sometimes a little pressure and presence is all it takes…



We have tried so many things to help with Lauren’s sensory issues and anxiety. Breathing techniques, mindfulness skills, coping skills, evidence based practices and treatments…implemented by both myself and others. And after all of this, today God showed me one simple thing. Maybe the most valuable yet…

The soothing power of a good strong hug.

Lauren actually likes to hug, but it’s usually during the most inconvenient times. Like right after she has a gigantic sensory meltdown before church or school.

I am a reluctant hugger in these moments. She usually has been screaming for an extended period of time, I am late for work, frustrated, and she is lucky I haven’t had a meltdown myself at this point.  I offer her what I can in the way of a halfhearted hug and we scurry out the door. 

Another situation that causes Lauren meltdowns are large crowds. So today when we went to lunch and the line was riddled with people, I buckled in for a long ride.  Soon she would start breathing quickly, crying, and her little panic alarms would go off.

Most times I give her my phone to distract her or encourage her to hold her stuffed animal, but this time I remembered an article I had read. It was about anxiety/sensory issues and how a weighted blanket, or simple pressure can help.

I asked my girl if she wanted a hug, she said yes, and I wrapped her arms into mine and hugged her hard. I didn’t let go until she was ready for me to let go and something amazing happened. The anxiety melted off.

She did good for a few minutes after that, then the anxiety returned, and she asked me to hug her tight again. I did and once again, the anxiety melted. We were a actually able to enjoy our lunch.

This may not seem like a miracle to anyone else, but it was to me. Any other time she would have had a complete meltdown, barely ate, and whined until we could leave. But because of slight pressure applied at the right time to her overwhelmed body, she was able to cope and actually enjoy herself.

It was a great day. And I’m looking forward to her starting occupational therapy next week in addition to continued counseling to help her address the difficulties she is having. But I’ll be honest…

I’m afraid.

What if the interventions don’t work? What if she never gets better and only gets worse? And I know that’s a horrible way to think, but it happens. Moms worry about their kids. 

But then I step back, God taps me on the shoulder, and reminds me of His love not only for me, but for her.

He applies gentle pressure to my anxious heart, squeezes me into the safety of His love, and anxiety melts off. Things may not wrap up with a big red bow, but because I feel the pressure of his presence against my raw tired nerves, I can cope.

I was able to enjoy her tonight just for who she is, letting everything else go, and that’s a gift. 

Because she is amazing. And God made her that way. She may have signs and symptoms of this or that and they do cause her distress…they just do. And they may always. But they won’t write her story. Because a diagnosis can’t do that. Only God can. She is beautiful and made in His image. And only He can make new. He loves her dearly and He loves me and you too. And through the rest of this journey we will be okay because His plans are always good.



  1. Lora says

    Wow what beautiful story. One day your beautiful Lauren will tell her story because the healing power of Jesus can cause her to live with it but not the symptom or effects of it. I love this. You are an amazing writer.

  2. Missy says

    Oh Stephanie! Iyes to big bear hugs! Even at 12, my little man needs them (today even!) to help calm his anxiety and provide that necessary sensory input. I’m always so grateful when God inspires simple yet profound actions on our part that create such positive effects and her children. Keep at it, mama.

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