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Trusting in God's Will
By author of "A Healing Heart," Alberta H. Sequeira

            My husband and I are in the process of having some renovations done to our rooms upstairs. Iím now blessed with the over-whelming task of cleaning out the back closets. This is where the stuffed Christmas items, albums, loose pictures, boxes of tax returns and things that have been missing for years are kept.

Digging deep, I found close to ten suitcases of every size stored away in the back. Why we have so many is beyond me. Itís not as organized as it sounds. Like many of us, Iím a collector of items that should have been thrown out years ago.  

Since the contractor was due in a few days, I had no choice but to tackle the un-welcome job of deciding on what I should finally destroy forever or again make the unreasonable excuses on why something should stay tucked away in the dark closet for another thirteen years.

This is a chore that I had never accomplished fast because I tend to build three piles: a throw out, a definite keepsake and the maybe pile. The maybe pile goes back and forth for hours.

Things were going smooth until I came upon our numerous loose pictures that were never put neatly into albums. They took my memory back to happy times and sad ones. Our daughter, Lori, passed away November 22, 2006 at the young age of thirty-nine. I suddenly came upon a picture of her that had been tucked away in the pile.

She looked to be about five-years old with her two tiny arms wrapped around a large, taffy-colored teddy bear. It was twice her size. I could feel the tears starting to surface but I kept myself together. I tried smiling through the pain with the sight of my precious daughter. How I longed to hold her again. What a gift God had given us.

I lifted a special box that contained material that I had kept from my 1998 pilgrimage to Medjugorje. It was my first, and so far, only trip to this remote little village in Bosnia.

In-between the material, I found a letter that I had written to a friend. His name is Eddie Sousa of West Warwick, Rhode Island whom I had met during my trip. My girlfriend, Arlene Albert, also lived in West Warwick and had traveled with me on the same trip and had introduced us. Anyone who has ever been on a pilgrimage knows how friendships can develop for a lifetime. I had written to Eddie whenever there was a spare moment and still do to this day.

I pushed aside the clutter that I had accumulated on the bed and sat amongst it to read the letter. It was dated July 9, 2003. I was curious to find out why I had kept a copy of it for so long. After I read it, I realized what a tremendous amount of stress I had been under at the time. I didnít think back then that I would get through it all.

Iíd like to share the letter. At the time, my job was hanging by a thread and I was trying to write my first book and get it published. I wanted to write about my experiences and changes in my life after my return from Medjugorje.

 

Hi Ed,

          Itís embarrassing that I have taken so long to answer all your past letters. I just never seem to have the time to do the things I enjoy. I canít tell you the last time I sat and added entries into my book. I have prayed to somehow find the drive to finish it. Maybe itís just a dream of mine. It would be nice to leave it to the kids if nothing else. We never let our children see a side of us that exists; our thoughts and feelings about things in our lives. Very few people see the real me, although, my real close friends seem to know me inside and out.

          God sure works in such surprising and amazing ways to reach us. I have enjoyed everything you had sent me but todayís mail got right to the core of my heart. The ďCome Holy SpiritĒ and ďCome Lord JesusĒ cards brought me to tears.

I have been going through some hard times at work. Staying at my job is the hardest thing for me right now. Iíve been the office manager for four years and I came to realize no oneís position is secure.

A year ago, a new person joined the company. This individual slowly worked his way right into my position and made me open my eyes to so many different things in life. Some of them arenít very pleasant. For the last eight months, I had felt a threat with the way this person was taking over the office. My husband told me it was my imagination. You canít beat ďWomenís Intuition!Ē

          Every night when the owner would show up, this person stayed late. When the owner didnít come in, he would be right in line with the other employees to leave at five oíclock. All of us had started to notice this routine and remarked about it. As you guessed, he planned his steps very well. He had won the boss over and jumped right into my shoes; only with more authority than I ever had.

          It took all the strength in me to take a deep breath, swallow my pride and act like the change didnít affect me. I wouldnít give them the satisfaction of leaving. I had to think hard and fast on who I would be hurting if I left. Here I was ready to retire in a few years.

          For the last two weeks, I had experienced pain like never before. The hurt, degrading and embarrassment faced me everyday I went to work. I couldnít eat, sleep and struggled with my fibrillation problems. Tears were always ready to surface. It seemed unbearable.

          I prayed to God everyday to forgive me because I felt everything He asks us not to feel; like anger, hate, resentment, bitterness, and the feeling of wanting to hurt and strike back. I didnít know how to deal with this, and at the same time, be the best God wanted me to be.

          During the past week I suddenly had these overwhelming feelings and thoughts of the injustice God must had felt, being condemned. I sat alone in front of my statue of The Blessed Mother at home and held my rosaries. I sat quietly without prayer and tried to think of what He had to feel when He loved all of us with His merciful heart and they still wanted to crucify Him.

It seemed worse knowing that I had done nothing wrong, and yet, there was nothing I could do to defend myself. I honestly felt condemned. I could never come close to what Our Lord suffered. When itís against us, itís only natural to experience the unfair treatment and you feel like the only one whoís going through it.  

          I prayed every morning for God to help me get through the day with what awaited me at my job site. I thanked him at night for getting me through it. All my emotional and physical pain had been offered up to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and for the Souls in Purgatory.

          I still felt like something was missing until you sent me the cards. God had ďyouĒ send me my answer. The prayers helped bring the Holy Spirit to me by showing me how to open my heart. All the words were on the card that I had been searching for to find peace.

          Reading the prayers gave me a lump in my throat. I knew that had been the feeling of the Holy Spirit entering me. Iím going to say both of them everyday even if the day has been good.

          This treatment from the company has made me stop and think to never take things for granted. When we do our best, it still doesnít mean that bad or unfair things arenít going to happen to us. Life is not always fair.

          I had learned through all of this that Iím not management material. I got too close to my fellow workers, cared very deeply for them and had treated them the way I had hoped to be treated. I realized that some people have the power to make our good deeds look like ďweak links.Ē

          Thatís the working world today. Thereís no more dedication for workers who are honest and dependable anymore. Itís all about money and replacement of older workers so the young can move ahead.

          I felt comfort and peace with knowing that God wants us to forgive. Is it easy?  No! There were times that I had to bite my tongue but tried to walk away at the end of each day saying, ďItís only a job.Ē I went home with a smile and kissed my husband knowing that he was the most important person in my life.

          I will continue to still love people, life and appreciate the blessings God has given me and my family. I had learned about the unconditional love of God in Medjugorje. These prayer cards will lead me to Him in a deeper way. I will continue to offer up all my hurt and disappointments in life. After all, He knows the person I am inside.

          If we would only take the time everyday to talk to and serve God, our lives would flow so much better during the time of stress and turmoil in our days. We allow things to keep us away from God. My problem is laziness. I walk by my prayer corner and feel guilty for not spending any time with Him.

          I tried to picture Him physically sitting in that corner and how it must feel to be ignored and not spoken to as I pass by. If I saw someone physically sitting there, would I do that?

          What a wonderful gift if weíd only open ourselves up and let God into our lives. So many blessings are there for the asking. Each day is a renewal for me on what is really important. It only takes a moment of prayer and so many of us donít even know this.

I got upset that I had allowed days to go by without going to a quiet place to feel His love and mercy. I kept blaming it on my job taking so much of my time and it left me exhausted at the end of the day. There were so many excuses like being stressed-out, tired, too much work to do when I got home, I didnít feel good or I had errands to do. If I had taken the time to pray, maybe all the problems would have gone away.

          We are lucky that God lets us live long enough to grow in understanding what he wants from us. To be able to mover closer to Him in faith, love and forgiveness before we actually die is a gift in itself. There are so many lost souls who donít leave the door open to their hearts for The Holy Spirit to help them. They may die never having had the chance to feel this. What a loss!

I believe we are called to Medjugorje to come back home and save souls. Just having a conversation with a stranger about an experience that we had there spiritually could start that person on the road to their own conversion.

          God wants us to love and keep learning. So with pain, disappointment, loss and turmoil in my life, I had to take time out and study why all these terrible things had happened to me. Itís beyond our imagination that hurtful things can turn out to better our way and thinking and living. Some of us have to get hit hard to wake up.

          My job situation must have been my awakening. Medjugorje had helped me see things that I never would had noticed. I had to lose my position to understand that too much time and effort had been put into my job and not my family. I had put so much time and energy into the company by coming in an hour early in the morning to ďget things ready.Ē

          Thereís life beyond work. Thatís something we do to survive financially so the bills get paid, it puts food on the table and it helps us plan for our future. Family should be number one and the most central thing in our life. It should be cherished. Thatís where our over-time should be spent and the benefits would grow.

          Our first and utmost need should be to love one another and to pray to feed our souls. Our life on earth is for a short time. As we age, our most repeated remark is, ďHow time flies.Ē I know Iím heading for the last stages of my life. This is the time for me to get as close to Jesus as I can.

          Eddie, I want you to know that no matter what you send to people with sayings from the bible or gifts in the mail that you are touching our hearts and lives. It made me stop and think; whatís really important?

No matter what faces me with my job, I will survive. I can always change jobs or look for a part-time position. If Iím let go, I will have peace of mind. For now, Iím putting it in Godís hands.

          God Bless, Alberta

          It was four years ago when that letter had been written. I sat on the bed thinking, ďThings had certainly changed once I had given it all up to God back then. Look at my life now. Things worked out in His time and way when I had let go.

          Two months after writing to Eddie, I had been laid-off. I was told that the company needed to ďdown size.Ē I was devastated for months after the insult. Companies play with our intelligence and think weíre blind to their actions.

          God always knows best. He had known that I couldnít take another two years under the eight hours of being watched every day to see if I made a mistake. My heart problems had kicked in more often and harder from the stress. In 2004, I had been fitted with a pacemaker. Within a year, my husband and I thought it would be best for me to retire early at sixty-two years old and enjoy whatever God had planned for me.
          This free time had given me the chance to write and complete my book A Healing Heart. It was released November 6, 2006. My daughter, Lori, read a few pages in the hospital before she passed away. I placed the book in her hands and kissed her goodbye. Itís a powerful and emotional human interest story about miracles, faith, Medjugorje, and hopefully, the actions of God in our lives.

          February 5, 2007, my mother had passed away from a massive stroke at the age of ninety-two. Because of her poor eye sight and bad hearing loss, she couldnít read my book herself or have it read to her. She had the excitement of knowing about its publication and had the chance to actually hold it in her hands. Smiles had filled her face as she searched out our family pictures in it.

           I wondered for years why I had been called to Medjugorje. Itís taken eight years for me to notice the gifts. Our Lady blessed me when my husband had returned back to church, my book is reaching readers from the stories of conversion and people are telling me of their plans to go to Medjugorje after reading my book. All I had hoped for was that my writing would strengthen people to turn back to their faith. I believe that was my reason for being called to Medjugorje. It would not have happened had I not gone. That alone was my gift.

My friendship with Eddie, his wife, Donna, their sons, Fr. Ed Sousa and Greg Sousa along with Arlene are for a life-time. Edís life changed also since his many trips back to Medjugorje. He has his own Catholic website for Evangelizing. Itís ďIn Godís Company.Ē Check out the site at www.edsplace33.blogspot.com.

 Lori and my mother have been called home to Jesus. Children shouldnít go before us. There is terrible pain in losing anyone you love but there are no words to describe the emptiness after your child is gone from your life forever. She was buried at St. Patrickís Cemetery in Somerset, MA next her to father, Richard Lopes, who died at the age of forty-five. Both of them died from Cirrhosis.

My mother, Sophie Gramm, was buried next to our father, Brigadier General Albert L. Gramm, at the Otis National Cemetary in Bourne, MA. I was blessed with having my mother for sixty-five years growing up. A month ago she stated to my sister, ďSoon Iíll be going home to my man!Ē Now she can hear, see, walk and even dance with her man.   

My strength making it through this loss has come from my trip to Medjugorje. I feel Jesus and Our Lady when anything devastating hits me. I find peace when I kneel in prayer and take a private moment to talk to them. They both hear peopleís cries. We are the ones who have to learn to listen.

          Mirjana, one of the Medjugorje visionaries, told our tour group that Our Lady calls each individual who comes there herself. I believe with all my heart that we are meant to become disciples of God when we return home and try to save people before the chastisements come upon us.

          I do know one thing about myself since I went on the pilgrimage. Iím more aware of the little things that happen around me everyday. Miracles or special encounters are noticeable now. Even this misplaced letter that I had found made me sit and think of the many graces that came my way when I had completely felt swallowed up by stress. If I had not made the pilgrimage to Medjugorje, I might have missed seeing the gifts of strength and faith that had been bestowed upon me.

Website: www.ahealingheart.net

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