I love that social media and online resources mean no bereaved parent has to feel alone or be alone.
But as we’ve learned from three long years of forced isolation, there’s really no substitute for a hug and an in-person smile. There is just something amazing that happens when someone literally comes alongside and says, “Me too.”
That’s why I am excited to be part of an upcoming conference offered by Our Hearts Are Home, an organization founded by fellow bereaved parents, Gary and Laura House.
Y’all know that I don’t do a lot of in-person retreats or conferences.
Even though I love the energy and connection, life has been so demanding and often chaotic for the past several years, I simply couldn’t commit to something weeks or months down the road. The stress of worrying about having to back out at the last minute was too much.
So when I pulled out my calendar and wrote (in ink!) that I would be part of this conference it was a BIG DEAL. It was also a leap of faith-faith in God giving me the words and faith in trusting someone else to shape a space where I could speak them.
I’m as vulnerable as the next bereaved parent.
Years of spilling my experience across the Internet haven’t really made it any easier to do it in person and in public. I’m much more comfortable writing in the quiet of my own home at the kitchen table where I get second chances and can edit what is ultimately shared with others.
Still, this opportunity was one I didn’t want to miss.
Along with sharing our stories, the parents participating in the panel of presenters will be sharing our hearts, our faith journeys and the words and practices that have helped us hold onto hope in the midst of life’s greatest heartache and challenge.
It will be a unique combination of authentic experience and exhortation from those who are living with child loss and who also love Jesus.
I understand if you are too early in this journey to even consider gathering in a room with others who have the same heartache.
It was a long time before I could do that. But may I encourage you to consider taking part online? Or, if you are just beginning to feel a tiny stir in your spirit that says, “Go ahead! It might do you good!” then sign up and join us face-to-face.
I can’t promise there won’t be tears but I CAN promise there will be joy and laughter. Some of the best, most life-affirming moments I’ve had since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven were in the company of others who are missing their Heaven-dwelling children too.
So if your aching heart and weary soul are searching for a safe space to be encouraged, uplifted and filled with honest answers along with biblical truth, please consider joining me for this event.
I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.
Here’s the link: https://ourheartsarehome.org/conference
P.S. If you are interested in “meeting” some of us who will be there, you can find several of our stories in the book published and edited by Gary and Laura here: https://www.amazon.com/Until-Then-Stories-Loss-Hope/dp/B0BFF2LVBL