"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21 KJV)
Every time we have one of these weekend retreats for bereaved parents, this is the Scripture that comes to mind. I always have an idea in mind of how the weekend is going to go ... I know who's coming (at least their names and where they're from), I know a little bit about their stories, I know what activities we have planned, I know what our schedule shows. I mean, this is the seventh one of these retreats we've hosted ... you would think it would be more or less routine by now.
But every time, every time, without fail, God does exceeding abundantly above anything I had asked for or even thought of. He once again brought together the perfect group of parents ... exactly the folks who needed to be there at just the time they needed to be there. We were privileged to hear the stories of their precious children. Our conversations were rich, and I heard such strong statements of faith from these parents, even in the midst of deep pain. Certainly there were tears, but they were diluted by fervent prayer, warm hugs, and words of compassion from other parents who truly understood.
There was laughter too ... lots of laughter. We enjoyed all of the fun activities Family Farm has to offer. The weather was a bit chilly for early April, but a little cool air didn't slow us down.
On Saturday morning, we met out on the front steps of the Lodge to put on the Armor of God -- No better way to start the day!
From there, we went out to the barnyard. There's something so therapeutic about hanging out with animals.
Later that day, we spent some time at Slide Mountain ...
The group conquered the "Islands". Well, sort of. The idea is to get the whole group across three wooden platforms using only three board and a rope. The stakes are high, as the leaves on the ground are actually "boiling hot lava."
We tried out the balance log ... And actually held it for 30 seconds! (Although Daddy May counted pretty fast!)
A little archery ...
And it's never too cold for the zip line!
The Mays shared their son Zane's story at Salvation Station ...
And when we weren't sharing stories or playing outside, we were eating! Our executive chef came out on Saturday evening and once again treated us to a 5-course gourmet dinner, and it was amazing!
And, in the midst of all this activity, we never forgot the reasons why we were there ... to remember our precious children ...
... and to honor our Lord by living well while we're waiting to be reunited with them in Heaven one day.
Here's what one of our guests had to say after the weekend was over ...
"I have attended the Mom's retreat, my husband attended the Dad's retreat and we attended the Couple's retreat. I was very apprehensive, nervous, almost talked myself out of going, but persevered in going. It was by God's grace and mercy, I stepped out. So glad I did. I moved forward in my healing, lifted me spiritually, made some awesome friendships, found strength, and encouragement in EVERYONE! We are almost 3 years out and it was difficult for me. So glad I did not listen to the devil and let him rob me of joy and blessings I received. I highly recommend you attend one of these events."
Our next two WWW Parent Weekends are scheduled for November 14-16, 2014, and April 10-12, 2015. Click here to for more information or to register. Maybe you're not a parent who's lost a child ... but we would love for you to help us spread the word about these events and this ministry. "Like" our While We're Waiting page on Facebook to stay informed about all of our upcoming events. We would also be glad to come share with your church, Sunday School class, or civic group about While We're Waiting. Click on the "Contact" us tab above to get in touch with us. Most of all, you can pray for us as we seek God's wisdom and leadership in the growth of this ministry. I know that many of you do, and we appreciate that more than we can say. What a privilege it is to be a part of this wonderful ministry!
While We're Waiting Parents -- April 2014