We have found a new therapist for Lucy.

And when I say it like that it sounds as if it was merely a phone call and an appointment made, when really it took the spilling out of my whole soul, a river of tears, the most dear friends lending an ear and possible contacts and help at the most difficult moments.

And I know that sounds dramatic, but sometimes it’s just so easy on a blog to plaster over the gory details that are real life. Because as we all know, life is not made up of continual sunshine and sweetness. Nor is it made up of children who are willing to let you share their vulnerabilities. Nor would I want to share so many of those sacred moments we share. Some things are wrapped around your heart you don’t need to write them down to remember. But without sharing details, I’ll just say we have been on a journey to get to this point, the two of us, and everyone else mixed in there who has lifted and prayed and cried with us along the banks of that river of worry and fear and sorrow.

We went to our initial consultation a few weeks ago to see if this therapist might be the right fit, and I held my breath. Actually, I think I started holding my breath since I made the appointment and in many ways I’m still holding it now. We have tried two other therapists that were giant fails. Not because the therapists weren’t wonderful, but because it wasn’t the right fit, and I let my heart be wrapped up in the hope. Because that volcano of emotion my daughter is trying to hold inside is not doing any favors.

Sometimes hope is a scary thing.

But right now I am hopeful.

Because after that first consultation Lucy wanted to go back. And last week we made it through the first “real” appointment.

And Lucy herself suggested we do this every week.

My heart wanted to sing but the worry is still keeping that singing at bay.

I am trying to hold on but also to let go and that is a difficult spot to hold your balance..

And I don’t think it was a coincidence that when we came home, a friend happened to met me in the driveway with a little gift from Relief Society.

And it came with this note:

Somehow, sitting there in my driveway reading that note, tears welling up in my eyes, I realized that it’s ok.

It’s all ok.

It didn’t even have anything to do with Lucy or therapists or motherhood woes, but it made me realize that I can “be the gift” even when I am so vastly underprepared for the territory, because God can make up the difference.

And He loves that girl of mine even more than I do.

She’s going to be ok.

The next Sunday (last Sunday) I was setting up chairs in our Relief Society room chatting with the teacher setting up for her lesson. She was curious why she wasn’t assigned a Christmas lesson. This was, after all, the last time we’d meet as a Relief Society before Christmas (next week is Sunday School).

It was just a curious question, but it made my heart drop.

Because why didn’t I think of that? We had all those women gathering and this opportunity to infuse them with the Christmas spirit: the one where that little baby born in that manger all those years ago as the answer to all of our woes. He came to comfort me while I sit in the waiting room while Lucy talks to the therapist. He came to nudge the nurses who are taking care of my friend who is so sick right now and give them extra compassion. He came to wrap His love around the one who is going through an awful divorce, the one who is desperately lonely. Another who is trying to fit in and know that she matters. He came to help Claire who has lost yet another friend this last week, and He’s there to mourn with her family as they grapple with her absence.

There are so many things it is difficult to make sense of in this life of ours. Things I know a Christmas lesson could plant seeds to grapple with.

Things much more deep and wide than why in the world I didn’t think to assign a Christmas lesson topic on December 11th.

But as I sat there in that room, shoulder to shoulder with all those women I love, I sent up a special prayer.

Although there are so many things I forget, I am trying.

I am one.

But You are All.

Please sanctify my efforts to embrace these women with love and fulfillment and joy and beauty this Christmas season, even through the chaos and the things we all forget.

And do you know what? The Spirit infiltrated into that Relief Society room.

I don’t know if they could feel it as much as I could, but I hope they did. The teacher placing her heart just as much into theirs as she would have with a Christmas lesson.

The room filling up with love and vulnerability and goodness.

So I’m here with all these jumbled and vulnerable thoughts this morning to send some love and encouragement out to all the corners where women may be sitting with their own vulnerabilities at Christmas.

Remember YOU are the gift.

Because God has the power to sanctify your efforts.

He makes all the difference.


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  1. Oh, you sure know how to make me cry! Therapy is amazing, and I’m so glad you found the right therapist for Lucy. Thank you for these thoughts and for sharing the good and the not-so-good.

  2. Beautiful! Just what I needed as I grapple with my own feelings at this busy time. Thank you for spending the time to inspire us/me through this blog. Merry Christmas!

  3. Several hugs to you and your family. Those were beautiful words. Thank you for the kindness of showing your vulnerability in order to show this testimony on the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe deeply in the Holy Spirit and I know we are cared for.

    1. Me too! So very grateful for those nudges that come along to help us sort things out…if we’re patient and listening.

  4. Maybe the previous ones weren’t “fails” – just teaching you all what your needs are? (This idea is brought to you by my own “baby bear” of therapists 😉 ).

    1. I so agree! We learn so much from the bumps along the way, I guess it’s all just part of the journey.
      Merry Christmas!

  5. i know you have talked a few times about Lucy’s “ big emotions & outburst” or that she can be a little difficult at times. Is this from her condition that she has or does she have other behavioural things too. I was just curious if this typical for her syndrome.

    1. Good question Emily. I think it’s a mixture of teenagerhood (I’m sure anyone with a teenager can relate), and also the syndrome (there is a wide range of how this syndrome affects people, but I think emotions are a big part of it all, there is OCD mixed in with some “on the spectrum” things), but maybe most importantly, I cannot imagine the emotional turmoil I would feel if my world kept getting darker and more fuzzy. To not be able to do the things I used to be able to do. To not feel like I fit in because I am grappling with such different things from my peers. It breaks my heart to think of all Lucy is going through. And makes my heart swell up when I think of how valiantly and beautifully she is doing it…with a few “big emotions” along for the ride! It’s definitely not behavioral things, Lucy is so good. But dealing with these types of sorrows that are so deeply entrenched along with everything else really merits some talking out, and I think this therapy will be so good. At least I’m praying my guts out that it will!

  6. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts and the peace and encouragement you share here on your blog. Merry Christmas Shawni!

  7. Is your life your mother’s responsibility? Or your dad’s? At some point it became your own. Everything a person does or down not do is not to the credit or failure of their parent’s. The fact there is access to people and that people can be changed means choice and that is great. I think the end result is not something that can be deliberately controlled. Especially about another person. We think everything will be great if we make all the correct choices and life happens to people anyway.

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