Hawaii, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands. These are just a few of the exotic locations where Darnisha and Scott Taylor have scuba dived. As experienced divers, they thought they were prepared for anything. But in the waters of Crystal Lake, Michigan, death lurked underwater.
Darnisha remembers it like it was yesterday. “We got prepared, put on our gear, and we started wading out into the water. You get to a ledge. At the ledge, it drops down 50 feet.”
Scott and Darnisha explored the bottom of the lake for 30 minutes.
“The ledge is your marker,” says Darnisha. “If you stay on the ledge, you’re always in the right place. But this day, we lost track of the ledge. My husband turns around to me, looks at the compass again to try to get a bearing, and when he looks at me, he sees that my equipment is not working. Air is escaping from someplace.”
“I saw the constant stream of air bubbles coming off her air hose,” says Scott.
“Not her breathing air hose, but the hose that connects to her ‘BC’ or her buoyancy control vest.”
“So he gestured to me to ascend to the surface so I could fix my coupler and then I could also see where we were in the lake,” adds Darnisha.
Darnisha surfaced while Scott waited for her, 50 feet below.
“So I was trying to fix the coupler and it would not re-attach,” says Darnisha. “And if you know anything about scuba diving, you know you add extra weight in order to be able to stay on the bottom. I was carrying at least probably 50 to 70 extra pounds of weight, and I was fighting against that to stay on top of the water.”
“I tried to start a clock in my mind,” says Scott. “She’s going to do a safety stop, which is between 3 and 5 minutes, the standard in diving. Then she’ll be on the surface, clasp it, and head back down. So I’m trying to run these numbers in my head because I know if it goes beyond this, there’s something wrong, and we need to call off the dive.”
“I was starting to get winded and tired,” says Darnisha. “And I thought, before I run out of air, let me fill up my BC manually, which is really the first thing you’re supposed to do. So I went to depress the valve to fill it up and no air would go in. I thought, ‘Ok, this is not going to work,’ so I started really feeling like ‘I’m in trouble’. I started praying, ‘God, please send my husband to the surface. Please let him know that I need help’.”
Darnisha struggled for several minutes. She had no more strength to stay afloat.
“I remember one of my final prayers to the Lord being, ‘Ok Father, if this is Your will, then I’m going to trust You to take care of everything that needs to be taken care of,’ and that was the moment I shut my eyes, and said, ‘Ok Lord, just help me to swim straight,’ and that’s when I drifted off into eternity.”
“I got up to the surface, but was kind of surprised, as I went up, that she was not around or not hanging on the line,” says Scott. “I did a 360 a couple of times, looking around, so I started looking for air bubbles on the surface.”
“I woke up on my knees, in this place that had no walls,” says Darnisha. “It was just a wide open bright space. It was so peaceful. It was very pure. In the distance, I could tell there was this great destination, this gateway, this place, that people were entering into. I remember feeling like I was home, even though it didn’t necessarily look like my house. It was a place that I knew I was welcome.”
Darnisha saw other people in her vision. And one of them, in particular, caught her attention.
“We didn’t talk though,” says Darnisha. “But we communicated. And it was if she was asking me, ‘Are you coming?’ and I didn’t know what to say.”
“The anxiety started increasing a little bit more,” says Scott. “I started doing a spin. I started yelling her name out.”
Scott finally saw his wife. She was 200 yards away. He swam toward her.
“I kept popping back up to the surface, to adjust my bearings, and make sure I was swimming in that direction,” says Scott.
By the time Scott reached Darnisha, she was sinking to the bottom of the lake.
“Everything went black,” says Darnisha. “I started reacting, ’What is going on? I’m home. Why are they bothering me?’ And that was the moment I remembered what happened with the accident. That I had drowned. Before that, in this peaceful place, I didn’t remember any of that. I remembered having to talk to myself and say, ‘I have a decision to make.’ I remember actually having to specifically make the decision, ‘Do I stay or do I come back?’ I heard clearly, ‘You need to relax and let Him bring you back.’ And so I said ‘Ok,’ and I inhaled and allowed the process to happen.”
“Absolute miracle that I even found her in that lake,” says Scott. “I had my arm around her back, and just pounding as hard as I could on her chest, and breathed into her mouth, and that first breath was just horrifying, because all I could hear was water gurgling in her lungs.”
Scott spotted a boat, and he screamed for help.
“As soon as the boat cut its engines, the first thing I heard was the prayers of all three of the people on the boat praying and crying out to Jesus for help. As soon as we got her up, she coughed up all of the water out of her lungs, and started breathing.”
Scott and Darnisha were taken to shore. Scott drove Darnisha to the nearest hospital, 45 minutes away. After MRI tests and x-rays, Darnisha was treated and released the same day.
“The report that the doctor gave back was, ‘It looks really great’,” says Darnisha.
“’It doesn’t even look like she had this type of accident’.”
“There are so many people, that God has behind the scenes, on earth, and in the heavenlies, that are working for our benefit, and for our good,” says Scott.
“He does not expect that our will power will get us through difficult circumstances. He understands that there is a process. There are emotional things that we’ll have to walk through. There are circumstances that we didn’t foresee. He is still more than capable of giving us grace to get onto the other side. It’s about, whatever’s dealt to you, you are able to walk through it with the love and grace of God. And He will give you what you need in order to make it.”