Life’s Muddy Boots

God most definitely has a sense of humor. I think it’s His way of reminding us He controls everything in our lives and we should humble ourselves. After posting a photo of what happens when new white socks meet feedlot mud, I promised my friend Mrs. Melinda Eye Cooper I would write this post. Ms. Melinda; this one’s for you ma’am.

Working around our Cross-Dubya ranch, there are moments when I think I can almost hear God leaning over to His Son and saying; “Hey Jesus, watch this!” There goes my muck boot again. About that time, heaven erupts in laughter. What do you do when that happens? You laugh too; cause that’s funny right there!

After a winter or spring rain, the mixture of saturated clay-based soil, excess water, and other things the livestock leave behind in my feedlot makes a mess. These elements combine to create a quicksand of mire and muck that will literally suck the boots right off your feet. You know the ground is slippery and soft, so you tread lightly. What you can’t see is where the mud has given way and liquefied the ground beneath the surface. When you step into one of those spots, you’re in trouble. Sinking ankle deep, or more, the ground swallows your foot. The mud’s hydraulic action creates a vacuum-like seal around your boot; and as hard as you try your only chance for freedom is extracting your foot from your boot.

This decision leaves you with a nasty pair of socks that your wife won’t even consider washing. You’re also left with smelly feet she makes you wash off before you can come inside. At least though, you can go back later with a shovel and retrieve your boot. And now you know why farmers and ranchers have at least two pairs of boots.

Sin works along the same principle as feedlot mud. Share on X

Sin works the same way. It sucks us in, and pulls us under when we don’t pay attention. Something I’ve accepted in this life is that I will always sin. Like Paul in Romans 7, I wish that I would not sin, but accept that I (as man) am a slave to sin. As a born again child of the King, however, my sins are forgiven as long as I confess, repent, and ask God’s help to keep me from repeating this sin. Like the feedlot mud, it’s when we fail to apply to healing balm of forgiveness to our spiritual lives through 1 John 1:9, that sin can begin to liquefy our souls. Our once-thought solid path becomes treacherous.

In the same way we can remain stuck in the feedlot with our boot stuck in the mud, our spirit can become stagnant if we don’t extract ourselves. Each time we fail to come clean, a small stain of sin remains upon our soul. As these build up, we find it becomes easier and easier to slip into that sin again. Thus, the quicksand of un-repented sin traps our spiritual lives.

Please note that I wrote, “I’ve accepted that as man, I will sin.” This isn’t saying sin is acceptable—it never is. What I mean by this is I’ve made peace with that fact ;and I’m not going to allow Satan to fill me with shame every time I mess up. Instead, I choose to extend the gift of grace to my own life. Yes, I must extract myself from the sin and allow God’s forgiveness to cleanse me; but I do not have to pass judgment upon myself with every failure.

Instead, I must choose to be the baseball pitcher who serves up a grand slam pitch. I shake it off and resolve to go after the next batter with all I’ve got. At the end of each prayer of repentance, I remind myself of the words of David in Psalm 40:2.

“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.” (Psalm 40:2,  NKJV)

I pray each of you remember that God intended us to share the grace He gives us with both others and ourselves. Make room for grace in your life by remembering that Christ’s gift of salvation is the solid rock upon we can stand firm in our faith.

God’s blessings,



Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

56 thoughts on “Life’s Muddy Boots”

  1. Ahhh, the sin sink, gets me every time, but God. This is a great reminder our God reigns. Your description of the stuck boot hits home with me.

    Someone once said Satan will continue to use the same old sin to keep us stuck in ungodly ways. Then they said, we have the opportunity to remind him that yes, we were that man, but Jesus took it all and we’re not that man anymore.

    Thanks for reminding me of the farm life I grew up around, friend.

    1. Love that term Mr. Warren; “The Sin Sink”! Boy, there’s another blog post idea right there! 🙂 Great advice you shared my friend. “Yes Satan, I was that man and I did those things. You forget, that’s who I was; NOT who I am in Christ.” Amen sir. Thank you so much for adding to our conversation.

  2. If he isn’t successful in my present, Satan loves to haunt us with the sins of the past- different mud on a different day. Thanks for encouraging us to give ourselves grace and live in and with grace. Thanks for painting another picture to remember a principle.

    1. Amen! Satan sure does love to throw our past at us doesn’t he Ms. Marilyn. As my friend Mr. Warren pointed out in his comments today, we don’t have to accept Satan’s lies. Who we were is not who we are in Christ today. Great wisdom here my friend; thank you.

  3. Thank you for writing on this subject, J.D. Sin is that miry hole we get sucked into. So thankful for GRACE and that Jesus made the way so our sinful nature will not last for eternity!

    1. Sometimes it’s difficult to write on a topic that strikes too close to home sometimes. This is how we grow though my friend. Thank you for your encouraging words; and for God’s endless grace.

  4. How true that we can sink into sin and remain stuck or be pulled from the muck and accept His cleansing grace. Such wonderful truths from the ranch, my friend!

    Peace and grace,

  5. Love your messages J.D. I pray that in every moment, I will show God’s love and glory to others. I am thankful God gives us joy and laughter in life. I believe He loves to make us laugh.

  6. “Make room for grace in your life by remembering that Christ’s gift of salvation is the solid rock upon we can stand firm in our faith.” Love this!
    Such a good reminder!

  7. Very good analogy here! Sin can keep us from the life of abundance Jesus came to give if we don’t stand watch and battle back. So thankful God equips us with the know-how through his Word. So thankful for His grace and forgiveness.

  8. Put on some comfortable shoes or moccasins & then put on 5-buckle overshoes. They won’t come off in that messy feed lot. Tuck pant legs inside the boots before you buckle the boots.

    1. Only a man who grew up farming Texas blackland would know that trick Mr. Butch. 😀 Gonna have to take a look at them overshoes you mentioned. Of course, getting out of them will probably add five minutes to my day each time. Thank you so much for commenting sir.

    1. It (sin) surely has in the past; and it promises to do it again if we don’t watch for it and continually check ourselves by heeding the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives Ms. Barb. And yes, it literally required three minutes of standing ankle deep in the mud and muck (with one bare foot) of pulling to get my boot free. Sadly, my sock could not be saved. 🙂 Praying you have a blessed day ma’am. If I remember correctly, Korea can be a little muddy this time of year too in places ma’am. Praying your and hubby’s safety each day.

  9. Like the many fans above, I love the way God unveils truth to you in ways that open windows of understanding in ways that most of us wouldn’t have noticed. Obviously, the devil is far more clever than any of us arrogant human beings, and we will never be able to anticipate and avoid all the traps he delights to put in our path. Your muddy picture made it clear as crystal that the question is not how can we sidestep sin altogether, but what do we do when we didn’t see it coming and stuck our foot in it–again. Like Ann, I also loved the baseball pitcher analogy. Another great edition, my friend–thanks.

    1. He (Satan) certainly is Mr. Ron. “The father of all lies” as is written. Learning to identify and avoid (i.e. discernment) is much like the Situational Awareness (SA) I learned in the military decades ago. In a Christian’s case, the Holy Spirit gives us an additional type of SA. It’s called Spiritual Awareness. The amazing blessing of that gift is that the closer we get to God, the better our SA becomes. 🙂 Thank you for such great thoughts to add to our conversation sir. God’s blessings; and “Batter Up!”

  10. Good post JD! And it doesn’t just apply to the “muck” in our lives. You’ve seen some of the steep ground I get to maneuver. It can truly be a slippery slope. I just ordered another pair of work boots today because the tread wears out, becomes smooth on the bottom, and down I go! Thanks for the reminder to be sure-footed and to keep standing on solid ground.!

    1. Thank you Mr. Ben. I went through a pair of boots during the Mountain Phase of training up in Dahlonega, GA many years ago; so I can appreciate your comments sir. Another of our friends pointed out the importance in footwear choice also. 🙂 You’d like my old friend, Mr. Butch Burns. As you state, the key to success is keeping our footing; be that in the pasture or hillside, or in out spiritual lives. Amen sir!

  11. Oh, my goodness, J.D. Just when I think your posts couldn’t get any better, you knock the ball out of the park. Love your analogy and love the miry clay Scripture. It’s one of my favorites. Well written!

    1. Where do I send the check Ms. Evelyn? 😀 Thank you for these kind words sweet friend. I hope you’ll settle for the prayers for guidance, peace, and inspiration I pray for you and your writing journey each day ma’am. I sure did enjoy your foray into Christian fiction this week on Vinewords – Devotions and More. I hope too that you’ll explore that genre a bit more; you’re a natural it seems.

  12. Julie Souza Bradley Lilly

    This is absolutely beautiful, J.D.. What a perfect analogy for sin! I’m so grateful for His grace, and that the blood of Jesus washes my dirty socks white as snow. I plan to share in Gift of Thorns (GOT) on July 1. God bless you, dear brother! Thank you!

    1. Am both humbled and honored ma’am. Like you, I’m happy to know some positive impact was made to bring God glory in His kingdom through our efforts. God’s blessings sweet friend; and I’ll be looking for those posts to share.

  13. I’ve lost my boot in the pasture mud as well, my friend. Most likely, I said an ugly word (which is one of those times I must confess and ask forgiveness). I love the wisdom you share about admitting that we are “mud” sometimes (admit the mistake), confess our sin, and move on. Sometimes we “wallow in the mud” and can’t get past the sin. But we know that our Lord and Savior came to free us from the miry pit of sin. We just need to remember–we must do our part and turn to Him for forgiveness and rescue.

    1. I just knew you could relate Ms. Katherine. Boy, is that a rotten feeling when it happens. You know it’s gonna be awful to plant your foot down into that mire, but it’s what you have to do to get yourself out of it. I appreciate your recognition that we have to let go of that selfish, pride-driven part of our lives that says “Look at me, I’m the perfect, righteous Christian” and be willing to admit we are the vulnerable and sometimes weak human Christian who needs God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. What a blessing it is when we finally realize we don’t have to be perfect, just willing to be forgiven. God’s blessings my gentle, teaching, friend.

  14. Only you, my rancher friend, would come up with the great analogy of mud, mire, and boots to sin’s grasp. Such a good comparison of how it sinks us down to its level, sucks us in, stops us in our tracks, and forces us to remove ourselves from the situation to see the truth of the matter. And then . . . have to go dig ourselves out! Perfect.
    (Hey, looks like I finally caught up with all of your blogs. Life is getting back to normal ever so slowly. I’m about to relaunch my blog now that my website kinks have been resolved.)

    1. Am so very glad you’ve gotten things “back on track” Ms. Karen. Of course, saying that is always an invitation for Satan to perk his ears and take a look. Will be praying ma’am. Also pleased to hear you’re going to start blogging again at; I’ve missed your insights, inspiration, and encouragement Ms. Karen. How great it was to listen to you and gain strength from your cancer journey on PJNET TV this past week. What a blessing!

  15. I could hear and feel that sucking sound as I read this post! Great wisdom here: “Each time we fail to come clean, a small stain of sin remains upon our soul. As these build up, we find it becomes easier and easier to slip into that sin again. Thus, the quicksand of un-repented sin traps our spiritual lives.”

    I especially appreciate that you’ve refused to allow shame to take you down when you (and I and all the rest of us) DO fall short. Even in our deepest mud pits, God’s love is unfailing. Thanks, JD!

  16. Another great analogy. So thankful when the sin causes such a mess in our lives and sucks us into the muck and mire, the Holy Spirit cleanses us when we are obedient to repent and ask for forgiveness.

    I’m not sure who said this, it’s attributed to several people. “Sin takes you farther than you wanted to go, keeps you longer than you wanted to stay, and costs you more than you were willing to pay.”

    1. Yes! God is always ready to clean us up and put back on the right path. I’m not so sure that He snickers at us when we sin though. Instead, I think he silently shakes His head, looks to His Son, and once again He waits for our confession and repentance. I’m so glad He doesn’t remember all my sins; and that He encourages me not to dwell on them either. I’ve always thought Pastor Ravi Zacharias [sic] claimed that quote, but I’ve heard it many times from multiple sources also. Doesn’t make it any less true though. 🙂 Thank you for reminding us of this fact!

  17. Wow, what a mess! I’ve walked through some muddy places, while just walking or taking photos. Once or twice, I’ve learned that a seemingly “good” place to step can be slippery.

    1. Yes ma’am Ms. Robin. Sometimes, when we least expect it, our foundation can be swept right from under our feet. I think it happens most often when we take our eyes off of it. Praying you and your dear hubby are doing well.

  18. Perry Johnson

    I like the comment, “You know the ground is slippery and soft, so you tread lightly”.
    We tend to knowingly veer off of God’s path. Knowing we are in a bad place we try to, as you say, “tread lightly”. As though maybe then we can stand in sin without leaving proof, and leave without leaving OUR footprints being left in the muck. One also has to walk a long way before all the muck begins to disappear from our wayward journey.
    Thank you for your stories/ teachings,

    1. Thank you Mr. Perry. I could not agree more sir; we often knowingly step off into the “swamp of life”, which is why God’s grace and willingness to forgive us is so very important. We humans are the equivalent to why we teach children not to run with scissors. I’ve needed the blunt, safety versions of those for decades now. 🙂 Thank you for reminding us of some simple truths here sir. God’s blessings.

  19. J. D., I had to laugh! I’ve had that happen before while trying to retrieve a horse that doesn’t want to go to come in and go to work. Your description tells it all! And so does your Scripture application comparing our getting stuck in patterns of sins. Thank you for a good laugh and your insights!

    1. I can see you smiling in my mind’s eye Ms. Kathy; and that is a wonderful thing indeed ma’am. Many of us know what it’s like to lose a boot in the mud; and yes, we have to chuckle over it when it happens (or at least after the fact). I’m so very glad you appreciated the spiritual application drawn from the experience ma’am. God’s blessings.

  20. Awe! I love this! I missed reading it because of preparing for BRMCWC and catching up my regular job to be off work for the conference. I’m so sorry I missed this wonderful message. Soooo true. I hate my flesh tendency to sin. I’m so thankful for God’s forgiveness! ❤️❤️ Thanks for writing this JD!

  21. Sometimes it’s hard to extend grace to ourselves. We give it freely to others, but think we should know better. God loves us and forgives us–we need to learn to love and forgive ourselves. Thanks, J.D.

    1. So very true Ms. LuAnn. I’m not sure why, but we seem to hold ourselves and those nearest and dearest to a higher standard that everyone else. At least I know I’m guilty of that.

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