My 40 yr Story: From Death to Life

Today my boy turns 13.  It was 13 years ago today that he passed from death to life and the whole story is a miracle and the whole thing is hard to believe if you don’t know God like I know God.  So many people doubt the relevance of God.  They say they don’t need Jesus, they are fine.  If you can refute the realness of God after this story, I have nothing more to convince you.  We serve a living God.  The story you are about to read actually happened and my husband who is completely level headed was a witness to the entire thing.

I pray that after you read this, if you have not trusted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you will.  He cares for you.  Life and death are in His hands.  Some of us who get miracles wonder why others don’t get them when they need them more.  Maybe I was given a touch more miracles than others that deserved it more only because I have a big mouth and I will share it.  The miracles we all experience each day, the little things like being able to see or taste food, think and reason, walk, dance to the music you hear in your miraculous ears, they are there.  You just choose to not see those things as miracles.  Everyday is a miracle.  When all your cells preform as they should, it is a miracle.  Some of us have BIG stories of out of the normal everyday miracles.  Those become the stories that show the power of our Almighty GOD.  This will become another chapter in the book I am writing, the story of my life.  I only write the story to show you how great our God is.

Okay, I will get to the story…

The pain that I felt was unbarable.  My shattered pelvis from falling down the steps with my previous pregnancy was coming unglued with the growth of my newest child.  I held fast my hands over my enormous belly, my dear husband trying to figure out a way to carry the load of 3 little ones, a bed ridden wife, and a child on the way.  The weight of everything was on him.  To put food on the table.  He could see the mounting bills, the wind and cold blowing outside, and a wife that could not get out of bed.

He cried out for reinforcement.  With three children under 5, he needed someone to help.  2 Amish girls came to stay at the house and care for the things of the home.  I felt so bad to put this all on his shoulders but as the baby grew in my womb, the bones were pulling apart again causing a high level of pain.  I could not shift weight on my feet at all.  It was just one of those impossible situations.  I had a hospital bed in my living room because I could not climb the steps to our bedroom.  There I sat for months waiting for my baby to deliver me out of that pain.The Amish girls would cook and clean and take care of the little ones.  I sat in the bed since I could not lay down.  I had a toilet beside the bed and a walker.  Many people came to pray for me.  Months before I had went to a big event at a local church.  They had this man who was a witch doctor, a Shaman from Venezuela, who had gotten saved.  He had a special gift to see into the spiritual.  He gave his life to Jesus and he could tell you just by looking at a cartoon for kids if it was inspired of the devil.  Chief Shoe-foot is his name.  He was nearly 70  years old at the time and he could speak no English.  As he shared his testimony in front of thousands, the interpreter would tell us in English what he was sharing.

I was broken.  I looked Amish.  I was a mental case.  A mess, you could say!  If you ever read ME MONSTER in my book, this was the story that surrounds that desperate time.  It was after I nearly killed myself because I was so depressed in my life, that I realized I needed this man to see me.  To look into my eyes and tell me what he saw.  Would he see past my smile and my plain dress?  Would he see my heart, the cold and desperate heart that needed hope again?  I waited until all the others left the building, until he was standing alone beside his interpreter.  I had grievous sins and bondage of selfishness and lust, secrets from things I had seen in my youth that I could not get out of my mind and it was killing me.  I was a prisoner.  I was stuck and I needed to move on from that point.  My family depended on it.  The chief took one look at my smile and he searched beyond my eyes.

“Your heart is a heart bound in darkness like a cloud covers the light,”  he said without hesitation, “God shall deliver you and your heart will be free and the light will one day shine for all to see.”  As quick as he spoke those words he quickly left the room and I stood there searching my heart for any possible way of finding my freedom.  In my desperation to find my cure, I wrote a letter to Debi Pearl.  It was an ugly letter.  I told her about all I had stored up in my mind.  I told her there was no excuse, and even though my innocence was taken from me at such a tender age, I can’t live like that any longer.  She did not know me at the time, but she wrote with tears in her eyes because she was grieved for me.  She gave me her husband’s CD to listen to called Sin No More and that I should listen to them 3 times over.  I did.  But nothing yet.  I knew that I was redeemed.  I knew that I could have power and all my realizations came clear to me that I was a child of God.  I wanted to be free.

As I lay in that hospital bed in my pain and in my desperation, I cried out to God.  I begged Him to free me.  Not from my pain, but from my dark covered heart.  I wanted to have joy.  I wanted to lead my children in joy and bring the new one into the world with peace, joy, and thanksgiving.  It was a struggle for me to ever be happy.  I could not let go of my past.

Little Molly, my little girl who was barely 3 years old, who could barely speak in complete sentences, toddled over to my bedside.  Mark was sitting there on the edge of the bed as this came forth from her lips, “Mommy, Jesus told me that you are going to die this Thursday!” She said with such clarity of speech.  It was creepy.  She toddled off like she did not say one word to us.  With tear stained face, I looked up to my weary husband and as our eyes met, we blinked a few times from the shock of those words.  What did that little girl just say? You have no idea how freaked out we were.  Here I was in that hospital bed only a week away from my due date.  And she does not speak in sentences and especially not with such gravity about death.  Molly was just a little girl.

I called my mother who was a nurse at the time and told her about what Molly said and she was evidently just as freaked out because she went to see a palm reader.  She knew I did not agree with consulting palm readers so she did not tell me.  Later she told me that the palm reader could find information on her life and my brothers, but when asked about my life, the palm reader said, “I am sorry, I cannot see anything on your daughter, for she is covered in blood.”  Well, my mother assumed I was going to hemorrhage and die from losing blood somehow.  But because obviously, that did not happen, the blood was seen in the spiritual realms as a covering.  The blood of Christ.  It is a literal blood on my account.  No evil can touch me because I am under that blood.  I am excited that she said that, I am not sure about you, but that is pretty cool validation for the reality of the protection I have in Christ, under his shed blood.

Around the same time, my help dried up.  It was early January and I had no one who could keep helping.  Mark had to stay home from work to care for me because I could not be left alone with the little ones.

BUT, that is not the end.  I did get scared of course.  Wouldn’t you?  If your little one said this?  And my mother was thinking I was a goner, in a blood bath.  Wednesday night, I sat in my bed with tears streaming down my face, and I begged God for a miracle.  I had no idea what Thursday would bring.  If I would live to tell this story today.  I had no promise of another day, and a foreboding feeling that something was going to happen the next morning.  I proclaimed, “Jesus, I know you are my healer, I know you are my deliverer, and my redeemer.  I trust that you are able to do all things.  My life is in your hands and I pray for your will to be done.”  I remember a feeling of God whispering in my heart that he would make his power known.  And that it had to come through my head, my husband.

That long night rolled on.  I lay there completely awake.  Thinking.  Praying.  Wondering.  While it was still dark, I heard the creak of the steps as my husband started to descend.  I turned my head to see him standing there on the steps with his arm stretched out.  His finger was pointed right at me.  His eyebrows were furled, and he looked mad.  In a voice like thunder, he said, “GET UP AND WALK!!!!”

I felt a surge run through me and I did get up that same instant.  I got up and I walked for the first time.  No pain.  No nothing!  I had varicose veins the size of a golf ball in a very delicate spot and they were also gone in that instant.  I walked to the bathroom shaking.  My husband followed me and he started crying and fell to his knees praising God.  If you know my husband, you know that he is mainly zero emotion.  He does not get giddy or mad easy, he just sits like a statue.  So this was out of character.   We both held each other and cried tears of joy.

Not only did God heal my body, he healed my mind!  It was like everything was washed clean.  I was able to feel the darkness flee and instead the LIGHT, the glorious light of Jesus rush through.  I started to clean my house and immediately burned all the poetry and painting and writings I did in that state of depression.  I burned i
t all.  Mark gladly took each article from my hand and brought it out to the burning barrel.  No more.  No more of the bondage.  I was finally FREE.  That is the first of the wave of miracles.   We are not finished.  Don’t stop reading here…

I actually went up to the Amish and was leaping for joy and some fell to the ground praising God.  They could see that God healed me.  Others stood there with their arms folded and they said, “Maybe you were never in pain to start with!”  Some said, “Why did God heal you, when others out there, like mothers dying from cancer don’t get healed?  Why you?  Why wouldn’t God heal them, your thing was not that bad!”  Yet others stood in disbelief because the alternative would be to realize and perhaps admit that all the motions they go through and the stubborn pride of their culture could be in vain.  If Jesus is real, then we could know him personally, and there would be no need to try to earn our way in. His payment was enough to settle the debt we owed.  We could trust in the finished work of the cross!  A free gift!  Nothing we could do to earn it!  It was a testimony of the greatness and realness of God.

I went to the health club with the kids to play with them.  I felt so good even though I was 9 months pregnant.  I jumped on a big trampoline in my Amish dress!  When God heals, he heals.  Sorry if that conflicts with your ideas.

A few short days later, I felt the pressure of birth coming on.  Mark whisked me away to the hospital.  I had been wanting a home birth but no midwife wanted to touch me.  They thought I was too much of a risk.  There is a reason why this all happened just as it did and you will soon find out why.  I wanted to be like all the other moms I knew and did the home birth.  There is a right of passage for those that do this.  It is like a club.  They all share about their home births, and I just sit back, shrink down in my chair as I admit my lack of faith and say, “I had mine at the hospital!” I am glad our God had a reason why he protected me from my home birth dreams.   I still think home births are amazing if you can have them, but sometimes God has another plan and instead cancels our plans.

“Be Thou My Vision,”  I sang as I rolled my body upon the birthing ball in my little dark hospital room.  I sang and sang hymns with all my heart.  I sang so loud, I wanted the entire floor hear my praises.  I was healed.  God is real!  They must have thought, “Who is that crazy lady down there!”  Well, if you could drown out your excitement after God just miraculously healed you, that is fine, but I could not contain myself.  If God can fuse bones together and take varicose veins away in an instant, it is a miracle.  Even my doctor said it was a medical miracle.

The time was at hand.  I normally had to have all the drugs to help with the birth pain because with each of the other births, there were complications.  This time I was going all NA TU RAL.  No drugs.  My water broke on its own for the first time and I was finally put into the bed to prep for delivery.  The nurse told me, “Stop pushing! The doctor is on his way!”  Stop pushing?  NO.  I was ready, that baby was coming with or without the doctor.  Mark was holding me around my shoulders trying to help comfort me as I pushed out the baby.  All wet and slippery, I saw him and grabbed him up in my arms.  I just sat there cuddling the slimy little precious one.  The doctor came in to make sure all was well and said, “Looks like you had two miracles this week.  Congratulations on a perfect little boy!”

I held the little boy, we named him Michael Stephen Harrison.  He was was perfect in every way.  I looked into his little eyes and he was just so peaceful.  Wrapped in little blanket I clenched him close as I nursed him.  It was around 6 pm and my mother was anxious to bring the little ones out to see their new baby brother.  Miles was so concerned for his baby brother.  He told the nurses, “Don’t suffer him.  Be careful with him!”

After the three little proud siblings made there way back home, Mark and I remained in the dimly lit hospital room.  All at once, a nurse came in and stood at the foot of the bed.  She was all drill sergeant-like with her clip board in hand peeking at us over her bifocals.  Her hair was really short and curled close to her head.  She had to have been in her fifties and was a little plump.

“Listen to me.  Do not place the baby in bed with you.  Do not feed him after 8 p.m. either.  When you are done feeding him, you must wrap him in a blanket and place him in the cart beside the bed.”  She was not through with her instructions.  “Right at midnight you need to ring the nurse’s station because they will need to take an “Empty-stomach-weight.”
What was this?  I never heard of this empty-stomach-weight test.  I snuggled with the baby just thinking that I better listen to this nurse.  I was afraid that if I did something against the rules, I would surely have my kids taken from me.  You just never know these days!  So I fed him at 8 pm and wrapped him gently in his blanket and placed him softly into the carrier beside my bed.  Normally, I would have the baby in bed with me at all times.  I wanted the baby close to me and to feel warm.  I could not take a chance.  I set waiting for that clock to strike midnight so I could call them in and I could hold him again.  It was all so strange, ask my husband.  He was just laying on the cot on the other side of my bed sound asleep at the time.  The room was dark.  But the light that shone at the clock was dim.

I dosed off for a minute and awoke with a jolt.  I was afraid I missed the clock.  I peered through the darkness and saw the hand click into place—it was midnight.  I immediately pushed the nurse button.  “Can I help you?” came over the loud speaker of my room.  “Yes.  It is time.  You wanted to do that empty stomach weight on my baby at midnight so you may come and get him.”  Then silence for a moment.

“What?  I never heard of this order,” exclaimed the nurse in surprise, and I followed sharply, “The nurse told us!” She quickly responded to keep the peace, “Okay, we will be right down to get him!”  I looked over my baby.  The room was still dark.  He appeared to be sleeping to me.  He was so peaceful.  The nurse came into the room and grabbed the handle of the cart that contained my son and she wheeled him out into the hall.

Time was passing and I was becoming unsettled.  Fifteen minutes later, I rang the button again, wondering what the hold up was.  “Can I help you?”  I returned, “Yes.  Is my baby done getting weighed.  I would like to feed him,” thinking he was half starved to death.  “We will be right down,” the voice said.  A nurse came in looking half startled, half under control as she very seriously told us, “Ma’am, we are doing everything we can.”  Those are the words that communicate to a person that things are pretty bad.   My heart started to race as I continued to listen to her, “When we got him, he was not breathing.  You need to come out here right now.”

Mark helped me into a wheel chair and wheeled me down the hall to a glass window that revealed a team of doctors surrounding my lifeless son.  There he lay, white as dust and dead as could be.  Electric paddles were being applied to his little chest.  Every thud, the little body would jerk.  I could not stop from the tears pouring down my face.  I could see the box that we would put him in, I lived through the funeral in my mind.  I could have sat there wondering why I was healed for this?  Why God would show
his power to give the miracle to bring death to our home?  How come I came through the fire unscathed to be burned by the dart of death’s cold sting?  How could I have tasted of the grace of God to have it ripped from under me?  BUT I did not. Instead I knew, I just knew that if God healed me, he also had a plan.  I uttered in feeble voice, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord!”

I asked Mark for my bible.  As they worked tirelessly for what seemed a long time, I read the 23rd Psalm, “yeah thou I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…”  I started to sing a hymn.  How could I sing when everything was good and not still sing in my deepest moment of loss.  I sang, Be Still My Soul.  Over and over as every tear dried from my face and I was filled with hope.

Just then, I heard it through that peace that I had from Jesus, that beep.  And then another beep.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  He was raised from the dead.  My little boy was alive!!!!  We did not know if he was going to stay alive, but his heart was beating softly again and he was now on life support.  We did not know if the 20-30 min that his heart was not beating, or longer, who knows how long he was in our room lying still with death, if he would have brain damage.  No one knew but God.  We just knew that God had a plan.  That was for sure!
They took him in an ambulance to another much larger hospital.  Mark and I followed by car.  When we found him laying there with heart scans being pulled up on screens overhead.  The specialist told us at that moment, “Your son has an exceedingly rare heart defect.  It is called Transposition of the Greater Arteries, or TGA.  In short, his heart is hooked up backwards.  The arteries that are supposed to be crossed lie parallel and the blood is circulating from the heart and only back to the lungs instead of to the rest of the body including the brain.  It is the most fatal of heart defects and until recently it has been undetected.  Most babies would just simply die and the cause of death was unknown.  99% of the time this condition is caught on ultrasound.   All babies have a hole in their heart while they are in their mother’s womb that naturally closes after 6 hours (midnight the night Michael stopped breathing).  He was born at 6pm.  That hole is meant for blood circulation through the placenta and umbilical cord to exchange oxygen to the baby from the mother.  When that closes, the heart of the baby needs to take over that process.  If the arteries of the heart are backwards as was in Michael’s situation and which, is the cause of TGA, when the whole closes, the heart continues to pump the blood in the wrong direction.  So that is why the blood pumps to the lungs and not to the rest of their bodies.  Do you understand?”  I was dumbfounded to be honest, but I listened.  I deferred to her level of understanding.  I answered, “Can it be fixed?”The doctor smiled, “Yes!  I am glad you asked.  We just need to get him to a surgeon that has preformed the arterial switch and have the procedure done.”Michael was placed on a gurney, still on life support, into a helicopter traveling high in the air hundreds of miles away.  Mark and I needed to drive down to Milwaukee Children’s Hospital to meet him down there.  As I looked up into the clouds, I prayed that they would safely guide the pilots to the destination and carry my precious cargo.  Such a little one so far in the sky, like a star in the night.  My little one was in the hands of God.
At the hospital I could sit by his side and kiss his little precious head.  Wrapped in a web of wires to keep him alive those short days, God worked an even bigger hope in all of our hearts.  We knew that this was not by chance like so many would like to say.  This story is a miracle that you cannot refute.
Now here is a humbling question, how did the nurse know?  Later when I asked the hospital so I could thank that nurse for alerting us and they did not have a nurse of that age or description.  She did not exist according to the hospital staff.  Nor did they ever hear of anyone giving those strict orders.  Okay.  If you do not believe in angels or in miracles, I hope you do now.  For one, if I would have had my way, I would have had a home birth and been snuggled in my bed with the baby.  6 hours later he would have swept peacefully to Jesus and I would have had to live with the idea that I smothered my child.  No one would have known.  If the nurse did not tell me to keep him out of my bed, the same end would have happened.  I would have woke up in the night with a cold, lifeless baby!  I reckon only God knew!  We believe God sent an ANGEL or messenger to alert us.  We believe there is no other explanation.  All those stories of angels that look like little baby cupids, with little wings to hold them in the air, have vanished from our reality as we saw this one that looked like an older lady.  And only God knew the beginning from the end.  He knows what we can handle and I may not have been strong enough to handle such a fate as that.  Besides that, God has a special plan for Michael’s life.  There is a reason that Mikey did not have brain damage.  His heart was fixed 4 days later by one of the best heart surgeons in the country.  He came home 4 days after that.  He lives a normal life.  He has been a delight to this family for his 13 years of life.

And this story is a testimony for those that believe.  To them that believe already, may you have your faith strengthened in the miracles of God.  To those that are sitting reading this who have not given your life to Jesus, maybe you believe that there is a God but you are going through life without thanking him, without giving him every part of your life.  Maybe you are mad at God.  Maybe you have been disillusioned by So-called christians who do not behave like Jesus.  Maybe you have been hurt.  Don’t measure God with what people do.  It is not His fault.  He still is God.  There still is good and evil.  Heaven and Hell.  God is real.  And this story is a testament of the power of God.I ask each of you to get on your knees today, make this the day of your salvation.  Trust Jesus.  He died for you.  It doesn’t matter how bad you have been or how GOOD you think you have been, without being born again, without asking for Jesus to forgive you and realize your sincere need of his cleansing power of redemption, you will be lost.  Make this the day the day of your salvation.  Live for Him.  May you also pass from death to life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John  3:16

Maybe my son’s heart was born broken so that God could heal the broken hearted of this world by his story…

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised”  Luke 4:18

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21 thoughts on “My 40 yr Story: From Death to Life”

  1. How awesome is our God!
    Thank you for sharing this testimony. It has brought much needed encouragement to us as the Lord is caring us through in a valley right now.
    Always have loved reading your writings. They are such a blessing.

  2. Amazing testimony, and one I certainly plan to share with others.
    Request: can you make this testimony into a video, with pictures, etc.
    For some, reading is challenging but a video could be more easily shared. Is this a challenge??? Yup! Bet you can do it, though or I wouldn’t ask!

  3. Thank you for sharing this amazing story of faith and resurrection! Surely God allows things like this to happen so we can brag on Jesus!

  4. Sounds Like Reign on youtube just posted their version of the song “Be Thou My Vision” listened to it just after reading your article. Thank you for sharing. Pregnant, and more pregnant than I have ever been, we’ve had a tough year and the dragging on of this pregnancy has been really bothering me. I was pretty upset this morning waking up after a night of fruitless contraction, but low and behold the kids are all sick again! I should just trust God is going to take care of us regardless of what I want right now.

  5. Glory to GOD in the Highest! Praise be the Lord, Jesus Christ! And I pray that God will continue to use you and your Big Mouth wisely and that He use Mickey in a mighty way!

  6. Wow!! I’m so blessed my this story Erin! You don’t even know. I mean God is amazing, I’ve been doubting him a lot and wondering why my life is such a mess sometimes but now I don’t. Angels really are among us! Such a powerful testimony. Thanks for sharing and may God continue to bless you abundantly 🙂

  7. Wow!! I’m sitting here, 4 months pregnant (with my 3rd child and this has been the hardest pregnancy I’ve ever had) and just crying so much after reading your amazing story! Thank you SO MUCH for writing this! Really blessed me today.

  8. What a wonderful testimony to God’s amazing grace, Erin! He is so good to us and praise the Lord for this real life story. Love you!

    1. Thank you so much my sweet friend, and sister in Christ, Lori!!! God is so good, I am just scratching the surface of how good he has been to our family! To God be all the Glory for the great things he hath done!

  9. God sent you an angel and the best doctors-Praise God , Praise God!!!
    He allowed you to keep your little treasure and to raise him up for His glory! Thank you for sharing this story – it has blessed my heart and life.

  10. I am standing in awe with you at our AMAZING GOD! Thank you for sharing such an intimate and profound story! I don’t doubt, one minute, God moving in such ways for you! I know, too, the amazing touch of our loving Saviour…Currently, I have a miracle sitting in my lap, as I type to you. My husband and I waited so long for this li’l blessing…Never once were we pregnant, until God decided 10 years into our marriage, that He was ready to bless us with our Samuel. No doctors. No one could explain why we weren’t pregnant, all those years before. But, I firmly know that the Lord was in control of it all. Now, we get to gloriously share HIS story….I still am humbled by Him blessing us in such a way. Thank you for filling my heart with joy over your story!

  11. Thanks for sharing! We also know of Chief Shoefoot who recently passed to glory. Our family have been supporters of the Dawson’s from the beginning. We’ve met Gary and Mike and heard the testimonies from them and in their books. Small world!

    1. Wow, I am so sad to hear that he is no longer with us, but thankful for his testimony and that He is with sweet Jesus now! He had such a great ministry and I so love the Dawsons ministry as well, we have the book Growing Up Yanomamo! Awesome story to read to the kids!

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