We serve an incredibly big God. Through Him and the prayers of His people, lives can be changed, and even saved. My name is Melissa Wieler, my husband Ty and I attend the Bagot Community Chapel in Manitoba. The people who make up Bagot Chapel have become like family in the almost 10 years that we have attended. We have been blessed to be involved in many parts of church ministry over the years. The four years serving our youth impacted our hearts in a very deep way. I encourage you to be involved in your local church!
We live just outside the small town of MacGregor. Ty has been running his own construction company for the past few years, and I work part-time in our elementary school as an educational assistant. We have four children, Abbi (15), Hailey (12), Emily (10), and Clayton (8). We are pretty biased, we have the coolest kids! We love being their parents.
In August I began not feeling well. I didn’t really give it much thought. I had a cough, was extremely tired, and felt very weak. I spent a few days in bed, thinking I needed some extra rest. After several days of rest, I was feeling well enough to do some housework, even washing my floors. I was thankful that I was feeling better. In the next 3 days things took a turn for the worse. Ty was also not feeling well, and had missed a few days of work. The three days before Ty took me to the hospital I don’t remember anything. I didn’t realize how sick I was. According to Ty, I argued with him that I didn’t need to go to the hospital. I had a fear of being put on a ventilator. By the divine intervention of God, Pastor Michael Fehr texted Ty to see how I was doing and suggested he could drop off an oxygen meter to test my blood oxygen level. When Ty tested it on my finger, my blood oxygen level was at 35%. Michael and Ty decided I needed to go to the hospital immediately. I don’t remember any of this. My older two girls and Ty helped me to the van. My skin and nails had begun to turn grey. Pastor Michael’s wife Janice later said that when she saw me on August, 22 she burst into tears.
Once in triage, I was unresponsive. Suspecting it was Covid, Ty was sent out of the hospital and the staff called him in the parking lot to ask questions. There is a period of about 15 minutes or so that I remember being in the ER as they prepped my body. I am extremely thankful for the doctors and nurses that worked so hard on me. My blood oxygen level had now dropped to 33%. I knew at that point I was going to be put on a ventilator and would be air-lifted to the Brandon Regional Health Centre. That is the last thing I remember. When the doctor was talking to Ty he said the doctor had no optimism in his voice. Ty asked if this was a day by day thing, to which the doctor responded “I don’t know how else to say this, but your wife is on life support. This is an hour by hour thing”.
Ty left the hospital thinking he would be telling the kids they didn’t have a mom anymore. Pastor Michael had prayed with us before we left and specifically asked that Ty would have peace. He tells me that he had complete peace, and slept soundly all through the night. A peace that surpasses all understanding.
I spent 8 days on the ventilator in the Brandon hospital. To me these 8 days seemed almost like a lifetime, so much happened. During this time I felt held so tenderly by Jesus. We had many conversations. I thought I had died, or was dying. I was right on the doorstep of heaven. Heaven is a real place. The peace that I felt was other worldly. My heart exploded. I was there with my Jesus. He asked me if I would surrender my life. I felt so confused. I had given my heart to him as a young child. Jesus, I’ve tried to live my whole life for you! This conversation lasted a long time. I felt so weary with the state of the world. My stress level before getting sick was likely the highest it had ever been. And now I was on Heaven’s door step. It was the most tender experience, being cradled by Jesus, safe under the shelter of His wings. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to enter Heaven with him. He told me I couldn’t come in and that He still had more for me to do. It wasn’t my time yet. It was like He had to convince me to come back. It was like a movie: in my spirit, I could see the rest of my life.
I don’t remember all the details. The first thing I saw was our daughter Abbi coming up out of the baptism waters. (After I was home and strong enough to attend a service Abbi was baptised!) I saw and heard so much: weddings of our children, graduations, babies crying as grandchildren came into the world. He said to me “You want to go back for this!” I remember surrendering my life. I could feel the prayers of the people praying and pulling me back. Never, ever under estimate the power of prayer. There were so many people praying for me, from our church, our community, and churches and communities of our families and friends.
On August 30, nurses brought me out of the medically-induced coma. The very next day I was transferred by ambulance to the Portage District General Hospital. I began just asking people if they were believers. Every single shift I can remember, I had a Jesus-believing nurse. They were like angels to me. The ambulance attendant, also a Jesus believing man had brown eyes and we talked all the way back to Portage. His words of encouragement felt like Jesus talking to me. “God loves you not because of who you are, but because of who He is. God loves you not because of your character, but because of His character. God loves you not because of the condition of how you measure up but unconditionally based on His persistent and constant faithful love for you. There’s nothing you can do to make God love you any more or less. It’s not based on you and it never was.”
After being in Portage hospital for two days, I was able to go home. The way people prayed for me and the miracle that happened in my body has had a deep impact on me. Each day I was in a coma, I lost 6 to 8% of my muscle mass. I was so weak when I came home. Day by day I slowly felt strength returning to my body. I am alive! And each day felt like a miracle, as I gradually got stronger. All the small things made my heart soar. Getting dressed all by myself, standing and then being strong enough to fold laundry, cooking for my family, all felt like miracles to me. I relished in the most simple of pleasures.
My perspective has changed so much throughout this experience. I think it will take some time to process it all. Someone asked me if God seemed different to me. The Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God didn’t change, but I grew so close to Him. What I care most about is growing closer yet to Jesus. It is my desire for those I know, and all those I don’t know, to draw close to the heart of God for He cares for you!
Matthew 11:28 “Then Jesus said come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light”.
There’s so much more to this story, I think it’s one I will be sharing for the rest of my life.
My prayer is that you will be encouraged through my experience and begin to live life with purpose and enjoy the simple pleasures – the gifts that are given to you each day.