Her Discussion of Heaven Is For Real
06 Sep, 2012
Every Thursday, Leslie, Jen and I like to give you a view into our lives and our conversations. Some get heated, others not so much. Today we are discussing the book, Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo. If you aren’t familiar with the book, here is the interview with the Burpo family on Today. The story involves a family from Imperial Nebraska whose son ended up in surgery and went to heaven. You can also read a review from the NY Times.
Leslie, Jen and I also express our condolences, as well as prayers to those who were involved in the Blue Hill bus accident.
“Mommy, baby Gumball in heaven now,” Tori states in the midst of playing with her play dough. As she squeezes the colors between her fingers, she tilts her head, concentrating but never looking at me.
“Uhuh, Alex is in heaven.” I reply wondering what else she is thinking. When we first learned I was pregnant, the baby had been the size of a gumball and the size of the baby became her name. She is three and lately she has been asking tons of questions about death, life, heaven and our belief in Jesus.
I don’t believe in coincidence, nor do I believe in fate. A couple of months before I became pregnant with our fourth baby, I read the book. When Colton is in Heaven, he gets to meet his ‘big’ sister who their mother had miscarried.
I had always wondered when a baby was a baby. Was it at conception? If so when does it get a soul and spirit besides bones and marrow?
As the story goes, we were shocked and astounded to learn I was pregnant. But with PCOS and other issues, I miscarried. (Heather’s miscarriage). Had I not read the book, I don’t think I would have made it through as well as I did. Had I not read the story to my kids, I question how they would have handled the news that the baby in mommy’s tummy died.
Shortly after my miscarriage, I had lunch with Todd Burpo. While we talked about the ins and outs of the publishing world, I asked him how he was able to believe in his son’s story. I asked him how why it took so long to write it.
How can a child know the details of God’s throne. How could he have known where I was praying? We hold the Bible as our truth, and sometimes faith is harder to have because we can’t see it.
Will I continue to teach my kids about heaven and Jesus?
Yes. How can I not? We’ve taught them that Jesus loves children and it takes the belief in him to go there someday.
We firmly and solely believe in the Bible. And I have been a scholar of the Bible for the last eight years, studying the root words in Hebrew and Greek. As we read the account of Heaven is For Real, there were too many similarities to not take it as truth.
It’s stories like Colton’s that make faith tangible and the Blue Hill bus accident bearable. It’s never easy taking the news of a life cut short.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
I’m writing this on Wednesday evening. Just hours ago I heard of a semi/school bus accident in my hometown of Blue Hill, NE. Multiple fatalities; so many lives affected by this tragedy.
And I’m left asking why.
Why does this happen. Better yet, why does God let this happen? So many killed – including children.
And then I’m left with no answer. No answer.
Instead, I have to turn to faith. I don’t wear my faith on my sleeve like Heather. But it’s strong, very strong. I have learned in times like this, it’s the only thing we can lean on.
And it helps ~ just a little ~ to know those people are in Heaven.
I just don’t doubt it. I can’t doubt it.
I read Heaven is for Real in one afternoon. I had moments where I questioned what was being said. I think that’s only natural. I wondered whether this little boy just had a big imagination. After all, his father is a pastor and he’s a little boy.
But I wanted to believe it. I wanted to believe it like so many other human beings on this earth who also purchased the book.
We want to believe there is something else out there. Even if you are skeptical, a part of you has to wonder.
I would rather hear accounts from dear friends like Tiff who writes for Her View From Home. She has shared moments with me that give me chills. Moments, where she was sure God was there.
And I believe her. I believe her because I’ve been there, too.
I pray the families affected by this tragedy can find peace. I pray they believe in Heaven…
What else can a person do in your darkest hour except believe? It’s all I know.
Why I have not read this book.
Okay – just a minute. Hear me out.
Heather brought this book up awhile ago. I thought it would make a great discussion. And I planned to read it. But I could never get myself to the library to actually get the book.
This afternoon I began to question myself.
Am I agnostic? Do I not believe in Heaven? Why in the world haven’t I read this book?
Things in it have caught my attention:
-The little boy speaks of his unborn sister. She doesn’t have a name because the family didn’t name her on Earth.
**That speaks to me because I have had a miscarriage. I did not name my unborn child. Hmmm…
-The little boy speaks of “Pop” a dead grandpa he never met. Pop is in a young body and has wings and a light above his head.
**That speaks to me because my grandpa just died earlier this year.
-The little boy matched Jesus’ face to that drawn by another who claims to have been in Heaven.
**I always find things like these interesting. Even when folks find the face of Jesus on everything from mildew stains to cow pies to chicken nuggets.
-The family is FROM Nebraska.
**I always find connections to our great state interesting.
-It is controversial.
**I love being in the mix on controversy.
Yet, I haven’t read the book.
It took a conversation with my mom to actually answer the question: My faith.
I was raised in church that taught me that I am saved by grace. As a result, I was raised with faith. God speaks to me through the kindness of others. I believe there is a Heaven. I don’t doubt it. I also don’t need this book to confirm or deny it for me.
Whether there are golden paved streets or whether grandpa has a fresh, young body with wings… well, those are all just details. I don’t really care if the details in this book are made up by a little boy’s imagination or if they are the word of God. I already believe and the details don’t matter to me.
I’m happy the book is out there.
I’m glad this experience has touched the boy and his family.
I’m happy it speaks to thousands (if not millions) of other people.
I’m also happy those mildew stains, cow pies and chicken nuggets speak to some people. God works in mysterious ways. I hope that each time someone is moved by this book (or a mildew stain) they are compelled to live a little bit more like Christ lived.
Don’t worry too much about the details. One day we will all find out exactly what happens when we die. Until then, be kind to others and always take a little time to hear them out.
PS – My heart also goes out to the families involved in the Blue Hill Bus Crash. Thoughts and prayers.
What do you think about the book? Please share your thoughts! Remember to speak from your own experience and accept that others may have a different point of view.