We arrived in Redding less than three weeks ago and it’s been a wild ride. Our initial plan was to boondock in our travel trailer on a piece of property that belongs to the parents of our friends. It’s nine acres that we could park on and the kids could run around on. It sounded amazing. Then two and a half hours before driving into Redding we received a call that it wasn’t going to work out to park on the lot. After twelve days on the road and not feeling too enthusiastic about roughing it without proper RV plug-ins, we actually felt pretty good about not living on the lot. We knew God had something better for us…we just didn’t know what or where.
We initially landed at an RV park just north of Redding. It was peaceful with a nice pool, hot tub, and play area. We checked to see if we could pay for a long-term spot, but they only allow two people per vehicle. That’s basically a legal way of saying, “We don’t want kids here.” So, we stayed one more night and moved on.
We heard of a place south of Redding that was supposedly more kid-friendly, so we checked it out. They had an amazing spot open that was under a canopy of trees, so we took it. We paid for a week and turned in our application for long-term residency. During that week, we met a lot of nice people and made some friends. We were really enjoying being at this park and expecting that we would be able to stay here long-term.
Within days, we started getting weird vibes from management. The manager in charge got on my case a couple times for kid-related grievances that seemed small and unimportant. I was so caught off guard the first time she said something that I really didn’t know what to say. Overall, it seemed like we weren’t really welcome there.
Then the news came: Our application for long-term tenancy wasn’t accepted. The reasons they were giving us were totally bogus too. We knew of several other tenants in our exact same position who were accepted, but for some reason, they didn’t want us there. So now we’ve been in Redding for about a week and a half with still no place to land.
Without going into details about the situation, Josh and I both felt like Joseph being wrongfully accused by Potiphar’s wife. We have attempted to do all the right things and be respectful of the people around us, yet we are being treated as though we are irresponsible or, worse yet, criminal!
I literally felt like Redding was trying to spit us out. Every door we tried to open was shut. We called other RV Parks and they all had some reason we couldn’t stay. There’s just something so distressing about leaving everything you know behind, going to a new place thousands of miles away, and not knowing where home is. Along with that, we were still trying to find our way around town. We had to find the grocery stores, the banks, the post office, and—of course—the coffee shops!
Going to our new church on Sunday mornings was also strange. I’m used to going to church where pretty much everyone knows who I am, even the pastor. Now, I’m in a church of thousands and I’m just one in the crowd, having to meet new people and find friends.
Literally nowhere I went felt like home. I’m not used to that feeling. I’m used to the entire southcentral Alaskan area feeling like home! I know where I’m at, I know where I’m going, and people know who I am. Now I have nowhere to call home and no one to vouch for my reputation. My name means nothing because I am an unknown.
For days, Josh and I felt like we were swimming in open waters with no life preservers and no one to reach out and grab us. Well, I can’t say no one. We are so incredibly thankful for the help and support of some friends here in Redding who moved here from Anchorage four years ago. They Skyped with us before we made the move, giving us words of wisdom and encouragement along the way. Now that we’re here, they’ve been very intentional about meeting up with us and guiding us through the process. I don’t know where we would have been without them!
After we found out that our application was denied and there was no way of convincing them that we are honest people, we began looking around for another RV park once again. We dropped by an RV park in town that’s probably the nicest one in the area. Management there gave us some encouragement as they confirmed our bad treatment by the “other” RV park. They also told us about a nice spot at their park which would be opening up soon. Finally! Some hope!
We were now paying day-to-day at our RV park while we waited for the spot at the nice park to open up for us. Then we received some more disturbing news: Our RV park had reserved our parking spot for someone else and we had two days to get out. We were literally being kicked out even though there were more than enough open spots! Talk about not being wanted! We felt awful and totally frustrated by how we were being treated. We didn’t know what we were going to do.
Josh and I looked into yet another RV park that we could stay at temporarily until the nicer spot opened up. We arrived at this RV and it was not much to brag about. It felt like a big parking lot. It was on a hill with hardly any tree coverage. Yes, this would only be temporary. At least it had a pool for the kids.
For the next few days, we frequently checked in at the nicer park, but things began looking less and less promising. At the same time, we were meeting people around our new park and realizing how many people were living there full-time and going to our church, which is right across the freeway. We actually met quite a few very nice people. The management at this new park was also extremely friendly. With all our bad experiences at RV parks, I was getting used to feeling like my family and I were just in the way, but our managers at this park acted as though they actually wanted us around! Wow!
We slowly realized that this was no longer a temporary place to stay; this was home. Sure, it’s not the nicest, but the people here have made the difference. Everyone has been so warm and inviting. We finally feel like we don’t have to walk on eggshells around management. And it’s just such an amazing feeling after being on the road for twelve days and then wandering around a new town without a landing spot to now have a place to call home.
What I have learned from this is to continue to trust God in everything. When all the doors seem to be closing, God has a door you may have not seen before. We have a good Father who wants to provide for His children. He knows us best and knows what’s best for us. He knows our past, present, and future. It’s easy to begin thinking that maybe He’s not looking after us, but if we continue to believe that He only has good things in store for His children and we have patience for Him to open the right doors, then God will lead us and guide us in the direction that is best for us.