Today is Memorial Day and I would like to take the opportunity to remember all the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom in America and for Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice for us to have a relationship with Him and have everlasting life.
Today I am also remembering all the precious babies who are with Jesus on this Memorial Day, who left their mother's wombs and entered into eternity, leaving the safest place on earth (a mother's womb) into the safest place in the Universe (Jesus' arms).
Today I am thinking of Bridget and all her friends in Heaven: Jack, Adelyn, Sawyer, Collins, Austin, Anastasia, Howard, Kiptyn, Kestler, Abundynce, Nathan, Caleb, Harper, Jeremih, Sophie, and all the fearfully and wonderfully made babies who are enjoying the riches of Heaven with her, worshipping and glorifying the risen King, Jesus Christ, until we all see each other again.
In honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to talk about ways to memorialize our precious babies who have gone before us to Heaven. Finding ways to memorialize Bridget has been a part of our grieving and healing process, but it's also been important for us to have her be a part of our daily life as a member of our family - after all, we will be spending eternity all together, so why would we not include her in our family life here on earth? It's just a part of establishing our "new normal" as a family of four, with three hearts beating in this house, and one up exploring the majestic Kingdom of God.
A few weeks ago, we planted a tree in memory of Bridget. When she was born, our friends and coworkers gave us gift cards for a memorial tree. We waited all winter and finally were able to plant this beautiful Oklahoma redbud in our backyard. We chose the redbud because of its pretty pink and purple budding flowers that bloom in the spring. This tree will always remind of us our precious little girl, and will have us always looking forward to the spring when God brings all things to life again after long and cold Kansas winters.
After Matt dug the hole, we placed a small memorial rock at the bottom of the hole. The rock said "Love is a blessing" and had a little angel on it with a mint green background. We wanted to do something special knowing that her little rock will always be under her tree. We prayed and then planted the tree.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
We also planted purple, pink, and white flowers in our front yard, including lavender, maynight salvia, and walker's low catmint. I have loved seeing the flowers bloom, spread, and shine with vibrant color. Coming home to beautiful flowers always brightens my day and reminds me of our daughter alive and well in Heaven. Flowers are also a reminder to "bloom where you are planted" - to use your time, talents, and resources to help others and glorify God in the circumstances and position He has you in now. No matter how rocky the soil, amount of rain, or sunlight, He can use you.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
We also have Forget Me Not flowers next to an angel in our front courtyard in memory of Bridget (pink) and Jack (blue) who are buried next to each other at the cemetery. Jack's Mommy is one of my best friends and a ministry partner with Bridget's Cradles. I love having flowers at our home to remind me of them playing in Heaven together. (You can read Jack's story here.)
Flowers (or trees) are just one way to memorialize your baby. And, it's important to note that not every family needs to memorialize their baby in the same way. I share the ideas that our family has decided to do, but your family may have other ways and that's okay too! What is important is that it's special to you.
Etsy shops also have some special handmade gifts and jewelry to purchase in memory of your baby.
For every momma missing their baby today, please know that I am thinking and praying for you and looking forward to Heaven with you.
Jesus, this Memorial Day weekend has been wet and rainy here in Kansas and it's hard for our souls not to be downcast when the weather is overcast and the rain just keeps on pouring. But You remind us that despite the weather, You are the Light and we can lean on You when our hearts are heavy. Thank you for allowing us to live in this country - for having the freedoms and luxuries that so many other countries do not have. Thank You for the brave and courageous people who fought and died for our freedom. Thank YOU for dying for us and allowing us to have a relationship with You. Thank You for Heaven so that we do not have to grieve like those with no hope. Thank You for helping us remember our babies - thank You for the pictures we have, the memories from the hospital, and the love we will always have for them in our hearts. Please help us remember them everyday in small ways until we are reunited in Heaven. Please comfort every mother who is aching for their baby. Please give them a peace that transcends all understanding when we do not understand why we have to be apart. Please remind them of the great hope we have in You. Please catch our tears, be our strength, and keep us ever looking toward You. Amen.
Written by Ashley Opliger
Bridget's Mom & Executive Director of Bridget's Cradles
Connect with Ashley:
Website | www.ashleyopliger.com
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