Monday, January 30, 2012

Suffering and Glory

As we grieve the loss of Paxten and as we learn what it means to be friends to Blake and Libby at a time like this I can't help but think of how much pain there is in this world.  Children like Kyrie and Cora and now Paxten.  Why?  A book that was recommended to me after our second miscarriage was Hope by Nancy Guthrie. She talks a lot about suffering.  And the cross.  And what it means together. 

"There's only one thing that enables me to accept what I cannot understand about my suffering and the suffering of the world: the cross.  I look at the cross and the enormous suffering it represents, and I am humbled and ashamed that I think I could know better than God what is good and right and purposeful.  I see that there is a larger plan at work that my heart and my mind can barely comprehend.  But mostly, I see that the cross is the ultimate example of God's ability to work all things together for good - even the most wicked deeds ever conceived.  And if God can work together the cruel death and enormous suffering of His son on the cross to bring about the greatest good of all time, then perhaps he really can do something good in and through the suffering in our lives too." 

A friend and I were talking and struggling with the question of how to reconcile our God, that we know to be completely good, with pain and suffering and the loss of a baby, clearly so far from good?  I Peter 5:10 says, "In His kindness God called you to His eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ.  After you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation."  What is the connection between suffering and glory?  Nancy Guthrie points out that again and again in scripture, Jesus' death by crucifixion is referred to as his glorification.  For example, Jesus said, "The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory" (John 12:23) but this wasn't said as he ascended into heaven; he was heading to the Cross.  Unimaginable glory was put on display through the appalling suffering of the Cross.  Suffering is glory in God's economy.  They are not at opposite ends of the spectrum (as my simple human mind has equated them) but mysteriously intertwined.   

I'm blessed and comforted by her words. My entire body still aches for Libby and Blake.  They are suffering and we, as their friends, suffer at watching their pain.  But glory will rise. I still struggle with what the next days, weeks, months and years will look like. But I know that God is and will bring about a good from this that could never have taken place before Paxten came into our lives. Just as he did when He sent his only child to die on the cross. The glory to come will be worth these wounds.  We'll be glad we followed the way of the Cross.  One day we'll experience in reality what we now embrace by faith -- that suffering is the pathway to glory. 

A while back while talking with Libby she mentioned being so grateful that so many were seeking the Lord and had mentioned that their lives had changed because of Paxten but she also had a fear that it would just be for a while.  That this would be something that would eventually fade from people's hearts. Honor Paxten's life and never forget what the Pearson's have taught us. I hope you know the God that Blake and Libby and I know.  I pray that you'll seek this peace that passes all understanding as you watch them grieve but not as ones without hope. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Thank you for your prayers.  Paxten's healing is now complete and she is safe in the arms of Jesus. 

Please don't stop praying.  Blake and Libby need our support in such a huge way still.  I can not even fathom driving the three hour drive home without my baby.  Knowing I'd never see her again.  This battle has been so long and so draining.  They are weary and beaten and lost as to what to do next.  My heart hurts so much.  I don't know how to be a friend to someone who has lost a baby.  I'm terrified that I'll do or say the wrong thing.  I think of what a hurt our family will be.  A constant reminder of what they had and don't now. 

I've said before.  Paxten has changed me.  But I know I'm not alone. For the last few weeks everytime I get on facebook 99% of my feed is about Pax.  Where ever I go people are asking.  Pictures of people P4P have poured in.  Our community has rallied together with fundraisers and memorials.  Paxten was here for a purpose and God counted her days out until that purpose was finished.  I'm so grateful for her gift but I hurt so bad for dear friends who were asked to be the parents of that gift.  What a huge responsibility that they handled with nothing but grace and steadfast faith, even when admitting the struggles to understand. 

As I sat down with two little 4 year olds full of questions about Pax and their concerns (are there toys in heaven?) and their confusion (mommy, can't we call her on the phone in heaven?) I was blessed by their assessment of the situation.  "Mommy we don't have to cry.  Paxten's not sick!"  So true.  And I do celebrate in her new glorified body.  But I'm sad for us here and that will carry for a long time. 

Thank you for your prayers, for your faithfulness to the Pearsons and for not letting what we've learned from Paxten fade.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Love.....Usher?

A while back facebook began sorting our status updates according to popular topics. In December, for example, I imagine your newsfeed often said,
                      so-and-so and 173 other friends posted about "Christmas". 

Recently I posted on facebook this status....

"The fungus has now been detected in paxtens blood and cmv levels that were holding at 150,000 have now gone over 2 million. The doctors plan on attacking the fungus hard but they do not think her kidneys will be able to handle it. Blake and Libby are crushed. Please pray that if they have to usher their little girl into Jesus' arms tonight that they have strength and peace."
Many friends and family members that have grown to love Paxten as much as we do were faithful to pass this status on through their profiles. 
What's the problem?  

Well, not long after posting the update above I got back on facebook only to find that so-and-so and 9 of my other friends had all posted about "Usher".  Usher?  Really? 100's of people across facebook are posting about Paxten and fb picks out the word usher from my post. 

Fail facebook.  Fail.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Paxten is Teaching Me

If you're one of the literally thousands praying for Paxten, thank you.  It has been so incredible to watch the floods of prayers, verses and thoughts come pouring in through facebook, caring bridge and cards.  I get goosebumps every time I get on facebook and see that 98% of my newsfeed is people posting, and re-posting updates, pictures and prayers for little Paxten.  She is a fighter, she is defying the odds and she is holding strong. 

Paxten getting her nails painted.

The last few days have been so emotionally and spiritually draining.  There have been a few moments in Paxten's journey that have sent us running to Blake and Libby's side in tears and prayer.  The day of her diagnosis.  The day she relapsed.  The day her transplant took place.  None have been quite as scary, and felt as immanent, as what Paxten went through last weekend.  There are mornings where it felt as though I never really wasn't praying.  As though my morning was one long exhale of a prayer. I got together with Libby's sister to pray.  We prayed with our husbands.  We've sat on the couch in the dark of night, pouring out prayers. 

On our way up to the hospital with friends we took turns praying. Afterwards we started talking about how, after so many prayers, it gets hard to know what to say anymore.  I feel like I'm out of words to plead my case.  And, even more I pray for my will (for Paxten to be miraculously healed) or for God's will?  Sometimes I'm frightened to prayer for the Lord's will.  What if it is his will to bring Paxten to heaven with Him?  That's not where my heart is at. I don't want to pray that.  Do I pray that our wills align? 

I have to believe that just as I want my children to come to me with their desires, whatever they are, that God wants me (his child) to come to him in the same manner.  And, even though I can not give my girls every desire of their heart, I covet the intimate relationship that would give them no fear in asking.  I want that with my God.  The intimacy to ask for whatever I want.  So I've asked fearlessly, as thousands of others have.  I want Paxten.  I want her parents to know what it is to be a family free of fear of her health and of doctors and chemo, side-effects and relapses. I want them to come home to the beautiful home that my husband has been working tirelessly on and start a new chapter in a new home together.

A dear friend pointed out in Hebrews 4:16 that it says to go BOLDLY before the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. I think that in the past I've come meekly, mildly, humbly to God, laying out my petitions.  Paxten has taught me to go boldly.  To approach the throne with the aching of my heart. And it does not say that I will get what I desire but it does say that I will find mercy and grace. When I start to think, "who am I to go boldly before the Lord?" I remind myself that I have an intercessor.  That Jesus' cleansing work on the cross laid the groundwork for me to be able to come before God.  Richard Foster puts it this way: "Jesus enters his eternal work as Intercessor before the throne of God, and, as a result, I am enabled to pray with an entirely new authority. Even more: he straightens out and cleanses our feeble, misguided intercessions and makes them acceptable before a holy God. Even more still: his prayers sustain our desires to pray, urging us on and giving us hope of being heard."  Wow.

With my desires layed out there though, I also have to know that just as I parent with what is best for my children, God is doing the same with Blake, Libby and Paxten.  Paxten's healing is already guaranteed and complete.  The unknown is whether that healing will be seen here on earth or when she is called to heaven.  My heart is warmed as I read the hundreds of cheers and praises for Paxten's small victories and her strength to hold on. But, I also start to wonder when I see things like, "Our prayers are working, keep it up!"  And "God is so good!"  The thing is, God is good if Paxten pulls through but he is still just as good if Paxten doesn't.  Isn't that the point?  To cry out to a God that is so perfect that he is good in the joys and in the pain.  If Paxten had worsened or if she had been called to heaven, would our prayers have "not" worked? What does this say to the parent following along who did lose their child?  That their prayers were not effective?  Was God not good? 
So many have been profoundly changed by Paxten's journey and the steadfast faith of her mommy and daddy. I am one of them. My perspective, my tendency to take things for granted, and my prayer life. Talking with my God about my will while also praying for strength and peace to accept his.  Becoming aware of how I respond to the results of prayer. Prayer that is answered in "my will" and prayer that is answered in another way. For that I am eternally grateful for Paxten and her short 22 months.  I'm grateful for the gift of prayer, made possible by Jesus, through Christ.  I'm so happy to serve a God who is good and listens to my heart's desires even if they do not always line up with his outcomes. I pray that you know the peace that comes from pouring your heart out to the God too. 

"Intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and the fellowship must enter every day." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I also beg that you keep on praying for Paxten.  She is still so very sick and the road is so very long for her Blake and Libby.  I love you Pax!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I've mentioned our dear friends and their little girl Paxten before here and here

In the middle of the night last night poor Paxten lived out our worst nightmares.  She coded.  While she was able to be resuscitated she is still in a very dangerous place.  These are her mother's words early this morning....

"I don't even know how to start this update. Tonight Paxten was having major issues with her oxygen. It ended up dropping so low so quickly that she coded right there in bed and the nurses had to scream out for help; the emergency team rushed into the room about 10-15 people. They eventually resucitated (sp?) her but she was not able to breathe on her own so they intubated her. They took her down to the ICU and tried to hook her up to the regular ventilator but that was not working well enough so now she is on an oscillator. Her oxygen levels are still not where they need to be but they are slowly improving. Her other organs still look good at this point but her lungs are extremely sick. We are not out of the woods by any means and have an incredibly long road ahead of us. Needless to say we are in shock."
I can't even describe how hard this is to watch some of our closest friends go through.  When I think about what they witnessed and have gone through in the last 24 hours I feel like throwing up.   My heart literally hurts for them. 

A lot of my friends have talked about perspective in relation to Paxten's battle and they are so right.  While I'm discouraged by a teething baby, Blake and Libbby are happy with 10 minutes where Paxten is able to sit up.  When I'm frustrated by toys perpetually on the ground, Blake and Libby are watching their only baby girl struggle for breath. 

Beautiful things are being said for our Paxten.

I don't know what to say that can add to this.  If God moves your heart to reevaluate your perspective please take that moment to pray for Blake and Libby and Paxten.  They've been on this road a very long time.  They are weary and hurting and scared.  We know that Paxten's healing is guaranteed already by the gift of Jesus Christ.  We are still pleading with God that we would get to see that healing played out here on earth. 

Please pray with us.

"Let Paxten dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Be her refuge, her fortress, her covering, her shield.  Do not let her fear the terror of the night, nor any type of plague or sickness.  Do not let any harm or disaster come near Paxten.  Command your angels to guard her in all her ways and keep her from hurting.  When she calls on you, answer her.  Be with her in trouble; deliver her and honor her.  Satisfy Paxten with long life and show her your salvation."
Psalm 91

Sunday, January 8, 2012

7 Years

7 years ago on a very icy day.....

This very excited boy....

And this very excited girl...

Gathered all their friends and family....

And began their happily ever after.

7 years, two children, two angel babies, five foster children, one son in the Congo and countless prayers, tears, laughs, and plans.  What a gift Derek is to me.  He is my strength, my confidant, and my best friend.  I'm so grateful for him and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us this next year. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Little Ones Keep Growing

The ladies before church one Sunday.

Daddy moonlighting as a horse. 

Brecken turned 11 months on Christmas day. She is seriously one of the funniest babies I've known.  And I used to teach in a classroom of 9 infants cycling in and out for 2 years. I've fallen for a lot of babies. Brecken is a special one. She cracks me up everyday. She is a problem-solver, easy going, independent, joyful and loud. Once she decided to crawl she was up and going in just a couple days.  Same with walking.  She took 2-3 steps a few days before 10 months and by a couple weeks into the 10th month she was a full-time walker mastering turns and getting up without pulling up on something.  Most of the time now she's doing a sort of walk/run.  She waves by-bye and gives kisses.  When she hears the front door open she drops what she's doing and runs to the stairs to see who is coming up.  If it's daddy her joy is overflowing.  Man she loves her daddy! While she transitioned from babyfood to "people" food easily and quickly she still doesn't have a single tooth. Seems strange to me but I keep hearing stories where we could still be waiting at 14 months. Her favorite game is walking away and having one of us say in a deep low voice, "Brecken!  You better get back here!!"  She squeals, turns and comes running back with a smile so big on that her little eyes squint closed (just like her daddy, which I adore).  Her hair is coming in slowly but surely although it certainly isn't even. She wears size 3 diapers and 12 month clothing.  She's getting used to shoes but certainly prefers nothing. She has the biggest smiles for Taryn in the morning and has recently started to notice Mara.  If Mara is on the ground or in the bouncer she will go over to her, open her mouth wide, stick out her tongue and say "Ahh."  She then bends down and give Mara a big "kiss".  This is repeated several times.  It makes my heart happy.
It is impossible to believe that we're so close to her being a year old.  I don't understand how a year has gone so fast. I'm so excited to see what comes next for Brecken.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas Blessings

Whew!  Here we are already four days into January and I haven't even shared our Christmas time fun.  We are so blessed to have both sides of our family close by which also means there are lots of get-togethers!  I think one of the best parts of starting a family is creating our own traditions and special memories for our kids.  It is important to us to also find time that is just our family to talk about the gift of baby Jesus, share our gifts for each other and enjoy the closing of another year. 

We typically meet with Derek's family on Christmas Eve.  There are lots of grandkids on this side so it is fast-paced and exciting.  Each year we take a picture with grandma and grandpa and all the kiddos. 

Christmas morning with just Derek me and the girls.

Happy first Christmas Brecken!  11 months

Getting the gifts into piles.  

My parents always have hundreds of geese in their backyard.

My sister got B and T adorable little jackets. Taryn asks to wear hers everyday. 


My cousins Jeff and Joni.  At this time last year I was at the end of a pregnancy and she was just starting one.  So crazy what a year can change!  Two little girls on that couch that weren't known yet last year. 
My other cousins Lori and Nate live in Nashville and couldn't come back this year.  This yearly picture is never quite the same without them.  : (  

My little sis and Momma.  

It was a busy, loving, fun-filled Christmas.  While I never really put a ton of thought into a new year, this year seems especially exciting with the unknown of what God will do in our family's life.  We have high hopes of bringing our son home in 2012.  We have dreams of being able to officially bring Mara into our family.  A far-fetched dream but high on our prayer list non-the-less.

I pray that your holidays were full of family and had moments where you were able to slow down and truly think about the amazing gift given to us on that night in Bethlehem.
Welcome 2012!!