Thursday, October 22, 2009

Long Story Short

Where are we headed this weekend? I'll try to make this long story short.

A few weeks after Robbie went to heaven, my sweet friend April gave me a book. It had been recommended by one of her friends who lost a child years earlier.

This book, written by Nancy Guthrie, told her story of losing 2 children and examined the life and suffering of Job. It was perfect. I desperately wanted to find someone who had been in my shoes and survived! Nancy helped me gain perspective during those early, critical hours. I began her 1 year devotional book on Hope. When the book was finished, I could hardly believe I had survived one whole year.

I began to read more of her articles and books. I emailed her several times, and she kindly responded with sincere encouragment.

Earlier this year, my sister Carrianna called from college to tell me some sad news. Her friend, James, had a young niece who had just been diagnosed with cancer. James was working in China but decided to fly back to the States to be with his family. We helped my sister fly to Kansas to see James, and while she was there, sweet Cora went to heaven. I mentioned it here. Because Carrianna had a similar experience saying goodbye to Robbie, she was able to cry with and encourage this family.

I wrote to Cora's mom, Jess, and sent her Nancy's book and devotional guide. I prayed it would minister to and encourage her as it had done for me.

Over the past 2 years, many people have asked me for advice on things to say/not to say or ways to help a grieving family. To be honest, the only advice I can give is that it must all be about Jesus! That's it! There is no comfort other than the reminder that Jesus is our Hope and the Ultimate Healer of our pain. That is why these books were such a comfort to me. Their focus was always Jesus -- encouraging me to keep an eternal perspective and to be excited because of the Hope my Jesus gives me.

So, long story short... What does all of this have to do with this weekend?

This summer, I received an invitation from Nancy to a Respite Retreat. Nancy and her husband are hosting 12 couples who are on similar journeys of surviving the loss of a child. It is held in Tennessee at a 13-bedroom lodge. Very intimate setting. Somewhat scary!

And guess who else will be joining us.....? Sweet Cora's parents! I got the invitation the same day I received an email from Jess and just had to pass it along. What a small world.

We'll be dropping the kids off at my parents tomorrow and then heading to the retreat. If you think of it, say a special prayer for the couples who will be coming together to share about a very difficult and personal subject. Pray that we learn more about the Lord and His masterful plan for our lives. Pray that we can encourage one another on this lifelong journey. (Oh yeah. And pray that Caleb will take a bottle!)


Anonymous said...

Wow, Lauren, may God use you and Bob to help other couples going through what you go through ever day. And may you gain strength and hope from Nancy and the other survivors. Love ya!

And Caleb, take that bottle!!! Give your mama a break!! :)


Joanna said...

And bring a pump this time to stay comfortable :)


Carlee Brian said...

that is a truly awesome story.. once i began to read your post my jaw dropped. nancy's son attended the school where i teach and he was one of my students.. we have had her here to speak many times.. so glad you have been blessed by her as we have here.. i hope your weekend is filled with hope that you can truly share with others handling difficulties in their own lives...i am sure you will be blessed as well..

Anonymous said...

I'm praying for you both, and caleb WILL take a bottle!

Clare said...

i will be thinking of you this weekend! xo

anna said...

Praying for you this weekend!!

myboysrock said...

We will be praying Lauren.
Love to you both!

eeguiltner said...

Hi Lauren, I just wanted to let you know how very much we enjoyed meeting you this weekend.

Clayton said...

Hi Lauren and Bob - we so enjoyed our time together this weekend. We were inspired by your faith, humor, and ability to continue in this life. Thanks for sharing your life, your Robbie, and story with us! May God continue to richly bless your life.