Friday 24th February 2017,
Inspired Girl by Jennifer Tuma-Young

Why I Have to Believe There’s a Heaven…

table heaven

I was raised in a Catholic church, and like many of you, was taught that there is a heaven and a hell – our life here on earth would ultimately determine our final resting place. I remember as a child being a bit overwhelmed by this thought and wanted to obey every single rule in order to make it in to the golden gates, the club of saints, and avoid the fiery alternative. At one point, I recall thinking the lessons on purgatory were not all that bad — I could sit for awhile and reflect until I paid enough time to get my wings up — I didn’t quite really understand any of it.

Every few months in CCD we would have to go to confess our “sins” to the priest. I remember one time the nun described the process saying we needed to tell Father John at least 3 sins. I was 8 years old, and other than the white lie I told my teacher about what really happened at recess, I didn’t have much to confess. So I made up sin #2 and confessed I just lied to a priest and sin #2 never happened as sin #3.

Confused, Father John asked me why I would do such a thing so confession #4 became me explaining what the nun told us about a minimum number of sins and I only had 1 to confess…oh his sigh through the screen {because I knew I’d be lying, I could not choose face-to-face that day like I usually did.} was loud and it stung my second grade soul…feeling like such a foolish girl, I beat myself up with too many Nilla Wafers for weeks afterwards.

As I got older and into reading philosophy and listening to Indigo Girls, I really wasn’t sure what to believe. Everyone I studied seemed to have a point. And the seeker in me, the ponderer in me just questioned questioned questioned all of it. Figuring out which path to follow felt like more work than earning a college degree, and way way more confusing. Without a “real anchor” at that time, my soul was swept in many different directions depending on which way the wind blew that day.

One thing that I always had {with many thanks to my parents instilling strong values into me} was a lot of faith in something ~ something greater than me, something more, something deeper. After years of back and forth, questioning, researching, seeking…one day while my baby Lu slept in her crib, I, silently weeping near her, was swept up and enveloped by what I can only call the Holy Spirit, and it was in that moment that I felt a peace wash over me. I found my anchor, or more likely my anchor found His way to me.

While that is just the beginning, and although I was saved in a sense, my trials continue daily from small to greater, and yes, being human I fall short and my anchor can swerve…I’ve already probably gone over my allotment of words for a blog post, so I should just get to the point already, because even that experience isn’t why I have to believe in heaven.

My head is like popcorn, with all the reasons, but I will just start with this…I remember the day of the Sandy Hook tragedy ~ my heart cracked wide open, broke, shattered as I envisioned these children, angels, innocent, and their families…and the world mourning the loss of lives taken all too soon for anyone’s comprehension. This is but one, as there are many widely known horrific events such as this, and millions more personal {lesser known, perhaps less horrific, but none less painful} experiences every human being on earth has endured ~ we have all gone through something we just can’t understand, and walk in the pain unbeknownst to most of the world around us ~ perhaps the person sitting next to you in class, or your neighbor, or your friend at work…for this, I know the Great Deliverer is holding all of our tears in His hand and we will all reunite in spirit one day.

Last September, I met a woman, Kelly, a strong warrior whose daughter Mya “earned her wings” far too soon, but for all the pain Mya endured here, all the pain still left behind in her passing over, with every fiber of my being, I know she is also in heaven.

God promises beauty for ashes, we never want to sacrifice it willingly, what human being could? But, if it is to be, the gift will come as He promised, and Mya’s life eternal is filled with peace, love, and happiness as I heard she signed her name here on earth.

I know it may be easier not to speak of these experiences often in fear of bringing up a wound ~ our own or someone else’s, but when the pain is heavy, the wounds are still there whether we speak of them or not, whether we block them out or cover them up with cookies or casual conversation, and even if we heal or release the hurt to God, it may just be something that makes us the beautifully scarred imperfect people that we are…more compassionate, more understanding, more aware of time, and how quickly one unplanned moment can change the course of how we pictured our life to be here on earth.

For these experiences, I have to believe there is a beautiful place, and all the heartache in its rippling effects of a life passing on earth will be swept away upon the reunion of souls one day.

The stories are many that convince me there is a heaven, whether they are of an earthly life ending far too soon according to my human calculations, or an earthly life full of His spirit….I have two angels of my own who have taught me so much about our essence, who we are born to be, who really is the creator of life ~ my LuLu and Little Man. Yes, they are children and they have their moments, but their view of this world and experiencing it all through them and with them is nothing short of miraculous.

And many strangers have shown me, even when they don’t realize it, not in the “glamorous, look at me and how spiritual I am” way, but in the real, raw, life-giving way. I recall spending time at Camp Oakhurst and literally seeing a camp counselor be His hands and feet as she brushed a stranger’s teeth, washed her head to toe, changed her clothes, and took such loving care of a woman she just met days before.

I had to approach the camp counselor and tell her the feeling I had, she was an angel heaven sent as was the woman she was serving…tears fell and continue to fall as I recall this all, and recognize how real heaven is as He walks amongst us, and I {sometimes feeling like an outsider just watching} know I could do more, be more, live more like Him, and that has nothing to do with “making it into a club”, but living a life so full of grace that the fruits of the spirit are plenty, and draw others closer to Him as so many angels have done for me…

No argument, no research, no time spent {or not} in a confession booth, no one can change how I feel about this. I know this for sure, and have to believe there is a Heaven.

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About The Author

writer. speaker. dreamer. foodie. late night blogger. wife. mother. believer. Founder of Inspirista Lifestyle Design + Co-Founder of The Domesticated Dad + Author of Balance Book & Little Miss Negative...

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