Let your heart take courage. My daughter is a living, breathing, amazing example of this. Over the last four months, Paige has shown monumental courage and strength through very difficult and trying times. She inspires us with her actions. With her words. With her faith.
Recently, Paige was assigned to write a formal opening on courage for her English/Language Arts portfolio. Coincidence? I think not. After all, she is somewhat of an expert on the topic! She gave me permission to share this glimpse into her thoughts. It's pretty wonderful.
Fear. Courage. These are emotions that can dramatically affect how you live your life. They are characteristics that can sometimes be recognized upon people’s faces. Other times these traits hide beneath the surface. Where they go their separate ways is when fear holds you back and courage can set you free. If you let fear consume your life, you may not be able to control it. Courage on the other hand, lets you live your life freely and it opens up new doors that you never thought were possible.
Behind true courage, fear is usually hiding. Facing your fears allows you to experience new things and opens up new opportunities. An example of this would be if you go on vacation and you want to try a zip line. You get to the top of the tower and get hooked up to everything, you look down and you want to back out. Of course, when you see other people do it and they’re okay, you decide that you can do it, and you have fun. You just used courage to overcome a fear. Sometimes there is no other choice but to be courageous. I have dealt with this multiple times throughout these last few months. Chemotherapy and its very scary side effects will not break me.
Courage gives you a sense of accomplishment and lets you think that you can do anything that you put your mind to. It also makes you stronger because when you do one courageous act, there can be a chain reaction of courageous events. When you use your courage, you are proud of yourself for doing what you thought was impossible. Some people can’t look over the other side of the fear wall and see what they are missing out on.
Being courageous during cancer treatments is hard, but somehow I manage to do it anyway. A few weeks ago a had a severe reaction to a spinal tap. My legs got heavy, I couldn’t move my right arm, my speech was slurred which meant that I couldn’t talk. When we got to the hospital, they were concerned that I might have had a stroke. Me. Have a stroke. That is very hard for a 13 year old girl to hear. The doctor said that I needed a CT Scan and an MRI before they could send me to where I wanted to be, Texas Children’s Hospital. Soon after the two scans, my oncologist called my mom and told her that she was positive that it was neurotoxicity from the chemotherapy. The regular route for the chemo in the spine is for it to go through the brain, then it travels through the whole body before it is flushed out. Well, that’s not what my body decided to do. Instead, it lingered in my brain for too long and irritated the nerves causing the scary effects. There wasn’t any nerve damage, but it did scar me in ways that nobody will understand. Through all of this my family and I had the courage to stay somewhat calm and know that God had our backs the whole time.
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13