Inside our garage there’s a large section of a fence along the wall, looming over my car when I climb out. It’s a trial run of a much larger project that my husband hopes to start this spring when the ground thaws, a fence to enclose our backyard to make it safer, more private, and more beautiful.
I’ve looked at countless images of fences in different sizes, shapes, designs, patterns. I’ve seen photos of the English-style garden my husband dreams to plant. And phrases like “shadow-box” and “lattice” have been incorporated into my vocabulary as we’ve debated the pros and cons of a 6-foot fence vs. an 8-foot fence.
I’ve spent entirely too much time in the local home store staring blankly at fence posts.
That fence? It’s not beautiful right now. In fact, it’s in the way, smells like a lumber yard, and takes up entirely too much space. I’m worried I might pop a tire on a forgotten screw.
That section of fence is only a piece of a much larger project — a project that’s easy to overlook, and easy to forget, as the smaller piece gets relegated to the side.
I feel like that piece sometimes. A little lost. Sometimes set aside. In a noisy world where fancier, shinier, and bigger get the glory, I sit in my small town and live my every day wondering if I’m noticed? Or worse, if I’m just in the way.
As I’ve spent some time wrestling over my motivations for recognition lately, God has been teaching me to look at my place and position as a gift from Him. He sees the big picture, the whole project, where every screw and board and refining cut will come together in my life to work together for His kingdom.
And sometimes it’s the smallest pieces that add the most strength.
Our fence? If we only planned to build it using the largest pieces of lumber and the heaviest posts, it would collapse immediately. Every piece — from the messiest cement to the smallest screw — must work together to create something secure and beautiful.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 says it this way:
You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of His one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which He has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of His resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—His Spirit—where we all come to drink.
But on those days when it feels incredibly easy to be overlooked? When our view of the world from our computers makes us wonder if we’re being used in God’s plan at all? God has this to say: In Isaiah 49 we’re promised, “I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” No matter what, God does not forget you.
You are not overlooked.
You are not insignificant.
You are not less than.
God sees you. He knows you. He carries your name on His hands.
You are His.
You are chosen.
You are forgiven.
You are called.
You are loved.
You are included.
You are wanted.
Following the loud, clanging demands and expectations of the world will only make us feel insecure as we compare our place in God’s plan to those around us. Let’s instead choose to trust God as the Master Craftsman who knows when, and how, and why, and which pieces to use to make something beautiful and secure that will last a lifetime.