I like details and lots of them. I like plans and I like to stick to them. I started thinking about how I'd feel if I were considering attending Gathering Hope in October and didn't know what to expect. I think I'd be pretty hesitant to go.
I decided to give my fellow control freaks a little run down of the evening, so they could know what the evening will look like.
At Gathering Hope, we want to provide a safe place to think about and remember the short life of your baby (or babies) with others who have walked similar paths and can relate to your grief and experience. Each mother's story is unique, but there is a thread that weaves us all together.
The evening will begin with our sweet, friendly greeters meeting you at the door and inviting you to find a seat with one of our Table Leaders. Each one of our Table Leaders has suffered and survived the pain of pregnancy loss and will be eager to welcome you.
At this time, or any time you feel led, you are invited to come and light a candle in memory of your child, as well as others you know who have lost babies. From the beginning of the event until the end, our prayer team will be present near the back of the room, praying for you all individually. If at any time you feel like you need someone to pray with, they will be more than happy to pray with you. There will be prayer cards on the table as you arrive that we will give to the prayer team and they will be diligent in lifting up your individual needs throughout the event. These women have been praying for you since the day you signed up to attend GH. Every part of Gathering Hope has been bathed in prayer and will continue to be.
Once everyone is seated, we will start the evening off with a short time of worship music led by musicians who have individually shared with me how honored they feel to be a part of ministering to you through song. I know you will be blessed by them and the evening will start off beautifully under their leadership.
Peyton and I will say a few words before our speaker, DeAndrea shares a message of hope and understanding with you. DeAndrea's passion for helping women who have suffered loss is admirable and is what drew us to her to ask her to share with you at this event.
As she wraps up, our Hospitality Team will be around to offer you desserts as you begin your table discussions. As an extreme introvert, this part would be daunting to me if I were attending. Rest assured that no one will make you share if you aren't up for it. It is an opportunity to introduce us to your precious babies and share a little about your story. If you aren't ready to share, or you'd rather just listen, that is totally okay. Some women I've talked to who attended the first Gathering Hope said they didn't plan to share, but became so comfortable with those around table, that it felt natural to share with them. Don't let worry keep you away from this evening of hope and remembrance.
As the evening comes to a close with a little more music and prayer, you're welcome to stay and talk longer with the women you connected with, pray with the prayer team or get on the road back home.
It is our sincere hope that you come away from GH uplifted and feeling like you've made connections with others who can understand what your heart is feeling. Your loss may be recent or years ago, but we hope that you'll leave strengthened by the love of others and the love of Christ. Peyton and I already have such a love for the women on the team and for the women who will attend on October 22. If we can answer any questions or help you out in any way, please don't hesitate to contact us through Facebook or our website, www.gatheringhope.net. Please let us know any prayer concerns you have now that you'd like passed on to the prayer team.
We love you and are so thankful that you are joining us on October 22 for Gathering Hope.