Haven of Hope Retreat

I headed to the retreat with a lot of hesitation, anxiety and mixed emotions. I seriously almost changed my mind about going at all on Thursday. It was just a place I didn’t know I wanted to visit and be a part of with this new baby on the way. Sometimes when those tidal waves of grief hit you, they are not always easy to rise above. I am finding myself in a place distant from grief, and in some respects that bothers me, but mostly I know this is where I have to be, to give this little person every chance at life.

I have the rest of my life, however long or short that may be, to grieve Jenna. I keep reminding myself about that.

But I kept thinking about Susan and that she asked me to go. I made this magazine for loss mamas, and I felt like it was ultimate betrayal just saying I couldn’t go. And a little selfish of myself too. I prepared my heart for the next few days, as best I could.

On the drive up I listened to the silence of the early morning sunrise, and the road beneath my wheels. It was just me and God, and I told him I couldn’t do this without him. Have I mentioned that praying these days is hard? I am not sure why, it just is hard to find the words, and maybe even the faith that he really is listening.

I arrived in the small (population 90, yo) town of Round Top, Texas a little over an hour later. There was real peace there. I really admire and respect everything these beautiful ladies behind Haven of Hope do, to not only create this event and make it happen, but cover it in prayer so that it is a place where God can meet with us in a real way.

I was welcomed by a few ladies who were sitting on the front porch of this three story life-size dollhouse. It was still early and after small talk I found my friend Amy upstairs.

The retreat was packed with a full day of small group, speakers, testimonies, crafts and even some down time to just visit the little shops nearby or take a nap. Most of all, it meant a lot that they tucked time away in the schedule to just get the chance to bond with other loss mamas.

I had the chance to share Jenna and the magazine, but let me just say my speaking ‘skills’ need some work. Some people make it look effortless, and one day I hope to chunk that nervousness and stage fright out the door. I could have done better, but the truth is I got to share, and I do hope the ladies from the retreat decide to visit our website. There were mamas there who had lost from miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, child loss and even teenage and adult children. The heart break in the room was tremendous, and a little overwhelming. Humbling. It makes you wonder sometimes how we can even walk or breathe after such tragic losses.

Something I loved about the retreat was the focus on how we will never be the same, even though we have Christ. This is something that I struggle with, when it comes to certain people in my life. Several people have told me that they miss the old me or that they feel like a part of me died with Jenna. And honestly, after three years it is beyond frustrating to hear these things. But I’ve heard it more in the past 6 months or so than ever. It was somewhat validating for me, hearing it from a Christian perspective that it is OKAY that I won’t ever be the same.

I walked away from the retreat with not so much a heavy heart for myself, but for the new loss mamas. I wish a million times over that I could take this awful grief and pain from their lives, because I know the road that they have ahead. And it is anything but easy. I am grateful to Haven of Hope for creating the local community in hopes that these women may never feel alone.

For more information visit their website. It is so worth the trip, if you can make it :)

ps- you can read about last year’s retreat here

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Comments

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    Kristine says:

    It would have been okay if you didn’t go, but I’m glad that you had such an amazing time. I guarantee you that you’re underestimating your speaking skills. I always think I should like a blubbering idiot, but get really good feedback. We are our own toughest critics! I want to do some public speaking coaching or something to make myself feel better, so maybe it’s something we can do together somehow. :)
    Kristine recently posted..When a Joke Isn’t FunnyMy Profile

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      Franchesca Franchesca says:

      Oh definitely Kristine!! Please count me in, and let me know if you know of anything that could help in this area! :) I would LOVE that! And thank you sweet friend! I seriously kept thinking of you, and how you must feel when you speak about Cora and the lives she is saving. XO!

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    I’m so glad you went. I’m sure the weekend was beautiful and full of so many guardian angels holding their mamas up. xoxo
    Jana (@jana0926) recently posted..July is Group B Strep Awareness MonthMy Profile

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    Stephanie says:

    OMGosh! Girl! First, I am dreadfully behind in reading, but wanted to pop in to see what was up with you. And then I read about the baby (big smiley face and hug) and saw that you went to Round Top.
    Okay! Ready for this? Hubby and I literally just talked about Royer’s Restaurant TONIGHT! About 2 hours ago as we were sitting in a place in RI that reminded me of it! Just a hole in the wall place that we found tonight, but nothing tops Royer’s pie and yummy food! Hope you had a chance to eat there!

    And I am sure that you touched many hearts, no matter what you said or didn’t say!
    Stephanie recently posted..Catching UpMy Profile

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      Franchesca Franchesca says:

      Oh I wish!!!! That is too CRAZY! such a small world :) I hope to make it up there again one day, it’s literally about an hour away from here.

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    You are so brave in your honesty and your life. What you said about not being the same since your loss cut me deep. How dare someone say that to you? They obviously have no idea. I’m so sorry for their ignorance and lack of tact. I know that I would never be the same after. I have no idea what I would do.
    As always thank you for sharing. You have such a beautiful heart!
    Xoxo
    Megan
    Absolute Mommy recently posted..My June in Instagram {Photo A Day Recap}My Profile

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    Stephanie D says:

    It makes me sad that these people are saying that to you. Why can’t they get it, that person you were did pass with Jenna, along with all the hopes and dreams you had for her and your life with her. Maybe they are saying it more now because they think that after 3 yrs you can handle hearing it. IDK, I think I would make it clear that this is who you are now and barring any further pain and grief in your life, this is the person you will continue to be. Much love and hugs to you my friend!
    Stephanie D recently posted..Sadness and thankfulnessMy Profile

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    Mal says:

    I am sure you were wonderful Fran. Wish I lived closer to attend.
    I have struggled with prayer from the day Janessa died. I hope one day it gets easier.
    Hugs my friend.
    Mal recently posted..Adelyn Michaela McCreadyMy Profile

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    amy(nevaeh's mommy) says:

    Fran,
    I am so glad you went. You did great and were sucha comfort to some of the mothers there.
    Love you

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    Beth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing about this, Fran. Biggest. hugs.
    Beth recently posted..The Unwanted Fame of PregnancyMy Profile

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    Tanya Stevens says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing. I hope that one day the people will come to understand you and take you for who you are right now.
    Tanya Stevens recently posted..Kim Kardashian Air Yeezy SneakersMy Profile

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    You are quite simply amazing Fran!!!! XOXOXOXO :)

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      Franchesca Franchesca says:

      And you are a beautiful friend!!!! So blessed to have ‘met’ you through this crazy blog world and journey. Thank you so much for always being an encouragement.

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    Born27 says:

    It’s good to hear that you still continue to go. I know you had a great time there. Having a time retreat is like rejuvenating your soul and mind.
    Born27 recently posted..teleconference equipmintMy Profile

  12. 12
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    Sounds like such a blessing. So glad you went…and so glad that such a beautiful “haven” exists. I’m hoping to become more hands on and able to travel now that I’ve left my other job to pursue Sufficient Grace Ministries full time. Looking forward to learning more about their outreach. Love to you!
    Kelly @ Sufficient Grace recently posted..Pink Stencils on Her DoorMy Profile

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      Franchesca says:

      Oh you should Kelly. you would be so great at hosting something like this!! If you need any help contacting Susan, the director of Haven of Hope let me know – she is amazing. It would be amazing if you could come to the retreat next year! :)

      Xoxo fran
      Franchesca recently posted..Sky Lanterns and Baby UpdateMy Profile

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