Waking Up In Heaven
by Crystal McVea, Alex Tresniowski
Published April 2nd 2013
by Simon & Schuster Audio
Book Summary From Goodreads: Someday soon, one of my precious three-year-old twins is going to ask me the question “Mommy, what happened to you when you died?”
Someday they will overhear me telling my story to someone and want to know more about it. They will look at me with their big, innocent eyes and try to make sense of what they’re hearing. It isn’t always easy explaining what happened even to adults, so how am I going to explain it to my kids?
There is so much I want to share with them, so much I want them to know. You see, my story is one of hope and forgiveness and salvation, and of the glorious healing power of God’s presence. It’s the story of what I saw and what I learned when, during a hospital stay, I left my body for nine minutes and went to heaven and stood before God. And it’s the story of how, when I came back to Earth, my life was profoundly and permanently changed— changed down to the very core of my being.
But it is also a story that, for the longest time, I didn’t want to tell.
Audio Summary: The remarkable story of a woman, plagued with guilt and skepticism, dramatically changed by the nine minutes she spent in heaven.
God let me see me through His eyes. And in that instant I knew that God had always loved me, through all of those dark and difficult years when I doubted His existence, through every crisis and every heartbreak that made me turn away from Him more. I knew, in that instant, that His love was endless and boundless, and that if He loved me so much, how could I not love myself?
For most of her life, Crystal McVea was a skeptic whose history of abuse and bad choices made her feel beyond the reach of God—who questioned if God was even real. She had all but given up hope. Then came December 10, 2009—and the moment that changed everything.
For nine minutes that night, Crystal went into full respiratory arrest. She was unconscious and unable to breathe on her own, unaware of the crisis happening around her as the hospital staff rushed to save her life. Crystal doesn’t remember the trauma or losing consciousness; she just remembers waking up in heaven, next to God.
Waking Up in Heaven invites listeners to witness the relentless pursuit of God in a life that was broken and seemingly beyond hope, an awe-inspiring account of love, forgiveness, and redemption, and the healing power of God’s presence
Heather’s Review: I truly love near death and death experiences so this audio book was an automatic draw for me. The thing that I was not expecting was the bravery and tenacity of the author in sharing her story over and over again. Not just the story of how she died for nine minutes and came back, but the details of a very sad and troubled life as a child of sexual abuse.
Crystal’s memoir, contained in seven CDs, is told in her own voice. It details how being a victim of abuse pulled her into a spiral of shame and secrets that only God could take away. Her descriptions of God’s unconditional love and his message for her is beautiful. I cried listening to Crystal describe how He made her feel absolutely and completely whole, loved– innocent like she was as a three year old little girl.
This is definitely a mature adult title since it goes over dysfunctional family dynamics, a traumatic accident, drugs, abuse and abortion. However, Waking Up in Heaven has a message of profound hope. It is a tale of how one woman had a life changing experience and allowed it to shape her future. Crystal follows God’s “nudges” for her. She walks up to complete strangers in the grocery store to tell her story. She’s a braver woman than many of us.
I admire Crystal’s husband Virgil with his faith and unwavering support, as well, the way they have allowed this experience to serve others in need. I would recommend Waking up in Heaven to anyone who has felt abandoned in moments of trial or who wants to know that God loves us in spite of any choices we have made.
Sure, there may be cynics– or those who believe Crystal’s story is not real, but I for one am not one of them. There is truth and “beauty from ashes” in this book.
About the author: Crystal Leigh McVea was born in southwest Oklahoma and still lives there today. She is a schoolteacher and has four lovely children. Crystal and her husband Virgil, a US Army veteran, are devout Christians and active in their local church.