A devout churchgoing woman who doubted God's existence for most of her life says her doubts were laid to rest when she died for nine minutes and spoke to God in heaven in an experience so indescribable it felt like she had been imbued with 500 senses.
Former schoolteacher and mother of four, Crystal McVea, has written an account of her amazing brush with God in a book released in the summer, titled Waking Up In Heaven and now wants the whole world to know that heaven is real.
"I was a doubter. I know what it feels like to doubt His existence. And to doubt that there is a place that we really go after this [life]. And now I just want to tell people that it's real," McVea explained in an interview with Fox News' Gretchen Carlson.
McVea reportedly died in the hospital on Dec. 10, 2009, for nine minutes after she accidentally overdosed on her pain medication. Almost as soon as she died, however, she said she opened her eyes and realized she was in heaven.
"I remember almost every detail. I remember being in the bed. My mother was at my feet and I remember starting to drift off — and I remember opening my eyes and telling her that I loved her," McVea told TheBlaze. "I remember just closing my eyes in that bed and I opened them and I was standing in the most beautiful tunnel of light I could ever describe."
McVea told Fox News that what she saw and did in her time beyond earth was unfathomable beyond her human senses, but she knew she met with God and spoke to Him in a way that could never been experience through human flesh.
"I fail to find human words to describe what I experienced while I was there," she said when asked what heaven looked like. "I had angels, I had God and I fell to my knees in front of Him it was perfect, beautiful, amazing, but those words are nothing to describe what I saw.
When asked what God looked like, McVea's response detailed supernatural brilliance.
"I saw an immense brightness. A brightness I could feel, touch, taste, hear, smell that infused me. Not like I had five senses but maybe that I had 500 senses. I didn't see a human form or a face. I just saw his presence and felt him and heard him," she said.
And God communicated to her in a language that didn't require speech.
"The entire time I was there we communicated. No words, just very effortlessly. But when I came back I was only allowed to remember a few things," said McVea.
She said that God gave her the choice to stay with Him or go back to earth twice during the encounter and she told Him she would rather stay with Him on both occasions. When asked why she made that decision she explained.
"All my life I was a doubter. Gone to church all my life, I had heard the stories and I wanted to believe that He was real but deep in my heart I just didn't know if he was," she said.
"To close my eyes and open them and to be standing in front of the creator not only of the universe but of me, I never wanted to leave that. He even showed me my children," she noted.
"I had four children at the time. Two of which are twins and were only 10 months old. And you'd think as a mom, there is nothing that you could love more. But when He showed me my children and told me to come back to them or stay with Him and I chose Him," said the awestruck mom.
She then explained how God healed her of past shame and hurt before sending her back to earth.
"I had lived my entire life from the age of probably 3, until the day I died with horrible secrets, shame, I call them chains – emotional chains, spiritual chains," she said.
"Standing in front of Him for those few minutes, He broke them all and freed me from the shame I had just felt my entire life. I don't know how else to say it. He just freed me," she said.
McVea, who thought she would have been a school teacher and a mom for the rest of her life before she died, says she now realizes that God had a different plan.
""I don't like public speaking so this always make me laugh that this is what He sent me back to do. But my message is simple. It's that if He could free somebody like me and love somebody like me, then He loves us all," she said.
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Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again
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Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokeness, Heaven,and Life Again by Crystal McVea (April 2 2013)
Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again by McVea, Crystal, Tresniowski, Alex (2013) Paperback