This past weekend, we had the opportunity to hold a While We're Waiting Weekend for Bereaved Parents in Carriere, Mississippi. How did we end up in southern Mississippi, you ask? A couple from that part of the country came to our April 2013 retreat at Family Farm near Hot Springs, Arkansas, where we normally hold our events. They felt the weekend was very helpful for them and they asked if we would consider doing one in their area. That began a year-long process of planning, preparing, and praying for this past weekend's event.
This weekend was a bit different than our usual weekends. For this event, we used the couple's lake home as our meeting place, and our guests either stayed in hotels or in their own homes if they lived locally. It was a very relaxing setting, and we were able to take part in some fun outdoor activities (dodging rain showers all weekend), and enjoy some amazing food.
And of course, we shared the stories of our precious children and discussed a variety of topics faced each day by parents who have children in Heaven. We cried together and we laughed together. We sang together and we prayed together. And we formed bonds of friendship that will last forever.
Here's what Allyson's mom had to say after our weekend together ...
"For those of you who haven't been to a W.W.W retreat I would highly encourage you to go. In the Lord we are ok and we are going make it. Doesn't mean we don't ache, hurt, or are sad; it just means that because of His strength we can get through another day that brings us closer to eternity. I choose to praise Him through this storm and watch for His hand to move each day."
A few pictures from the weekend ...
Wish you could have smelled those ribs cooking! And I still have to snicker a little bit when I think of those Mississippi folks playing with that Arkansas Razorback Baggo set.
On our way home after the retreat, we spent the night with some good friends of ours in Madison, Mississippi, and had the privilege of meeting three more "waiting" families. These families shared in an unthinkable tragedy ... their three college-age sons were all killed in a car accident together. We had never met these people ... but within minutes, we were talking as if we had known each other our entire lives. We were immediately bound together by our love for our children and our love for the Lord. Before we knew it, five hours had raced by. What a blessing it was to share both tears and laughter with them! I went to bed that night with heavy eyes, but a full heart.
This weekend, we'll be traveling to Little Elm, Texas, to share at Point Church. The co-founders of While We're Waiting, Larry & Janice Brown, will be joining us, and all four of us will be speaking. We'll be sharing our Hannah's story, their Adam's story, and the story of While We're Waiting ... all of which is ultimately God's story! If you're in the area, we'd love for you to join us. The church meets at Lakeview Elementary School, 1800 Waterside Drive, at 10:30 a.m.
There's a lot more going on with While We're Waiting, but this post is long enough already. Tune in next week for another episode of "While We're Waiting" Wednesday. :-)