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!


  1. you are SO is very difficult to pray for God's will. i struggle with it daily, just praying for my own child, so i cannot imagine what it must be like for blake, libby and all of their closest friends and family.

    brandon and i will continue to lift this family up in our prayers.

    "for we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin. let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
    hevrews 4: 15-16

  2. Thank you for helping to clarify what I have also been struggling with...what an amazing post. Continuing, as always, to pray for Paxten.