Book Blog - Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth

Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth Part 1 – Chapter 2 – Evidence of Him

CHAPTER 2 – Copyright 2023 Carla J. Wood

Evidence of Him

All throughout my history
Your faithfulness has walked beside me
The winter storms made way for spring
In every season, from where I’m standing

I see the evidence of Your goodness
All over my life, all over my life
I see Your promises in fulfillment
All over my life, all over my life


By Ed Cash, Josh Baldwin, and Ethan Hulse

I was born in 1961 to newly committed first generation Christians who were eager to point us children to Jesus yet were struggling to figure out how to lead a Christian family in the last half of the 20th century. My parents liked to tell me God really wanted me to live because, after 36 hours of labor, without an epidural, my mother lost it and they had to knock her out and push on her belly to push me out. I was born completely purple/blue and my great Aunt Anne, the nurse on call, was afraid I would have brain damage. While some would like to call me crazy, I didn’t have brain damage, but was the ugliest baby I have ever seen. Really!

Due to financial problems, I spent the first six months of my life living with my parents from Friday night to Sunday evening, then at my Grandma Barkley’s from Sunday night to Friday evening. I bonded deeply with my grandmother who had always wanted a little girl. My mother, already struggling with a mental illness, probably from her childhood trauma and/or a high functioning autism, did not bond with me. While growing up, I knew there was a wall between me and my mom but didn’t understand why until I had my first child, Shawn, and she told me about our first six-month separation and how blessed I was to be able to stay home with my baby. This sad lack of bonding would be what would later push me deeper into the arms of Jesus in my childhood.

One of my earliest memories involves our move from Seattle to Santa Maria, California. Along the way we stopped at hotel for the night. Mom stayed in the room with my baby sister, Carolyn, and Dad took me to the pool. He visited with some other travelers while I played on the corner steps of the pool. I slipped into the water and, twirling around, clearly saw the drain at the bottom of the pool. It seemed to me I was floating down towards the drain. Fear was not part of this experience; instead, I felt peaceful, but it was seasoned with a little concern that I might go right down that drain. This experience of peace came back to me clearly when Taylor drowned and was a great comfort to me. Dad noticed I was not on the steps and reached in for my hand. While in the water, I didn’t sense I could not breathe, but as he lifted me out, the choking began. After clearing my lungs, I asked, “Daddy, who pulled the plug?”


We lived in California for two years, then moved back to Seattle because my dad’s father, Grandpa Matt had a stroke and Grandma needed help with his care. I loved being close to the two people who I had spent most of my beginning of life with.

For the first nine years of my life, aside from our California years, I grew up in a wonderful grace-filled Bible-believing church in southwest Seattle. It was a loving, caring, fun, musical church and my dad was one of the worship leaders, playing his trumpet when not singing. This church taught in a real-life way how much God loves us, no matter what, and how to walk with Jesus in His truth. I knew unconditional love in this church and others to come.

During my first Vacation Bible School experience, at the age of five, our pastor taught our Bible lessons. It was the summer of 1967, and I was completely taken with the fact that Jesus loved me so much that he died and suffered so I could go to Heaven someday. I remember thinking my pastor was so kind to share that with me. I pondered the rest of the day how amazing it was that a loving God would send his Son for me. He cared for me as an individual and wanted to be my best friend! I couldn’t wait for prayer time that night.

“Mommy, I want to ask Jesus to be my friend. I want to go to Heaven!” With my mom’s quiet tears flowing, we kneeled near my bed, and I told Jesus I was sorry for my sins and wanted to go to Heaven. I could tell Mom’s tears were happy tears and even at that young age, the Spirit showed me why she was happy. Shortly after this, I would experience Mom’s joy myself.

We didn’t have a television, but our neighbor lady did. I thought it strange when my mom mentioned to her that she wanted to see Billy Graham that night. We usually went to my grandparents’ house when we wanted to watch something. The kind lady was not particularly interested in Billy Graham, but perhaps she was a little curious – in any event, she was kind enough to let my mom and me watch the preacher on her TV. Before we left for her house Mom sat me down and suggested we pray to ask Jesus to touch our neighbor’s heart when she heard Billy Graham speak. That sounded good to me, but I wasn’t sure this lady would listen. She was nice so I doubted she would need Jesus. My Grandma didn’t like to talk about God either, but she was a good lady. I had been concerned that Grandma and Grandpa, and people like our neighbor would not get to go to Heaven. It seemed to me that people who were pretty good on their own didn’t feel like they needed Jesus.

 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 TLB

At the end of the show, when Billy prayed the sinner’s prayer, our neighbor bowed her head and asked Jesus right then and there to be her Lord. I was amazed. Jesus let me be a part of sharing His love and I liked that. I began to pray even more for my grandparents and family who weren’t sure what to do with Jesus.

Two months later, my Grandpa Matt had another stroke. He was moved to their home from the hospital after a couple weeks. Then for my birthday, I opened my grandparents’ memorable gift next to Grandpa’s in-home hospital bed. Grandpa Matt and Grandma Bernice gave me a beautiful shiny floral raincoat, rain hat, boots, and matching umbrella. These were very necessary items for Seattle school girls. I loved my outfit, mostly because Grandpa and Grandma gave it to me. However, I had just seen Mary Poppins that year and knew that if God wanted me to, I could fly with my umbrella. I prayed before one windy school day that Jesus would help me fly just a little. Waiting for the crossing guard at the school corner, the wind was blowing hard. “This is it!” I told my friend. I caught some wind under my umbrella and really believed I lifted off the ground. I’m not sure if I did, or just slid off the curb, but I believed my umbrella was very special because my grandparents gave it to me.

A couple days later, Grandpa got very sick. His liver was failing, and he entered the hospital again. A week before Christmas, our pastor accompanied my parents to the hospital on December 18th. He asked Grandpa if he believed in Jesus and wanted to go to Heaven. Grandpa cried, nodded his head, smiled and a few minutes later took his next breath in Heaven.

When Dad came home and told me what happened, I was really happy for Grandpa. He got to be with Jesus! I couldn’t understand why Grandma was so sad and didn’t like Christmas very much that year. I tried to help her understand but of course as a child, I didn’t understand her sorrow – and she didn’t understand my hope. We both did understand, however, that we loved each other, and we grew even closer as she kept me each day after school and on holidays. I never stopped praying she would make Jesus her best friend. Now, I’m in awe of how much faith I had when a man, whom I loved so deeply was taken from me.

Soon after this, my faith began to grow as I saw God moving in my life. I began to look for more opportunities to see what God would do and how I could help Him.

Book Blog - Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth

Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth Part 1 Chapter 1 Praise You in this Storm

CHAPTER 1 – Copyright 2023 – Carla J. Wood

Praise You in This Storm

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Praise You in This Storm

Written by: Bernie Herms, John Mark, Mark Hall

Saturday, July 20, 2013

On a blistering hot summer day, I sat watching a detective show while waiting to pick up our youngest of four and only daughter, Bethany, from her new barista job. We planned to drive together to a late afternoon wedding in a little town near our home of Boise, Idaho. In the heat of our non-air-conditioned home, I decided to ignore my frazzled house and just relax. My husband of almost 30 years, Gary, had left home in the wee hours of the morning for his 12-hour day shift at the power company. Our eldest son Shawn and his wife Angela, who had recently moved in with us with their sweet baby, Josie, were enjoying a family day at home and catching up on laundry. Drew, our third son, waited for Shawn to take him to his afternoon shift at the sandwich shop. Our newly married second born, 23-year-old Taylor, was river surfing on the Boise River. His recent Maui honeymoon had inspired our always-adventurous son to find a way to surf landlocked Idaho. His wife Michelle was planning a celebratory dinner for Taylor and his friends after the river surf adventure. Earlier that week I’d cautioned him to wear a life jacket during this newest crazy adventure, but he’d assured me there was no need for worry. My life of parenting was a constant practice of trusting God with Taylor, who had been cliff diving and undertaken several other wild pursuits that would give any parent cause for alarm.

The anticipation of seeing Taylor and Michelle the following day floated in the forefront of my mind as I thought about attending another wedding, just about a week after our new couple returned from their honeymoon. I was excited and eager to hear about their trip, see their photos from Hawaii and receive the gifts they’d brought home for us.

Later, driving to pick Bethany up for this wedding of our children’s good friend, I reveled in the new memory of Taylor and Michelle’s wedding less than a month earlier. Many who attended the event noted that the wedding seemed “magical.” I labeled it a “holy-anointed-joy-filled evening”. It was the happiest day of my life! A strange statement to say in light of all the good things God had given to me, but never before had I felt such joy. At the time, I even remember thinking This must be what the joy in Heaven will be like.

When we arrived at our friend’s wedding location, Bethany and I roamed around the beautiful riverside setting, eager to see that radiant look on the bride that we had so recently seen on Michelle. Like Michelle, our friend had planned a lovely outdoor wedding. Looking around, I envied the owners of the wedding event center, which boasted two houses, ponds fed by the Boise River and landscaping that would compete well with any English country garden.

My friend, and high school principal of our school, came and sat by us. I had been the music teacher and worship leader for years at our Christian elementary campus, and I was waiting for approval from her and the superintendent to become the worship director for both campuses. With school starting in just three weeks, anxiety for me (a planner by nature) was rising, but patience in waiting on God’s perfect timing was something I had been learning.

But as we got caught up on our summer activities and news, the secondary principal surprised me by giving me the much-hoped-for news that I would indeed be worship director for both campuses. After six months of studying worship and thanksgiving at a deeper level, I was elated at the opportunity to take my new vision of worship and what I’d learned about God to the students at the secondary campus. I had taught most of them from kindergarten through grade school and cried every year when they left sixth grade – I was ecstatic to now be allowed to “grow up” with my older “graduates.” I would soon find out why my study of worship was so important in my life.

With my heart full of joy, we enjoyed a beautiful spirit-filled wedding ceremony. Afterward, Bethany went to get a cool drink, and I visited with the bride’s family. Her cousin Tom had just been killed in Afghanistan, an event that had shaken all of my children who attended school with him. Tom’s aunt was about to introduce me to his mother, when suddenly, out of the sea of happy faces, our eldest son, Shawn – who had not attended the wedding – appeared stiffly in front of me.

“Where’s Bethany?” he asked. I pointed to where she was, and he said, “Go over to that porch, Mom, and wait for us.”

I waited only a few seconds, but a whole novel of thoughts raced through my mind as something obviously was wrong. I knew it was probably Taylor. After all, hadn’t Gary and I had dreams about him drowning? But I had prayed he wouldn’t drown in Maui, and he didn’t even have a close call. Maybe I didn’t pray enough this week. But I did give him to God, so it can’t be that. Or maybe it was just a fire at the house, and no one was hurt. Or maybe someone was in an accident, but they would be okay, and we just needed to get the hospital and pray and see God glorified in their healing. Was it Gary? He had high blood pressure. But in my heart, I knew it was Taylor… because all his life, God had been preparing me to let him go.

Shawn found Bethany and they came together to the stairs of the old farmhouse where I was standing. Shaking, Shawn slowly explained to both of us.

“Mom, you need to sit down.” I sat obediently, knowing it wouldn’t matter if I was standing or sitting.

“There was an accident on the river and Taylor is gone.”

“Is he at the hospital? Is he on life support?”

“No, Mom, he drowned. A policeman is in the parking area ready to take us to the hospital.”

Bethany and I both cried out. “No! No!” In complete shock, we hugged each other. Almost immediately, I felt we had to go to be with Michelle, Gary, and the rest of our family.

But first, I needed people praying. I had to tell my principal friend why we were leaving. Running to her, it seemed I was in a nightmare. I couldn’t move fast enough, the reality was a foggy wave, then it slammed me again as my head throbbed.

“Kim! Taylor drowned and he’s dead!” There – I said it! It pierced my heart.

I don’t know what she said in response. She was in disbelief too. It was such a shocking thing to happen.  Tom’s aunt saw me and asked what was wrong. I remember telling her that it was crazy, but that our son had just died. I apologized that we had to leave the wedding and left to cross the acre of garden between me and the parking lot. Holding hands with both Bethany and Shawn, I felt someone run up behind me and tap me on the back. Theresa – the mother who had just lost her son – hugged me, crying, and said she’d be praying for us.

Arriving in the dirt parking lot, we walked past my van. As you would expect, I wasn’t allowed to drive it because I was in shock.  Standing next to the police SUV was an officer, who was also a respected parent and friend from our school. This first kiss from God in this tragedy – He sent a familiar face who understood our faith and our family. I sat in the front, Shawn and Bethany in the back. We headed to the hospital.

From my recent deep journey in worship and thanksgiving, I knew it was imperative that I pray and worship our Lord in that police car before anything else because I knew in His presence was the only place I would find peace.

“Father, we thank you for the strength you promised us. We thank you that Taylor trusted your Son as his Savior and is with you. Please be with us. Be with Michelle. Oh, Michelle! Carry us through this storm. Help us and be glorified as we trust you with Taylor.”

After that prayer, I knew this was where the rubber met the road; I had to make a clear decision to trust God and commit to basing all my responses on that defined truth. I drew a line in the sand with my soul and knew on which side I was standing.

Jesus, now is the time for me to decide if everything you have promised me, everything you taught me and everything I have taught others is what I really believe… Yes! I believe it and just like Job, I will praise you no matter what. I know you are in control; my son is in Heaven, and many will be saved and changed from this. I know now, from my birth, that you have prepared me for this moment. The enemy will not have victory in this! You will be glorified in this!

Many who have had near death experiences say their whole lives flashed before them as they remembered all the key events of their time on earth. Realizing that my son’s body was dead, in that moment in an SUV, my mind was fixed on God’s eternal love as my spirit experienced a confirming flash of all the promises and truths the Lord had planted in my heart since I had made him my best friend 46 years prior, almost to the day.

Book Blog - Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth

Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth – Dedications, Acknowledgements and Preface

Eyes on Heaven, Feet on Earth – Copyright 2023 by Carla J. Wood

By Carla Barkley Wood

Dedicated in Memory of our amazing Heaven-residing son, Taylor, who taught us how to love and see people the way Jesus does while he lived life to fullest, not taking any moment for granted.

And to My Family

My servant hearted husband Gary, who loves Jesus and me and has walked life with me for 43 years, supported my ministry, and gave me four beautiful children.

My loving earth-bound children, Shawn, Andrew, Bethany and my lovely daughters-in-love, Angie and Michelle, who all have loved me through the pain and joy and seem to have a gift for making beautiful memories with me along the way.

To my precious granddaughter, Josie, who is my sidekick, delight, and constant source of joy every day. God knew we would need her when we needed joy the most.

To my four parents, my dad – Dan, bonus mom – Mary Lou, bonus dad – John, and mom – Vivian, who loved me and pointed me to Jesus despite their messes in life. Before Mom and bonus Dad John went to be with Jesus a few years ago, they all gave me permission and the blessing to talk in this book plainly about our “not-so-perfect family”. They recognized that God had redeemed their past and wanted me to share God’s hand of grace in our whole family. All four of my parents not only loved us children but they loved each other as sisters and brothers in Jesus. Carolyn, Matt, Candi, Garren and I are so glad God brought us siblings together.
A true miracle of God in a divorced/remarried family.


All honor and thanks to my perfect family, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for painting a story of His goodness in my life.

With deep gratitude to my prayer teams for their editing, support and input into editing and giving feedback in my story. Diane, Evin, Grace, Missy, Cheri, Janice, and Karen.
I couldn’t have made it without your support.


I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
In the darkest night
You are close like no other
I’ve known You as a Father
I’ve known You as a friend
I have lived in the goodness of God

And all my life You have been faithful
All my life You have been so so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh I will sing of the goodness of God

Goodness of God
Written by: Jason Ingram, Brian Johnson, Ed Cash, Ben Fielding, Jenn Johnson

This is the story of God’s fingerprints in my life, most say in unique ways, which prepared me for the worst day our family has ever experienced.

I started this book nine years ago. During that time, in the lows, I felt I couldn’t share the story until the “Happy Ending” could be told. I’ve waited and found quite a few happy ways to end the book, only to have another tragedy enter our lives. I soon realized that life is a roller coaster of joys and sorrows and I now truly understand that the only final “Happy Ending” happens in Eternity.

When I asked myself what the purpose of my book is, many thoughts were considered. I prayed today and asked God to reveal a clear purpose.  After meeting a new friend tonight who lost a son and reflecting on our shared stories of God’s hand in our grief, I realized that the simple purpose is to just tell my story of the goodness of God in my life. So, I pray my story will somehow help others look for His fingerprints in their life and recognize His goodness in their lives as they learn to balance Heaven and Earth by finding great faith in their Creator while learning to accept their humanity and confirm their need for a Savior.

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV