Quotes from participants who were reluctant to come to Respite Retreat:
"Soon after our daughter passed from this life we were given one of Nancy's books and quickly identified with loss of another through their great losses. After doing some research we came across the opportunity to come before others that were also members of this club no one wanted to join that was taking place outside of Nashville. It was easier to first sign up but harder to make that turn out of the city. We were so tempted to continue driving north but felt obligated to make our commitment. I cannot believe that we almost missed being there for the respite gathering, it was truly the beginning of healing for us to be around David and Nancy and all the others who shared our losses."
—French and Lauren Forbes, Alabama
"I was apprehensive about the weekend for a couple of reasons: 1) I thought it would be awkward meeting and talking with strangers about the death of our daughter and, 2) I was worried about meeting the emotional needs of my wife. I found the opposite to be true. We had a connection with every couple at the retreat and the session on marriage really helped my wife and I connect emotionally during the weekend. "
"We were somewhat reluctant to want to go, not knowing what to expect, if it was too soon, and feeling we were still way too emotional to attend such a weekend with total strangers. We decided to go and are very thankful we did. It was wonderful to be with other couples who had lost a child as well, to share our losses together and to be so deeply encouraged by one another and especially by Nancy and Dave's ministry. It was a weekend that helped us very much in our grieving journey."
—Carolyn and Ken , Pennsylvania
"After the passing of our son, Levi, my husband and I knew we had to find support. Levi took his life and the complexity of our grief along with grief to our other children came hard and we found quickly that there wasn't much support for us in our area. We longed for someone who stood on some kind of common ground. While we both had anxiety of going to a retreat, we agreed we would do anything to find Gods comfort and direction for our family. Here, Nancy and David met us with compassion, understanding, and guidance. They were tremendous support to our marriage, and strength in returning home to our children and supporting their needs. Randy and I aren't the "retreat" kind of people and we knew this wasn't going to be easy, especially when we were feeling completely paralyzed! Quickly we knew God had led us to the retreat, that God's grace and mercy were evident there. WE FELT SAFE. Never have we regretted this hard decision."
"I was adamant that I was not coming to the retreat until the last minute. But within an hour I felt like I had known everyone forever. I had been living with a glass-half-empty approach, and so angry. And by Sunday morning at the retreat I woke up feeling that it was a great day to be alive! The retreat was the turning point to starting to feel joy again, deciding that don't want to keep dwelling on the past. I want to live."
"When my wife introduced me to the idea of attending the Guthrie's Respite Retreat in Nashville, I was excited to get away, excited to explore Music City, but apprehensive to divulge all of the details from our loss. Prior to the retreat we had fun planning our vacation, where to stay, where to eat, and things to do, yet this dark cloud was still approaching. As we finished dinner at B.B. King's the night before we were to report to "The Hiding Place" I had knots in my stomach, and questions streaming through my head. What are Nancy and David like? What tragic stories are we going to hear? What will the other couples be like? Will my wife survive this? Will I survive this? We found our way to The Hiding Place, unloaded the car, walked to the front door and opened it. When we opened the door Nancy was there to joyfully greet us with open arms. The warmth that I felt from that initial introduction, made me feel comfortable, and happy to be there. We were the first couple to arrive, and it was fun to meet the other husbands, that I am sure, had the same apprehension I did. It was amazing how many men there had similar interests, hobbies, and careers. As the weekend progressed we all learned a lot about each other, our wives, marriages, and life. We left the retreat with friends, a new outlook on God's involvement in my life and a renewed vigor for life."