Archive for the ‘heaven’ Category

This is another post from a few years back that gets requested often:

EmptyPlaceTableI’ve written about it before, the dull ache that grips my heart right before Thanksgiving and doesn’t let up until January 1.  There’s something about the holidays that accentuates grief and loss.

Some years are better than others.  Ramona Glory’s presence ushers in profound joy, but even little sweet pea can’t fill the empty place at the table.

And she wasn’t meant to . . .

I’ve come to embrace the ache as a gift; to see the empty spot as a reminder that we are truly just pilgrims passing through.  Jonah’s place will remain vacant until we are all gathered together at the Lamb’s wedding feast.

My heart goes out to those who will face those empty places for the first time this year.  The gatherings, the traditions, the music, the gifts . . . will all feel like nails in the coffin of the loved ones lost.  The wild grief eventually subsides, the weeping stops . . . but the ache will remain until our pilgrimage ends.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Rev. 21:4


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better worlds to come

It was 23 years ago, about a year-and-a-half after our accident, that I got my first real glimpse of heaven . . .

It was a dreary winter day, typical for Sacramento, fog-shrouded and bone-aching cold. I’d snuggled down into my favorite rocking chair to nurse Candyce and read my Bible during the few moments of quiet while the older girls napped.

My Bible was still opened to 2 Corinthians, where I’d left off in my reading. I tried to dive into chapter four, but my heart just wasn’t in it that day. I’d been struggling with depression, probably a mixture of post-partum depression and plain old grief, and I ached for some comfort that even the squirming little bundle in my arms could not provide.

I missed Jonah desperately . . . I missed the smell of his soft, tanned skin when he’d run in from the backyard on a summer afternoon. I missed his sweet lilting voice (Jonah always spoke in third person: “Jonah want a drink!”) and his gorgeous blue eyes that always seemed to look far beyond me–kind of like he knew this world was not his real home.

(In fact, I wrote a song for him when he was still very young, that was strangely prophetic about his short time on earth. Part of the chorus went:
“The world can be a cruel place, when you hear a diff’rent drum–
But Jonah, there are better worlds to come.”)
The year-and-a-half since our accident had brought a lot of healing–and a new baby–into our lives, but today I just ached. Body, soul and spirit. And while I didn’t really feel motivated to dig into the Word that day, I knew that it was the only true source of comfort I’d find.

My brain felt foggy as I slogged through the first part of the chapter. When I got to verse 18, however, the fog lifted and the light of truth broke in. As the words penetrated my mind and settled into my heart, the Lord gave me a brief foretaste of heaven.:

” . . . we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporary; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

I didn’t actually see heaven, like the folks who’ve died and are heading toward the light, but God opened the eyes of my heart. As if the veil that separates heaven and earth had been temporarily rent, I could “see” Jonah, the light of eternity glistening on his golden hair as he grinned at me, and I knew that he was more real–more alive–than the baby I held in my arms! In that moment, the Father assured me that even though I’d never hold Jonah in my arms again on this planet, I would enjoy him forever in heaven.

And that changed everything for me . . .

The things that are not seen are eternal! This world is just a shadow of what’s to come–Heaven is our real home, and such a glorious homecoming awaits! To this day, I can’t sing songs about heaven without weeping. Not from sadness or heartache (although that used to be the case), but from good, old-fashioned homesickness.

Not sure what prompted me to write about this subject, but the promise of better worlds to come comforts me as much today as it did then.
And I pray it will comfort you.

For now, we see through a glass dimly, but then, we shall see Him face to face . . .

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(This is a post I wrote two years ago, and it gets more hits than any other blog I’ve written. Desperate people around the world google words like “what will Christmas be like for my child in heaven?” and other poignant phrases, trying to get a glimpse of eternity. Please know that if you’ve stumbled upon my blog in a search for comfort and hope, I am praying for you! I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me: salyne@hotmail.com)

Christmas is a bittersweet time for me. To be perfectly honest, a mild depression sets in right after Thanksgiving and doesn’t let up until the Christmas decorations are safely packed away until next December. I’m not the Grinch . . . I just really miss my son this time of year.
Jonah was born on December 6, 1984. This may sound cheesy, but I couldn’t help thinking about Mary and her newborn son as I nursed my baby boy in the glow of the Christmas tree lights that first year. All the Christmas carols about the infant Jesus held new meaning for me as I tenderly cradled my first born child.

Four Christmases later, I sat in the same rocking chair, mourning the loss of my son. Jonah had been killed in a car accident in late August. My body had pretty much healed from the injuries I’d suffered, but my heart was still hopelessly shattered. In my head, I knew that Jonah was with Jesus, perfect and whole and happy. He wasn’t autistic anymore. But my heart ached because my arms would never hold him again–not on this planet, anyway.
Greg and I numbly went through the motions of getting a Christmas tree and decorating the house that December. We baked cookies and bought presents. But it all seemed so hollow, so pointless that year. I found it difficult to celebrate the birth of Jesus as I deeply grieved for my first born son.
My manger was empty . . .
I think it was during this dark period of my life when I began to write. Paper and pen became my therapist, a channel for my soul to wrestle with its loss. One night, when the pain had become unbearable, I tried to imagine what Jonah was doing–how he was celebrating Christmas in his new home. This poem emerged as I tried to capture my imagination in words:

What’s Christmas like in heaven?
Will you hear the angels sing
Of Jesus birth–how He came to earth
As a helpless infant King?

What’s Christmas like in heaven?
Will He let you touch the star?
That shone so bright, with heavenly light
and led wise men from afar?

What’s Christmas like in heaven?
Will the wonder ever cease?
To see Him as He really is–
To know, at last, His peace?

As I visualized Jonah, sitting on Jesus’ lap and hearing Him tell the Christmas story, I was comforted somehow. I was given a new perspective–the joy of celebrating Christmas in the very presence of Christ–and it gave me a peace that quieted my heart. And got me through that first Christmas without him . . .
Twenty-two Christmases have come and gone since Jonah died, and that thought comforts me still.

To see Him as He really is–and know, at last, His peace . . .

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