Last night at approximately 11:20pm, heaven gained another angel, and he happened to be my Uncle. This morning I broke the news to my husband and Mr. President #1, who surprisingly responded by saying, "Well now he's in heaven with God and Jesus." As a mother, I am constantly explaining concepts to my children, and going over the details with them to make sure they're grasping it all. Nine times out of ten, Mr. President #1 is barely listening to anything I'm saying unless it involves Legos or superheroes, so you can imagine how SHOCKED I was to hear his response. Through all of the after school conversations, Sunday school lessons, and late-night bedtime chats, he was really listening to me! It took me a second to realize what was happening, but it was as if he understood life and death all of a sudden!
I truly believe that a wise parent takes the time to prepare his or her children for the death of a loved one and the assurance of greeting God in heaven for those who know and love him, but I know how challenging this topic can be. Although I still believe this to be very true, my five-year-old has prepared ME, comforted ME, and reassured ME that our loved one is resting in heaven with God the Father right now. What an incredible thing to happen to me today. My mom once told me that God does not work in mysterious ways, but he works in miraculous ways. God uses people of all ages, all walks of life, and at every stage in life, and today, he revealed himself to me through my precious son.
Many people live in fear of death, and really do avoid the subject all together. I do not believe this is the right way to raise a child. The bible tells us that in heaven there are many rooms -- that God has prepared a special place just for each and every one of us. In my home, we are comforted by the fact that when we die, and we breathe our last breath on this earth, we will spend eternity in a place so beautiful we can hardly fathom what it will be like. Mr. President #1, at only five years old, understood that we might be sad to never see Uncle again, but that he is in heaven now and we should rejoice in the fact that he has been relieved of all pain and suffering. The scripture also teaches us to be comforted in the fact that those who believe in Him will live for eternity:
(John 11:25-26) “Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.'”
Consider teaching your children some of these lessons about heaven to better ease their comfort of death and an eternity in heaven:
Will we be happy in heaven:
Tell your children to think about all of the positive and incredible things about life that make them happy, and imagine spending every single day doing those things in heaven. Explain to them that God is the source of all of our joy, and that heaven will be filled with smiles, love, hugs, and laughter.
Will we see mommy and daddy again in heaven:
The scripture teaches us that we will one day be reunited with our loved ones in the kingdom of heaven. We may be far from our earthly bodies, but we will be united with Jesus with full consciousness, speech and recollection. It is important to teach your children that if you go to heaven before they do, you will be watching over them, and one day, you will meet again in paradise.
Will God be scary:
God loves us when we're good and when we're bad. Although He wants us to be like Him, He never stops loving us. In fact, He loved his children so much that He came to earth to rescue them. How could He be scary? It is normal to fear the unseen, but as Christians, we have faith. God loves us more than we can ever love anyone, so there should be comfort in knowing.
Moms and Dads, do your children a favor and prepare them for the death of a loved one sooner rather than later. Don't be discouraged by the fact that your children aren't particularly interested in the "boring" things you say, because just when you think those little ones aren't hearing you, indeed they are listening to every word. Eternity is a long time, but I'd rather spend it in paradise than in hell. Rest in heaven, Uncle Earl. Through my son, God said it, and I know it to be true: you are resting in heaven. God has prepared a special place for you, and your grandson said it best: you've got a SUPER DUPER pair of XXL wings made especially for you. Until we meet again...