This years Haven of Hope retreat was very different for me, than last year was. I had just lost Rochelle two months before going on this retreat for the first time (for grieving mothers who have lost children) and I wasn’t fully prepared to embrace the entire weekend. I took so much away from it last year (which you can see here), but I also went in a downward spiral of depression, anger, and have had to learn how to cope with my grief of this past year.
Friday night was filled with getting settled into our room (and meeting our roommates) and having dinner at 6pm. This year they sat us down at the table next to someone, and during/after dinner we got to know them and share their story with the rest of the group. It is always so sad hearing the loss of other women’s child(ren), but it is so good that we are surrounded by each other, and we can have a person to learn on and understand all weekend. I stayed up late Friday night talking to my roommate Lauren and playing board games, so fun! Haven’t done that in a while.
Saturday morning started early for me, because I got up before sunrise, and it was so cold (which I definitely did not prepare for), but it definitely woke me up better during my morning walk. After breakfast, we all broke out into our small groups (yay! Susan Gray did awesome leaders ours this year, and I was so blessed to be with those other mommas in our group) and shared such deep, personal stories with one another, that will only be kept there. After small group, we broke out into breakout sessions (I personally attended the “dealing with fear after the loss of a child/struggling with life after loss” groups) and they were amazing and helped me learn better coping mechanisms and realizing to let go of some of my fears associated with Brielle doing certain things. Craft time was after and that was amazing (we painted candle holders in one and we made glass pictures in another) and so fun! We had fellowship, prayer, worship, candle lighting, and slideshow o the rest of the night and it was SO good!
Sunday morning started in a similar way, that I woke up before sunrise to get my morning walk in and just to breathe. I liked to take this time to pray/thank God for all that I had and all that He has done not only for me, but the people surrounding me. After breakfast, they all gave away prizes to each one of us (yay!!) and then we had a guest speaker, then Pastor Sandra King gave such a wonderful sermon again and her analogy this year was that sometimes you just have to life yourself up from the ground, and rise to what God is calling you to do. She said “it’s okay to grieve to be sad, and to cry over the loss of your loved one, but don’t let those emotions consume your life”. I loved every word she spoke and I love getting to hear her speak the Word of God.
I hope the pictures speak for themselves, but I just had an amazing weekend, and I am seriously counting down the days I get to attend next years retreat!
©2016 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.