About six months ago I met Ashley Opliger, when I moved across the street from her. Our friendship grew quickly and soon she asked me to help her with a small project called Bridget’s Cradles. Her home based ministry which started in a nursery that was never used was inspired by Ashley’s daughter, Bridget, who had passed away at 24 weeks, still in the womb. When I first started helping it was strange to think that we would be helping parents who have lost their children before they have even had a chance to meet them. I have been lucky enough to have never endured the pain of a loss of a child, but I imagine that it would cause me to question why. Why would the Lord taken away my child? After spending time with Ashley and so many other women, I have really been able to understand the depths of pain and sorrow that accompany the loss of a child in the womb.
Not even a year ago, before I had even moved across the street, Ashley had that exact question. Things could have ended differently, but then something wonderful happened. Instead of choosing anger or defeat, Ashley allowed the Lord to work in her life to spread love and the gospel. Through the heartbreak of Bridget’s death, she created a new ministry that would help other families in the same situation. Thus, the birth of Bridget’s Cradles.
When I first learned about the fledgling ministry it only had a handful of helpers and reached families at Wesley Medical Center. However, from the way Ashley talked about Bridget’s Cradles I knew that the Lord had placed it on her heart to touch families not just at Wesley Medical Center, but all over the country and the world. Such a tremendous goal seemed almost unattainable. How would she grow such a small ministry from one hospital to countless ones across the country? She didn’t know how, but trusted that the Lord would provide. In the few short weeks after I began to help her, that is exactly what happened. The tiny ministry began to grow and spread like a wildfire.
It all started with an interview with a local television channel. Ashley prayed for weeks, nervous about what would happen and how Bridget’s Cradles would change. However, even in the midst of uncertainty she put her faith and hope in God. The same day that the story aired it exploded and was even picked up by Yahoo! news. Word spread, not just in Wichita, KS, but around the country about the organization that knits cradles for second trimester pregnancy loss. Overnight, Bridget’s Cradles grew from a handful of family and friends to a collection of volunteers from around the country. We even received emails from as far away as England and Africa, people everywhere seemed to connect with the story and were eager to help.
Since that time I have had the privilege of watching the ministry continue to grow and change. We have now partnered in hospitals around the state of Kansas and are eagerly awaiting the opportunities to move into other states. Everyday new volunteers start knitting or crocheting more cradles to meet the growing demands. Miracle after miracle seem to bolster Bridget’s Cradles forward as such generous people have come into Ashley’s life to help support different aspects of the growing ministry. It seems that every time a need arises, someone new steps in, ready to help. God’s influence seems apparent in every aspect of this journey and I find it amazing and humbling to see all that he can accomplish through one person. That none of this would have been possible if Ashley hadn’t said “I will do anything for you, Lord.” I look forward to seeing what amazing things will happen to Bridget’s Cradles in the years to come.
To read about the ministry, visit