, or I just sleep through the time I was supposed to use in devotion. I feel rushed because I have to get the kids out the door, and me to the gym. Mornings aren't my favorite time to seek you.

But after the gym, or taking the kids to school, I start work.  And .I work until the kids come home and then I'm centered on them and house duties. God- you said women have salvation by having kids, which I've taken to mean that there's less structure to our relationship with you, compared to the OT Jewish men who had to go to temple. Women were often burdened with kids and couldn't. But you said they still had salvation. Maybe I just need to have less structure.

I guess I wanted to be better than that. When Grace was sick and recovering, I gave myself full leave to find you when I was able. In my girls group, they often said they only had 15 minutes for devotion time. I guess I thought I could do better than that. Maybe I just can't.

Maybe if I accept my limitations, I'd feel more freedom around you God. I just was worried that I wasn't making you a priority. And worried that you would be disappointed in me. But there's a lot on my plate, and from what I can tell, it's meant to be there. God, feel free to weed through my life. I even feel guilty about creative time, because it's not "productive" and could be time spent with you or doing chores., etc. I feel like I have to squeeze the most out of every second I'm awake. It's not fun.

Now that I step back, living in fear is never how you work. You are the God of freedom. You are the God who takes us as we are and not as we "should" be. You see my flaws and immaturity and weaknesses and you have loved me. And I think I was very wrong to assume I had to change myself for your approval. I'm not capable of making the bed most days, so I'm pretty sure my ideas of improving my spiritual life was doomed from the start.

And it was a ball and chain to think I had to become better. Just seeing the weight would cause me to despair. I wasn't coming to you to be healed, or even just to rest in your presence. And God, I'm still wounded- you know this better than me. I assumed I should have been better by now and again, that you would be disappointed in me for it. Father, my heart still breaks. From the memories of Grace's cancer, and from friends whose children are still suffering. And I feel very empty inside.

There's nothing I can do, I admit it. I can't better my schedule without your help. I can't find freedom to be myself around you, without your help. I can't rid myself of my shame without your help. And forgive me for my pride, thinking that any of the things I used to be able to do were because of me.

Maybe that's why I'm so dry. Maybe you needed to remind me that on my own, I will wear myself down to nothing. That the fountain of life is you, and all that is good, is from you.

So here I am. Totally dry. My heart is hesitant to ask for you, even now, I'm still afraid of more work when I have so little of me left. Please find me. Please help me to sit at your feet to listen. I can't do that without you, when I try on my own I mess it up, even with my good intentions. Help me to trust in you and to be dependent on you.

Thank you that you love me even when I feel nothing.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Waiting for the call

I'm heartbroken for Chris and for his family. It's so painful that his cancer came back and that his survival rate is so low. I didn't know what to say when Lynn told me. Father she said she'd call me later because she would need to talk...and I have no idea what I could say to bring comfort. I didn't know what to say with Lauren either, but you got involved and helped, so I pray for that again with Lynn. If it's in your will, and out of your great mercy, I pray Chris would survive.

I can hardly feel because I've been trying to forget cancer so much. The red door is showing itself and I can't bear to look, even though it's not even my child. It's so strange how when inpatient, it feels surreal and yet it's total reality, without many memories of "regular" life. Now that her cancer is gone, it's my total reality and I won't allow many memories of inpatient surface.

I think because when it does, it is another reminder that her cancer could still possibly come back. And I can't bear the thought. And I hate remembering all her pain, the loneliness- even writing the words is hard for me to get out. I can't even finish the sentence because I don't want to remember, why would I? But without those memories life feels surreal because part of my life is missing from the foundation of who I am.

I feel detached from other cancer parents and I don't know where I belong. I can't live in the cancer life mentality when Grace is fine. It would be ridiculous to stay in the trenches when we're not. I don't know how to solve this Jesus. It's beyond my knowledge. But you do. And I'm concerned about when I have to speak in front of the camera again- will I be stoic? If I cry, will it be forced? And I'm worried that it will come off wrong. And I'm worried not only how to help Lynn, but I wondered even if I had the capacity.

I've delved deep into projects so that I don't have to look out of my hole often. I feel al little shell shocked. And caught between two worlds. And I've been hiding even from you God. You know that.  I didn't.

Everytime I see you, I see Grace's cancer too. How can that wound heal? I still struggle that Grace's cancer returned, and I am still afraid that it could come again. On the outside I'm not afraid. I think I even fooled myself. But inside, where the deepest wounds are, you are there. Do you want to meet me there? Can we meet somewhere else?

I think I'm worn out from trying to "heal." I know I'm a survivor, and will never fully heal on this Earth, but I'm stuck in the middle there too. I don't want to thank you that Grace's cancer is gone- how absurd is that? I don't' want to say you've healed her in case we go through this again.

And I've healed a lot- but I think I would have to be like Much Afraid- you would have to tie me to the altar for me to say "Your will be done," if Grace's cancer returned. I almost lost you God, and I'm afraid I will again. Feeling makes me physically tired. And I sometimes wonder if I'll have enough energy to get through the day.

And how do I go through a journey that has no markers? How is progress determined? Because I'm angry at you again God. I can't find another cause of why I'm avoiding you. Also I'm being a perfectionist, and since I'm not perfect I don't want to show up, because I want to be in control. Not you.

Jesus you saved me before by giving me visions of your love. Still, I ran away and I'm afraid I don't have the energy to find you again. I have nothing. And sometimes, I prefer that. Your love hurts me sometimes Jesus. Your love means I have to trust you again, and I don't know if I can.

Some days it seems easy. I don't even know how, but I'm stuck again and can't find you. Please help me, not just to read the Bible so I can check it off the list and be "good enough" but please help me to see you Jesus. Knowing your heart is the only thing that brings me back. And if it's dependent on me, that's a problem. And maybe that's part of why I'm in hiding. I have so little left, and I have so much guilt, that it's keeping me from wanting to spend time with you.

Have mercy on me, help me to know how much you love me. I need you and I want you, even when my emotions say otherwise. Please come and rescue me from my unbelief.