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Apr 24, 2021 126 Maria Angeles Montoya,
Encounter

An Unfamiliar Path

When I regained consciousness, I did not know where I was, what day of the week or how old I was.

That day everything turned very unfamiliar for me.

 

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known; along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;

I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.

These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

(Isaiah 42:16)

Because I was born with an abnormal mass in my brain, I started having seizures when I was a baby. I had become accustomed to dealing with them as a regular part of my life, until a new type of seizure disrupted my routine. One morning, I was enjoying breakfast with my mother when I suddenly lost consciousness. I fell from the chair and experienced a seizure that lasted 10 to 15 minutes.

Lost and Desperate

When I regained consciousness, I recognized my mother, but I did not recognize the house or anything that surrounded me. I did not know where I was, what day of the week it was, or how old I was. In my house, I could not identify my bedroom. Everything seemed very unfamiliar to me. The seizure had caused me to lose a lot of memory. I felt very lost. This continued for about two weeks, and I was becoming desperate.

One night, in the midst of my despair, I looked at the image of the Divine Mercy hanging on my bedroom wall, and I cried out to the Lord. I asked the Lord to strengthen me, to guide me, but, most importantly, to keep me close to Him. Lord, do not allow this situation to separate me from you. Instead, please use it as a tool to pull me closer to you. Jesus, I trust in you.

That same night, I woke around 2 AM and had a vision: I saw myself falling into a deep abyss. Then, suddenly, I saw a hand holding me and keeping me from sinking any further. It was the Lord’s hand. Within seconds, my pain and desperation was turned into peace and joy. From then on, I knew I was in the hands of the Lord, and I felt safe.

Surging Pain

Two weeks after the seizure, I began recovering memories from my childhood, but most of them were painful. I didn’t want to remember that. Instead, I wanted to remember the beautiful and happy moments of my life. At first, I couldn’t understand why I was receiving mostly painful memories. Neurologists and psychologists would have an explanation: the memories with the biggest psychological impact are the ones that are better recorded in the brain. But faith had a different explanation: The Lord wanted me to identify my wounds and heal from them.

One night, as I was reciting my bedtime prayers, I remembered the names and faces of the people who had hurt me deeply. I cried in deep pain, but — to my surprise — I did not feel anger or resentment towards them. Instead, I felt the urge to pray for their repentance and conversion, and I did it. Later, I came to realize that it was the Holy Spirit who prompted me to pray for them because he wanted to heal me. The Lord was healing my wounds.

A Different Answer

I keep a journal, and I began reading it to help me recover some memories. As I read it, I realized that I had attended a Shalom Growth retreat in March, the week prior to the lockdown due to Covid-19. At the retreat, I surrendered to the Lord and asked Him to direct my life. Later, in May, I attended a Healing Mass at my parish, and I asked the Lord to help me to identify my wounds and to heal them.

I never imagined that the Lord would respond in such a way. For me, the seizure, the memory loss and the events that followed are God’s perfect response to my prayers. You might wonder why God responded to my prayer by allowing that seizure and memory loss to occur, and my answer is this: Every moment of suffering is an invitation for us to come closer to God, every difficulty is an invitation for us to trust in Him, and every loss of control is an invitation for us to remember that He is in control and that His plans are better than ours.

A Walk to Remember

This is something I had never experienced before. The Lord certainly took me along a very unfamiliar path, but He was constantly by my side. Even though I forgot many things, He never allowed me to forget His love. The daily Bible readings, reflections, the Divine Mercy image, the dreams and the people praying for me were a constant reminder of His love. I felt Him walking with me along the way, which made this unfamiliar road much smoother for me. For this reason, the blessings were certainly stronger than the suffering.

For about a year, I had been serving the Lord by translating Catholic articles and other documents, and I was able to continue doing that throughout these months. Even though I forgot many things, I did not lose the skills and ability to translate. I am very grateful for that, because it allowed me to work for His kingdom during the time of difficulty. Now, several months later, I have recovered a lot of memory. I am still forgetful at times, and I have become slow at certain things, but I am very grateful to God for all the memories I have recovered and all the blessings I have received during these months.

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If the Lord has taken you also along an unfamiliar path, surrender to His will and ask Him to make the roads smooth before you. Remember that His plans are better than our plans. He did not forsake me, and He will not forsake you either.

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Maria Angeles Montoya

©Maria Angeles Montoya enjoys using her skills and gifts to serve the Lord in various ways, especially through the ministries of intercession and evangelization. Maria has been involved with Shalom Media since 2017, and hugely contributes her time and efforts for Shalom Tidings. She lives with her parents in Texas, USA.

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