Monday, June 30, 2014

Welcome to SEEN Gathering y'all!

You are important. You are loved by God.  You have a unique purpose. You are not forgotten. You are not alone.  

You are SEEN. 

-Mark 5:25-34-

Welcome y'all to SEEN Gathering!

Did you know that The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that seven out of ten people struggle with chronic illness everyday? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that seventy-five percent of our health dollars go to the treatment of chronic diseases. With these staggering statistics it is hard to imagine why there are not greater resources in the Christian community for those who are ill, especially for those who are "chroncittles" (those in their teen years through early forties). Sadly and overwhelmingly the church is quick to ignore this issue, pretend it does not exist, and state confusion or hurtful remarks for why those with chronic illnesses or pain are not “regular attendees”, or urge the necessity of having a stronger faith and prayers for healing. Unfortunately, through most of this the ill person and their families quietly suffers with questions of the future, intense pain and sickness, shattered hopes and dreams, relationship stress and issues, financial hardship, and questions about the sovereignty of God. Here at SEEN Gathering we hope to bridge the divide and encourage and strengthen the faith of the believers who are physically struggling.

Our prayer is that you will find encouragement for your heart and hope as you deal with the various health issues that you face. It is incredibly difficult to deal with serious and chronic health issues at a "chronicittle" stage. A "chronicittle" is a term that we use around here for anyone in their teenage years through their early forties. While we often expect that our later years will bring aches and pains and health issues we do not expect that for the younger years and it is incredibly painful (physically and emotionally) to deal with. 

SO what is SEEN Gathering?

SEEN Gathering is a ministry designed to inspire, encourage, and create community among those with Chronic health problems (specifically those in that are "chronicittles"). Through a variety of avenues (including a blog, articles, a church outreach program, the Crate 526 program, a magazine, and a retreat) SEEN Gathering desires to be a place of rest and inspiration for all who stop by the website. At the heart of everything of everything we celebrate the Hope that we have in Jesus despite chronic illness and pain and inspire each person to live fully. While many chronic illnesses and pains are hidden, you are NOT. You are important. Your are loved by God, you have a unique purpose, and you are SEEN. 

What is the background behind SEEN Gathering?
Thank you so much for your desire to learn more about "SEEN Gathering"! In 2008 Rebecca VanDeMark saw her health start to disintegrate without any explanation. As she continued to experience several strange and worsening symptoms she was finally forced to resign from the job that she loved as a High School Teacher and move back home to her parents house to receive help. After traveling across the country, becoming unable to walk, and seeing more than 273 doctors Rebecca was finally correctly diagnosed with Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease in March 2013. Three short months later she was also diagnosed with Cancer. As she saw everything around her start to shatter, lost dear friends due to illness, and has fought to regain her health she has connected with thousands of others who have struggled to walk the path of chronic illness through her blog, Caravan Sonnet. In 2013 Rebecca wrote a post entitled, "those that the American Church has forgotten" that received acknowledgment, criticism, and gratitude from thousands across the United States. 

It was at this time that the Lord started giving Rebecca a dream of encouraging the hearts of those who feel forgotten and "hidden" to due to Chronic Illness & Chronic Pain. After a ton of "God-things" occurred and a ton of different circumstances the original idea was to launch an annual event & conference for those who are struggling with chronic illness (and their families) to encourage and inspire each attendee and give them a sense of community. After lots of prayer this vision morphed into SEEN Gathering being a place that provided a retreat and conference (in future years) but that also provided encouragement and hope on a more practical level. We are humbly grateful for the amount of excitement and support that we have received to launch the this ministry and are humbly moving forward under the Lord's direction.

We are so thrilled that you have stopped by this community. We look forward to connecting with you. Our prayer is that you will be blessed abundantly by our Lord. Thank you for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!

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