The snow fencing is up! I say that with great enthusiasm…because it is finished!
The task is a family affair each November. It’s an activity that all of us dread doing, even though it only takes a few hours of our time.
We watch the weather forecast and try to pick the ideal time to put it up AFTER the leaves are off the trees and have been blown across the yard by the pre-winter storms but BEFORE the ground freezes solidly. If we don’t take both of these factors into consideration, then we will have a few issues present themselves.
My role in this task has changed over the years. These days, it is my responsibility to mark where the rows of fencing will be placed and to drop the posts on the grass. I used to have to share in the responsibility of pounding the oh-so-many stakes into the ground, but having two strong, teenage boys, my husband can now turn to them when his shoulders need a rest.
The fence makes a difference. It’s a filter for the wildly blowing snow and regular white-out conditions that happen around here. Without it, the winter squalls would put our snow blower to even more use just to get anyone into or out of our driveway.
As I watched my husband and boys put up three long rows of the fencing last week (after doing my part with the posts), I got to thinking about how it works. You see, each year is another opportunity to experiment with the placement of the rows and the distance between them to maximize the amount of snow that is stopped short of the driveway. I’m convinced I still haven’t found the perfect formula, so — much to my husband’s chagrin — I adjust the placement a tad each year.
The slats in the fence works as a filter to stop the blowing snow. The slats slow it down so the snow will drop after going through them. Having three, set-apart rows stops most of it before it makes its way to the driveway, but it doesn’t capture the snow that falls…only the snow that blows. It works very well in reducing the amount of snow we need to blow or plow from the driveway, but the effects are usually gone by the end of January when the fencing is, typically, almost covered by the snow it has been stopping for two months.
How about my life’s filter?
Does it work well?
Do I periodically need to re-adjust the filter to maximize the amount of “stuff” that gets through?
My filter is my faith and my daily walk with the Lord.
Many years ago, my Sunday filter looked a little different from my Monday-through-Saturday filter. My church clothes, my church attitude and my Sunday morning routine stopped some of life’s challenges from getting through, but it didn’t stop enough. Too much was able to get through for six-and-a-half days a week, and the Sunday morning filter was pretty porous.
There came a time when my Sunday morning filter also became a Sunday afternoon filter and even a Monday filter. Those two full days became the days I looked forward to the most. I don’t think I quite realized why at the time, but, looking back, I can see why now.
The number of filtered days continued to grow, and within those days, there were certain times of the day in which I found myself CHOOSING to see life through yet another new kind of filter. I wanted more of it. I wanted more of life to look that way…the way it did when it passed through the new filter.
Life is not perfect, nor will it ever be. The Filter I use today is able to “stop and drop” many of the challenges which come into my days, but not all of them. That filter is my faith and my daily walk with the Lord. It is here I find His Truths and His hope for my life.
John 16:33 tells me there will be times of trouble, but it also tells me that in Him, I can find peace. I need to trust in this.
Although there is a futuristic aspect to Psalm 46, I can and do draw strength from it…especially verse 1, where I am told He is an ever-present help:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
I need to trust in this.
Then, there is the verse that has become a foundational source of my hope. It is a promise from the Lord which speaks the loudest to me in my daily walk. I’ve learned to rely on Him and apply it so I can live in such a way where it’s okay for me to surrender my hopes to Him, because I can and do trust He is working ALL of my circumstances for my good and for His glory:
Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
There are some challenges which make their way through my Filter and need a little more focus to lessen their potential damage. And, yes, there are some happenings that are pretty tough for me to deal with. One filter won’t stop some of these; but the second and third filters in place can help to lessen the impact. I’m thankful for the people, the worship, the truths, the mentors and the reminders which act as filters in my life.
Remember that falling snow? The fence only stops what is blowing, not what is falling. There are still times in which we’ll need to clear away the snow. There are still times in which we’ll need to deal with the challenges directly.
What is YOUR filter? What is your snow fence?
If you aren’t sure, or if it seems fairly porous and allows too many challenges through, or if you really don’t have one, I’d gently encourage you to take some quiet time to think about it. Life on this planet will never be perfect for any of us. Never. Struggles are guaranteed…even struggles in which we did not bring upon ourselves, but ones which still impact us because they impact loved ones.
When we have a filter in place — and it is reliable and less permeable — then we can always have hope.