Our group was incredible, both boys and girls, and we backpacked for 4 days. I had never done anything like this before…overcoming steep mountain ridges, hungry bears, and incessant rain and fog. The trip could have been deemed a complete failure by some, but not for us. We took each adversity and turned it into an opportunity to praise God and to draw closer to each other. And the mountaintop sunrise at the end was unforgettable!
Throughout the trip, I could not escape the thought of Daniel. We had done so many day trips during our marriage. We would hike through parks and climb mountains together at least 2-3 times a year for Thanksgiving, New Years, or a “just because” as a break from the mundane. Being on my first backpacking trip ever, without him, was very difficult.
There were times of sheer exhaustion and times of pure elation, “On Top of the World”. At those moments, I would have flashes of him. He was everywhere in my head.
I could barely face the thought of coming back to our house. He was not there. I wanted so much for him to be there, but he was thousands of miles away. On the drive home, people were saying all they wanted was a shower and a warm bed. All I was thinking was I wanted for Daniel to be back at home waiting for me. Our home just wasn’t a home without him. He was my home.
I wanted to be done. I wanted the deployment to be over. I wanted him to come home.
“How can I make it?” I asked God in a silent prayer. We had 8 more months to go.
The truth is God is our provision in times of need (Philippians 4:19). Many times on the backpacking trip I saw the provision of God. On the 1st night, He provided a safe camp by a river after we started on the wrong trail. On the 2nd night, He protected us and our packs when a bear was circling 300 feet from our camp all night long. He provided dry wood and a warm fire on the last night when all of our clothes were soaked and we were all shivering from the rain.
He provided all these things and more with warm conversations, funny jokes, and kind gestures from each member of the group. Each person was a provision from the Lord. We could not have made it without each other, and we could not have made it without God.
This trip was an incredible reminder of God’s provision for us, His children. He will not leave us in the wilderness alone. He sees our needs and meets us in the hardship and storms.
When I was on the mountain ridge, soaked head to toe and my boots were full of water, I was miserable. Each step was disgusting with water squishing between my toes. I did not know how I was going to make it to the truck.
There will be an end to the deployment, but in the meantime I will just keeping putting one foot in front of the other. One step, one day, at a time. God knows the misery of the water between my toes, but I believe He will provide a mountaintop sunrise at the end.