My Lessons from Heaven: So What?

Dr. Mary NealBy Dr. Mary Neal5 Minutes

Welcome to my final episode in the “Strengthen Your Walk” series. I’m Dr. Mary Neal, wife, mother, orthopaedic surgeon, author, and beloved child of God.

In the past 9 episodes, I’ve shared a bit about my experience of dying on a South American river. I’ve described my life review in which I learned about understanding and grace. I talked about the truth of God’s promises that beauty does come of all things, that we are fully known and loved, and that there’s a plan for our life, and for the world, that’s one of hope. I discussed angels and miracles, and the fact that they do still occur in our world today. And I talked about trust, which is at the heart of everything I talk about because trust is both transformational and achievable – even without dying or having a profound spiritual experience like mine.

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I believe we all begin with hope embedded in our DNA and for many of us, that nurtured hope becomes faith. But I think the next step beyond faith is trust. I like to differentiate between faith and trust because faith is so often rooted in emotion; and therefore, can be stronger or weaker, depending on our circumstances, and it frequently fails when tested by any one of life’s great challenges.

Trust is different because trust is rooted in evidence of God’s truth rather than how we’re feeling on any particular day. After compiling evidence from one’s own life, I believe it becomes possible to make a choice to trust that the God of yesterday will continue to be the God of today and of tomorrow. And it’s this continual choice to trust I believe that can radically change our experience of life.

For example, when you acknowledge that every person, including yourself, has a story, and you choose to trust that God knows those stories, including your own, then you can be released from the destructive emotions of your past that might be holding you in bondage today. Secondly, when you trust that death is not the end – that there really is life after death, in which you are healthy, whole, and fully reconciled, then you can be released from any fear you may have about dying, and focus more on living into God’s truth today.

Lastly, when you trust that beauty will come of all things, and that God’s plan for you, and for the world, is one of hope, then you can transcend the unwanted circumstances of today, and you can step into an unknown future with confidence and excitement.

Now ten years after my kayaking accident, my oldest son was indeed killed. And my foreknowledge of his death did not protect me from experiencing the profound grief of losing his physical presence. But, my unshakable trust in the truth of God’s promises, allowed me to experience great joy even in the midst of this great suffering. And I believe this sort of transformational living is available to anyone with an open heart, who’s willing to look inwardly and retrospectively at their own life because I know there is clear evidence of God’s presence, guidance, and love in every person’s life. And I believe with the evidence gathered from one’s own life, not anyone else’s, it becomes possible to make this transformation to trust. With that trust, it becomes possible to experience the joy-filled life that I believe God intends for each one of us.

Thank you for listening to this series, and may you always experience God’s tangible love.

You can find more information about my experiences and their impact by reading my books, To Heaven and Back and 7 Lessons from Heaven, or you can connect with me through my website:

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