My sweet daughter was just four-years-old when she first inquired about death.
“Mommy, I’m scared of Heaven. I don’t want to be dead and live anywhere without you and Daddy. ”
Quietly exhaling, I sat still with her on my lap. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I kissed her worried, wrinkled, forehead and said, “Oh Darling, Heaven is the most wonderful place.”
We had discussed Heaven and death a few times already that week after we discovered Sprinkles, her beloved Beta fish floating lifelessly in his little tank. However, each question I answered seemed to have left her more unsettled. Four-year-olds want answers that mesh with their immediate realities. My daughter could not clearly fathom the time differences between “next month” and “next year.” She could not imagine life without her family. She only knew what it was like to be a toddler and that was her yardstick for measuring the future.
“But what kind of skin will I have when I get there?”
Oh boy, she goes straight for the unknowns, I thought. Why couldn’t she ask me about the streets?
“Well, I am not sure. God will give you a new and wonderful body.”
Her frown deepened.
“I don’t want a new body. I want to keep this body that God already made me in. I love it. It is so beautiful.”
Smiling at her precious innocence and admiration for God’s artistry, I kissed her again, and as I did, I noticed a bandage on her foot.
“Well, your new body will be even more beautiful and it won’t get any boo boos on it ever.
The corner of her mouth rose slightly.
“That is a very good thing. But I’m still not sure I want to go there. Will you go with me?”
“No one knows when they are going to go to Heaven, but I promise you that I will be there someday.”
“I just really like living here in this beautiful world,” she continued.
“We do live in a beautiful world. God made it so. But people made it messy in some ways, by doing some ugly things. Heaven, will be perfect. There won’t be any mean people in Heaven. No monsters. No scary spiders or snakes. In fact, when you get to Heaven, I bet Jesus will let you pet a real lion. And the lion won’t even bite you because only gentle, friendly lions live in Heaven.”
The face of my animal-loving girl gleamed.
“Wow! That will be really wonderful. Can I run with the Cheetah’s too? Cheetah’s are my favorite”
“I think you will. And if so, can I run with you?”
“Do you know what else is great about Heaven? You’ll be able to meet people that lived on Earth before you were born, like my MemMem, and Jesus’ mommy.”
Suddenly, my marathon talker was silent, her smile radiant.
“And do you want to know the very best part about Heaven? It’s that you get to hug Jesus.”
“Ohhhh, mommy. That is going to be so wonderful!”
Then her smile wavered. I bit my lip and thought, I cannot possibly top hugging Jesus. What on earth is bothering her now?
“I don’t have to die and go to Heaven now….right Mommy? It will be a long time when I go to be with Jesus right?”
“I think so sweetie.” Oh Lord, let it be so, please let it be so. “But whenever you get there, I promise you that you will not feel sad for one second. You will be very safe. All you will feel is love.”
I hugged her tight and traced my index finger around her tiny freckle, and I kissed her again. And then I felt a tender sensation in my soul. I cannot imagine Heaven being more beautiful than a moment like the one I just described between my daughter and I. But it will be. Wow. One day, my daughter and I will pet a lion, right after we give Jesus a big bear hug.
Isaiah 11:6-9 The Message
The wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard sleep with the kid. Calf and lion will eat from the same trough, and a little child will tend them. Cow and bear will graze the same pasture, their calves and cubs grow up together, and the lion eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens, the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent. Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain. The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.
By Angela, Becoming MeLeave a Comment
Wow, and wow. Beautifully written. Beautifully said. And so incredible (and you’re so right!) that it will be even more beautiful than we can possibly imagine.
What an amazing moment between you, your daughter, and Christ. Thank you for sharing it with us.
I had a similar conversation with my son when he was 3 1/2 years old. My grandfather had just passed, and we were talking about heaven, and where Grandpa had gone, and what it would be like. Even now, 16 years later, I remember that night as vividly as yesterday. There are some special moments in life where you can just feel God’s presence so powerfully yet so gently, and this was one of those for me.
Thank you for sharing and reminding me of that special time.
This is priceless and precious. My babies never met my mama…she is in Heaven and we talk about that. But I eagerly anticipate such a conversation when my 3 year-old is a little older.
and I LOVE this translation in the Message!!!! blessings to you!
This is truly lovely. Thank you for sharing!
I loved this! I am a huge animal lover like your daughter and I am looking forward to this as well! Thank you for sharing this 🙂
I Live in an Antbed says
Precious! What a sweet moment.
Robin Dance says
Wow, Angela, your daughter is so wonderfully curious at such a young age–I hope that quality stays with her forever. Her determination to get answers will serve her well throughout life.
You handled this beautifully and as honestly as you could; pointing her to Jesus, that with him NOTHING is better, is the perfect way to dislodge her fear. How precious are children to NEED their parents forever, in this case, for her to want you with her in heaven. So sweet.
Living the Balanced Life says
I can only imagine…
Fantastic story with you and your daughter. Heard a Christian comedian talking about this once, very funny take on it, but I like yours better!
Thank you for sharing that precious time with your daughter. It brought tears to my eyes. The Lord was definitely sitting right there with you both enjoying this conversation you were having with her.
Thank you for the encouragement you have given me with the message your post is giving.
God Bless you!
In Christ’s Love & prayers
Holley Gerth says
Angela, this brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. What wonderfully good news for a Monday–that we’re all just in on our way to the someday when all will be forever beautiful. And until then we get to catch glimpses of it in moments like this, in the words of your daughter…so much like her mother’s.
allison morrison says
My son loves animals and he asks quite often if there will be dinosaurs in heaven….what can you say? I say anything is possible and we’ll just have to wait and see. He also wants to know if our dog that dies a few years ago will be there. That one is a little more tricky…but again I say, anything is possible with our God!
Oh melt me! That is the one thing that I notice when my children and I talk about Heaven, there’s this slight hesitation to be fully excited about it because they don’t want to die in order to get there. I don’t blame them. No one wants to die but there are a lot of us who won’t die to get there… oh how wonderful it would be if we were in that group of people!
Jeri @godsdreamsforme says
I can’t wait to hug Jesus and run with the Cheetah’s!!! Woohoo!