Nine Minutes in Heaven
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
“I instantly fell to my knees in front of Him. And I knew that I was falling in the presence of God.”
Crystal McVea wasn’t having a dream. She had died and says she woke up in heaven. Crystal remembers, “And it was this God that I had run from my whole life.”
Her journey away from him began when she was molested at 3 years old. “I grew up believing that I was disgusting and broken and filthy,” says Crystal.
Crystal went to church with her mother. When she was eight she accepted Christ and was baptized. She hoped that would cleanse her from the guilt and shame of being molested. But the abuse continued until she was 12 years old.
“I decided that there were two options,” says Crystal. “Either one, there was a God and He didn’t love me for whatever reason, because He hadn’t stopped the things that had happened in my life. He hadn’t saved me. Or two, there was no God.”
In her teen years, Crystal started using drugs and alcohol and was promiscuous. By the time she was 21, Crystal was a divorced mother with two children. Finally at 28, she settled down and married Virgil and they had twins. Ten months later, in December 2009, doctors performed a routine procedure that triggered pancreatitis. She had complications and ended up with a 110 degree fever. Her mother, Bonnie came to the hospital. Bonnie says, “She didn’t look right. She looked swollen to me. They had put her on a pain pump.”
Crystal remembers, “I felt very calm and very peaceful. And I remember opening my eyes and seeing my mom sit at the chair at the foot of my bed. And I told her that I loved her.”
Bonnie remembers, “She felt cold. And when I looked up, her lips were blue. And she wasn’t breathing. And I turned around and her face was black and I just started screaming, ‘She’s dead, she’s dead.’ The nurse told me, ‘You need to leave,’ and I told her, ‘I am not going anywhere.’”
For the next 9 minutes doctors and nurses tried to resuscitate Crystal. About that time, Crystal’s husband Virgil arrived. Virgil remembers, “Everything went through my mind. I didn’t know if she was alive. I didn’t know if she was dead.”
Bonnie says, “I know why they didn’t want me in there. It’s violent. And so her 9 minutes in heaven were my 9 minutes in hell.”
While the team worked to revive her, Crystal says she was in heaven. Crystal recalls, “The first thing I remember becoming aware of was that I was still me. And I was still the me who had just told my mother that I loved her and died. And I was very aware of the fact that I had just died. But I also was the me that had existed from the moment that God had created me. The light came to me as if I was in the middle of the tunnel. Yet it went on for eternity. I remember being so at peace and so bathed in this light and this love.”
She knew she was in the presence of God. “I didn’t see a face,” says Crystal. “I didn’t see any features other than this beautiful light. And words like ‘amazing’ and ‘perfect’ and ‘beautiful,’ they fall so drastically short. I could not get enough of Him. I could not breathe enough of Him in. I could not get close enough to the light, and the light was all over me.”
Then Crystal says she tried to ask God a question. Crystal says, “I wanted to know why He didn’t love me. Or why He lets bad things happen. And yet as I stood in front of Him and I faced Him and I fell to my knees, and I raised my hands, the question I called out to Him was, ‘Why didn’t I do more for You?’ Because in an instant, He revealed His true self to me which is love. I had never truly worshipped God ever in my entire life. But I fell in front of Him and I worshipped Him. And as I lay there in worship in awe of this Creator, I remember saying, ‘I could worship You for eternity.’”
Crystal traveled with God down a tunnel toward the gates of heaven. She noticed a small child ahead of her. Crystal remembers, “She wore a bonnet on her head and she had a little white basket in her hand. I watched her pick her basket up and dip it in the light. She would scoop it and then she would dump the light out as if it was water. And the light would cascade out of her basket and she would throw her head back. And she would laugh. And every time she laughed, every time she moved, my spirit began to swell, as if it was a balloon with love.”
God revealed to Crystal that she was seeing herself at three years old. Crystal says, “She was me at the moment the enemy stepped into my life and whispered that I was worthless. that I was broken, that I was disgusting, and that I got everything I deserved. She was the 3-year-old that heard that God didn’t love her, that He had abandoned her, that He had forsaken her, and that God didn’t exist. And, He allowed me to know that He had allowed me to look through His eyes and to see the truth. And the truth set me free.”
All of Crystal’s doubts about the existence of God and His love for her faded away. “I remember what it felt like to be in chains,” says Crystal. “And I remember the moment that He took them from me. I was free. And He didn’t just say, ‘Crystal, I love you.’ He allowed me to experience His love and His love almost made me explode.”
Then Crystal says she heard her mother calling her name. Crystal remembers, “And I said, ‘Can I go tell her that I’m okay?’ “And He said, ‘The choice is up to you.’ And I turned away from this light to go and find where her voice was coming from. And when I turned, He said, ‘Tell them what you can remember.’ And I remember calling back, ‘I’ll remember everything and I’ll be right back.’ And I looked down through the floor of this tunnel of heaven, and it was as if I was looking at a million shimmering diamonds. And the instant that I noticed those diamond-like substances, I was back in my body.”
Crystal woke up in the hospital surrounded by the medical team. Crystal says, “And I turned to my mom who was crying and I told her that I was in heaven and that I was with God, and that I was in the most beautiful light. And that I was okay.”
Crystal left the hospital 8 days later. She’ll tell you she left there a different person. “My life has completely changed,” says Crystal. “The person that died in that hospital room was not the same person who came back in so many different ways. But the difference is that I know that there is a God who loves us. I know that there is a Father who really is listening to us, who really is holding us.”
Crystal has written about her journey in her NY Times best selling book, called, Waking up in Heaven. Crystal says, “People often ask me, ‘What is your message? What message did He send you back with?’ “And it is so simple. That it just doesn’t matter who we are, where we’ve been, what’s been done to us, what we’ve done; (but) that His love is so vast and so great that it encompasses everything. And that we have that love, not for anything that we’ve done to deserve it, but because He finds us worthy and because He gives us the choice to choose Him.”
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