Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tent Living

I’ve had a couple requests to hear the homeless-living-in-a-tent story. There is a bit to the behind-the-scenes part so if you’d like to check out now, be my guest, although there are lessons and blessing from God in the end, so I encourage you to stick around.

My DH, Bear had decided not to reenlist in the Army back in 1996, so we packed up all our things and moved West. My parents lived in Utah at the time and Micron was building a new plant just a mile away from where they lived. We put all our things in storage and looked around for jobs. We looked and looked for about two months, we couldn’t find anything in the area and decided to head out for Idaho.

We lived with Bear’s parents for a week or so then moved to a friend’s camper. Our stuff was now in storage in Boise. I found a job in Boise and we rented an apartment there. Bear was discouraged about not finding work himself.

My sister Silver, forwarded our mail to us from Utah. It was full of God’s blessings, unpaid leave money from the Army, and a letter from a dear friend who had a home in Leavenworth, they were asking if we still needed a place to live and if we were willing to move back to Kansas and house sit. We were! They said the house would be vacated on the 15th of July. We gave our notice at our apartment, and packed up all our stuff in a U-Haul and started back East. We had some trouble with the truck in Pocatello and had to stop and trade vehicles at my sister Nin’s house.

Back on the road, we traveled through Utah, Colorado and the Kansas plains. This was back before cell phones and unbeknownst to us, the plans had changed in Leavenworth. The renters needed to extend for 30 days. Their new assignment wasn’t ready and had to wait, (story of the Army, by the way.) We rolled into town thinking that we could back right up to the door and move in.

Well, back up we did, but not to the house, we stuffed it all in storage, except for our camping supplies. We found a state campground, that was only $7.00 a week to stay; that was in our budget. This would be fun, like an extended vacation. (We only had one child back then, so don’t think I’m too incredible!) We roughed it eating MRE’s and cooking over a campfire with food from our food storage.

All was going well until the thermometer and the humidity both reached 95. Bear was job-hunting during the day and eventually found a locally owned roofing company who needed help. Bear went up and down the ladder all day hauling 75 pounds of shingles, and came “home” at night ready to crawl into his comfy sleeping bag so he’d be ready to start all over again at 0530. A couple of weeks into this rigmarole, the weather started to get bad, wind and rain storms, then we heard on our little portable radio, that we were in for a tornado watch, which quickly turned into a tornado warning.
Our tent was only a year old and we had taken care to seal all the seams to keep the water out. It didn’t leak! We were pelted with driving rain and the wind blew and blew, I thought we would blow into the creek bed we were camped near.

Finally, after the tornado warning, we were invited to bunk with Bear’s employer, the roofer. They had a tiny little house with a finished attic. Now let me just say right here, if you live in the Midwest, and have an attic, please, please insulate the roofline, then build a false ceiling and then insulate again! It was hotter than a roof on fire; well it was a roof on fire. I would have almost rather been in the tent.

We stayed there for the last week, and then our house was ready. I have never appreciated walls and floors more than that day.

We housesat for three years while our friends were stationed elsewhere with the military and we were more settled. Once Bear was working full time we bought a house in Kansas City.

Our blessing from God in all of this is his protection, we survived that storm not because we were smart enough to buy a sturdy tent, or because we had the foresight to seal the seams, or because we picked a good campground because we didn’t, the campground was terrible; bugs, mosquitoes, swampy creek bed. Yuck.

We survived because God is sovereign, Adonai-Jehovah. He is the shepherd and protector of His children, Jehovah-Rohi. He had and He does have a plan for our lives. I trust Him because He has never failed us in the past and He will keep us in the present and He will guide us in the future. He is the one who sustained us through the storm.


Emily said...

Spontaneous tears burst from my eyes after reading your last paragraph.

When others may slant their eyes and think you were crazy, it really doesn't matter. You believed in the God who doesn't fail. He won't give us anything beyond we can bear.

If you had some extended family like me, you might get flack at the whole moving around thing....(picture me rolling my eyes right now...) It's a tiresome thing to worry what my family might think of my many travels...I've learned to ignore them.

But, God knew that you were strong and you could take it. That's good enough for me.

(although I DO hope that I'm not as strong as you and God won't ask me to live in a tent w/ my 4 kids...I'm just sayin'.)

Reformed Grits said...

I'm amazed that you were able to do this with even ONE child!! That's amazing! But I do see the "adventure" in it. But I'll pass, given the opportunity. WOW!
Thanks for taking the time to tell the story! God is so very good.

Keithslady said...

I feel kinship! We lived in a tent for four weeks as we camped our way through Canada and Alaska. Well, I cheated, I slept in the van with the 5 year old, 2 year old, and 4 month old so I wouldn't have to move them quickly if a grizzly bear came on the scene. People asked me if I appreciated the comforts of home more after the experience. I said, no, I'd always appreciated those comforts. What I appreciated was being challenged and learning that I could experience true joy in the Lord WITHOUT those comforts. It was a wonderful lesson learned.

Lelia Chealey said...

Hmmm...seems like I've read this before... :)
Thanks for sharing, God's grace & protection are never tiring to read about! Wish you still were livin' in KC though. I'm 3 hrs from there. :(


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