I have talked about Stephanie Nielson on this blog before and I'm so happy to get a chance to read more about her story in her new book, Heaven Is Here. My evenings this week have been absorbed by going on her journey with her. In the early chapters she is a young girl falling in love, marrying the man she has waited her whole life for and starting a family. Then, a plane crash puts her in a 3 month coma with burns on 80% of her body. Her life will never be the way it was and she takes us with her on her journey to her new life.
A key theme in the book is Stephanie's faith. She is a Mormon and her belief system guides her throughout her life up until the crash and is strengthened after it because amidst all the pain she is able to find comfort in her trust in God.
There is something very inspiring about people who have faith, in whatever form that may come, and the conviction to live by it in a society in which it is so unpopular to be faithful. I admired how committed Stephanie was to her children and how beautifully her family comes together to support her and help carry her through so much darkness. I am especially amazed by the deep love and connection that Stephanie and her husband Christian share. When Stephanie is ashamed of her new body, Christian reminds her that nothing has changed. He loves her.
The book was such a strong reminder that we must nurture our faith, our families and our relationships when times are good so these parts of our lives grow strong and can anchor us when we may not be able to survive without them.