When camping brings life.

Some of the best moments are when you’re in the great outdoors, soaking up the sun, hearing the waters roar, the bugs chirp and the birds soar overhead.  All this is glorious, unless you’re like me, you like the idea of all of this, but bugs creep you out and it would be perfect minus the bugs.  At least this is what I initially thought before I went camping with my best friend and new husband.

Since I was little I vaguely remember being stung by a wasp while riding on a tire horse out at my Great Grandparent’s lake house in South Texas. If you’re familiar with the saying, “everything is bigger in Texas” then you know that the phrase also includes bugs. Since that incident, I’ve been terrified and have had an irrational fear of anything that flies and or buzzes, for the fear that it might be a wasp, bee or anything with a stinger coming to get me.

These fears haven’t changed at all since I’ve grown up and  have gotten married. I will say marriage has challenged me though. I challenge myself to enjoy these things, not bugs, but Mother Nature in general; because I know my husband loves being outdoors and I don’t want to miss out on any opportunity to make a memory with him.

So one thing I’ve learned about being married is that it’s scary, it’s scary because it’s uncomfortable at times. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, it challenges you to be a better version of you and sometimes when you think it’s impossible to do that, your spouse reminds you otherwise.

Like my mom told me the other day, my generation grew up with “princesses,” Disney movies that teach you about romance, but what we forget is in each movie someone loses something; a parent, a friend, their home, but you never hear about how that feels. You never hear about the discomfort they go through to get to happiness and it’s clear in the bible, that not everything that is joyful is comfortable. Not everything that is worth fighting for is easy.  But it’s when God allows for you to be uncomfortable that you mature, become more wise and you learn to trust in Him more.

I think the same is with marriage; it’s a huge change. It’s wonderful, but you no longer rely on your parents for safety or comfort, you rely on your spouse. You no longer run home when you have a bad day, and hug your parents, you go home to your spouse, and they’re your comfort. When your parents go on a family vacation, you no longer have the freedom to jump and go with them, you have a spouse that you need to stay with and make memories with. As a woman, you change your name, your driver’s license, your “home” address and you create your own family.  All of these things can convey emotions of loss, but in the big picture, it’s the start of a completely new beginning.

At this point, your past has no hold on your future. Both you and your spouse will bring baggage into your marriage, you both will experience emotions of loss and gain, but the beautiful part is you experience this together. It’s a fresh beginning. As scary as it is, it’s such a remarkable endeavor. You learn to trust God a lot more, you learn to trust your spouse fully, and you learn to trust yourself (you made a great decision).

Sometimes if we allow fear or doubts to drive us, we’ll miss the beauty that God has in store for us (this goes back to the camping thing…) So as I was saying a couple of weeks ago, my husband suggested a camping trip with his brother and brother’s girlfriend; and knowing I would be forced to face fears of snakes, creepy little bugs and sleeping in a tent… I was excited to know I would be experiencing all of this with him and I didn’t want to let him down by saying “no,” so I went all in. And I can tell you this, I don’t regret one moment. Sure, there were moments of, “uhhhh what kind of bug is that??!?! (Let me lather on the bug spray).”  But the moments of happiness and adventure overshadowed any feeling of fear. I trusted my husband would shelter me from any flying insect, and would make sure I wouldn’t get bit by any slithering snake.

I actually remember one of the most beautiful moments of the trip; I woke up in the tent with just the mesh lining above my head and my husband’s body formed to mine cuddling tightly due to the cold morning that greeted us.  I looked up through the mesh, at the swaying leaves, I could hear the water flowing over the small falls on the other side of the camping area. I had my dog curled up on the other side of my body, like a little heater keeping us warm and I remember clearly thinking to myself… “I can’t wait to wake up like this a million more times.”

Being uncomfortable can be scary if you let it, but to stick through it can be so rewarding. I know right now through my new marriage and recent job loss, God is working in me. It may not be fun all the time and anxiety can get the best of me, but I have to remember, I have the most gracious and loving husband I could have been blessed with, I have the perfect little pup and a crazy messy apartment we’re still trying to consolidate; but most importantly I have God in it all. That doesn’t mean it’ll all be easy, but it means it’ll all be worth it.

” For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes…” 
 Jeremiah 29: 11-14

I hope you enjoy these photos I took while camping in Oklahoma in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. That morning I woke up thinking how amazing it all was, my husband woke up moments after and we walked around and took photographs of the sun greeting us in the early hours. It was gorgeous and another, “he and HE are amazing.”

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