Many are those who have spiritual experiences that transform their lives — often granting what seem like spiritual gifts.
Such was the case, it appears, with a California woman, Sharon Richie of Santa Clarita (near San Diego), with whom we spoke a few years back.
“I had a brain tumor in July of 1999, and I was rushed by Medevac to the Mayo Clinic with a one percent life expectancy,” she explained of the incident she wanted to share. “The doctor looked across at me sixty days later and said, ‘You were the sickest woman I’d ever seen.'”
Her options had not been very many. As Sharon, a housewife, put it, her “last grain of sand” was in the hourglass. She had told her husband, a mechanic, to be prepared, that she would either be dead or in a vegetative state.
It was a raging headache that kicked it off, with an MRI showing a pituitary tumor that may have been with her since puberty.
“But God intervened all the way around,” she says. “Here I end up at the number-one brain center in the world. A lot of people die trying to get there. Sometime while I was under anesthesia and wouldn’t come back to the real world, it happened.
The surgery was a success, but they couldn’t bring me out. They hauled me in for another MRI to see if I had a brain bleed or secondary complication and they just told my husband they didn’t know. I wasn’t responding.”
Did she see the tunnel and a light, or deceased loved ones, or her life in review — as so many report?
“No,” Sharon replies firmly. There was no tunnel. She did not behold the beatific vision. Instead, she heard voices preparing her.
“I was like in a holding thing in the dark and I had two or three people telling me what to expect from the heavenlies — that there would be bright colors and brilliance like I’d never seen before. I was told to pick out the brightest color and I said ‘red’ and they said it would be nothing compared to what I would see. I was told music would play and that it didn’t need any instruments, that it would just exist, an entity by itself. You just think of something and it plays. I was told flowers would just come to you if you held out your hands, that everything was in harmony and there was no disconnect. I was like in a holding area and decisions were being made.”
Was this real? Were these angels speaking to her?
“That’s my sense of it,” asserted Mrs. Richie. “I guess most people who have these experiences flip out when they figure that they’re out of their bodies and they realize their souls exist, so I think they were waiting for the same for me.
But I was just awestruck. Then God had a conversation with me — conscience to conscience. He asked what on the earthly plane I desired. I said I was content, that short of a papal visit I couldn’t think of much. He wanted to know my wants and desires. He shares whatever He wants to with you.
“He can manifest any way He wants. He seemed very matter-of-fact — no holds barred, this is the way it is. The feeling of existing without a body… The last thing I remember was being written in the Book of Life just like the Bible says.
“At that point I thought it was permanent — that I was not coming back, and that’s when I started in about my daughter, who I wanted to see grown and married.
“Then everything closed and it was like, okay: my soul was thrown back into my body and there I was.”
It was not the end of Sharon’s supernatural experiences. When asked if she still feel effects of what seemed like a journey out of her body, she replied, “All the time. The Holy Spirit is always placing me in places for a reason. I have seen some future things. I was sent out on real-people object lessons.
Now I go where I’m placed. What I find now in doing intercessory prayer with people is that they can’t believe God would care enough to come to their aid and rescue. I keep trying to convince them that He cares more than you could ever measure.”
There are many things in our lives that have been healed, obstacles that have been removed by God that we don’t realize, she says.
There have also been healings around the housewife, who simply asks God to take over situations when she encounters someone ill.
The Blessed Mother hasn’t appeared to her, says Sharon, but she felt reprimanded by her voice one time when she was ready to stop going to a church after a priest insulted her. She was needed there to help others, she now realizes.
Sharon particularly recommends praise services and, while a Catholic, ministers to various denominations and does so everywhere: at prayer groups, in Wal-Mart parking lots, at Seven-Elevens.
Why does she minister at both Catholic and non-Catholic churches?
Like so many who have this experience, there is a sense that God does not separate us, that we do that. “I can’t get in the way when He says, ‘Minister to all of My children,’” she answers.
It’s the praise and worship, she says, that “puts God into gear. He waits on the sidelines and wants to answer people’s wants and needs — and praise and worship put Him into manifestation, particularly where there is a worry or concern. We shouldn’t worry about anything,” says Sharon.
“God enjoys doing things for His children. But He also wants the thanks, the praise, and the worship. He wants to be recognized in our lives now than ever before.” She especially recommends Psalms 91, 100, and 121.
What about September 11, she was asked, back not so long after that event?
Sharon’s feeling is that “this was only a small portion of what happened, that something happened in the heavenlies that mirrored what happened here. I don’t know what, but that’s my impression.”
What does she think will happen in the future?
“All I know is that the message I got during a praise-and-worship session a few weeks ago, the word I got was ‘reign’: He always has, and always will. He has a pace, and we shouldn’t get ahead of Him.
Neither should we get behind it. We should never try to sideline Him. He knows exactly where He is going and what He is doing. He has a pace, and it’s not in our timing or our knowledge.
But I can guarantee you one thing: the more that is offered up in praise and worship, the more He is recognized in people’s lives, instead of us thinking it is a coincidence, the more He manifests. And the more people say, ‘that was a Godsend’ — and thank Him for it — the less chastisement mankind is going to get.”
Resources for this article available in the SpiritDaily Bookstore: