Last week was pretty exciting! I was able to share my testimony at two funeral homes in Southern Indiana. It was a significant milestone to speak in a funeral home because that is the audience I assumed when God first led me to write a book and share my story.
I knew my experience could be comforting to people grieving and/or facing terminal illnesses. But the thought of sharing my testimony (especially with grieving people) was intimidating. How do I even bring it up? Who am I to think I could comfort someone at a time when their heart is so broken? I had a life changing encounter, but how do I put an account that is so foreign and unfathomable it into words to share? I didn’t know if I could.
But God does not call the equipped, he equips the called. Over the past year God has opened several doors for me, and this door led to a funeral home. I prayed that I could tell my story in a way that would provide comfort to people dealing with loss, because when I died it was peaceful; it was not scary. It was intimate and beautiful and I was never alone. My experience makes me think about specific families who have lost someone tragically. Although I can’t tell them what their loved one experienced in death, I can tell them that I experienced overwhelming love and comfort of the Heavenly Father. I can’t
begin to describe the magnitude or depth or pureness of His love, I just understand it is a supernatural force. A protective, impenetrable, bubble. Filled with grace and mercy. The Creator adores his creation as a treasure. I do not necessarily believe every person goes to an underwater paradise while they are dying (like I did), but I know every person has the same God protecting them as they go. Dying is the process of getting to the place where we were created to exist for eternity, the place where we are made whole, and the journey is beautiful. Its like a homecoming party; a celebration which is the entire reason we were born and lived. Even if the circumstances surrounding a death seem horrible and frightening, I know (from experience) that may not be reality the person going through it experiences.
My mom made a comment that helped me realize this. As I was describing the beauty, glory, and awe of my passing – I noticed she was crying. I told her she should only be sad that I did not get to stay there. If she could just understand what I was trying to convey, if she could see what I saw and feel what I felt she would never want me to have left that peace. It would be obvious that she would long for me to be THERE in paradise. Not here. Then she said, “But how would I have known that? If you had not lived to tell me, how could I have known?”
And then I realized that from her perspective she saw my death and would remember it in a way that was completely different from my reality. She would think that I was terrified in my final hours. In reality, I did not experience the fear and pain I should have. The Holy Spirit guarded my soul. I had the peace that surpasses all understanding. The Heavenly Father protected me and comforted me in a way no human can, not even my own mom. Looking back at the hours before I flatlined, now I see all the red flags and realize exactly how serious my situation was… but while I was going through it, I only felt peace.
It breaks my heart to KNOW what I experienced (comfort and supernatural protection), yet realize that my parents would have pain, loss, and sorrow associated with the memory of my death. When I spoke at the funeral home last week, I tried to share all the truth and comfort of my death experience with the families there, the same way I would want someone in my position to share that comfort with my family if I had not survived the cardiac arrest.
I loved sharing my story with the families in Linton and Spencer, IN. After I spoke, I was able to chat with several people who shared parts of their story with me. God is faithful- he prepares my heart and continues to put people in my life exactly when I need to hear what they have to say. Speaking at the Walton Funeral Services was a blessing and I am grateful Todd and his staff provided the opportunity to share my testimony of peace, hope, and comfort with their communities.