The snow fences I pass while driving through Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska are no longer a mystery to me. The first time I saw them I was passing through Wyoming on a cross-country trip in the mid-1990’s and I was baffled. I saw short sections of stand-alone wooden fencing, roughly 4′ high by 100′ in length. “Surely the cattle would find their way around the ends of the fence sections and escape”, I thought. How odd that the fence wasn’t one continuous barrier between ranch and roadway. I know now that these structures are used to prevent snowdrift formation and reduce blowing snow on highways, hence the name “snow fence”.
As I traveled the Western states last month and saw those lonesome, intriguing structures, I thought of my own fences, my boundaries and barriers. It took me years to accept that I had the God-given right to construct boundaries against those who had or would harm me, and longer still to actually install my fences. It’s been a process for me, a costly one at that. This past spring I had prayed for God to remove toxic people from my life – those people who took me for granted, who took advantage of me and my grace-filled heart, those who didn’t treat me as a beloved child of God, and people who had truly wounded me. As He revealed truth to me, I (haltingly, painfully, sadly) let go of these people, releasing them to God.
I’ve lost so much this year: relationships ended, friendships gone, marriage over. I have gained so much more though: freedom, independence, and opportunity to grow and explore and blossom. Adventures and new experiences are mine for the making. I’ve taken down fear-filled fences that blocked my oyster-world future and installed boundaries against all who would hold me down or back. It’s as scary as driving through a blizzard in a Wyoming winter, but I’m doing it, by the grace and strength of God.