I remember the problem of barbed wire when I was young. To get to the other side, you could crawl under, but your shirt might be snagged and you would be caught face down in the dirt. Or, you could find a post and climb ladder-like on the wire; however, at times, your inner thigh or the shorts could be punctured. Ouch. Or, you could separate two strands of wire by holding the top wire up, while you found room to swing your legs over and through. In such a precarious position, you could get the barbs either on the top or the bottom. Double ouch. Such a pain, the barbed wire fence.
My siblings and I usually used a different method of crossing; while they were long and lean, they tended to use the ladder pole method. Since I was short and small, I would typically crawl under. However, every so often we would try the different methods, sometimes surving and sometimes not.
At the NILD conference, I had to cross a barbed wire fence. Small groups of people from the same school, or those who had gone through a training level together, clustered together. A common understanding permeated the ranks that all children deserve a Christian education and that Christian education was the one that needed to adjust to accomodate all types of learners. I was an outsider from a foreign land. I had to shake off old shyness and join their ranks in order to learn.
At times, it worked. Two Pennsylvania ladies sat in the same spot, and one was pleasant enough to answer my basic questions. Other times, the ladies I sat by were turned toward one another, and I would smile as they glanced my way and away. Sometimes, just walking through the hallway where the break was happening, made me feel like I wanted to hurdle the fence and run, back to the solitude in a proverbial covered woods.
During one lunch, I asked God to direct my table selection in order to provide someone to help give me more guidance. I sat down, and the woman next to me happened to work for a college; she didn't have training either; we really couldn't provide much to one another except social support. However, the woman on the other side started talking to me, and I slid under unscathed to the other side. She was trained, older, went later to become a School Psychologist (one of the options I'm thinking about), and has a son with Asperger's. As she talked, I smiled. God is good.
God allowed us some more time throughout the conference; she was even on my very early shuttle van to the airport. We were able to eat breakfast together and chat more. I have her e-mail and contact information; she acted as a willing mentor to me and is willing to do so in the future.
At times, when you cross under a fence, you are escaping either a mad bull, or a frightening neighbor owner, or a sense of being lost after having wandered too far. By going through the barbed wire during these meetings, I felt God reiterating this message to me again: Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:3-4. I pray that we can all dwell in His safe pasture and cross over, through, or under the barbed wire which wishes to keep us confined. Amen.