I’ve never liked fences.
Perhaps it’s the memory of running full speed into a barbed wire fence with my eyes shut. I wrecked my new dress with a symmetrical tear, lots of blood, and acquired the longest scar of my life. Blind’s man bluff gone wrong, my friends.
Or maybe my uncomfortable association lies in childhood history. For whatever reason, my 7 (or 8) year old self thought it would nice to look at the moon. It was dark and I was supposed to be in bed. Instead of glancing out the window, I decided I should gaze at the moon in it’s full glory, outside…preferably by the pond, where the moon could be reflected in the water.
So, with my snow-white teddy in hand, I walked down the hill, slipped under the fence, and made my way to the water. After my fill of moonshine (don’t worry, no pun intended), I decided to go back to bed. I was halfway home and about to cross the fence when a cow charged me. I’d run to the right and it would run ahead and block me. I’d run to the left, and it started head butting me. Through angry tears, I kept yelling “Daisy!”, and finally a disgruntled Daisy let me through. I climbed the hill sobbing and dragging my once-white teddy behind me. I know, I know…sort of a pitiful image.
Despite my vivid recollections, I really doubt that memories of childish fear and pain started any irrational ideas based on a row of sharp wires stapled to wooden posts.
But fences trigger something in me.
In the past, if someone wondered what made me afraid…it sounds really silly, but the thought of me being controlled by fear…is what scared me.
To remedy this, I made regular visits to the blood donor clinic – mostly because needles frighten the flip out of me. Donating blood requires giant needles…all the better to face your fear with, right? I fainted a lot. Over a dozen visits later, the clinic called and said not to bother coming back. They could never find my veins anyway. I didn’t complain.
But since the accident, I’ve faced a lot of fears that I couldn’t avoid by not showing up at a blood clinic. Things I didn’t have to struggle with before. Honestly, I don’t see the accident as a bad thing, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it didn’t turn my life on its side.
Where I used to see my world as borderless and exciting…it suddenly became a place of rest and quiet constraint. There’s nothing bad about that, but if you know me, you’ll know that’s not how I roll.
The first few weeks of bed rest were so sweet. I sensed the Holy Spirit in a special way and I saw a new side of God’s heart.
Then, as I began to be able to do more, I started encountering “fences”…obstacles. It was a feeling that I hadn’t had in a while. Like I was trapped. Stuck. At a dead end. Not fitting in. If I’m going to be honest, I felt a panic inside…which my family will probably understand as a “deadpan, not-talking right now” expression.
I’m not planning on getting emotional with this blog, but I am all about that honest life.
The other day I was out for a walk, which is my favourite thing to do with my Heavenly Daddy, and we started talking about obstacles. I told Him how much I disliked the “fences in my life”. He replied by asking me what fences were for.
Then I understood.
Fences show who possesses the land…it’s a mark of ownership. God owns this place. This time. He’s sovereign over what I see as obstacles.
Fences protect. Scripture talks about what happens when a “hedge” is broken, when it’s not supposed to be. It’s super not nice (Ecclesiastes 10:8, Isaiah 5:5).
Fences keep you where you’re supposed to be. When the season changes, so will the pasture. New places will open – the boundaries will expand and there will be greater freedom.
So I’m changing my perspective (well, I’m working on it). Fences don’t need to be something I give any power of fear to. Instead, I’ve decided to see the obstacles in my life as:
a. moments to cherish extra time with Him
b. God’s heart being extra-protective of me, a mark of love
c. learning what resting in Christ looks like
(photo credit: Emily Jost)
This recovery time, this waiting…is a quiet action. It’s not life on pause, almost ready to start…but rather it’s practicing patience as I move forward with small steps of trust. Its not being stuck or frozen…it’s being obedient to what I know and then resting as God handles what I’m not ready for yet.