The Macs

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

weekend to remember

FamilyLife presents weekend to remember...love like you mean it

A weekend away.
Time together.
Focusing on us.
Talking.
Date night.
SO needed!

If you ever have a chance to attend FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember, you should. That is what Joel and I did this weekend. The speakers were so real and challenging.  We had time to talk through some things that we normally wouldn't take the time to talk about. We were challenged to make each other and our marriage a priority. We came away from the conference feeling more connected and united than we ever have before.

On Sunday we had a breakout session with women only.  

"The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of a woman. For I have accepted God's idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am, and all that He wants me to be." -Elisabeth Elliot

I loved how the speaker reminded us to embrace how God designed us as women.  She talked about how Biblical priorities are at the heart of becoming the wife and mother God intents us to be. I cried through the part of this session about our role as moms. It made me miss Cora SO much. I wished I could go home and apply all that I was learning about being a mom as I spent time with Cora. I cried a lot throughout the weekend, but I think that was good.  I think I just needed to cry.

My favorite part was spending time with my hubby. I needed time to talk about things I was struggling with and how I was feeling as we move forward without Cora.  He we such a good listener. I was able to better understand how he was feeling too. I am so thankful that God is allowing us to walk through this storm together.


We could see God working throughout the whole weekend. From allowing us to go in the first place at the last minute, to the speakers and people we met. Thank you Allen and Tammye for making it possible for us to go.  And thank you to all our dear friends who helped pay for our expenses.  We are so grateful.

64 Comments:

Blogger Anna said...

That sounds like a great opportunity! Still thinking of you all...

April 7, 2009 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Melody said...

What an amazing blessing. I am so happy you guys could go! Every couple needs to take time for things like that- even if it's not for a whole weekend. The fact that your lives have changed so much in the past few months is only more reason for you guys to reconnect and focus on each other! I'm glad you had a great time!

April 7, 2009 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger beckley said...

much love.
grace and peace to you-

April 7, 2009 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger The Sieberts said...

I love seeing the smiles on you and Joel's faces. i know you're still hurting deeply. Know that we are continuously praying for you!

April 7, 2009 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Misty Rice-Baniewicz said...

I have been wanting to do one of these weekend events for the last 2 years. I looked it up tonight and going to REALLY look into booking it tomorrow.

Thanks for sharing and so glad you had a getaway together.

God Bless.

April 7, 2009 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger PamperingBeki said...

You guys are so blessed to have each other.

There is no doubt that God chose each of you to be the other's spouse, and both of you to be parents to Cora. No one else could do this.

When Camryn was a baby, she was a HORRIBLE baby. For real, she was. I mean, just plain awful - screamed for hours on end, never slept through a night until she was a year old... Just really hard. I remember her doctor telling me that no one else could be her mom. God had chosen me specifically for that job. That was a thought that had really never crossed my mind, but thinking of it put things into perspective. (And she turned out wonderful, of course...) :)

Sounds like a wonderful weekend! Every couple should take time to refocus on their marriage.

April 7, 2009 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger The Jones' said...

What an awesome getaway! My husband and I love attending things like that. I still pray for you often and hope all is well. What a beautiful picture!
Hugs,
Liz

April 7, 2009 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger Marc, Sarah, and Luke said...

I'm so glad you guys got so much out of it. We did as well last year! We hope to go again someday! Know that we're still praying for you guys each and every day...Hope to see you again soon.

April 7, 2009 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I am glad you had the weekend together. You are still in my thoughts and prayers.

April 7, 2009 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Awesome for you! You totally deserve it!
I'd love to go sometime and I think we will...this year or next. It's in June in Indianapolis this year...perhaps I can talk my hubby into it!
Still praying for you, thinking of you often, and knowing that God is using you for His purpose.

Susan in Indiana

April 7, 2009 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I'm glad you had this opportunity together. My parents have some friends that lost two of their children in an accident and they almost ended up get a divorce because they grieve so different. I'm sorry you are goign through this, but I hope you have a stronger, closer marriage because of it. Cora has brought so many wonderful lessons to people who never met her, hopefully a stronger marriage is a present she is giving to you. You are both still in my prayers, it's good to see you smiling!

April 7, 2009 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger Jennifer W. said...

BEAUTIFUL picture! You're in my heart.

April 7, 2009 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger The Moffats said...

LOVE the picture of you guys. Glad you were able to go and get a little refreshment. Much love.

April 7, 2009 at 11:20 PM  
Blogger Merryheart said...

So wonderful that you had this special time with your husband. This is the first time that I have posted here but I have been reading it since right after you lost Cora. I know your grief is heavy and you miss your little girl so very much. God was good to give you this time to be together, shed tears and heal. Blessings to your sweet family. Praying for you!

April 7, 2009 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Marla Taviano said...

So happy for you. (you two are so cute!) So thankful for God's blessings on your marriage.

I continue to pray for your hurting hearts!!

April 7, 2009 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger meg duerksen said...

this is so hopeful.
you are such an example of hope. and god's design for marriage. wow jess.
thanks for telling us so much of your story. i love it.
i am so glad you got to go....so cool.

April 7, 2009 at 11:30 PM  
OpenID number17cherrytreelane said...

I am so happy that you were able to go and be together. You are right--it is so important and I am so glad you both had that time together. I continue to think about you both and the daily struggles you are having to deal with.
The Lord is continuing to use you.
All my love,
Rachel

April 7, 2009 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger blessedmomto7 said...

What a blessing to be with your hubby! And grow together in the LORD. God Bless!

April 7, 2009 at 11:48 PM  
Blogger Falling Around said...

Jess,

My husband and I went to a Weekend To Remember several years back, and you're right, they are amazing and life changing. We had a great time, but more than that, it really opened us up to just talk. It was wonderful. In fact, I was just telling him that we need to do it again.

I am so glad that you guys were able to go. I'm sure the "mom" discussions were difficult, and for that I am deeply sorry. But I am glad you and Joel got to spend some time away and grow closer to each other.

Love,
Christy Klein

April 8, 2009 at 1:04 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

What a blessing! Still think of you and your family every day. You will always be in our prayers. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with all of us.

April 8, 2009 at 1:40 AM  
Blogger Aaron and Shannon said...

So glad you got to go! I would like to go sometime! I prayed for you both this weekend as I knew you were there. See you soon!

April 8, 2009 at 3:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You and Joel are amazing. Love the picture. So glad you are working through your grief together. I can only imagine how very hard it continues to be. Thank you and Joel for continueing to share your lives with us.

Thoughts and prayers everyday.

Kim

April 8, 2009 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger Marsha said...

You continue to amaze me with your grace and faith. I am so happy that you were able to go and be together. I am continuing to pray for you all daily! Love and prayers.

Marsha in VA

April 8, 2009 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

That Elisabeth Elliot quote is AMAZING!!! What a living testimony you are becoming. What an amazing mother you are to Cora, and to her legacy. So many people are going to be changed because of your little girl. Blessings to you, sweet sister in Christ. :)

April 8, 2009 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

It's so great to see your smiling faces! I'm so glad you guys had that special time away to connect. Sometimes you need those purposeful times away to build your marriage even though you live under the same roof :) Still praying for you guys and I'm so happy to see you working through all of this TOGETHER! God continues to be glorified through your lives!

April 8, 2009 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger KKJD1 said...

Sounds like a great weekend. Glad you were able to talk to each other and listen too. I have always been a good listener but never have been able to talk things out. I would love to go to a Family Life's conferance. Ill check that out. Blessings,Karen

April 8, 2009 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger hoosier68 said...

Having worked through post traumatic stress, I know what a strain is placed on a marriage. I have posted before that I am in awe of your strength and faith and have no doubt you both are on the right path. Praying for you daily in Indiana :)

April 8, 2009 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Don, Aimee, Kaitlyn and Kysen said...

What a great opportunity at a great time for you two...I am currently doing the Love Dare book with my husband and even though we have a good relationship, it is reminding us daily how lucky we are to have someone to walk the storms with! I pray for you two daily and I hope God continues to heal your hearts!

April 8, 2009 at 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Robin in Benton said...

What a blessing you are to each other as you continue on through this storm that life has thrown at you. And what an inspiration you are to all of us with your dedication to each other and to God. Still praying for you and thinking of you daily.

Robin

April 8, 2009 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger The Boyds said...

I am so glad you were able to go to the conference. It sounds like there were many blessings for you! I pray for you and Joel each day. May the Lord continue to strengthen and comfort you. May he place a hedge of protection around you.

April 8, 2009 at 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just thought you would love this amazing poem...

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)

I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

~ e.e. cummings

April 8, 2009 at 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is happiness in your eyes in that picture and it made me smile. So nice to see that after the terrible loss that you suffered. Still thinking of you often and continuing to wish you peace :-)

April 8, 2009 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger The Carroll's said...

I love what Beki said about God choosing you and Joel to be Cora's parents. He created you and Joel uniquely, and perfectly ordained that you would be the best compliment to one another in marriage. He knew that only YOU could love and care for Cora and be the best parents for her. He knew that YOU would bring Him glory even in the midst of unthinkable heartache. There is no one who could have loved her better or taught her more than you and Joel.
What a gift to get away with one another. I imagine there are so many layers to your grief and though there are probably many similarities in the way you're grieving, there are probably also so many differences between your hurt and Joel's.
Praying this scripture for you today- I know this will be a tough one:
"May your unfailing love be with us Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:22

April 8, 2009 at 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Mindee said...

Those conferences are amazing, I'm so glad you had the opportunity to go.

The truth of the matter is that our spouses are the only people God truly "gives" us. The kids are just on loan. It's important to prioritize that relationship.

April 8, 2009 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Polka Dot Moon said...

A wonderful opportunity for the both of you!

It's good to see the two of you smile :) even though your hearts are heavy and missing your sweet Cora so much!

April 8, 2009 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger Micah said...

Every couple needs time to re-focus on their marriage and making it what God wants it to be. I'm so glad you were able to have a much needed get-away!

April 8, 2009 at 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have known people whose marriage didn't survive after the loss of a child. I often wonder if my husband and I would survive, since we don't have a common ground like you do with each other. Your faith and strength is so amazing to me. I remember after I found your blog and I just felt so awful for you. But when I realized you had the faith that you do, I felt immediately better, still so hard and awful, but I knew that you would be okay because of your strength for Him. May your journey continue to inspire others and strengthen you both.

April 8, 2009 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Heather's Home (aka Chez Hez) said...

So glad you guys go to have date nite! We get so few of those around here and to get out of town and reassess what makes you two such a great couple! <3 I'm very sure all of the mom discussions were very hard, but I agree with Beki that you and Joel were chosen to be Cora's mom and dad. What a joy and blessing. Thanks for the lovely picture and update!

April 8, 2009 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Kylie, Jesse and Asher said...

Thanks for sharing about your powerful weekend. It's awesome how God is strenghtening your marriage in this time of great sadness. He cares about you....I'm encouraged by your testimony.

April 8, 2009 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

What a great conference! I am so happy to hear that you were so blessed through your time there. Your family is on my heart often and I will continue to keep you all in prayer.

April 8, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

still no words... only ♥

April 8, 2009 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

I love your picture. I am so happy that you both got to get away. Praying for you!

April 8, 2009 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger James' Full House said...

That is wonderful. I feel so energized after things like that. Like I can face the world just a bit longer. Glad you two had time to talk and cry together. It was great to see a picture of you smiling. Ya'll make a cute couple.
Still praying everyday.

Brandi

April 8, 2009 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Sounds like a great conference. So happy that I found your blog.

Hope you will stop by my blog. I am a new blogger. This is my second month in the world of BLOG. I am great give away this month. This drawing will be the last day of April.
Every comment you leave throughout the month will enter your name in the drawing. This NEW blogger was so touched by all the comments I got on the Blog Party Give Away,(over 300) that I decided to make this a monthly GIFT...
Also, if you mention blog telling about the monthly giveaway, you will have your name entered 10 extra times...Just be sure and let me know that you did. How is that for an incentive?
I was so blown away by all the responses that I wanted to email each person personally... I did love reading all of them..I am continuing to introduce my family members. In May, there will be some fun blogs coming from Disney World with the grandkids. I hope to blog every night, in case you like a good trip report. And there will also be a great Disney giveaway.
I am so thankful for all my new friends.

April 8, 2009 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger The Christys said...

Thank you SO much for sharing your journey with us. Both of you are truly amazing people. Your love for the Lord is AWESOME!! I have been thinking about both of you and Cora LOTS today and continue to pray for your family everyday.
Love & Prayers~
Kara Christy

April 8, 2009 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless the two of you.

April 8, 2009 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Liana said...

I'm so glad you got to go. My husband and I went for our anniversary last year and plan on making it a yearly activity. I too highly recommend it to all my friends. I really felt that it hits you where you are...it speaks to people in all situations, as you said. Did you get the couple with 13 kids? They too lost a child before a year (in an accident), and the stories they shared about how they were able to grow together instead of apart after their son's death were really powerful.

Thank you for you continued witness and for sharing your walk with your "friends". I think of you often and pray for you and Joel daily.

April 8, 2009 at 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Audrey said...

Oh Jess, that is so awesome you got to attend the conference. Unfortunatley, we missed it when it stopped by our city. Though when we first got married, Family Life had a different couples' conference they don't do anymore that we attended that was just as inspiring and really touched our marriage. We even got to see Steven Curtis Chapman there. It was awesome.

When I read that you had someone sponsor your trip, it reminded me that when the conference was here, our local Christian station was giving away tickets and they recalled giving away tickets to a couple that also just lost their baby. So inspiring in teaching us to love our neighbors and support them through their struggles too.

Still praying for you both.

April 8, 2009 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Thanks for letting me weep with you. You are the best and I love YOU! Greg Speck

April 8, 2009 at 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad for you and your husband that you got to spend this weekend together. My husband and I went to Weekend to Remember on our 10th wedding anniversary. I wish we had gone sooner, and I recommend it to newlyweds and engaged couples. It really is a wonderful time to focus on your marriage, even when everything's just peachy.

In your situation, I'm especially glad you took this opportunity. A family in our church lost a child to an accident in the home several years ago (I think he was about 18 months old). This family didn't take the time to really dig in and work through all that they were going through, and years later they had to deal with it in a much more painful way, including marital problems. God is so gracious, and He walked with this family through the marital trial and now they are working as missionaries with a strong marriage.

Just keep holding on to your hubby and seeking God in this terrible trial in your life. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

We will be praying for you as you approach Easter this weekend.

April 8, 2009 at 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy that you have each other to lean on, and had the opportunity to try to understand each other on an even deeper level. I still think of you every day, and pray for your family, and sweet Cora every day, Leslie in CT

April 8, 2009 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger All Doll(ed) Up said...

I am so proud of you guys- putting your marriage first is the foundation to get through many more obstacles ahead. Your story is and will continue to be an inspiration to all who know you! We think and pray for you often-

April 8, 2009 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger kristin said...

Still thinking of you on a daily
basis and praying that God will lift & carry you through each day.
So glad you all had a great time.

April 8, 2009 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger Jessatsea said...

awhhh... so glad you two had such a wonderful and blessed weekend.

this stranger continues to pray for you.

April 8, 2009 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger TRICIA boutellefamilyzoo@yahoo.com said...

I'm so glad you two got to get away and spend some real quality time together talking and crying together.
You are still in my prayers daily.
Thank you for being so open with all of us out here through your very difficult journey.
God is good.
May he continue to bless you as your strength, faith, and love have blessed me.
*Tricia

April 8, 2009 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger Lauren Kelly said...

WOW, sounds like a time much needed and so glad you and your hubby got to experience this time together!!!! :o)

April 8, 2009 at 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Sounds like you guys had an amazing weekend! I'm so glad you were able to go!! I LOVE the picture of you two, such sweet smiles and your eyes are so blue!!

Still praying for you... we love you so much!

Angela Leaverton

April 8, 2009 at 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Cristy said...

Hi Jess...

How wonderful it is to see yuor smiling faces! Praying for you....

Cristy

April 8, 2009 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Allen and Debby Graber said...

We were praying for you this weekend while you were there. We went to the one in Denver a few years ago and learned a lot - even though we had been married around 30 years then.

Farming hours will keep Joel busy these next few months so it was good for you to have this time together!

"Encourage one another and build each other up..." 1 Thess.5:11

April 8, 2009 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Misty said...

I know I have said it before, but you inspire me daily.

April 8, 2009 at 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Ashlie said...

We have not met, but a friend suggested I read your blogs in hopes that I would find strength in your faith as I find my "new" normal. I lost my 15 year old daughter a month ago in an accident. As a single mother she was my life. It has been very hard, but I have put my trust in the Lord. I know that He has a plan and He was ready for my daughter. It doesn't lessen the saddness or how much I miss her. She is my first thought when I wake, my constant thought throughout the day, and my last thought as I close my weary eyes. The hardest part is not knowing "why". But, I know I must live until I am with her again. I would love to connect with you and your husband as we each travel this journey that has been chosen for us.

April 9, 2009 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Miss G said...

That is so wonderful! I am so glad for you. I just wanted to stop by and say that God put you on my heart a couple different times this weekend, Friday afternoon standing in Target looking at Easter candy and then again today in church to pray for you guys that He would carry you through this holiday weekend without Cora. I hope you have a good week this week. Kelly

April 12, 2009 at 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi dear! You don't know me but I have been following your blogs for months. My daughter was born on March 3rd so she was just a few days apart from Cora! I think that has made me feel so connected to you & your blogs.
I just wanted you to know that we also attend the WTR in Wichita... I am so grateful that you were able to attend. It really put some things into perspective & was rekindling. I wish I would have seen you so I may have had the opportunity to introduce myself & thank you. Your faith has made me a better mother, wife and follower of Christ.
I just wanted you to know that my family thinks of Cora often and prays for you & your husband.
With many prayer & lots of love to our family in Christ... The Harshmans; Cedar Point ~Tiffany~

April 14, 2009 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Miranda said...

My husband and I have been to the weekend to remember conferences twice. They're amazing! I'm glad you guys got to go because it's a great experience and you learn so much. I love the picture of the two of you together. You're a beautiful couple.

April 28, 2009 at 9:40 AM  

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