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CONTENTS

Many have heard your story about the grief you and your husband experienced after losing two children to a rare genetic disorder called Zellweger Syndrome. If you could say just one word of encouragement to women reading this interview who are experiencing similar grief from losing a child, what would it be? I would say that Jesus is a safe person to draw close to in the midst of your grief. He knows what it feels like to be “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matt. 26:38). But he is also a healer. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to bring healing. You may need some time and space to be sad for a while. Sometimes we are in more of a hurry than God is and less patient with ourselves than God is. But as you fellowship with Christ in your sadness, expect and long for him to do a healing work in you, to generate joy in the midst of the sorrow so that the time will come when the sorrow won’t have as much of a hold on your life and emotions and relationships as it does right now. Tell us about Respite Retreats, which you and your husband, David, host for couples who have faced the death of a child. What are these retreats like and how might they help couples who are hurting deeply from the death of a child? At Respite Retreat David and I spend the weekend in a lodge outside Nashville with 11 couples who arrive so very sad, and all I can say is that the Holy Spirit shows up and does a work of healing. Not everything is fixed, but progress is made, perspective is gained. Here are a few things participants who came to a recent retreat

8 | CREDO MAGAZINE | JULY 2015

had to say about what happened to them over the weekend: “I don’t feel so alone.” “It seems like so many people who experience loss seem to find the silver lining—after the hard thing, everything gets better. I appreciate being here with people who didn’t get the silver lining. Nothing came along that fixed it all.” “I appreciate not having to qualify everything I say. I can express the darkness in my soul without everyone assuming that I’m walking away from Jesus.” “People around us immediately began to tell us after our daughter died that God was going to use this in our ministry as if that was the only value of her life. But here, her life mattered.” “It is tough to leave and go back to where our child is not there. I’m going to take back with me the instruction to talk back to the voice inside me that is telling me what is not true.” “I know I’m not done with grief. I’m going back to the grind and the grief will still be there. But I want to grieve well. I’m praying to return to joy.” “I had a block of time to be a sad dad, which was refreshing.” “We’ve been to several other grief support groups, but none has been Christ-centered. It has been great to spend the weekend with wounded but not defeated people who have an anchor, a center.” “I’ve been blessed by the collective wisdom of this group as well as the understanding of others who get why I want to sleep with my son’s blanket.”

Let the Children Come to Jesus