When a massive pileup on an Arizona highway caused Valerie Paters and her Jeep to be entombed beneath a semi truck in a blinding snowstorm, it seemed certain that her life would soon end. Once extracted from the mangled metal, and suffering from massive injuries, Valerie was hospitalized and placed on life support while doctors waited to harvest her organs. But Valerie was more alive than she had ever been. As she stood in the radiant presence of Jesus. He wrapped her into Himself, assuring her of His love and of the promise that heaven is only a breath away.
Heaven Is a Breath Away is a thrilling first hand account of the home that awaits Christians when they draw their last breath here on earth. With open arms, Christ welcomes to heaven those who belong to Him. Rarely has this vision been told in such exquisite detail. It will undoubtedly comfort those who have lost loved ones or are near death themselves. Heaven Is a Breath Away gives hope and encourages faith by sharing the heaven Jesus promised-a real place, magnificent in scope and beauty, permeated with iridescence, and alive with divine energy and love.
About the Author
In March 2000, Valerie Paters had a near-death experience when a traffic accident left her pinned beneath a semi truck. With her body functioning by way of life support, Valerie went to heaven, where she met Jesus face-to-face and discovered the unimaginable beauty of the place. Meanwhile her sister, Cheryl Schuelke, was shown a vision of Valerie swimming in a crystal stream with Jesus. Cheryl obeyed the prompting to pray Valerie back from heaven, and Valerie came back! The two have shared their story nationally and internationally, on television, at conferences, and in churches.
Read an Excerpt
We were moving fast, or flying, toward a high peak. We approached it with such speed I thought we would crash. But so close to Jesus, so protected by His arm around me, I was safe.
Without effort, we reached the mountain and peered across heaven. I saw spring here and snowy peaks there, the richness of autumn and the shimmering summer, too-all the seasons at their peak.
Jesus and I stood in an atmosphere that glowed like dawn, moist and with thick clouds to cushion me. Under my feet rocks shifted. A voice thundered throughout the realm. Though I could not see Him, I heard God calling out blessings over the heavens and the earth. The sound was loud and penetrating, reverberating into eternity. My cloud of safety lit up with almost blinding light. I knew that, without its covering, I would have been consumed.
"Blessing!" His word resounded. "Blessing here and on the earth!"
Then a thick, palpable goodness permeated the place. I can't tell you how, but it was a sensory fact-a taste, a smell, a touch as real as a strawberry bursting with flavor in my mouth. The reality of God's goodness and love was evident.
As the hurricane of blessing eased, Jesus presented me to the Father. It was unmistakable: God saw me. He looked at me. Here was Valerie, standing beside
Christ in a luminous cloud on a mountaintop in eternity. I belonged to my Father. The quiet of the moment told me this. I felt as though I was holding my breath.
Jesus took my hand and led me out from the cloud toward a symphony of indescribable harmonies. The sounds saturated all of paradise. I realized they had been in the background all along. But as we approached from above, the music flowed through me the way blood once flowed through my earthly body. It energized and called me into the heavenly score.
Thousands and hundreds of thousands of angels sang with the saints: "Holy, holy, holy is our God."2 Exultation overflowed in the purity of the song. Undefiled souls, forgiven, reborn, restored, and perfect uttered their raw devotion. Angels that harmonized with the saints had been created for this unending act of worship.
Rainbow rays shot from the gates surrounding the city of God. They bounced off marble structures like lasers in a light show. Emerald arcs swirled around the throne. Angels sounding shofars and saints with trumpets and other instruments worshiped in perfect unity. They shook the throne room.
Yet I stood apart from it all. No one seemed to see or notice me. I wondered why I did not fully enter in with Jesus. Later, I would learn why. For the moment it was enough to be with Him.
Very close to me, prostrate on heaven's floor was an angel without wings. I knew he had been created for worship because an endless flow of adoration issued from his mouth and wracked his being. The desire to join him made me tremble. God's loving-kindness was thick and transcendent. The sweetness of the moment filled me with love and thankfulness.
The music's volume rose and fell causing the hum from the throne to feed back, yet without sounding painful or out of place. Before me was the power source for the whole universe! It surged with the creative omnipotence that sustains everything.
Heaven is reality! God is enthroned there, surrounded by angelic beings and humans who died knowing Him. My earthly experiences seemed like shadows of what
I now saw. I understood what Jesus meant when He said to pray: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."3
The Hardest Questions of All
I noticed that other guests were dressed in white linen aglow with heaven's light. They sat at a table set for a gigantic feast. Pineapples, apples,
melons, strawberries, figs, pomegranates, and fruits I had never seen before were arranged in golden bowls. The food released its fragrance and made me hungry. A rich red liquid flowed from fountains, spilling out of the mouths of cherubim into waiting goblets. The guests were chatting, almost noisy in their revelry. It seemed I was an onlooker to a party-a wedding.
Anticipation energized the multiplied thousands at the feast. Guests continued arriving and were greeted warmly as though everyone knew each other and had expected to meet together. For the first time I understood that I was an observer not yet ready to partake with them.
My purple gown shimmered to a bright blue as I moved along the crowd's perimeter. I looked at Jesus and knew-I was going back. He didn't say it then. But the dread of parting told me I was inching closer to the moment I would return to Earth. I danced and twirled in front of Jesus, stalling like a child at bedtime who distracts her father from putting her to sleep.
Jesus watched my gown swirl as I pirouetted for Him. My heart said, "Please don't send me back! Please, let's not think about that!"
I smiled at Him, hoping He would never say what I knew He would. Long ago, He had asked me whether I would die for Him. The thought had been overwhelming.
Much more unbearable was the thought of leaving Him. I simply couldn't do it!
As the merriment continued and strains of worship filled my heart, Jesus took my hands and spoke to me. "You can stay if you want to, but you haven't yet finished My purposes for you. I would rather you go back."
As Jesus said those words, I shook my head. "No. I want to stay here with You!" How could I leave?
The longer I was there, the more distressed I became about leaving. Earth was a distant memory. What could be so important there that I must leave Christ to accomplish it? I did not yet know that my body was broken or that I would exchange my present joy for excruciating pain. Even that might be bearable,
but parting with Jesus? How could I?
The redeemed in heaven know no tears, but I was a sojourner there. I guess I was allowed to cry. "I will do whatever You ask of me," I said, "but please let me stay with You!"
Jesus spoke gently. He understood what it meant to leave heaven and go down to Earth. He knew separation from His home and from His Father. My tears fell on His fingers as He wiped my face. He did not say, "Not My will but Thine be done,"4 yet the words sounded in my soul. With my heart devastated, I acquiesced.
As I lay on a double bed in a sparsely furnished room, the brightness of Jesus was dimmed as though to ease me into transition. Melodies flowed from the cool marble walls. The room was serene, like a birthing room. A table and lamp beside the bed came into focus. I knew I had begun my journey back.
With the tender care of a father tucking in his beloved daughter, Jesus spread a light cover over me and stroked my forehead. When He sat down on the bed and held my hand, I fell into a deep sleep. It was interrupted when He got up and paced the room. He then returned to my side and I slept. Again, He paced,
as if waiting for a precise moment-not of my death, but of my return to life on Earth.
With my eyes slightly opened, I watched Jesus memorize my face the way a mother studies the face of her newborn child. He took in every detail. I realized that He would miss me, and that I was precious to Him, as I am even now. His eyes narrowed on mine. His love was tinged with the sadness of our temporary parting.
Then I began falling, spiraling fast through time and space. With a groan I was forced through what felt like a sieve. Thoughts rushed toward me. Once again, I began dropping fast. Confusion swirled back into my body.
Table of Contents
A Note from Valerie
1. The Unexpected and the Ordinary
2. Something in the Rearview Mirror
3. Steps toward Heaven
4. From One Life to the Next
5. Two Different Worlds
6. The Broken Body and the Blessings
7. Light Overcoming Darkness
8. One Step at a Time
9. To Each a Path
10. Memories and Miracles
11. New Horizons
12. His Purposes, His Bride
13. A Beautiful Story
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jesus loves ME—not theoretically, not in general, not abstractly, but personally, intensely, deliberately —that is the main sense I have after reading this amazing book. Valerie and Cheryl's story is a powerful testimony of Jesus' love for every person, the importance of fervent prayer, and the triumph of faith to bring about the miraculous. Valerie's fatal accident and afterlife experience provide compelling reading. Her descriptions of heaven and her interactions with Jesus are some of the best I've ever read. When she rejoices in hearing Jesus say her name, I rejoice knowing that He will one day say my name as tenderly and audibly, even as He did Valerie's and Mary Magdalene's. I do not understand God's ways—but I love a book that makes me appreciate Him more and anticipate all He has in store for me. PattyB1