Hurst pastor plans to spread message of family strength at National Prayer Breakfast

Posted Sunday, Feb. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Jake Rinard has a story to tell.

As he joins around 3,000 others attending Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. -- where President Barack Obama and others will speak -- the Hurst pastor said he hopes to share with others the role that faith and family have played in his life.

"We want to continue spreading the message of strength and strong families," said Rinard, lead pastor for the Hurst Church of the Nazarene. "Times are tough, people are hurting, and we aim to help spread a message of strength."

Rinard and his wife, Marsha, speak from experience.

The couple, married for nearly 20 years, learned how to be strong after losing two children in the past three years.

Married when they were 18, the now 37-year-olds who live in Keller had three children in the first five years of their marriage.

They thought they were through having children, but within a year or so, they realized they wanted more.

After years of struggling to have children, in 2010 they finally had a healthy baby boy, John Carter Rinard. But while at the hospital, he contracted meningitis and passed away eight days later.

The couple and their three surviving children "worked through the pain," Jake Rinard said.

Determined to have another child, the couple found Marsha Rinard pregnant a few months later with twin girls.

Then 22 weeks into the pregnancy, Marsha went into premature labor.

One girl, Claire, did not survive.

Her sister, Marlo, was delivered five days later, weighing 1 pound and 11 ounces.

"She was not breathing, and was not doing well, but with careful attention of neonatologists at the NICU, and many wonderful nurses, she fought through all the possible troubles and 17 weeks later was discharged from the hospital," Jake Rinard said. "While in the hospital, our older kids ... really pitched in and helped out around the home, often doing special things for their mom and dad.

"We can really point to the strength in our kids and each other to helping us pull through the loss of two babies in one year," he said.

"We have all struggled at times, but we have had each other to lean on."

Marsha Rinard said she hopes her family can be a "voice of encouragement in times of pain and hurt."

"Losing your children is tough," she said. "There are days it seems that the pain will never go away. We are examples that show you can push forward and find happiness again. The pain doesn't go away, but happiness can be yours once again.

"We want to tell people that life can go on. You can pick up the pieces. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and keep your eyes focused on what is in front of you."

Putting politics aside

Jake Rinard was invited to attend the prayer breakfast by Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, an obstetrician.

The breakfast has been an annual tradition since the 1950s, when members of Congress teamed with President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a way to support and pray for the president, his family and other national leaders. The tradition grew, ultimately expanding to more than 3,000 people, including those in 200 countries representing every continent.

"The National Prayer Breakfast is a time when politics are put aside and our nation comes together to pray for our country and the world," Burgess said. "It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds.

"I look forward to Rev. Rinard attending the breakfast as my guest this year," he said. "In the faith of many of our founding fathers, public prayer and national days of prayer had a long-standing and significant history in America. Not a requirement, but a freedom to pray."

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley

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