From Death to Life – Jan’s Story

The following amazing story of healing was sent to me by Claudia on behalf of one of her clients. Claudia lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and works for an organization working to combat homelessness. I met her at a teaching conference on Spiritual Roots of Disease, held in Toronto last year. As we ended up side-by-side over our lunch break, we began to share stories about the effectiveness of prayer for healing. Claudia had just been involved in such a healing story and I encouraged her to share it and write it down so that others can be encouraged by it.

On several occasions, Claudia had encountered Jan, who was homeless, sick and suffering. She had taken her to the local Emergency Department at the hospital several times and this particular time there was almost no hope. Jan was not expected to survive.

Claudia told me that she struggled with her decision as to whether to try to contact Jan’s relatives that night. She knew that it would not be easy to locate relatives of a homeless person. She also debated about prayer and last rites. Who could she call? Before trying to locate Jan’s family for a possible last visit with her, she decided to call Art, a prayerful friend of hers, expecting him to pray for Jan’s peaceful passage from this world to the next. Art responded and came quickly. However, to Claudia’s utter surprise and shock, Art prayed a powerful prayer of life over Jan, commanding her body, mind and spirit to be restored and healed. Claudia admitted that she was actually somewhat embarrassed by the strange prayer. Still believing that Jan was really dying, she took the initiative to call her closest family members and they also came quickly. And God began to heal… instantly!

Two people showed love and compassion to a woman who had lost all hope and purpose to live, and God did the rest.

This is a true story of healing, restoration of relationships, and life change!

(The story is told in Jan’s own words with only minor editing.)

Some things from my time at the hospital I remember only vaguely, but I clearly remember the night that Art and Claudia were there with me in the hospital room. I could feel them and hear them, but I could not communicate with them. I knew that I was dying but at the same time I felt that I was not ready to give up. It was too soon for me. I was not ready.

Claudia had taken me to the ER so many times over the last couple of months, usually on Friday nights. We kept on saying jokingly that it was time for us to find something better to do for weekend entertainment. All the tests had shown that there were a lot of serious things wrong with me: HIV positive, Hep C, bleeding ulcers, double pneumonia, blocked arteries, angina and COPD. But until that night I still hadn’t realized how sick I really was and that I was going to die. I was very weak but something told me to hold on. Every time Claudia left the room, I thought something would happen, that I would let go. I needed her to be there all the time – otherwise I was afraid that I might not be able to hold on and let go. I thought that as long as she was there, I would not die.

In my dream, I saw my family doctor, Dr. Fraser. He was floating inside a big bubble. He appeared in different funny costumes. He made me laugh and he kept saying, “You are not going anywhere, Jan.” I will see you again in my practice. He reached out his hand and made me put on a glove on my right hand. Then he reached for my hand and said, “See, you will be alright!” He gave me a glove for the left hand, but I could not get it on. I could not move my arm. I got frustrated but he assured me that I would be ok. At the end, I poked the bubble and it broke and he became his normal self again. He was wearing normal clothes again and had his every day look. He told me that he has other patients to see and that I would be ok.

I remember complete quiet and silence. Looking at the ceiling, everything was foggy and I saw a white pearly gate. It looked so peaceful, so quiet. I wanted to go through it. I really wanted to go badly but when I turned around, I saw my son, Jonathan, begging me not to go. When thinking about it now, I start crying because I feel guilt. In the past, while I was on drugs, I had left him a couple of times. He had begged me before not to leave him, but because of the drugs, I actually did. I left him with my mom for a couple of years when he was four years old. He remembers it. When he was 14, my husband died. I was using cocaine and was a mess. My mom took Jonathan again and raised him for two more years until I got clean when he was 16. When I relapsed, he went back to my mom once again.

I wasn’t ready to be a mom when I had Jonathan. It was either drugs or no money. At times I have felt selfish for even keeping him, and I think I should have given him up for adoption so that he could have had a better life. I was so young when I had him. I had just turned 19. When you are an addict, you cannot quit for others. I had to get selfish and quit just for myself. It took me a long time to clean up. I had a few relapses but never thought that I would turn my life completely around.

That leads me back to that night at the hospital. I said to myself that l had fought too hard to get where I am now. I am not giving up. I saw the gate. It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. But on the other side was Jonathan crying and begging me not to leave him. He was crying and he got me crying, and then the vision of the pearly gate vanished. Today I am proud of myself that I did not abandon him this time. Now I have my family back and I have my son back. I feel fortunate because I was given the option to decide if I wanted to die or live.

I remember Art coming back another day by himself. I was just lying in my hospital bed with my eyes closed. I opened my eyes and saw him with a big smile on his face and he said, “How are you my precious Jan?” I just hugged him and cried. He told me that I am still needed. It felt as if he knew everything about my life, everything that had happened to me without me ever telling him. Since then I have made a complete turn-around. I just felt so fortunate to be given a second chance. Having been so sick and been told that I would die, and then being given a second chance.

At times, when I was alone in my apartment and in pain, throwing up blood, vomiting all the time, I prayed quite often, begging God to let me die, telling him that I cannot do it anymore. I am not really a religious person, I don’t go to church every week and stuff, but Art helped me believe in a higher power. When I get sick now and don’t feel good, I think of Art and ask him in my mind to pray for me to the higher power. Before all this happened, it felt like I was carrying a plate too heavy to carry. TODAY, the plate feels empty. I feel as if I could even take more things on. I feel I owe God for giving me another chance, and Art and Claudia for seeing me for who I am. I don’t have to worry about what people are thinking of me anymore. I truly don’t know how to begin to thank Art and to let him know how much he has changed my way of living and thinking.

Today I am just Jan, and that is all I can and want to be. Every day, I give thanks and praise, and yes, I am still alive to talk about being on death’s door. I was confused before. I had lost my faith in God when I lost my husband in a boating accident. I kept asking God, “Why are you doing this to me? Why would you put me through this – something you would not wish on your worst enemy?” Today, I don’t blame God anymore because I accept that tragedies and accidents happen for a reason. God did not take my husband to punish me, but rather to protect me and my son. My husband was an alcoholic and very abusive. He used to beat me and was not a good father to Jonathan.

I now feel so fortunate for all of these experiences, even though it was painful at the time. I learned from them and am now able to talk about them.

(Editor’s Note: I thank God for saving Jan and changing her through the intervention of two people. What is your story? If you wish to share it, contact me using the reply form below.)


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