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7 Lessons from Heaven: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life Paperback – September 19, 2017
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“Mary Neal is the sort of friend – and doctor – we all want to have. Compassionate, kind, thorough, knowledgeable, healing in the best sense of the word. In her newest book she calls on all of those gifts to explain the unexplainable and show how the heavenly impacts earth.”
– Rick Hamlin, executive editor, Guideposts magazine and author of Pray for Me
"One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves in this earthly lifetime is whether or not we believe in God. Through sharing her personal experience and exceptional insight in 7 Lessons, Dr. Mary Neal paints a beautiful picture of heaven and has outlines a perfect path for us to follow on our quest for knowing our loving, personal, trustworthy God. I hope when you finish these pages, when you are asked if you believe in angels or God, you can firmly say, with absolute trust, "I Do!"
– Deanne Breedlove
“I love the way Mary so winsomely and beautifully describes the relationship we can and were created to have with God. The statement, “one man’s experience trumps another man’s opinion,” is very applicable to Mary’s life and the content of this book. She shares with passion and conviction what she has personally experienced so that we might embrace the truth and promise of it all. This is a must read!”
–Terry Meeuwsen, Co-host of The700 Club
“Are there any questions more important than what happens when we die or whether God is real? Mary Neal’s wonderfully clear but utterly extraordinary explanation of her experience is itself a gift from heaven to all of us. I am absolutely thrilled we have it and recommend it highly.”
–Eric Metaxas, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life and host of the nationally syndicated Eric Metaxas Show
“You must read this book. The new details of Mary Neal’s encounter with God are glorious, the collection of near death experiences through history is compelling, and the evidence for God is overwhelming. But best is Mary’s recipe for personal joy through trust in God.”
–Douglas Ell, author of Counting to God
"In 7 Lessons from Heaven, Dr. Mary Neal shares more about her inspiring near death experience and God’s profound love for us. Her powerful testimony and the practical advice she gives on accepting God’s love, forgiveness, and trusting Him completely is life-changing and should not be missed."
–Immaculee Ilibagiza, best-selling author of Left to Tell and Led by Faith
“Having spent time with Dr. Mary Neal, I appreciate that this disciplined, analytical surgeon put her own near-death experience to the test while remaining committed to scripture. If you want practical ways to bring more of Heaven into your life today, Dr. Neal shows how.”
–John Burke, pastor and author of New York Times bestseller Imagine Heaven
"Dr. Mary Neal is a fine, caring physician who took a profound journey into the next life when she died. Near death experiences have now entered into the consciousness of the medical profession, and Dr. Neal’s astonishing book shares a wealth of practical and inspiring spiritual lessons gained from her journey to the other side. This is truly a delightful and extraordinary book."
–Raymond Moody, MD, author of Reflections on Life After Life, (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1977)
About the Author
Mary C. Neal is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, former director of spine surgery at the University of Southern California, and a founding partner of the Orthopedic Associates of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She received her medical degree from the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also trained in general surgery before completing an orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Southern California. She has served as an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, is a member of the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations, and created the Willie Neal Environmental Awareness Fund (wnealenvirofund.org).
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NOTE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS “SPOILERS”.
Seven Lessons from Heaven has two main parts. Part One, which is approximately two-thirds of the book, shares the doctor’s story of drowning, meeting Jesus, and returning to her Earthly body. Throughout these chapters, she shares seven lessons (“life-altering insights”) that she brought back from heaven. They are explained in detail throughout the chapters, and she summarizes them as this:
1. Circumstances are seen differently through the lens of heaven.
2. Death is not the end.
3. God is love, and forgiveness sets us free.
4. Heaven is real and grace abounds.
5. God wants us to be seen and shows His presence in our world through miracles.
6. God has a plan for us that is one of hope, purpose and beauty.
7. In God’s time, beauty blossoms in all things.
In Part Two, Dr. Neal shares a “practical and life-tested way to live differently with the beautiful truths of heaven in mind”. She calls this living with “absolute trust”. She guides us through the stages of hope, faith, then ultimately, absolute trust. This is done by doing the following:
1. Look beyond: Form a hypothesis with an open heart by asking ourselves all sorts of questions.
2. Look around: Gather “evidence” from people and the world around us.
3. Look within: Write out a chronology of our life, then look for signs of God in our story.
4. Form a conclusion: Reevaluate our hypothesis and make a choice.
These four steps are described in detail in Part Two. They take considerable time, thought and soul-searching on our part. When completed, hopefully the person will have absolute trust. I must confess, I was not ready to tackle this assignment myself at the present time, but I may do so eventually.
There will be believers of this book, as there will be doubters. Some people may believe this was simply a dream, some will think Dr. Neal is lying, and some will have no doubt she had conversations with Jesus. Everyone is on a unique journey, so no two people will respond the same. As is asked in the book: How much evidence do YOU need? As for whether or not I believe that Dr. Neal went to heaven and back, I honestly do not know. However, I believe that she believes she did, and she feels compelled to share her story. Therefore, I wanted to read it to see what she had to say.
I found the book to be an intriguing read. I especially enjoyed the stories the doctor shared of others who had similar stories/miracles. Although it was interesting, I felt at times the story could have been more condensed. Would recommend, especially to those who are struggling with their own faith journey.
As a primary care physician, I have the privileged of listening to life changing stories every day. I pretty much only consider personal change if it is attached to a story. Sometimes an individual can change me too by sharing their experience of trauma or challenge. Mary's story can do that for her reader. I don't think her readers will be bored hearing the story of her kayak accident and the story of her child dying. The maturity she gained as an author between her two books will be a treat to those of you who read her first book.
After retelling her stories and sharing those of many other people, she goes on in give us a step by step guide for spiritual growth. This book helps us to know, in a specific sense, ways to use our pain or even regular daily experiences to get to faith, gratitude, and being of service. By sharing her story, she shows us it is possible.
I read some of the few negative reviews of this book and wondered if I read the same book. I didn't find it to be preachy or elitist in any way. I think the book is approachable to those who have a traditional Bible based faith and well as to those who do not. She shares her spiritual and physical experiences and leaves her reader to opt in or out.
Reading this book called me on to spiritual and personal growth. I think it will for you too if you choose to let it.