Stephanie and Christian Nielson had a fairytale life. They had a wonderful marriage, were deeply in love, and had four small children under the age of six years old. It was a life that most would envy. Stephanie, a stay at home mom, had a very successful blog. Christian had his dream job and had just become a pilot. They had large, supportive families. In July 2008 Stephanie and Christian were nearly killed when the small plane they were in crashed. The other occupant of the plane died, and Stephanie and Christian were critically injured. Stephanie had burns over 80% of her body and was not expected to live.
After three months in a coma, Stephanie awoke in a burn center in Arizona. Stephanie had plenty of reasons to just give up. Her life now consisted of a seemingly endless series of excruciating procedures to recover from her extensive burns. Her face, so beautiful and full of life before the accident, was now horrifically disfigured. Her youngest daughter couldn’t even look Stephanie in the face and her “baby”, young Nicholas (“Gigs”) did not recognize her at all. She felt terribly guilty for the pain that her children were experiencing. It was a nightmare.
Stephanie fought through the pain, the depression, and the despair and little by little, through the love of her Heavenly Father, emerged from a place that can only be described as hell on earth. Her courage, faith and tenacity are nothing short of inspirational. Her story is one that will change your life.
In her book, Stephanie says, “I wasn’t convinced (that ‘Heaven is Here’ should be the title of the book, as suggested by her editor). I know that there is a heaven awaiting me that is infinitely more beautiful that our life on Earth (but)…insofar as heaven is a joyful place filled with people you love, and where you feel peaceful and genuinely happy, then it’s true. Heaven is right here.”