Scenic view of trees at camp

All Things for Good: Ayden and Lauren’s Story

by Lizzie Klein


In October 2015, Ayden “Trips” Drake prayed over a verse, Romans 8:28:

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

That month, her mother had passed away from a condition called cystic fibrosis. Through the pain and confusion, Ayden clung to the truth that the Lord still saw her and eventually would use her family’s suffering for good. And for seven years that is what she hoped and prayed for.

Fast forward to the summer of 2022. Ayden walked into the Woods as a summer staffer eager to see what the Lord had in store for her. She had originally applied to work at Chimney Point, which was closer to home and more convenient for her Samford Track Team summer training, but was instead hired as a lifeguard and counselor in Tyler, Texas. Having never stepped foot in Texas before, she prayed that the Lord would show her why she was working so far from home.


When she got to camp for orientation, one of the first things the new staff did was go on a prayer walk around the property. Ayden suddenly felt the Lord calling her to pray for the Woods to be a place of healing.

“I was just praying for restoration and healing in my life and my family’s life, as well as people who were coming to camp,” Ayden recalls, “And then they told us this place this summer was going to be a holy hospital, a place of healing and restoration.”

Little did she know, the Lord was working to do just that.

Lauren Harrison came into week four at the Woods searching for rest and peace after a busy year, and was excited to kick off her summer with some much needed relaxation. She had just finished her first year in a new job and on top of that, was wrestling with worry about her daughter who had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in October 2015. Even though it had been years since the initial diagnosis, she carried an underlying heaviness.


“I was praying for peace and to truly clear my mind,” Lauren shares. “I knew (my daughter’s diagnosis) had always affected me, but I didn’t realize the extent to which it just consumed my life.”

Week four at the Woods also happened to be Ayden’s lifeguard week, which meant she wouldn’t have a cabin, but instead spend the week watching over the pool. On Sunday night, Ayden learned that her friend, Hannah, was assigned as a one-on-one counselor for the week with a little girl named Catherine. Hannah didn’t know much about the girl yet, except that she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a condition that Ayden was all too familiar with.

Immediately after hearing about Catherine and her family, Ayden started praying throughout the week for the opportunity to speak to them, but was hesitant because she feared her family’s story might discourage them. 

But on Wednesday morning, Ayden’s devo family told her that they had talked to the Harrisons and they really wanted to speak with her. Ayden was excited, but knew the week was coming to a close and worried she wouldn’t find the time to seek them out. But on Thursday, at the parent pool party, the Lord finally brought together a moment he had been orchestrating for years as Ayden and Lauren sat down and shared their stories with one another. 


The two talked about everything from stories about Ayden’s mom to new research about cystic fibrosis, and everything in between. As Ayden and Lauren sat by the pool, it was clear that the Lord was using the conversation to speak to both of them and bring the comfort and healing that they had both been searching for. 

And as if there weren’t enough parallels in their stories already, Lauren explained how even the smallest of details connected them. “Trips’ mother’s name was Jaye Catherine. My daughter’s name is Catherine Jane. Her mother passed away in October 2015 from cystic fibrosis. My Catherine’s cystic fibrosis diagnosis was confirmed in October 2015. Look at God!”

For seven years Ayden had been clinging to the promise of Romans 8:28 and praying to see her pain and suffering used for good. Little did she know, Lauren Harrison had been praying for the past seven years too. She had been praying for someone just like Ayden to come into her life and show her that even through something as difficult as cystic fibrosis, the Lord was with her.

“By far the most beautiful moment for me was when we both just stared at each other without any words. It was almost like we both didn’t need to say anything at all. We could feel God’s presence right there in the pool. It was a sense of peace like none other,” Lauren shares. “Even though our roles were reversed, me, the mother of a child with cystic fibrosis, and her as the daughter of a mother with cystic fibrosis, it was a precious experience that I’ll never forget. I’m certain it was God’s gentle hand reminding both of us that He still sees us. He knows my fears for my daughter’s future. He knows Trips’ heart for her mother. He hears our prayers. And through it all, He is still an ever-present and ever-loving God who has it all under control.”


As the week came to an end, both Lauren and Ayden felt prompted to share their story with their camp community. The Lord had so clearly put them in each other’s lives and they couldn’t keep it to themselves! As they shared what the Lord had done—Lauren at camper share and Ayden at staff share—both of them saw how powerful their story could be and how it could speak to the character of God.

“Sharing your story can be scary,” Ayden reflects, “And sometimes people just don’t think their story has value or importance, but sometimes, you know, just sharing with someone that the Lord has worked in your life can speak volumes to who Jesus is.”

Even though week four at the Woods ended, the bonds that were created between Ayden and the Harrison family are friendships that will last for the rest of their lives. Ayden now believes she knows why she was placed at the Woods week four of 2022.

“The Lord works even in the waiting, and even when we can’t see it and it may take seven years—it may take two, it may take the rest of your life, or you may never see it—but continue to trust in Him and continue to hold onto His truth that He is our father, He’s our friend, and He’s never going to leave us.”

Posted Sep 25, 2023

Lizzie Klein

Former Forge Student

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