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Emma left a Legacy of worship.

Meet the Barnhart Family

I had never heard of a Legacy Retreat® or Inheritance of Hope (IoH) until my daughter, Emma Barnhart, told me about it – how her family had been nominated to be a part of one of those retreats and how excited she was about Inheritance of Hope’s purpose and mission statement. They exist solely to honor families where one parent has a life-threatening illness. And in that honoring, they also offer fun, support, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and assistance in leaving a legacy.

“Every person deserves a legacy,” Emma said, “even if it’s a story of an excitedly terrifying ride on a roller coaster! How cool is that?”

The Barnharts are welcomed to their 2013 Orlando Legacy Retreat®!

Emma came away with many practical ideas for her own legacy, which she implemented almost immediately on their return to Rochester, MN, and continued till her last days. One of those projects was recording a CD that contained her testimony called “All I Have is Christ.” When she worshiped, it was as though she and Jesus were the only ones in the room. God, in His providence, allowed her to record the song the day before she lost her voice due to the tumors on her vocal chords. She never sang again out loud this side of heaven. She went home on February 8, 2015, and I have no doubt she is singing to Jesus in full contralto strength and rejoicing in knowing that her legacy of music lives on in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.

Emma left a Legacy of worship.
Emma left a Legacy of worship.

Emma talked about how everything at the Legacy Retreat® was so organized and well planned…no detail left undone…beautiful in every way.

“But,” she said, “what they did best was just love on us; praying for us, laughing with us, listening to our fears and concerns, and helping us cry. The individual group sessions for the patients, the caregivers, and the children were all finely tuned to allow us the freedom to say things we might not say otherwise – in a safe place where we all had a common denominator. We, the patients, were dying much sooner than any of us would like. Our caregivers and children were facing the loss of their loved one and wondering how life could possibly go on without them.

We would all learn tools that would help us cope with the days to come. All different and yet very much the same, we were beginning the grieving process, and none of us knew how to do it. What we did know is that we must do it single file. There is no tutorial, no ‘right’ way, no ‘one size fits all,’ no seven-steps-and-you’re-all-done formula. We just do it. There were so many precious gems that we took away, but they were enmeshed with these harsh truths we couldn’t ignore.”

“But it was precious,” she added. “These people weren’t just sponsors assigned to a particular family. They were friends. How could they love us so much and carve a space in our hearts when they had just met us? ”

And then she gave her standard answer for happy surprises. “It’s because God was already there.”

The Barnhart Family in August 2014
The Barnhart Family in August 2014

Because of the impact the IoH team had on my Emma and her family, I decided that I wanted to be part of it… part of a team that lives to encourage those who run low on hope… a team where what we do makes a difference in people’s lives… a team who comes away from the Legacy Retreats® with precious memories and hearts as fully blessed as those they serve.

As a result, it is my joy to be part of the regular contributors to IoH’s communications team. God is so creative in the way He designs our lives, yes?

Rosi is a mother of 4, grandmother of 14, and great-grandmother of 8 and is blessed far beyond what she could have ever imagined. She is a journeywoman who continues to grow and learn and be the recipient of amazing grace. Rosi’s daughter, Emma Barnhart, attended the May 2013 Legacy Retreat® with her family. You can follow Rosi’s personal blog here.