– Thank God for giving me the time and energy

Elaine Bernadette Seah

One Sunday during Children’s Mass online, Fr Terence Kesavan asked parents to share with their children the story of what God has done for them which has strengthen their faith in God. Here is my story.

In August 2015, I almost gave up on living. I exhausted from all the constant activity of renovation works, moving house, running a business and marketing.

One night, I just could not sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, they would pop open almost immediately and I would be gasping for breath. It was 2 am, and a thought ran through my mind –  “Aiyah! This is so agonising! Just close your eyes and don’t open them. Then this suffering will end. Don’t worry about the children. They can take care of themselves.”

That was quickly followed by, “Girl! Wake up your idea. You still have work to be done.” This lasted till 5 am.

I could not take it anymore, I woke my husband and asked him to send me to the hospital (after we dropped off the boys at school).

Something was very wrong with me.

Heart Failure

The doctors diagnosed me with heart failure. I was only 41, and the news hit me like a bomb. The thought ran through my head: I have four young kids to bring up.

What is my life going to be like?

I could hardly walk 20 metres without gasping for breath and feeling faint. How was I going to keep up with my kids, my work and my other responsibilities? Wouldn’t it be better if I had just stopped breathing altogether so I wouldn’t have to suffer the indignity of having to rely on someone else to do everything for me?

In the two weeks of post-hospital recuperation at home (where I was confined to bed rest), this was when God comforted me by sending me angels daily.

These angels came in the form of friends who would pop by to visit me. Many friends from my church community shower me with their words of encouragement.

Every day, my children would huddle in my room after school and hug me so tightly. My helpers would try to prepare for me low-salt, low-fat, low-water food in an appetising manner.

My extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins would also pop by with treats, while my brother would visit me every other day or so. The most loving angel of them all was my husband Kevin, who handled all the run-around with the kids. Even then, he would have the amazing energy to give me foot massages every night.

A Sincere Prayer

In the past four and a half years, God has walked with me throughout my journey to nurse my heart back to a healthy level.

At the Conversion Experience Retreat in 2016, I remembered that I petitioned God with this request, “Lord, please help me to continue to do what You need me to do.”

So, what did God do for me?

The week before the retreat, I went for a scan. After the retreat, my cardiologist told me that my heart function has been restored to a reasonable level such that that my heart did not require any artificial help to keep it going.

God had healed my weak heart! Alleluia! Praise the Lord!

This is what God has done for me and it has made me realise that I cannot achieve anything if He is not the key focus in my life. And this is why I Believe and Love Him completely.

Serving the Community

Five years on, my life is rich and filled with the new work that God has entrusted to me. I am currently leading a small Christian community in my parish. We meet monthly to break the Word using the preceding Sunday’s readings and to share with each other how the readings have impacted our daily lives. Although the group is often seldom more than nine of us, we draw great strength from each other, to help keep our faith going.

In my own free time, I also volunteer with CatholicSG Radio and serve in my own parish at times. Formation is an important part in our journey as a disciple, so I have always intentionally made time for spiritual growth.

I am often asked this question, “Where do you get the energy and time to do all this?” My answer is always the same, “God gives me the time and energy I need. He knows what I can do for Him and how I can best serve Him. I just need to be obedient and follow His plan for me, because His plan is always perfect!”

God, our Father has an extraordinary plan designed especially for each of us. All we need to do is to Trust and Surrender ourselves completely to Him, especially in times when we are worried or anxious that something might not turn out well.

All we need to pray is, “Lord, Help me. I cannot do this on my own. I trust in You and I love You!”

Story first appeared in Catholic.sg