Woman Journal

How to Thrive When in The Muck

When my step sinks into the saturated grasses, I almost turn away. A few more steps will take me to marshy waters that pool above plants in these wetlands and I’m reminded again. 

Avoiding the mucky leads to dryness. But thriving comes when saturated with the water. 

Because what is there is no matter how much avoidance energy is expelled. The trials where we are planted come. 

The way of survival is to habitat in the tonic waters. 

Elk Island Park Alberta
Pond in park.

When my son’s grade two teacher told me that my son would never catch up—that the gap between his cognitive abilities and his peers would grow wider as he grew—I caught my breath and stopped it. I couldn’t talk. I looked away, through the window at the empty playground until I gasped, a hand fisted at my mouth. 

She wasn’t the first to tell me this. 

Paediatricians, genetisists, physio and occupational therapists and others…I’d heard it before. But the other well-meaning people who tell you “not listen to the experts” and “not put limits on children” and to try this diet, these exercises, this special doctor, this learning method…this remedy but not that reality…can get you turning around and avoiding the muddy what is. 

My son’s biological activity has him learning and processing differently—differently than “typical.” Adapting to life with a special needs child took time and, although he is an adult now, there are (like all of us) continual trials. I make decisions for him that are more murky than clear in the what is. 

Kayak in lake
Young boy hiking in woods.

How do you step into acceptance of what is, survive in an unexpected environment, and thrive in the diverse landscape of unknowns, challenges, and problems? 

Saturate yourself in His Word that protects, guides, and ensures; practice gratitude, and connect with others.

Four Ways to Thrive Wherever We Are

  1. Breathe. Breathing tells our brain to be calm.
  2. Soak in God’s Word Daily. Discover God’s faithfulness.
  3. See the Goodness. Intentionally practice gratitude throughout your day.
  4. Connect. Call a family member or make social plans with a friend. Self-care is the fill-up to be there for others.

Alberta Flower
Golden Flower

My rubber boots sink into the saturated grasses as I turn and walk to the marsh’s edge. Two mallard’s swim in reeds poking up from muddy waters close to me. I take in a deep breath. 

Like adapted marsh grasses, changed by the saturated wetlands, we too can thrive anywhere when we stay soaked by His goodness. 

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  1. I loved this sentence >> “we too can thrive anywhere when we stay soaked by His goodness.” Lynn, here in MA., we are experiencing dryness. That one sentence made me realize how whether our yard is saturated or dry, His goodness has always been with us. Beautiful and encouraging post!

  2. Lynn, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your words. The stories of your son remind me so much of one of my own . . . and walking through the muck of adjusting . . . and seeing how my boy-man has overcome so much, yet still has so much to learn. Thank you for the four reminders for thriving in the muck. They’re spot on.

    1. Challenges with our children can be overwhelming! There are times I’ve walked away, and just went to bed. But in the morning I felt refreshed to take on what was real. God’s mercies are new every morning! May we both see His goodness and His mercy when all sometimes seems too much (but never too much for HIm). Blessing to you, Jeanne!

  3. Blessings to you as you breathe and take in God’s Word wherever you find yourself and as you mother your and wonderfully made son. May your son thrive just as he is.

  4. i have missed your wisdom, your photos, your writing, friend. i’m resonating today with your story as we have a unique grandchild who marches to the beat of her own drummer. I’ve given up trying to find resources, be an expert at offering opinions. now i’m content to love well. that’s my true role and one that’s taken the pressure off to wave a magic wand and solve the problems of the world.

    thank you for sharing a glimpse of your story, Lynn. i leave enriched as ever …

    1. I’ve missed being here too, Linda. I’m course free for the summer, so I hope (God-willing) to spend more time here! We are called to love all well, aren’t we? And never equipped with a magic wand. Instead, equipped by the One who says He is with us always, and all is for His glory! At times, I’ve been super frustrated with things that happen with my son, and I need God’s grace and forgiveness. You are so right that we are not to take on the pressures of the world, but just to love, love, and love…

  5. I love your four points here. They are so valid and helpful. I worked with special needs people my whole life. Bless you as you navigate these murky waters for your son…

  6. I learned long ago that the supposed experts do not know everything. I was told in my early 20s that I would never be able to have children. However, less than ten years a later I was blessed with two beautiful children (19 months apart).

    God chose you to be the mama of your precious boy. Embrace every milestone, no matter when it occurs.

  7. Lynn, thank you for sharing this peek into your story. How hard it must have been that day to hear those words, yet God has sustained you and your special son all these years-His Way. And though His way is often through the muck, He is there always with His goodness.

  8. I like what you’re saying here. It’s a breath of fresh air. And I have actually cried at a conference before. Parents of kids with challenges can live in dread of those conferences. That example just really hit home for me. But you’re right. Being saturated in the Word and keeping our focus on the right things is everything.

  9. Beautiful post, Lynn. I think it might be fair to say that the waters of life are mucky and murky more often than they are clear. Learning to find God’s goodness in every context can be a challenge. Your post made me think of some of the amazing plants that grow only in bogs or marshes… only when rooted in the muck [like pitcher plants, venus flytrap and several orchids]. I wonder if the muddy bits are an essential part of our journey in order that we might grow faith that does not take root in clear waters?

  10. Lynn, I really loved hearing about your son and seeing your beautiful photos. And I so appreciated these four ways to thrive where we are. Pausing to reflect upon your words here my friend. Blessings.
    Visiting today from Tell His Story #20

  11. Thank you for sharing somewhat of the challenges in your life, Lynn. God has taught you a lot through it and given you wise insight that is so encouraging. I love this comfort – “we too can thrive anywhere when we stay soaked by His goodness.” And your photos, as always, are so refreshing. Thank you! Love and blessings of strength and wisdom for each day!