So, there is reading for pleasure, and there is reading for knowledge and personal growth. After Michael passed, I read several books that have had a profound impact on my grief journey. There are parts of these three books that have really stuck with me and that I go back to for encouragement whenever needed.
Although their loss was much different than mine, I learned a lot from the Chapmans' story. It is always helpful to have godly examples of how to weather the storms of life. The thing that has stuck with me from this book is the idea that Michael is a bigger part of my future than he is of my past. The short time we had here together will be eclipsed in quantity and quality in eternity. I remind myself of that on a regular basis.
Heaven is a thorough study of all that the Bible says about eternity. So many people have defined Heaven for themselves, or let some other person define it for them. I wanted to know what God's Word had to say about Michael's new home. It's not a place full of clouds and harps. It's a marvelous and eternal city:
Revelation 22:1-5 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Lastly, I love my Bible.
I use the New King James Version, because that's the version my pastor preaches from. I like how it reads, and I use a study version so I can learn more about what I'm reading. I have come to love studying the Bible, and I really enjoy Kay Arthur's Bible studies. I'm currently (and very slowly) working on a study of Acts with a good friend. Studying the Bible with others can be a wonderful experience.
So, there you have it. I'm thankful for books - books that capture my imagination, and books that nourish my spirit.