This summer some friends took me to the beach to celebrate my birthday. They went all out and decorated our canopy with balloons and 'Happy Birthday' signs. We had a great time. We ate, lounged, talked, laughed, danced, and splashed in the ocean.
As we splashed in the ocean, I looked to my right and that is when I saw her. I didn't know her, but I knew her. All I saw was the back of her frame and I immediately knew. She had Down's Syndrome. I waited for her to turn around to confirm what my heart already knew.
Next I did what I always do now that my eyes have been opened. I immediately went into praying for her and her family. Prior to learning that our Riley Elizabeth was stillborn as a result of Down's Syndrome, I did not think much about those who lived with that reality. I didn't want to think about it because it was too sad.
I did what many of us do when we see pain in the world, we turn our backs to shield ourselves. Maybe if we don't think about it, we can escape it happening to us. Well I am here to say no matter how many times I turned my back, that reality still visited my household.
I thank God for opening my eyes, because now I can pray for the families who have a hard and beautiful road to travel as they care for a loved one with Down's Syndrome. I can pray for their hard days, the days when they feel all alone, the days when they are exhausted, when they wonder why this was their lot in life. I can pray that God would send support, resources, days of refreshing, and that they can find the joy in the life they have been given.
What has God opened your eyes to since your pregnancy or infant loss? Use it as an opportunity to pray for someone else and remember that no pain is ever wasted.