Back in the summer of 2012, when I had pretty much hit rock bottom emotionally, I received a review copy of A Glimpse of Heaven by JoAnna Oblander in the mail. She and her publisher had contacted me a few weeks before asking if I would be willing to review the book on this blog. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. There I was, struggling to retain my will to live, and I opened up the book to read this on the very first page:
“At day’s end I sat on my bed overcome with convulsive tears. My will to live had been obliterated. . . . Holding onto life had proven itself too hard. . . . My emotional avalanche had battered me so severely that I was unwilling to consider giving life another chance. . . . I was done.”
As JoAnna drifted off to sleep, fully intending it to be her last night on earth, an angel appeared, pulled her spirit from her body, and took her to view heaven, more specifically her pre-mortal preparatory experiences and commitments. After all she saw and felt, she knew she could no longer follow through with her suicide. She would choose to keep fighting for her life. As she describes later in the book, “I, like all of God’s children, was a wreck worth salvaging” (p. 79).
At the time, I wasn’t reading or writing much at all. But JoAnna’s story pulled me in. She had been where I was. She had inhabited those awful depths of despair. And she had lived to tell of a better day. Perhaps I would too. Though I was initially drawn into JoAnna’s story, and despite the book being very short, it has taken me over a year to finally finish A Glimpse of Heaven and feel ready to post this review.
A Glimpse of Heaven covers more than just JoAnna’s brief visit to heaven. It also contains other powerful spiritual experiences, including several pre-birth experiences with her soon-to-be children. If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that I adore pre-birth experiences. So I loved reading about JoAnna’s.
One of the things that struck me as I read the book was just how much JoAnna and I have in common. It was so validating to read about her search to find the son she had been told through the voice of the Spirit to find. In the years she spent searching, she was given more and more information through personal revelation about this son, including his name and the name of the young girl she would find him with. I myself have also been given specific details about a son I have yet to bear. Sometimes I can’t help wondering if I’m making it all up, but at the same time the things I have been taught through the Spirit about my son feel very much real. The connection I feel to him is real. Reading JoAnna’s specific spiritual guidance about her future son felt like another witness from God that I’m not crazy. Mothers really can be given specific details about the children who will be coming to their families.
Another piece of JoAnna’s journey that struck me was her family’s struggle with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Here’s a brief summary of the condition:
“Reactive attachment disorder develops because the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met and loving, caring attachments with others are never established. This may permanently change the child’s growing brain, hurting the ability to establish future relationships” (Source).
After adopting two orphans from Russia, JoAnna’s family learned first-hand what RAD was and how painful it can be for those who are dealing with it. Many children who have experienced neglect and/or abandonment in their infancy or early childhood later struggle with RAD. Joanna’s adopted children were among them. She said:
“If there is one lesson I have walked away with after having lived with children with RAD, it is that we must make sure that the infants and toddlers of our world receive the love and nurturing they need. Our children are priceless, and we must not take our responsibility for them lightly” (p. 75).
It breaks my heart to think of all the children out there in the world who do not have loving caregivers. Mothers have so much power! Loving mothers are key to the normal development of children’s brains. Zion, the pure in heart, will never be built without loving mothers to protect those pure hearts in their infancy. We are literally molding the future of humanity. That is no small thing.
I’m grateful A Glimpse of Heaven appeared in my life when it did. Though I found the structure and organization of the book somewhat scattered, it has many treasures to enjoy in its 111 pages. It would appeal to women struggling with depression, women waiting for future children, women seeking to adopt, those with chronic health difficulties seeking relief, and those who enjoy near-death experience accounts. You can read more about JoAnna and A Glimpse of Heaven on her website HERE.