IN JANUARY OF THIS YEAR, I had a heart attack and did not know it. For weeks, I walked around feeling exhausted, which I attributed to a slow recovery from COVID. When I finally went to the doctor, they told me I had suffered a heart attack three weeks earlier, and it was serious. Some refer to it as a “widow maker” caused by a blockage in the main artery to my heart. I was left with 15% heart function and slowly came to realize how sick I was.
While lying in the hospital bed with tubes running everywhere, I had time to think and pray. I heard God the Father say, “Now do I have your attention?” He was right. I had been very busy and distracted by many things—too busy even to notice that I had had a heart attack. But now He had me where He wanted me, prone and vulnerable. I just lay there paying attention to Him. And in the quiet of my room, I heard the word surrender. Actually, it was more like, “I’m going to teach you to surrender.” Those were scary words! I had become comfortable doing things my way, clinging to my independence, and now I was being stripped of any false sense of control. Did you know they will not let you do anything on your own in the cardiac ICU? You must do everything while lying in bed, and I mean everything! I had to ask for help to do the simplest tasks.
At first, I did not want to receive help. The nurses kept having to say, “Let me do that for you,” because I kept trying to do everything on my own. Too weak to resist, I began to receive the help they offered. And then I realized that every time the nurses said, “Let me do that for you,” it was actually the Father saying it to me. I had somehow forgotten that He loves it when I ask for His help. He wants to do everything for me. He loves it when l am helpless and reliant on Him. And you know what the best part of surrender is? It is being able to receive what the Father offers. Because when I ask, I receive. And that makes God happy. St. Therese once said, “Jesus does not demand great actions from us, but simply surrender and gratitude.”
When I left the hospital, my heart ejection fraction was at only 26%. I was being prepared for bypass surgery while at the same time being added to the heart transplant list in case my heart did not improve. During that time, I was encouraged to ask Tom Naemi, a Catholic man with the gift of healing, to pray for me. As the date for my surgery approached, I asked Tom to pray with me just before my final echocardiogram. It was a powerful prayer time. I went to get the echo just an hour later. The result read that I had jumped from 26% to 46% heart function! For me, it was a miracle. I no longer needed to be on the transplant list. I was able to keep my heart, and my surgery was a great success.
See what can happen when you surrender!