Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I consider myself an extremely resilient person. I’m not easily excitable and I’m not easily deterred, especially when I know I’m on the right track. I’m self-motivated, and I believe that I can accomplish anything with my own two hands if I want it bad enough.

I’m good at telling you about my struggles after I have come to terms with them.

I am NOT good at telling you my struggles as they are happening. Probably because I believe every good story needs closure. It needs an ending. I like to start writing and then wrap everything up in a nice neat bow using moving words and fancy metaphors. I like things to make sense. And nobody likes a whiner. I don’t want to be a whiner. In fact, in our home (RV), we have “The Three Things” which are:
Life is not fair.
Life is about waiting.
Life is hard.

Whenever one of our kids lodge a complaint about our or their situation, we invariably require them to recite the three things. They all know them by heart.

I’m going to break my rule of no complaining this time and tell you something that is really really hard for me right now. We have suffered deprivations and circumstances many people can’t properly appreciate unless they’ve been where we are. One day I’ll sit down and write the whole story out, telling you about each and every one. I’ve muscled through a lot of things that people consider uncivilized, dangerous, deal-breakers, or just plain annoying. And I’m happy to continue to do so. But there is still one thing, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t “get used to it”:

I want to be self-sufficient, and I’m not.

As the months and weeks have worn on, I have been humbled over and over again by the huge outpouring of love and support people have offered. Money in my pocket. Food in my pantry. I’m not talking about “I’m thinking of you” gestures. I’m talking about the stuff that sustains life. I cannot afford to feed myself. I cannot afford to wash my laundry. Sometimes, like now, I can’t even afford gas. I cannot afford to stay in a hotel, even when it is below zero outside at night. I starve myself so that my kids can eat. I take Keshet to bed with me on really cold nights even though I sleep terribly. And having kids in a 30 foot RV takes a special kind of endurance. My sanity and patience is tried by the minute.

And I’m okay with all of this deprivation. I know how to do it and do it well. I can even do it while smiling and being genuinely happy to continue. This life of travel really does suit me. Until even all those sacrifices are not enough. And then I NEED people again. And I’ve been doing it for many many months. At first it was bothersome, but I got through it with a cheerful heart, telling myself that needing help would only be temporary. I was determined to stay humble. And I have learned a lot, and my faith is stronger than it has ever been. People continue to surprise me with their generosity and support. People say all the time that they’ve lost hope in humanity. Not me. I believe in it more every day.

God bless all of you who have been God’s tender mercies in my life. We are always provided for. Always. When crap happens over and over, I face it with peace in my heart, knowing that it’s going to work out, even if I can’t see hide or hair of a solution. Over and over my faith has proven itself up to the task. And God sends me messages daily that I’m on the right track. But this track is taking a hell of a lot more pushing from behind than any regular person ought to need.

It’s been months and months and months of needing other people to pick up the slack. I’m sick in my heart over it. It’s one thing to accept help when you see light on the horizon. Knowing your circumstances are temporary allows you to take the help without too much angst. But sometimes you don’t know anything about the future. Sometimes the necessity for other people’s charity wears out its welcome. It goes on far past comfort. When you wake up in the morning and realize your bank account is overdrawn because of a tithing check, for goodness sake, leaving you no money for gas to get to your next destination, it becomes necessary to ask for help.

And I’m angry.

I’m all harrowed up inside. I’m tired of this thing where I need people. Of all the things I’ve endured, am I not humble enough already? When can I stop feeling mad for needing help AGAIN? And what if I don’t feel disgruntled over it? If it finally becomes easy, does that make me an official “mooch”?

When Brad prays, he asks for people to “feel for our story” and help us.

To me the words sound like chalk-board scratching, and they taste like vinegar. And I just beg God to help me get through the trial of being dependent. Because if I am STILL being forced to accept help, if the cycle is repeating, what lesson am I not learning?

No closure here. Just me. Telling you the thing that hangs over my head daily more than anything else. I don't know. But I needed to tell you. I think, after all you have done, you deserve to know it.


  1. Hey Rachel,been following you and Brad since your days of providing lunch time stock market updates on Twitter. Found your move to Williston interesting cause my wife was out there also working at the man camps. Love your writing style. This post is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time I guess. Not sure what your circumstances are but will be praying for you and your family. Hang in there

  2. I really appreciate you sharing this part of your journey even though there's no closure yet. It can be so helpful to share one's experiences and trials with others (and also to put it in writing - period). You make me want to be more open. I love your level of introspection. It takes a really great writer to be able to share what you're feeling in such a way that, while I read it, I feel like I am there with you. I am grateful that there are so many wonderful people helping along the way and I am sure that they are grateful for the opportunity to help an appreciative and loving family. I will be keeping your family in my prayers.

  3. Thanks for being so raw and real. You and your family are in my prayers. Also, if you come to San Diego Comicon, you have a place to stay and eat and do laundry.

  4. Loved this post ALOT!!! This is what I am going through at the moment as well. Thank you so much for really helped me to know that I am not alone. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.