UPDATE 10/27/23: Karen McGowan’s book, Faith to Finish, is now available on Amazon.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– We’re talking this afternoon about near death experiences.
Many of you will recognize the book, Embraced by the Light. In 1992 it was the number
one New York Times best seller, a first-hand account of author Betty Eadie’s near death experience.
Universal Studios asked her to endorse the film “Dragonfly” starring Kevin Costner
and Kathy Bates, sharing her insight regarding near-death and after-death topics central
to the film’s story line.
My guest today had a near death experience in the early 2000’s, when she was 52. She was a registered nurse who had contracted a lung disease, possibly from a patient.
Karen McGowan was placed on life support, and doctors warned her family that she probably would not survive. But something amazing happened during the course of about three weeks. McGowan wrote about her experience in a book, Faith to Finish.
McGowan is quick to say that it’s never been about book sales, it’s only about the message.
“I was saved at age 5, and I know that is real as sitting here with you today. It’s very strong, the memory of that evening. Did I know as much about Him at age 5 as I do today? No. But He tells us to come as a little child, it’s a childlike faith to come to know Him.”
Fast-forward to December 2005, right before Christmas. Karen got really sick, with a very high fever.
“My doctor held up the X-ray and it was completely opaque and he said, that’s the worst case of double pneumonia I’ve ever seen. So that’s what I was admitted with and they started the treatment for.”
As the days went by, Karen’s condition got worse. By Christmas Eve morning she was placed on life support.
“And that was when my heavenly Father first came to me. To know Him as the first person, that first close encounter. Because I felt as if I had crawled up on His lap and he was just cradling me, loving me and saying, “I’m going to be with you through this, but I have a reason for this.”
Karen says to this day, in 2023, even after the loss of her husband, she may be alone or feel lonely, but she knows she’s never alone.
“I’m never completely alone, because He’s always with me and even as a Holy Spirit who lives within me.”
Back to ICU, where more days passed and she was not improving. She recalls feeling how quiet the room was and how she longed for human touch.
“My nurses had stepped out, and I thought, if I could just feel the touch of somebody’s hand on mine. If I could just know somebody was here with me… I could hear everything going on, though I was in a coma. Mixed up in the medications, paralyzed before I was sedated… and it was at that moment that the second encounter happened. I knew that my Savior was sitting on the bed next to me and just holding my hand.”
She says on old song came to mind: “The warmth of His hand, The touch of His hand on mine.”
The warmth of that moment spoke to her, “I’m here with you. You will not walk through this alone. I’m with you always. I promise I will never leave or forsake you.”
She says there was such a peace and comfort, even though she heard all of the doctors and the nurses saying they were surprised she was still alive.
“And then it progressed to a voice I had not heard before. It was a doctor at my bedside… and he was giving the nurse instructions. He had overheard my doctors talking and they actually had given up on me. So he said them, ‘Have you considered that it might be inflammation and not infection? If my hunch is right, in 12 hours she’ll be getting better or she’ll be gone.'”
Despite being in a coma, she says she was having very vivid thoughts that she remembers, just as she remembers conversations people had at her bedside.
And then this thought:
“I’ve had an encounter with my Heavenly Father, with Almighty God and then with the Savior and there’s one more person of the trinity- and that’s the Holy Spirit, one that we often neglect. He’s the one who woos us to Christ, but we don’t always listen to Him, because He’s there to guide us, that’s why He lives– that’s why Christ left Him here to live within us, guide us, lead us,
give us direction.”
She says the Holy Spirit began to speak to her about letting go of things.
“And He just kept saying, ‘There’s more. There’s more,’ and I gave Him my family. I gave Him my children. And as I emptied of anything that could separate me from Him, I realized this is what a relationship is. Accepting Christ as your savior establishes a relationship. It takes energy. It takes experiencing things together. And so God was showing me, ‘It’s being in My word.’ It’s being in a constant, diligent seeking Him in prayer, not only for myself but interceding for others.”
And that’s when she says He told her to write the book.
“I want you to let others know how much God loves them.”
Many people may read Karen’s story, or watch the video above, and just attribute her experience to being really doped up. She had lots of medicine going through her veins. They may call it a simply dream.
“I’m sure that’s been said before! And, I’ll be honest with you, there were times when I thought maybe I was just dreaming, but then I was so reminded of– remember I said going back to age 5 and the night I accepted Christ– that was as real to me as this was to me. And He so changed my life, there’s no denying.”
“This is such a critical time in our world and so many people are fearful. They’re cautious. And knowing the Lord as your savior removes so much of that fear. We have no reason to fear. People are looking for peace. And it’s peace within, that we have to make peace with God, before we can have the peace of God.”
Karen does speak to different groups and enjoys sharing her story. You can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org