Welcome back! If you were with us last week, we discussed wild white-water rafting, including Dr. Mary Neal’s frightening kayak accident. It includes an astonishing trip to Heaven and back, a faith journey you do not want to miss. (See Part One…)
Her book? To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story. (You’ll also see, at the end of this post, more fascinating books on Heaven, one of which is being made into a movie!)
This week we’ll wrap up with a peek into Mary’s encounters and conversations with Angels. They are all full of hope!
Mary realized “Angels often expose us to, or push us into, a situation that will force our redirection…The acceptance that change rarely comes without difficulty and challenge can truly free a person to ‘rejoice always.’ It also allows us to live daily with a grateful heart and ‘give thanks in all circumstances.”
One favorite point Mary makes is three-fold:
“No matter what the circumstances, we can be grateful that:
1 – God fulfills His promises,
2 – That our Faith is sufficient to sustain us, and
3 – That our eternal life is assured.” More hope!
Ten years following Mary’s recovery, unbelievably, her family suffered another tragedy. Mary and Bill’s oldest son, Willie, was killed in a skiing accident. The Scripture Mary uses in the beginning of the Chapter, “The Longest Day of the Year”, (Willie died on June 21st) is Matthew 28:20 “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Mary and her family’s source of comfort and strength came from the Lord and His presence. Willie’s legacy, by God’s grace, lives on. (You can learn more about Willie from Mary’s website: www.DrMaryNeal.com or from Willie’s website: www.wnealenvirofund.org )
Mary tells us while writing this book, she was “freshly filled with the remembrance and acknowledgement of God’s continuing and active presence in my life, His absolute grace, His pure love, and His promises for the future.” MORE precious hope!
When her family was filled with despair over Willie, Mary said, “I did believe that God, if asked, would not only carry us, but also would protect our souls during this emotionally vulnerable time.”
Mary’s conclusions in the book about her accident and Willie’s death are beautiful. Especially if you’ve lost loved ones, you don’t want to miss the divinely appointed details.
The last Scripture Mary gifts us with is: Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is being sure of what we hoped for and certain of what we do not see.” Martin Luther King, Jr. “translated this into the world of action when he stated: ‘Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.’”
Mary adds, “It is this faith that sets us free. It allows us to fully embrace life, dissolves fear, and replaces worry with hope. Faith allows us to confidently walk with God into a future filled with joy; one that can become an extraordinary and amazing adventure.”
Mary’s closing words are words to live by:
“God created us, knows us, loves us, and guides us. With love and grace, He commands us to:
– Rejoice in this knowledge always.
– Live a life of prayer, giving glory to God and continually listening for His guidance.
– Life a life of gratitude, giving thanks in all circumstances.”
A helpful resource for these commands is Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.
Let’s pray we all embrace our next adventure awaiting us….
Keep the hope!
‘Til next time!
Footnote: If you’re intrigued by books on Heaven as many of us are, two others will broaden your perspective.
90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life by Don Piper
All three of these are page-turners.
Fun fact: Heaven is for Real is being made into a movie and is due to be released right before Easter, on April 16th, 2014. Watch this trailer and watch the hair on the back of your neck stand up!!!