Shawn Pierce Interview #2

  • March 7, 2013
  • #8049

When Shawn's daughter passed away, she struggled finding her identity. Listen to her interview with Joni.

Shawn Pierce Interview #2

Joni: Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a special interview today. Well, friends the last time you met my friend Shawn Pierce who is connected with our Joni and Friends team in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she shared the most remarkable story of how when she was a young mother she and her husband gave birth to a child named Alisha with severe cerebral palsy and multiple seizures. A divorce ensued but then through one miracle after the next Shawn was introduced to a caring church who shared with her the gospel of Jesus to which she responded as well as her daughter and then her ex-husband and then they remarried.  Oh, my goodness, Shawn welcome back. What a remarkable story.

Shawn: Praise God! Thank you.

Joni: And I’m so thrilled that you are connected to Joni and Friends. How did that happen—before your daughter passed away; after your daughter passed away? 

Shawn: After Alisha was healed — that is what we said after she took her last breath — we said, “We have just witnessed her healing today.” I struggled for a long time with my identity because I took care of Alisha 24 hours, 7 days a week, and I didn’t know what else to do.

Joni: For how many years?

Shawn: …For 17-and-a-half years. And so I just needed the Lord. I just needed to be with Him. Some took that as isolation and yet it wasn’t. I just stayed close to Him—often in bed, often in my cozy chair. But after about a year and six months I finally said, “Now what Lord?” And I really meant it. “Now what would you want me to do with my hands? I don’t feel that I have anything to offer.” and He said, audible, “I want you to go to Joni and Friends. I want you to go and serve those that you know how life is. I want you to go to be an advocate for families and for moms and dads.”

Joni: And I’m so glad you are connected with Joni and Friends in Minnesota. God bless you for that. You must have attended one of our Family Retreats then.

Shawn: I did, this past August. I just started volunteering in March and so when we were talking about Family Retreats I said, “Sign me up, I will go.” I was a little hesitant to see other families and other little children like my daughter, but the Lord was so gracious.  When we got there — my husband came with — there was this little boy in his wheelchair that looked just my daughter, the same diagnosis, the same little wheelchair. But this is cool because as I connected with this little boy’s mom in small groups with the women, my husband was connecting with the dad as well — unbeknownst to us. So as we met for lunch and we shared stories, we shared heartaches… they had some similarities in being apart at times during their time together. Mom and dad both by the end of five days at Family Retreat accepted Jesus Christ.

Joni: Praise the Lord! God certainly has a role for you in the ministry.

Shawn: Again, all glory to Him!

Joni: Well, Shawn, the Joni and Friends team in Minnesota run one of the best Family Retreats across the nation—up in Detroit Lakes on the campus of one of Young Life’s properties, Castaway Club. I know there must be some special needs moms and dads listening; what would you encourage them to do bout maybe considering coming to Family Retreat?

Shawn: I would encourage them to pray and to trust the Lord with what He has in store.  We can only see a little bit of our future and we can only trust so far. For me I said, “Lord it’s either my way of being scared and not understanding and be uncertain, or completely relying on You…” and in that you will receive a blessing.

Joni: Well friends, there you have it! I know that Family Retreats are filling up fast.  Registrations are pouring in, so I would underscore what Shawn said: Pray about the possibility of your family attending Family Retreat. If you need more information just go on our website at and click on our Family Retreat tab and you can sign up for a retreat near you. Shawn, God bless you and thank you for sharing your story.

Shawn: Thank you Joni. It’s been a privilege.

© Joni and Friends


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