This past weekend I went on a women’s retreat for mothers who have lost a child(ren). I was so hesitant to go at first finding every single excuse in the world to not go (I didn’t want to go by myself, the weather was suppose to be terrible all weekend, I didn’t know anyone there…etc) but I knew I had to. Laura Brown fb messaged me about this amazing retreat, and right away I signed up. I didn’t know what was going to come of it, but I knew God has given her that message to pass on to me.
Friday night was filled with registration and getting all settled into your room, and then attending dinner once you were all settled. I am not quite sure of the volunteers who made every single meal for us this past weekend, but I am so thankful for them (even though my waistline is not) the food was made with so much love and was delicious. After dinner we all gathered in the main area to have the welcoming and sharing portion of the retreat. I heard the tragic story of around 40 other amazing moms who had lost one or more children and I knew in my heart right then and there that God took me to a place that I finally fit in. We all went through trauma, and are all at different stages of grief with our children, but we all have that one thing in common that God brought of us strong women together to be able to worship, pray, and fellowship with one another. Friday was a tough night and it took a while for me to go to sleep, but I was excited to see what the next day would bring.
Saturday started with an early morning breakfast, followed by praise and worship with everyone and let me tell you..the music brought so many tears and touched my heart so much as I watched us all singing and praying together, and it felt so good. Then we broke out into small groups and it was so nice to be just in group with us moms who have lost our babies. Some in utero, some shortly after birth like me, and some living to be almost two years old. I was amazed at how much we each opened up and got to truly know each other, hear each others weakness, and cry together.. this group just “got it”. We each had such a strong bond together, that no matter what, we didn’t judge, we listened with our whole hearts, and just felt every emotion we each were having. After small group they had breakout sessions to attend and it was so nice to hear what other mothers did with their kids belongings and new and creative ideas to keep our children close to us and in our household. I also attended grief and marriage and we had guest speakers Coco and Jeff Mullins come in and it was just nice to hear how to better help each other during this time in our lives. According to statistics Shane and I are supposed to be divorced after losing two children, but we knew in our heart, we were not going to be another statistic. We are going to work on each other and grow closer to God and one another during this time in our lives. Afterwards we did craft and I made my first wreath which is not that great, but it’s done with love, and we had dinner, worship and fellowship afterwards. It was such an amazing day.
Sunday morning I was ready to enjoy all that God has left for me at the retreat and after breakfast we had small groups, and each of us really opened up and got to the core of our feelings. It was so nice to be able to speak so freely and not be judged. We had praise and worship after and then a guest speaker Pastor Sandra speak and her analogy of turning “ashes into beauty” which was our theme for this weekend was amazing. She brought this huge box full of tissue paper and she said the box was our child. We get so excited when we find our we’re pregnant and then birth (as she was speaking she started throwing tissue paper out) saying that we are so excited to have our kids and then sometimes we get mad at them and say things that we don’t mean (and she crumbled tissue paper up for these times) and then we get that phone call that our child is not going to live and they die. Now we have nothing left in our box (as she starts pouring her ashes into the box) and all we have left is our ashes. She said that will no longer be able to move on unless we close that box of ashes, pick them up and move on. (she then brings over this basket of flower petals and throws them over her box and they represent blessings coming our way). She said we won’t be able to receive or even see these blessings coming unless we close that box of ashes and move on and believe that God meant it when He said “I will never leave you nor foresake you”.
This weekend was so healing and powerful and it did so much to me heart, and brought me even closer to the Lord. I needed it, even though I may not have known how much, I am so very glad I went. Thank you so much to all of the amazing people that made it happen, I can’t wait to go next year!