Of all the statements of faith, this is one that I have just recently come to realize and I apologize to Him for being obtuse and insensitive for so long despite His many manifestations to me of this particular trait of His.
You see, in May 2013, after approximately 4 years of trying and after 1 miscarriage in 2011, I finally became pregnant with my second child. My husband and I were ecstatic! Since we already have a girl in our eldest child, we were hoping for at least a boy or for fraternal twins – a boy and a girl – so that my husband could have his junior and I could have another little girl all in one go. We would finally be complete as a family. It only took a few weeks to confirm that only one fetus was developing in my womb, and we were happy all the same. Regrettably, I did not take care of myself as I should have. I had a career that kept me busy full time with acquisitions, system transitions, month end closings, payroll, etc. I was also a hands on mom with our eldest daughter, often studying with her and preparing mock exams she could practice on. I remember that the earliest I would go to bed would be at 2 am the next morning. I did take my prenatal vitamins, had my monthly prenatal checks, was eating healthy but I did not slow down. I took for granted my young age and body.
But I did pray. I would have short conversations in my mind with God and the archangels. I remember thanking God repeatedly for the new life growing inside me and to help fill where I lack. Though all my prenatal tests were normal, I knew I wasn’t taking care of myself as I should, so I was begging God to fill any gaps. I also remembered telling Saint Michael that I would name the baby after him if it was a boy. If it was a girl, I would name her after Saint Raphael.
Finding out that my baby daughter had congenital heart disease immediately after she was born was heartbreaking. I remembered reproaching God as the pedia-cardiologist was explaining to me what was wrong with my daughter.
“Father…I thought You would fill the gaps…”
“Had You given a sign that You wouldn’t, I would have slowed down…”
I felt betrayed. Underneath my betrayal was my guilt. And it was because of that guilt which I acknowledged in my innermost self a few hours later that I stopped blaming God and I started to humbly pray to Him for strength and guidance to see us through the difficult journey ahead…
Fast forward to today, approx. three years later, I realized God had been faithful.
First, He gave me a girl instead of a boy. He knew that because of my own arrogance, I would give birth to a baby with a heart defect. I truly believe that because of this knowledge, He made my baby a girl so that she would be named after Saint Raphael. As I had promised, I named my little one Raphaela Franchesca and through all the hard times, her name gave me hope. Raphaela meaning “God has healed” and Franchesca meaning “free”; God will heal her and free her from her bondage . Even before we knew of her condition, we were already claiming God’s healing power and, thus, ensuring His grace throughout her life.
Second, He sent me His people to help me throughout the whole ordeal with my Raphaela; from my aunt and her family who took us in when we migrated to the big city, to colleagues, close friends and strangers who were touched by God to provide us support, prayers and advice so we can make the right decisions. God also sent us straight to the perfect pediatrician and pedia-cardiologist for my daughter. The two instances where we were admitted at the Philippine Heart Center solidified my belief that Dr. Jonas Del Rosario was indeed sent by God to help us.
Third, He ensured my family and I never wanted or worried for anything else. Those three years were filled with various blessings: from my and my husband’s promotions, to generous incentives, and additional considerations or benefits. God was making sure that we would have more than enough to be able to pay for all of our daily needs and shoulder all of Raphaela’s medical requirements especially her two open heart surgeries.
God has done so much more for us and this blog entry will be 10 times longer than it is if I wrote them all down. He did indeed fill all the gaps in me so that I could preserve my youngest daughter’s life and raise her in this world. God had been faithful all those years and He continues to be faithful to His promises.