Bringing a child into the world should be one of the most joyful and fulfilling times of any ones life, but for Linda Swain on two occasions it brought stress and a threat to her own life. God used those times to let Linda experience His love in a way that has stayed with her since. This is her story.
I came from a broken home, and from the age of twelve I was virtually on my own. Before my parents split up I went to church most Sundays, and loved to go, even though I didn’t understand much that was going on. After the separation an aunt came to look after me and my brother, and I was unable to go to church. I remember making a promise to God that I would be a secret believer.
By the time I was 21 I was pregnant with my first child. When I started to miscarry I didn’t know what was going on, and I didn’t have anyone who I could ask questions of that nature to. By the time I did manage to pluck up courage to ask someone, I needed urgent medical care, and I was taken to hospital. I was treated with bed rest for two days, but after two days under observation I was taken to the operating theatre. Suddenly I was aware of a white light in front of me, and I wondered why it was there. It seemed to have magnetic qualities, and I felt drawn towards it. The next thing I knew, I was in a room, with people moving about. I felt warm and comfortable, and felt a sensation of kindness all around me. I felt as though I really belonged there, and, after all the trauma of the last few days, not to mention the last few years, I did not want to go back to where I had come.
Then, to my surprise, an older gentleman came up to me. He was dressed in white. He said that I could not stay where I was, but I had to go back. He was very insistent, but in such a loving way that I found it difficult not to agree. I said that my problem was that I had never learned from my mistakes. He obviously won the argument because the next thing that I knew I was back in the operating theatre, having lost the baby.
A few years after this first experience I was married, and in time we had a child. Thankfully the pregnancy and delivery were perfectly normal. However, problems started to arise when I was pregnant with my third child. I was taken into hospital again, and during a very difficult labour, I collapsed and became unconscious. Unlike the first time, I was not aware of being drawn anywhere. This time it was if I had suddenly arrived in this place where everything was white! The building looked like prisms, so it was almost a jewel-like place, with everything shimmering. My labour had been so bad, that I was convinced that I had already lost my baby, so I said to the first person that I saw, ‘I am looking for my baby’. Their reply took me by surprise. ‘Nobody owns children here – they belong to everybody’. I thought it was a strange thing to say, since I did not know at the time where I was. The man that had spoken to me was an elder, dressed in white, as everyone else was. Everyone knew who I was, and nobody seemed surprised that I was there. I was intrigued by this statement that nobody owned any child, and was then told that husband and wife relationships were not the same as they were on Earth, which again left me feeling confused.
I was allowed to wander around, and I started looking for flowers. I must have mentioned this to someone because they said ‘We can show you. We can show you anything that you want – if you want to see anything, we can make it happen.’ Then, before my eyes, appeared this array of the most beautiful snowdrops, a flower that I have always loved. Just like the time before, I felt warm, comfortable and welcomed. I knew by now of course that I was in an extraordinary place, and I wandered around and had another conversation with these elders. I questioned the things that I saw, and each time they explained why things were as they were there. But then they said that I could not stay – I had to go back. I was not ready to stay there – yet. I remember saying that I did not learn from my mistakes, so there was no point in returning. But they said that I would learn, and that there was a work for me to do when I returned, but it would all happen within the course of time. They said that I needed to learn patience, and within time it would come. Then at that point I saw another Figure, Who I believe was Jesus. He too was dressed in white, and there was a light around Him, which made it difficult for me to see exactly what He looked like. He confirmed that I had to go back to Earth, but added that He would be always there for me, and that I would know that He was there. I never felt afraid during the time I was speaking to Him.
I had the impression there was a kind of hierarchy at work, with each person assigned their own work. Strangely enough I wasn’t disappointed when I was told that I had to go back, but reassured, because I had been told that there was work for me to do.
The next thing that I knew I was back in the ward, with the nurses around me, trying to bring me round. When I realised that I was back on Earth, I started to feel upset, because I thought that my baby had died. I had looked at the bottom of the bed, where they used to put the babies in those days, and there was no cot there, so I assumed the worse. I must have said something to indicate that, because one of the nurses said ‘No, the baby’s not dead, she screaming for her feed in Intensive Care’, so I was then taken to see my new baby, and to give her a feed.
Since then, I have become more interested in reading the Bible, going to church, going to Women’s meetings, and retreats, and anything in fact that gives me more information and insight into how God works. I know that some people will be sceptical about what I have said, but I am not out to try and prove anything, I just want to put on record what I experienced. What people make of it is up to them. I know that since my two experiences my attitude to death has changed. I used to have an enormous fear of death, although I don’t know where it came from. I realised that the fear of death had gone when my father died. I went to see him for the last time in the Chapel of Rest. After I had sat with him for a while, and read a little of the Bible that was in the room, I went to kiss him, and it suddenly came to me that it was no longer my father lying there, but just a shell – he had already gone. And I know from certain verses in the Bible, and also from my experiences, that I will go once again to Heaven when I die, because I was told that that was where I am ultimately going to be.
I have to say that I still do not know specifically what I should be doing – what my designated job is. But I remember that I was told that I needed to have patience, and that I would be shown ultimately what it would be. I know in my own mind that I felt it important to let the children grow up before I launched into any major ministry.
One thing I have noticed since my experiences is that I have confidence in praying for things to happen. Even when things seem to be really difficult, I seem to be able to pray and see situations turn around. Maybe that is just the Lord’s way of saying that He is keeping His promise to be with me and watch over the things that I do.
The true story of Linda Swain included, with kind permission, in the free e-book BEYOND THE FINAL FRONTIER which includes 27 similar true stories, and may be freely read and downloaded from this web site.