I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:4
Paige has never been one to be afraid of trying something new--in fact, she usually dives right in. First day in a new school? No problem--see ya later, Mom! Church camp, several states away? It's gonna be awesome! See you in a week! The independence that sometimes can be a little too present is the same trait that pushes my daughter to step out and find new adventures.
This past weekend she attended a two-night retreat with about 20 teen oncology patients and a small team of hospital staff members. Held at a camp just outside of Houston, it was a time for these kids to connect with others facing similar challenges. More importantly, it was a time for them to just hang out and be kids. Recreation. Team-building. Fun & fellowship. It was Paige's first time away since her diagnosis, and though we both experienced a slight amount of separation anxiety, it was wonderful hearing the excitement in her voice as she relayed the events of the weekend.
The timing of the retreat couldn't have been better. Beautiful weather and her last week in the consolidation phase of treatment made it a time of celebration, a time to recharge before moving ahead. This phase involved intense chemotherapy, and Paige's physical strength has not yet returned to match the levels of her inner strength. That said, she was unable to climb a rock wall to do a zip line--one of her favorite things to do. In her own words, "I knew my limits and didn't want to hurt myself." She wasn't the only one who had to forgo the zip line--but they all participated in a team-building challenge that ended in a water attack on their counselors!
The connections made were perhaps the most important times of the weekend. They shared stories and thoughts, conquered fears and celebrated hope, and even recorded a song. Each camper spoke or sang a few lines about what being fearless means to them. Everyone sang the chorus, which was written by one of the staff members.
Take a dive, take a chance.
Shake the fear from your hands.
Take a breath, another try.
Just close your eyes and be fearless.
Paige was so excited to play the song for me that she immediately dug it out of her bag when we stopped for drinks on the way home. Listening to these amazingly strong people express thoughts and feelings about their own journeys brought tears to my eyes. They are experiencing things most of us could never imagine and are all the stronger for it! Being fearless doesn't mean you are never afraid--it is instead a way of overcoming fear and replacing it with victory.
I end this post with Paige's contribution to the song. I may be a bit biased, but I think she hit the nail on the head!
"My faith in God has helped me be fearless because I put all my faith in Him, knowing that He will take care of me and I will be okay." - Paige Lejeune, March 2014