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Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again

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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 adul 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.


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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 adul 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.

30 review for Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katarzyna

    I grabbed this book off of a shelf at Target as I was passing by. It looked interesting and I liked the cover. ;) Plus, I was curious to see what another person's experience in Heaven was like. What most of us would expect from such a book is a story of what happened in Heaven and that's it. After all, that is the title. Crystal does discuss her time in Heaven and her encounter with God and angels but in addition she tells the reader the whole story. The story of her life and how she struggled w I grabbed this book off of a shelf at Target as I was passing by. It looked interesting and I liked the cover. ;) Plus, I was curious to see what another person's experience in Heaven was like. What most of us would expect from such a book is a story of what happened in Heaven and that's it. After all, that is the title. Crystal does discuss her time in Heaven and her encounter with God and angels but in addition she tells the reader the whole story. The story of her life and how she struggled with faith, mainly as a result of an unhappy childhood, adolescence and the abuse she encountered. Later she goes on to tell the story of how she spread the word. After all, God did instruct her to tell us everything. I found this to be a beautiful and uplifting story. I admire Crystal for being brave enough to go public with all the details of her life and I rejoice for her for having found the courage to share her story with us. Most people would not. Every one of us has gone through difficult times and what this book offers is a message of love so deep and so strong and so profoundly beautiful that it cannot be expressed in our limited language. What moved me most about the book is Crystal's ability to convey to the reader that God does not abandon us, ever, and that He is with us always, even if it is to use us as vessels for helping others while we are trying to help ourselves. She gives several wonderful examples of such incidents. I profoundly enjoyed this book and do recommend it to anyone who has ever asked "God, why is this happening to me?"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cafelilybookreviews

    This was an interesting story to read, yet much different than what I expected. The majority of the book focuses on the author's background, and what has happened since her experience. This ended up being more of a memoir which I always enjoy reading. However, readers who are expecting this book to focus mostly on her actual experience in heaven, may be disappointed. This was an interesting story to read, yet much different than what I expected. The majority of the book focuses on the author's background, and what has happened since her experience. This ended up being more of a memoir which I always enjoy reading. However, readers who are expecting this book to focus mostly on her actual experience in heaven, may be disappointed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen (Kat) Smith

    "My name is Crystal McVea, and in 2009 I died and went to heaven. "How is that for an icebreaker? "I am sharing that story with you, in this book. I knew God's plan for me was to share what happened with as many people as I could. Now, are there people out there who will think I'm a fraud, or a religious nut, or crazy? I'm sure there are. The truth is, I know my story is hard for some people to believe. I know what I went through is beyond the realm of what we can experience on Earth. But I also "My name is Crystal McVea, and in 2009 I died and went to heaven. "How is that for an icebreaker? "I am sharing that story with you, in this book. I knew God's plan for me was to share what happened with as many people as I could. Now, are there people out there who will think I'm a fraud, or a religious nut, or crazy? I'm sure there are. The truth is, I know my story is hard for some people to believe. I know what I went through is beyond the realm of what we can experience on Earth. But I also know that this book deals with the biggest and most important question of them all: Does God exist? Is there a heaven? What is God's plan for us? Why are we even here? "I certainly don't pretend to have all the answers. In fact, I still have plenty of questions. Nor am I claiming to be anyone special. But what happened to me did happen, and now I know - after a lifetime of not knowing - that God does exist. He gloriously, beautifully, wonderfully does exist. "And since God told me to share my whole story, that is what I'm doing - even though much of my story is painful and not always pretty. You will learn as you get deeper into this book that for most of my life I lived with terrible shame and horrible secrets. For the longest time I hated myself and believed I was worthless, and as a result made so many bad choices. "But it's important to realize who I was in order to understand who I became. Some of what I describe about my time in heaven may be familiar to you from other accounts of people dying and coming back - the quality of the light, the shimmering entranceway, the presence of angels - but some of it probably isn't. Everything I describe is absolutely, 100 percent how I remember it - that has always been my one and only rule for sharing my testimony. Nothing is embellished or exaggerated even the tiniest bit. What I describe is what I experienced, nothing more or less. "What I can say is that the things God showed me were simply astonishing in their power and impact, and now the reality of God's presence bursts forth from my heart every day. The truth is, I was more alive in those nine minutes than I have ever been in all my years on this Earth. I can only hope that through my descriptions, however inadequate they may be, you will feel even a fraction of the power and the impact and the absolute glory of what I experienced." (pg 4-5). In the book, Waking Up In Heaven, author Crystal McVea shares her experience not only of her incredible nine minutes in heaven standing alongside God, but also the testimony of her entire life before and after that moment. It is painful to know and read how her childhood was and how often times, these things go on right next door and we never know it's going on. The people we may interact with may have stories similar to Crystals but we can never know unless we are willing to get to know them more and have them peel back the layers of shame and pain to reveal the person they really are on the inside. The book toggles back and forth between the moments of Crystal's experience in Heaven with chronologically walking with her from her childhood to the present through the chapters. I received Waking Up In Heaven by Crystal McVea and Alex Tresniowski compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publisher for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. I was excited to read this book because it's not just another book about a person's experience of dealing with a life after death encounter, but also incorporates a memoir of Crystal's life. It's not always easy to hear stories that aren't the happily ever after fairy tales, but then again, most our us have stories in our own closets we aren't willing to let anyone see. I applaud Crystal for taking the step to share her life story as well as her after life story with readers. The time she shares of her heavenly experience is one I have always imagined it would be. Difficult to capture in words that pale in their description in human terms and one is which I look forward to sharing in one day. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it to anyone who questions if God exists and what Heaven will be like!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Mansfield

    A heart-wrenching, phenomenal book that tells the story of the life and death and life of a woman who lead a hard, lost life, then encountered God and is now living a joy filled life. Crystal died for nine minutes and went to Heaven and this book is about that, but it is first and foremost about her life prior to that experience, which lead up to the moment of her death. Crystal had a very hard life and always questioned the existence of God. Her life was filled with sexual abuse, absent and neg A heart-wrenching, phenomenal book that tells the story of the life and death and life of a woman who lead a hard, lost life, then encountered God and is now living a joy filled life. Crystal died for nine minutes and went to Heaven and this book is about that, but it is first and foremost about her life prior to that experience, which lead up to the moment of her death. Crystal had a very hard life and always questioned the existence of God. Her life was filled with sexual abuse, absent and neglectful parents, promiscuity, abortion, death of loved ones, feelings of worthlessness and whenever a little light shone on her broken life it felt to her as if another calamity was just beginning to happen. All throughout the story of Crystal's life she inserts a chapter here and there to tell her story of being in Heaven. It is beautiful and breathtaking. Many ways it is like what we expect and have heard from others, but Crystal has a natural quality about her which conveys the awesomeness without trying to philosophize or theologize, like so many before her have done in their books. She simply tells what she say, what she felt and what she can and can't remember. No excuses. I am a Catholic and Crystal is not but I found her vision of Heaven to be everything that my religion teaches us it is. No where during her entire discussion of what she saw, felt and afterwards her thinking back upon it did she stray from the Catholic perspective of Heaven and I found this very exciting. Thus can heartily recommend Catholics read this amazing journey. I really appreciated Crystal's down-to-earth narrative voice of speaking humbly, telling her tale, not trying to answer the big questions, but only putting out there what she experienced, how she felt, in Heaven. When in Heaven she was filled with God's love and she knew God's plan, she knew why things happen as they do. On her return this enormous knowledge was simply gone. As we know man is not meant to understand the mystery of God's way, but just think, when we reach Heaven we will feel the peace of enlightenment because God is just. God is love. God is good. I love reading books like these. I don't always agree with everything the person concludes about their experience once they are back and thinking with human rationalizing, but I do believe in their journeys and that God is giving us something to ponder, to perhaps make changes in our lives, or to continue on our paths because Heaven IS waiting for us.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I bought this book because I had caught the very end of an Anderson Cooper interview with Mrs. McVea, and I wanted to know more about her NDE. I should have taken a moment and used my Goodreads app to read its reviews. The title is very misleading. God tells the author to share all that she remembers. Apparently, that was only about 20 pages worth since the remaining 200+ pages are Mrs. McVea's testimony. The first half of the book was barely readable. She spent an inordinate amount of energy poi I bought this book because I had caught the very end of an Anderson Cooper interview with Mrs. McVea, and I wanted to know more about her NDE. I should have taken a moment and used my Goodreads app to read its reviews. The title is very misleading. God tells the author to share all that she remembers. Apparently, that was only about 20 pages worth since the remaining 200+ pages are Mrs. McVea's testimony. The first half of the book was barely readable. She spent an inordinate amount of energy pointing out how mischievous she was, apparently in an effort to lay the groundwork for her "unlikeability." Instead, it came off as more of a "wink-wink; nod-nod" affectionate chastising. For example, I found knocking over the little girls in dance class neither amusing nor repulsive. Frankly, I just didn't care. I was more receptive to the second half, starting with the Pizza Hut episode. Still, after what I'd read earlier, I was beginning to question whether poetic license was being taken. Did she really bargain down to eye color? Mrs. McVea has overcome some horrific obstacles, and she is doing a wonderful service to others as she helps them reconcile theirs. That was the theme of this book, and its title should have reflected that. It is not about Waking Up in Heaven. I was seeking a book that described that experience. I was not looking for a testimony. Having said that, there is a target audience for this book: It would be a valuable read for a Christian book group. I intend to donate mine to a faith-based Goodwill-type store in my town for others to enjoy more than I did.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather Rideout

    I was really disappointed with this book. It was, for want of a better word, boring. It's only redeeming quality was that because it lacked depth, it was a fairly quick and easy read. That is to say, no extra time was required to reread, process or ponder anything. This book could have been written in less than a page. Woman has a difficult life - gets abused, has an abortion, eventually sucks it up and makes some positive choices, has a NDE, finds god and then tells everyone about it. The end. I was really disappointed with this book. It was, for want of a better word, boring. It's only redeeming quality was that because it lacked depth, it was a fairly quick and easy read. That is to say, no extra time was required to reread, process or ponder anything. This book could have been written in less than a page. Woman has a difficult life - gets abused, has an abortion, eventually sucks it up and makes some positive choices, has a NDE, finds god and then tells everyone about it. The end. Or it should have been. But instead it goes on and on and on AND ON about her 'nudges' to tell people her story. If there is a point in this, I totally missed it. I bought this book to read about a NDE, not to read the very detailed life story of some woman. The story itself, I found neither interesting nor inspiring. We all face difficulties and challenges. We all have choices to make. As for the NDE - anything good that can be taken from the details of it kind of got lost along the way for me. I'm really glad she turned her life around and I'm really sad that I wasted my time and money on this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gale

    i like the story when she finally gets around to telling it. its has so many details that are boring or maybe its the way it was read... should have hired a reader. i found it very irritating when she kept making "deals" with god on i know your real if.. also it skipped around and then went back in time and that was irritating. all in all it was hard to listen to and only finished because having a near death experience myself i like to hear the stories. if you want to listen to the dvd i will give i like the story when she finally gets around to telling it. its has so many details that are boring or maybe its the way it was read... should have hired a reader. i found it very irritating when she kept making "deals" with god on i know your real if.. also it skipped around and then went back in time and that was irritating. all in all it was hard to listen to and only finished because having a near death experience myself i like to hear the stories. if you want to listen to the dvd i will give you my copy

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Kennedy

    The actual text describing her 9 minutes in heaven is about 10 pages. The other 240 are about the author's sordid life. After a while, I started skipping the pages about her abortions and baby daddies and drugs and stuff (she's trying to make the point of "IF God loves somebody like ME, everybody has a chance!" Well, okay, then. The actual text describing her 9 minutes in heaven is about 10 pages. The other 240 are about the author's sordid life. After a while, I started skipping the pages about her abortions and baby daddies and drugs and stuff (she's trying to make the point of "IF God loves somebody like ME, everybody has a chance!" Well, okay, then.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Gandhi

    "Tell them what you can remember" - God How incredible what it be to hear those words from God? That's exactly what happens to Crystal McVea. She wake up in Heaven and spends 9 of the most glorious minutes of her entire life there. But before she comes back to the land of the living, she gets that command from God. Her story is one you may not believe, for what ever reasons you may not want to believe it. Her story is one that may make you uncomfortable when she lays out just how horrible her lif "Tell them what you can remember" - God How incredible what it be to hear those words from God? That's exactly what happens to Crystal McVea. She wake up in Heaven and spends 9 of the most glorious minutes of her entire life there. But before she comes back to the land of the living, she gets that command from God. Her story is one you may not believe, for what ever reasons you may not want to believe it. Her story is one that may make you uncomfortable when she lays out just how horrible her life was prior to these nine minutes. There may be some parts of her story that grab hold of your heart because she has walked through some of the same doors as you, she has made some of the same mistakes many of us have made in our lives and she had the same chain shackling question we all have - How could God possible love a sinner, mess up, (you insert whatever adjective you think of yourself here) like me??? "You see, my story is one of hope and forgiveness and salvation, and of the glorious healing power of God's presence." In order for us to understand exactly how and why those nine minutes changed her life so dramatically forever (as if waking up in Heaven is not enough to do that), she has to take you back to the beginning. To that day when she was three years old and her life as a child as she knew it blew up in her face. I'll admit at first reading this book I questioned if we really needed to know all these details of her life. But then we get to those nine minutes it all made sense how that was a game changer for her. And how her story can be a game changer for you too.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    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 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The best part of this book is the bio of Crystal. It just goes to show that the mistakes made in life develop the person we become and to forgive ones self is to allow healing and growth of character. I hope this book finds its way to people who feel lost and alone in the world. I hope it gives them strength and hope. The parts about heaven are beautiful but breif. This is a story about redemtion and forgiveness.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ThePinkCarrot

    A great story to remind people that no matter what happens in this life, God still loves us.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Victor Gentile

    Crystal McVea and Alex Tresniowski in their new book “Waking Up In Heaven” published by Howard Books gives us A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again. From the back cover: Tell them what you can remember. On December 10, 2009, Crystal McVea, a thirty-two-year-old mother of four, stopped breathing. Her face turned a dark shade of blue, then black. Her mother screamed for help, and a nurse tried to revive her . . . to no avail. Today, Crystal does not remember what happened in that hospit Crystal McVea and Alex Tresniowski in their new book “Waking Up In Heaven” published by Howard Books gives us A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again. From the back cover: Tell them what you can remember. On December 10, 2009, Crystal McVea, a thirty-two-year-old mother of four, stopped breathing. Her face turned a dark shade of blue, then black. Her mother screamed for help, and a nurse tried to revive her . . . to no avail. Today, Crystal does not remember what happened in that hospital room during the nine minutes she was unconscious and unable to breathe on her own. She has no memory of the panic and the rushing nurses and the loud cries of “Code Blue.” She simply remembers drifting off. And she remembers waking up in heaven. For most of Crystal’s broken life, she felt utterly beyond the reach of God— if God was even real. Then came December 10—and the nine minutes that changed everything. Waking Up in Heaven invites readers along on a journey to witness the relentless pursuit of God in a life that was shattered and seemingly beyond hope, an awe-inspiring account of love, forgiveness, and redemption, and the healing power of God’s presence. And that is why I want to share my story with the world. Because I was a skeptic and a sinner, and I didn’t believe in God or in heaven. But God is real. Heaven is real. And God’s love for us is the realest thing of all. If you have any doubts that Heaven is a real place then you must read “Waking Up In Heaven”. If you believe, like many individuals seem to that there is no after-life and certainly no Heaven, and by extension, no Hell, then you must read “Waking Up In Heaven”. Crystal McVea was there! She died. She was gone for nine minutes before coming back to tell us her story. Ms. McVea does more than just tell us of what happened in Heaven she tells us of her life story with all the good and bad. Why is that important? I feel it is important because it makes her real with experiences that all of us can relate to in some fashion. This is not some college lecture that will make your eyes glassy. “Waking Up In Heaven” will keep you interested and flipping pages until the very end. Thank you Ms. McVea for giving us this wonderful story. If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to www.kingdomhighlights.org where they are available On Demand. To listen to 24 hours non-stop, commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station www.kingdomairwaves.org Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Howard Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Trina

    If there was a half another star I would give it 3.5 because it was a good read. I enjoyed the memoir very much. A story of survival. I really liked the writing style...it was like I was having a casual conversation with a friend. The way the chapters flowed into each other by alternating the past,the present and the "waking up in heaven" was really effective. What a strong honest woman Crystal is. I believe nothing was exaggerated or embellished in the story. It is very raw and to the fact. I t If there was a half another star I would give it 3.5 because it was a good read. I enjoyed the memoir very much. A story of survival. I really liked the writing style...it was like I was having a casual conversation with a friend. The way the chapters flowed into each other by alternating the past,the present and the "waking up in heaven" was really effective. What a strong honest woman Crystal is. I believe nothing was exaggerated or embellished in the story. It is very raw and to the fact. I think that the way we interpret things cones from our belief system and what were are exposed to in life or influenced by. Crystal was a church-goer and was surrounded by Christians living in the Bible Belt therefore she gave quotes from the bible throughout the book to illustrate points. In her "heavenly" experience she comes face to face with the creator that she refers to as God. Some may rather refer to him as the creator. She also is greeted by her angels and all her questions are answered. It is absolutely amazing! My problem is that when she comes back to earth and real life; because of her personal beliefs the story focuses alot on EARTHLY things such as the bible, Jesus, church, Sunday school etc etc. Don't get me wrong- I do believe in a creator of the universe but I do not believe that one needs to have that lifestyle so I found that a little bit of a turn off. It is tough because that is Crystal and her culture so it would have been impossible for her to seperate the two...but because of MY personal beliefs I will be searching out books about heavenly experiences written by people that do not belong to an organizational religion.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Crystal was admitted to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. Doctors decided she had a problem with her pancreas and needed to stay a few days. It was a complete surprise when she suddenly stopped breathing and basically died. It was nine minutes before she was revived, and not very long after that she began telling anyone who would listen that she'd been to heaven and stood with God. This experience completely changed her life. I think her book is very well written, highly interesting, and Crystal was admitted to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. Doctors decided she had a problem with her pancreas and needed to stay a few days. It was a complete surprise when she suddenly stopped breathing and basically died. It was nine minutes before she was revived, and not very long after that she began telling anyone who would listen that she'd been to heaven and stood with God. This experience completely changed her life. I think her book is very well written, highly interesting, and quite comforting. Chapters alternate between her memory of her experience in Heaven and her existence on earth, from birth through the present. It really does make sense to learn about her troubled past in order to fully comprehend the significance of her meeting with God. I applaud Crystal for having the courage to share her story with the world. I enjoyed reading it. I think she is doing a tremendous job of spreading God's message of love, acceptance, and forgiveness.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda Watson

    I thought this book would be excellent for those struggling with secrets from abuse in childhood to know that they are loved and their lives can be full and worthy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    I loved this book....the transparency of the author, the detail of her recollection in her Heaven experience, and the facets of her testimony. I will read it again.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This is not the type of book I would normally read, but it was an award winner on one of our state's teen lists, and I try to branch out when I can. That being said...meh. As an agnostic, I will try to keep my religious skepticism out of my review...except to say that even if I were a true believer, it would take a lot for me to believe someone not only died, went to Heaven, and saw God--but also had experiences with two people possessed by demons, had multiple prophetic dreams, and was eventuall This is not the type of book I would normally read, but it was an award winner on one of our state's teen lists, and I try to branch out when I can. That being said...meh. As an agnostic, I will try to keep my religious skepticism out of my review...except to say that even if I were a true believer, it would take a lot for me to believe someone not only died, went to Heaven, and saw God--but also had experiences with two people possessed by demons, had multiple prophetic dreams, and was eventually used as a tool by God, including almost direct communication. What I liked: McVea's pages focusing on her children and husband are heartfelt and enjoyable--these were the chapters I found myself absorbed in. What I didn't like: Holy chronological nightmare, Batman. Jump here, jump back...wait, rewind so I can add something. Now back to where I was. YIKES! Also--I have a handful of memories from age 4 to 6--and not very clear ones. McVea has memories from when she was THREE that are more detailed than memories I have from my wedding. (And I consider myself to have a very good memory.) It was hard to take some of her childhood memories at face value because many of them were SO DETAILED and yet were from when she was so young.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    This book is a memoir/testimony of a woman who tells her life story including how she was sexually abused as a child, went through a string of bad relationships resulting in two children born out of wedlock and one abortion, finally finding a good Christian husband, having premature twins and when the twins were 10 months old, her experience of dying in the hospital and coming back to life. She explains how when she was dead, she was in the presence of God and everything was good and how He told This book is a memoir/testimony of a woman who tells her life story including how she was sexually abused as a child, went through a string of bad relationships resulting in two children born out of wedlock and one abortion, finally finding a good Christian husband, having premature twins and when the twins were 10 months old, her experience of dying in the hospital and coming back to life. She explains how when she was dead, she was in the presence of God and everything was good and how He told her to share her experience with others. Later, after sharing about her deathbed experience several times, she was invited to speak at a church where she felt that she should tell her entire life testimony about the abuse and how she now knows that God has always loved her. Many women who were also abused as children respond positively to her testimony. The book is well written and easy to read although I did find the first part a bit confusing because it skipped around chronologically so much going from when she was 5 years old, to when she was born, to when she was 4, then 3, then 5 again, then older.... I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kori

    Was tempted to give 2 stars instead of three but I really hate to be hard on this book because I feel like Crystal went through a lot in her life and I felt bad for her. I am glad that she is happily married and that her experience helped her finally break free from her past. I really hope her story helps others. Nevertheless, I think her ghostwriter, or editor, or both, really did her a disservice in that I think a lot of people will be disappointed because the book isn't really what it profess Was tempted to give 2 stars instead of three but I really hate to be hard on this book because I feel like Crystal went through a lot in her life and I felt bad for her. I am glad that she is happily married and that her experience helped her finally break free from her past. I really hope her story helps others. Nevertheless, I think her ghostwriter, or editor, or both, really did her a disservice in that I think a lot of people will be disappointed because the book isn't really what it professes to be. Only a couple of pages are really dedicated to her NDE. Mostly this book was just an autobiography. An embellished autobiography at that: the overwrought way she agonizes about her past, the belabored skepticism and 'bargaining' with a god she couldn't bring herself to believe in, the annoying little one-line "cliff hangers' at the end of each chapter?? I wanted to identify with her and like her - but unfortunately I found that my primary reaction as I read along was just this: eyeroll.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Amazing!! A co-worker of mine suggested I read this book. Now I'm not much of a reader at all. For Christmas my husband bought me a kindle. This was the first book I downloaded to read. I couldn't put it down. This book has touched me in many ways. It has reminded me of God's unfailing love for me. Everyone has a story/testimony to share and I believe when it's the time to tell your story to do it because there is someone who needs to hear it. I had some time's in the book where I laughed about g Amazing!! A co-worker of mine suggested I read this book. Now I'm not much of a reader at all. For Christmas my husband bought me a kindle. This was the first book I downloaded to read. I couldn't put it down. This book has touched me in many ways. It has reminded me of God's unfailing love for me. Everyone has a story/testimony to share and I believe when it's the time to tell your story to do it because there is someone who needs to hear it. I had some time's in the book where I laughed about giving $$. I have heard the voice of God many times telling me to give and I would say "this is all I have until payday" needless to say I am learning to be obedient and give because that person needs it more than me and it truly is a blessing to give. I wouldn't change a thing in this book at all. Just know, it has truly blessed my life!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    This book was amazing; I couldn't put it down! I know some people have said that her style of going back and forth between her "standing with God" in heaven and the story of her life was confusing. That didn't bother me at all. It was obvious which she was discussing in each chapter, possibly because I read the book in just a couple of days. What immediately struck me was how she described her time in heaven. Many of the same things she wrote about are things that God has revealed to me in my li This book was amazing; I couldn't put it down! I know some people have said that her style of going back and forth between her "standing with God" in heaven and the story of her life was confusing. That didn't bother me at all. It was obvious which she was discussing in each chapter, possibly because I read the book in just a couple of days. What immediately struck me was how she described her time in heaven. Many of the same things she wrote about are things that God has revealed to me in my lifetime. God allowed her to experience heaven because that's how she came to realize that God is real and that he loves us. Those of us who hear God in our spirits and know him through faith have not needed to have a NDE in order to experience him. She acknowledges that fact. This book reaffirmed in me a freshness of faith that God has not abandoned us when bad things happen.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gerri

    She broke all ten commandments. She dies and wakes up in Heaven. The author did wake up in heaven, and she recounts those events, but that is a small part of the book. Much of the story is about her life before and after the event, mainly full of woe before seeing heaven, and her telling others what she'd seen after she came back to life. The thing was, God had told her to "Tell them what you remember." when she returns to life. So she described what she saw and how she felt, but eventually felt She broke all ten commandments. She dies and wakes up in Heaven. The author did wake up in heaven, and she recounts those events, but that is a small part of the book. Much of the story is about her life before and after the event, mainly full of woe before seeing heaven, and her telling others what she'd seen after she came back to life. The thing was, God had told her to "Tell them what you remember." when she returns to life. So she described what she saw and how she felt, but eventually felt God nudging her to go up to complete strangers and to tell them what had happened to her. As it turns out, those were people who felt better after hearing her. Is this story true? Doesn't matter to me because the author has a good story to tell and I felt good when I finished the book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Strange

    A current near death experience story with a very Christian orientation and an inspiring story, this book is the memoir of a girl who grew up with all kinds of horror: sexual abuse, neglect, wild rebellion as a teen, early pregnancy, abortion, marriages. Then just as she is making a stable life for herself with a man who loves her and helps her raise her children in positive ways, as she has made peace with her parents, sh dies and "wakes up in heaven" and has an experience with God that convinc A current near death experience story with a very Christian orientation and an inspiring story, this book is the memoir of a girl who grew up with all kinds of horror: sexual abuse, neglect, wild rebellion as a teen, early pregnancy, abortion, marriages. Then just as she is making a stable life for herself with a man who loves her and helps her raise her children in positive ways, as she has made peace with her parents, sh dies and "wakes up in heaven" and has an experience with God that convinces her that, all evidence to the contrary as she was growing up, God loves her and has a plan for her life--a perfect plan. Inspiring read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    A remarkable account of a woman who died for nine minutes and walked with God. Filled with an amazing recount, a story of life and pain, and the true gift that has been given. Crystal never had it easy, from an abusive childhood, troubled teens, the cycle of abused in marriage and upon oneself - feeling unworthy, filled with shame she never knew God - oh, the words were there, but the faith wasn't. She bravely tells her story from the ugly details to the miraculous journey never leaving anything A remarkable account of a woman who died for nine minutes and walked with God. Filled with an amazing recount, a story of life and pain, and the true gift that has been given. Crystal never had it easy, from an abusive childhood, troubled teens, the cycle of abused in marriage and upon oneself - feeling unworthy, filled with shame she never knew God - oh, the words were there, but the faith wasn't. She bravely tells her story from the ugly details to the miraculous journey never leaving anything out. The true lesson of faith and love and how deep God's love for us (even when we feel unlovable) is.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    This is kind of tricky to review. It's the memoir of a woman who experienced a lot of rough times growing up and did things she regretted. She then had an extraordinary experience where she died and found herself in God's presence. The experience was very interesting to read about. The rest of her life story has a lot of heart-breaking moments. It's very honest and personal. I think this story will mostly help those who've felt let down by God or ignored by God learn to feel His love. It should b This is kind of tricky to review. It's the memoir of a woman who experienced a lot of rough times growing up and did things she regretted. She then had an extraordinary experience where she died and found herself in God's presence. The experience was very interesting to read about. The rest of her life story has a lot of heart-breaking moments. It's very honest and personal. I think this story will mostly help those who've felt let down by God or ignored by God learn to feel His love. It should be a healing experience for anyone who's been "broken" or "damaged" by life like Crystal was. It's a very fast and easy read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    John

    This is an incredible redemptive story that will touch a LOT of lives if it gets publicity. At first, I was bogged down with the details that were shared of brokenness, abuse, etc., but the descriptions of heaven, nudges by God through the Holy Spirit, and the way that God reaches out to the author of this book encouraged and inspired my faith. The details have a point. By far, this is the best account I've ever read of a "life after death/heaven" experience. I was amazed at how God sovereignly This is an incredible redemptive story that will touch a LOT of lives if it gets publicity. At first, I was bogged down with the details that were shared of brokenness, abuse, etc., but the descriptions of heaven, nudges by God through the Holy Spirit, and the way that God reaches out to the author of this book encouraged and inspired my faith. The details have a point. By far, this is the best account I've ever read of a "life after death/heaven" experience. I was amazed at how God sovereignly met this woman through the setbacks in her life to eventually show His deep love(a love from God that can be applied to each one of us- on an individual basis).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    This was a gift I received for my birthday a few weeks back.. (Thanks Jenni!) with all the life 'stuff' my family has experienced recently, this came at the perfect time. This is an endearing story about God's never ending love for every single one of us, and how nothing we do here, during our time on Earth, can separate us from His all powerful love. We were each made to be in relationship with Him, created in His perfect image... And this book was a beautiful look at just that. An easy read tha This was a gift I received for my birthday a few weeks back.. (Thanks Jenni!) with all the life 'stuff' my family has experienced recently, this came at the perfect time. This is an endearing story about God's never ending love for every single one of us, and how nothing we do here, during our time on Earth, can separate us from His all powerful love. We were each made to be in relationship with Him, created in His perfect image... And this book was a beautiful look at just that. An easy read that we all will be able to identify with. No sin imaginable can stand in the way of us receiving His love. AMEN!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary Devine

    This book was recommended to me by my sister. I've read several books on near death experiences and heaven, and I found this one most compelling and thought provoking (so far). Crystal is a sinner, like us all, but she bares her transgressions, doubts and vulnerabilities, making herself relatable and her story believable. Virgil sounds too good to be true; wouldn't we all want a husband like the man described on those pages! I thought telling the story more as an autobiographical journey of tran This book was recommended to me by my sister. I've read several books on near death experiences and heaven, and I found this one most compelling and thought provoking (so far). Crystal is a sinner, like us all, but she bares her transgressions, doubts and vulnerabilities, making herself relatable and her story believable. Virgil sounds too good to be true; wouldn't we all want a husband like the man described on those pages! I thought telling the story more as an autobiographical journey of transformation, rather than focusing on what it was like to be in heaven for 9 minutes, was in keeping with what God asked Crystal to do.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Welch

    Couldn't put it down. McVea's story is greatly helped by her association with an award-winning co-author. What I liked: 1. Logical story: beginning, middle, and end 2. Honest voice; she tells the good and bad about herself 3. The consistent sense of candidness throughout the entire tale 4. Story is for Christians and non-Christians alike because of its universal appeal to everyone's desire to know God (if He exists) and get a glimpse into the afterlife 5. But as Crystal admits, a story like this take Couldn't put it down. McVea's story is greatly helped by her association with an award-winning co-author. What I liked: 1. Logical story: beginning, middle, and end 2. Honest voice; she tells the good and bad about herself 3. The consistent sense of candidness throughout the entire tale 4. Story is for Christians and non-Christians alike because of its universal appeal to everyone's desire to know God (if He exists) and get a glimpse into the afterlife 5. But as Crystal admits, a story like this takes faith What I didn't like: 1. Nothing. I've recommended the book to several people and will continue to recommend it

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