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Impactful Reflections Pt. 2

In our ongoing tribute to Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we persist in bringing you the heartfelt reflections of families who joined us for a retreat this past summer. These testimonials shed light on the profound and enduring impact these retreats have had on their lives. We trust that their reflections will touch your hearts and serve as a wellspring of inspiration!

This year was our second opportunity to be part of a Lighthouse retreat. This time was just as amazing as the first. Our partner family was so much fun and made our kids feel so special. As a mom of kiddos, one who is battling brain cancer and two who are trying to cope with the heaviness that comes with this kind of diagnosis, it made my heart so happy to see people who were strangers before we got there, be so attentive and honestly cared about my kids and how they are doing. They brought smiles and a light-heartedness that our family has not felt in years. Sometimes, dealing with harsh circumstances like childhood cancer can shake a person's faith. When we left Lighthouse, every person in my family expressed how uplifting this experience was and how they felt the spirit and hoped that feeling would be carried home with us. It was absolutely a restoring experience. We struggled to say "See ya later!" to everyone we met.

We are living our lives in gratitude and hope one day, we can pay it forward. Our family cannot wait for the opportunity to serve one day with Lighthouse.

We were given the gift of a lifetime this week, fully ordained and orchestrated in every way by a merciful and loving Father. Lighthouse Family Retreat completely changed our world. I watched all 5 of my children experience *true* joy, the kind of joy innocent children should experience. And they experienced it in ABUNDANCE.

Andrew reflected today that if we had gotten our way originally and if we had Natalie’s scans when they “should” have been scheduled, they would have seen that tumor, and this week would never have happened. Instead, God orchestrated a million “frustrating” things (at the time): an oncologist who was out of town for 2 weeks, a line infection, and line removal (so Natalie could *swim* all week long!)…all to make sure we ended up here after getting the worst news of our lives. God knew we would need this. God knew we would need these total strangers. God knew we needed a week to just ignore cancer.

We leave Florida tomorrow refreshed. There is much ahead, but for today, we rest in the reality that it was GOOD. And this week was GOOD. And our Father is GOOD.

I don't even know where to begin. This last week has truly been a blessing for our family. We had the most wonderful families serve us at the Lighthouse Family Retreat.

I never knew being able to open up and talk to others who truly understand your journey through childhood cancer would help ease my mind and soul. No one judged or had nasty comments to say. Everyone just understood the struggles of living with childhood cancer and supported you, loved on you, and even cried with you at times. Seeing the children laugh, play, and connect with others made my heart full. They have made new lifelong memories with such wonderful families.

This has truly been a blessing, and many memories we will cherish. I can NOT thank Maggie Brothers, Tammy Bryant , and the the Greene family for taking such good care of us. You are not only lifelong friends but now family. We love you all!!

The retreat was nothing short of amazing. From the very beginning, we felt an overwhelming sense of warmth and acceptance as we connected with other families facing similar challenges. In that non-judgmental environment, we felt safe to share our experiences and discuss how childhood cancer had impacted our lives. Verbalizing our journey and listening to others in return brought about a sense of healing we hadn't expected.

But what truly moved us was witnessing the extraordinary selflessness and love displayed by everyone involved in the retreat. From the organizers to the volunteers, our family was cared for with an unparalleled level of compassion. It was as if we were embraced by God's presence, a reminder that we were not alone and that we had not been forgotten.

The acts of kindness we encountered during the retreat were life-changing. We witnessed people dedicating their time and efforts to make our stay comfortable and uplifting. These heartfelt gestures touched us deeply, filling our hearts with gratitude and hope. We realized that despite the challenges we faced, there was still so much goodness in the world, and it gave us the strength to keep moving forward.

As we returned from the retreat, we felt transformed. Our perspective on life and its struggles shifted, and we gained a renewed sense of purpose. The experience motivated us to find ways to give back and serve others in need, just as we were served during our time at the Lighthouse Family Retreat.

We are forever grateful for this extraordinary opportunity, and we cherish the memories created during our time there. The retreat has not only strengthened our family bonds but also allowed us to form new friendships that we will treasure for a lifetime.

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