imageI did not check the time when the storm started, but I know that it came in hard and fast. It was the lightning that woke me up first. It was not like any lightning that I had ever seen before. It reminded me of a fluorescent light bulb that is going bad- it was a constant strobe of light, flashing continuously. Initially, there was a light sprinkle and some distant thunder. The wind was whipping the trees around, but it was far above us and there wasn’t much wind blowing the tent. Within about 15 minutes, we knew we were in trouble. Konrad woke up and sat on our bed, eyes wide with a mixture of awe and fear. The baby had managed to get himself into a sitting position in his crib and was staring up at the top of the tent with wide, wild eyes. The wind started to sound like a freight train coming and the West side of the tent blew in to what seemed like a 45 degree angle. For the next 20 minutes or so, Dave and I braced against the tent poles with all of our weight, while the wind and rain pummeled the tent. I remember looking around and it all seemed so surreal. Konrad lay on our bed watching us, silent, as if he sensed the gravity of the situation enough to be still. Jacob sat in his bed and stared at the lightning strobe in the sky. Dave and I looked at each other during the flashes and seriously questioned whether we were going to make it or not. I had begun to pray when the lightning woke me, and continued my prayer incessantly while the storm raged around us. Several times it struck me that it was not the best idea to be in a field during an insane storm, holding a metal tent pole, but the alternative was much, much worse. Being in the middle of a field with two small kids and no tent would not have been a viable option over the possibility of being struck by lightning. The freight train wind slowly subsided and the rain pelted us in sheets.

We lay in bed after, the four of us, and my heart raced with the surge of adrenaline. The next challenge arose when we heard the cracking. Trees to the South and East were cracking in the forest and there was no way to tell how far off they were. We lay on the bed and listened to the cracks and I held my breath every time one fell, sighing with relief when it fell in the forest instead of in camp. The lightning began to fade and the thunder rolled off. We could still hear the freight train sound in the distance, but the worst had passed. I got the kids back to bed and finally stopped praying. Dave told me later that it made him feel like God was throwing us into some crazy team-building, family strengthening madness to see how we would fare. Our teamwork, communication, and ability to act quickly had saved the tent poles, the tent, and us, from certain disaster. We read the next morning that the wind gusts had been anywhere from 60 to 80 miles per hour. I silently laughed to myself at the irony. A day earlier, my brother and sister-in-law had assured us that we were well out of tornado territory this far North. It was no tornado, but I imagine that is as close as we will get, and it was close enough! The next mornings survey revealed that our cheap Walmart sun canopy was shredded, but the huge 8×20 tent, and 10×10 screen tent had survived intact. I saw pictures of the devastation from the wind across the state, and knew that we were so fortunate to have made it through with so little damage, especially being in a tent! We definitely felt a renewed sense of purpose today for getting a move on the house building project! It is amazing what security comes with four walls and a roof.

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