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“Brokenhearted" - the story behind this tattered art

Nathan Rueckert

Posted on November 30 2021

#GivingTuesday 2021
Brokenhearted

This print is inspired by Psalms 34:18 and dedicated to my friends, Denny & Karri Allen. 

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When dreams are shattered;
When tragedy strikes;
When all seems broken:

God is near.

Years ago, Denny bought a baseball after his son Asher was born. He had plans for that ball. He dreamed of the days when he could play catch with Asher and build a father/son bond through a love of the game. Life finally seemed to be headed in the right direction.

It’s unreal how quickly and unexpectedly plans can change. On July 2, 2012, at only 15 months old, Asher stopped breathing during his afternoon nap and went to be with Jesus.

Denny & Karri were grief stricken and brokenhearted. They didn’t know where to turn. While they felt lost in their own brokenness, God drew near to them.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  - Psalms‬ ‭34:18‬ ‭

God led them to a 4-day retreat in northern Minnesota by Smile Again Ministries, which changed the trajectory of their life. The retreat opened up communication between Denny & Karri and helped them learn how to navigate life moving forward.

After several years of being in community with other grieving families, Karri and Denny felt led to start their own retreat center in rural South Dakota to help families who've experienced the death of a child, grandchild, or sibling. Healing Hope Ministries, a 501c-3 non-profit, was born.

The vision of Healing Hope is to hold a safe space for families to intentionally work through their grief. Denny and Karri, as retreat facilitators and peers who have walked a similar journey, hold space for families to share stories, have hard conversations and learn more about grief and mourning. This intentional work provides a pathway of hope.

The image you see in this post is the baseball Denny originally purchased for Asher nearly a decade ago. When I met with Denny about this project, the leather had literally fallen off the ball; only half of it remained. He wanted to create something from the tattered ball to give to Karri as a meaningful gift. This heart was the result.

It’s so inspiring to see how Karri & Denny have turned their hardest and most difficult life circumstance into an inspiration to so many other lives.

Autographed prints of “Brokenhearted” are available to purchase on our website with 50% of the proceeds going to Healing Hope Ministries. 

If you know of a family struggling through grief, please consider telling them about Healing Hope and follow them on Facebook here and Instagram here.  

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1 comment

  • Michael: December 24, 2021

    Thanks for sharing! We lost our son Matthew and without God we would have never made it through this tragedy. Matthew passed 22 years ago. What a great way to carry on his legacy.

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