Ever since high school I have loved camping and backpacking. I did not grow up with a family that did either of those things. In many ways I guess that it is strange that I ending up loving camping. I thank my wife for introducing me to this world, along with my field studies teacher Mrs. Slate. Never the less, I love being outside. Yes, one could stay in cabins and consider themselves outdoors and “camping”. However, camping for me is a tent, propane stove, flashlights, lanterns, bug spray, and sleeping bags. There is something about the air you breathe when you are tucked away at a campground. The atmosphere and the company you share while camping is most likely the single most unique thing I can think of. Inside a campground everyone there becomes family. Everyone invites each other over to their fire to share marshmallows and fellowship. If you forgot ketchup for your hamburgers, just ask the people in the site next door.
All of these are the reasons that my wife and I were anxious and excited about getting our daughter into camping. We love it so much that we would be devastated if she did not enjoy it. Like most things in life, the only way for us to find out if our almost four year old liked camping was to jump right in. So, as a surprise for my wife and daughter I got a camp site at Monte Sano State Park. I got everything setup and ready to go and then told them to meet me up on the mountain at the park. It didn’t take long for me to know how my daughter was going to like it. As soon as she climbed out of the car, her face was in full amazement. That is when I knew, she was a camper. The weekend went well and she didn’t want to leave when we had to pack up. This is now going to become a family tradition. (I love those)
While I am on camping, I want to share with you the last thing that, to me, makes camping great. To camp normally means that you leave many of the “comfort” items you use at home, well, at home. You get to shed the pull of your cell phone, the hum of the air conditioner and stand in the presence of God; after all, it is His creation. Spending time outside in the middle of nature is like getting a big hug from the Almighty. The clarity of His voice is something to be marveled. The sound of all the creatures that He created just so this whole planet could work the way it is suppose to still amazes me. Out here is where God lives; outside is where God does His greatest work. For me it is almost impossible to hear God through all the clatter of my every day. I need times like these to remember exactly what it is God has called me and also my family to do.
I encourage you to go camping. Especially if you find yourself lost and in need of some words from God. Turn off your smart phone and leave your laptop in its bag. You don’t need those things to get closer to God. Being surrounded by God is the best way to hear His still small voice. Come and let God fill you up so that you can go back to your everyday refreshed with a new purpose and direction.