We had a cold snap last week that brought true winter briefly to the Carolinas, and while I really dislike dealing with the drop in temperature, there was one benefit that came from it: frozen ground. We have done our best to reduce the issues of mud that many horse farms deal with on a regular basis, and having a dry lot, a laneway, and a rotational system for when and where the horses can eat grass certainly helps. However, we still have some water drainage issues that create quite a bit of mud at the end of what we call Paddock 2 and most of what we refer to as the new Paddock 3. But when it’s as cold as it was, I could drive the farm utility vehicle right over all that frozen mud and get to cleaning the fields without any issue. (Yes, we clean the fields of manure and hay waste every day. Why, you may ask? That’s another blog for another time).
And, then came Tuesday morning and the return of more favorable, mild temperatures. The warmer weather thawed all of the ground and brought more water run-off from the hills right into the space between Paddock 2 and Paddock 3. There was no driving through all of that unless I wanted the farm vehicle (the Toro) to be stuck until everything dried out a few months later. And, I can’t just leave all the muck in fields (again, another blog for another time). So, I grabbed a couple of muck tubs and traipsed out into Paddock 3 to do some picking up. I filled the two tubs up and then realized I had to carry it all back to the Toro. It’s one thing to march through mud when it’s a light empty bin, but when it’s loaded down with poo, it’s a whole different story. I picked one up, and, ugh, was that thing heavy.
I started through the first section of mud and thought it wasn’t too bad. But, then I reached the deep stuff – the type that suctions in around your boots and feels like it’s gonna take the boot right off your foot (and maybe just take your leg with it). I did my best to balance the tub with both hands and slightly on my hip as I navigated the best route. We’re not talking a massive distance here, but it sure felt like it was as long as a football field as far as I was concerned. I couldn’t really stop, although there were several moments where I just wanted to give up. There were also times when one of my boots would get sucked in, and I thought I was going to fall face first into the mess - not something I wanted to happen considering what I was holding at the time.
So, how did I eventually make it back to the Toro with not just one, but two, muck tubs filled with manure? One step at a time.
There are moments and seasons in life when we are faced with a field full of mud. Times when circumstances are particularly trying and we feel we’re either going to get stuck, sucked down in it, or even fall into it. And, maybe the burdens we carry in the process feel as heavy as a full muck bin. There have definitely been points in my life where I’ve felt that way. Not sure how to navigate through it all, not sure how in the world I’d ever make it to the other side, and definitely not sure I’d remain upright through it. In those moments, I felt as if I could just get swallowed up by life and sink down under the pressure of expectations, the weight of responsibility, or the craziness of all that I have to juggle. How do I make it through difficult circumstances and trying situations and still remain faithful to the One who calls me forward? One step at a time.
It’s not an instant result. There’s no quick fix. It’s a process. I have to walk slowly, one foot at a time, through the mud of life and keep my eyes on Jesus. He’s the One who helps relieve the heavy burden of all the muck I carry and helps me find the right path and gives me firm footing.
God doesn’t promise that the path of one who follows His leading will be free of all the things that try to pull us down or make it hard to continue in obeying Him. But, He does promise to never leave us to face it all on our own.
When life is hard and choices aren’t easy, keep trusting. Don’t give up and keep moving forward…one step at a time.
“Keep your eyes straight ahead…and the road will stretch out smooth before you.” Proverbs 4:26 (MSG)
“I’m staying on Your trail; I’m putting one foot in front of the other. I’m not giving up.” Psalm 17:5 (MSG)