{Book Review} Heaven is for Real

June 5, 2012

Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn VincentI was six months pregnant with Jack when suddenly his heartbeat could no longer be heard. One month shy of the fourth anniversary of losing my sweet boy, I sent out a request for donations in his honor to be made to Hand to Hold. A week before the dreaded anniversary, a package arrived from my grandmother and namesake.

It reminded me of my first Valentine’s Day in college when a care package arrived. It, too, was from Granny Garrett (as she is affectionately known to 24 grandkids and great-grandkids.) I opened the package to reveal the book Heaven is for Real described as the real-life account of a young boy, Colton, who emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to Heaven.

I really don’t want to mention specifics about the book because I hope you will experience it the way I did, but I’d like to tell you how it has impacted my life. Jack would have turned 4 last June ~ the same age as the little boy who had the near-death experience.

As you would expect by the reference to Heaven in the title, this story requires some faith on your part. But what altered my life was the way that this book filled gaps of the unknown that were causing my heart such agony.

baby memorial service photo

Jack’s twin sister at a baby memorial

For four years, I asked God to comfort my sweet baby boy and tell him how much he is loved and missed. My arms ached to hold him but I told myself that he was in a “better place.” The moment I finished Heaven is for Real, I realized that Jack is the one who is probably worried about us. He is absolutely fine. He is in Heaven! And not just a “happy place,” but one that I can now see in great detail. And although the Bible is not explicit about children in Heaven, I now trust that “Jesus really, REALLY loves the children” (to steal a quote repeated by little Colton many, many times in the book.)

Having been purchased by more than 4.5 million readers, I hope you will note that you do not need to have suffered a loss to benefit from reading this book. In my opinion, it is a tremendous supplement for your journey in faith that replaces “Palestine” with “Nebraska” and prophets with a cute little boy named Colton.

On the June 5th anniversary last year, I shed no tears for Jack. Thoughts of him simply brought a smile to my face. We will be together again one day. The peace that I now have cannot easily be described. Thank you, Colton Burpo (and Granny Garrett), for giving me this gift. And thank you Todd Burpo for sharing your son’s gift with the world.