ALTUS, Okla. - An Oklahoma woman said she spent nine minutes in heaven as she flatlined during a medical procedure.
Crystal McVea said it happened on Dec. 10, 2009 after she was admitted for a routine medical procedure.
An adverse reaction to medication sent the small town teacher and mother of four from Altus, Oklahoma into cardiac arrest.
Medical records confirm she flatlined, and she said she experienced heaven in this nine-minute span of time.
“The moment my eyes closes there He was, two angels to my left, the most glorious tunnel of light that I could ever describe,” she said.
Crystal's story is more astonishing than other heavenly encounters. Though baptized four times as a child, she said she always questioned the authenticity of a heavenly father.
"I made up my mind. There were two choices. One, God was real and He didn’t love me, or two, there was no God. And I would hold that doubt in my life until the day I died," she said.
Crystal's life took a downward spiral of sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, abortion, drugs and divorce. She said she carried years of secrets and shame.
"Because I felt like I had no worth, I acted like I had no worth," she said.
While she may have doubted, Crystal believes God never gave up on her.
Her time with the Lord was cut short by the piercing screams of her grief-stricken mother. The 33-year-old requested God let her return.
"I just remember calling over my shoulder saying I'll remember everything and I'll be right back and then I opened my eyes in the hospital room, with a room full of doctors and nurses performing CPR."
Crystal recognizes there will be skeptics, But Dr. Richard Smith says scientific studies on near death experiences support Crystal's claims.
"There's enough evidence from individuals who have experienced this to suggest there's a commonality, the spiritual life has reality and the existence of God is real," said Dr. Smith. "And that's what these people say. It changes their life."
Crystal McVea's life is certainly changed. The book she wrote about the experience is a New York Times best seller.
She now ministers to the homeless, in strip clubs and hospitals, to the terminally ill.
But mostly, she's working to please God, because she doesn't want a repeat of her first words to the almighty.
"As I turned to face this light I fell to my knees in front of Him and raised my hands and said why didn't I do more for you? The next time, I don't want to say why didn't I do more for you. That is when I hope He takes me by the hand and says 'Good job'," McVea said.