“Well hello,” she says cheerfully as she greets people at her front door. “It’s good to see you. I’m so happy you are here. Come on in, relax, and find a comfortable chair. May I get you a cup of coffee or tea? Water? Juice?” People keep arriving and soon her large room is filled to capacity. She is pleased to realize so many have taken the time to be here at such a special gathering.
“I’d like you all to meet my friend, Pearl. She wasn’t sure she was ready to share her story, but Holy Spirit has been tenderly telling her now is the perfect time to relate her message of hope. She asked if we could use my home as a comfortable, safe setting for her to speak to you. So thank You, Jesus, for being here. Grace to all of you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I think we’re all ready to listen, Pearl,” she says as she gives Pearl a little hug.
“Thank you, my friend,” Pearl begins, with a bit of apprehension. “Go back with me forty-nine years to 1968. I know, almost half a century. It was a long time ago.” There are a few chuckles and nods of agreement in the group.
“My husband and I are ecstatically awaiting the birth of our firstborn. What soaring joy we are experiencing as we prepare our baby’s nursery. On the list to buy is a crib, a rocking chair, diapers (cloth is the only choice we have), blankets, a stroller, a high chair, toys, mobiles.
Soon-to-be grandparents are eager to help with the purchases. Essentials are very basic. There is no concern for an infant car seat. Such devices are non-existent. An adult holding our baby securely on his or her lap is sufficient. Besides, who doesn’t adore snuggling a baby and watching this remarkable bundle of love contently sleep in your arms?
To the right at the top of the stairs in our home is the nursery. It is decorated meagerly, but beautifully to greet our precious new son or daughter. Ultrasounds, the iconic black and white images generated by the reflection of high-frequency sound waves, are not used at this time. Informing parents of the health or gender of their baby is not the norm. Therefore, our baby’s nursery is in neutral colors, but brimming full of love and charm. I step into his or her room as often as I can, picturing our cherished little one sleeping in the crib while the music box plays soothing lullabies.
Excitement constantly fills the air in our home. Friends dropping by mention the ever-present smiles on our faces and the penetrating sense of expectation they feel while with us. Many baby showers take place and more cloth diapers are lovingly given, as well as rattles, books, stuffed animals, delicious smelling baby lotions, and newborn onesies. As the anticipated time of baby’s arrival approaches we know we are ready.
Our doctor determines that a Cesarean birth is best since our baby appears to be a big baby. The birthday of our son or daughter is one of laughter, lots of hand-holding, hugging and many phone calls reminding us to let friends and family know who it is that makes him or herself known.
I don’t yet have a personal intimate relationship with Jesus, but I know my Father God is real. I am certain He is with my husband and me.
With all preparation completed, I am wheeled into the sterile operating room. In what seems to be only minutes, I feel joyful tears flowing down my cheeks and into huge puddles beside my head as I hear the cry of our first-born son, kick-starting his little lungs. We name him Matthew, “God’s gift.”
Soon the excitement in the room changes to apprehension. Baby Matthew is not breathing on his own. A pediatrician is called in and he determines that Matthew’s lungs have not completely developed. I am crying, desperately longing to hold my son next to me. But he is rushed off to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital across the city. My husband, in shock and emotional distress, follows our Matthew to his new place of care. It isn’t long until I learn by phone that our son is being kept alive by a breathing machine. I am told if he can make it for 72 hours he will be out of the woods and on his way to breathing on his own. Our family fervently joins together and prays that God would sustain his life for 72 hours.
Each hour on the clock slowly moves forward as we keep a steady vigilance in prayer. 72 hours pass and we silently celebrate that our baby is going to be fine. In the midst of our quiet contentment, the dreaded phone call comes that Matthew had passed. Unbelief, screams, sobbing, anger, sorrow, grief, heartache, anguish, mourning all take their toll on my husband and me.
Back home, without our beloved baby Matthew, I climb the stairs to sit in solitude with my tears and my questions to God. As the uncontrollable sobbing comes again, a blinding white light appears in Matthew’s room. It is so bright I have to cover my eyes. I don’t know how I know this intense light is God’s Presence, but my Father God is assuring me that He is with me. My sobbing stops abruptly as I absorb His Presence.
A year later we are cautiously excited, expectant parents again. What joy to have been given the opportunity to feel every kick, punch, and roll of this new life within me.
In the delivery room waiting for the arrival of our second newborn, I look up at my strong, caring husband and with smiles on both of our faces, we assure each other this will be the day of victory for us and our baby.
Delivered! A baby boy! But he’s not breathing. The umbilical cord is wrapped around his neck. The doctor informs us it appears the cord has been around his neck for over a day. Devastation, tears, unbelief, anger, moaning, anguish, and inconceivable grief sets in. Why God? Why?
Watching close friends have children is difficult for us. We desperately call out to God, wanting to be parents ourselves.
The following year Father God lovingly answers the cry of our hearts and we welcome a perfect, healthy, adorable baby boy and two years later a healthy, sweet, perfect baby girl. Our hearts are full as we experience these delightful little personalities develop and bring ineffable joy to our family.
Five years pass. Our oldest is seven. Our daughter is five. We find ourselves awaiting the arrival of a new addition to our family once again. We are delighted with the news. Our family and friends are overjoyed. With one month left of my pregnancy, my doctor tells me, with concern in his voice, that he can not hear baby’s heartbeat. I was directed to the hospital for more tests. “God, we’re calling out to You again. Help rid us of this pain!” Our baby suffered trauma within me. The next day, as I lay with hope still trying to rise, he was delivered stillborn. “This is not real, God” I cry out over and over shaking my arms violently.
I scream in agony one morning and my son comes running. “Momma, what happened?” he asks while hugging me in his arms. Our daughter is so young. She is bewildered by my sudden burst of emotion. “Daddy and I wanted this baby!!” I shout out, weeping inconsolably. “Momma, we wanted him too,” my little man compassionately declares. Such a tender heart he has.
Victory comes a year later as we sit with our doctor on the hospital gurney and pray together for a safe delivery and a healthy new baby. Our precious baby boy enters this world and into our lives with no difficulties. The doctors and nurses all dance for joy with us. What intense pleasure and rejoicing we have! We are a completed family of five.
My incredible relationship with Papa God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit becomes an overwhelming, ever-expanding reality in my life during these years. One day while praising and loving Jesus, I unexpectedly see Jesus in my living room. I raise my arms in awe to Him, becoming weak and falling at His feet. His eyes are piercing with the revelation that He indeed is Pure Love. He lifts me up and brings our three baby boys to me one by one. Jesus embraces me with one arm and holds my baby with the other. After a little time with each of my sons, Jesus and our babies are gone.
I had believed that I would one day see my babies and recognize them by the sandy blonde fuzz of hair on their heads and the invisible love cord that connects our hearts together. What rejoicing I have that Jesus personally, beautifully confirmed my belief that they are with Him always.”
Recognizing a light sobbing from some of the guests, Pearl pauses a few moments and then continues. “My friends, I am candidly relating the story of my journey to you in order to bring you to this final chapter.
A few months ago, as we often do, friends gather in our home for a Holy Spirit retreat. We have no agenda, no format, only desiring to commune with Papa God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. We have experienced many angelic encounters during these awesome times and have beheld the cloud of witnesses being present with us.
This night, as we are worshiping our Magnificent Jesus, the manifestation of His Presence progresses into the wee hours of the morning. I sense I should turn my eyes and attention to the loft area above our family room. When I do, I see my 5’2” mother and our three adult sons looking at me over the half wall. Mom is in the middle with her grandsons, each wrapping his arms around her. They are smiling at me. All four exude joy and confidence at seeing me. Love emanates from my cherished ones. Our sons are tall, exceedingly handsome, each with the reddish hair that I expected. My body and spirit are overtaken with extreme joy, awe, and peace. I weep with happiness seeing them. I want to run up the stairs and be with our boys, but Holy Spirit prompts me to stay where I am.
Not only are our boys alive, but they have grown! Seeing them as men made me realize that this is a truth and reality of eternal life I had not understood previously. Jesus loves us with a magnificent, powerful, holy, unconditional love. We have not “lost” the ones we love who have passed from this life into Jesus’ arms. They are not just existing but are fully alive and thriving in eternal life with Jesus. His desire is that as you hear me tell of my journey, you find yourself in the perfect rest of our Papa God’s awesome love, hope, and blessed assurance through my sharing.
Assuredly I know that many of you have had painful experiences such as mine. I have not shared this entire story with many, but Holy Spirit has repeatedly been nudging me to communicate, from my heart and my experience, the revelation of His truth of eternal life with Him.
Thank you for being with me as I re-lived my story. It means a lot to me that you were here supporting and loving me through it. I dearly love you all. Being together with you is a rich treasure in my heart. We are an amazing Family of God walking deeper and deeper into the revelation and understanding of Him and the eternal life we live because of Jesus!”
Pearl finds a seat and without saying another word sits down, soaking up the stillness of the holy atmosphere. Guests are silent, absorbing all that Pearl has shared. The supernatural healing power of Papa God is touching many.
“Holy Spirit is here with us,” Pearl’s hostess comments in a hushed tone of reverence to God. “Please know that you are all most welcome and encouraged to stay here in His Presence as long as you would like,” she quietly expresses to everyone.
No one has decided to leave.
Life: “the capacity for growth; functional activity; continual change” – Oxford Dictionary
Life: of the absolute fullness of life; to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead); active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God – Greek Lexical Dictionary
Life: to live, have life, continue in life, remain alive – Hebrew Lexical Dictionary
John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”