When asked to share my wildest adventure, one story always pops into mind: Getting stuck in Three Sisters Wilderness two days into a three-day backpacking trip with my hubby and pals Darren & Valerie McKinnis. What started out as a breathtaking adventure soon turned into a struggle to survive. We were stopped in our tracks by storm damaged trails, with no obvious signs to follow, and faced a difficult choice to continue or turn back. But with much effort and sheer will, we made it out of the wild safe & sound — with a great story to tell!

I’ll be the first to admit that in the moment, the last thing on my mind was having a wild story to share: I was as scared as I’ve ever been! Bear tracks and droppings along the way reminded us that we were certainly not on the beaten path — and that danger was probably a bush or two away. All I could think about that day was surviving. With some prayer, persistence, and key outdoor skills called upon, we did survive to tell the tale — learning more than a few important lessons along the way that we can now pass along as we share our adventure with others.

When I recount the “legend of Three Sisters” now, I think about how my life as a Mama has proven to be filled with equally compelling adventures. Like the backpacking trip, some adventures are thrilling at first, but then they are thrown off course by obstacles. Surviving these adventures also involves lots of prayer & persistence, yet when I come out on the other side, I am always stronger for it.

Living through these experiences, I can also give hope and courage to others who struggle to survive similar situations. God doesn’t promise us an easy life, but He does guarantee this: He will walk with us every step of the way. He carries us through the worst of times, so that in the best of times He is glorified. Our survival stories not only enrich our family legacy, they strengthen others along the same journey.

Are you in the midst of struggle to survive? Don’t forget to hold His hand tightly: He will see you through. And when you come out on the other side, you’ll have an amazing story to share.

—Renée Gotcher, a Durango Mama

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” — Proverbs 3:5-6