Over the weekend, I had the privilege of participating in the Baby Steps 5K Memorial Run. I don't want to get bogged down in the details so I will start by saying...yes, I ran it...don't let outward appearances fool you. I even surprised myself. The best part about it was running it with my oldest son, Cooper. It was our first, but hopefully not our last 5K together!!
This run benefits the Amelia Center in Birmingham, AL. The Amelia center provides grief counseling and support for families who have lost children. I saw family, friends and community coming together to show their love and support. The final stretch of the race just before the finish line was lined on either side with the names of the children who are now heaven. The families formed teams in memory of their beloved children and I could see all the friends and family that turned out based on the different t-shirts they were wearing. I didn't know each individual story but I was moved nonetheless.
There was a balloon release at the end of the race and each family released one balloon in memory of their child. The balloons were all released at the same time and we all watched as the balloons floated heavenward...so many balloons. I felt my throat wanting to close up as I choked back tears, all of us standing there looking heavenward. It was very symbolic because where else can we look but heavenward when our world is torn apart by the unimaginable...our worst fears coming true.
I know some of these families, I don't know them well, but I am getting to know them. They continue to love the Lord and live for him and they have such a kind sweet spirit about them. I know they would give anything to take care of their babies the way I am able to take care of Sophie Kate. That is not lost on me.
Their "mission statement" for lack of a better word is "Taking Baby Steps to mend broken hearts." Very appropriate I think, it was my privilege to be a part of such an event, to be able to support such a worthy cause and an honor to call these folks friends.
Isaiah 42:16 "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do, I will not forsake them."