Are You Walking In the Mire? 

Mud, thick red goop clumped his little shoes like melted cheese oozing out of a sandwich. Hunks of it fell in globs I tried to avoid as I scooped him up. Briefly his legs swung from side to side and in the arc. Piles of wet Virginian soil splattered. He’s too heavy to carry now, so I lowered him again to the ground and grabbed his hand to keep him from heading right back in.

He could have gone around it, but of course he ran straight for the puddle. He chose to go in, to kick up the filthy water and mess in its sticky muck.  

Recently I have felt the heaviness of walking in the mire, the weight of cares, of worries and sorrow clumped around my steps, like the enormous tire of thick mud dropping from my grandson’s little shoes. 

Have you also felt it? There is exhaustion from time-worn loss and uncertainty. Things outside of our control burden us. Sadness houses a room inside our hearts, and we cannot seem to swing the door open to joyful trust.  

I look at my grandson pulling at arm’s length in front of me and ponder if I do the same. Have I slugged through the quick sand when I should have gone around? Do I need to carry all the goop weighing me down? Is the heaviness in my spirit ok, just part of this journey of becoming more like Christ, or am I weak where I should be strong?  

When we moved overseas, I was a young mom with three little children. Every morning I looked in the mirror and the face looking back swam like a desert mirage. Tears fell. My world rocked. The ground under me felt like quicksand. And the call of God on my life felt heavy. 

My go to verse then was Psalm 40:2, and I still love how David drew from his own cries to a new song, one of hope and confidence. 

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Ps. 40:2 NIV

I knew God wanted me to stand on the strange soil underneath. We’d prayed much and worked hard to get there. Yet, being far from family, new culture, strange language, knocked us topsy-turvy, like a comfortable and trustworthy rug had been yanked out. As much as we tried to prepare, we hadn’t known what we didn’t know until we got there.  

Aren’t you glad God knows? 

There were so many gains God had in store. We couldn’t see them then. But like the hands which pull a little child up and out of the mud, our Father did the same for us.

Wherever we stand in life, whether the mud and mire is thick like quicksand, or smooth like velvet, He alone is our true rock on which to stand. No situation, station, or even the dearest earthly relationship can be steadfastly firm and unchanging like our God. He alone is our true rock on which to stand. Share on X

So let me ask you, whether you in the clumpy mud or the smooth terrain right now, what hope gives you a firm place to stand? 

26 Replies

  1. Tony Vanderlaan Reply

    My hope is in nothing less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness. Thank you Sylvia for pointing us to Him. Life is messy but He plants us on to solid ground.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Tony for reading and it is wonderful to hear from a fellow traveller.

  2. J.D. Wininger Reply

    If your grandson grows up to be farmer, his wife is going to pray that all he tracks in is gloopy red mud. LOL I am reminded each day of how mired the world is and how my Rock helps me to rise above it, when I remember to stand firm.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      J.D., I am acquainted with farm muck. I too am grateful for the Rock in our mired world. Thank you for reading and responding!

  3. Don Pahl Reply

    The whole of Psalm 40 suggests that, freed from the mud-like pit, experiencing the “new song,” we somehow find ourselves back in the pit, for
    the last verse speaks again of needing the Lord’s help and deliverance: “… do not delay, O my God!”
    That’s the nature of this sin-salvation cycle, for which we long to be finally freed!!
    Thanks for your vivid picture, Sylvia!!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Don! Your response prompted me to read the entire chapter again. What a great chapter. It will be amazing to be freed as you say from the sin-salvation cycle. So very grateful for God’s deliverance in the mud pits which come far too often.

  4. Katherine Pasour Reply

    I’ve not yet figured out how to avoid the mud of life–how to avoid the muck that pulls us down. But as you remind us, I know who is the solid rock, the One who is there to rescue us. Praying for you, dear friend.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much Katherine. At least we can be confident of the One who pulls us out!! I appreciate your prayers. I count on them in this mud of life.

  5. Anonymous Reply

    Thank you Sylvia! You always hit the nail right on the head.

  6. Paul Wright Reply

    After reading J.D.’s comment, it strikes me that we need to go through God’s “mud room”. Phil. 4:6-8; 1 Jn 1:9

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Interesting you bring up the Philippians verses. I’ve been “re-memorizing” them. Training our minds plays such a big part in directing our hearts and standing firm. Grateful for God’s washing in my life. Thanks Paul.

  7. Brenda Griswold Reply

    In this world it is so easy to just be overloaded with sorrow. Nothing is really right in the world. It is so easy to see the problems. I think of Moses and all the problems he had with those people that he was leading to the Promise Land. The cost for him was literally a giving up of his life. It was like yours on the mission field. Towards the end of his life, he hadn’t quite reached the goal of the Promise Land, but his walk with God was apparent. This was the only way to get through the mire. I love your heart for the Lord and your gift of writing about the struggles we face.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Brenda. We aren’t there yet, are we!! I know God is faithful in all the sloshing through.

  8. Sue Vogt Reply

    Thank you!

  9. Linda Brucato Reply

    I can sooo relate to your experience dear Sylvia! Aren’t we glad that we just kept “treading along” for all those years in Italy?

    • Sylvia schroeder Reply

      Absolutely! Obedience does not always look glorious! Thanks Linda!

  10. Nancy E. Head Reply

    It’s so sad that we choose the puddles yet yearn to be clean. Thanks for a wonderful word picture, Sylvia. God bless!

    • Sylvia schroeder Reply

      And even insist on going back in! So grateful for a patient caring Father! Thanks Nancy!

  11. Barbara Latta Reply

    Sylvia, I am late reading emails so I just came across your post today. I can feel for you living in a foreign country. It is a different way of life and takes some adjusting. Thanks for this encouragement because we all do have to deal with the muck of life and only Jesus can pull us out of the miry clay.

    • Sylvia schroeder Reply

      Thanks Barbara. I’m sure we could share some stories of life overseas! So grateful as I look back of the many times Jesus cared enough to pull me up out of the mud and put my feet on solid ground.

  12. Leigh DeLozier Reply

    Thank you for the reminder, Sylvia, that we don’t have to stay bogged down in the mud, no matter how much it clumps around us and slows us down. And thank you for helping me ponder how much of the muddy times might be because I chose that path instead of the one around it. But how sweet it is to remember that One can always pull us from the muck and mud, no matter how much they’ve dragged us down.

  13. Sylvia schroeder Reply

    Thank you Leigh. I appreciate your words. Certainly I’ve been far too quick to wallow in the mud, but always the Father has been faithful. And so many of those past times are reminders of a faithful Father.

  14. Sarah Barzaga Reply

    My life feels like it is all muck and mire, like I’m sinking in it. As a single mom, working full time just trying to slog through every day, I complete relate to this. I’ve been learning that while I do know the Father holds me and is the most steady thing in my life, it’s okay to let the tears fall in the moment. He holds those too. Thank you for sharing this, it helps to know others feel this way too.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I am so sorry Sarah. Being a single mom is difficult. And yes, it is ok to let the tears fall. In spite of the tears, God is revealing a very tender love to you, and this blesses me. He holds those tears. Thank you so much for sharing. I am praying for you today.