Monday, May 12, 2014


Yes, "The Hub" and I recently went on a camping trip.

Tent camping.

In which I slept in a sleeping bag, on an air mattress, outdoors.

Can I get a *huzzah* from those of you in the "arthritically-challenged" crowd out there?!

Now don't get me wrong.  I like camping…a lot.

But I am finding it harder to deal with some of the harsher aspects of "roughing it."

Like the weather.

This past trip we were challenged indeed.

About an hour after we arrived and set up our carefully planned-out bivouac, we got hit with gale-force winds.

Again with the wind.

I seem to be attracting the wind lately.  Maybe it's all the hot air that comes out of my mouth.  (No comment).

That blistering wind lasted all that first night, all the next day and night.  It finally disappeared on the second morning.  That was when "The Hub" gently told me upon wakening that it was raining.  

Well, that's what he said at first.  When he opened the tent door, he changed his mind:

"Oh, I take that back.  It's snowing."

Uh huh.

That entire day I watched snowflakes pour down while I froze in my down jacket.

Fortunately the wind died down enough that we were able to have a campfire that night.  Otherwise, it was freeeeezing cold.

What happened the next day?  Hot, sunny weather.  I ended up getting sunburned.

Crazy time.

"The Hub" and I haven't gone camping for almost 3 years.  Buying and selling houses, moving to the mountains, family stuff – well, the last 3 years have gone by fast.  So, I'd forgotten some of the things that I love (and dislike) about tent camping.

I love being away from technology – no phone, no computer.  I love reading and doing crossword puzzles outdoors.  I love the slower pace, and the sounds of the forest.  I love sitting by the campfire at night.  I love curling up next to "The Hub" in a sleeping bag at night, pulling on my warm hat and gloves, and burying my head in a pillow.

I'm not so fond of the aches and pains I get upon waking up!

We had a great time.  But, as all good things must come to an end, the day came for dismantling and repacking all our gear.  Trust me, it's a time-consuming affair.

And, once again, it became a time of reflection for me.

This trip I reflected on how our humble tent had protected us from the elements.  And believe me, we had some elements!  We were sheltered from the wind and snow, shielded from the cold, and shaded from the sun.

A tent is a good place to be.

But then, of course, there comes a time to fold up and return home.

See, that's the part that I reflected on.

The whole idea of a tent being but temporary housing.  Useful for its time, but not really and truly home.

I got to thinking about how the Bible calls these bodies of ours "tents." Temporary housing until it's time to return home.

I got to thinking about dying.

Most of you know that I really struggle with a fear of dying.

O me of little faith.

Yes, I truly know what I believe, and I believe it truly.  But still, dying is scary to me.  Unknown and unknowable.

But for the promises of God, I think I would exist in a permanent state of panic.

However, I've contemplated death a lot more since my dad passed away. About how it seems so final, but how it's not.  About what the true *person* is that exists in the body.

I never mentioned this before, but the last time I saw my dad was kinda weird.  I had been called back to the rehab facility late one night because he was so agitated.  I was able to calm him somewhat until his pain medication kicked in.  And then, he just sorta faded out.  I actually thought for a second that maybe he had died.  (Little did I know how close he was to heaven's gates.)

And that's how it is.

Here one second, and gone the next.

Moved out of our tent, and on our way homeall in the twinkling of an eye.

In this book that I was reading while camping, I came upon this quote:

"Death is but the path to God."

When I read that, I cried.  It just sounded so beautiful.

And I had this awesome picture of Jesus just waiting for me, waiting to hold me in His arms.

I wonder…

Do I make Him sad when I fear coming home to Him?

Does He mourn that it seems I'm not as eager to see Him as He is to see me?

Does it frustrate Him that I am sometimes more attached to this sin-filled world than I should be?

Does He wonder how I can call this Shadowland "life" – when He Himself is The Life?

Does He pray for me to understand more fully what freedom from the sting of death really means?

Does He shake His head sometimes and say to Himself: "Oh, if she only knew…"

I think He does.

As we were packing up our stuff, and especially when we were breaking down our tent, I began to realize yet again that this world is just a temporary place.  And my body is but a tent, waiting to be folded up so I can go home.


I cry as I write that word.  Something deep inside is moved by the thought of it.  And I am filled with joy at the sure and confident knowledge that I do indeed have a heavenly home.

And a loving Savior.

Waiting just for me.

Jesus, Only You.

Home sweet home...
...until it's time to go home. 

"Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood.  For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.  Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying." (Hebrews 2:14-15, NLT)

"For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.  We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies...While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies...Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life...So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:1-2, 4, 6, NLT)

"Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it." 
(1 Peter 2:11, MSG)

"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come." (Hebrews 13:14, NLT)

"...our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Philippians 3:20, ESV)

"'Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.'" (John 14:1-3, NASB)

What's your perspective on dying, and what do you looking forward to the most about going *home*?

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Hi Sharon! My husband and I used to go camping with the kids. I think I would need a blow-up mattress now. Oy, my back!
    But I love your reflection on home-coming and our bodies being temporary housing. That's really a great image. I think of dying as something far in the future, but of course, it could happen any day. I don't know what heaven will be like, but I know I'll love it. It will be returning to what I really am, which is a part of the body of Christ. Without union with that body, I'm always going to feel like I'm missing something.

    When I die, and am with the Lord, I'll be complete. That is a wonderful thought!
    Hope you are thawing out, and Happy Mothers Day (a day late!),

  2. Another great post.
    Well, I too have had a lot of time to reflect on death these past months...and I am certain that God understands our fear, our clinging to this life even with all its problems...after all, he gave us the will to live and it is strong...But, one thing I hope to always remember, is the knowing that our true home is not a place at all, but a person...Our Lord...our Heavenly Father, the Holy spirit who dwells with us in this tent...someday to dwell with us outside of this tent also.
    Still, it is no small thing to miss the one's we love who have gone home ahead of us!...Remember how Jesus cried out when he felt alone...separate from the Father for the first time in his life?
    God understands...that's why He gives us a peace that surpasses OUR understanding when we have to say goodbye to them.
    BTW: I live where camping is a way of life...So, a nice vacation usually involves a plush hotel with all the amenities!
    Blessings and love~ Lisa

  3. Sharon, I have never gone camping and not sure as scary as I am of everything that creeps and crawls that I could make out there in the You done a wonderful job of relating it to spiritual homes. I try not to think to much of dying but we are only sojourners passing through this land.

  4. Being "home" (sigh)! Longing for a place with no more ... of ANYTHING ... just JOY!

    Guess I don't linger in the thought long of my own dying ... with all the deaths I've encountered in my life ...

    but this was an absolutely awesome adventure with you and hubs once again hunkering down in the wilderness through all the variants of camping, being a misfit outdoors vs. how you love roughing it ... love to see nature and enjoy but not very fond of "tent" life .... (hmmm) I love how you applied this to out spiritual tent and life. As always ... remarkably penned ... an yes, this old "tent" is not made for roughing it physically much more ... these old bones just can't hack it.

    So glad you enjoyed the time away, keeping and honoring your word against all odds, liking it or finding ways to be content with the basics in life, hub's love and His Divine love surrounding you in the quiet ... you were missed and thought of frequently (view all the emails I sent-sorry, couldn't help myself) ... love the photo of your tent and that you were able to bear all the weather elements in such a brief span of time. Makes you wonder and appreciate the comfys of home! Yep, HOME! this old tent is a gettin' ... I thought this was a song that was coming was coming back but couldn't find it but a group called that and this video (so I have to share it)
    Ohh, and you know what the song was "this old house" ... (had to laugh when it came to me)
    "Ain't gonna need this house/tent no longer ..."

    Yep, 60 does not call me to the adventure or misadventure of camping anymore but perhaps to the hanging up of this old "tent" or appreciating more the LIFE I have been given and the comforts I have ... not so much "roughing" it or "toughing it out" but knowing you're as rough and tough as you have to be to venture to experiencing the Wonders of God in this life and beyond... I'll have to think on this another time ... your death and dying question ... kinda caught me off guard.

    I love your wording in the "wonder" questions ... and sadly I think so too, but the quote you shared ... gave me pause to think on this more. And this portion of "breaking down our tent" ... (WOW) ... I would cry too! Especially at being wonder struck with words and expressions that you used to vividly connect me to this experience and the comparison of our earthly tents and the whole tent deal.
    Now that image of your photo really makes this click ... preparing and then taking it down when the adventure comes to a close... Thanks Sharon!

    Love you and sending blessings (((hugs))) welcome home

  5. Hi Sharon, As always a well written post. I seem to have dried up a bit at the moment, just noticed I haven't posted since Good Friday. Maybe soon. God Bless.

  6. You are a brave woman, Sharon, to go camping in a tent, though it looks like a nice tent! I've never been tent camping and probably won't ever too :) (not if I can help it)

    I like your thoughts about death. I was thinking about it a little bit ago, how we cling to this world instead of wanting to go and be with Jesus. You are right, does it make him sad? Probably not because he knows our human nature. He also knows our reaction when we finally get to see him and I bet that puts a big smile on his face.

    From a book I read a year or so ago, What You Need to Know about Bible Prophecy by Max Anders, he summed up death so well. Quoting him from page 126 of the book "Physical death is a wonderful gift. Without it, we would have to live eternally in sin corrupted bodies. So regardless of what causes our death, the actual process of dying is the closing of our eyes in this world and a moment later opening them in that far, far better world, a world where all that is not good is excluded and all that is good is included and where we will live with our Lord forever. No problem with that!"

    And I agree, no problem with that!


  7. Wonderful post my friend, love you.

  8. I love camping! In fact we just reserved spots to go camping in a couple weeks. I can't wait!

    I hope you can stop by and visit:


  9. Beautiful words. I have heard it described before that it's like we're wearing a coat now, and when we enter heaven it's like that coat just drops off and we literally keep walking to meet God. No in between stage...just straight to God Himself, full of love and peace.

    Stopping by from Soli Deo Gloria. :)
    Cooking Up Faith

  10. It has been many years since we did a tent camp out. My friend and her children and I with mine spent a week in Yosemite and enjoyed a stay without the wind, snow and rain. Glad you could build a fire to keep warm and sorry about the sun burn the next day. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a True Story."

  11. Joel and I were both laughing at all you two experienced on your trip. Yikes! You lasted longer than I would have......goodness. is not on my current bucket list......but when it comes I am ready and know who will be waiting for me.

  12. I used to camp, but no more. And I have to believe Jesus understands our strengths and our weaknesses. I trust you Jesus.

  13. Sharon, I love to tent least I did about 25 years ago...we haven't done it since my boys were small. I am so glad my tent is only a temporary home for my soul and that really it belongs to in heaven with the Lord. I love this post...and I love you :)

  14. You know - after all the snow and cold we had this year, I have been so joyful with warmer temps. Of course, we're at sea level here in Jersey. Today it was 88 degrees. Not camping weather - but neither were your freezing temperatures. What an experience! But, I love how no matter what, the Lord is in the middle of our hot and our cold bringing all things to a stabilized temperature in the safety of His Tent. Some serious thoughts expressed here, milady . . . thanking God for those Mansions in place of tents someday . . .

  15. Great analogy, Sharon. Our tents wear out just like one we try to use as shelter from the storms of life.

    I'm one of those people that have camped in real life… now I avoid it like the plague! I shouldn't I suppose… You got me thinking about all kinds of things now!

  16. Wonderful.

    This is my favorite part:

    "Does He wonder how I can call this Shadowland "life" – when He Himself is The Life?

    Does He pray for me to understand more fully what freedom from the sting of death really means?

    Does He shake His head sometimes and say to Himself: "Oh, if she only knew…"

    (And... SNOW? Really?)

  17. I've been pretty near death more than a few times - some of them by my own hand (intentionally in a few cases, unintentionally in others), and sometimes from other causes. I'm always ready to go home - no bags to pack for that journey - but until He calls, I'll be out playing under the streetlights or doing my best to be about His business.

    Camping? Give me three inches of green carpet at a Holiday Inn - close enough for me. :) God bless, and enjoy!

  18. Friend, can I just humbly offer that perhaps Jesus is not at all disappointed with you for your trepidation of death. Perhaps the moments he spent in the garden sweating blood might point to such a conclusion. He was made like us in every way and has compassion for our human weaknesses. As much as I relate to you in wanting to get over that fear, I hope you will at least consider the possibility that Jesus isn't frustrated or mournful over your feelings. He gives us grace and longs to hold us, yes. But he never shames us.

    I hope you can hear these words as gently as I mean them. And I hope you will continue to feel comfortable sharing your heart with us at Unforced Rhythms. You have a wonderful gift of storytelling.

  19. love how you share you heart so real. Wishing you a beautiful weekend. Although we're not camping we're heading up north to the mountains. It's where I feel free and incredibly close to His presence.

  20. Thank you for sharing your heart. I believe in His loving grace and mercy that He understands where we are at and gently guides us to where He wants us to be. What an awesome Father we have. Great Post!

  21. hi, i'm linked up behind you over at holley's place. thought i'd stop by and say hello.

  22. This is beautiful, Sharon. I love how you share your heart and your musings... Remembering that we are in a temporary "tent" brings much encouragement as we go through difficult times, doesn't it? Blessings to you!!

  23. Sharon, Reading your post above I was reminded of how many things we have had in common these past three years - especially selling houses, moving to the mountains and saying good bye to loved ones.

    You sure do get a BIG "Huzzah" from me. :) ~ Marsha

  24. Oh my. I haven't been camping in a tent for a long time. I just couldn't do it physically, sleeping on the ground, ouch! I love your good.

    I featured you today on my blog, Sharon. I couldn't find your contact me info to send you an email. Blessings!!

  25. This is quite a post and has much for that reflection you talk about. We just let go of the small trailer and truck that we called our temporary "home" for three years. Even with it, the aches and pains became so harsh and emptying the tanks and decamping and all just was too much. I had backpacked in my younger days and even in those times, the time to return home home was good.
    I, too, have had time for reflection on death as my Mama of 98 passed away a little over a year ago. I know she is with the LORD and I will be one day too. I am not afraid of actually dying. It is the process of death here on earth that brings fear to me after watching all that Mama went through.
    Glad I came by from Thought-Provoking Thursday, ~ linda

  26. Camping is not for sissy for sure. I have slept in some pretty uncomfortable places in the years we served overseas. It will be worth it someday when I see Jesus. I don't fear death, I don't look forward to it either but there is no sting in it for me. As always a very good post, full of insights.

  27. Oh Sharon, this is a beautiful post. I have to admit I have never been camping. I'm a Hampton Inn girl. But I so get what you mean by coming home to God...and I had to ask those questions for myself. How encouraging that in spite of myself my Savior is waiting for me!

  28. Coming here is never a disappointment, Sharon. Lovely, convicting, challenging thoughts. I think it's natural to be wary of the unknown. There is a lot about death we don't know or understand. But there is a lot we do. When I'm tempted to fear I try to focus on the Truth and remember that fear is a tool of the enemy's - and I pray for the Lord to increase my faith. Blessings on your weekend.

  29. Your post reminded me of all the things I love and hate about camping! I also love the reminder about our earthly tents and the glorious reality of heaven and our resurrected bodies.

  30. I am so not the outdoorsy type. I think I've gone camping twice in my entire life. I too sometimes worry about death - not so much the dying, but the what I am leaving behind part. I am thankful that once I see Him face to face, I won't have a care in this world.

  31. Bless your heart, friend. Not sure I could do the tent camping again. I just loved this post. Your heart is so beautifully reflected in the way you write and share with us, Sharon. make me smile and you gave me a few goosebumps here too. I don't think I've ever admitted it either but I too fear death. But yes, what joy to think of the heavenly home that awaits us. I really adore you and I'm so grateful we have connected and share a joy journey together.
    Much love to you.

  32. I liked # 14. The enemy doesn't just drop bombs on us, he also likes the incessant attack of darts.
    Often we can hold up under the bombs--cancer, divorce, bankruptcy-- because we put our armor on and take up the weapons of our warfare. It is the darts--those things we fool ourselves into thinking we can handle on our own--that can unexpectedly take us down.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)