“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
As I sat this morning in the stillness of my house, exhausted from a 14 hour drive home from Tennessee, I let my mind absorb the events of the weekend. Surrounded by people I barely know as well as people who have judged me and found me wanting, I felt none of the usual anxiety that occurs at these events. For so many years my mistakes have been a definer of who I am, dragging behind me in an ever increasing length of chain.
Before I left this time, knowing what was in store, I sat with my Father for a while. I poured out my heart to Him, reminding him of so many painful times that had come from days like the ones that lay before me. He whispered to me to remember my life verse and the promises He made to me. John 14:27 washed over me, soothing me, comforting me. I felt His arms around me reminding me that I am His. I am forgiven. I am changed. I am set free from all the past shame.
The weekend was a blur of activity as weddings usually are. Dinners to meet people who would now be linked to my life by the joining of my son and his beautiful bride. Lots of hand shaking, small talk, smiling, answering questions of who, where, what, when, and how. Explanations of which children belonged to me together with conversations about future events to meet even more people. Being one of the photographers gave me a window into the flurry of emotions that played across the faces of people who now were thrown together in an unlikely gathering.
Each step along the way, each moment of the long tiring day, I felt His love pouring out of me. I felt Him filling me with His spirit, guiding my words, giving meaning to my smiles as I moved through the hours. I realized the truthfulness of the statement “when you are full, you overflow into the lives of others” (Edna Ellison). Because I truly believe the words that He has taught me John 13:34, I found that all the years of bitterness and trying to prove myself no longer applied. I moved through the day with a serenity that only He could have provided me.
At the end of the night when I poured out my thanks to God in complete gratitude I realized that as long as I had His love on my face, on my lips, in my heart, there was no one that could withstand the love that poured out of me. My smile was real, my heart was genuine. I held no long standing grudges over past slights or harmful words. I came away realizing that I was happy. Happy with who I am, happy with who I have become and happy with who I will be tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. I am a daughter of a King. Found, cleaned up, and set free to share Him with everyone who comes in contact with me. Whether they like it or not they are covered in His love that comes pouring out of the overflow from my heart. And that is a fantastic way to end a chapter of my life that has kept me from enjoying the future.
Too often we let our past define us. How has Christ helped you move out of a painful past? What is your life scripture? Does it flow freely from your lips? Are you so full of Christ that His light overflows from you? I pray that this will be so. I pray that we will all overflow with His love and mercy so that it fills up the life of everyone around us. Warm hugs from icy Texas,
photography by Michelle Welch, all rights reserved