Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Camping Trip to Remember

As August was nearing to an end I decided to book a reservation at a campground so that we could enjoy one last weekend of summer before school started.  We typically camp one day once a year. We're not camping people but we know how much the kids love it and it's cheap!

So, it looked like Labor day weekend was going to be our weekend of choice. A few weeks later, it was here and I spent all Friday morning loading up the car with the kids. While we were packing, a man came out to fix our window frames that needed some touch up paint. After he finished painting he said, "So where you headed this weekend?"

"Oh, just camping up at South Fork". I said.

"You realize it's going to rain right?" he replied "Hope you don't get washed away."

No, I hadn't been following the weather. Seeing how I had already paid for the reservation weeks in advance, there was no going back on this one. Rain or shine, we were going camping. It was a beautiful sunny day. If a little rain did roll in later, it wasn't going to hurt us.

My husband came home at 12:30 and we finished loading up and went on our way. It was a beautiful drive and it felt so good to get away from life for a day. When we arrived, we quickly set up the tent and then changed into our swim gear. We wanted to take a dip in the very shallow Weber River.

We strolled down to a cozy  river bank and spent a couple hours splashing with the kids and skipping rocks. With hardly any other campers in sight, we were glad to be able to have the place to ourselves. We knew it would get busy around dinner time and felt we had really lucked out on our timing.

After waving to a couple of kids floating by on tubes, we decided the scorching sun was getting the best of us and we headed back to make dinner. As my husband started up the coals, I prepared the dutch oven with a yummy pizza roll recipe. It didn't take long before our pizza rolls were puffy and golden - cheese oozing out over loads of crisp bacon. It smelled delicious!

I got out the dipping sauces I had made, a garden salad and some grape soda. This dutch oven Italian dinner was much better than the typical hotdog roasting we were accustomed to. As we enjoyed the cooling down brought on by the cloud coverage, my husband decided to light a fire. That was when the first raindrop fell. Within seconds it was really coming down and we ran to the car for cover. We finished eating dinner in the car and waited until it died down. "That wasn't so bad." I thought.

"We better roast marshmallows soon" he said. "This fire is burning quick."  Suddenly, I felt rushed. It was only 5:30pm. We weren't supposed to do s'mores yet. We just had dinner. We were supposed to do s'mores around the fire at sundown. Realizing if we didn't have them now we wouldn't have them at all, I complied. Before I could open up the graham crackers and chocolate bars, my husband had already roasted 8 marshmallows. "Hurry and put them together while they're hot" he said.

What? The kids and I didn't get to roast our own? What was the big hurry? We loaded up our crackers and enjoyed the gooey, chocolatey mess. There seemed to be a break in the rain. Once we finished up, the rain began again. It was light enough that we decided to enjoy it. We put on our rain jackets and sat around the fire until it had burned out. We went on a walk, came back and played games in the tent and then got ready for bed. The rain was gone.

About midnight the rain came back. As it pattered down on the tent we were all awakened. It came and went throughout the night and then about 5:00 AM the lightning came. It flashed around us lighting up the tent like noonday sun. 4-5 flashes every 2 seconds. Thunder cracking before we could count to 2. It was right above us on that mountain top. Realizing there was water all around the tent and we were surrounded by tall trees, I suddenly felt as far from safe as a person could get.

Feeling the thunder in the ground I clenched my pillow. I looked over and saw my son and daughter holding each other tight. "Hey guys, I want you to pray right now that we can survive this storm safely." I called to them.

 "We already have been." my son replied. I then began to say my own prayers. "Father please be with us and keep us safe." I repeated over and over. Afraid to end my prayer, I just kept talking to Him as a way of comfort to ride out the terror of this brutal storm. I felt like a helpless little person in the midst of a war zone with bombs dropping all around me. All I could do was huddle and pray and hope to not get struck. My husband and I wanted to be safe in the car but didn't want to take the chance of being a walking target on our way to the car. We stayed low.

If only I had listened to the window man. Was that a warning that I had ignored? It was all my fault that my family's safety was being jeopardized. I had just wanted a peaceful, memorable night with my family - well, I guess this was going to be memorable. As, I lay there wide awake unable to sleep,  blinded and trembling from every flash and crack of thunder around us, I wondered if we were not going to be harmed by the lightening  that we might be washed away down the mountain instead. It had been raining for 3 and a half hours straight. Hard and heavy.

It was then I realized that I had two choices. I could continue to lay there in fear or I could trust in God that no matter what happened He was with us. That would bring me peace. I chose the latter. I was soon able to fall back asleep, realizing that we had all been saying prayers and that God was listening.

At 6:30 am we got up as daylight began to arrive. We assessed the flooding outside. Water all around us but under our tent was completely dry. We noticed some families had left in the night. Hearing some falling rocks we looked up and saw several landslides on the hillside. What a storm it had been! We were kept safe.

The clouds were clearing up and some squirrels came out to watch us as we fired up the coals for pancakes and bacon. As we blessed the food we thanked Heavenly Father for keeping us safe. The sun came out and things warmed up. We were able to enjoy the rest of our day outdoors and had a wonderful time.

When we arrived home that afternoon I checked my messages and my mom had called several times leaving frantic messages. "It's all over the news that a severe weather alert has been issued for all over Weber county especially where you care camping. You're phone is turned off. I'm worried. Call me."

We then saw this headline on the news about a boy being struck by lightening in Weber county.

I had been reminded in a humbling way that without faith, what good is prayer? Asking and then believing offers peace and comfort. Putting your fears in the Lord's hands and then trusting Him is key to not being overcome by fear. This scripture came to mind:

Luke 8:25

And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

In a world of tempests and storms all around us, we need not be afraid. The Lord is all powerful and with Him on our side we can find peace and strength to endure. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

No comments: