My Near Death Experience that Began with a Dream — Part 2
What started out as an uneventful trip to Colorado Springs to attend a three-day Christian workshop was suddenly shifted into a completely unexpected experience of my life. At the start of the second day of the workshop, I suffered an excruciating heart attack, followed by three sudden cardiac arrests. It was a frightening, yet profound experience that I knew I needed to write down because it would never be found in my medical records: hearing God’s voice in my near-death experience.
It was the second day of the workshop on November 11, 2016, Veteran’s Day. I awoke feeling a little tired, but thought it was because of the thin air, being at a high elevation in Colorado Springs or the possibility that I was coming down with a cold. My husband David and I ate breakfast at the hotel, and then he dropped me off at my meeting place before heading out to the nearby golf course.
I walked a few feet down the hallway to the conference room and was baffled that I was completely out of breath. Soon after, I wasn’t just feeling tired and out of breath, but I began to feel nauseous. Was it from the breakfast I ate? I pushed the thought aside, thinking I just needed to rest awhile and then I would be okay. The worship music began, and we all stood up to sing. Immediately, all the signs of feeling ill disappeared, and I was enjoying every moment of our worship time. I thought I was feeling fine…that is, until we sat down for the teaching to begin.
Immediately, the first thing I felt was the blood draining from my face, and then the nausea returned. I thought it was food poisoning from the breakfast that morning, but my body was telling me that it was not the case because the symptoms felt somewhat different. When the nausea worsened and I began to break out in cold sweat, I quickly headed for the private restroom a short distance down the hallway.
Once inside, I started to perspire profusely. I removed my two sweaters and hung them on the grab bars. When I knelt down on the ground, I started having chest pains and feeling lightheaded. My chest pain became intolerable and the cold sweat and dizziness intensified at a rapid rate. I began to panic. At that moment, I heard a loud voice. “Get out! Get out now!” I could hardly maneuver my body because everything was spinning, but I managed to turn around and open the locked door. I took a few steps into the hallway and then I collapsed to the ground. I didn’t even have the strength to yell for help.
The couple who hosted the workshop said they heard a loud thump that shook the walls. When they glanced down the hallway, they saw me on the ground and immediately came to my rescue. They said my body was a dead weight, but they managed to lift me up and sat me on the stairs while one of them called 911. I remember my breathing was heavy and laborious. A female pastor sat down next to me and had me rest my head on her shoulder while she called my husband on my cell phone. At first, my mind was a fog and I couldn’t remember my passcode, but Holy Spirit gave me a brief moment of clarity and I was able to recall it.
Within a short time, I heard the fire truck arrive, which had a paramedic on it. As soon as the ambulance arrived, I was carried into it to be taken to the nearest hospital. I could hear one of the paramedics communicating with the hospital. Was I going to die…now…in Colorado? I felt completely helpless. So many thoughts were racing through my mind. With barely any strength in me, I whispered, “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.” At that moment, I heard a voice as though it was coming from the ceiling of the ambulance. I knew it was God. He said, “It’s not your time yet. You have not completed your mission.” Even though I was still experiencing excruciating chest pains, yet I was at perfect peace within. I no longer felt unsure or fearful of my situation. I knew, without a doubt, that I was going to be okay.
I don’t remember anything between the time the ambulance arrived at the hospital and when I regained consciousness in the stent lab. I later learned that it was within this segment of time that I had three cardiac arrests. According to both the pastor(who was also the host of the workshop) and my husband who witnessed what happened, they said that they heard the medical team yell, “Clear!” and then saw them shock me back to life. The team did it a second time when my heart stopped again. And then a third time. The pastor said the medical team ran furiously to get me into the stent lab. It was at that moment when my husband was no longer allowed to be with me, that he thought he had lost me and would be flying home to Hawaii alone.
It was sometime during that span of time that I remember feeling my chest pain completely melt away. My eyes were closed, and I remember seeing a shift in color shades from blackness to a lighter shade—or a lighted shade. I thought, Wow! They finally made the pain to go away! That was fast! I felt like a brand new person. I felt energized. But then I noticed how quiet it was. Where is everybody? Where did they all go? Am I in the ICU? I tried to open my eyes, but my eyelids felt heavy like lead. I could not open my eyes no matter how hard I tried. It was as though I was a body within a body. I was completely at peace. Then I thought, Well, somebody has to come back for me. I’ll just wait here and listen for footsteps. Maybe I’m in the recovery room.
Then all of a sudden, B-O-O-M! My excruciating chest pain returned. All the noise and voices in the stent lab returned. I was weak but able to open my eyes easily this time and overheard the person on my right telling another, “Yeah, she flatlined, but she’s still hanging around with us.”
When I heard those words, I was in shock. What?!? Did I just…die?
Shortly thereafter, a stent was inserted into my right coronary artery near my heart to open up a blockage, and I spent the next two days in ICU.
Throughout my entire stay at the hospital, I noticed that three nurses and my attending physician made the same comment to me: “You are very, very lucky to be alive.” No one told me anything more. When I was moved out of ICU and onto the regular floor, I asked the nurse to tell me what was recorded in my chart. I’ll never forget her words when she came to the part about my cardiac arrests. “Well, your heart stopped three times. You actually…died. Everyone worked really hard to bring you back. You are really lucky to be alive after what happened to you.” It was then that I remembered that moment of complete silence and peace I had experienced.
And then I remembered the dream I had just three months prior. It all made sense now. I couldn’t remain with the well-dressed man–Jesus–because it wasn’t my time to leave this life. I had to return to complete my mission.
I remained in Colorado Springs for four more days after I was discharged, per doctor’s request, because I wasn’t quite strong enough to take the seven-hour flight back to Hawaii. To pass the time away, my husband drove me to a few malls and scenic sights near our hotel just so I could get some sun and do some walking as recommended by the medical team. I could not remain out for long hours because my heart was not strong enough yet, and I was still worn out from the experience and needed to rest.
I remember sitting in the passenger seat and looking up into the blue sky above the mountains. I started sharing my thoughts with God and letting Him know how grateful I was that He gave me a second chance. I would feel His love pour out from the sky and into me. Suddenly, in my spirit, I saw two large eyes looking at me from the sky. At first, I thought it was my imagination, and so I turned away to look at the trees, but no matter where I looked, I would sense God’s eyes in everything He created. I looked back at the sky and saw His giant eyes looking at me again. And then He spoke to my spirit in the most gentle and loving voice. “I will always watch over you.” Tears rolled down my face. It was then that I understood why worry is a sin. When I worry, that means I have not put my trust in Him and His promises. If He is always watching over me as He said He would, then I really have nothing to worry about for as long as I choose to make Him my dwelling place.
Through this experience, I learned the truth that death is nothing to be feared when a person is born again in Christ. There is no visible dividing line to cross over between here and eternity; it is a smooth, unnoticeable transition into a life where there is absolutely no more pain and suffering. Just His perfect peace. In that brief moment of death, I was still me, able to think, and completely unaware that my heart had momentarily stopped beating. There are some things we have no control over, and a beating heart is one of them.
I have become acutely aware of how fragile and uncertain our physical lives are. James 4:14-15 NKJV says, “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”
My prayers are no longer about what I want to accomplish for the Lord, but rather, “Lord, I am willing to fulfill all the days that were ordained for me according to all that You had written in Your book”(Psalm 139:16-17). I am willing to follow His leading like a true bondservant of the Lord with the Holy Spirit’s righteous guidance. May I live the remainder of my life solely for Him, doing His will according to His good pleasure, but most important of all, growing more intensely in my love for my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the end, it will matter greatly how much I have loved Him who gave His all for me to be with Him for all eternity.
If you would like to be able to Ask Jesus questions like we do in many of our blogs and have Him answer back to you personally, we can show you how. Please see our foundational teaching on 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. If you already know how to have these conversations, join the discussion and share what Jesus is saying to you!