Lucy told me a month or so ago that her biggest regret from junior high was that she didn’t try out for the basketball team. I somehow hoped she had forgotten about that. Which makes me feel awful because what kind of mom wants her child to forget about a dream?

It just feels wrong that I have to do this: dash hopes and dreams.

And it also feels awfully wrong that this sweet fifteen-year-old can’t see well enough to do the things she wants with all her heart to do. (She is actually pretty good at making baskets despite her vision thanks to her brother-in-law who taught her, but she hasn’t, up until this point, known much about how the game really works, nor has she ever dribbled a ball…)

Lucy’s limitations have felt so heavy for her lately, and I think she was just clinging to the hope, despite the odds, that maybe she could do something “normal” (..she’s not ready for special olympics or other things with kids with vision loss at this point, some day when she’s ready I think it could bring her so much joy if she’ll embrace it!)

Oh, she’s so good about seeing the good in so many things. When she gets dark and sorrowful it is so incredible to watch her work her way out of it. Sometimes that takes time, but she can do it.

She is strong.

But this basketball thing, it was eating away at both of us.

Should we let her just try and feel even more awful when she couldn’t make the team, or should we just dash those hopes in one fell swoop? Lucy invited her friend over to help her practice for try-outs and I teared up as I watched them out on that court, Lucy trying so hard to concentrate, and that kindest friend in the whole wide world working so sweetly with her.

Well, this story is not all sad though.

It’s actually quite triumphant.

Because God is in the details.

It just so happened that Lucy’s science teacher is the Freshman girls’ basketball coach.

And it just so happened that Lucy knew that, and told me so.

I called that good teacher and told her about our dilemma and she said she had been worried too when Lucy mentioned she was going to try out. She reminded me that she wouldn’t pass a doctor’s clearance (you have to get that “ok” before you can try out for a sport), but she mentioned, very genuinely, that she would love to have Lucy be the team manager.

A glimmer of hope!

When I pulled Lu aside and explained that her doctor wouldn’t pass her vision for tryouts but that she could still be part of the team as a manager it was a tough talk. She declined and had a long, good cry. And each day after when I asked if she had reconsidered, she vehemently answered with a resounding “NO!”

So I don’t know how finally, by about the fifth time I asked, she calmed herself down and said Yes.

I tried to act like that was no big deal so I didn’t scare her off, but inside my heart was jumping so much I could hardly contain it.

On the day of her first practice that girl was a gigantic ball of dripping nerves walking into that new experience. As we walked in I asked if she wanted to say a prayer to which she gave me a huge YES and hugged right into me. Loved walking into that gym with my arm around her…until we got close to the door and then she shoed me away speedy-quick.

Prayed with all my might she would be ok.

So I cannot explain how relieved and happy I was to see that glowing face of Lucy’s through the screen on FaceTime when Dave picked her up, and to later hear the report from Dave about how Lucy had told him how happy she was to feel like she “belonged.”

I’m still holding my breath…a few weeks in I still don’t know how all this will turn out.

But I do know that for years Lucy has watched her older siblings come out of this building and the court right next to it.

Volleyball games galore, tennis matches, senior nights, tournaments, and that unbeknownst to me, she longed to do the same.

And it’s pretty sweet watching her come out of there from her own practices:

So grateful for experiences that help us grow. And that even though Lucy is still uncomfortable and it’s scary for her, she’s doing it anyway, surrounded by this awesome coach and the nicest girls who have taken her under their wing.

I’m also grateful to ponder that Christ went through all of these struggles before us, big and small.

Today I am doing the devotional again on the Come Follow Me App about just that:

D&C 133: 53 — In all their afflictions he was afflicted. And the angel of his presence saved them; and in his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them, and bore them, and carried them all the days of old.

It made me think of an experience when I was grappling with my own struggles as a young mother, as well as one of my favorite paintings (above). I thought instantly of one of my favorite quotes (all in those two minutes of my devotional today).

It also reminded me of the yoke that hangs in our dining room:

It hangs there as a reminder that Christ wants to share our yoke with Him.


Because He knows.

He’s been there.

He’s got me, He’s got Lucy, He’s got you.

I’m so grateful for that beauty that infiltrates my life when I’m faced with the sorrows that come my way.

And that Lucy shares that belief with me that lifts her through so many times when she’s feeling low.

Sometimes God sends angels in the form of science teachers/basketball coaches.

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  1. I am so excited for Lucy! We all yearn to belong! Lucy is a sweet spirit! She will do well in life as she has such a wonderful and supportive family! You all ROCK!

  2. Oh man! I just cannot get the tears to stop this morning. Due to several reasons, my two youngest sons decided to leave the church. It was crushing to me and I lamented. These two sons of mine decided earlier this year to enlist in in the Marines. I had to do a lot of praying to come to terms with that, and I did when the sweet voice of the Holy Ghost told me this is where my sons needed to be and several scriptures came to mind and I was enveloped in a cloud of peace. My sons spent 2x a week training with the other Poolees preparing for boot camp. Soon September arrived and my youngest shipped to Boot Camp. His letters were discouraging and talked of coming home. He then wrote about how he decided to attend church to get away from his drill instructors and how church was different there. He felt peace and comfort. He was able to receive a blessing because he was so sick and he was struggling to learn how to drill. His Senior Drill Instructor was really focusing on him and told him to just quit. I kept getting letters asking me to write, which I was 2x wk, but we learned they were not giving him his letters as a form of punishment for not being good at drill. I kept having dreams of him struggling and wanting to come home. I prayed harder for him to be strong and have the endurance to continue. I wrote letters of how we have to do hard things in order to get where we need to be. I shared my testimony of the Savior and His willingness to do hard things so we might live again. The latest letter shared how he can write letters at church and the missionaries mail them for him. He said he loves attending church and knows with him attending church he will make it. He has become friends with the other 5 LDS recruits in his platoon, all who had similar experiences growing up as he did. They are all attending church and doing hard things. They are all going to be made Elders at Boot Camp together. His older brother shipped to boot camp two weeks ago, a whole month early. He has learned from his brothers letters about church and said he would go check it out. While his brother is not at the Marine Depot right now, those missionaries are waiting for my son to show up. I am so thankful for those missionaries and the hard things they do to help those struggling like my sons. I know my boys are suppose to be where they are so they can not only serve our country, but to come back.

    1. Shelly – I want to hug you! You’re doing such a beautiful job letting the Lord hold this. I don’t have older kids, but I dread having to let go – in many ways. But seeing in my own life, and in others lives that He can hold any and all – much better than we can – and make it beautiful in the process (long and ugly as it may be) is so glorious. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

      Along with Shawni’s example with Lucy facing what seems impossible, but doing it anyway, I’m grateful to have read your experiences. It gives me hope to see His hand working in others lives as well. ❤️

    2. Thanks so much to your sons for serving our country!! Whatever the future holds, that they had the impulse to to serve and follow through with boot camp is commendable.

    3. Oh Shelly, thank you for sharing that story and your thoughts. It sounds like they are learning things in a way that they really couldn’t otherwise and I just wish I could give you a hug too! Sending over lots of love to you and your sons, and gratitude that sometimes our stories don’t go as we planned, but sometimes that helps us grow and learn in ways we never imagined.

  3. This is a super moving story about the girls freshman team and the kind teacher/coach. I hope Lucy has a very positive experience being team manager.

    I am really confused by the “he’s got me. He’s got Lucy. He’s got you” sentiment though. Horrible things happen. Some children die in agonizing pain , some children are terribly abused. Does “he got” those kids too? Why would “he” keep Lucy safe abs let others suffer endlessly?

    1. I think that’s the question I ask most often, and I don’t think I’m alone in that! I don’t know how it all works out. I just don’t think we have the capacity to make sense of the whole big picture. When I say He’s got Lucy, that doesn’t mean that she will be saved from any pain and sadness (she is in the depths of both of those right now). It doesn’t mean that he is going to cure her blindness, even if we fight with all our mights for it (although we will never stop trying).

      I don’t believe He’s “got us” means that He will stop all the horrible things happening in the world. Life can be terribly unjust and dark. But I believe that He’s got us because even in the darkest times, we can reach out and He’s there. We can find examples of this most beautifully in true life experiences like Corrie Ten Boom, Helen Keller and Harriet Tubman. I believe there is a light from inside that we can let glow, and help us connect to God. Even in the depths of those horrible things, I believe Christ is there. He doesn’t save us from the horrible things, but He can help carry us through them if we let Him.

      1. Thanks for clarifying. That makes a lot of sense to me; I also believe there is a divine light in each of us that helps us connect to our best selves and that of others. I’m confused about how this thought matches up with the LDS “Heavenly Father” who people pray to to help cure their illness or get them into BYU or get assigned the mission they want to travel to or whatever.

        1. I don’t think that is an “LDS Heavenly Father” question…I think everyone who believes in God communes with Him in all kinds of ways to plead for the things they desire/seek/hope for. Please correct me if I’m wrong on that, I’m curious if it’s just part of how I’ve grown up, but I think it is part of Christian nature. We ask for strength to get through the tough stuff. We ask for help with things. We plead to understand when life gets so difficult we cannot bear it. I do think it is so interesting though, just like you, that sometimes we do pray for particular things, and sometimes people have their faith shaken when those things don’t happen.

          This is just the gospel according to me (Grace and I have had lots of talks about this), but I think the true purpose of prayer is not to get what we want, or even what we need, but to align our wills with God’s. To make that connection with Him so beautifully tangible that we can cling to Him when the tough things happen. When our prayers seem to go unanswered. To make sense of all the sorrow and darkness in the world. To help us heal our broken hearts. To me it’s about hope, to let God prevail in our lives, and to use our connection with Him to help us understand the hard and good that happens in life.

          1. Thanks for sharing more thoughts, Shawni. You say.”…I think everyone who believes in God communes with Him in all kinds of ways to plead for the things they desire/seek/hope for. Please correct me if I’m wrong on that, I’m curious if it’s just part of how I’ve grown up, but I think it is part of Christian nature”

            For me I pray to God for things like strength, patience, understanding, and love. No, I don’t think that the nature of prayer is to ask for stuff we want. (I think that’s more like the nature of writing a letter to Santa)

            One example I think a lot about is I am endlessly grateful for my children’s good health but I don’t pray for a specific medical outcomes even when they are in the hospital. I do pay for the wisdom to make good decisions and the strength to stay calm when they are sick (still working on that one!)

            I’m not Christian so not sure how I fit into your above statement on what is “part of Christian nature.” I don’t pray to “Him” because I don’t believe God is a man/male.

          2. I love these thoughts that I just found again last night and I actually brought them up in family scripture study this morning.

            I think prayer is more aligning ourselves with the will of God than anything else. Like if we pray to be open to the needs of others in the mornings, it helps us remember to do that work, but also invites God in to be our companion and to guide us.

            I love this thought I just read this week in a Richard Rohr meditation: “Teresa of Avila describes mental (contemplative) prayer as, “nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with [God] who we know loves us.” [1] We can imagine God as our intimate friend, with whom we share everything. We can talk to the Divine about our needs, complaints, and difficulties. We can ask for advice, offer thanksgiving, and make acts of faith or reparation for our sins. We can seek guidance for our children, or shed tears about illness and death.”

            I love your examples of what you pray about.

  4. She certainly sounds busy with school and everything. Please consider there are organizations that provide recreation and other opportunities for children and adults with vision and/or other issues. You live in a largely populated area, I’m sure there is something. Please do not feel you are limited by connections and coincidences.

    1. Yes we are gradually finding those things, and you’re right, they are there. But Lucy isn’t ready for any of them at this point. Trying to be patient.

  5. This story hits home as we just had something similar happen with my step son. His dad and I got married last December so he started school this year at the school my kids have been going to so he didn’t know have friends here but he was so excited to try out for the 8th grade basketball team and be a part of something. Then we got the email he didn’t make the team. But we had angels watching over us, who knew how badly he needed this and he got asked to be the team manager. He was so excited to be a part of the team and practice with them, that he didn’t even care that he didn’t make it any longer. It brings tears to my eyes to see him feeling important and having a sense of belonging.

  6. Thank you for sharing this experience, Shawni. My sixth child was born a year ago with a rare genetic disorder and lots of medical complications. It’s been a real doozy of a year, to put it mildly. His future (and mine, by extension) is so uncertain, but I love hearing how you’re navigating tough stuff with that beautiful girl of yours. I get a much-needed dose of encouragement and hope every time I peek in on this lovely little corner of the interwebs 🙂

    1. I am late to come back here but I wanted to send over some extra love to you and your family, Rivka. I’m so sorry you are in the midst of dealing with medical complications, I am here to send some extra encouragement that God is in the details. I hope you will feel comforted and lifted and have courage in the times when you need it the most.

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