One year ago today God called to His side the daughter of our dear friends. An entire year that those we love have not felt her tiny body in their arms. Her smell is lost. Her voice is a memory heard on videos. But she is not gone from our hearts. So much remains of sweet Paxten, that I treasure carrying each day. The lessons learned about prayer. The reminder that glory does not come without suffering. And, the added anticipation for those of us eagerly awaiting a world promised that is so much better than what we live now. Oh, what longing I have to join sweet Paxten in heaven.
In my Bible reading the other day I read this:
"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:1-10Paxten has spent a year 'clothed in her heavenly dwelling'. She is 'away from the body and at home with the Lord'. We are left here to "groan and be burdened'. We long for the perfection that will be ours when we put on the glorious spiritual body and we do live by faith, not by sight. I believe in a God that loves to surprise his children. He delights in giving us more than we could ever imagine. Heaven is one of those things. I think that is part of the reason he gives so few clues in his Word. What joy He must take in ushering in each one of His children into this clothing of heavenly dwelling!
Oh Paxten, if I could tell you what this year has been I would tell you about your mommy. A woman so full of beauty and grace. Your mommy is so strong Paxten. And her strength isn't seen in a having it 'all-together' or in lack of weakness. It is seen in how she handles those moments of weakness. She seeks the Lord with all her heart. She wants to know the man whose hand you hold. She has a depth of faith and a spirit of wisdom brought on by deep hurt and surviving every mommy's worst fear. You got your fight from her, dear Paxten. She fights for her family. She fights for her God. You get to rest in the lap of Jesus each day and one day soon you'll get to lead your mommy by the hand to meet Jesus too.
I would tell you about your daddy. Paxten, you should see your daddy! A man who has endured more than should be asked of any man. To face the fears of not being able to protect his precious girl. But, with God's hand, I think he's beginning to see that he did protect you, in the only way any daddy can. By showing you Him. By striving to provide a home that loves and reflects Jesus. He let himself become open to not knowing all the answers. Your daddy knows that the truest gift of love that he can give you now is to seek Jesus wholeheartedly so that he will one day be reunited with you. You can be so proud of your daddy. He's fighting demons that satan is sending and he's brave, Paxten. He's coming to you.
And, Izzie! You're a sister Paxten and, oh my, is she perfection. A tiny bundle of hope and healing, future and joy. She gives us glimpses at you and a chance to relive your time here. To celebrate your sisterly similarities and to learn about your differences. What a gift she has in you. A big sister who embraced life with no fears in making her preferences known. Don't worry, sweet girl, we'll introduce her to Nutella and Cheetos. She'll watch Super Why and Backyardigans with mommy and do push-ups with daddy. She'll be crazy good at the ipad and be the worlds cutest cow and monkey on Halloween. We'll teach her to shriek at the top of her lungs and to make everyone who looks at her smile. We'll let her stand naked in the backyard sprinkler and run outside to watch the train each time we hear the whistle. Izzie will forever be changed because you came before her.
We miss you Paxten. We're sad for us. We wonder what you would look like, sound like, act like and we long to see you hold your baby sister. A year can be so long and so fast in the same moment. In the light of eternity it is but a blink. I pray the blinks continue so that we can all join you soon. We live by faith and not by sight.
And we're coming to you.