Little Me In the Big Woods

state parks

We went camping over Spring Break and got bitten by the bug–the Camping Bug! We had such a great time–no showers and all!

We set up at a walk-in site at a semi-close-to-us State Park. We had to keep our  food in the truck so the Black Bears wouldn’t come to our campsite and eat it. (Whoa!) We all slept in one tent, cooked food over the campfire (mostly thanks to this fabu book), played cards on the picnic table, hiked to a waterfall and even caught a fish!

first fish

Inside our tent the kids slept on mats with sleeping bags while my husband and I had inflatable mattresses. Halfway through the first night, my mattress was about 40% inflated. I think I slept about 2.5 hours that night. After a full day of fun in the woods, I was so ready for bed the next night. I still didn’t sleep well and when Asa woke up whining at about 7:00am, I could not handle it. He wanted breakfast.

Breakfast! Breakfast meant hiking down a rocky path to the truck and back up and starting a fire and cooking and dishing it up while I stand there unshowered in the same clothes I wore the day before! I was not happy to hear his demands!

The more my sleepy boy whined, the louder he got. And the louder he got, I knew the more campers could hear him in their own tents. So, what to do? Give in to a whiny boy when I’m barely awake? Spank him and have someone think I’m beating my child in a tent? Or let him run around in the woods by himself?

I angrily sat up, grabbed Asa, threw his clothes on and roughly said to my husband, “Either we ignore him or someone–NOT ME–is going to have to start a fire to make breakfast.” My husband looked at me (at least I think he did, I wasn’t wearing my glasses) and said forcefully, “Lay back down, Amanda.”

I did.

In fact, I covered my head with my sleeping bag. I turned away from my family and seethed on my partially inflated mattress. My husband kindly got dressed and took the kids outside to start a fire and visit the bathroom.

Meanwhile I’m throwing fiery darts at myself, “Why are you such a bad mother? Your husband has to reprimand you because you can’t even speak civilly to your own children? What is wrong with you? You know Asa’s tired. He is in a tent. In the woods. What’s he supposed to do? If the kids lashed out that way, you’d punish them! What are you thinking?!” It may have even been a little meaner than that. I felt absolutely horrible.

While they were still in the bathroom, I rolled out of my sleeping bag, pulled on a hoodie, some jeans and my glasses. While I walked to the truck to get food, I prayed. Something really spiritual like, “God. What is wrong with me? Help!” Then I remembered a verse I learned in 6th grade,

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, My Strength and My Redeemer.
(Psalm 19:14 NIV)

Not only were my words harmful to my family, my thoughts (I-want-to-sleep-I’m-not-getting-up AND I’m-a-terrible-mom) were harmful to me!

I said the verse out loud as I gathered eggs, cheese and bacon from the truck. I hiked up the hill still muttering it to myself. Then I quietly walked to each family member (they didn’t say much when they saw me arrive), looked them straight in the eyes and quietly said, “I’m sorry for getting angry and yelling this morning.” I even asked my husband twice to forgive me.

As usual, apology became a lovely perfume. We laughed and talked and enjoyed one another as I made breakfast. The rest of our day was without (much) drama. We were sad to see our time in the big woods come to an end.

I walked away with two smoky bags of laundry, a cooler full of mostly warm and soaking wet food and a renewed purpose to speak God’s Word. My heart was so stubborn, so selfish and so upset that morning there was NO WAY I could have found it in myself to be nice, happy or humble. I can see myself spending the rest of the day arguing (at least in my head) with my family. It would have been easy for me to justify my behavior, ignore their feelings and simply excuse myself from guilt. The only way I was able to ask for forgiveness, swallow my pride and enjoy the rest of the day was through speaking God’s Word. I must have said Psalm 19:14 a hundred times that day. It was a constant prayer that trained my spirit, my heart and mind to line up with God’s Word.

For the word of God is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

(Hebrews 4:12)

Have you seen God’s Word come alive in your life?

bible craft

linked to Titus 2sdays and Women Living Well


  1. Love this, Amanda! I had a similar moment while I was scrubbing my boys in the bathtub last night and they were both screaming in protest! I honestly can’t even remember what verse it was now, but it kept me from lashing out at them. I definitely could not have done that on my own. God’s Word is SO powerful!

    • And who knew a verse I learned from SIXTH grade would help me when I was an adult! That’s why I want to give my children God’s Word at every turn!


  2. I know this wasn’t the point of your post… but I did learn the hard way to serve cereal, milk, and fruit for breakfast while camping. Making breakfast takes forever over a campfire, and I was never at my best first thing in the morning while camping. =)

  3. (hugging) I love how real you get with us here. Thank you. You make me feel normal and ok and forgiven. THANK YOU.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! It’s very encouraging.

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