He Was Near Death But Nearer to a Miracle | Heather Mertens | 40YearWanderer


Although my husband, Everett, and I had struggled financially early in our marriage, after years of struggle we came to a very good place. We were blessed abundantly… but the truth is that we didn’t fully know the true meaning of ‘abundance’ until we had nothing.


In June of 2008 we moved to another state, another life. This was a step of faith for us. Everett’s job in his field of work did not pan out after we moved and the economy fell flat that summer. But even so, we knew God had called us there so we prayed and we waited.

We thought we were going for our daughter’s ballet training, and although that was part of it, God had other plans in store for us. Moving away from family and the comfortable life we knew actually grew us in many ways for the better. We found a church home, a place to live, and our daughter was getting the best training of her life. We were growing as a family and loving it.


Not too long after moving to Kentucky, Everett became recurrently ill with sinus-like infections. He had already been suffering from one-sided body numbness and pain for a few years that no doctor or test could completely diagnose. The stress level was rising, and the fact that he could not find a job on top of all of this made it skyrocket. Everett continued to be very ill for the entire summer and into the fall. We lived every day one step at a time.

By November of that very same year, we found ourselves in the ER. Everett presented with symptoms of a possible stroke. That day had started out as normal as any other. He still had not found a job and I was just trying to start my freelance writing business. So as I worked on that in the morning hours that day, he was teaching our daughter advanced algebra in her sophomore year of home schooling. He is mathematically minded and he has a very subdued kind-hearted personality, so what happened during that lesson should have been our first clue that something had gone terribly wrong.

He became very upset, nearly angry, at trying to teach her what was really an easy word problem. To take a much needed break, he went downstairs to do something on the computer, and within minutes he was back upstairs acting very disoriented. He told me that he couldn’t turn the computer off. I asked him why, thinking that our old desktop was probably quitting on us. What he said and did next was very frightening.

“I keep pushing the screen button and it won’t turn off.”

Screeching breaks applied.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “You don’t shut it off on the screen.” I knew something was very strange. He then told me he was not feeling well and sat down on the stairs. I knew right then that his demeanor meant we needed to get him to the doctor. I said, “Why don’t you put your shoes on and we will go to the doctor, honey.” As he tried to tie his shoe – AT HIS KNEE – I became very nervous. I helped him tie his shoes and motioned to head to the car. He turned to the kitchen balcony doors to go to the garage. Yes, you read that correctly… balcony. We were on the second floor of a condo!

We quickly guided him down the stairs to the car and drove to the hospital closest to where we lived. I had called a new friend whom I had just met the month before at a women’s ministry event. I knew she would know where the hospital was since her husband was a Physician’s Assistant. She met us there. What an amazing God-sized thing to do! She barely knew us but stopped her day to come to the hospital to sit with my daughter.

Minutes after arriving at the ER my husband seemed to come to his senses better. But after giving his name and symptoms – including telling them he had a terrible headache that day – they rushed him into the ER. No wait time. That should have been my second clue that something had gone terribly wrong.

Within about 5 minutes he was not only disoriented again, but he did not know who I was nor could he answer questions. He became angry and was trying to leave. His personality was completely turned upside down. The nurses had to strap him down to keep him from leaving and being highly agitated. He was not the man I knew hours before nor the man I had known for years. Whatever this was began changing him immediately.

The battery of tests that they performed extremely quickly showed no cause. Our pastor came to the hospital as well as another friend, the only other friend we had made since moving to KY, the founder of a ministry for drug addicted, sometimes homeless men. God had certainly orchestrated putting these two women and our new pastor into our lives at just the moment He would work through them.

The prayers of friends and family in several states began as my heart began to think the worst outcomes. But I stood on the promise of God that I could trust Him to guard our hearts. My daughter stayed so very calm and trusting that God would take care of us said simply, “He is going to be okay, Mom. I know it.” Oh the faith I saw in her lifted me to know the same to be true.

We were told by the ER doctor that they may have to fly him to Cincinnati because they were not staffed to handle his needs… unless an available neurologist was found quickly. Immediately, I made phone calls.

It is at moments like this that many turn to God even if they have never done so before.

I had already been through so much in my life that I knew God was there.

I called everyone I knew who would pray for him; for a neurologist to be found in time, and for God to heal him so that our daughter would not lose her dad because I knew that feeling all too well.

After many, many tests it came down to Everett needing a Spinal Tap. The doctor told me there were no other options left. I will never forget the words from the her that night – they still resonate ever so loudly in my mind.

“If we don’t do this, he’s going to die.”

I was hit as if a brick wall had just crushed my entire being. Words can be a powerful sting. But I also knew the Word can be the power that changes the sting.

I remembered advice from a friend:

Facts are facts but the Truth is the Truth and the Truth always sets us free.

I clung to that. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by trusting God. If Everett were to live then God had a plan that death could not stop.

Truth is the Truth and the Truth always sets us free.

As it turned out, my husband was diagnosed with Meningitis and placed in the ICU within hours of reaching the ER. An infection had somehow traveled into his brain.

I could do nothing. I was numb but somehow mechanically moving through the motions. I was counting on the prayers of many – believing – but knowing that if God chose to bring Everett home we would be okay and he would be in a far better place.

Since they had to do more testing, I went home to unlock the door to let my parents and his mother in. They had traveled all night to get there after getting the phone call.

I can barely hold back the tears as I write this. I experienced a peace that I will never be able to explain, but I was aware I could lose my husband, my best friend, the one who had unconditionally loved me through all that we had been through.

The Miracle

Less than 12 hours later, as I walked back into the ICU that he had been transferred to in the same city – at a larger hospital to see a neurologist – I was told he had just been walking and talking as if he had never been ill. God had answered our prayers! Further tests showed no brain abnormalities and no long term damage. My husband had remembered who I was and he was asking if Emmy and I were ok! I had cried enough tears by that time to fill a room, but at that moment tears of joy flowed in my heart and spilled out onto my face. I was so thankful that my husband was alive.

It even astounded the doctors. The CDC doctor, who was brought in for this case since they could not identify the infection, told me that she had never seen anyone, ever, recover that quickly from meningitis. All I could think about was the multitude of people praying and all I could say was, “That is the God we serve.” I was overwhelmed. The miracle was being played out in front of everyone in that ICU.

(It is a good thing computer monitors don’t crinkle from tears like paper does because if they did this one would be toast.)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

We thanked Him. For everything.

Live Blessed,



25 thoughts on “He Was Near Death…But Nearer to a Miracle

  1. For some reason, I left where I was going to reply and went to read your story first. Usually, I reply and then go and read what someone else has sent me. After really CRYING. I don’t mean just a few tears. Your story touched me in a place in my heart I have not been in a long time. How scary for you!!!! I have been in that place many times. That place where there is nothing left but God.
    (But your story…. wow! You write so well, I was there with you following you around the nightmare! ~ everyone should read it!)
    Funny today, I just realized that maybe HE really wants me to depend on HIM more right NOW. Thank you for sharing. I have been through an abusive relationship with my first love who I think hurt me even more than my divorce, my sister being in a coma, (she came out of it and is pretty much about 90% back to 100% restored.) My dad dropping dead of a heart attack while jogging and my mom finding him on the block below (the poem I included here is one I wrote to him a few weeks before he died and he saved it in his drawer by his bed. They read it at his funeral. I was 26. My ex husband getting us into thousands of dollars in debt due to gambling a month after my dad died, And a little over ten years later a devestating divorce. About ten years ago, my husband now, and I lost our thriving shop in an earthquake. My daughter had asked to wait in our car that was flattened by the roof where two woman next door died (in-between our car and another)Thank God and I do thank HIM… That I talked her into not waiting in it! Praise The Lord! THAT was when I finally found my way back to God (in my heart) I had always gone through the motions of church and praying but it was as if a plug in a tub was popped and I let go of all the things the world had stuck on me. And more recently, my first husband dying who I still loved as the father of my children. (We had remained friends.) His body finally succumbed to his hard life style (why I finally had to leave) and in 4 months was gone due to lung cancer that had spread to everywhere. And most recently I have had a little blip in my marriage when my first love found me, asked me for forgiveness and disrupted my heart and life for (probably the rest of my life) a while. In my wildest of imaginations, I never in a million years thought it would affect me as it did.
    Let me say that I don’t believe that God caused any of this. He may have allowed it because we live in a fallen world… but I see where HE steps in ALWAYS if we invite HIM and make it so much better! I know I am supposed to be learning a lesson cuz HE keeps allowing them. Hopefully… I am finally “GETTING” it! Smile.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I don’t usually share this much but I felt a connection to you. My Grandpa’s name was Everett. 🙂

    No one could ever fill the shoes
    I once put over mine.
    Lost within your slippers,
    my feet were hard to find.
    Yes, Your overwhelming presence
    was felt within your shoes…
    a feeling so great, though I’m grown
    I know I’ll never lose,
    Each night when you’d walk in the door
    from working hard all day,
    a security would fill me up
    and push all my cares away.
    And though I’m now a mother
    with small ones of my own,
    I’ll always look back upon the days
    before I was fully grown…
    And when I’m with them on the beach
    sometimes it brings to mind,
    stepping within your footprints
    as I’d follow close behind…
    I pray that now that I’m the one
    followed by little feet,
    I’ll leave half the footprint
    I found within your feet.

    Happy Father’s Day!


    1. [ I replied also on your page. 🙂 }
      My we do have so much in common – especially a hard life. But yet, for both of us God was ALWAYS there patiently waiting as we bobbed our heads above water just to keep breathing.
      I love this line you wrote:

      it was as if a plug in a tub was popped and I let go of all the things the world had stuck on me.

      LOVE THAT!
      Let’s connect more!
      You can find some more of my excerpts at the top of this page under the tab “books”. There are excerpts… all about my life and why I must share it all.

      God bless you as you share yours,


  2. Something made me wander back here! And I AM so glad I did to find your wondeful message today! Thank you. Been working so much… haven’t had time to catch up! This made my day. What a wondeful way to start it!


    1. Thank you Diane! I am so very happy it blessed you. That is why in share. I am glad you wandered back by. 🙂
      I too have been super busy and can’t wait to get back to reading blogs. I will wander over to yours for sure!

      I’ll be sharing more personal stuff. I’ve been asked many times. God wants me to share more… So shall I.


  3. Heather…
    I can see you speaking to women’s groups all over God’s world. I have always felt that if we don’t share what we have learned… then it is all worth nothing. Ya know? Our scars give hope to the ones still healing! Ya know?
    Have a great day!


    1. Is that a vision? 😉 I think it may be! I have felt God calling me to speak for a long while now. I actually have spoken a couple of times before but not like this vision He has given me. All I can see is lots of people … And His love pouring out into their hearts and me just being the vessel. The times I have spoken gave me an amazing sense of what His love can do – just from the comments I received. My heart leaped for joy.
      Hey I started a mini-devotional weekly newsletter – where the readers will also share stories – called Wanderings. Would you like to receive it? I am honored to serve Him. 🙂


  4. Sure! I would love to.
    Yes… I feel that I am a nudger. God puts a vision before me and I throw it out there to see if it sticks! This one confirms it!
    Off to work!


    1. I’ll get you signed up today. The first 3 will come over the next few days and that should catch you up. 🙂

      I HAD to share your poem and story from “A Little More” on my Open Letter to Christians page. I have three FB pages for my ministries/blog. Lovin’ on FB too!

      If you are in there you can check it out.

      Your poem went on today with a link so my readers can read your blog. 🙂


    1. Hi – thank you for stopping by to read this part of out testimony!
      Yes, our daughter has known for years she was called to dance and touch lives for Christ in love through it. She graduated early to then dance with a neo-classical ballet company for two years. She started her dance ministry when she was 14 and her own dance company at age 17. We were then called to another state and now she is getting ready to have a company here and to teach dance here. She’s only going to be 19 this summer!) She inspires me! Her dance ministry and vision is over here:
      She wants to help children learn the true art of dance – not what much of dance has become … a severe competition where hearts are crushed and bodies are treated poorly. Healthy mind and body means the true artistic value can blossom!

      We are still living our testimony. Our daughter and us. It is exciting to watch it unfold!!

      Ps – your comment says “ps” but I don’t see one before that. Might it be missing?


      1. Yes – I did make another comment … Around the wonderful testimony of Gods goodness when your husband was healed … And how challenging such an experience would have been.
        I love what your daughter is doing … The ballet deal can be so intense and as a family we have to keep pulling back from the intensity and remind the children to enjoy …
        Dance ministry is wonderful … Blessings!


  5. Wow!!! God is so faithful!!! I am looking for a miracle for my family at this moment, believing God no matter how dark the situations seem. God bless and keep you and your family.


  6. It’s wonderful that your husband recovered so quickly. Reading your story brought back a miracle that I had forgotten. Over 20 years ago, my husband started to have severe pain in his head and refused to go the to doctor. He was rarely ill and when he get sick he just ‘toughed it out’. For two days he suffered and looked like he was dying. I kept insisting that he needed to see a doctor and then finally he couldn’t stand the pain anymore, so we went to the doctor. We found out that he had meningitis but thanks to God, it was caused by a virus and not by bacteria, so he recovered completely in a few days. God is awesome!


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