How a person sees herself is absolutely crucial.  The lens through which I see my reflection may be tainted by sadness, pain, abuse, hurt  – all my past mistakes – the things that I have done and the things that have been done to me.  Or, my view can be rose-colored, choosing to see only the good, perhaps in deep denial – hoping to hide my many short-comings from myself and others.  Either version seems a bit “off”.

Reflecting on a quote from a sermon I heard recently, “What you believe about God is the most important thing about you.” Whoa. Chew on that for a minute.

Do you see the connection of what you believe about God and what you believe about yourself?  For me as a believer, what I believe about my Heavenly Father is a direct reflection of what I believe about myself.  Do I see in the reflection, a woman created in the image of the Most High King?  For many, many years, no.

But, God.

There is always hope when God is involved.  I did not used to see someone I liked when I looked in the mirror or caught my reflection unexpectedly.  I used to struggle with self-loathing, toxic shame, and low self-worth.  Basic self-care was a chore.  If you struggle with this, you may understand – taking showers, going grocery shopping for healthy food, preparing said healthy food, cleaning up afterwards, making sure clothes are ready to go for the week, laundry done and put away…  If you don’t really like yourself, let alone LOVE yourself, these things can become a struggle.  If you believe you have no value or worth, then what’s the point of a healthy meal?

As God and I worked my journey of recovery from past hurts, habits and hang-ups, over time, with healing and willingness, I began to see a different person when I looked into the mirror.  I started to actually LIKE her a little.  I thought she had a few cools things going on.  She’s pretty funny, too.  And, she can harmonize.

Do I see Him in my eyes? Him in whose image I am created?  That’s what I should see – that’s what I want to see because I believe that is how He sees me; only love, only compassion, only excitement… sheer anticipation bursting at the seams of His heart – like watching my own child achieve something exciting, reaching a milestone, or maybe just making his bed without being asked.  (He he…) That’s what only my heart can feel, and my mind has not enough capacity to put into words. I’m proud of him because he’s my kid and for no other reason.  There doesn’t really need to be one.

I know that MY DADDY GOD, The Creator, thinks I am amazing because He made me in HIS IMAGE.  I am not a mistake, not wrong, not unimportant in His view.  And, I also know this – He absolutely thinks YOU are AMAZING, too.  He loves you and wants you to know that He moved heaven and earth, for you.  He gave His only begotten Son, for you.  Soak it in, my friend, and let that truth seep deep down, all the way to your toes.  Let it change your thinking about yourself.  I did, and it did.  You are a masterpiece.

Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 GNB (


The 2018 update.

So, when I started put thoughts down on this blog (2012), I was in a pretty “in session” part of life.  I had recently left my spouse of 18 years for infidelity and felt released to go on with my life, figuring out what single looked like.  I accepted a promotion to a C-suite position in public sector work – as an HR professional – and was extremely blessed to have that 3 years to focus, learn, grow and dive into something bigger than me and my problems.

Things have shifted again (as they usually do).  I’ve been in a different role in another public organization because, quite frankly, the stress got to me and I needed a change.  I had so much going on… I was now remarried, adjusting to life with a husband, helping my three teenagers with that adjustment while they all bravely navigate between two households on a weekly basis.  We then built a home and moved and have been settling into the new norm.  The change of paths at work was needed, but has not been a bed of roses, not even a little bit.  It’s been a struggle, and I find myself in a season of waiting.

Waiting.  What does that even mean?  Waiting for the bus? Waiting for a table at my favorite Saturday night bistro?  What am I waiting for?  To try to describe the waiting is a bit like nailing jell-o to the wall, but here goes.  Waiting feels like this space of time between the pain or struggle, and the breakthrough.  I know breakthrough is going to come, but I don’t know when and I don’t know what it will look like.  ARRRGGGHHHH!!! (Think Charlie Brown as Lucy is pulling the football out from under him, yet again.)  My friend Elaine told me once that there is so much to be learned in the waiting.  I’m taking that promise as a claim-check, and hanging on to it!

For someone who (apparently) struggles with control, this season is tough.  Rather than feel like a helpless victim of circumstance, I’ve put a few action items together to try to help me make some sort of sense of it all.  I learned from #recovery, that taking action over areas I can control helps me feel empowered, and keeps me moving forward.

Here’s what I’ve done recently and what I am doing:

  1. Get certified. Study for and sit for the SHRM-SCP exam and pass.  DONE.  This is a milestone for my profession that honestly should have been accomplished about 15 years ago.  I kept kicking that can down the road.  “I just had a baby.”  “I have three little ones at home.”  “I don’t want to.” “My husband just started a new shift.” “My toe hurts.”  Lots of really legit excuses.  He he he… This one took a while, a small investment and dedication.  It was a commitment.  I took an online prep course that was 30 hours in total, spent approximately 1,000 hours a day in personal study time, reviewed nearly 1,000,000 flash cards, and took the practice exams about 100 times, each.  I had scheduled the exam for about 2 1/2 weeks after the class was over at a proxy test center in my area.  I arrived, got frisked, and was chastised about the contraband (a tissue in my pocket) (they take their jobs seriously); I was allowed to take only photo ID and locker key into the exam room.  I was ushered to an old PC in a room full of old PCs and other test-takers.  I sat down in front of the computer and thought – let’s do this.  I prayed silently – God, I’ve put the work in.  Help me finish this task today – bring the information to my remembrance, and help me to be careful as I read and thoroughly understand what the question is asking.  Then, something happened.  The first question was something I felt confident about.  So was the next one.  And, the one after that.  I thought, this is really weird.  I didn’t feel this confident with the practice exams at all.  But, now, I actually felt good about my answers. 
    IMG_2964I PASSED!!

    For someone who pretty much skated through school by the skin of her teeth, not really diving in to studying the actual material, or go beyond the minimum requirements, and getting the appropriate resulting grades, I suddenly learned what all the straight-A kids felt like when they took an exam.  Weird.  Not that much stress.  At the end, the computer told me that I PASSED and boy did that ever feel good!!!  REALLY good.  An investment in ME. #accomplishment #SHRM-SCP #killingitatlife

  2. Update resume and obtain review and feedback from two trusted colleagues.  IN PROCESS.  This one is tricky because I’m not necessarily looking to leave my job, but I do want to position myself for the next thing if/when God brings it along my path.  Plus, what better time to update my resume with the little letters at the end of my name now earned.  Kerry Mader, SHRM-SCP.  Hmm, nice ring to it.
  3. Think differently.  IN PROCESS.  Romans 12:2 commands, “And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], SO THAT you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]” (AMP, emphasis mine).  I’ve put this verse into action by setting up a semi-professional executive coaching situation with a family member of mine who is working towards becoming an executive coach.  Win-win!  For starters, I’m reading a new book called, “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans, along with using the companion workbook.
    IMG_3100Designing Your Life – Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

    So far, I’m really enjoying it.  I would sum it up as a book that introduces the reader to a design mindset.  This has been freeing for me so far – as someone who struggles with perfectionism. (Maybe I’ll do a full book review at the end of my process, if that’s something of interest.)  At this point, my coach and I meet about every other week via phone due to distance and in person when we’re able.  He has a unique mindset and very different experiences in life than I do, I respect his wisdom, and so I think that it’s going to be extremely valuable to have this exchange and accountability.

  4. Seek God.  Honestly, why isn’t thing one in the #1 slot?  It should have been.  If I’m being real, and I am, it wasn’t at the time.  I have a really amazing resiliency (that’s code for stubbornness) for trying to do it all on my own.  It’s a very clear pattern in my own life, as I know it is for so many. (Here’s an older post on that very theme.)  I am now earnestly seeking God – I spent the better part of a day this week seeking Him, learning, growing, healing. I needed a level set, a refresher.  One of the key things that I am pressing into right now is my identity.  How do I see myself?  More on that in a future post!
  5. Write again.  Write until there are no more words for today.  I’m picking up the blog again.  I have a story to tell, hope to spread, and a light to shine.

I look forward to the future!  Be blessed and know you are loved, Kerry

Am I on a path at all?

Staying on the dirt road would have been safer (although I would have still be in disobedience) because the road is packed, and traveled by trucks, combines, tractors, etc… so that over time, it is hardened and although the rain creates a little mud on top, and mud puddles, there isn’t a huge danger of being stuck in the mud.  The field is NOT a path at all.  The ground is meant to be worked each season and a harvest planted in the fertile, rich, loose soil so that the plants can grow.  The rain very much causes that ground – right next to the road – to be drenched with the water so that it soaks down deep in preparation of the seeds that will be planted and will need water to grow and produce a harvest.  Those two places – the dirt road and the field are the SAME DIRT – there is nothing different about the dirt itself.  The difference lies in the purpose and function of each.  I guess you could say that if you don’t choose to be on a PATH, you are still choosing something… No choice is still a decision.  Probably not the best one, definitely not a purposeful one.  Today, I choose to choose my path.  Not to wander in the field.  For my great-grandfather – Englebert Mader… his path was very much in the middle of the field – he was making his path with a horse and a hand-plow.  I’m pretty sure that he also had a set jaw – angry, determined that this ‘talk of religion’ was something that he neither wanted nor appreciated in his wife, Mary.  I think my moment of surrender in the mud might have been a little like his own – both actions, him falling to the ground, and me surrendering my boots – both moments were our unique acts of surrender, a turning point, a lesson learned deeply.  His act changing the course of lives for generations to come.  My act being a result of his act in some way – setting me on a path for my life and it’s roads and fields.  I’m so very grateful for what great-grandpa Mader decided that day.  I am so very grateful for my Dad and what he did for me that day – a moment in time to be remembered and recounted about 35 years later and to bear so much more meaning than it did at the time.  I can’t wait to meet great-grandpa and talk about it all.  Then, I’m going to talk to great-grandma and give her a big hug for putting up with and praying without ceasing for Englebert – and will tell her all I have to tell – giving the honor and glory to my Father in Heaven.

So, there it is – a small snipit – glimpses of our past – carried forward to our present – giving us confident expectation of good – no… great – things to come for our future generations.

Kerry (Mader) Sikes
December 27, 2011

thoughts from The Vine

How do we connect with others in real and intimate ways if we have been hurt? have trust issues? and more importantly how do we help others find their way to connection?

On Friday at Celebrate Recovery, one of the ladies receiving her step study completion chip said it so simply and eloquently. “I KNOW now that I belong. I REALLY belong!”  She is connected!

For me, in order to feel truly connected to others I have to stay connected first and foremost to my Heavenly Father. being a farmer’s daughter myself, the way the message translation says it resonates with me.

Vine and branches.

While I was studying for this devotional, I went to the best resource EVER – PINTEREST, of course, and looked up vine grafting, and vine pruning to brush up a little on my less that thorough knowledge of these topics.  I found a few tidbits I thought were interesting:

A grape vine when it is planted, looks pretty awful.  It looks dead.  There is no green, no leaves, no fruit.  The vine gets planted in the right season and later on, when the vine started to grow, those young tendrils are strapped to a support structure, so the center of the vine can grow and its two main tendrils can branch out.  Once these tendrils are of a certain length, the are wrapped to the horizontal structure, creating a T shape.  The point at which the vine branches out is referred to as the Head, or CROWN.  I love that Christ chose an image that points to the cross.  This growth, pruning and training process takes several years – there is no faster way to make the vines grow – they grow as is in their nature to grow.  Some do grow faster than others, however; and I learned that the pruning for the more aggressive varieties, is also more aggressive.  I thought that was very interesting.

John 15

1 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. (Ouch! There’s that painful pruning we go through in our steps and in recovery.) And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. (Did you know that a fruit tree HAS to be pruned of some of the baby fruits it starts to bear? The branch may produce 12 apples, but the farmer will come along and take off many so that the remaining fruit will grow larger and be healthier!  Wikipedia says, Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping (by controlling or directing growth), improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for transplanting, and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits.)  You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. (We are not the original branches! The original branches are Israel, the chosen people… but the best news ever is that this verse talks about in-grafting! Genetically modified!!! That’s us! We are bonded to the vine by the farmer. He takes us, the branch, and carefully cuts open the vine and inserts the branch into the vine and then lashes it up, bonds it. It will grow as one after the grafting has been complete!!) 5 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, (I love that!) the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

9 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

11 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. 17 “But remember the root command: Love one another. (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭1-17‬ MSG) Fruit bearers – that’s US!  Praise God that we have the True Vine so that our supply doesn’t come from within, it some from The Vine itself.

One thing I love about God is that He is an unfailing, never ending Source. He pours out everything He has, everything He is and when we use that Source, we also never run out. Never. No matter how crappy my week is, no matter how down I feel about life, when others around me need to hear Hope, or Healing, I have it because I am not getting it from Kerry, I’m getting my supply from the Distributor Himself. I’ve noticed when I start to feel used, or exhausted its because I’m trying. I’m trying! I have to stop trying and start relying. Themes in this scripture? Connection. Supply. Source. Relationship. What’s it all for? It’s for our Joy to be complete as we fulfill His command to LOVE.

Making it personal.

Write about a time that you felt or knew that you were relying upon Christ as The Vine, The Source.  What happened? What was different about the situation from the past when you relied upon other methods or coping strategies?

How can I practice or exercise my dependence on The Vine as The Source for everything I need in a purposeful way?  What are some ideas that you would be willing to share with everyone?

Why is it important to be dependent on The Vine and The Source?

So blessed to be sharing these notions with a group of vine-dwelling sisters – all of us on our unique journeys of recovery – helping as servant leaders at Celebrate Recovery – to show others how to plug into The Source, The Vine.  October 10-12, 2014.


I sort of have a thing for old suitcases.  I fawn over the old, leather trimmed, hard-sided cases that need a belt around them to keep from spewing their contents during transit.  I breathe deeply when I happen upon an old steamer trunk with aged brass fittings and wood structure. I would take them all in like orphaned puppies if I could.

One time I even purchased a new, upgraded, lightweight, wheeled suitcase in my Dad’s favorite color, crimson, knowing full well that he would show up to visit me with that gorgeous old suitcase in hand.  My “gift” to him was to replace that “old, worn out, heavy thing” with a new model!  And, wasn’t I just the best daughter ever to allow him to leave behind that old, heavy, scraped up, belted, hard-sided suitcase?!  My secret, evil plan to get my hands on that antique went without a hitch!  He still doesn’t know of my ulterior motives.  Sorry, Dad!!!

Suitcases take on a different meaning when you start talking about baggage.  I think of hurts, habits, hang-ups – the stuff that keep me from living in freedom and victory.  I believe that my heavenly Father cares ever so much about our baggage, and I think He wants to help us unload that baggage so we can live life to the full.

Here’s where my story about the suitcases comes in.  Mom had come to Arizona to visit me for a couple of weeks one fall not too long ago.  During her visit, she purchased some knives from a sales representative that I knew.  I had recently expanded my own knife collection and, consequently, had an extra small block that I knew would be perfect for her new knives.  I encouraged her to take home the knife block.  She was excited and accepted my offer.

Towards the end of her visit, Mom spent the day while I was at work packing up her suitcases for her trip home.  The journey home would start at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport, then layover in Seattle, and there she would switch planes for the final leg home to Idaho.  For Mom, the day would be tiring, and to make matters worse, the flight wasn’t due to arrive in her hometown until very late – around midnight.  She had planned ahead and left her own car at the airport so that she wouldn’t have to ask any of her friends to come at that late hour to drive her home.  She dislikes putting anyone out for her own needs.

During her last few days with us, she started to wonder aloud about how she was going to get her suitcase from the baggage claim, her carry-on, and her purse to her car.  And worse yet, how was she going to get her heavy suitcase up into the trunk of her car?  She had enough anxiety that she decided that the knife block had to be left behind.  I was disappointed and troubled… I think that I was as excited for her to have the knife block as I was that she would actually have a knife that would cut something after she received her new set in the mail.  (Do NOT get me started on the utensils that have passed for knives at Mom’s for the past 30 years!!)  It also annoyed me that a knife block was now a stumbling block, causing her so much stress!

I was getting ready for the day – my last day with Mom before I dropped her at the airport for her afternoon flight home.  I often talk to the Lord while I’m putting myself together, and on this particular day, I found myself talking to Him about Mom’s stress with the suitcases and the knife block.  A strong sense came over me that not only does the Lord care about these small things in our lives, but an even stronger belief… no, it was His  still small voice, telling me that He WILL take care of the small things, and that He had a plan, and that Mom should take the knife block home with her as planned.  Sheer excitement filled me!  I knew what to do.  I hurried to finish my routine and headed downstairs to talk to Mom.

I told Mom that I had been talking with the Lord.  I relayed that I knew that He cares about even the smallest details in our lives and that He wants us to rely upon HIM, not on our own understanding.  Then, I announced to Mom that she was taking home that knife block in her suitcase.  I told her God was going to take care of the rest.  I told her that I was assured of this and that He wanted her to just relax and LET Him do this for her.

Her expression was priceless!  First, curiosity – then amusement, and lastly, a shared excitement!  I shoved the knife block into her suitcase, and packed it into my car with the rest of her things.  We set off for lunch at Mimi’s Cafe, and one last stop at our favorite discount store.  We giggled like school girls while we talked about what the outcome of the suitcase was going to be that night.  I told her that I would be waiting to hear how it all went!  We said our good byes.

The next morning, Mom called me, ready to report!  While she was waiting to board the next flight from Seattle to home, she ran into some new friends who had been traveling abroad the past eight weeks.  They started talking about their luggage, and had said that they only had one backpack each; they never checked a piece of luggage.  Mom thought to herself that this was a great way to bring up her own suitcase – maybe these were the people He had in mind to help her, but maybe God needed a little help to get the ball rolling.  She started to  tell her friends that she just had one piece of luggage and was quite worried about how to get it into the trunk of her car when she arrived.  Mom thought that it might be just the nudge someone needed to ask if they could assist her with her luggage, and that would be the end of it.  God had other plans because the friendly couple didn’t seem to catch on to her hint at all, but instead they rather quickly excused themselves… something about needing to grab a bite to eat before the flight.  Mom said that she guessed God was trying to tell her that He didn’t really need her help and that she could just sit back to watch what He did.

The flight landed and the passengers disembarked, one by one heading into the terminal to claim their baggage.  When Mom walked through the door, she noticed a familiar face; it was her good friend, Sue from Bible study.  They were equally surprised to see one another and quickly learned that her friend was there to pick up her neighbors from their travels.

While they were chatting, waiting on the luggage, Mom’s friend asked her if she had a bag she was waiting on and, could she be of assistance getting it for her.  Mom said yes and quickly accepted her kind offer, smiling to herself.  After her friend got her bag from the baggage claim belt, she asked if she couldn’t just take it to her car for her since her friends could easily manage their own bags and that it would be no trouble at all.  Mom said that her assistance would be wonderful, explaining about her concern for the weight of the bag and lifting it up into the trunk of her car.  God had indeed come through for her.  

While the friends walked together towards the car, Sue said that she felt that she was supposed to be there for Mom that night.  Mom said, laughing in reply, “You have NO idea!”

Of course, I was simply euphoric!  Thank you, Lord!  You are so loving and kind.  Not only are You ABLE, but You are SO WILLING to lighten our load, to accept our cares, to carry our burdens.  I love that You showed Yourself through this experience, that you acted without haste when we asked!  Help me to ask you, help me to wait expectantly for You to deliver.

Later in the week, Mom and her suitcase-rescuer were having lunch.  Mom shared with her the whole story about the suitcases!  Her friend was equally as excited as we were!  She loved knowing that a month prior, when she had offered to pick her neighbors up at the airport upon their late-night arrival, God knew He had someone else entirely in mind that she was to be there for.  And, Mom and I were blessed to get to hear that even before either one of us had any thoughts about suitcases or knife blocks or midnight pick ups at the airport, that our heavenly Father had already laid in motion the plans to take care of it all.

Step 6.  We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will life you up.” James 4:10

My Rain Boots

I wrote this as a journal entry some months ago while learning a lesson about why we sometimes get stuck in recovery and about surrendering… Hope you enjoy.

“Happy are the meek.” (Matthew 5:5)

When I was a little girl, I loved spending time with my dad.  As a farmer, he worked around home often, but was gone long hours.  One of my favorite ways to spend time with him was to be his ‘secretary’ when he went through his mail in the evenings.  I got to use the letter opener on each envelope and we would chat about the mail or school, or I would tell him about the newest kittens.

One very wet spring day, I mean really wet… it had been raining for weeks, and was raining some more…  Dad and my brothers were doing “spring work” – which meant that now that the cold was over and snow was gone, the farmers could start seeding or working on the equipment in preparation for the summer harvest.  I had asked my dad if I could go with him that day, but he had said no.  I was heart-broken as he left the house.  I remember that I was very emphatic about going with him, and I thought it was particularly unreasonable of him to deny my request!  So, I pulled on my rain boots, ignoring the coat on the hall tree, and took off out the door to try to catch up with Dad.

The ‘men’ (my dad and two oldest brothers) had taken off in a pick-up truck through the field towards the north.  I could still see them and I was in luck; they had stopped briefly.  I took my chances, it’s now or never.  I crossed the gravel road by the mailbox and went down the ditch into the field that usually had either wheat or peas growing in it.  But, at this time, it was only dark brown dirt – mud actually.  Usually the field was not difficult to walk in – it could be full of dirt clods, or if there hadn’t been much rain, the ground could even be hard, dry and cracked.  I was about to discover a third condition.

I probably got about 10 steps into the field and found myself stuck fast.  My boots were suctioned into the mud so that I could not pull them out, or take another step.  There was no going forward, and there certainly was no going back.  I was ankle-deep in mud at this point.  I am sure that I panicked, and was probably crying, certainly shivering.  Somehow, someone caught sight of me.  I’m not sure if Mom saw me first, or if my dad or one of my brothers saw me, but pretty soon, here came Dad to the rescue.  I am pretty sure that at this point a little panic set in because I could see that he was NOT happy.  His jaw was set and his step was quick and heavy.  But, he was my rescue and I was mighty glad to see him.

I reached up to him as he reached for me.  He began to pick me up like so many other times before, but this time was different; my boots held me fast in the mud.  He tried again – nothing.  My sock-less feet also held onto my boots naturally, so the boots wouldn’t come off my feet.  My dad didn’t even blink; he wasn’t stumped.  He told me to let my toes let go of the boots.  I know I hesitated – wondering why it was okay to let the boots come off my feet when for my entire life (all six years of it), Mom had been trying to make me keep shoes on my feet when I was outside.  I finally relaxed – surrendering to his instruction – let my toes relax and yield the boots…. letting go of the thing that was actually keeping me stuck.  He was then able to easily pull me up and carry me to the house – out of the rain and cold – out of the mud.

I don’t know what happened to my boots.  And, I don’t remember what happened after this muddy rescue – if I was punished or lectured or if my parents took pity and saw that the natural consequences were already lesson enough…  I knew I had disobeyed and it got me stuck in the mud.

I had disobeyed and it got me stuck in the mud.

Lord, you are the only one that can pull me out of the mud when my actions, choices and behaviors lead me back into the mud.  Like my daddy who came to my rescue and picked me up out of the mire as if it was nothing at all, I know that YOU are my only hope of rescue, not another unhealthy relationship, not food, not shopping, not losing weight, not numbing out on video games, not vegging out in front of the TV, or any other of the many coping mechanisms I use.  You are strong and willing to pull me out of the mud. Lord, help me always be willing to be willing to leave my boots of disobedience, unforgiveness, pride, isolation, idolatry, right there  in the mud. Please Lord, pull me out of the mud, set my feet on the solid ground again.  Please forgive me for disobeying.  Show me which path is for me.  Please help me to follow that path carefully, purposefully, with wisdom and discernment from you.  Show me when I put my rain boots back on and start out across the field, not on a path at all… but blindly heading right back for the mud pit.  Help me recognize my notions or intent before I even am able to get ONE STEP into the field, off the road.

After the Lord brought this memory back to me during this lesson in recovery, I found the sweetest pair of little girl’s pink rain boots and bought them.  They hang in my closet now – a daily reminder.  And, luckily – they DON’T FIT!

Principle 3: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.