You ever have those moments…those tastes of heaven…when the needle on your personal joy odometer leaned to the far right of what you thought was the highest notch?
I’ve had a few moments like that. They’re rare. So when they happen, they sink down into the mind and take up permanent residence.
I had a joy moment like that when my girls were little. We were homeless at the time – about four weeks into a seven week stint of living with my parents because our first little home…first home of our own, out of wind and harm’s way…had sold. My husband was between jobs, and the meager one I had would never have qualified us to purchase another one. In fact, it wouldn’t cover both groceries and rent. We opted for groceries and moved in with my parents.
Tastes of heaven are often preceded by seasons of humility.
To give my parents a break, we’d driven to his parents’ for the weekend, and were headed back to Nashville. I was sitting in the back seat with a blue-eyed girl on either side of me, playing with the blond curls that swept over my legs. I stroked the silken gold and looked out the window. The skies parted and a sunbeam reached down and filled me with an inexplicable peace.
God never said a word. Nor did I. And my husband driving the car, and those cherubs resting heads in my laps, were never, I’m sure, aware of the exchange. But I know there passed a precious moment when God washed his peace over me like the warmest blanket, as if to say, “I see you. I know. I’m here. You’re mine. And your future is a safe door to enter.”
Heaven tastes like a sunbeam.
Fast forward a few years and I’m standing in a school kitchen on an island in the Caribbean. College students fill the space – stirring soup tureens, sitting on stools, making sandwiches, and singing. The honesty of their smiles, the purity of their voices, the warmth of the sunshine spilling over palm trees outside the window light my soul up like the flashbulb on a camera – an opening of my eyes. “This,” I think quietly, “is what heaven is like. Joy. Service. Laughter. Song. And lots and lots of sunshine.”
Heaven tastes like a sunlit kitchen in Saba.
My youngest daughter fell in love. She asked her grandmother if she could borrow the yard. So on a fall Friday, with sunlight peeking through the oak leaves, I sat on a front porch rocker watching men put up a tent. The groom sat to my left.
Watching his groomsmen arrive and walk down the curved pebbled drive …these young men of character, warmth, kindness and love…once again ballooned my heart. What a Very Good Thing to know that one of my blue-eyed cherubs was going to attach her future to This Young Man – this good, kind, thoughtful young man with friends like these.
On the morning of The Day I crept quietly up the stairs to where she sat surrounded by her friends…young women of character, warmth, kindness and love…that I had come to deeply care for, and pray steady prayers of thankfulness for. These young women who had helped shape my baby girl into the lovely woman she had become, were praying over her.
Heaven tastes like the hands of friends on your shoulder as you walk from one chapter of your life to the next.
Heaven also tastes like a thirty-year dream finally realized.
Please help me spread the word: Leaving Independence will be released June 21. It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon. If you choose to read it, I hope it pushes the needle on your personal joy odometer to the far right of its highest notch…maybe even farther.