“Rediscovering God after a Serious Brain Injury,” Ensign, February 2020
My mom gave me some wise life advice once: “You definitely need to make a plan and then go about accomplishing that plan. Just trust that it will change over and over again.”
Well, on one November morning, my life plan definitely changed more than I could have ever imagined.
I was scheduled for a very minor and routine same-day surgery. Everything went smoothly—until I woke up. I found myself with an extreme stutter, a lack of remembering pretty much anything, a lot of confusion, and a brain that just wasn’t functioning as it should.
It seemed that my ability to communicate had suddenly been taken away. It hurt to think, talk, be awake, breathe, see, and hear, all at the same time. I experienced extreme headaches and high emotions. My doctors found that my brain was swollen, but they had no clue why.
After several visits and tests, the doctors still could not determine what caused the reaction. The neurologist decided we would treat it as a brain injury and that hopefully with time it would heal. He wasn’t sure if it would take two months, a year, or even a lifetime. The reality was there was nothing more to be done but wait and see how things went.
I felt afraid, confused, and angry all in an instant after that news. I couldn’t believe it. I needed to move back home to be taken care of. And as a young single adult used to doing everything on my own, I wasn’t happy about that.
My family and I were all in shock. No one seemed to know how to handle my new situation, so I turned to prayer. I prayed and prayed, but I realized that the state of my brain made it so much harder to feel Heavenly Father near or the quiet whisperings of the Spirit.
However, as I prayed on one particular night, I put forth whatever faith was left in me. And I felt the Spirit pierce through all the fear, anxiety, and confusion to remind me of what I knew about God’s nature. I began to remember His plan, how He works in my life, and how to determine whether the thoughts and feelings in my heart and mind came from Him, myself, or Satan.
It was a challenge, but as I knelt pleading with Heavenly Father, I could feel Him near again. I knew He was there, even when I could not feel it. I realized if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then His love, mercy, and kindness are infinite toward me and all His children. It was miraculous! All of my fears and doubts and anger and confusion fled in an instant. I knew then that I could get through this and anything else that was thrown my way.
It’s been over a year now since that fateful surgery. It’s still hard, and I’m struggling to work with my physical limitations, but I know God’s hand is in my life. Every time things get overwhelming, I turn to Him and He sends His Spirit to remind me of His constant love.
He is in all our lives. His Spirit can and will pierce through the hardest of days and the darkest of nights if we choose to have faith in Him. And His Son, our Savior, can give us strength that will enable us to climb our own personal mountains and find joy on the way.
The advice my mom once gave me has proven to be true. My life plans changed more than I could have imagined. But because I have studied the nature of God and have come closer to Him through this trial, I know I can trust Him and His plan for me more than the plan I had for myself. Even though I have no clue how things are going to work out 90 percent of the time, He knows. He is constant and He is kind. Plans may change, but He surely doesn’t.