From Chapter 2 of The Ripple Effect
I was always looking for the missing pieces in my life, not knowing what it was that was missing...
A great awakening has begun. People around the world are opening their eyes to their own spiritual natures. They are beginning to see who they truly are and what they have always been—beings with eternal pasts and glorious futures. In my near death experience I was told the Awakening would happen soon, and I am deeply grateful that Embraced By The Light and The Awakening Heart have played a part in it. Many readers have written suggesting that this was my mission in life—to help create this Awakening through my books and lectures. I can now accept this as part of my mission, but I know that my entire mission is not complete; Jesus promised me that I would be taken home as soon as it was done. As long as there is life, God wants us to do more.
Our individual missions are important, whether we are to reach out to millions or, like the drunken man I saw in my experience, to reach only one. God may make our missions known to us, or he may not. Regardless, they are still our works to be done—works we helped plan and agreed to perform before we came here.
If we are here to love fully, to expand and to magnify our lives, what is the purpose? How will these things help or hinder us on the other side? Were we not content to stay in heaven with God and be near him? Why would we choose to be here when we could be safe and happy in heaven with God and all our friends?
Searching for meaning in this life is often painful, especially when experiencing a tragedy or crisis. I am often asked why, if we already had the answers in our prior existence, do we have to come to earth to search for them? The following letter provides a few answers to these universal questions.
I first read your book about a year ago, and I've referred to it frequently ever since. It has meant so much to me and my family. I am profoundly grateful to you and others who have been willing to be open and generous in sharing messages of comfort and hope from the "other side."
So many things in your book touch me deeply because of the specific trials and heartaches I have had. The things you were taught in the spirit world about the meaning and purposes of this school we call mortality have reinforced beliefs I already held. They opened the way for me to understand much more deeply how we exercised our free agency in designing our individual mortal courses of study. (I sometimes say, "Why didn't I just sign up for French?!") This fuller understanding is very sustaining as I struggle to meet my life's challenges. It helps me to be more truly patient and to appreciate the soul's progress—which is often unrelated to merely worldly or easily visible change and accomplishment.
I also feel less guarded about loving where there is risk of much pain. I remember you saying in a television interview that the rose you communed with in the heavenly garden grew when you loved it. You related that principle to each of us. The truth the heart knows—so much more readily than the mind!—is exquisitely simple, isn't it? And so beautiful! We only fear to trust that truth because we wish for pain-free lives. But in fact pain is a teacher without compare, when we will accept its lessons. I'm not suggesting we seek pain—heaven forbid! But if we suffer because we love, then the purpose is worth the sacrifice. Christ is our Great Example in this, isn't he?—as he is in all things good.
I can scarcely think about your loving reunion with our Savior, and your feelings of being home at last, without being filled with longing and homesickness myself. But your experience helps me feel confident of his perfect love. Your book also helps me know that I'm still here—in a place that isn't my home—because I have not yet completed my mortal mission, and I would want to go home without completing it.
Leaving the peace and security of heaven to come the earth was a willing sacrifice on our part. We agreed to the sacrifice for the same reasons we spend thousands of dollars and years of effort to graduate from college. And as long as we have life here, we are learning, our spirits are growing, and we are coming closer to the divine, even by the things we suffer. We may not always know what to do in our lives, we may be troubled and in pain, but be assured, we are here for divine purposes. And the greatest divine purpose of all is to love. Even when we are confused or imprisoned by choices we have made, we can always learn to love.
Although I cannot imagine what I am to do, I can love, and I will continue to think positively, and this may help me with my purpose. No longer does life look routine, but filled with great possibilities. I may never know if I accomplished my goal—like the drunken man in Embraced By The Light—but I understand that we are all here for a reason.
Yes, each one of us came to earth on a personal mission to be loved or to give love. We are to learn the value and price of love. Other parts of our mission include learning patience, self-discipline, and humility. These attributes are parts of love. I saw in heaven that those spirits who were to become slaves on earth knew it before coming. I understood that they may have chosen to teach compassion or to learn humility in this life, even though it would come in such a degrading way. They volunteered for their terrible stations in life, sacrificing much else they might have accomplished for the sake of a deeper spiritual growth born of the offenses they would suffer. I recall Christ's words in the New Testament: "Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!" (Matthew 18:7.) It is not God's will that we enslave one another, or beat or kill or hurt one another. But the facts of this life are known to God before they happen, and in his fore-knowledge he helps us plan those missions in life that best meet our needs. Surely there are more positive, more noble ways to teach compassion or to learn humility than through slavery, but slavery is what mankind made available to God to work with on earth. Children are born—some into slavery, some into wars, some into starvation—but all came with a mission to fulfill.
Our sufferings come not only with a price, but with a reward. How far will we grow in God's love through the benefit of our trials? Some may be here to break a family's cycle of addiction. Others, to support a family member or friend in their difficult mission. Some come to earth only briefly, but in their few minutes or hours may touch a life for eternity.
One reader writes:
If we all have a mission, why do some of us die through murder or accident at an early age? What mission could a six-month-old have fulfilled?