Out of the Mud

I love to read and I seem to always be doing it.  If there’s text in front of me anywhere, I’m reading it…labels, branding, billboards, books, magazines, shampoo bottles, etc.  It’s like words jump out at me and must be read.  I just have a thing for words and really always have.  I guess that’s why I’m traditionally the one in our marriage who reads to the kids.  It’s one of my favorite things to do with them.  (Yes, I’m the nerdy parent and my husband is the fun one. Ha!) Every once in a while, my hubby is coaxed into reading to them and even I’m captivated.  It’s not his favorite thing to do but he’s so good at it.  He uses all the fun voices and his timing is great it’s just fun.  Last week, I was cooking dinner and I heard one of these sacred moments happening in the adjacent room.  I snuck in to steal this pic …IMG_1332

They were reading Otis by Loren Long, a very cute book.  I returned to my cooking but kept an ear on the story and as I listened, I began to hear God’s voice instead of my husband’s.  Let me explain.  The story is about the relationship between a tractor named Otis and a little calf .  The calf is dependent on Otis as both caretaker and closest companion until one day Otis is replaced by a brand new shiny tractor. The calf’s life quickly becomes sadder and sadder until one day, she gets hopelessly stuck in a mud pond.  The farmer and his friends try to pull her out, the shiny new tractor tries to pull her out, even the fire department gives it a valiant effort, but nothing works.  She sinks deeper and deeper into the mud pond until only her head is showing.  Then she hears the puffing and chugging of her favorite friend coming from the distance and growing closer and closer.  When Otis arrives, he locks eyes with his little calf friend and begins to circle the pond repeatedly.  “He circled  and he circled, and the little calf turned and turned, never taking her eyes off her friend.  With each ring Otis made around Mud Pond, the muddy grip loosened until the calf was to stumble out of the pond on her own.   The two friends had found each other again.” (Otis)

I’m not sure that the author intended anything spiritual when she wrote this book but I do love how God has so many languages through which He speaks, because He spoke to me through this little children’s book that day.  You see, sometimes I get stuck in the mud… whether it is destructive patterns in my own thinking, or a lack of spiritual discipline, or selfishness or whatever.  I may try many things to get “unstuck” such as more organization, exercise, shopping, etc. but none of them work.  I’m still just stuck.  It’s not until I hear the familiar voice of my Savior that change begins.  It’s not until my eyes are fixed on Him, that the grip of the mud starts to loosen.  Sometimes being “stuck in the mud” is the very blessing I need because it’s then that my lazy ears are re-tuned to His loving voice.

This moment in our home, both sacred and ordinary, reminded me of the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full into His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”  Thank you Lord.