Be Not Afraid

I’ll never stop singing this song…

I’m struggling right now.  I don’t feel as sick as I did at this point in my last cycle (when I was in the hospital), and I am so grateful for that.  Still, I have terrible mouth sores that make swallowing anything, even liquid, painful, and I’m more exhausted than I’ve ever been in my life.  I’m growing weary of spotting my bald head in the mirror, and I’m tired of seeing more and more eyelashes and eyebrow hairs in the sink everyday.  I long to shower normally, jump into a pool, ride my bike, and moreover just have a day where I feel well.  But even more than the physical effects of chemo are wearing on me, the emotional effects of these past few months are taking their toll.  For the past few days I’ve been down, deeper than I ever have been in my life.  Though in my head I know that the chemo is working (Praise God), that I may be nearing the end of my treatments, and that there are so many people suffering worse than I, in my heart I feel overwhelmed with sadness and despair.

Last year, I was truly blessed in the way I so strongly felt the presence of God in my life.  Many times when I was down, or struggling, I would find that God granted me just the right words to renew my faith.  Time and time again I would be lying in my bed trying to fall asleep and a simple melody with words of God’s love for me would begin playing in my head.  I would jump up, run and grab my guitar, awkwardly pluck out some chords (I’m pretty awful at the guitar!), and sing words that brought me great comfort and peace.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had words or melody come to me at night.  In fact, the last time I began writing a song was the night before I went into the hospital and was diagnosed with cancer.  Amazingly, the chorus included the words that have since became my mantra:  Be Not Afraid.  But, since that night, I’ve heard no melodies or words of comfort in my head.  And since that night, I’ve felt very alone.  That’s not to say that I haven’t seen God working in my life during this trial, because I have.  I thank God everyday for showing me His love through all the wonderful family member and friends who have supported me, and the incredible doctors and nurses who have cared for me.  Still, I long for the days when I seemed to possess a more intimate relationship with God.  I don’t doubt His presence, or that He is with me in my suffering, yet I still struggle to understand why I feel further from Him in my time of great need.  I suspect it is my own heart that is less open than it used to be; that all of the thoughts of fears and doubts running through my head have taken up space that used to be empty and ready to be filled with God’s wonderful promises.

As I try to push my fears and doubts aside, and listen in the silence for the voice that I know is still there, I am grateful for the words God gave me last year.  I know now that they weren’t only meant to comfort me then; they were given to me in the wisdom of what was to come.  That is the only way I can explain writing a song (when all was well in my life) that declared this:

I’ll never stop singing this song.
Though I can’t hear You sing along,
I know that You’re still here with me.

As I struggle to climb out of the darkness, I thank an amazing, loving God for the beautiful hope found in these words, words that could have only come directly from Him.

To hear the song I wrote a year ago, click below.

Psalm 42

Why are you so down,
and in the depths of despair?
Do you think that you’ve been forgotten?
Do you think that you’re all alone?

Deep cries out to deep.

By day His love is with me,
at night His song is in my head.
I know I’ll never be alone.

Oh, can you hear me my soul?
Even as the waves crash above?
I know you’re thirsting for something,
as the deer pants for water that lives.

Deep cries out to deep.

By day His love is with me,
at night His song is in my head.
I know I’ll never be alone.

I’ll never stop singing this song.
Though I can’t hear You sing along,
I know that You’re still here with me.

By day His love is with me,
at night His song is in my head.
I know I’ll never be alone.

By day His love is with me,
at night His song is in my head.
I know I’ll never be alone.

I know I’ll never be alone.
I know I’ll never be alone.


  1. Gayle Engelstad

    Allison, I don’t know you (know of you through working with your Grandmother) but I think of you and pray for you daily. Your faith through this all is such an inspiration to so many. God is right beside you and I will pray right now that you feel his presence with you. I am so sorry you have had to endure all this suffering.

  2. Kristin Jeffery Payne

    Hang in there Allison! Thank you for sharing your struggles. I am so sorry you FEEL alone. Keep reminding yourself that you’re not, AND you’re doing great girl! You remind me of “the dark before the dawn”. I pray that this statement is true for you and that you are almost done with your battle. I wish I could take your pain and despair away! Keep going, you can do it!

  3. Rachelle & Roger Jeffery

    Hang in there Ally. It’s been a rough road but God will get you through this. Very soon you will be healthy again and enjoying your family and this will have all been a bad dream. We’re keeping you in our prayers.

  4. sylvia krause

    Dear Allison,
    You are never alone. I am keeping you and the family in my prayer. Thinking about you and John Paul and how his mother is so brave and strong.
    Sylvia Krause

  5. Barbara Ryan

    Allison – thanks for what you’ve shared, and for being so honest about how you are feeling.
    Know that your sharing the struggle you are going through is touching many people. God is in the midst of this, somehow. One day you will have quite a tale to tell John Paul.
    Much love and many prayers

  6. Aunt Cathy

    Like the rest are saying, hang in there!!! You can do this; you’re so close; be strong. Show John Paul what a fighter looks like – bald and beautiful!!
    We Love You!!
    Aunt Cathy, Uncle Chuck, Christopher
    Anna-Kate and Mike

  7. Joan Stanich

    Hello Allison:
    I am praying for you today…may God be near you and comfort you. May you know His peace today. I want to share this poem with you (by Annie Johnson Flint) which is based on a scripture which has meant a lot to me over the years, Isaiah 43:2 “When thou passest through the waters…they shall not overflow thee.”

    “When thou passest through the waters”
    Deep the waves may be and cold,
    But Jehovah is our refuge,
    And His promise is our hold;
    For the Lord Himself hath said it,
    He, the faithful God and true:
    “When thou comest to the waters
    Thou shalt not go down, BUT THROUGH.”

    Seas of sorrow, seas of trial,
    Bitterest anguish, fiercest pain,
    Rolling surges of temptation
    Sweeping over heart and brain–
    They shall never overflow us
    For we know His word is true;
    All His waves and all His billows
    He will lead us safely through.

    Threatening breakers of destruction,
    Doubt’s insidious undertow,
    Shall not sink us, shall not drag us
    Out to ocean depths of woe;
    For His promise shall sustain us,
    Praise the Lord, whose Word is true!
    We shall not go down, or under,
    For He saith, “Thou passest THROUGH.”

    • Joan, thank you so much for sharing this poem with me….I’ve read through it many times now! Thank you for reminding me that God is holding my hand through all of this, pulling me through the suffering.

  8. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 26 Find Love, then Give it All Away | Be Not Afraid

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