Bridget's upcoming birthday / Heaven Day has been on my heart for months. An overwhelming pressure has lingered over me of how we would mark this monumental milestone of her being in Heaven for ONE year. How should we spend this day? How do we plan the perfect day for her? Without her here, it's hard to show her how much we love her.
We can't do the things that Mommys and Daddys do for their living kids on their birthdays - give her kisses, take her to her favorite places, give her gifts, spend time with her, and love on her. I can't buy an adorable mint green and gold "ONE" onesie and tutu like I had wanted, or take pictures of her eating her smash cake in her decorated highchair adorned with a fabric strip banner (yes, I had already pinned exactly what I would have made if she was here).
Over the past year, we have found ways to show her we love her; we talk about her, have pictures and keepsakes in our house, find little ways to memorialize and honor her each day, and of course, we work on her ministry every day.
But as her birthday is approaching, we realize we just cannot find a way to fully honor her that day. There's nothing that seems perfect or good enough. No angel memorabilia, no tree planted, no amount or balloon big enough to release, no perfect Pinterest party; none of it would really be enough.
We've done it all. We've planted a tree and a flower garden, painted things, made things, worn remembrance jewelry, ordered picture books, posted angel statues, framed pictures of her, released balloons, decorated her grave, gotten a tattoo, walked in memorial walks, lit candles, and the list goes on. There's not a lot that we haven't done.
I'm not advising against any of those things. I wholeheartedly promote and encourage honoring babies in Heaven in tangible, physical, symbolic ways. All of these things have brought us healing, but none of them (or even the sum of them) has really brought complete fulfillment or peace.
There's no earthly way to fully show her our love, no outpouring of gifts or display of decorations; there's no amount of striving that could ever measure our love for her. And there's nothing we could do that would result in what we desire the most: being with her.
The truth is we don't need another keepsake on her memorial shelf. We don't need an elaborate party. There's nothing we could make or do that would bring her back.
We just need Jesus.
We need the hope that we will see her again and that we'll spend eternity loving on her and even more importantly, loving her Creator.
So for her birthday (and every day before and after), we're fixing our eyes on our Father, focused on the Kingdom work He has for us. Our hearts are set on Him and our minds on eternity.
We will still celebrate her birthday and show her love in the ways we can as mere human beings. Yes, I made her a burlap birthday banner. And, yes, I ordered a cake with angel wings. We will bring flowers and decorate her grave. We will have a small party with family to celebrate her life. These things will be important and special to us because it's how we show love, but none of them can compare to the gift that Jesus gives us: eternity with her.
And no matter what we do here on earth, Bridget is going to have the perfect birthday in Heaven.
That's why we're going to celebrate Heaven. We're going to praise Jesus.
He is the only One who fully heals and satisfies. He is the only One who can turn sadness into joy, mourning into gladness, and pain into purpose.
He is the only One who has overcome the grave and conquered death! He is the only One who can promise us to spend eternity in Heaven with our daughter.
No one else and nothing else can promise something as great as that. There is none like Him, there is none greater. There is no other name like His. Jesus.
O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
-1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Praising Him for Heaven,
Written by Ashley Opliger
Bridget's Mom & Executive Director of Bridget's Cradles
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Website | www.ashleyopliger.com
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