Seven Years After Our Loss - An Update

First, A Word of Thanks

After writing my first Hub three years ago, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support that I have received. It is not easy to open wounds but it is such a blessing to know that God has used my experiences to help others. To read more about my story please visit my other Hubs. It has been difficult for me to write and process my feelings because unlike the popular belief that "time heals all wounds", after losing a child "time" just seems to bring new wounds to deal with. I'm not saying that God has not been faithful as I continue this walk - He has and continues to be - but this is a journey and one that has it's ups and downs. The reason I wanted to write this update is because I wanted to share what God is doing in our life at this time.

God Works Through a Sister

After losing her older sister, my younger daughter struggled but was also strengthened in her walk with God. She has shared her testimony many times in the last seven years and was married last summer to a youth pastor. Together, they work with middle school and high school students to share God's love. It has been a blessing to watch how He has worked everything out for good in her life!

A Plan, A Dream

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated, yes we chose to call it celebrating, Kristi's 7th year in heaven with my daughter and her new husband. It was a sweet (TV-free) time of fun and conversation. I am so thankful for what God is doing through them although the distance is taking a toll on all of us as they are now 22 hours away; our family has been through so much that I really believe we are meant to be closer.

I was thinking back on this past year - Mattie getting married - moving across the country - but also about the birth of a dream. Let me back up a bit.............last summer while planning a wedding we were also planning a road trip across several states to help them move to their new home and new life on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. At about the same time I found out that my great grandmother's family was from upper state SC and had lived on a plantation there. My great grandmother was a very special lady and I of course wanted to see this plantation - well it turned out that it was for sale - which got the history teacher and romantic in me to thinking about how cool it would be to open a bed and breakfast in the area where my family had lived - so Rick and I planned a little side trip to see the plantation. In so doing we found another bed and breakfast in the area to spend the night - oh, did I mention that it was also for sale? As we drove north from Hilton Head I can't tell you how beautiful and peaceful it was. In a strange way I felt very at home. On the way to the bed and breakfast we found my family's plantation. I'm so thankful that I got to see it and although beautiful it was not really b and b material. When we arrived at the gracious Inn, my heart skipped a beat - this huge majestic house radiated warmth and hospitality. Surrounded by lush landscaping, Rick and I sat on the porch and listened to a symphony of birds' songs as we de-stressed after some very busy, wedding preparation months. What I felt there reminded me of another time - the summer after losing Kristi we were invited to spend some time in northern Arizona. We were hosted by some dear people who just spent time with us and shared the amazing mountains and landscapes which represented God's beauty after a time of terror and heartache. I can't explain it but that week began the healing process for me as I drank in God's majesty and was given the freedom to talk or not talk with people who truly cared about what I was going through. The memory of that time and the peacefulness of this new place were the seeds for the dream - what if I could create that same oasis for other hurting parents - the parents that I still receive emails from, crying and begging me for hope after the loss of their own children. Little did I know that Rick was thinking the same thing.

It is now a few months short of a year later and we have prayed, talked, figured and prayed some more and the dream just won't go away. Despite the obstacles, we still believe that this is where God is leading us. In case I have been allusive, our dream is to buy that Bed and Breakfast and use it not only as our career and livelihood, but also a place where I can host the parents that I still receive emails from, a place where they can come, free of charge and expectation, and experience God's beauty and peace if only for a short time. We have drawn up a business plan and are confident that the bed and breakfast, which is also a wedding venue, would support itself as well as the ministry to parents who have lost children. There are obstacles, as I mentioned, we need to sell our house (it is currently on the market) and although the current owners of the Bed and Breakfast are willing to finance, they require a very large down payment - something that we do not have - but we are trusting that God will provide if it truly is His will. After losing Kristi, I have always felt that there would be some type of ministry that God would provide where we could use our experience to honor not only her memory but most of all His greatness - could this be it?

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