Looking Back – Near Death Experience

As far as I know, I’m the only NDEr who’s come out publicly scrutinizing NDEs. (If you know of another one I’d love to meet them)! And yet, it was my illness and that powerful experience that spurred me to research the things I write and make videos about today. I was recently interviewed by Guideposts magazine and asked to recall these events for their viewers. (A full camera crew showed up at my house – very intimidating 😳)! It’s been 11 long years since the event so dramatically changed my life and I found myself struggling to recall everything. So, I pulled out my own book to read what I’d recorded, and found myself asking again why God had allowed the horrible tumor and what His purposes were in showing me what He did during that surgery. How had it changed me, exactly, and was I being faithful with the undeserved miracles I’d been given?

As I re-read my own story I was reminded of just how important it is. Like I just expressed in my recent video “Space: A Techno-Mystic Production,” the western world has been so entrenched in scientific philosophy / empiricism that it’s left a spiritual VACUUM people are desperate to fill with just about ANYTHING. And “anything,” more often than not, turns out to be the serpent’s oldest lies, since they don’t require acknowledging our own sin and need of a savior. NDEs are wildly popular today for that very reason, and the majority of them present occult “Oneism” / Pantheistic Monism.

So, with a fresh sense of its’ importance, here are some excerpts from my book and a few added thoughts.

(Partially excerpted from my book.)

“Where am I?”

I wasn’t in the operating room, the hospital, or anything I could even recognize as the world, yet this completely foreign place strangely felt like “home.” Surrounding me were warm, beautiful colors, more brilliant than anything I’d ever seen: red, orange, gold and auburn. The colors struck me. It occurred to be that I would have expected blues or purples because those are the colors I’d often seen in paintings and graphics depicting heaven.

This was not a dream, not anything like a dream. My thoughts were lucid. I was acutely aware, and unlike a dream where you can’t quite put everything together, everything was very clear and well organized.

“Is this heaven?”

The colors around me were so bright that they should have been blinding, but they didn’t hurt my eyes. My vision was different here. I could somehow see the tiniest detail with perfect clarity.

I was sitting up with my legs stretched out in front of me, and as I began to get my bearings I realized that the colors I was seeing were actually an enormous wing that was holding me. In the natural world I would describe it as being maybe sixty feet long or more. It’s impossible to say, but it was immense. In comparison to it I was the size of Thumbelina from the fairy tale. The best way I can describe its appearance is that it was “glorious.”

“I didn’t make it.”

The thought crossed my mind, but it didn’t upset me in the least. There was absolutely no fear. Instead there was a LOVE all around me that’s beyond my ability to describe. It was strong and tangible, as if love were a substance. The nearest thing I can compare it too is the love a mother feels toward her newborn baby, only that love was directed toward me – and it was all around me.

The angelic being whose wing I was sitting on radiated love. It was everywhere. The entire atmosphere was filled with it. I somehow knew that it was the natural and right state of things. It brought with it an indescribable rest and peace. I felt like this was where I’d always belonged.

I was now able to see what I’d only felt in the natural world over the past several days. I realized that the being whose wing I was sitting upon had been there the moment the doctor had come into my room in the emergency department of the hospital to tell me that the CT scan had revealed a very large mass in my brain.

In that moment, rather than fear I’d felt peace like a blanket that wrapped itself around me. The doctor was much more upset than I was. He’d had a hard time telling me what he’d just seen.

The peace stayed with me through the ambulance ride to the neuro hospital where they were to perform surgery. It stayed during the 5 days I was there on steroids to reduce the swelling. It was still there as they rolled me into the operating room and the anesthesiologist’s drugs pulled me into darkness.

The being who held me wasn’t ethereal. He had substance, but what he was made of didn’t exist on earth. It was completely foreign to me. Like a child, I was fascinated. As I looked at the wing, I could “zoom in” to see what I can only describe as a “microscopic” level. I saw the detail of deep coral “veins” of some sort running through him. They weren’t like veins in a body, though. They were more like the veins in a gemstone and what flowed through them was not blood but life.

His substance looked almost like molten metal, but it was semi-transparent and it glowed like embers. Other parts of the wing were like a gemstone that emitted fiery light. It was strong, impenetrable, and it struck me that it wasn’t made of particles like everything in the world is. He was one solid, breathtakingly beautiful creation.

My best attempts at describing what he looked like sound like biblical visions of angels. And just like those writers struggled to put what they’d seen into words, I struggle, because there is simply no vocabulary to describe him. In fact, it still brings tears to my eyes to even try. He was so glorious.

I reached out to touch, to feel what he was made of. It didn’t occur to me at the time that when I did so I didn’t see my hand.

Beyond him was a black void. The love permeated it as well but the only visible light came from the being. My sense was that I was in a heavenly realm, but that there was also a place beyond this; a final glorious place that the love ultimately emanated from.

I looked up and around me for anything else, and even though I only saw the angelic being, I somehow knew that he and everything else there was made out of light. Light was a substance. Life was light.

The most overwhelming thing about that place was the all-encompassing feeling of love like I’d never known before but somehow had always known existed. It was more intense than I could ever have imagined.

It was soothing and comforting.

It was irresistible.

It was strong and more powerful than anything else in all of existence!

It filled me with joy and hope…

I was aware of how heavily the fear of people’s disapproval had weighed on me while I was in the world. I now knew that it had all been a lie. The only approval and love that mattered was right here, and I was loved completely! If there’s anything I’ve fought to hold onto from the experience, it’s that realization! It felt like I could spend forever taking in the beauty, joy, love, incomprehensible glory and wonder that surrounded me.

I listened for sound, but there was none – or was that water way off in the distance? I’ve never been sure.

As I became more oriented to my surroundings, I noticed that there seemed to be a source that love flowed from, up above me on the right. Peace, joy and comfort were to my lower left, as though they were the “outgrowth” of the love. I don’t understand the significance of that, but there was a definite source of those things.

At that point I thought back to the world that had been the only home I’d ever known and was startled to realize it had only been a miniscule “blip” in time, only a tiny moment!

“That’s all it was?”

Time itself was a created thing; the physical world was a lovingly formed beautiful and intricate creation through which the greater reality was intended to be displayed. Life in the world wasn’t at all about everything that I’d been so concerned about and preoccupied with…

“We have it all wrong!”

All the things we strive for and worry about had been complete vanity; they simply didn’t matter!

Then as I was looking down the expanse of the wing, far out near the tip of it, I saw an immense brown spot. As I looked at it, it “zoomed in” and came into full focus. I had a sense that this being had been injured, and that the injury had something to do with me.

“Was he hurt protecting me? Can angelic beings be injured?”

My mind flashed back to a memory many years earlier. I’d had a drink after work at the pub where I was employed and was driving too fast on a mountain road in Oregon and hit an icy bridge that sent my car spinning out of control. A spray of sparks flew all around me as the car scraped against the guardrails that prevented me from plunging into the gorge below. I heard my dad’s voice instructing me.

“Steer toward the tail!”

My dad was a cop, and when I was learning to drive he’d given me an unconventional driver’s training lesson in a mall parking lot during a heavy rainstorm. He had me go fast, slam on the brakes, turn, slide, and basically get the car into and out of spins.

The lesson came back to me as I was spinning on that bridge. I reacted just as he’d trained me to, but very much believed that I was about to die.

The spinning and showering sparks finally stopped, but the car continued to slide forward, out of control toward a large tree and I braced for impact. But it suddenly jolted to a stop as if some force had prevented it from going any further. I was on the floor in front of the driver’s seat with my chin hooked over the bottom of the steering wheel. Waiting a few seconds for my body to give me a damage report before I dared to move, I slowly realized that somehow, miraculously, I was uninjured. The doors were smashed but I managed to force the driver side door open and climbed out. I walked around the totaled car, and reached the front bumper where it had mysteriously stopped; literally a foot from the tree. I’d stood there staring in disbelief at the scraped, but undented bumper.

Why was this coming to mind while I was looking at the brown spot? Had there been other times I was unknowingly protected (in spite of my own foolishness)? I don’t know. But I felt like I was being shown that to let me know someone or something had protected me.

It was then that an immense realization overtook me. I realized that everything I had ever done wrong in my life had never happened. But it was much more powerful than what I ever understood as being “under the blood of Jesus.” I wasn’t just “positionally” forgiven, as I’d been taught. It wasn’t that God had been looking at me through some kind of a filter where he couldn’t see the real me, but only saw Jesus. It was that it had literally never happened. While I had a sense about things I had done wrong in the world, those things simply weren’t there. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized how memories, guilt and failures had weighed so heavily on me. They were gone. Instead, there was peace, joy, happiness, the lack of any pain, emotional or physical. The sins that had weighed on me throughout my life on earth were now less than a memory. They were so completely washed away by the blood that poured from Calvary, that, in this realm, they had never happened. The best way I can explain it was that I was experiencing my salvation. It is almost more than I can wrap my mind around, but there, in that place, it was reality.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor 5:17)

At that moment there was a series of tingling, electrical sensations in the lower part of my left leg.

“My leg?”

I became aware that I was somehow in both worlds, the natural and this one. I became aware that my body was sitting up on the operating table and that the surgeon was standing behind me accessing my brain through the back of my head. For some reason I’d thought I’d be lying on my face during brain surgery. It was only later as I was watching an episode of Gray’s Anatomy that I saw how brain surgeons work on their patients that way. The surgeon later told me that they’d “had some trouble” when they’d reached a part of the tumor that was wrapped around a major artery in my brain. He had backed out and left a small piece of the tumor there. I suspect that they may have been cauterizing the area when I felt the sensation, my surgeon later agreed with that suspicion.

“They’re still working on me!”

As I looked down in the direction of the tingling in my leg, I saw a crowd of people. But they looked different than people look in the natural world. Again, it’s hard to describe, but it looked as if they were made up of different stuff than the stuff of the realm I was currently in. They looked almost like silhouettes, but they were three dimensional and made of particles, not like the being who was holding me that was all one “piece.” The particles were very small, mostly black, with some light particles mixed in. So the people were dark, but they emitted enough light that I could vaguely make out some of their features. Although I couldn’t hear them, I saw them moving around and talking to each other. Somehow, I knew that they were the people who were concerned about me. My heart was filled with love for them.

While I was looking at them, the being suddenly spoke. Such a beautiful voice! I can still hear it in my memories. It was a male voice, powerful, loving, kind, gentle and peaceful all at the same time. The voice sounded familiar, as if I’d somehow known it all my life. He said,

“The multitude is petitioning for you.”

Remembering his voice and those words still brings tears to my eyes. Not only was I in the midst of indescribable love here, but back in the world there were so many who were praying and hoping for me to make it through this ordeal. It was overwhelming to be the object of that much love.

I could have been content forever in that moment, in that love, beauty and glory, safely held on the wing. But at the same time I was curious about what was coming next. I knew there was more, and yet each moment was complete fullness. This was where I was fully known and loved with a love that no mere human is capable of. I was home! This was rest!

With love, I continued to watch the people. I was amazed that there were so many who cared about me. And now the being spoke again, but this time it was with authority as if he was making an announcement;

“The petition is granted!”

And instantly I could feel my body again. I hadn’t noticed before, but, outside of that “tingle” in my lower leg, I had not felt my physical body during the entire experience. I heard women’s voices around me. I was in the recovery room. I was squeezing my eyes shut, fighting hard to hold onto the realm I’d been in, but the colors were gone. The feelings of love and peace and joy hung in the air like a dream slipping from my mind and tears of emotion streamed down my face. As the fog of anesthesia lifted, I was conflicted thinking about my family and my friends yet longing to be back in that beautiful place where I was home and surrounded by love. But the choice wasn’t given to me. It had been decided.

I kept saying, “I was in heaven!” I heard the nurses whispering to each other,

“She’s saying she was in heaven.”

One nurse held my hand with both of hers and in a southern drawl gently said,

“Sweetie, you’re at Skyline Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. We’re not lettin’ you go to heaven today!”

I understood. They wanted me in the here and now. Still, I’d experienced something so life changing that it was impossible to keep my mouth shut about it.

As I further regained consciousness and realized that I’d survived, I once again felt all the sensations of being in my body. I tried moving my legs and my arms to see if I’d suffered any brain damage. Everything seemed to be working, but there was a strange awareness of my brain willing the movements of my limbs. I realized at that point that I was experiencing a miracle. The surgical team had skillfully done their jobs, but I knew that something supernatural had given me a second chance at life.

They moved me to the ICU where I had to sit up for a few hours so that my head could drain, according to my ICU nurse, Marshall. He took perfect care of me, and as it turned out, he lived right in my own neighborhood. He showed me pictures of his two beautiful young towheaded children and I told him I was the lady who walked the two Chow Chows. He asked about my pain level and, still under the effect of anesthesia and probably some pain medication, the pain was at a minimum at that point, but all I could think or talk about was what I’d seen. I still felt like I was more in that realm than this natural one.

“I think I’m alright, but I wish I could hear praise music.”

I longed for anything that would bring me back into God’s presence, closer to the glorious place I’d just been. God bless him, Marshall said that I was in luck,

“I’ve got you covered!”

He slipped out of the room and returned in moments with his iPod, all set up to play his worship music playlist.

“You’re a Christian?”

“A tongue talkin’ Pentecostal!”

The first song that played was a real old one by Hillsong called “And My Soul Knows Very Well.” (I feel like it’s important to add a disclaimer here. Hillsong has since veered from the Gospel and instead is teaching a false, mystical version of Christianity today, which is something that I’ll be looking at in a later section – so this is not an endorsement of Hillsong, but the old album Marshall shared with me is absolutely inspired.) Tears of joy streamed down my face as the beautiful music streamed through the earbuds and lifted my soul and spirit high above the pain and trauma, close to that place I’d been in the presence of God.

“You make Your face to shine on me

Now my soul knows very well

You lift me up and I’m cleansed and free

Now my soul knows very well

When mountains fall, I’ll stand

By the power of Your hand

And in Your heart of hearts, I’ll dwell

That my soul knows very well!”

I felt those words of praise bringing healing to my body, to my poor, traumatized brain. I can’t prove that clinically, I can only tell you that somehow in my spirit I knew that. I listened to those same songs on my own iPod day after day for months after I got home from the hospital, and they still hold a deep and special meaning to me when I listen to them today.

He inhabits the praises of His people.  (Psalms 22:3)

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.  (Psalms 63:3-4)

My family came in to the ICU. I remember the happy look on their faces when I kicked my feet and moved my hands to show them that I was intact. I’d made it through the worst part, and all the credit, all the glory goes to God who had created and guided my surgeon’s hands and granted the petitions of the people who He led to pray for me!

Later on, I found out just how many people had been involved in that prayer effort. As it turned out, it truly was a “multitude,” including friends from church on the west coast, people at TBN and even the 700 Club. It’s humbling beyond words that so many people prayed for my life. The thought of those people praying still overwhelms me.

What I saw in that other realm was a gift. I clearly saw the great contrast between the spiritual and natural world. It was life changing…

Sitting in my hospital bed, I looked out the window. It was January, and the trees were bare, but the contrast between the scene before me and the one I had just seen was striking. The world looked different to me now. My vision in the other realm had been perfect to the tiniest detail. Everything was made of light. Back in this world, it was dark. It was hard to see, and, for the first time in my life, I was aware of how devastated God’s beautiful creation was. I felt a deep sadness over the broken creation and how it is only a remnant of all that it had once been. The world looked dark and colorless, as if someone had thrown a breaker switch, or like I’ve often said, it was as if someone had unplugged a Lite-Bright. The trees, the plants… everything was dark, corrupted. I looked outside and the trees looked like they were weeping. I could actually feel the groaning of creation.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23)

I’d be remiss not to mention that my entire, nearly half-million dollar bill was forgiven by the hospital. Beyond that, the small piece of tumor they had to leave behind vanished 18 months later and has never returned. I’d experienced not only one, but several miracles to establish that something supernatural had indeed been in charge of my entire ordeal.

Prior to my experience, NDEs were a bit of an enigma to me because people who’d had them brought so many different, contradictory, mutually negating stories. Some would say that they were part of god, while others found themselves standing before God or Jesus. Some encountered family members, demons or extra-terrestrial-like beings. Some seemed to have control over their experiences, being asked if they wanted to return to earth, while others were at the mercy of the experience. I believed people were seeing something because of some cases where they’d seen while out of their bodies that would have been impossible to see. There was also the fact that people’s lives were dramatically changed by the experiences, but I couldn’t make any sense out of it all. So, like most Christians, I’d dismissed the phenomenon as “New Age” or “Occult” and just never studied it.

Now, that I’d personally had one of these experiences, I started to look for other NDErs online and was amazed to find that stories about NDEs were everywhere! I watched the series Beyond and Back. But listening to other people’s stories only confused me because their experiences weren’t like mine, and the messages they’d come away from their experiences with were very different than mine. Something that always left a “check” in my spirit was how “earthy” and “worldly” most of the accounts were. While claiming to be “spiritual,” they were very much like this world.

Many of the experiences included such casual conversations with “God,” so completely contrary to the sheer AWE I’d encountered, that I found myself yelling at the screen,

“That’s not true!”

Bottom line, whatever belief people held in this world seemed to be the “truth” they had experienced in the other “world.” There was no solid truth to be gained from most of the accounts, only cathartic experiences that told experiencers that they were loved and everything was OK.

I also read where several Christian pastors’ condemned NDEs as being demonic, which was more than a little upsetting to me since I have been a committed Christian since I was 13 years old and worked nearly 20 years in church ministry. I’ve have always put a high value on the veracity of scripture. Yet here I was, having had this experience. I did not ask for it and I certainly had no reason to lie about it. On the contrary, I poured over scripture in the following months to make sure that the vision I’d had was true and not a deception. Those first months – actually the first couple of years after the experience – were challenging.

With a newfound insatiable curiosity, I was determined to know the truth about NDEs and why they brought both truth and deception from the spiritual realm and I refused to let any of my long held biases or doctrinal positions of the churches I’d attended get in the way. As others who’ve started questioning things these days can attest, my quest resulted in the loss of many friends and eventually to my leaving the church I was attending. I was asking questions that I knew in my heart were vital, but it was clear that they made people uncomfortable and they didn’t know how to respond to me. They were polite, but they’d change the subject, and one by one, they quit calling altogether. They seemed to think I was just “out there.” My son was sure I was suffering from brain damage, and to be fair, I did have some cognitive deficits for about a year. My memory was poor, and I had a childlike naivety, saying out loud whatever came to my mind. Word got back to me about other people who’d come to the same conclusion as my son had, but even after my brain healed and I’d returned to college to learn how to research and write better, the love and desire for the truth, God’s truth at all costs never left me.

My quest finally led to the completion of my book, which traces the origins of the prominent messages being brought by NDErs; The “All Dogs Go to Heaven” message found even in Christian NDE accounts with no mention of sin or need of a savior; A “Oneness” gospel, where, regardless of what we have done in this life, we will all become part of a collective, blissful god-mind. This is occultism, the lie in the garden;

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Gen 3:5

There were other Christian NDErs who came with an earthy law-keeping message.

I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal 2:21)

In 2013, Gonz Shimura invited me to share my experience on Canary Cry Radio. He did a beautiful job producing it with sound effects and ambiance to really bring my story to life. In 2013 I also started this website, writing about how the god of this world is deceiving mankind, and contrasting those deceptions to the beauty and simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In March of 2020 my book came out.

I’ve been asked – which makes me ask myself – how my NDE changed me. My first response is that I came away with a new perspective of the world and an insatiable curiosity to get to the bottom of things. I’m somehow able to see through nonsense and lies like never before, and I’ve become bold in talking about it – bolder than ever about sharing the gospel. You might say that I found my voice. That’s part of it anyway. My prayer life is also different. I know God hears me, even if, in my flesh, I don’t always like the answer, I never doubt His love or my salvation, or that He cares about my every circumstance and is well able to change things if He chooses to in His wisdom. I still get insecure about people’s opinion of me, but with that, too, I take it to God and am reassured that the only approval I need is His. Oh, and I’m not afraid to die. I look forward to returning to that realm and beyond it to the throne room of my beloved Savior!

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Cor 15:54-58)

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deut 31:8)

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