The latter half of 2019 was quite eventful. Due to several unexpected reasons, I had to return to work earlier than expected. I was four months shy of getting my full 12 months of maternity leave. I was not ready to go back to work. My boss understood my situation and concerns about leaving my daughter in daycare at such a young age. A few weeks after I talked to him, by God's providence, he created a position for me that will allow me to work from home 90% of the time. Here I was stressing over and panicking about the plans ahead, and here’s God showing off what He can do.
Trusting God has always been something I’m working on. Since college, the revolving question God had for me is, do you trust me? Do you really trust me? It’s been constant through my engagement, dating… I wasn’t surprised that it would continue on in my life but I didn’t expect it to this extent, especially with my son.
I started working in August and by October, we received the news that my husband was laid off work due to company restructuring. Financially, it was stressful. But prior to being laid off, we talked about him taking paternity leave to spend more time with our daughter, Isabela and making an extended break from work stress. Being laid off meant that this could allow him to spend significant amounts of time with Isabela and me.
Shortly after my husband was laid off, I finalized my return to work contract. Finances were a big worry for us with this uncertainty but maybe that was why I had to start work earlier than expected. Through those moments, all I could hear in prayer was, “I will take care of You, I have been taking care of you, don’t you trust me?”.
A while back, I was introduced to the Novena of Abandonment by Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo. It had brought me solace during so many moments of uncertainty.
Day 1: Why do you confuse yourselves by worrying? Leave the care of your affairs to Me, and everything will be peaceful. I say to you in truth that every act of true, blind, complete surrender to Me produces the effect that you desire and resolves all difficult situations.” Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.
Around the same time I was adjusting to going back to work, to a new position and my husband being at home, we found out we were expecting our second baby. Immediately, worry came over me again. While Erico’s reaction was genuine joy, my immediate response was to question His timing. Why was it all coming at us at the same time? Why right now? I naturally worry about things, especially when sudden news comes up, and so this wasn’t any different. After much prayer and lots of surrender, God started to turn my worries into happiness and excitement.
After my 20 week ultrasound, we got a call the next day from my midwife to review the results. We were told that our baby had a Congenital Heart Defect and that I would need to be transferred to BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy. We had several appointments to try to understand what was happening and how to plan for life after he was born. After more ultrasounds, ECGs and cardiologist appointments
They gave us a diagnosis. Basically, the baby had three structural defects
with his/her heart:
Transposition of the Great Arteries (The arteries are switched)
Pulmonary Atresia (the valve to the lung is narrow or might be small and closed)
Ventricular Septal Defect (The wall separating the two sides of the heart has a hole)
I didn’t know what to pray anymore. All I could do was say the novena, and whenever I felt anxiety, I would repeat, “Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.”
Day 3: How many things I do when the soul, in so much spiritual and material need, turns to Me, looks at Me and says to Me, “You take care of it,” then closes its eyes and rests. In pain you pray for Me to act, but that I act in the way you want. I will intervene with all My omnipotence, and I will resolve the most difficult situations.
When I had said this novena for the first time years ago, it was just words. But every time I said it over the years, God met me there. Every time I prayed, it became a new understanding of what it means to trust Him.
When my prayer life is so dry, I only have to say those words. It says what I need to say when I can’t do it myself. It abandons all the things… How prayer can calm and give you overwhelming peace despite chaos and confusion is one of the miracles that we are still amazed with.
In the midst of all this, we were saddened by this news. But our faith was secure, and we knew God had a plan, just like how He had continued to show us in the previous events of the past year. We began to see a pattern: we receive bad news, we worry, we are uneasy, and we are anxious, but over and over, the Lord shows He is greater. In everything He had done, there was a greater and better reason than what we could comprehended. And the thought of what the Lord was saying, “I will take care of You, I have been taking care of you, don’t you trust me?” came back again and again.
The closer we got to the due date, we tried to prepare for the surgeries that would come. The thing the doctor kept telling us was that he needed to be full term for surgery so when my water broke early, I was begging God. At the height of COVID hospital restrictions and restrictions everywhere, it was another moment of trusting the Lord with all that was ahead.
Mateo Isaac was born prematurely at 37 weeks on May 14th, 2020 at 7lbs 8oz. He was a miracle, born a good full-term size for a premature baby. He had his first heart surgery at six days old and has been such a strong fighter since then.
We named him Isaac as a reminder of the story of Abraham and Isaac. We know that just like them, we can offer up Mateo despite how difficult it is but knowing that the Lord has a bigger plan for him and that he will take care of him. He is now six months old, and though many worries and unexpected things still come, the Lord remains faithful, showing us He is taking care of us.
Day 4: You see evil growing instead of weakening? Do not worry. Close your eyes and say to Me with faith: “Thy will be done, You take care of it.” I say to you that I will take care of it, and that I will intervene as does a doctor and I will accomplish miracles when they are needed. Do you see that the sick person is getting worse? Do not be upset, but close your eyes and say “You take care of it.” I say to you that I will take care of it, and that there is no medicine more powerful than My loving intervention. By My love, I promise this to you.
O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
Trust is a process. I still have fears, and probably always will, that I am actively trying to surrender. Mateo’s heart is still so fragile. He has many surgeries ahead and each one with its own worries; in February an open chest surgery and in a few years it will be an open-heart surgery. But when I think of these things—” Jesus, I surrender these things to you”—worry has no power over me.
I know I will continue to learn to trust in God. But he’s doing it because he wants me to grow; to grow closer to Him. I may not understand it in every moment but I know that as long as I totally surrender and trust in God and His providence in our lives, we will be okay.
Day 5: And when I must lead you on a path different from the one you see, I will prepare you, I will carry you in my arms, I will let you find yourself, like children who have fallen asleep in their mother’s arms. What troubles you and hurts you immensely are your reason, your thoughts and worry, and your desire at all costs to deal with what afflicts you. O Jesus, we surrender ourselves to You take care of everything.
You can find the Novena here.
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