True warriors are those who choose to fight the battle they’re in well.
Not all good warriors are victorious.
Paxton Keith Spence, however was. Even though he didn’t survive his battle.
Paxton was born June 22, about eighteen weeks premature. He weighed one pound, six ounces but lost three ounces his first few days.
From the beginning, he proved himself a brave fighter.
Not quite twenty-three weeks old, the doctors didn’t give him any chance of survival. His parents, Molly and Evan, had to intercede on his behalf. They were focused and fiercely supportive. A combat pilot and an ICU nurse. They knew how to go to bat for their boy.
Jesus did, too.
Paxton had many things to deal with. His GI system and lungs hadn’t been fully developed. There was concern he might have a brain hemorrhage. A hole in his heart. A tiny and fragile boy with big challenges.
Day after day, he fought hard. He made great strides some days, and others were full of difficult setbacks.
He didn’t quit.
Neither did his parents. Or grandparents–Linda and Keith, Aimee and Todd.
They mobilized prayer warriors all over the world. Folks who would intercede before the throne of God on behalf of this little warrior who baffled the medical world with his persistence.
As time wore on and Paxton continued to grow, many began to hope he’d beat all odds and live. Grow to maturity and tell his story.
By day fifty, his condition worsened. The surgery to close the hole in his heart had to be postponed because of a multitude of blood clots in his body. They moved him to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Fifty-four days after entering the world, Paxton left it to arrive in heaven, safely in the arms of Jesus.
Molly and Evan shared their grief and hope with family and friends:
“The loss of our son was accompanied by intense suffering, but the hope and joy we take from the promises in the Bible yield greater relief…We feel only in Christ could the most painful experience of our lives simultaneously be the greatest.”
How can losing a child bring such grief and gratitude?
Because of the gift of Jesus on the cross, Molly and Evan know there will be a reunion in heaven, with no more tears or pain. Paxton will be whole and well.
Fifty-four days doesn’t sound like much. In light of eternity, it’s less than a blip. But this little warrior impacted lives all over the world. He lived. Refused to quit. Gave his family the chance to know him even though he never uttered a word.
Paxton was tiny at birth but a complete person. His life mattered. Not because of what he was able to contribute to his family or what expectations he’d lived up to.
It mattered because he, made in God’s image, was also God’s gift.
Life is often taken for granted. We lose the value of people when we evaluate them based on quality of life or their contribution to society.
There’s a part of Paxton in all of us. Not fully formed or developed in who we could be. Not our best.
But valued. By God.
It gives me courage to be a warrior.