I believe in heaven. I have been a born again Christian since I was very young – age 5 to be exact. I have grown up going to church and learning about the things of God. That has always been a huge part of my life – those are beliefs that define who I am. So all along I would have told you at the drop of a hat that I believed in Heaven, that it is the place where God dwells and where Christians go when they die. It was where my baby sister Katelyn went when she died of SIDS at ten days old. But now I know that it was not until two years ago that I really believed in Heaven.
It was not until the middle of the night, March 7th, when my parents came and woke my sister and me up and told us that Libby, my older sister’s dearest friend, a girl that our whole family adored and thought of as a sister and adopted daughter, was killed in an accident late that night. If you had known Libby you would understand the grief and incredible loss we felt creeping in around us as we sat on my parent’s bed weeping for her. She was a beautiful girl of twenty-one whose sparkling brown eyes, rosy cheeks, infectious laugh and sweet spirit made it impossible not to love her the minute you met her.
That night I tried with all my might not to let my mind picture her lifeless body, thrown from the car, lying dismantled on the pavement – her body no longer able to sustain the 7 month old baby still inside of her.
I wanted to remember her the way I had seen her earlier that morning at church. She exuded all the joy and loveliness of an expectant mother. She wore her dark, beautiful, chocolate brown hair down around her shoulders, and had on a light pink shirt, snug around her seven-month pregnant belly. I could see the sparkle in her eyes and hear her laugh. She was so alive.
Time stood still as the four of us sat on the bed with an oppressive sadness hanging about us. And then, after a while, my sister’s expression changed to what resembled a smile as she said, “Libby’s in Heaven right now.” I felt a peace settle over me that was almost as powerful as the grief that had oppressed me just moments earlier. I saw Libby, no longer dead and lifeless on the pavement, but more alive than ever. She was in Heaven rejoicing before her Savior Jesus Christ.
It is now that I have felt the sting of the death of someone that I love dearly that Heaven is real to me. I think about Libby and I know that she is not lost to us forever. I will see her again soon. Christ has defeated death, and that is why I believe in Heaven.
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