On Saturday I read the book “Have Heart” by Steve and Sarah Berger. This couple’s young son went to Heaven 3 days after he was in a car accident. It is the best book that I have ever read regarding Heaven. Most books people read after a loved one leaves this life are all about grief and how to handle grief. This book was so positive. It gave me a totally different perspective of Brandon and it really took the focus off me and put the focus back to God and Heaven.
In this book they talked about what are called “God Nods.” They define God Nods this way:
"God continually showing himself (after the loved one passes); Experiences reminding us we are eternally connected with our loved one; God’s spontaneous Sovereignty that He allows gifts from Heaven to touch us on earth to bring comfort and peace; an affirmation and direction; a reminder that you are on God’s radar and haven’t been forgotten; God Nods are God directing you to pay attention and look deeper; It’s God saying, 'Check this out.' God Nods are special things only God can do and they are blessings of God in the midst of your pain and suffering."
Until I read this book, I had no idea how to describe the comfort that I felt which I believe can only come from God. Human beings can do their best to fumble through words and actions to try to make us feel better. Even those individuals who have been through a similar experience cannot begin to touch the peace that comes from God. I want to share 5 specific times that I feel I received these gifts that Steve and Sarah Berger call “God Nods.”
1. The night after Brandon passed I had cried out to God for comfort. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post. As I was praying, the first verse that came to mind from my childhood was “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come to him” Revelation 3:20. Later on in the night I got to see a dream of Someone knocking on an old door. Brandon opened the door and his face lit up and he said, “Hey!!!!! I know you! Mama and Papa tell me about You. Mr. Kellett tell me about You. Pastor Sean. He tell me about You. I see it in book at school.” He was SO excited at Whoever was at that door. He was looking back and me, pointing and saying “Look!” When I woke up from the dream I felt so much better. He was happy. He was still Brandon. He was alive. Though he is not on this earth with me, I know Brandon is more alive and more joyful than he ever was here on earth. That is SO exciting to me.
2. The week after Brandon’s accident, I remembered we had a rough night the Thursday before 1/30/12. It was an intense night of schoolwork. Tim and I were both frustrated and had exhausted all our patience. We finally just sent him to bed. Usually we allowed Brandon to wind down by listening to music or playing his Nintendo. This particular night he had to go straight to bed. It was the only night in 8 months that he did not come running to me and give me 2 or 3 or more hugs before bedtime. I was crushed. But I was his Mom and I loved my son so much that I knew I had to discipline him that night. I went upstairs and he hid under his covers. Again, it crushed me. My beloved son was so mad at me that he hid under his covers from me! So, I did what I only knew to do: I tickled the absolute daylights out of the boy. I told him I wouldn’t stop until he hugged me. We both laughed SO hard and finally he gave me an extra big hug. I told him I loved him so much and that tomorrow would be a better day. I told him he was a good boy and I was proud of him for working so hard at school. He told me he loved me too. The following day was my day off from work. I decided that I was going to write him a “love note” in words that he understood and could read in English himself. I wrote something to the affect that I was glad that God gave him to me. I was happy I was his Mom. And that I loved him. I left it on top of his laptop so he would notice it easily. When he found the note after school he came running down the stairs, “Mama!!! Why you write this note? Why you give it to me on my computer?” And I told him that I liked to surprise my children with special notes sometimes. He said, “Thank you for my note. I like my note. I love you too” and he gave me more hugs. Well, I couldn’t find that note after he died. . I looked through his desk, his books, his dresser, his pockets, everywhere! I had even thoroughly checked his trash can because I wanted anything with his handwriting on it. Where in the world did he put this note? I prayed again that God would allow me to find the note. It was nowhere to be found! Finally, I prayed again and I decided to feel through the pockets of the pants that were hanging up in his closet. Sure enough, the note was in the pocket of a pair of his (DIRTY--LOL) jeans. He always kept his favorite treasures in his pockets. I have always had a great time seeing what he’s put in his pockets as I did his laundry each week. His treasure was usually money or his ipod, a pocket knife or some prize he won at school. One time I found his soccer medal in his pocket. This time, tucked away in his pockets was his letter from his mom and it was his treasure.
3. I was feeling particularly down on one of the Mondays following the accident. As usual I was praying and this particular day I felt an incredible urge to clean to stay busy. While cleaning, I found an old camera that the kids were allowed to play with. I decided to view what was on the camera. The photos were clearly taken on a time where Brandon was loose with the camera. There was a lot of foolishness on there that really made me laugh. He was obviously torturing Katie who hates to have her picture taken. I remember that devious laugh whenever he’d tease any of the girls. There were several pictures he’d taken of me that I had no idea he had taken. Most of them were me on my laptop working or on my iPhone chatting with friends or checking Facebook. Then in the midst of the camera was a photo of just Brandon and me in front of our Christmas tree. I’d forgotten he had asked Kylie to take that photo of us. He had a giant smile. It was so special to me to find these pictures and in the midst of my down-in-the-dumps day was a gift to cheer me up.
4. My dad was pretty sad that there were no photos of him with Brandon. It was really bothering him and he felt like he didn’t even exist in Brandon’s life. It really bothered me as well to think that such an important family member had no photos with Brandon. The following day I woke out of a dead sleep at 5:55 in the morning with a recollection of a photo of my dad and Brandon. After some frantic searching I found the photo!!! It was taken for his 2nd grade scrap book. This photo was taken of Brandon with a big smile and my dad in his work shirt at the school. That was SO special.
5. Finally, I was really struggling for some time regarding whether or not Brandon went to Heaven when he died. Not everyone who dies automatically goes to Heaven. Just because someone is a good person does not mean they go to Heaven. This is not taught in the Bible anywhere. I knew that Brandon knew the Gospel message, but I wasn’t sure if he had embraced the Truth. The devil used this doubt and tormented me with it particularly in the evenings when I should have been sleeping. I was so down for over a month over this burden. I cried out to God over and over to confirm it somehow to me that Brandon trusted Christ as his Savior and only hope for eternal life. This past Friday I was given his journal he kept at school. He wrote two things that really answered my month-long prayer. In November he wrote in his best English simply, "I think the gospel is good. " After Christmas sometime he wrote the following: Gad (God) say bihold to trust to Jesus becaus when we bihold Jesus we go to heven. And I like jesus. Jesus (is) are (our) first papa. (Behold means to fix the eyes upon; to see with attention; to observe with care.)
How precious these words Brandon wrote are to my heart! Even more, how precious it is to me to know that I have a heavenly Father who loves me, who sent His Son to die on a cross for me and for the whole world, so that anyone who repents and trusts in Him can live eternally! Finally, it is so amazing to me that God gave me these 5 specific gifts as answers to specific prayers on my heart. He comforts my heart and He gives me peace. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill to all men!!!
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it (Mark 10:15).