I remember running through the nineteen acres of farmland I grew up on, all surrounded by barbed wire. I didn’t much think of the barbed wire as I leapt over the very top rung, free flying through the air, carefree and determined to meet the day’s adventure head on.
It was mostly my little sister and I, racing each other to the barn, where bails of hay awaited us. Those bails would be turned into castles with intricacies only she and I truly appreciated…being the master builders, we were. When my brother got older, he also joined in, though he was only eight when we left that farm. My sister and I definitely missed out on being able to use our baby brother for his strength in schlepping some of those hay bails to the tippy top of our castle walls…
The barbed wire kept the female cows and horses we owned safely inside and it mostly kept the bulls in adjoining pastures out. That is…unless it was mating season…and during that time my dad did warn to watch out for the testosterone driven animal on the other side of the fence.
I never really remember thinking about that barbed wire. I also don’t really remember being afraid of the bulls. I remember seeing them on the other side of the fence and even wondering if they would be able to charge through. I remember staying out at the barn building castles for hours, imagining, dreaming, giggling. I don’t remember being scared or considering myself brave at all.
It’s much different now. Even thinking back on that time, my mind begins to wonder…where there snakes in those hay bails? Mice? What if that bull would have come charging? What would two little girls have done? How is it that back then…I trusted the barbed wire to keep me safe and I didn’t give leaping over top of it a second thought? I didn’t think about getting snagged by its sharp point. I didn’t think about ripping my shorts. I didn’t think about cutting my skin and bleeding. I was brave and I didn’t even know it. Or was I just innocent, untainted by the fear that grips…the older you get.
When I saw the above picture, it took me back to that farm. It also shocked me at how inviting the picture was and how much it evoked in my soul.
As I reach out in this writing journey, I am afraid. Putting myself out here for all the world to see and to potentially reject is scary. It is quite a bit more frightening than watching that big bull on the other side of the barbed wire on that farm I grew up on.
And, it’s not just about the writing. It’s about me. As I look at the barbed wire in my life now, the safety net that keeps me in and also keeps “the bad guys” out, I realize how very vulnerable and “not brave” I am. Why is it that I cannot just trust that HE will not let me fall?
When Jesus is my safety net, how can I be afraid, you ask?
Because, though I am much older and one would think, wiser…I am now tainted by the world and its voices of rejection and ridicule. They are loud. They are hate-filled and they are much more intimidating that a bull trying to bust through a barbed wire fence.
I know that God made me unique, I know that I am me for a reason and that God has a story to tell through my writing and my words. I also know that, unlike when I was a little girl running free through the nineteen acres of farmland, I am now carrying a lifetime of real.
Just like the woman who was hemorrhaging in the bible…the one who saw Jesus and she knew that He could heal her 12 years of bleeding, of being ostracized, of being an outcast, of being labeled as unclean…I find myself reaching…reaching for his cloak…begging for healing from the wounds that only He and I know about. But I know that reaching out to him, being brave like that? That might hurt.
It won’t hurt like being snagged by the barbed wire, even to the point of blood running down my sweet little 10-year-old leg. It won’t hurt like my legs might ache from running so fast to get home after seeing that bull charge the barbed wire…not getting through…but forcing my hand at fleeing…heart pounding, legs scurrying, leaping over tip-top of that barbed wire fence into the safety of my dad’s arms. It won’t hurt like the rash that sometimes followed a day of hay filled scratchy fun.
No, it will hurt like this. Stepping out, for all to see, baring my soul, putting it out there, knowing that what I am doing is against the grain…reaching for that cloak…that is trailing behind Him as He walks ahead of me…I know that if I do, I will be healed and that risk is worth it to me. So, though I am hurting as I see the disapproval, the shame, the “shaking my heads (SMH),” the whispers with cut eyes, the questioning of motives…all of it…is worth it.
By being brave, by reaching out and touching his cloak…I am healed. I am free. No matter what sharp soul spike is hurled at me – He looks back around at me and says, “Who touched my robe?”
“Who touched my robe?” His disciples said, “What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you’re asking, ‘Who touched me?’ Dozens have touched you!” But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.” Mark 5:30-34
“Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”
Today, I am telling you, this being brave, this writing journey, this putting it out here, is much more scary than that bull on the other side of the barbed wire. Being vulnerable, seeing the “likes” or not, the “shares” or not, the affirmations or not, it’s hard, I am human. I am weak and I am strong. I am scared and I am brave…all at the same time. It is a risk. And, I have learned something about risks in this life, they are worth taking. Especially with those risks involve being brave for Jesus.
At the end of myself, and my fear and hurt…I see Him, on the cross. Now that…was brave…and that hurt. And look where it got me today. Wow, was that worth it…not just for me, but for you too.