Heaven and The Last Battle

Today I finished reading The Chronicles of Narnia aloud to a child, all seven books, most likely for the last time. That’s a heavy thought for this book-loving, read-aloud loving mamma.

As Wogayu and I made our way through the final pages of The Last Battle, I had to pause several times, my throat choked with tears, as I read descriptions of CS Lewis’ imaginings of heaven.


What was it like when she got to heaven? What is it like now?

As I read, two happy things in the story stood out to me.

First, the characters discover fruit on a tree, but when they are about to pick it, they each pause because the fruit is so beautiful, each feels “it can’t be meant for me…surely we’re not allowed to pluck it.”

“It’s all right,”said Peter. “I know what we’re all thinking. But I’m sure, quite sure, we needn’t. I’ve a feeling we’ve got to the country where everything is allowed.”

The fruit is so delicious they aren’t able to describe it except to say, “If you had once eaten that fruit, all the nicest things in this world would taste like medicine after it.”

Now that makes me laugh a little.

Our Kalkidan loved to eat – the spicier and meatier the dish, the better.

But deeper and more precious than good food is this description in CS Lewis’ imagining of heaven.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” said Lucy. “Have you noticed one can’t feel afraid, even if one wants to?”

No fear. What does that feel like for a child whose life has been profoundly impacted by trauma? What would that feel like for me?

Kalkidan is fully alive in a place with no fear and only love.

Last night I imagined her being greeted in heaven by her Ethiopian mother who embraced her with exclamations of delight. Then her mother fed her spicy bits of meat wrapped in injera – the best food Kalkidan had ever tasted.

I pictured Kalkidan laughing, her dimples deep, her smile wide. All trauma healed, all fear gone.

This comforts me; it also requires imagination and faith, lots of faith.

Has someone you loved died? Do you try to imagine heaven?

What do you find most helpful and hopeful?

I’ve been very quiet here on the blog – my only explanation is parenting, a whole lot of parenting. It’s been intense, not bad, just a lot!

That, and I’m decluttering, which feels good.

While I may not be writing, I think of you every day. I contemplate what I would say if I were writing, jot down little notes to myself for future posts, and every once in awhile I think about posting on Instagram.

Then I respond to a voice yelling, “Mom!” or take a child to another appointment, or answer more calls or texts. How is it I have fewer children home than ever and yet life feels so full?

I have no explanation.

I hope to send out a “friends-letter” sometime after Labor Day! Sign up if you want a short note from me in your inbox.

Thoughts on heaven? Leave me a comment.

Much love, courage, and hope for the journey.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Emily
    August 25, 2017

    I always think of what your pastor said at Kalkidan’s funeral, that for the first time Kalkidan was not afraid and for the first time she could fully feel how much her family loved her.

    Love her so much. And love you so much.

    PS- you can read Chronicles of Narnia to grandkids! 🙂 Including our baby!

  2. Emily
    August 25, 2017

    Also, The Last Battle is my favorite of all the Narnia books. For a bunch of reasons. Ben and I finished reading it together about 2 weeks before our wedding!

  3. Melody
    August 25, 2017

    Oh how I needed to read this on Friday afternoon!!! No fear. That so my constant prayer for my Desta. She lives in such angst and pain. I’ve been playing in repeat the praise some Miracle by Jesus culture. It has helped me keep praying and hoping.

  4. Sue Burnett
    August 25, 2017

    We are driving home from a dear friends memorial service. His daughter actually read some of the last chapter in The Last Battle during the service. What stood out to me was how much more real heaven was than their old life. And the comfort that Jesus will be there with us. I’m glad my friend may meet Kallidan. He would like her!

  5. AmyE
    August 25, 2017

    This brought tears so quickly because the thought “what if he can never know healing this side of heaven … what if the wounds are too deep …” are so ever present. I love your picture of heaven and your sweet K whole and fully healed. Her finally knowing how deeply she was loved. I cannot imagine your loss and will never understand why she was lost just as earthly healing seemed within grasp. Without ever having met, your journey continues to impact me deeply. 💕

  6. Jacqueline
    August 25, 2017

    Thank you for a beautiful post. Reading aloud to my children is such a treat! Will have to consider this series to read. We’ve worked through the Little house series; working through the Anne of green Gables series – currently taking a break by reading Wonder together before the movie comes out. I am always encouraged by your posts and the nuggets of wisdom they contain.

    1. Jacqueline
      August 25, 2017

      I lost 2 brothers and my father to death across a span of 6 months. It’s hard to explain the numbness and yet being able to carry on.

  7. Alicia
    August 26, 2017

    Have you read The Green Ember? I read it the first time shortly before losing a much beloved aunt to cancer. The rabbit characters are planning a resurgence of life and culture after an ongoing war. Whenever troubles arise, someone says, “It will not be so in the Mended Wood.”. That single line spoke volumes of comfort.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 26, 2017

      I must be super sensitive today; those words alone brought tears to my eyes. I may need to read this. Thank you, Alicia.

  8. Katrina Rauch
    August 26, 2017

    My family is going through a particularity difficult couple of months. Parenting from a heart of love and not being consumed by fear has been very hard. God continues to echo about this important truth. Thank you for letting Him speak through you here.
    Also, at church tonight I wondered what the last page in a book about my life would say. This part I know and cling to:

    … and Jesus wins!
    ~The End~

    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 28, 2017

      Yes – Jesus wins. So true, Katrina. The trials of this life, as painful as they are, will not last forever; Jesus will. Press on, friend.


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