We know of two main reasons parents who have lost a child do not attend conferences for bereaved parents.
1. They don’t want to be with a bunch of other grieving parents, thinking it is going to be morbid, sitting around crying about our kids the whole time.
I (Laura) thought that myself. I didn’t want to spend a day around a bunch of people who were a mess like me.
The first conference I finally made myself go to did just the opposite. It brought a large measure of healing I wasn’t expecting, and I was so surprised at how wonderful it was to be around a group of people who were a mess like me!
I could laugh without feeling guilty. I could let some tears slip, and didn’t have to explain or excuse myself. It was so freeing. I received so much encouragement from the speakers and small group leaders. I left more encouraged than I knew was possible in my loss. And I met women who have become precious life-long friends.
2. They don’t have the emotional or the physical energy (and the finances) to travel to an event.
That is exactly why GPS Hope offers our Hope & Healing Conference. We bring our conference directly to the deeply wounded parents, instead of making them come to us.
This event is seven hours of ministry directly to the soul and spirit of parents whose lives have been shattered by the death of their child. It can be done as a full one-day event, or starting with session one in the evening with the rest of the conference the following day.
The timing of lunch will be based on a one-day or two-day conference. Please note it is required for lunch to be provided at the venue. This is a deeply emotional event and the attendees need to feel they are in a safe place. It can be counterproductive and cause too much stress to send the attendees out on their own for lunch.
GPS Hope & Healing Conference Schedule
Worship (led by Laura)
Opening Session: This Was So Not in My Plan (Laura)
Session Two: The Many Facets of Forgiveness (Laura)
Session Three: Grace in Grief (Dave)
Breakout Session (Dave will meet with the fathers, Laura will meet with the mothers)
Closing Session: Where is God in My Grief? (Laura)
Balloon Launch (where allowed)
(Time of ministry for those who want prayer)
Please note: sessions are subject to change
I want to thank God for your ministry to the grieving hearts of us who have had a child go “home” before us. The whole day was bathed in the Holy Spirit. Each part of the program brought hope and healing to my heart. The communion was like no other. I am so glad I came. – Sarah S.
One of the things that ministered the most to me is that God is here for us and carrying us. I thank you so much for this conference. I am taking home so much from it. – Dee L.
The conference was great! It was healing, eye opening, wonderful, and ministered so much to my heart. I definitely want to attend another one and will recommend it to other parents! – Donna A.
The following two items are optional teachings and/or ministry events that can be added along with the GPS Hope & Healing conference. You may choose to include only one or both.
Come Grieve Through Our Eyes
This is a ninety minute time of ministry based on the book by Laura Diehl Come Grieve Through Our Eyes: How to Give Comfort and Support to Grieving Parents. This teaching includes input shared from dozens of bereaved parents. We encourage children’s ministry teams to attend. Anyone who wants to know what to say (or not to say) to parents who have lost a child through death, or how to be a support to them both short and long term, will find this full of valuable information. (Laura will lead a short worship time before speaking.)
I can say I had no idea. I was one of those who had no clue what to say. We have families in our ministries who go through this, and many times we are the bridge, because many times we are more connected with the families than the head pastors are. There is such a strong anointing on Laura. This is God! All I can say is, “God, open the doors for this to message to go out.” – Becky Fischer, founder of Kids in Ministry International
The ministry is so unique and so needed in the body of Christ. As I listened, I changed my point of view in counseling, because it has been based on my own perspective and not the perspective of these parents who are actually going through this. I believe this ministry is from God. – Pastor Rey Angana
I want to say thank you, because one of my dear friends lost her 21 year old son tragically, and the one year mark of his death is coming up next week. I have not had the words, but now I know what to say. Thank you! – Alicia W
How Can I Trust God After This Tragedy?
Being a Christian does not give us a golden ticket that exempts us from being affected by living in a fallen, sinful world. And when that belief of “having enough faith” or “walking in our authority” is confronted by a painful event that happens to us, we can become angry at God, question God’s goodness, and wonder how we can possibly trust God anymore when He allowed such a horrible thing to happen to us.
Dave and Laura Diehl have faced multiple tragedies over the years that most families never deal with. For instance, they know what it is like to have a three year old daughter with cancer and be told they didn’t have enough faith or she would have been healed and not needed the chemotherapy and to have her leg amputated. And they know what it is like to bury that same child, several years later.
They have learned that living in faith isn’t based on how God answers their prayers. It is based on knowing intimately the One to whom they pray. Knowing this truth keeps Dave and Laura from having a victim mentality, enabling them to walk in the true victory God intended for Christians, which is often an internal victory despite the circumstances, and they want others to walk in the same truth.
This is a one hour time of teaching based on Laura’s book Triple Crown Transformation, followed by a time of ministry, and is for anyone who is struggling with their faith after a deep loss or tragic event.
From a place of grieving, to a place of encouragement, you (Dave and Laura) are helping others make that same connection. From where you have been, you are bringing others to a hope and a future. – Karen S.
Dave and Laura have given themselves to this call of God. They are giving others the gift of seeing things through God’s eyes. – Pamela A.
You are not just taking the light of God into a dark place; you are like a chandelier that is reflecting light all over the place. We all needed what you just shared. – Lori H.
I loved Laura’s use of visual aids and how she used her personal stories to illustrate her points. She really gave some good tips to use and excellent examples. It really made me think. (Taken from an evaluation form)
Click here to see a photo album of a previous conference.