A tribute to my mom, Charlene Bourne, who went to her eternal home in Heaven to be with Jesus on January 1, 2022!
People ask me how I’m doing and it’s hard for them to understand that I am not lost in grief and sorrow! There are many reasons, but the main one is this … I KNOW FOR CERTAIN THAT HEAVEN IS REAL! I know that it is not simply someplace up in the sky that many believers have in their minds where people go “to rest and float on clouds”, to empty their sorrows and pains of this life! NO! For me … I KNOW IT IS REAL! It is the place where our Savior, Jesus Christ, our Father God, and Holy Spirit inhabit. Of course, the Holy Spirit also currently inhabits us here on this earth once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord! How can that be? Because He is God, He is supernatural, He is not like a man … He is God!
When my husband of 30 years, Ron, went home to be with Jesus, I remember so many things that went through my mind, things I questioned and wondered. I never questioned God about who He is, but I did question how I could say I believed Him to be who I say, and yet, not experience the benefits I confessed about Him. I do remember having questions about heaven in my desire to know how Ron was and what he was doing. This was a part of my process of sorting out all the pieces of the puzzle of my life in the current circumstances! I was by myself in a foreign country, without a church or other believers close by. I knew many nice people, whom I will always be so grateful to for their love and friendship, but without the Lord as a foundation for our friendship, it left a huge gap of true comfort and help. This means that I had ONLY God to turn to, for only He could help me now! Many people, even Believers, told me that it was okay to be mad at God, thinking that this would somehow help me process the grief! Thank God that I knew NOT to go down that road! My response was, “Why would I be mad at God? He didn’t do this! If I get mad at God, then what will I do? If I turn my back on my only help, where will I go?” Thank God my foundation was solid enough not to take that “good Christian advise”! I knew that I desperately needed the Lord and if I were to get mad at Him, I would be on my own to get through this. It’s not that He can’t handle it if we get mad, it’s this … when do we as people ever turn to the people we are mad at for help? Do we talk with them, ask them questions, ask them for counsel, for advice, for help, do we look to them for comfort? No, of course not! If I were to cancel the Lord out of these equations of my daily life and road to recovery, then what would I have done, and to whom would I have turned?
I turned to HEAVEN for my help! Even though I was struggling to keep my head and all 88 pounds of my flesh above the water each day, in my heart I continued to call out to the Lord for help, as I knew only He could bring me out of this Valley of the Shadow of Death! There is so much to the story of how He healed, restored, and put my life back together, that I don’t have time to tell it here, but in short, over time and yet all at once … UP FROM THE GRAVE I AROSE! As I did there was also this mighty, victorious TRIUMPHING OVERALL MY FOES that was forged on the inside of me!
To digress in the story a bit … two days before leaving Colombia to return to the United States, I was awakened with the most vivid dream. Part of what I wrote down as I recorded this dream was this: “A dead woman arose. Her feet had been chopped off, but she was completed restored and healed”. In parenthesis, I wrote (“Blessed are the feet that carry the good news”), for I knew this woman who rose from the dead would use those feet to carry the good news of Jesus around the world! By the way, there were a total of nine dead people who arose in this dream! There was also a Bride getting ready in a musty, smelly, dirty closet! I said, “Oh no, that can’t be right!” That part is for another story!
For now … with the most glorious of heavenly encounters with the God-head (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), I was being changed! One day as I was driving down the road in Austin rejoicing over all the amazing supernatural work the Lord was doing on the inside of me, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me: “Laura, that first dead woman — she was you!” WOW! WHAT? I was so startled, then I began to laugh hysterically as it was so funny to me! The joy that sprang up out of my inner being became rivers of living water that flowed so gently but so strongly! Immediately I said to Holy Spirit, “Thank you for not telling me I was dead at the time! I knew I was hurting really badly, but I had no idea I was dead! You knew I would not have been able to take that at the time, but now that you have been doing this most amazing work on the inside of me, and bringing me back to life … I see it! I understand! I was dead and You have raised me to new life! You set my feet to dancing, restored my joy, caused life to spring up out of my spirit and soul, You have revealed yourself to me in the depths of my being and broken the alabaster box of precious fragrance and oil on the inside of me. I have been crucified, buried, and RAISED UP with You! The mystery of God at work in my life had set me free, reorganized the pieces of my internal puzzle, and set me on a path of the deepest love I had ever known. In fact, even though I had been saved and Spirit-filled for 28 years at that time, I had no idea this depth of love, joy, peace, faith, goodness, and supernatural encounter with the Lord was even possible! It was certainly beyond my “Christian box of experience”!
In this time of healing, restoring, and reorganizing, by way of the unveiling of my Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit in new and mysterious ways, I was (and am) fully persuaded that death has no hold on me, that life is only worth living when lived fully for and with HIM! A deep inner love for Jesus emerged, and up out of the lover arose a warrior! These two expressions of Christ (the Lion and the Lamb) flow out of the deep place of mystery and union. This union must be experienced, as the natural mind can never comprehend or understand it because it is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit within our spirit, that then floods our hearts, minds, emotions, expressions, and lives with the most overwhelmingly amazing ABUNDANT LIFE! A life filled with joy and freedom that is indescribable to the human mind. Night after night, I had encounters with the Lord that literally realigned my life and understanding of “Who” He truly is! His ways began to come to life on the inside of me, as over and over, I would proclaim, “This is the mystery that Paul preached – the union with Christ!” At that time, I did not understand it all, but I knew my life was being re-formed and re-fashioned by the Master Himself!
As Heaven came alive to me in the most paradigm-shifting ways, it seemed that my fears, strongholds, bruises, hangups, hurts, pains, and traumas all simply disappeared! They were not worked out through the process of my mind – they simply were dispelled as the TRUTH was being unveiled in my innermost being. Once again, THE MYSTERY OF GOD is being made manifest in my life. Heaven became so real to me that the grip of trauma, death, and issues simply melted like wax in the presence of the Lord! Almost as if – POOF, THEY WERE GONE! Destroyed by the LIVING TRUTH of CHRIST WITHIN! Grief, sorrow, pain, trauma, fear of what I would do now … all simply dispelled as the Light of Christ flooded my soul. One of the things I say when people tell me I am brave is: “Maybe you have never been dead before, but I have and NOW I AM ALIVE!” What can death do to me? What can that problem pose that TOGETHER, my God, and I cannot move out of the way?”
Supernaturally, I understood my identity as a DAUGHTER! Previously, I knew it in my head, and I thought I truly understood it, but my friends … THE LIGHT FLIPPED ON INSIDE OF ME … and I KNEW IT … by way of REVELATION LIGHT! All the competition, need for validation, approval of man, climbing the corporate ladder (even inside the church), proving my worth, having to be right all the time, envy when others were blessed, and so much more! All of these vanished in light of the LOVE OF MY FATHER who BY TRUTH … HAD COME TO SET ME FREE! An endless fountain of joy, freedom, expression, relationship building from a place of truth, ALL BECAME WHO I WAS … not what I said I believed! There’s a fountain inside of me that cannot be turned off. I am the only one who could ever turn it off, and I do not intend to ever let that happen by believing the lies of the enemy against my life! I sing, dance, praise, worship, and love my GOD with everything I have! As a result, I also love people like never before. I went from a girl who rarely let people into my life, to someone who now lives transparently because of the love that has set me free! I no longer have to protect myself, or keep people at a distance! Now, I live a life not as a leader, but as a follower of Christ who leads! His life and love continue to move mountains in my life! I have learned to be content as I rest in Him, even while pushing the envelope of my destiny! The mystery … how can I rest and press into my destiny all at the same time? Only in Him!
This is a snippet of my story and why I KNOW THAT HEAVEN IS REAL! I no longer believe it only in my mind and “by faith”, but I believe it with every fiber of my being. I don’t have to think about it, conjure it up, decide to believe this way, or any other naturally-minded way … I SIMPLY KNOW from the deepest part of my being that everything within me lives, moves breathes, and finds its being IN HIM!
So, for those of you who have expressed your concern for me at my Mom’s passing” into glory” … I can assure you that “death has no sting for me”! The Lord has taught me how to hold onto the memories and reject the pain and deep grief, for I know that OUR REDEEMER LIVES! This does not mean that there have not been tears, releasing, and processing, for we grieve but not as the world grieves! Obviously, this is a part of the processing I am doing, by writing the thoughts and emotions that are flooding my soul. I am rejoicing that she is free, healed, and dancing in the presence of her Savior – totally free!. This is not just a nice thought for me, it is an absolute knowing deep within me because I KNOW THAT HEAVEN IS ABSOLUTELY REAL!
When my mom left her earthly body behind and went to heaven on Saturday, January 1, 2022 … the Lord showed me the party in heaven, filled with rejoicing, dancing, praising, worshipping, celebration, and exuberant joy! He said to me: “This is how heaven celebrates when one of our own comes home”! WOWEE … what a party it was! The most glorious of glory-filled, worship-filled, joy-filled celebrations that I have ever seen! Not only did I see it … I GOT TO BE A PART OF IT! I was right there celebrating at the “homecoming party” thrown in her honor! What a mighty, glorious, radiant Jesus we have the opportunity to know and partner with on this earth! It’s the only relationship we have that will NEVER END! Death will never separate us from Him! He already died so that WE CAN LIVE ETERNALLY WITH HIM! All other relationships on earth will end in death, but our relationship with Him will NEVER END! It will continue throughout all eternity! I rejoice that my mom has now entered into the joy of her Lord for all eternity! There is no sorrow, no pain, no grief for me, because I know that OUR REDEEMER LIVES and HE IS EVER-LIVING IN US, FOR US, and WITH US! Oh, death … where is your sting?
We need not ever again live in fear, grief (although we do grieve, but not as the world grieves), pain, suffering, abuse, trauma, insecurity, approval of man, or any other affliction from the pit of hell. We have a Savior that will SET US FREE, MAKE HEAVEN REAL, and TAKE US DEEP INTO HIS HEART! His ways will become our ways, and His thoughts will become our thoughts! He is not a man that He should lie! HE WILL DO IT! Even if you are like I was … saved and filled with His Spirit, but living a Christian life mostly from “the mind” … JUMP IN ON THE JOURNEY and watch what 2022 (or whenever you may be reading this) will become for you! If Heaven is not ABSOLUTELY REAL TO YOU … that’s your sign that you need to answer the call to take the journey into the deep places with Him. He will set you free, teach you, heal you, fill you, and make HEAVEN COME ALIVE!
In closing, I am inviting you to come along on this JOURNEY DEEP INTO GOD’S HEART! There is a place deep within where He lives and desires to walk and talk with us! Firstly, we must meet Him by acknowledging that He not only died BUT THAT HE DIED FOR ME! He not only died for me, but HE ALSO ROSE AGAIN for me! He carried my sin, my sickness, my pain, my suffering ALL SO I WOULDN’T HAVE TO! We have the opportunity to exchange our self-centered, and self-help ways of life, our religious traditions and beliefs, for HIS WAYS! Simply FROM OUR HEART … asking Him to forgive our sins, cleanse and heal us, wash us clean, come live in our inner being in the place that was built within us for Him to live from the beginning of creation, to fill us with HIS SPIRIT, make Himself REAL, lead us, guide us, teach us, and take us on the JOURNEY DEEP WITHIN HIS HEART! At the moment we mean this … HE WILL DO IT! He will take you places you never knew existed, and He will make HEAVEN REAL TO YOU, TOO!
“But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable is taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true: Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now? It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (The Message)