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Words of Life


By Jennifer Rothschild February 14, 2016 Words of Life

Hosea said that God would erect a barrier to slow down the people He loved: “I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way” (Hosea 2:6). 

Have you ever experienced a wall from God that blocked your way? Forget about slowing down and thinking twice. A wall forces you to come to a screeching stop right where you are! I’ve had this happen, and I can guarantee that it’s pretty painful to bang your head into a wall of your own making. But boy, does it help you avoid that path in the future! 

I ran into a doozy of a wall early on in my ministry career. I had been invited by a large church’s single adult ministry to sing at their New Year’s Eve party. They wanted me to “sing in the New Year,” which sounded like fun at the time. In retrospect, though, saying yes to this engagement was a bad, bad idea. 

I was there to perform, but the crowd wasn’t there to listen to a 20-something married blind woman sing. They were there to meet other 20-something eligible singles! And who would expect them to sit there and listen to me sing when they could be mingling, chatting, flirting, laughing, and playing games? Well, I expected them to listen! 

So they chatted and mingled while I stood and sang. And here’s what was really awkward. For some reason I thought all of my songs – yup, all of them – required introductions, so I spoke between each and every song I sang. Of course, no one stopped their socializing to listen to me. And instead of having the maturity to adjust to the setting, I plowed on singing a song, introducing the next number, singing a song, and so on.

Not surprisingly – given my ridiculous expectations – with every song and ignored introduction, I was growing more and more frustrated. I thought that my audience was being rude, and I was offended. I thought I was mad at the audience, but my anger was just a mask of insecurity I wore that night. 

What came next is one of the biggest regrets of my whole life – especially my ministry life. As soon as I finished my last song, I huffed to the oblivious audience, “Okay, I’m done now. You can stop talking over me.” 

You can imagine the sarcasm in my tone as I spoke those loving and mature words. Well, they did stop talking and listened – finally (#badtiming)! 

In fact, they were silent. 

I couldn’t believe I’d actually said that. It was so rude. I was so rude! The singles minister, sensing disaster, quickly bounded on stage and enthusiastically thanked me while the stunned audience quietly clapped. It was incredibly awful, and it only took about three seconds for me to hear my own words echo in my heart: You can stop talking over me. Had I really just said that out loud? 

Phil followed the minister on stage to walk me off just as the countdown to midnight began. 

Ten! Nine! Eight! 

“What did you just say?” My husband whispered as we descended the stairs. 

Seven! Six! Five! 

“Exactly what you thought I said,” I moaned. 

Four! Three! Two! One! 

“Happy New Year!” is what Phil shouted at the same time as everyone else. 

Yeah, happy New Year, I thought grimly. 

I think we sold two CDs that night – one to the singles minister and one to the hearing-impaired gentleman who kept telling me I had a nice smile. In record time we packed our boxes and left. And I cried the entire three-hour drive home. 

That painful experience became one of God’s most important interventions in my life. Sure, it felt like a wall – the Great Wall of Jennifer – when I crashed into it. It sent me sprawling onto a giant mirror that showed me exactly who I was deep inside. 

I was terribly insecure to begin with, but the experience of being overlooked and ignored exposed my vulnerability even more. However, the wall I hit that New Year’s Eve did not become a dead end for me because God’s grace allowed me to slowly but surely scale it. And on the other side of the wall, I found a pathway that led me to a place of humility where I was able to find my security in God – not any attention (or lack thereof) and opinion of others. That wall was a gift of love from God to me. 

Walls are never pleasant, and I bet they aren’t what generally come to mind when you think of symbols of love, are they? Not for me! When I think of symbols of love, I think of flowers, dark chocolate, hugs, and kisses – not walls! But walls remind us that God sees us, values us, and loves us. He loves us enough to slow us down and draw us back to Himself. 

Thankfully, God is not an enabler of “I-ddictive” behavior. He loves us too much! True, He sometimes throws barriers our way, but He does this out of protection and love for us. A dangerous turnpike can become a turnaround. You might be feeling the sweet touch of God’s love and mercy on your life. And the walls are the hands of God pushing against you.


Jennifer joins James and Betty this Monday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Invisible by Jennifer Rothschild. Copyright ©2015 by Jennifer Rothschild. Published by Harvest House Publishers. Used by permission.

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