“Look,” said the Creator, “Look closely and see Me as you look out your window.”
“What is there to see?” I reply. “Barbed wire fences, arid landscape, vastness: that’s what I see everywhere I look."
“Good. Start there. And listen,” says the faint, persistent whispering from the One, the Inviting, the God Who Is Everywhere.
“I can’t,” I respond, “I cannot. I should not.”
“Yes,” He commands, “You should. Listen. Obey. I am here. Trust Me. All is well.”
I’ve been thinking about fenceposts and barbed wire for three weeks now. Writing, though, comes in stutters. I abandon the subject several times only to be pressed to continue with fragmented thoughts and incomplete phrases.
The prompting appeared again while we watched a film with one diamond takeaway: 20 seconds of courage is all I need to break free.
“Follow Me,” the Holy Voice again whispered.
“Help me,” I plead, “these barbs hurt, this wire is wrapped tightly around my heart, these fenceposts are firmly and deeply embedded in rock and clay. I am, my heart is … held captive.”
“I have come to set you free,” the echo of the Warrior God’s words invite, “Get ready. Joy is coming.”
“Okay, have Your way,” I declare, “Let freedom come.”
The fenceposts around my heart were set early on and regularly. Barbed wire strands of events connected the posts to create my imprisoning circumference of constraint. There was little room for heart growth inside its confines. Oh, that isn’t to say my heart couldn’t function in a way that looked normal, even good, to the casual observer. But the truth of the matter is that everything I did, every choice I made, every thought, and every emotion felt was from a place of confinement within a barbed wire perimeter.
Some fenceposts were set before I was born: “Conform,” “Be quiet,” “Do not take risks,” “Stay under the radar,” “Be perfect,” “Be careful,” and “Be afraid.” Some were set by others as time passed by: “You don’t have the sense of a little green acorn,” “You are worthless,” “Your voice is unimportant,” “You are a worthless piece of trash that should be thrown away,” “You are sick,” and “You aren’t valuable enough to get to know.” Some I set myself: “You are not beautiful,” “You cannot,” “You don’t deserve,” and “You are ruined.”
Each barb on the wire, a heart-piercing prison guard, enforced my imprisonment. Some barbs were more destructive than others: a mother’s abandonment; a childhood of physical abuse; generational gifting of alcoholism and family disconnection; a teenage drugging, kidnapping, and rape; persecution by the envious friend; hate-filled exclusion; and bold pronouncements of condemnation. Guilt and shame stood watch to cause me to hide, to accommodate, to pretend, to keep my head down and stay confined.
But my God, in His perfect goodness, loves me too much to leave me in this sorry state. That is the lesson for me in this landscape. No number of fenceposts or barbed wire strands are strong enough, painful enough, confining enough to keep me from knowing Him, feeling His love, or experiencing His power. He fights for me. He fights for my freedom. He invites me to allow Him to cut each barbed wire strand and remove every fencepost.
In Him there is no confinement. His boundless love heals my heart with a tender touch and soothes each barbed injury with compassion. No scars but His remain. My heart, renewed and expanded, is ready, unconstrained and free, to pour out His healing power to others. The lies of the accuser and deceiver are replaced with His truth. I am loved. I am beautiful. I am perfectly formed.
For me and you, dear reader, I say, “Come, Lord, let your powerful presence come to all those who are governed by fenceposts and barbed wire. We long for ungoverned hearts.” You, Almighty One, are able. You, Emmanuel, are here. All is well.
-Susan (of the Wildflowers)
P.S. Attached are a few pics of our recent wanderings