Joyfully Free!

I hadn’t seen these photos in decades.

Yes, decades.

As I surveyed the various images that displayed moments of joy, seasons of productive, gratifying work, and events of celebration, I realized that none of these memories were things I even think about anymore.

None of them. I hadn’t considered these times in years and years and years.

Instead, I realized that memories of emotional abuse, pain and heartbreak, sadness and loss, and betrayal upon betrayal had completely overshadowed the happier times that these photos had captured.

Yet, as I perused photo after photo, my stomach didn’t lurch. My heart didn’t ache. My mind didn’t race. I didn’t fear.

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I’m not sure where I was at the time this photo was taken, but it shows I was happy and engaged before the shadow of a very sad and painful season descended.

That’s saying something.

Because, I recognize that a number of years ago, I would have really struggled to view any one of the photos that lay scattered before my eyes.

But not today.

Today, my soul is free from that difficult, heart-sore time.

My God has done a thorough and magnificent work of healing in my once-broken and shattered heart.

God showed me the way to His comforting and secure love. Over these many years, He prompted me to release each care, each hurt, each disappointment, each betrayal, and each deception that I had experienced during that season into His hands. And as I did so, my God asked me to forgive and forgive completely.

I can tell you that I spent many hours with my God asking Him to show me the way to love.

He offered these words to me:

Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

New International Version, 1 Corinthians 13: 5-7

And here I am.

As I shuffled between one photo after another, I realized that I wasn’t accounting for the many wrongs I endured during that time. Instead, I was grateful. I was living out the words of exhortative love from 1 Corinthians 13!

I had no dishonoring thoughts.

I wasn’t looking at the photos with a feeling of self-justification.

I wasn’t mad.

I wasn’t listing one wrongful act after another.

I wasn’t wishing anyone harm.

Instead, my God protected me, instilled His everlasting hope in me, and enabled me to persevere and overcome trial upon trial upon trial from someone who should have protected, cherished, honored and loved me all of my days, but couldn’t.

These decades-old photos showed me how far the Lord brought me and how secure I am in His enduring, protective, blessed love.

My dear friends, I’ve decided to share this brief, incomplete window into my life to offer a word of encouragement to you. We live during a time when it’s very easy to hold offense, remain bitter, wallow in disappointment, be paralyzed with fear, demand our rights, be entitled, be angry, and list wrong upon wrong upon wrong. We put ourselves upfront and center of how we think our lives should be and if someone – like the person in my old photos – harms us, we feel we may be justified in our protests and demands and even desires for evil or harm to befall such adversaries.

My dear friends, this isn’t the way to the love of Christ. The love of Christ frees us, empowers us, and secures us.

His love honors.

His love uplifts.

His love is self-controlled.

His love keeps no record of wrong.

His love delights in truth.

His love protects.

His love is trustworthy.

His love offers hope.

His love perseveres.

His love forgives.

I embraced every facet of Christ’s love at that difficult time and because of His care, the old photos are evidence of the blessed, complete freedom I have in Him!

I have no record of the wrong doing that was done to me. And that’s because of Christ.

Is there any harm that has been done to you that you need to release? Seek Christ.

Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Will you experience the freedom found in His assuring love?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to hold no one to account anymore and experience the love of Christ in an all-encompassing way?

You can.

Live into the truth of His word and be joyfully free:

Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

4 thoughts on “Joyfully Free!

  1. Heather. Thank you thank you thank you for this.
    For every single beautiful word. This is for all of us. You are so transparent, so open and a testament of what God does in our lives, how He heals us and fills our hearts with humble love I have to admit I felt a tear or two well up in my eyes. I am in the midst of a journey right now and God has shown up every step of the way. You are a treasure and I wish I could give you a hug right now.

    1. Thank you so much, Nancy. Sending a hug your way, my dear! Love, heather

  2. Amazing writing and insight! I hope I can reach the place that you have and release the hurt that someone did to me! But I will keep reading this and work on forgiving.

    1. I pray that you will be able to do just that, Sondra! With love, heather

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