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Teacher’s Near-Death Experience Showed Her Heaven Is Real: “Love Is Our Purpose”

Tricia Barker tells of the lessons Heaven taught her — and the science that backs NDEs

Do you believe in Heaven? After suffering severe injuries in a head-on collision, Tricia Barker’s heart stopped during surgery… but, as her life ebbed away, she had an incredible near-death experience that healed her past hurts and helped her see a future filled with hope!

The day Tricia Barker’s life changed forever

Writhing in pain, 21-year-old Tricia Barker was rushed into surgery. “We’ll do what we can, but her chances aren’t good,” Tricia heard a doctor say. Terrified, she reeled with panic as tears streamed down her face.

I could die! This could be the end! Tricia thought as the anesthesiologist placed the mask over her face.

If there is a God…please, help me! Tricia pleaded, not believing she’d receive an answer. But as the world faded, it wasn’t the lonely end she’d expected. Instead, it was a wondrous new beginning.

Tricia had already overcome so much in her life — including an abusive childhood that had sent her down a path of self-destructive behavior as a teenager. After more heartache in college, she realized she had to heal from the pain of her past and began focusing on things that brought her joy, like cross-country running.

Then on a Sunday morning in April of 1994, just weeks before she was to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and go on to law school, Tricia was driving to participate in a 10K race when she was in a major head-on collision. She suffered a broken back, paralyzed legs and internal injuries that required immediate surgery. Tricia had never felt more terrified or alone.


Tricia Barker’s joyful journey to Heaven

But after she prayed for God’s help and the anesthesia took hold, she recalls feeling a deep sense of peace wash over her. Suddenly, Tricia was hovering above her body and gazing down at herself lying on the operating table, surrounded by brilliant angels filling her with light and healing.

This is God’s love, she thought, in awe. I didn’t believe before, but I’ve been so wrong! God is real!

Just then, Tricia watched as her heart stopped. While doctors frantically worked to revive her, she thought, I don’t want to see this, and floated out of the operating room into the hallway. There she saw her stepfather getting a Snickers bar from a vending machine. This moment is important, Tricia thought, not understanding why at the time.

Feeling a tug, she was led out of the hospital, where she saw scenes from her life projected in the night sky, including the pain of her childhood and the darkness of her self-loathing.

“This isn’t what life is about,” she heard God whisper. “You must love yourself and others.”

Next, Tricia remembers being led to a lush emerald-green meadow. “Be like a little child,” God said to her, and she took the form of her 5-year-old self, full of innocence and joy.

That’s when Tricia saw her grandfather, who’d died when she was 10, sitting in his blue truck. “Wanna go for a ride?” he beamed. She hopped in and together they shot toward a luminous light where Tricia was enveloped in an endless love that erased all worry, sorrow and pain.

Tricia was reunited with her beloved Grandpa, Clyde, in Heaven (shown here in 1976)
Tricia was reunited with her beloved Grandpa, Clyde, in Heaven (shown here in 1976)

As they drove, Tricia saw a beautiful river with little lights alongside it that represented souls. Some were shining and some were dim because they carried pain and doubt like she had.

“You don’t have to fear anymore,” God said to her. “I want you to go back and remind others that they are loved.” Tricia then knew in her heart that God wanted her to become a teacher instead of an attorney. And with that realization, there was a rush of wind and Tricia woke up in the hospital.

A Heavenly purpose

Tricia spent several months in a full-body cast and almost a year learning to walk again. As she healed, she clung to the memory of her incredible journey. “Heaven and God are real!” she’d tell family and friends. Most were skeptical, until she described seeing her stepfather buying a candy bar in the hallway during her surgery.

Once fully recuperated, Tricia graduated from college and went on to become an English and writing professor. In the classroom, she felt the sense of belonging and purpose that she’d always been searching for. She also embraced the opportunity to teach her students, many of whom had difficult lives, about the power of love.

Tricia (left) at a conference in 2018 where she shared her story with other people who’ve had NDEs
Tricia (left) at a conference in 2018 where she shared her story with other people who’ve had NDEs

Today, Tricia, now 45, teaches at the Trinity River Campus at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas. On her first day, she looked out her classroom window to see a winding river. It’s exactly like the one God revealed to me, Tricia realized, crying tears of joy. I’m right where I am meant to be.

Tricia’s students at Tarrant County College spreading the love in 2016
Tricia’s students at Tarrant County College spreading the love in 2016

“Since my journey to Heaven, I am a new person,” smiles Tricia, who shares her story in her new memoir, Angels in the OR, on her YouTube channel Be the Light of Your Own Healing and on her website “I now know that life is about spreading goodness, light and joy to everyone around you — including yourself. We all have a shared purpose, and that purpose is love!”

New science supports near-death experiences (NDEs)

According to a recent Gallup poll, more than 8 million Americans claim to have had near-death experiences (NDEs). While many believe these glimpses are proof that Heaven exists, mainstream science has traditionally regarded NDEs with skepticism…but now, the tides are beginning to turn.

Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, M.D., used to be one of the naysayers until he experienced his own journey to Heaven. “All the chief arguments against NDEs suggest that they are caused by a malfunctioning of the neocortex, which causes vivid hallucinations due to the release of endorphins,” Dr. Alexander explains in his memoir, Proof of Heaven. “But my NDE took place not while my neocortex was malfunctioning, but while it was completely turned off!”

A recent study of 3,500 patients at Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom, corroborate Dr. Alexander’s experience. Doctors concluded that all the NDEs that participants reported had “well-structured, lucid thought processes with reasoning and memory formation” despite their brains showing no function whatsoever. “This is definitive new evidence that our spirit is not dependent on our brain or body…it’s eternal,” enthuses Dr. Alexander. “That in itself is proof that there is an afterlife. I believe—and have seen—that Heaven is real!”

For more uplifting stories of faith and hope, keep reading…

Granddaughter of Country Legend Hank Williams’ Opens Up About Her Near-Death Experience: “God Has a Purpose For Us All”

Surgeon’s Near-Death Experience Eased Her Grief After the Death of Her Son: “I Know Without a Doubt Heaven Is Real”

Bible Verses For Loneliness: Divine Comfort For Times When Your Heart Feels Alone

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