I was blessed to be able to attend Created for Care twice this year. It was such a gift. January 2012 was my first time attending and after I got home and processed everything I couldn’t wait to return in January 2013. Then, in July, I got a little email from Andrea (founder and planner of the conference) asking if I would consider coming to both retreats and serve by teaching a breakout session. I was honored and scared and excited. I immediately realized that this meant I got to go twice — to January C4C and to March C4C!!
I’ve waited until both were complete to post about it because I wanted to have the full experience under my belt. There were so many similarities and so many differences between the January and March events. January was a whirlwind. I was able to share the weekend with my beautiful roommate Wynne again. It was full of laughs, pictures, late nights, dreaming, scheming, and heart talks. I taught my breakout session on infertility, loss, and adopting first on Saturday. It was hard and good all at the same time. I wrote about that experience here. I had to fly out immediately following my session so my weekend ended as fast as it began.
Me and Wynne in Ethiopia last summer on the left — and us at Created for Care in January on the right.Love her.
March brought a whole new experience. This time I had a room all to myself (on purpose) and it was a much more restful time for me. I didn’t feel any pressure to attend all the sessions because I had already attended most of them in January. I went to bed early both nights and I skipped breakfast both mornings so I could sleep in. I had some amazing conversations with old friends and new friends. I taught my session once again on Saturday afternoon and was amazed by the difference this time around. I was still nervous and I shared the same message. But this time when I opened it up for questions I was met with room full of women who needed to talk.
The stories and questions that came out during that time blew me away. We cried together and understood each other in the hard things. I looked around as questions were asked and stories were shared to see women wiping away tears and nodding their heads in agreement. There was so much affirmation and grace in that room. My heart can barely hold all that came out during that time.
Stories like the mommy who lost her daughter days after she was born. Then one of her friends got pregnant and delivered a healthy baby girl. She struggled with grief and asking God why – why her and not me? At the time she couldn’t have known, but God knew — the very day her friend delivered her healthy baby girl … her own daughter was born in China. The very day. God was blessing them both that day she just didn’t know it yet. Amazing.
Or the precious mommy still waiting for her little ones to be revealed as she sits on the waiting list for siblings from Ethiopia. She was given her first baby last year… and began having a miscarriage at Created for Care last year. Heartbroken she still waits, and trusts, for her children.
Or the mommy who has struggled with several miscarriages. Over and over she has lost her babies and she is drowning in her grief. She knows her husband is hurting too and she looked at me and asked, “How can I be there for him when I’m grieving so much? I can barely take care of me. My marriage is crumbling and I don’t know what to do.” I got an email from her last week saying that she returned home from Created for Care ready to work through her pain and encouraged to love her husband better.
Stories like this poured out all weekend long, but in that room for the time we had it was amazing. When we had ten minutes remaining in our allotted time I had the women break up into small groups to briefly share where they were in their journey and then pray for each other. Our session was supposed to end at 5pm. At 5:30pm heads were still bowed and tears still falling. I had to pack up and go but I told them to stay as long as they needed. I have no idea how long that room was used but I am still amazed at all that happened.
There is so much more that happened over the course of both weekends. I found myself wondering how on earth I could possibly put it all into a blog post. But some things aren’t meant to be shared. At least not right away. I’m sure some will come out over the next weeks and months. But some will remain tucked in my heart – feeding my soul and helping me grow.