This past weekend Joel and I headed to Nashville, Tennessee for a Respite Retreat. This retreat is hosted by David and Nancy Guthrie for couples who have faced the death of a child. Nancy is the author of The One Year Book of Hope that I told you has been so helpful to us.
We joked on our way there about what we were going to say to people who asked us what we were doing in Tennessee. You know, the well meaning flight attendant who wants to know if you are on vacation or visiting family. What would be their reaction when we told them we weren't actually in Nashville to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame?? Instead, we were coming for a weekend retreat for grieving parents. It would be just another of the many awkward moments we face these days. Thankfully, no one asked.
We picked up another couple from the airport and drove an hour outside of Nashville to this big, beautiful house. It is called The Hiding Place. Such a fitting name.
You (God) are my hiding place.
There were eleven other couples, including Nancy and her husband, who joined us for this weekend. We each had our own little room in the house.
The majority of the weekend we spent in this living room. Sharing our stories, grieving together, learning how to move forward with the Lord's strength, and just getting to know each other.
It was a hard weekend. A weekend filled with many tears. There is so much that I am still processing. But, we are SO glad we went. We needed this time to grieve together. We needed this time to lean on and learn from so many others who are walking in our shoes. We needed this time to be reminded that Jesus himself speaks into our sorrows. There are no easy answers, but we can rest in the fact that we are grieving with HOPE.
We came back emotionally exhausted. Not quite ready to face the busy week ahead. Yet, at the same time feeling like we had some new tools to help us keep moving forward. I have so much more that I will share with you soon.