Editor’s Note: We serve a great and mighty God who helps us more than we will ever realize. I have known the Jeanes family for many years; and I remember when Erica had this experience, which was verified by a host of competent medical personnel. I asked her to write this article as an encouragement to those of us who belong to the Lord. Angels are as real today as they were when they spoke to Mary and Joseph about the birth of Jesus. And though most of us will never see one here on Earth, we will surely rejoice in their presence when we are with the Lord in heaven.
Merry Christmas from your family in the faith at The Friends of Israel.
It was bizarre to see myself lying on the floor of my allergist’s office. I lay at a slight angle in the narrow hallway, flanked on all sides by the clinic staff. The fantastic blue and white shirt I had just bought from Limited Express was sliced up the middle and open like a jacket. My body was a lifeless shade of blue. Head tilted back, eyes blankly staring, I heard the panicked shouts of doctors. “We can’t intubate! We can’t get an airway! Start CPR! We’re losing her! We’re losing her!”
The day had started ordinarily. I was 22 and a first-grade teacher at a small Christian school in New Hampshire, where I grew up. My mother was the administrator. She gave me my first job out of college. My father is the pastor of the church that still houses that school today.
My mother gave me so much more than a job. When I was six years old, I sat on the stairs in my parents’ home, eavesdropping as Mom shared the story of Christ’s redemptive love with a dear friend. Perched on those steps, my eyes shut tightly, I prayed in earnest and gave my life to Christ. I grew up in that strong Christian home and graduated from Gordon College. My faith had deep roots, and I knew my hope and help lay in Christ alone.
I had finished teaching that day and got into my little red Colt hatchback (I had named it Rusty) to run errands. First stop, Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic in Nashua to get shots that were supposed to desensitize me to the world I was allergic to. After the shots, patients wait in the office for a mandatory 20 minutes in case of a reaction. I waited 40 minutes, immersing myself in a book. I got up feeling a bit odd; but I cleared my throat, got a drink, and was off to errand number two.
My wedding day was only three months away, and I needed shoes to go with my wedding dress. I was going to marry my college sweetheart, Evan Jeanes. While in the store, the clerk commented, “You don’t look too good. Can I do something to help?”
“No, I uh. I don’t know. I guess I’ll just go,” I replied.
I got into Rusty feeling a little confused and got back on Route 3, a large stretch of which was under construction. Traffic was backed up and moving slowly. I didn’t feel right. I couldn’t catch my breath, and I felt a crushing weight on my chest. Something was wrong. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw myself. I was very, very blue.
I tried to drive back to the clinic. There were no cell phones for regular folks in 1995. I had one thought only: I need God’s grace and mercy. Silently I prayed four words over and over again as though they were the only ones that mattered: “Jesus, please help me!” He was my only thought and my only hope.
I drove to within a mile of the clinic and got stuck in traffic. There was no one with me and no radio playing when I heard a voice say with great authority, “Get out of the car.” So I did. I locked it, as Evan had taught me to do, and started for the side of the road.
Confused and waiting for further instructions, I swayed unsteadily for a moment. As if out of nowhere, a young man with blonde hair came running toward me. He was about six feet tall, around 18 to 20 years of age, wearing light-colored jeans and a T-shirt. He easily caught me up in his arms, just as I do with any of my five children today when they are hurt.
I don’t remember a car ride or being in a car. The next thing I knew, I was standing halfway down the long hall in the clinic. The man who had caught me up was on my left. He was supporting me so that my left arm was bent, elbow out, and my hand at my chest. He was tall, so my elbow was raised above my shoulder. On my right was another man. He was about 5 feet 9 inches tall and had dark hair, a friendly face, and also wore jeans and a T-shirt. He had my other arm, his hand on my side. My right arm, too, was bent but was lower than my left arm, as he held my other elbow to support me.
Then I was on the floor, the clinic staff working feverishly to save me. I knew I was dying. I thought, Lord, I guess I am going to die. I am coming home. Please be with my dear Evan. Comfort him and send him someone who loves him as much as I do. He will be so sad. Be with my family. Comfort them, too, Lord. Help them. Father, forgive me for anything I have done that has offended you.
After I prayed, I experienced no fear, no pain, no worry. There was a peace that passes all understanding—a wonderful, quiet place where I was resting. I cannot say how much time went by or what happened, but I heard a voice in the darkness. It was a man praying, “Lord, help me. She is so young, and I see she is promised to another. Let me help her.” Then there was nothing.
The Amazing Truth
Blazing light. My mother crying. My father’s cool hand on my head. Prayers on his lips. More chaos. “She’s in shock,” I heard someone say. “All the blankets we have are on her. We’ll have to wait and see.”
I hadn’t known the terrible things that had happened while I was at great peace. A test to determine my brain activity had been conducted. It was decided I would be buried in my wedding dress. My fiancé was told that, if I pulled through, I would not be the person he had fallen in love with. There would be brain damage.
I lay in bed absorbing that something bad had happened. My mother kept asking me a question to determine if I still had my smarts. As I croaked out that I had sent home from school a child who had chicken pox, my mom crumpled onto the floor, weeping for joy.
When I was stabilized, I was transferred by ambulance to Southern Regional Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit for three days. I had been administered enough Epinephrine and Benadryl for a large horse, and now everyone was worried about my heart. I had lost my short-term memory and suffered a stroke, all due to a highly rare, delayed reaction to the allergy shots.
Finally out of danger, I was released into the care of my parents who brought me to see my allergist. There it became clear that God, who holds all things together, had extended His amazing grace to me.
The doctor inquired how I had come to the clinic since my car was found locked, with the engine still running, a mile away. I surely could not have walked because when I arrived, he said, my heart was only beating twice a minute and I was less than 60 seconds away from death.
I related my story and asked, “The boys who brought me in, do you know who they are?”
“Boys? Let me ask the receptionist who saw you come in.”
In came the receptionist, looking dazed and confused. She clasped my hands with tears in her eyes.
“I was wondering about the boys who brought me here. Did they stay to see what happened to me?” I asked.
“There was no one with you,” she replied. ”It was the strangest thing. There is a bell on the door. Anytime anyone comes in, I know immediately. But the bell never rang. I was working and happened to look up; and there you were, halfway down the hall. One elbow was up like this, the other like this,” she said as she demonstrated the exact way I had been supported by the boys. “But there was no one with you. You were blue, and I ran down the back hall to get you help.”
You could have heard a pin drop as I told them about the boy who caught me up in his arms and how, suddenly, I was in the hall. They referred me to a neurologist who said my brain and body had been so shut down that I even lacked the capacity to hallucinate. If I believed I saw something, he said, I saw it.
Later I received a telephone call from a gentleman I had never met. He had been in an advanced life-support ambulance that was driving by the clinic precisely when the clinic put the call out for help. He asked me what I could remember about that day. When I told him I heard a prayer in the peaceful darkness, he fell silent. “I said that prayer. I intubated you and was breathing for you with a bag for 45 minutes. I always pray for whom I’m working on, but I never pray out loud. You heard my prayer ascending to heaven.”
Since that day in May 1995, I have married my dearest Evan. He is a wonderful man who stood by my side while I recovered. God has blessed us with five beautiful children. Over the years, I have looked back and reflected on these events. My story ran in two large, local newspapers and on a syndicated radio talk show. No one has ever come forward with information on the boys. No one but me saw them.
As a child of God, I know who they were. They were angels whom God sends as ministers to those who are heirs of salvation. I was lifted up by angels and extended the grace of a loving God. God does not always deliver us from death and disease. My dear mother recently lost her battle with ovarian cancer; and I have friends who lost their children, parents, and niece in a horrible accident.
Yet God tells us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” and “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Jer. 31:3; Heb. 13:5). His ways are not our ways, but His ways are perfect. “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
God always has a plan. Today I volunteer for an organization called Global Benefit. I am the project manager for Abolition of Human Trafficking. As I read about the horrors of the modern slave trade and prepare to educate the youth of this nation in order to effect a change, I give thanks to God for letting me be part of a redemptive kind of love. I thank Him for saving me when I was sitting on the stairs at my parents’ home, for supernaturally delivering me from certain death, and for the gift of every day—no matter what that day brings.
My God is one who answers those who call on His name. In fact, He often gives us more than we could ever ask or hope for. And the wonderful thing about God’s grace is that it’s available to us all.