Finding Joy in the Mud Puddles of Life

What can you see in a mud puddle? Maybe the answer depends on the angle of your view.

Following suggested activities in Soul Care for Writers by Edie Melson1 I took pictures of various nature scenes including reflections in water. The only water available at the time I chose to snap pictures was a mud puddle. (My husband’s truck creates a depression in the ground when he turns his truck around to position it on the driveway.)

Recent rainwater filled the crater and offered clear reflections. I took a picture, then walked around the puddle and snapped photos from different angles. The reflection changed each time.

Angle One

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My first view stirred an emotional response—that of disgust at the eyesore of a rut and impatience with my husband, who had not yet filled the hole with dirt so that grass could grow there once again. The mud puddle glared like a blight on my otherwise perfect view of the lawn.

Rather than appreciating the iridescent-winged dragonfly that hovered nearby, I assessed the water as a mosquito-breeding pool. Instead of enjoying surrounding beauty, I stared at the hole. A missed opportunity for joy!

How like the trials and inconveniences of life! When I focus on them, they can rob me of joy and turn smiles into frowns or peace into worry. The following verse shows us how to focus:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Angle Two

When I moved around the puddle to snap a shot from another angle, I noticed the reflection of trees, the pine giants I ignored before. Their reflection drew my gaze upward to their tops framed by puffy white clouds in the brilliant blue sky.

When I tilted my head upward, my line of sight included a higher, more beautiful picture. I confessed my grumbling to the Lord, who changed my bad attitude to one of prayer, praise, and joy as He directed me to consider His goodness rather than my irritation.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Colossians 3:2

Angle Three

When I changed positions again and placed my back to the sun, I saw my own shadow. Sunlight created an image of me in the water.

God created us in His image. Once we accept Christ as Savior, we become His image-bearers in this world. Sometimes my attitudes and actions do not represent Him well and require confession of sin. What a blessing that He loves me and continues conforming me to the image of Christ Jesus (Romans 8:28-30).

What view of Him do others see reflected in my life? Which Christ-like qualities shine in my relationships and in my circumstances?

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.

Genesis 1:27

Just like the ugly duckling became a swan in the famous children’s story, the unsightly mud puddle became a beautiful illustration for biblical truth. As the angle changed on my view of the hole in my yard, the Lord graciously helped me to notice Him as He filled my heart with joy.

By the way, the rut remains, and I still don’t like it. However, I will wait patiently until my husband has time to repair it. In the meantime, after rain showers, you may see me peering into a mud puddle to see what additional lessons God wants to teach me. 

Have you seen a time when an unsightly view or circumstance led to a joyful heart? Have you been encouraged by a Christian who is filled with joy even when life is hard? Please share how God has changed your view of life’s “mud puddles.”

1 Soul Care When You’re Weary by Edie Melson is for anyone who needs to slow down and soak up the peace God intended us to have. Soul Care for Writers is addressed to writers and other creatives. Both books contain devotions, prayers, and easy creative activities that will delight even the non-crafty among us. Let me know if you have questions about either book.

14 thoughts on “Finding Joy in the Mud Puddles of Life

  1. Jeannie, what a beautiful post with illustrations and scripture to remind us of value in our angle and view. This inspires me to pause and not dismiss. I wonder how much we miss? Thanks for sharing.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Marilyn. I also want to remember to pause and notice from the angle God intends.

  2. Barbara McCollum

    So very true and perfect for someone I know who had a mud puddle kind of day yesterday! Thanks Jeannie for sharing!

  3. Jeannie, this was EXACTLY what I needed this morning! Thank you for your perspective on perspectives. I was also thinking how children find delight in splashing through mud puddles. (When wearing rainboots, I do, too.) May the mud puddles of life remind me to look upward and to look for the beauty within them.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you for adding the joy of children in mud puddles. I saw a granddaughter rejoice in one recently. Thank you for sharing that the post met a need this morning. God does that for us, doesn’t He?

  4. I so love this post Ms. Jeannie. What a great reminder to “Always Look for Joy.” It’s so easy for this world to rob us of our joy; especially if we tie our joy to our emotions and our environment. Remembering the words of Nehemiah 8:10 and the wonderful old hymn we often sign to close services as we hold hands “… the joy of the Lord is my strength.” Thank you for this wonderfully inspiring post ma’am. God’s blessings.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      J. D., I appreciate your comments so very much. Thank you for reminding us that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

  5. Thanks , Jeannie , for your words. Needed to hear this am (oops , not even am, such a day).
    Reminds me of Pam D. always citing “consider it all joy ” ….back in 1970! It helps to get in the right perspective of how God should be right in the middle of all our perspectives….to return to our First Love!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Fran, you are so right that God should be in the middle of each perspective we have. Thank you for reading and commenting, dear friend.

  6. Loved your post, Jeannie! As a farm girl, I see a lot of mud puddles, both in reality and symbolically. You inspiring message reminds me to look at the joy in those “mud puddles” of life. And, as you point out, we can find the joy if we seek it. Thanks for “brightening” my day!

  7. I love this introspective and prayerful look at God’s creation (including you)! Thank you for changing my view. I’ll not look at a mud puddle the same.
    Love you!

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