I've been excited to post this for a while. Today I want to share with you some books and blogs that have been a wonderful source of encouragement to me over the last few weeks since Zac's graduation. I am so thankful for those who have had the courage to share so openly about their journey and the pearls of wisdom that God has given to them through their experiences.
A few days after Zac passed, while I was still in absolute shock and just immersed in the pain of loss, a bloggy friend told me about this book that she had read that helped her so much after her precious 3 year old daughter became a Heavenly citizen :0) It is written by the parents of a 19 year old young man who passed away suddenly in an accident. It was such an encouragement to open my eyes to a more Heavenly perspective. These parents have such a real picture of where there son is and how Josiah is fulfilling his ultimate calling. The book is called "Have Heart" by Steve & Sarah Berger. They pastor a church in the US and have such a passion to minister to those who have loved ones who have gone to their Heavenly home. One thing that really shone out for me is how they negotiated moving past the "why" into rather choosing "what are you going to do through the circumstance?". In doing so, many have come to know the heart of the Saviour.
Another book that really helped us was reading our daughters Colton's story from the Book "Heaven is for Real" written by his dad, Todd Burpo. It became such a sweet family time for us to read it in the evenings together. All of a sudden Heaven has become so real to them. It brought such peace to watch them grasp a beautiful revelation that their little brother is very much alive and living in fullness in Heaven. We absolutely loved this book.
On a day that I was feeling particularly low, I was surprised to find a little parcel in my post box. Oh how I LOVE surprises!!! (I was always the kid who chose the 'lucky packet' because the suspense of finding out what was hidden inside far outweighed the cheap, nasty sweets that went with the 'surprise'! hee hee). My precious friend Adeye had sent me a book that has become an absolute treasure to me. The book is called "I will carry you" by Angie Smith. Angie walked through a similar story of being told midway through her pregnancy that her precious little baby girl, Audrey Caroline, was "incompatible with life" - the worst words any parent could ever hear! She opens up completely about how her, her husband and 3 other daughters walked through this journey. God graciously gave them precious hours with Audrey before she entered glory. Angie's testimony has ministered so deeply to me. I have subsequently spent hours reading through her blog, going back to her earliest posts on how she negotiated her walk through grief. Her blog, Bring the Rain is permeated with the presence of Jesus. To any mom who has little ones in Heaven, I highly recommend her book and blog! I just LOVE her honest heart. The Lord has recently blessed them with their 5th daughter ... beautiful Charlotte (I love that name - it is my precious Granny's name).
The most recent book I just finished reading was originally written in the 1800's by a 25 year old woman called Marietta. At the age of 25 she was caught up in a vision which lasted for 9 days. Her body lay unconscious during those 9 days, and suddenly woke up with full function when the Lord sent her back with an urgency to record what she had witnessed. She herself, went home to be with the Lord a few months later in the very way and at the exact time that the Lord told her she would. She wrote the book just after her vision, and it has been handed down from generation to generation since, but the difficult language (having being written 150 years earlier) made it difficult to understand. A couple called Dennis & Nolene Prince were so impacted by this book which was given to them after having lost a 4 month baby, followed by a stillborn baby girl 17 months later. God used Marietta's story to bring such healing to their hearts as God graciously showed Marrietta amazing details about babies in Heaven who had died in the womb or after birth. She has a whole chapter dedicated on what the Lord showed her about babies in Heaven. They were so impacted by her book that they took 3 years to rewrite her original book into language that the everyday person can understand, keeping it as much as possible to the original text. It has been a healing balm to my heart and is a book that I will re-read time and time again. It has also given me such an eternal perspective of Heaven and Hell and a renewed passion and urgency for the lost to be found in God's love.
Another blog that I happened to bump into (thank you Jesus) a month or so ago is written by Kirsten Petermann called "Team Ewan". Last year she and her hubby also watched her 2 week old baby boy enter Glory, after bravely enduring a heart defect. I am so grateful that she decided to write about her journey so honestly. There is so much that she has shared that I can really relate to. Her and her hubby are getting ready to welcome Ewan's little sister into this world soon. It is so precious to see the Almighty's hand of healing and restoration over their lives as a family. They are a testimony to me of how God walks closely to the broken hearted.
There are many more books and blogs that I would like to continue to share which I will save for another post soon. I do however want to give a shout out to a friend I met via my blog and facebook who has been an incredible encouragement to me. Debbi and her hubby live in Cape Town and also have a precious son, Nathan, in Heaven whom I'm quite sure has become a good friend of Zac. Her and her hubby have used their story to encourage many people who have walked this painful road of infant loss to offer hope and encouragement through their foundation called "Live in Hope Foundation". I am so blessed by their hearts of compassion. They are allowing their story to bring wholeness and hope to many others. Debbi, if you happen to read this, thank you for all the encouraging messages you have sent me this year.
Sending each of you much love today. My heart is so overwhelmed at how many of you have walked with me and encouraged us as a family this year. How I wish I could squeeze all of you into my house for a cup of tea and give each of you a HUGE big hug for the prayers, support and encouragement you have sent my way.
All my love as always xxx