The crowd was roaring and hundreds of kids and their families were already built up with excited anticipation by the artists that performed ahead of me. This was a night about high energy and fun, but also the essential understanding of kid’s identity in Christ and their unique purpose. In a few minutes, it was my turn to step on stage and talk to the kids about that very message.
Yet somewhere behind the curtain and big screen, I was hiding off to the side, quite a bit sick with nervousness and wishing I could disappear into the crowd and out the back door. I am NOT cut out for this! I remember saying to myself. What on earth do I have to say that will mean something in the lives of these kids?? I’m practically one myself!
Our host, Jamie-Grace, exited the stage after introducing me as the speaker who would be coming on next. The already swarming butterflies proceeded to tie themselves into knots in my stomach.
“Paige Armstrong’s life began like that of most other kids…” thundered out of the sound system at the venue. The large screen lit up with the video intro to my talk, which shared my story of being a healthy, normal kid who ended up being diagnosed with bone cancer at age 11. The intro took the audience through some pictures of my healthy days, to then the life shattering images of me lying in my hospital bed, bald and barely able to move from my surgeries.
Instantly a hush came over the audience, as it was such a contrast to the bubbly fun they had just been having. As I watched this video of my life play out, I was pulled back into my days at St. Christopher’s hospital… remembering the pain, the meds, and seeming hopelessness. I then watched as my story with the Make-A-Wish foundation was unfolded… how they granted my wish to go to Nashville and record a professional CD, and how that unleashed an overwhelming amount of opportunities to sing and speak all over the country. Featuring my interviews on NBC’s “Today Show” and a program called “Extra” through the Bath & Body Works Christmas CD I was part of, the video proceeded to explain some of the unbelievable opportunities and blessings that came from my experience with cancer.
Having been brought back to those desperate and dark times in the hospital, I was left standing in my corner backstage completely at a loss for words when remembering all that God had done. Suddenly my thoughts of wanting to disappear from the stage felt completely shameful as I realized what a miracle it was that I was even standing there. In that moment, God just said to me, “Paige… I didn’t spare you so that you could keep silent.” Immediately this overwhelming sense of strength and confidence washed over my entire body. He’s right. What was I thinking?? I have no choice but to share what He’s given me. It’s why I’m here… the reason I’m breathing.
In the same way, I consider this amazing truth in all of our lives.
We were bought with such an extreme price of Christ’s blood. He laid down His life for us so that we could live. (Romans 5:8) That alone gives such worth to our lives!
The words that God gave me that night backstage have become the lyrics to the “Story Song”, off my new album. “NO ONE’S spared to just keep silent, NO ONE’S saved to just keep still”.
Each one of us has a story. Each one of us has been given a mist of time on earth to use in living out God’s purpose for us.
This is my story… what’s yours?
This blog by Paige was previously published by beliefnet.com