The Healing Power of Fellowship

I spent last weekend with eleven other bereaved moms.

And lest you think, “How sad!”, let me just tell you we had a beautiful time together.

Sure there were tears-how can there not be when talking about the precious children we miss-but there was fun too.

Of course we had somber moments. 

Especially as we lit candles in honor of each child whose light lives on even as their physical presence is denied us.

anchor retreat lit candle

In between Bible study sessions we ate, talked, walked outside and got to know one another.

A game of “Two Truths and a Lie” revealed all kinds of surprises that had us practically falling off our chairs with uproarious laughter.

Even though most of us had never met before, knowing we shared the heartache of child loss drew us together and opened the door to meaningful conversation.

anchor retreat hope

For 72 hours we didn’t have to put our masks on or walk with one foot in the world of the spared and one foot in the world of the deeply wounded. 

We were free-gloriously free-to be real and unguarded.

One of the fun things we did was have a Mary Kay consultant come and do facials and makeup.  I think we kind of shocked her when she went around the circle asking, “So what are you primary make up concerns?” and over half of us said, “I don’t wear make up.”

Poor woman.

anchor retreat mary kay lady (2)

She had no idea that we had long passed the point of faking feelings or saying what someone expects just because they expect it.

I know it was a stretch for some of the moms to make their way to this place they’d never been to and walk into a room full of women they’d never met.

It was a stretch for me to facilitate discussions when I felt I had reached my limit for anything besides staying home for the rest of this year.

But it was worth it.

There is nothing as beautiful as broken hearts gathering together to love, uplift, encourage and listen to one another.

If you have the opportunity and are afraid, please step out. 

Take a chance and link arms with fellow grievers.

I promise you will be glad you did.



Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

6 thoughts on “The Healing Power of Fellowship”

  1. Hi Melanie,
    I have been reading your posts everyday for awhile now. I lost my 19 year old son in a snow mobiling accident 21 months ago. I have identified with EVERY SINGLE ONE of your posts. I joined the Abby Acres Christian Camp Group because I am very interested in the retreat you are talking about. Couldn’t make it this year.I’m in Alaska and needed more time to plan. Will you be participating in next year’s event? Thank you taking the time daily to allow my heart to meet yours ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a wonderful weekend. I will be going to a similar retreat in April and looking forward to it.
    Your comments about makeup make me laugh because when Stephenie was ill and I was her caregiver makeup was on eBay of the first things to go! And I still don’t wear much makeup–just seemed not so important. Our perspective changes when a tragedy of such magnitude enters our lives. As it should. Blessings on you Melanie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was. No one wants even one more parent to join our “club” but the fact is, they do. Getting together with others who understand our pain and loss is a beautiful experience. I pray that your heart is strengthened at the retreat you plan to attend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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