I’ve been thinking a lot of Heaven lately. Maybe it’s the turning of the harsh Indiana winter into a soft spring and warm summer and the fresh blossoms swaying in the breeze that transports my senses to the celestial paradise. Maybe it’s because I had a lot of time to sit by the ocean last week while on vacation and think about what our final resting place will be like. Maybe it’s because the week before vacation was a marking day in my healing journey—May 18th my unborn baby, Evie Grace, would have turned one year. Whatever the reason, the peaceful pace of vacation had my brain spinning with what life’s like on the other side. 

But what’s interesting is “peace” and “rest” weren’t the predominant heavenly themes I found myself musing on, although I’m sure heaven will be both peaceful and restful. Instead, I contemplated another theme—purpose. I began thinking about what our purpose would be in heaven. I sat on the west shoreline of Naples, Florida—one of the retirement and snow-bird capitals of the United States—and wondered what everyday life will be like when we reach the shores of heaven. 

I don’t know. Maybe it gives me a sense of peace to think that Amanda has purpose in her new home. Maybe it gives me a deeper longing to be there knowing that my purpose will finally be realized and fulfilled. After all, isn’t this what we’re all searching for? At the fundamental and core level of who we are aren’t we all looking for purpose? We’re searching for something to satisfy the gnawing questions that plague us in our quiet moments: Why am I here? What’s my calling? What’s my purpose?

Few people are fortunate enough to discover their true purpose in their lifetime. I believe this is actually one of the greatest tragedies of life. Like my friend Maximus Desimus Meridius (Gladiator) put it, “Every man dies, not every man truly lives.” It seems to me, we, the human race, are on this constant plod forward trying to discover what our significance is here on this earth. One of my greatest passions in life is to help others discover their purpose on earth. Perhaps I’ll write more on how to do that at a later date, but here I want to make the assertion that not only do we have a purpose in this life, but that we have a great, glorious, and magnificent purpose in the life to come.

We did a sermon series a while back (click here to check it out) on heaven and what happens to you when you die. This series was crafted out of my personal study on heaven, the New Heaven and the New Earth after Amanda passed. Last week on vacation thoughts of my studies flooded back to me and I began to ponder a couple thoughts on Amanda’s new purpose in heaven. I don’t know for sure, and I won’t know until I arrive there myself, but there are three things I'd like to think she’s doing right now:

She may be holding, cherishing, and raising Everette (Evie) Grace.

I could spend a whole blog post on why I contend that babies (and unborn babies) who die before they are given the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel are in heaven. Maybe I will at some point. Regardless I truly believe Evie Grace is in heaven. And I believe Amanda is spending time (or whatever time is called when you’re outside of time) holding her and raising her. Now I certainly can’t prove any of this. I’ve never been to heaven. But I believe that heaven is the place where all our lost and stolen hopes, dreams, experiences, and opportunities are restored to us.

When we found out we were pregnant with Evie, Amanda was so excited to walk through another infant season. She expressed to me that she felt like she didn’t truly appreciate and soak in the infant moments with Weston because she had been so exhausted and overwhelmed with being a new mom. She said she was glad to have another chance to soak in that season with Evie. 

That opportunity was stolen from her in this life . . . but I believe it’s being restored to her in the life to come.

There were many moments over this past year I thought about her sitting in a rocking chair, holding little Evie, staring into her sleeping face, and soaking up the precious infant moments with her baby girl. 

She may be fostering other babies and kids.

About two months before Amanda was killed she began to feel this heavy burden for foster-parenting. She would bring it up in conversation with me frequently and, quite frankly, it confused me. I didn’t understand her urgency. I thought it sounded like a great thing to do at some point down the road, but we were pregnant with our second and were even considering having a third of our own before we entertained foster-parenting or adoption. 

Here is an excerpt from one of Amanda’s journal entries a couple weeks before she was killed:

Amanda was passionate about providing a stable home for those who didn’t have one.

That opportunity was stolen from her in this life . . . but I believe it’s being restored to her in the life to come.

Shortly after Amanda passed, a gal named Emily reached out to Amber (Amanda's sister) to offer her comfort. A couple months before Amanda passed, Emily had lost her baby boy shortly after giving birth to him. Myles lived a brief fifty-six hours. I remember Amanda telling me this heart-breaking story. She reached out to Emily to care for her. 

After Amanda passed, Emily told Amber it brought her some comfort to think that Amanda might be in heaven taking care of little Myles for Emily until she’s reunited with her son.

Undoubtedly “orphaned” kids in heaven will find their true sense of belonging in Jesus Himself, but I wonder if part of that sense of belonging is satisfied in Jesus’ people in their new celestial community. Heavenly foster parents, if you will. After all should heaven look that much different than the way Jesus' people on earth operate their lives here on earth? Caring for each other, loving each other, building each other up, looking after each other. Maybe that's what Jesus meant when He told us to pray that God’s Kingdom would come to Earth. I would love to think that Amanda could be spending her days in heaven playing with and helping to raise children who passed away prematurely—perhaps your child?

She may be decorating mansions.

Amanda loved to decorate homes. And she was good at it. Occasionally someone would pay her to come in and decorate different rooms in their home. She once told me she wanted to move houses every five years just to have fresh spaces to decorate. The thought of that exhausted me, but it invigorated her.

We used to dream of her starting a decorating business in conjunction with her furniture restoration business (The Weathered Willow) when our kids started school. 

That opportunity was stolen from her in this life . . . but I believe it’s being restored to her in the life to come.

What if she’s the Joanna Gaines of heaven right now? It’s fun to think about whose mansions she could be decorating right now. Moses’? David’s? Ruth’s? Elisabeth Elliott’s? John the Baptist? (You know John had no sense of style!)

You see, I’m convinced God gives each of us a job in His kingdom, just like He has a job for each of us in His kingdom work here on earth. Work is not a result of the fall. Let me say that again . . . WORK IS NOT A RESULT OF THE FALL. It is not inherently evil as some may think. Laziness on the other hand . . . 

When you work you find fulfillment. There is nothing more satisfying than working hard on something and seeing a positive result. Accomplishing. Achieving. Laying your head on your pillow at night and knowing you put in your best effort to move the ball forward. Finding fulfillment in work is part of how we’re wired to operate at the DNA level of our beings.

Here’s how we know this. One of the best pictures we get of heaven and the New Earth—when God will restore all things—is the picture we’re given of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 1 and 2. For these two brief chapters everything is exactly the way God intended them to be: pure, unadulterated, sinless, and blissful. 

And then Genesis 3 occurred and fractured everything. In Genesis 3, Eve is tempted by a snake to eat from the fruit of the tree that God told them not to eat from. Eve’s first mistake in my mind was talking to the snake. There are some people where I grew up in Alabama who would try to assert that there good snakes exist. I would contest. The only good snake is a dead snake. Nevertheless, Eve had a conversation with the snake and in his sneaky, conniving persuasion convinced her to eat from the forbidden fruit. 

Then she gave some to Adam and he ate it too. I could say a lot about passive and disengaged men right here, but I’ll save that for another post. Truthfully it would have been difficult to resist this temptation. Think about it. Your wife is naked, in a garden, offering to feed you fruit. Not many men could pass that one up. 

Regardless, both sinned and broke covenant relationship with God. As a result everything about the way God intended things to be became fractured. One of the repercussions was that now the work of their hands would be frustrating. Now because the whole earth was affected by the fall, not only would Adam and Eve work the ground, now the ground would work against them. This is why I go out and mow my yard, feel a temporary sense of fulfillment, but a week later find myself frustrated because it’s grown back again. 

Fulfillment, or purpose, was robbed of us when sin entered the world. If purpose is one of the primary things sin has robbed from us, it must be one of the primary things that will one day be restored to us. In heaven our work is bound to no longer be frustrating, but completely fulfilling.

I love thinking that purpose isn't bound to earth. I love to think the Lord is so good He doesn't just call us home, he calls us to help in building His kingdom.

**If you want to study more about what the Bible says about Heaven, check out our Resource of the Month - Heaven by Randy Alcorn**

Leave us a comment if you have more questions, thoughts, and ideas about this topic and look for a part two soon! 

5 Comments