After my divorce, my children and I moved to a new home, which has a spacious rooftop deck that I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. The only problem was that it was open. This was less than ideal with kids, and quite frankly, is dangerous under any circumstances.
Obviously, a fence would be needed, and as I signed my name on the purchase contract, I knew that that was one of the first renovations I would make.
Not long after taking possession of the house, as winter came to an end, and the long, warm summer days began, I had the fence built. A few weeks later, I got a letter from the municipality informing me that the fence is there illegally because I didn’t have a permit to build it, and also because it violates something. What it violates has never been made clear to me.
I am extremely frustrated by all of this because it’s really a non-issue. The fence is not blocking anyone’s view of anything other than inside my home, and this restricted access has perturbed my elderly and very nosy neighbor since I moved in, which, is the real issue and the catalyst for him contacting the municipality. Also, it serves as a safety measure that’s necessary for me to fully enjoy my property.
So while once I was praying for Jesus to take the drill, my current prayer is JESUS BE A FENCE. Literally.
The dictionary defines fence as:
- A structure serving as an enclosure, a barrier or a boundary.
- A barrier intended to prevent escape (don’t want anybody falling off my roof) or intrusion (don’t want anybody climbing on my roof) or to mark a boundary (don’t want anybody I didn’t invite in my space)
- A means of protection
The fence issue is the physical picture of what’s going on in my life spiritually. One of the concerns I had when my marriage first ended was that I wasn’t “covered”. My ex-husband was not a Christian, so while I never thought of him as my spiritual covering or authority, I did see him as my physical and emotional protector; my covering. Ironically, he was far from my protector. He was an emotional abuser of epic proportions, and I have built an emotional barrier to prevent escape (don’t want nostalgia of those rare moments of happiness to cause me to go back), intrusion, and to mark a boundary (don’t want anybody hoovering* their way back into my life).
Now, however, I am enclosed. I am protected. I am covered. 2 Chronicles 14:7 says, “ ‘Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God…and He has given us rest on every side.’ So they built and prospered.”
My home is meant to be an enclosure and a means of protection not just for me, but also for others. A haven for my children, and for the women who I am called to walk beside and encourage as they seek healing and restoration after they’ve experienced divorce due to adultery, abuse and/or abandonment.
And as God has enclosed and protected me and those around me, I have encountered anger from those on the outside, and constant attempts to try to break down the barriers. To those who try to encroach on my physical and spiritual barriers, I say, “No, you cannot have access to my dwelling place, nor can you penetrate this boundary, because Jesus is my fence and He encloses and protects me”.
Jesus, be a fence. Amen.
* Hoovering is a manipulation tactic frequently used by narcissists to attempt to re-connect or “suck” a person back into an abusive relationship after they have left.