Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Living in an RV...for three years, part 3

Unexpected move.  Cross country travel.  RV with four kids, two dogs.  Louisiana in the summer.  8 months down and no end in sight...

Are you still sane?  I know that if it were me, that would have been questionable.  Let's just say, sometimes I am thankful God has called others to things that He has not called me to.

If you are new to my friend Tracey's story, you might want to catch up here and here to get your bearings straight.  For the rest of we go...8 months into the adventure.  

As we are getting into fall and upcoming winter I remember asking my husband what we were going to do for warmer clothes. The military had all of our household goods and things in storage waiting to deliver to our new house! We just kept praying and trying to stay on the path God had put before us.  We didn’t understand why this was going on but we knew we had to trust that God would get us through it.  We started school in September and that was an event trying to school all four in a 32ft camper.  There wasn’t a big table to have the kids use. It was a strategic plan on who was going to need the table and who could use the lap desks. I am sure I can now plan military plans after dealing with all that.  We had many people at our church and family that sent us some warmer clothes as it got colder.  As Christmas is approaching we continued to pray that God would sell that house SOON! We did go visit family for the holidays so that helped getting into a bigger space for a few weeks.  Then we were back in our little home. Time went by and we were finally able to get our household goods sent to a storage building down the road from the house.  It was kind of like Christmas again getting to see our old things.  As the children started going through some of their clothes we realized that they had grown quite a bit since they had seen their stuff and didn’t fit into most of it. We donated a lot of the clothing and then trusted that the Lord would give us what we needed as we needed them. The Lord is always so good to us even when we don’t realize it. 

Time went by and we had our routine of how we were working things and just living day by day. We learned so many things as we went from day to day. I learned how to do several things to the camper that had originally been my husband’s job. These were learned because of necessity when he would have to go out of town with the military. It was usually just 10 days or so at a time.  I have decided that emptying the “black” water is NO FUN at all.  Also the gas tanks usually run out around 2 or 3 in the morning when it is the coldest temperatures.  But through all this we kept praying and asking God to sell the house and to give us what we needed to make living like that bearable.

Before we realized we had come up to a one year mark.  Wow that came fast. We looked back at the year and said it really didn’t seem like it had been that long and that we were amazed that we were able to survive living in that camper for that long.  It was holding up pretty well. The kids had a good routine of walking the two dogs.  We couldn’t just open the door and let them run around. They had to be on leashes and walked around the church property.  They also learned to use the great invention of “poo” bags for dogs.  We were on church property so we didn’t want our dogs causing messes everywhere. 

We continued to get involved at the church and the Pastor said that we could use the church kitchen to cook in and eat in. He also said that we could use the Sunday school rooms to do school in if the house hadn’t sold by the time we started back up.  This was a HUGE blessing to us.  The kitchen had 2 ovens, 2 refrigerators, a stand up freezer, and 3 sinks! Oh my, did I feel like I was in heaven.  I love to cook  and my 14 year old does too.  This was great. We were singing praises to have this much room to do some cooking and baking.  As you probably guessed it the house didn’t sell by the time we started school so off to the Sunday school rooms we went.  This again was a HUGE blessing. The church also had some missionary houses that visiting guests/missionaries could use which came with a washer and dryer.  We were once again blessed by being able to use these.  It was getting expensive going to the laundry mat several times a month. We continued to pray for the house to sell and for God to help us as we were still living in that small little camper that was becoming more and more like a true home.  It is amazing as I look back, that it wasn’t feeling that small anymore. 

Christmas came and went and still no sale.  We were so happy with all the little and huge blessings God had given us that things didn’t seem so bad.  We had the opportunity to meet some great people.  Missionaries coming through were right at our fingertips and our family was able to have them over to the church kitchen and gym for supper.  We were able to see all the people that worked behind the scenes of the church.  Did you know that Church on Sunday morning doesn’t just happen? There are people that come and clean the pews and bathrooms. There are people that have to replace light bulbs and sweep and vacuum the floors.  There is a lot that goes on and we were blessed to have seen and helped in all of that.  My family no longer takes having a good roll of tissue in the stalls of the bathroom for granted.

Praise God for all the things he let us be a part of.

Before we knew it we had been in the camper behind the church for 2 years and it didn’t feel like a long time at all. We had settled in finally and were just moving about our lives there. Things were normal now to us and we were really content with our new type of living.  The kids were enjoying being part of so many things at church.  I no longer had to say we couldn’t make it to one thing or another.  We still prayed that God would sell the house but we no longer had the urgency in our prayer.  I was liking where we were!

During this year we really started praying about what plan the Lord had for us after the military.  My husband’s time left was getting shorter and shorter with each passing year.  We thought by the 3rd Christmas that God was calling us to the mission field.  In Jan. of 2013 (2 ½ years later) we start making plans toward going to the mission field. We had prayed and believed that Canada was where we were headed next.  In March we got all the kids and our passports and were planning a trip sometime in the summer to go and visit and see where God would lead us.  Now the kids are in ages from 11-16.  They had adjusted so nicely to life in the camper.  They had still had their problems but that would have happened if we were in a 3000sq ft. house. 

In April of 2013 a man called my husband about possibly buying the house.  We had let the realtor go and were trying the For Sale by Owner thing.  Of course the man’s offer wasn’t enough to cover what we owed on the mortgage. We just kept praying that God would work out details for us to be able to sell it.  We kept trusting that the Lord knew what He was doing even if we didn’t know or understand.  By May we were closing in on a deal with that man that would work for us and him.

YES the house sold finally. It was 3 years and 3 months after we put it on the market.  It was a long time and lots of things learned.  See God does know what he is doing.  We just have to trust in him and his plan and not let our plans we make get in the way. 


Do you ever wonder what God is going to call you to do?  Do you ever wonder what your next adventure will be?  I do think it is usually a blessing in disguise that we do not know in advance.  I mean, really, how many times would we listen to the plan and then decide to tell God what we would like to do differently?  Or not at all?  I will be the first to raise my hand sheepishly!  I KNOW that's what I would have done in Tracey's shoes.  Live in a RV for years while our house sits empty a million miles away.  No thank you God, how about this plan instead?  Yep, that would have been me on a good day.  Let's don't even go there with what a bad day would have looked like.

Did Tracey have bad days?  I am sure she did.  But let me tell you- every single time I talked to her she did not share those bad days.  Not that she was putting on her game face and not sharing honestly, mind you.  But because, I am convinced, she was more concerned on being obedient to God and what He was calling her to do.  By being quiet, she could better hear His voice.  Not her own desires and expectations.  But His.

Am I being quiet enough to hear Him?

Are you?

I hope you will join us back next week for the last part of the story and the most important things Tracey learned from her RV life!


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