Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Courting comes with at least a few boundaries, which I compare to fences...

You see, I use electric fencing. A certain voltage runs through the fence charger from a battery and sends pulses along two strands of poly wire enclosing the field. It's purpose: to zap anything touching it and the ground.

Cows prefer to think of themselves as 'above the rules'. You tell a cow to do something, and it will do exactly the opposite unless it was their idea in the first place. Even if it was, they take fiendish delight in orneriness just for the sake of being difficult.

One evening, I haltered our milker-mamas and the new baby and walked them home along the road... leaving the three yearlings in the field. Halfway through milking, I hear Caleb's, "...um... Emily... EMILY".

Three bellowing heifers galloped up the driveway, herded by one of our cattle-raising neighbors. I didn't say a word, remained calm and tight-lipped, opened the gate and gave each a slap on the rump and they went into the field.

In their anxiety to be with the rest of the herd, they had broken through the fencing. Perhaps the grounding rod wasn't in contact with enough moisture on that dry day, or maybe a branch was shorting out the wire... Or maybe it wouldn't have mattered.

I naturally want to fight rules and boundaries, just because they are there. Look at all that roadside vegetation and freedom waiting for me on the other side! And I have to be content with my acre of vetch, clover, and grass. Can't people understand that as a mature Christian, I wouldn't run too far away, and these rules are totally unnecessary?

What my cows don't realize is that those cars racing along the road outside their pasture can do damage. Major damage. They don't realize that a cow running down the road has more chance of being stolen. They are too busy wanting freedom from restraint to realize the purposes behind it.

In the same way, I'm too busy fighting the fact that there are boundaries to stop and appreciate some of the other reasons they exist.

When Isaac went to obtain both sets of parental permission and blessing before even telling me of his interest, I react by wondering, "why couldn't you ask me first? It is ultimately my decision, not theirs, since you obviously aren't wanting to marry my parents..." Others would tell me it wasn't fair that I did not know beforehand, that they couldn't have done it like that. What they do not know is that the very reason my decision was easier, was because I knew both that God speaks through parents, and that all doors were already wide open. That my natural desire had a deeper foundation I could depend on.

Sometimes certain boundaries are like cross-fencing: those single strands of flimsy wire within a field to keep cows from eating the next days' grass. To a cow, these wires don't keep them safe, there's no reason that they can see for keeping them from eating more of their OWN grass, and they are much easier to break through if hunger strikes.

Like Isaac and I don't go driving alone together - in my mind I think, "we are two Christians, have been shown trustworthy, and have just begun a relationship, I don't think it's a big deal right now"... and I can't see beyond myself to realize we are setting an example for our church and families by the things we do.

Thank you, Isaac, for your example to me.

Thank You, my heavenly Father, for showing me what it means to respect fences.


Christi said...

Isn't it weird how me fight against the very things that keep us safe? Very good reminder. Thanks!

Jillian said...

Thank-you Emily.

Hannah said...

That is neat, Emily. :)