Three years ago today, we were headed to celebrate the fourth of July with our families in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had the car all packed up and went to McDonalds for a quick breakfast, but before we drove out of town, we had an exciting doctor’s appointment to go to. I was 20 weeks pregnant and we were scheduled to have a routine anatomy scan. We brought along Gus and Beau with us, who were 4 and 16 months, at the time. We couldn’t wait to tell them if they were getting a little brother or a little sister. Little did we know, we wouldn’t find out if we were having a boy or a girl; we would find out that the baby we were expecting in November no longer had a heart beat and would have to be delivered stillborn.
Because of the way the holiday fell, the earliest we could schedule the delivery was three days later. My doctor knew we were headed to Tulsa and said if we wanted, we could take the trip. We decided it would be best. We wanted to be with family. We left the doctor’s office, set the kids up in the car with their movies and headphones, and started our four-hour drive to Tulsa. I know it was God that we had that trip planned. We had four hours to cry, to talk, to pray, and to cry some more.
The next day was July 4th and we wanted to keep things as normal as possible for Gus. We went to a pool party at my sister’s, we took him to see the movie Brave, we hit up the firework stand and shot fireworks, and we went to see a firework show—all as planned. I laughed and smiled and enjoyed seeing our families, but in the back of my mind I could only think about the little lifeless body that was in my womb.
I know that every year when it’s time to celebrate America’s freedom I’ll think of July 4th of that year—2012. I’ll remember how unbelievably hard that day was. I’ll remember taking a shower and completely breaking down when I saw my pregnant tummy. I’ll remember the dread I felt knowing that in just a few days I would have to deliver a stillborn baby. I’ll remember wondering when the tears would stop. I’ll remember staying in the car at the firework stand so no one would see me and ask me when my baby was due. I’ll remember sitting on the lawn of my brother’s church and watching fireworks shoot into the sky and wondering why this was happening to us. I’ll remember all of that—and I’ll celebrate.
I’ll celebrate America’s freedom, but more importantly I’ll celebrate my freedom. I’ll celebrate the fact that on July 3, 2012, when we received terrible news from the doctor, we immediately turned to God and He began to unveil more of Himself to us than we had ever seen before.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT) But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. The Spirit of the Lord was with us when we found out, when we drove to Tulsa, when we watched fireworks that night; and He’s still with me today, setting me free. Free from fear, free from sadness, free from doubt, free from confusion, free from sin, free from guilt, free from the curse of the law. I’m not a slave to the things that Satan would love for me to become a slave to, after losing Felix, and it’s because I turned to the Lord. I welcomed His Spirit into the situation, He came in and He brought freedom with Him.
Where He goes, freedom goes! If you are in bondage to something, turn to the Lord, invite Him in, and let His Spirit set you free.
This year when I’m sitting in the itchy grass, watching the fireworks light up the sky, I’ll be thinking about all that God has done in my life since 2012 and thanking Him for setting me free!