If you're connected with Inheritance of Hope as a retreat participant, volunteer, staff member, runner, donor, or prayer warrior, this celebration of the 5th anniversary is a big milestone for us all!
But especially for Kristen and Deric Milligan. And their 3 children.
From the first retreat 'til now? Truly a journey of hope and faith. A labor of love born out of one couple's desire to reach out to other families living with a life threatening illness. A gracious invitation to parents and children in crisis to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Weekends filled with laughter and new friends, sparkling memories and a renewed vision for living well. All delivered by staff and volunteers with endless enthusiasm and grace-filled love.
It's been about designing and creating a legacy. The here and now kind that making memories together provides. Empowering parents, no matter what their health looks like, to prepare hands-on, thought-filled gifts for the next generation. And also discovering the deeper legacy of spiritual life in Jesus Christ.
From the anticipation of my first retreat, to musings on a NYC Thanksgiving weekend and the celebration of my 10th experience as an adult counselor, IoH has become deeply interwoven into my life.
It's not been just another professional opportunity.
I still remember my first conversation with Kristen. It seems so long ago, another time, another place. But what remains crystal clear was her sweet and strong gentleness as she spoke the vision that was blossoming in her heart and mind. And the invitation to join her and Deric, to develop adult support groups that would allow people to authentically connect with others in the same boat, to share their stories of pain and joy and tears and laughter and chaos and hope and fear. All the myriad of confusing facets that make up family life when living with a life-threatening illness.
And then to do the hard work of tenderly leading them to something stronger. Taking them oh-so-gently to a place that's a few steps beyond where they were when they arrived. To understand how to handle raging emotions. Deep discouragement. Desperation. To add a few helpful tools to the tool belt that's become depleted over time. To empower, to equip, to fortify for the next steps of the journey.
We've partnered together in leading a number of sessions along the way. And those moments are sweet gifts indeed ... cherished memories in my soul.
So, congratulations, sweet friend, to you and your gentle, loving husband. Thank you for that unexpected, quiet invitation to join you on your hope-filled journey. Each day you continue to touch countless lives by your powerful legacy. May God's blessings of peace-filled rest and gentle joy be yours as you live your life for Jesus and your family, one grace-filled moment at a time.