November 20, 2018

Finding the Words Through the Fog - Denise M. Ford

For the past eighteen months I have struggled to regain some remnant of myself. Like the woman of Proverbs 31:25-26 I have longed to simply stand in “strength and dignity,” to “laugh with no fear of the future,” to “speak forth with words of wisdom and kindness.”  Instead instability and awkwardness have been my surprising companions following a concussion, otherwise known as a traumatic brain injury. 

I tried to stay positive, using the term “surprising” and not “frustrating” to describe the annoying way that the resulting brain shut-down threw its heavy cloak over me. Oh surprise! Continuing my work as a church administrator brought on double vision and horrendous vertigo. Oh surprise! Grocery shopping required wearing dark glasses so I could hide amidst the aisles, pretending to find something while in fact I was lost in a fog of anxiety. Oh surprise! Concentrating on a conversation or pulling thoughts forward for reasonable discourse meant I needed to take a break to regain any sense of normalcy. 

Eventually I relinquished my job at the church to focus on my recovery.  I had to reimagine my life from one whose purpose entailed helping and encouraging others, to one who herself required support. Surprise! I had to struggle to find my way out of days in which my only goal seemed to be: what do I let go of today?

Pre-concussion, I had taught different Bible studies, writing devotions to give more meaningful interpretations of what we were studying. Now I found I could not handwrite or be on a computer for more than 30 minutes at a time. After that surprising mental workout, I needed to rest and regroup to allow my brain time to refocus itself.

Forward to this November, as I am finally regaining the endurance to provide encouragement to others. My fear of the future wavers between, “Oh what will the surprise be today?”  to “How will I provide meaningful joy to others?”  Like the woman of Proverbs 31, I have begun to laugh again. To set goals despite the obstacle of my brain trauma, and to trust in the wisdom and kindness that will guide word after word as I put pen to paper. This month as I determined to write again a new desire awakened inside of me.  I realized I still wanted to believe that God spoke clearly and loudly within me.  As I wrote I heard these words:

“Here, here I am giving you the thoughts, the ideas, the intricate way of processing life in beautiful metaphors.  Here I am placing it firmly within your grasp and waiting, waiting for you to trust me, to let go of your fears, to let go of your prescribed outline of what and where you should be and how you should be serving Me.  Here, here I am giving you the starting line.  Will you step over it?  Will you trust Me and walk on the path I have cleared for you?  Here I am giving you the courage, the perseverance you need to continue on the path.  Here I am providing everything, everything. Here this is where you begin.  Will you trust me, will you move forward? Will you let go and wholeheartedly let me lead you?”

My response, though still somewhat limited by indiscriminate avalanches of brain fog: “Lord, as You have called me to do, I stand firm in my faith and trust in You, as I seek the words you would have me speak.”


  1. What a powerful post, Denise. It is wonderful to have you back on the roster!

  2. Thank you, Denise, for sharing your "obstacles" and God's words of encouragement and direction. Whenever we face a difficulty, God gives His words, and then we can go on.

    This is your first post on InScribe Writers Online. Welcome to our blog!

  3. Amazing first post - no surprise(!) - when God gives you the words :)

    Love how you turned your frustration upside-down with this alternate way of thinking. Something we can all do when life isn't going according to (our) plan.

  4. Denise, I have watched, walked and prayed with my sister as her husband has gone through the difficult brain-injury road. May you be encouraged, blessed and lifted as you continue to walk this journey filled with "oh surprise!" What is of no surprise (and this still surprises me) is that God is not surprised by all the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in. Hugs to you for trusting Him ... may you be given the courage to continue to do so. Tremendous thanks for sharing!!

  5. I appreciate your apt title, Denise, "Finding the Way Through the Fog." I see some similarity between your experience and what I went through, and still am going through to a lesser degree, with a combination of depression and neuralgia.

    I am happy to read that you are beginning to laugh again," to set goals despite the brain trauma," and "to trust in the wisdom and kindness that will guide (you) word after word as (you) put pent to paper."

    Thanks for sharing this well-written post that speak from your heart to mine and, I'm sure, to others.


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