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This is a journal entry from this past weekend on our first RV trip since moving out of our home:

When Clinton and I talked about what we should do after we sold the house, he was a bit apprehensive about living in an RV. He thought it might be exciting, but then he would waiver about it. I was gung-ho about it since the beginning.  You see I love new beginnings and I love adventures to new places even more.  We have been on plenty of RV trips in the past and our family has always had such a great time.  We have always said, jointly, that the best decision we ever made was to buy our RV. The last weekend in our home brought a reality check of what we were leaving behind as the property was just beginning to come alive with full sun, budding plants, trees and flowers.

After moving out nothing could have prepared me for what we had in store the first couple of days after being out of the home. In the midst of experiencing burn out and the desire to rest we went to my parent’s house with the thought that we would all just sleep for two days and do nothing but vegetate and get re-energized. Instead we were met with many more challenges which you can read about on my post from last week HERE.

This Wednesday marked a week out of our home. At this point we still had not slept in the RV because it was still packed with things thrown in it from the move.  On short notice we cleared it up as best as we could and then headed down to Sacramento for an appointment. On the way down we were almost to our destination when we had our first mechanical problem.  The problem was fixed and we were off and on our way.  The next day we realized that on top of the other previous problem, we apparently made an 8 hour drive without brake lights or turning lights. So, the RV was worked on until about 2pm the next day.  The entire time the family had no choice, but to be in the RV because we were not in a location we could go out and explore. As you could imagine the six children were getting restless and daddy was stressed about the RV which is not just a recreational vehicle, but our home! It was then I announced, “Ok kids the Word of the day is FLEXIBLE!” God is working on us being flexible.

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After shopping that afternoon, the reality began to sink in that we just did a bunch of shopping for items to put into the RV to make living more manageable.  However, there could be the possibility that overnight the vehicle, our home, could become totally useless and stationary with no notice.  I think the unsurety of the whole situation started to finally effect my husband. He was grumpy and it showed. To make matters worse he ended up losing our cell phone just after the RV was ready to go back on the road. He was concerned that it was an expensive phone and I was just concerned that we might lose touch with people since much of my contact info is on that phone.  On the way to our next destination tension was mounting for him and something happened with traffic. I can’t remember exactly the situation, but while we were driving something in traffic caused us to jiggle enough that a huge water jug we just filled got jolted over and spilled all over the floor, so we had to rush to clean that up.  The entire time this is going on the children and I are trying to remain in good spirits, but daddy was clearing frustrated and deep in thought about this expedition that is actually going to be a new lifestyle for us.  I would like to say, “This is not his usual character”, but I could see him counting the cost silently and laboring mentally over whether or not he made the right decision to live in an RV full time with all of our kiddos. To add to the frustration here we were in a different area with the intention to totally depend on internet service on our phone to plan our trip over this weekend.  We tried going to a Verizon store to get a new phone and the store closed just 15 minutes before, which was disappointing to Clinton. We searched high and low for that phone and we retraced his steps at stores etc. Nothing. Later that afternoon after the joyfulness wore off and the Sacramento heat turned up. One of my kid’s was complaining about siblings sitting too close to her while we were driving. She wanted space. I reminded her that when the Israelite’s were being led through the wilderness I am sure plenty of them were uncomfortable, but yet this was God’s plan. I used to be a Director for a Women’s Mission program before and I reminded them that there are people who are homeless and they do not have a choice about who they get to sleep and sit next to. I assured her that her siblings smelled a lot better than some of these poor people that smelled like urine so much of the time. I reminded her to be flexible.

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This RV table fits 5 of our kids on it and at night it turns into a bunk bed.

That evening we went to Chipotle and it took us almost an hour to get into the parking lot all the while it was right before our eyes, we just could not get to it because of the size of our RV and the continual no-U turn signs not allowing us to get to the right road to get into the restaurant and my husband is even a very good driver.  We enjoyed our meal and got into the RV and the kids were so happy. They were kids, being kids . They were acting so silly, laughing up a storm and really wanting to be even closer to us.  As my husband was using his computer GPS my techy eldest son was interested in what he was doing a peering over his shoulder.   My husband has a law enforcement background for many years and most law enforcement workers have personal space issues from what I hear, because they always have to be on alert for emergencies and self-protection.   I could see that he was about to tell my son to give him some space.  However, as cheerfully as I could I said, “Isn’t it so glad he wants to be just like his daddy! In order to do that he has to stand in his father’s shadow. I then sat back and told the kids how I love to hear their laughter and how it warmed my heart to hear them so joyful. My thirteen year old who is very optimistic said, “Daddy, I know why the Verizon store was closed. It was closed because the Lord is going to let you find your phone so we did not have to spend that money on a new one.” I told him he should pray about that and so he did.  That night seem to go on forever as we desperately tried to find an RV park so we could get some sleep. It was about 11pm and I could not stay awake for the life of me and my husband was exhausted, but we could not find any vacant RV parks near where we were, so we camped out in yet another business complex without any curtains because the old window coverings were removed before we knew we were taking the RV on our trip.  The next morning we woke up and still no cell phone and still no internet service. We felt like our hands were tied on where to go to find an RV park. It was Saturday and our Sabbath rest day and we all wanted to desperately enjoy it. We ended up finding a nice park, but the parking was very far away. We parked far away and most of us took a nap and then we ate lunch. Shortly after, my husband found the cell phone! It was right next to his driver’s chair in an area we obviously checked before. I was so excited for my son’s faith. I said, “See God answered your prayers!” Clinton said, “Should we see if there is closer parking? I said, I thought it was a good idea, but I asked my son to pray that we would find a close parking space. He prayed and we went searching. The park was huge and it was the busiest park I have seen. People everywhere and the streets were so small that our RV would have to pull over to allow people to pass. The possibilities of finding a spot were growing grim. We were at a stop right in front of the park when a lady asked if were looking for parking. We said, “Yes.” She said she was leaving. We thanked her and came back around not knowing if that parking space would be there. She actually WAITED FOR US. I said, “How good is God!”  I explained to the family I felt the Lord impress that scripture on my mind, “I will be a fire for you by night and a pillar of cloud by day.”  This past two weeks I kept praying, “Lord what does that mean? How is that applicable to our family today? I know the Israelite’s actually saw the fire and cloud. What does that mean for us? I said, “Kid’s this is it! It is day and the clouds are out and here is the hand of the Lord making a way for us!

 

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Why are we making such a great sacrifice? For starters we are free from debt which is bondage to us, so we feel more rescued than anything. However, we are choosing to live in an RV because we want to simplify life for this season in our lives. We are seeking to have more time with our children. We know that soon enough this lifestyle will find its rhythm. We just have to be patient and in the meanwhile enjoy the ride…

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IMG_7526[1]  This trip has been so instructive in so many areas. In some instances it is bringing out some of our greatest character flaws, while at other times it is showing the Lord strong in our lives.  Clinton ended up apologizing to the family for his attitude and asked for our forgiveness and told us he repented to God.  He acknowledged that he is being tested and at some points failing like all of us have at some point or another.

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Tonight one my girl’s was once again feeling the tension of the cramped space and was exhausted so I told her to get to bed. On the way to get dressed she banged her head so hard on the edge of the cabinet. I felt so bad for her. She looked so defeated. Just five minutes later my 21 month old fell backwards and hit his head really hard on a piece of metal under the front seat and was screaming. I was feeling so moved by my children’s pain. My daughter went to her bed which is really the sofa bed she shares with two other kids and is in the center of the RV. She laid hiding her face as if she just wanted to disappear. I felt horrible for her. I brought lotion and rubbed her feet and legs. I stroked her hair and massaged her face. I whispered to her that I loved her and I was sorry she hit her head. I felt so helpless.

As I was writing this blog post at 1:30am I heard a huge slam in the living room and it was my son. He fell out of his bunk bed for the second night in a row. The first night the kids below dumped him out by pushing the base up with their bodies since it is just a temporary fabricated bunk bed system they made, but tonight he rolled out and both times fell flat on his face.  The first time he was very brave and got up with a good attitude. He helped his grandfather make that bed system and he was so proud of it. He was so excited to sleep on it the first night. Now he was laying on the ground face covered in blood from falling so hard. He was crying that his eyes hurt and his nose was aching. He was defeated. Once again. As a mother I felt helpless and then I felt guilty because earlier I thought of putting something down that could break his fall if he fell again. I put his air mattress on the floor and I laid next to him, stroking his hair telling him how proud I am of him and what a wonderful young man he is turning into. I praised him and told him I love him. I prayed over him. Once again I felt helpless to make this traumatic incident disappear.  I am reminded about flexibility and how my son reminded me earlier today during a trying time, “Flexible, the Lord wants us to be flexible.” Even now I just want to go curl up next to him and tell him it will be all right.  Can you pray for our family? Pray for the Lord’s protection over us. Thank you

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Update: This trip was one was like a roller coaster ride for sure, but in the end the word of the day is still flexible. We are not going to put our boy in his bunk until we know it is safe.

This was a Facebook post that basically sums it all up for now.

“After about the fifth stubbed toe in the family because of confined space, having my son come to give me a hug on the front seat but instead dumped my lunch plate on my lap, making a makeshift door so someone can use the bathroom, I burst out into laughter! I just laughed and said, “This is our new life, God really wants to grow us.  I think we’re going to learn to laugh about a lot more things!  Clinton response, we must be crazy. No not crazy just obedient to what we feel God is calling us to do. Anyone interested in us doing a youtube series? So you can follow the Exodus? Let me know”
And the kids? By the end of the trip my daughter with space issues said, “Momma I am starting to feel like this is home…”
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We were all just enjoying a quick bite from one of the few fast food establishments we will eat at. Daddy couldn’t resist he had to take a photo of our crew on our new dinner table 🙂

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3 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Tracy Gage May 18, 2014 at 7:56 am - Reply

    Praying for you through the trials. Your post made me cry. I had a feeling from the start of your journey that I would be reading something like this in the first days of your family being in the RV. Another word: Perseverance 🙂 I too remember being that positive spirit as I watched my husband ponder what in the world he had just done and why. And, then I learned the flexibility part in an even harder situation of going back to somewhere I didn’t want to go when he alone made that decision. And, the care for your children. I do remember thinking even in the hardships my girls were having that He was certainly using our situation to grow them, too, and I just needed to be their Mom and care for them as He made me to. Hard though when you are waivering back and forth between excitement on the new journey and defeat yourself 🙂 Praying, praying, praying. I think the most important thing is relating everything back to the things He has shown us in His word…as you always do at some point. He is our rock and security-nothing else 🙂

  2. foodiefam May 18, 2014 at 8:38 am - Reply

    Tracy, thank you so much for taking the time to post. The Lord surely allows us to go through trials not only to grow us, but so that we can lift others up when they are going through the similar situations. We have been praying for your family. We have been standing by watching, praying, waiting to see what the Lord would do for you also. The same thing is consistent. Although we go through trials, in the end the Lord wants to bless His children. He wants to provide for us. He wants us to learn to lean on Him through our trials. We are in a perfect place of leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms….

  3. Tracy Gage May 18, 2014 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Amen! 🙂

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