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Breathing as I Should

Rarely have I emerged from a forest

in which the lungs of this earth

have failed to refill

and refresh

the lungs within my chest

Deepened breaths

deepening the mind

and the heart is once again grounded

in where it feels most at peace

A creation in creation

breathing as she should be


There is one memory I can vividly recall where I emerged from a forest, body tense from heightened adrenaline, stemming from heightened fear, in which my breaths were ragged from the release of sobs I poured into the chest of my mother as she held me.

I posted about it on Instagram when I recovered. Feeling boastful in my trip. That’s who I was at the time. In the wilderness, I wanted to be brave there. I wanted to be okay there.

I now reflect back on this trip, the intended overnight backpacking excursion where it was just me, myself, and I.

All alone, somewhere beneath the peak of Mount Mitchell.

That was the intended destination to reach the following morning, but it was one requiring me to make it through the night.

It’s astounding to me how this trip is so parallel to my salvation story. How, like in this literal wilderness, I was so, so alone in my spiritual wilderness. How fine I thought I was, because I felt so good and fulfilled in the daylight. Yet as soon as night fell, the reality of my seclusion in this wilderness settled in.

There is no escaping the darkness you live in when it becomes your stark, dark reality.

And being literally in the middle of the woods somewhere on a mountain, there is no liquid or edible courage to numb this fearful state.

I laid in my hammock for a solid hour this night. Trying with all my might to will myself into slumber. Knowing with assurance slumber would never come to me.

The fear I felt was so deep… I truly believed I would not make it through the night.

While I did not necessarily have my “come to God” moment this night, I believe the Holy Spirit was ushering a “come to your senses, Megan” moment.

And when the Holy Spirit ushers, we best move.

Because, y’all, I’ve never felt fear like I felt on this night. Yet when I relayed the story to friends and followers on social media, I made it seem like just a bizarre failed backpacking trip I epically pulled through in a crazy, night-trail-running turn of events. Neglecting to relay I was running off the trail at midnight out of pure fear and search for safety.

My yearn for comfort and love is greater than my stubbornness to be tough and independent.

This I now can claim in complete confidence. For I now know I am a creature of love, and to be alone on the middle of a mountain is never where God wanted me to be.

In this literal wilderness, fear in my heart drove me to move. To surrender my vain, failed strength and call for help, because whatever this life was, alone on this mountain, was not a life I wanted.

In my spiritual wilderness, I believe fear in my heart, again, drove me to move. To surrender my failed strength - the vain strength that had been carrying me in such an outward scene of fulfillment - and call for help.

Because whatever this life was, alone in my soul, was not a life I wanted.

And it’s not the life I was ever supposed to have.

Yet for such a brief eternity, I thought it was. I thought I found the fulfillment of independence and self-perfection everyone around me seemed to have trouble possessing.

I truly thank God for fear.

For “anticipation of evil.”

Because fear drove me to call out for help. Help that always answers us as love.

Fear that is not out of death, but out of missing life. Life as God intended. In Light. In Love. With family.


And I guess this whole time I’ve really just been a child exploring in the woods. Walking only accompanied by thoughts of what I’ve been told versus truth of what I’ve experienced.

I’m now back in the woods in which I grew up. Walking again accompanied by thoughts of what I’ve been told versus truth of what I’ve experienced, and when I found I was existentially fearful for my life, it was the truthful experience of God’s great love I knew to be my salvation.

Written by Meg Powell


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