Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Don’t Fence Me In



I’m a country girl. I mean, I didn’t grow up on a farm or anything like that, but the housing addition I grew up in was out in the middle of the country, next to a lake, surrounded by woods and, beyond that, farm pastures and ranch land. The neighborhood itself was pretty spread out, with houses that sat on lots of an acre or more, the majority of which offered at least a glimpse of the lake, and plenty of empty, wooded lots, teaming with wildlife, scattered in between. There were few fences of any kind, and no privacy fences. You had to drive at least a dozen miles to get to the nearest grocery store. Life moved a little more slowly. There was plenty of space to roam and stretch out. Plenty of room to breathe.

When we bought our house in the city back in 2008, it was so exciting, all the hustle and bustle, being right in the middle of the action. We have multiple grocery stores within walking distance, not to mention restaurants and takeout places and drug stores and gas stations. We pretty much never need to travel more than a mile from our house unless we just want to. It was nice. For a while. But it didn’t take long for it to start feeling a little too exciting, too much action, too closed in. I feel claustrophobic here, and my soul yearns to return to the country, or at least someplace with a little elbow room, where the view beyond the fence offers something other than more fences and rooftops.

I’ve been struggling with this for quite a while now, puzzling over why God hasn’t responded to my yearnings and answered my prayers by opening a door for us to move out of the city. Why He seems to want us planted right here, seemingly indefinitely. I feel so limited here. So stuck. So hemmed in.

That feeling doesn’t just come from my physical location. I’m limited in many other ways. Chronic illness. ADD. Introversion. Only having so much energy and focus to give each day before it runs out and I become useless. God’s been working in me to get me to accept my limitations, even embrace them, recognize how some of them can be flipped around to become strengths.

But this morning I realized something: limitations are not limits. God doesn’t give us limitations in order to fence us in and place boundaries on what we’re able to accomplish, but to provide us with opportunities to rely on His grace and strength in order to overcome our limitations and accomplish more than we ever even dreamed of.

For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:10 (emphasis added)

I’m coming to realize that God has us planted here because this is where He’s growing us. And I have faith that when we’re mature enough, he’ll transplant us somewhere else — somewhere with plenty of room to unfurl our leaves and achieve full blossom. Meanwhile, I’m learning to see beauty beyond our fence, interspersed with the chimneys and satellite dishes. And I’m learning to find joy right here in my own back yard. And I’m learning that the more I invite Him in and rest in His grace, the more I’m able to breathe, right where I am.


  1. BettieG

    Hi Jean, I’m your neighbor over at TheFaithBarista site. I love this thought: “And I’m learning to find joy right here in my own back yard. And I’m learning that the more I invite Him in and rest in His grace, the more I’m able to breathe, right where I am.” I too am learning those lessons from the Lord in my own season of Chronic Illness & Rest. Isn’t it so good to know that we are never asked to walk these paths alone? You will be in my prayers as I walk thru this season too. Blessings to you today!

    • Jean Marie Bauhaus

      Thank you so much, Bettie! I’ll be sure to pray for you, too.

  2. Jean Marie Bauhaus

    Reblogged this on Daydream Believer and commented:

    It’s been a little over a year since I wrote this post. Oh, what a difference a year makes. God is faithful, y’all. I’ll resume some sort of regular blogging schedule next week (…hopefully) and tell y’all all about how He’s answered the cry of my heart and made a way out of our wilderness. Hallelujah!

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