(Photo: Courtesy Eva Piper)
Eva Piper is the wife of best-selling author Don Piper, whose "90 Minutes in Heaven" has brought hope and healing to many. Now Eva is telling her side of the story in the upcoming book "A Walk Through the Dark." Eva spoke with The Christian Post about her own experience and how her husband's trip to Heaven influenced her life.
The Christian Post: Why are you telling your story now?
Piper: It took years to do it, as I would travel with Don on-and-off and work. I retired from teaching four years ago and started traveling with him more and more; people would inevitably stop by the table and ask when I was going to write my book. Friends would often tell me that people needed to hear my side of the story, how I survived everything. I turned it over to God and received confirmation that it was my time to share my story. I felt that I had experience as a caregiver and could share what things worked for me, what was in place in my life, which is something that everybody needs to know about.
CP: What do you hope to offer readers by telling your side of the story, the details not necessarily featured in "90 Minutes in Heaven"?
Piper: His book talks more about heavenly things, while mine is definitely more earth-bound. It answers questions: how do you keep going day after day after day, when you are so exhausted? How do you keep yourself up when there's someone depending on you? There's the "walking in my footsteps" thing as well as how to minister to a caregiver or someone helping another through a hard time. How do we help them?
We often hear those words, "I'm praying for you, let me know how I can help you," and nine times out of 10 those words aren't followed up because the person doesn't know what he or she needs at that time … is dealing with so much. I hope that someone can do something in the name of Christ; we are the body of Christ and need to be acting and moving and ministering to others.
I want people to be connected and feel that someone else has been through a similar situation … that God wants that relationship and connection with us. We are the ones that pull back from God and aren't doing what we should in order to be with the Lord.
CP: How would you say that your own faith has grown and deepened in the years since Don's accident?
Piper: I was raised in the church. My dad was a deacon in the Baptist church, so I've been in church all my life. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord as a teenager, and I just went through the motions at times. I heard everything, and I saw it lived out, but I just went through things.
After the wreck, it is a joy to have a relationship with Christ. I wake up in the mornings, read my devotional, and have an ongoing discussion with God. It's a real and deep relationship. That doesn't mean I don't have tough moments or down moments. I do. But when I get down, I realize that it's just a natural thing for me to turn to God and lay it all at His feet. I submit it all to God and pray for peace that He is in control. I have now learned that when I am going through the tough times and He sends me a spirit of peace that He is in control and all will be well, whether it works out the way I want.
So many people feel that if they don't get what they want when they want it, God is ignoring them. But God always wants what is best for us, even if it means telling us "no" or "not right now." He sees the big picture more than we ever can.
CP: What is a life support system? Those things we can do to be prepared in case of disaster?
Piper: Mine consisted first of my family, my Christian friends. It's important to have those lines of communication open, to have those relationships. You have to have people you can go to when crisis hits. Be involved in your church and with your church family. The church's main job is to minister to one another – if you're not in the middle of that family, you can't count on that family, but you should be able to. It's those types of things that will help one make it through.
Your relationship with God is crucial. I found out that prayer is more than just a "Sunday School" prayer … it's an honest dialogue with God, where you let Him just know everything that is on your heart. I also found that prayer is a lot of listening because God is talking to us – it is a two-way street. He talks to us through books, devotionals, messages, people's lives. It is a very important part of being prepared. Is it a strong relationship or a surface relationship? How deep are your roots? Mine were there, but they got a lot stronger … Thankfully they were strong enough to hold me to the ground during the crisis.
"A Walk in the Dark" is available now.