Story Therapy: The Backstory of “Lucilla and the Snarly Skein”

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A few years ago I was going for a walk,  both worrying and praying about a big, very complicated problem. Yes, you can worry and pray at the same time. I do it a lot. I'm not saying it's a good thing, but it is definitely possible. This was one of those problems that appears bigger and bigger the more you look at it. Some aren't like that. Sometimes I have a problem that becomes clearer as I study it and pray about it. And then I know what to do next, and I find closure. This was not one of those. This was the kind that, after praying and worrying and analyzing, I'm left in the dark with no clue what to do. It's the kind that has no closure, maybe ever. And, in fact, I'd worried and prayed about this same problem many times before. Prayer is an amazing thing. It brings peace even when there's no clear answer.

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I did feel that peace, as I'd felt many times before. But this time, along with peace, a story came into my mind. It was a complete story—beginning to end—that played through my mind like a movie. It would be more accurate to say it danced through my mind like a ballet. I could imagine the sets and the costumes, but also words. It was a story of a girl who was good at untying knots of yarn. But one day she found an enormous knot of yarn that was beyond her power to untie. Her mother told her to leave it alone. It was too much for her, but she didn't listen. She kept working at the impossible knot until at last she was all tied up. The story had a hero called the Night Rabbit—a black rabbit that comes hopping out from the shadows right when you think all hope is lost, and he leaves a sparkling trail behind him. And I pictured another hero—a squirrel who is also a king and wise story teller, who can communicate with the stars.

“I will unknot you. I will unwind you. I will rescue you and set you free…”

As the story unfolded in my imagination, I turned toward home and began to walk faster. Then I ran. I was afraid that I'd forget some of the words before I got the chance to write them all down. I said some of the words over and over in my mind to keep from forgetting them. My favorite of these were, “I will unknot you. I will unwind you. I will rescue you and set you free…” I wrote the whole story down the minute I got home.

Since then, it has encouraged me so many times, and I've shared it with friends who are feeling anxious or distressed. When I feel myself slipping into anxiety over a complicated situation or problem, I remember the little girl who wouldn't leave the big knot of yarn alone and how she got tied up. And I say to myself, “leave it alone, Amy. It's too much for you. It's a snarly skein.” But other times I keep worrying and I get all knotted up inside. And time and again, God unknots me, unwinds me, rescues me, and sets me free.

~ Amy 

P.S. - I'd love to keep you posted on the release of my new storybook. The date is 11/30 and I will be making announcements between now and then about pre-ordering and the big release event. The email sign-up is at the bottom of any page on my site. Thank you!