Read an excerpt from the Heaven is for Real book
Ever wonder where the book’s title Heaven is for Real came from?
In 2009, Colton Burpo and his parents, Todd and Sonja Burpo, met with their book editor in Dallas, Texas. She asked Colton one very important question: “What do you want people to know most about your story?”
Colton replied, “I want them to know that heaven is for real.”
We invite you to read the entire Heaven is for Real book or see the movie. You can purchase all Heaven is for Real books and the movie DVD here.
Here is an excerpt from the Heaven is for Real book, written by Colton Burpo’s father Todd Burpo.
My wife, Sonja, and I had planned to take the kids to visit Sonja’s brother, Steve, and his family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. … So we packed up a weekend’s worth of paraphernalia in our blue Ford Expedition and got our family ready to head
The kids chattered for ninety miles to the city of North Platte. … After a fill-up at a Sinclair gas station, we pulled out onto Jeffers Street, and I noticed we were passing through the traffic light where, if we turned left, we’d wind up at the Great Plains Regional Medical Center. That was where we’d spent fifteen nightmarish days in March, much of it on our knees, praying for God to spare Colton’s life. God did, but Sonja and I joke that the experience shaved years off our own lives.
Sometimes laughter is the only way to process tough times, so as we passed the turnoff, I decided to rib Colton a little.
“Hey, Colton, if we turn here, we can go back to the hospital,” I said. “Do you wanna go back to the hospital?”
Our preschooler giggled in the dark. “No, Daddy, don’t send me! Send Cassie . . . Cassie can go to the hospital!”
Sitting next to him, his sister laughed. “Nuh-uh! I don’t wanna go either!” In the passenger seat, Sonja turned so that she could see our son, whose car seat was parked behind mine. I pictured his blond crew cut and his sky-blue eyes shining in the dark.
"Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said.
“Yes, Mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”
Inside the Expedition, time froze. … I spotted an Arby’s, pulled into the parking lot, and switched off the engine. … I tried to figure how to respond to my four-year-old’s simple proclamation that angels had sung to him. Finally, I plunged in: “Colton, you said that angels sang to you while you were at the hospital?”
He nodded his head vigorously.
“What did they sing to you?”
Colton turned his eyes up and to the right, the attitude of remembering. “Well, they sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and ‘Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho,’” he said earnestly. “I asked them to sing ‘We Will, We Will Rock You,’ but they wouldn’t sing that.”
… Then he grew serious. “Dad, Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was so scared. They made me feel better.”
I glanced at Sonja again and saw that her mouth had dropped open. I turned back to Colton. “You mean Jesus was there?”
My little boy nodded as though reporting nothing more remarkable than seeing a ladybug in the front yard. “Yeah, Jesus was there.”
“Well, where was Jesus?”
Colton looked me right in the eye. “I was sitting in Jesus’ lap.”
“Colton, where were you when you saw Jesus?”
“At the hospital. You know when Dr. O’Holleran was working on me. … When I was with Jesus, you were praying, and Mommy was talking on the phone.”
… “But you were in the operating room, Colton,” I said. “How could you know what we were doing?”
“’Cause I could see you,” Colton said matter-of-factly. “I went up out of my body, and I was looking down, and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.”
Colton’s words rocked me to my core. …
I’m so excited about the Heaven is for Real book and movie, because this story is touching the lives of people who may not know about the love of God and promise of eternal life through Jesus. Heaven is for Real is a story of hope and miracles – and provides much-needed encouragement in these troubled times. For many, this is a beginning place to learn about the love and the kindness of God. The Heaven is for Real book invites you to explore your beliefs more deeply.
In addition, Art & SoulWorks has been working with Akiane Kramarik for over a decade. Our mission is to introduce Jesus to others through the “Prince of Peace” painting that Colton has identified as the only likeness of Christ he has seen since his heavenly experiences. In fact, “Prince of Peace,” painted by Akiane at age 8, is often referred to as the “Colton Burpo picture of Jesus.”
We have been delighted by the many stories and confirmations that we receive daily from folks around the world – people who have been encouraged by these children and their heavenly encounters. Heaven is for Real is reassuring. It reminds us that the deepest mysteries and truths of God are found throughout the pages of the Holy Bible. Many of Colton’s and Akiane’s experience reflects this.