Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weekends of Renewal and Friendship

God blessed me so much with 2 wonderful weekends of spiritual & emotional renewal as well as new friendships made/strengthened in the last couple months. I want to share my experiences at both in this post.... 

Hope Mommies Retreat 

On February 2-5 I had the opportunity to meet some amazing women who have and are walking the same path I am with infant loss. I first found out about Hope Mommies from my friend Sarah Erwin (mentioned in previous posts) who my sister, Brittany, connected me with after everything happened with Blair (huge thanks to her). You can find out more about Hope Mommies by clicking the link on the ride side of the screen. 

I signed up to go on this retreat not knowing what to expect, but feeling confident that it is what I needed to do. I was originally supposed to go with Sarah, but because she was so far along in her second pregnancy she was unable to travel. So, I went to FB to see if I could find someone else to ride with. The Lord, with his perfect plan, led me to meet Kim Watson. What a blessing she has been to me! I decided to drive to Abilene to ride with her, JoDee, and Marsha, all of whom I had never known before this weekend- definitely taking a step outside the comfort zone! We had 4 hours to talk and get to know each other on the way there and back, and I can say they are now very dear friends of mine! Love them all so much!

Abilene car riders!
Marsha, me, Kim, JoDee

We stayed at a ranch outside of Hunt, Texas (near San Antonio) for the weekend and it was absolutely beautiful and such a perfect place to have a retreat like this. About 25 women met here for the weekend and it was on ongoing joke with the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere with women we had only met on the internet! Haha! It was a very unique thing bringing us here together and only possible with the Lords hand. We listened to a fabulous speaker, Lynnette Kraft, who has written books about her experiences of being a mom to 9 kids with 3 in heaven much too soon. She was so inspiring and living proof that healing and joy is possible after such sorrow and tragedy. We spent the rest of the weekend sharing in conversation, laughter, tears, picture taking, crafts, a balloon release, yummy food, and many great memories. I feel so blessed to have met these women and to share in something that only we can understand. It was nice knowing that I am not alone and that Blair has so many friends to meet in heaven, and that I have so many new friends here. My favorite thing was also being able to share pictures of Blair along with my scrapbook that I started for her. We all got to show off our babies to each other in a safe place understanding how important it was to be able to do that. It was a sweet and special time to see and share in others stories and experiences. We all came on Friday feeling very intimidated and unsure about what to expect and left Sunday with new friends, new joy, and a sadness of having to leave! Such a great weekend!  


Walk to Emmaus- Women's Walk #58

On March 1-4 I FINALLY had the opportunity to go on a "Walk to Emmaus". My in-laws have been very involved with it and I have been wanting to go on one for quite some time now, but the timing was never right. Until this weekend....

 It is a very neat experience based on the story in Luke right after Jesus has risen from the grave. Two men were walking to Emmaus with sadness in their hearts because Jesus, the one who was supposed to redeem Israel and be their King, had just died. They had lost all hope. Suddenly Jesus appears and walks with them (they were kept from recognizing him at this point). They tell him about what has just happened and that they "hear" that Jesus is alive. While eating, their eyes are opened and they recognize Jesus and see that He has risen! They have a new hope and share with others that it is true! Jesus has died and rose again! The walk is a 3 day "journey" of realizing how much God has done for you and how much he truly loves you. It is a great weekend of surprises with teaching, discussion, worship, fellowship, lots of eating, new friendships, and lots of fun! It was a true glimpse of what heaven will be like with the body of Christ. We felt His love through others and their service of agape (God) love toward us. Being a Christian all my life, these are all things I have learned and experienced before and I have had many "mountain top experiences/spiritual highs", but I believe this walk happened at a perfect time in my life with everything I have been through recently. It was different then anything else I have done and showed God's love to me in a different way. I prayed before the walk that God would show me just a small glimpse of where my sweet Blair gets to be and the kind of love He has for her.  WOW! Does God answer prayer! It was all that and more! I left with a feeling of peace and assurance that God is in control and knows what He is doing in my life. He has given me a new platform to share Him with others, and I plan to use it to the best of my ability with God working through me. I have given my fears of the future to Him along with the things I hold so tightly to in this life. I know that I will still struggle along the way and try to pick those things back up, but I know that God is my strength to DAILY lay my worries at his feet and to DAILY trust Him.  I recommend that anyone and everyone pray for the opportunity to go on a walk if you haven't already. It is something you will never forget or regret!  And of course, let me know if you have any questions about it and I will try to answer them! 

Women's Walk #58- Best Walk Ever!