- Crystal McVea, 36, died for nine minutes after doctors overdosed her on pain medication in the hospital
- She says during those nine minutes she went to heaven and met God
- The married school teacher and mother of four says she was sexually-abused as a child and underwent an abortion when she was a teen which led her to believe God didn't love her or didn't exist
- She now full-heatedly believes in God and shared her experience in new book 'Waking Up In Heaven'
Those experiences made her second guess from a young age whether or not God existed, and if he did, whether he loved her.
'I saw a lot of things that children shouldn't see,' she told WFAA. 'I always believed that God had abandoned me, that he didn't save me, that he didn't love me and I questioned if he was real.'
Then, when she was a teenager, she had an abortion. A choice she believed cemented her position as a sinner.
'After that abortion I thought, "I've done it now - if he was real, he could never love me now,"' she told The Blaze.
In December 2009, McVea was taken to the hospital to be treated for pancreatitis when she was accidentally overdosed on pain medication.
The last thing McVea remembers is being given the drugs and falling asleep. For the next nine minutes, doctors struggled to revive her as her heart stopped beating.
McVea says she was in a more peaceful place. After closing her eyes in the hospital, the next thing she remembers is waking up in heaven.
'I was standing in the most gorgeous light and instantly I recognized where I was. I knew who I was, I knew where I was...' she recalls.
In heaven, time seemed to stand still. She recalls being in the presence of two angels - though they didn't look like anyone she had ever met on earth.
At one point, God presented himself to her, but not in human form. Still she knew who he was and says that she could feel his presence with much more than the five senses she had on earth. They didn't even need to communicate with words.
One of the things she remembers most about the experience was God conjuring up the image of a young girl, laughing and playing.
Looking back on the experience, she believes that girl was a version of herself before the sexual abuse made her lose faith.
Being in the presence of God and seeing that innocent version of herself, the weight was lifted from her dark past.
'I just remember I felt free from all the lies I had lived and the untruth that God didn't love me,' she told the New York Daily News.
She felt so overcome with happiness that when he asked her if she wanted to go back to her husband and four children, she opted to stay in heaven. She says God assured her that they would be fine without her.
It was only when she heard her mother calling out from her hospital bedside that she changed her mind.
'I just felt such pity (for my mom) and I turned around to find her voice - and (God) said, "Tell them what you can remember"' she recalled.
And just like that, she was back in her hospital room - miraculously alive again.
McVea isn't the first to claim she communicated with God in the afterlife. Neuroscientist Dean Mobb explained in Scientific American that these experiences have a biological answer in the side effects of medicinal and recreational drugs. In McVea's case, those would be the drugs she accidentally overdosed on while being treated for pancreatitus.
But for McVea, the experience was real and she hasn't let the non-believers keep her from sharing her story. A few years ago she realized that it was her duty to share her story with the world, and so authored a book about her 9 minutes in heaven titled 'Waking up in Heaven' which was published this past June.
She hopes the book will help others realize that 'no matter how broken and beaten' they are, that 'there is nothing that you can do in your life that will ever separate his love from you'.