You live in a fifth wheel? (by Linda)

May 9, 2007 at 8:38 am 31 comments

On the morning of April 14th I thought of writing about how I answer the question –  You live in a fifth wheel? Don’t you miss your house?  I was going to write about how God prepared me for moving into a fifth wheel (I call it the Schooner).  I didn’t write that morning, can’t remember why, but I’m glad I didn’t, because I can, now, not only write about how God prepared me for this kind of living, but why He prepared me.


Over the last 8 months as some have asked, “Don’t you miss your house?”  I have been able to honestly answer, “No.”  I then go on to explain why I think that is:  God prepared us to not have a house in a couple of ways.  (I only see this as I look back.) 


One way He prepared me was through our love of camping.  We spent weeks at a time away from the house, living in a travel trailer – obviously a much smaller space than our house.  I was used to cooking in a smaller space and cleaning was a breeze.  Because we loved camping, I had a love-hate relationship with our yard – I loved being and working in it; it was time when my hands were busy, especially pulling weeds, and my mind could visit with God.  However, I hated the“cloud” that hung over my head when we’d leave to camp, knowing that when we came home, there’d be more work to do than if we had stayed home.  

A second way of preparation was through our kids, Traci, Brandon, and our grandson, Sloan.  When they lived with us for 8 months, I got used to the house being “not my own” – I shared the space.  I thoroughly enjoyed their being with us and wouldn’t trade it, but the fact is that when two families share the same space, some ownership/privacy issues have to be settled in order for that sharing to happen happily.  Traci did much of the cooking, cleaning and laundry.  It was easy to share.  Having them there was a gift from God. 

When God told us to sell the house, it wasn’t a gut-wrenching thought. It was a comfortable thought.  We were aware of what living in a smaller place – with fewer things to take care of and no outside to worry about (along with everything needed to take care of an outside)  involved, and we looked forward to it.


Why God prepared me for living in a fifth wheel was so He could give me two gifts. 

First – I have a freedom I didn’t have before.  I am not as attached to my “stuff” as I used to be, and frankly, I didn’t think I was all that attached.  Having a smaller space in which to keep things, I have had to choose what I want to keep, from clothes and books to pictures and the tins I spent years collecting (and not dusting very often!).  Yes, making choices was hard, but I had to determine what I really valued and why.  What is really necessary to live?  Not very much.  I found I had collected (and I hadn’t collected like some) because I could – I had space.  (Isn’t that why we want more space?  So we can collect more?)  And, funny as it may seem, having made those choices, I hold less tightly what I have saved. 


Second – I have time:  because I don’t have so many things, I spend less time taking care of them and the space to contain them.  I have more time to read, time to sit and watch the birds at our window bird-feeder, time to crochet, and quilt, but most of all I have more time to spend with people.   I am not really a people person; more of a doer – I love to organize and discover the best way, fastest way, to do something – I am the “Martha” in the Bible – that’s my bent, that’s how God made me.  But, over these last 8 months I have learned that my “taking care of things,” and the guilt that came from not taking care of them the way I thought I should, kept me from giving to people in the way my Father has called me to give.   


On the afternoon of April 14th the gifts of freedom and time came together in a way I never would have imagined.  That afternoon, Greg and I learned our dear friends, Bill and Leslee, had lost their son, Willie, in a car accident early that morning.  Because I had been given the gifts of freedom and time I could spend all the time I wanted and was needed with the McComb family.  There was a freedom from the cloud of guilt of work at home not done – there isn’t much to get done, minimal number of things means minimal time taking care of them.  I can’t explain the joy this has been.  I wouldn’t trade the joy of being used by the Father in this way for all the things we gave away or sold.  People are what counts – not a house and yard. 


The American lie is that we need things to prove our worth. 


Satan’s lie is that we have to take care of and protect those things before we can be about relationship with our heavenly Father and giving to others. 

I don’t expect everyone would want to live in a fifth wheel, but I do think we should each ask:  Do I need to and/or how can I downsize so I have the time and a freedom to be in relationship with others and give to them?  Isn’t that what being the Body of Christ is all about?


Entry filed under: By Linda, Church, Culture, Faith, Friendship, The Father.

After 2000 years, how is He doing? Redding, RV-Dreams, Bethel, Lee Akin and McCombs (in-n-out, too)

31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joanie  |  January 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    We are long distance truckers and live in a mobile home in a lovely seniors park,but never get to use the pool or other facilities which we pay for.We are not home for more than two or three days at a time and when we are home like to visit and don’t spendmuch time here.Our children married Americans and we want to take more time off with them and spend more time doing things for others or some mission trips. How big an 5th wheel would one feel comfortable living in for always and what make would be best for Canadian weather ,but not necessarily for three or four months as we would like to go south for winter. Thanks for all the interesting stories and input.We also want God’s will for our lives and get rid of debt.To be honest it will be hard getting rid of so many memory things!!!

  • 2. Phyllis  |  November 10, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    We too are contemplating selling it all and traveling in a 5th wheel.. Myhusband is 52 and I am 48, we are raising 6 year old as a grandchild that we have permanent guardianship of. We have 4 grown children and 6 other grandchildren and another on the \way. My husband had a stroke 9 months ago that has left him unable to hold down a job. He now has his disability. I am working for a small hourly wage to help ends meet. One daughter and new grandbaby live with us and plan on moving out by summer. Our life is a turned upside down. My husband is stuck at home by himself and I feel I have no time for my family and my house is always in a mess. We are thinking about buying a 5th wheel after our daughter moves out when she graduates cosmetology school in late spring. I hate the thought of leaving our other grandchildren behind, but we rarely see them as it is because we have no time between my work and trying to fix up this old place we bought for cash so we wouldn’t have a house payment.

    Are we crazy to think about pulling the 6 year old out and homeschooling her on the road in a 5th wheel with no where else to call home? (Homeschooling is not new to me – spent several years at it with my own kids) What would we really need per month to travel and stay at rv parks?

  • 3. rk  |  October 24, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    How encouraging to come across your page! We have recently decided to sell our house and become debt-free. Our plan is to live in our 5th wheel with our 4 homeschooled kids indefinitely. We live in Canada, so this requires some extra planning for winter, but I think it’s doable. I’m so tired of being a slave to my stuff. I’ll miss the space, but not the time, effort and money that we pour into ownership. It’s fantastic to see that we aren’t the only ones, sometimes I think of how weird we must seem to most people. 🙂

  • 4. cheryl  |  October 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Hi, I am a mother of 3 children ages 4, 7, and 11. I am presently in an abusive marriage and contemplating separating from my husband and living in a 1998 31 ft 5th wheel with my 3 children. I am on this sight, because I am wondering if this situation is common, and will this be difficult on my children. Presently my children are excited about the idea, and are already marking out their own personal spaces in the trailer.

  • 5. Gayle  |  October 6, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    We just purchased a used 34 foot 5th wheel yesterday that will become our home at the end of the year. We are part of the statistics, both of us have been unemployed for several months and being in our mid-50’s it isn’t good for jobs anytime soon.

    I stumbled across your site, wondering what life in a 5th wheel is going to be like. Unfortunately, I loathe camping, so I’m a bit concerned. I am thankful that the Lord provided us with enough money to be able to pay the RV with cash, and I am trusting that He will provide us with enough to live on when the unemployment runs out.

    It’s encouraging to see that we are not the only ones who are finding life in a 5th wheel as an option. We believe that we are blessed in being provided this option, not everyone who is in this situation does. I would like to hear from other fulltimers who have become such due to economic hardship.

    God bless,
    Austin, TX

  • 6. Cam  |  October 2, 2009 at 10:00 am

    It was two weeks ago that my wife and I decided that we were going to buy and live in a fifth wheel. We’ve known for awhile that we were going to have to have to foreclose on our home and we were looking at different options. The house has lost value so we can’t sell it, my wife homeschools my 8yr old son, and our 2yr old girl keeps them humble. As christians we value raising our children ourselves no matter what the cost. I have worked very hard to keep my family in this home, but two weeks ago I looked at my son and daughter playing and I believe God whispered 3 words, “at what cost”. I had been gone from 5am to 11pm some days, and exhausted when I am home. I used to play with my kids in the street every day. I am no longer the dad I once was. My wife has had medical issues lately and she needs me more now than ever before. “AT WHAT COST?” Not my family, but I was becoming a Dad and husband I swore never to become, and I was doing it for many good reasons. Satan, I believe lies to many good men who work so hard to provide for there families that they “sell out” their families in the process. I have never taken a vacation with my family, NOW I WILL. I haven’t taken my wife out on enough date nights, NOW I WILL. Swimming with my kids…. I WILL! Fishing! I WILL! Save $ for the first time ever in life, I WILL!
    Yes it’s a sacrifice, it will have it’s downfalls but we’re ready, I will not wake up when my kids are grown and realize that I missed my only chance to be there for my family. What will they remember? I know we are on the right path. God used your words today to confirm with us and we thank you. I guess this comment was more for me than for you, I just needed to write.
    Cam and Fam

  • 7. LUKE  |  September 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I really appreciate the idea of making our true home on this earth and in our hearts in the kingdom and seeking his kingdom first. Its special to have the vision to see the joy of Christ through a path steeped with sacrifice. I wish this for me and my wife and our child on the way. We don’t have much money or much of a plan for that matter but we have discused with excitment the idea of purchacing a fifthwheel to live in.So it came as a surprise and joy to google living in a fifthwheel and find a beautiful Christ centered approach to doing so. If you would’nt mind telling me a little about what kind of places you stay and what average costs are for things in general I would really appreciate it. Thank you for your blessing and I’ll pray God continues to pour into you Himself so you can do so into others. -Luke

  • 8. Veronica  |  August 24, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Dear Linda,

    Thank you for writing this story. My hubby and I want to live our lives for Christ; we too felt God leading us to a radical change from the norm of life today It is an encouragement to see that others are also being called by God to live a simpler life for him. Many friends and family ask us the same questions; at first I was almost embarrassed to admit we were moving into our 5th wheel, but not anymore. We know we are obeying our Lord and Savior…God has been faithful to release me from the hold of THINGS! We have had the awesome privilege of selling our household items to people at low costs and donating others to local charities. We are downsizing from a 2700 sq ft home into our 5th wheel; Jesus is with us every step of the way.
    My teenage daughter doesn’t feel comfortable living in a 5th wheel full time. For now she plans to live with her father during school days, and visit us during the weekend. This is my biggest perceived hardship. I want her to live with me and see life from a new and simple life… one where God is truly in every moment of her life. These life changes are bringing me to a whole new level of praying and seeking God. We are all in His hands and he knows what is best for her.
    We plan to volunteer at a local hospital during the weekends (when she is with us) as a family… this is something that couldn’t have happened had we stayed on our previous track of life.
    Do you know of any families that have teenage children living with them in their 5th wheel? If so what are some ways these kids overcame the fears of the stereotype?

  • 9. Leeann Kelley  |  June 26, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Hi LInda,
    The other day I saw an article on the internet about a man who was living in his boat, he said, ” I don’t want to own a house.” Living within our means is now becoming attractive I guess, even laudable.

    I remember the morning that the Lord began to open my heart to living in a 5th wheel…

    It started when I realized that we were going to be giving up our apartment. We travel to Oaxaca Mexico where we serve with a mission clinic 3 to 5 months a year. Keeping the apartment was difficult, and I could see that it would soon be sold, and the rent would soon be going up. As I began to pray about our Washington State home stay (usually April through October)I only asked the Lord that I be able to enjoy Northwest living with a big dose of outdoors.

    Then one morning I woke up and the Father had put the grace into my heart, and I told my husband,”I am ready to live in a 5th wheel”.

    We found a RV recreational park, in the woods, with a pool, where we could own the lot/membership and keep our “cabin” year round, so we bought a lot. We found a 31 1/2 foot NuWa Discovery 2004 with 3 sliders.

    It has been 4 years now. And still sometimes I find myself thinking,”am I less of a person because I live in a trailer?”

    But of course obedience is everything. Little with contentment is great gain.

    But your article encouraged me. Thank you. God expand your influence.

  • 10. Cherrill  |  June 22, 2009 at 7:41 am

    We retired in 1998 and lived in our 18 foot caravan (you would call it a trailer) and travelled South Africa, stopping where we wanted to when we wanted to. After 18 months “Things” caught up with us and our furniture that was in storage was taken out and we bought a house in Montagu, Western Cape. We have been happy here for 9 years, but our children are scattered round the globe, one in Sydney, Australia, one in Austin,Texas and one in Louth, England. We would like to leave S A soon and try somewhere else. 5th Wheeler sounds just right for us, but where? We have british passports, but would only be able to stay in USA for up to 3 months at a time. Then leave – for how long – and how many times would the authorities allow us to return? Any comments? We too are Christians and love the Lord Jesus

  • 11. Kristin  |  June 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    How very encouraging to read this! My husband and I are in our 20’s, getting ready to separate from the military after a 5 year enlistment. We just bought a 1984 fifth wheel to live in so we can save money and not be in debt to a house payment- and I’m so excited! A little nervous, too, but after reading your post I feel much more confident. Thanks for writing!! God bless you all.

  • 12. Randy and Pam Warner  |  March 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    We are probably 80% done with downsizing and are 6 weeks away from putting our house on the market. God has blessed us with a peace and faith to continue toward full-timing. We have been on this journey for 18 months and believe God will lead us through the uncertainty and many tasks that remain before we get there.

    Thank you for your testimony and personal story of how right it is for you guys. In many ways we can relate and look forward with encouragement to the future and having more time and freedom. And a lot less stuff.

  • 13. Stacey  |  February 26, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Hello, I am divorcing my husband of 19 yrs. (long story) Anyway, I am 40 yrs. old and starting all over again. It scares me to start all over again on a house payment. It feels like A huge weight in front of me, something I will never finish paying off and will constantly be in bondage too, if u know what I mean. I have been thinking of a fifth wheel, someday I could own it, it’s not much, but it would be mine!!!! That seems to give me peace. I feel like I would be more free. I love to simplify and have more time, energy, money, and peace! Plus, my job situation could change and I would be able to relocate with a fifth wheel for work, or even to live near my sons if they move. Now I read this post and how you feel God called you to this and I even feel more sure this is the direction I want to go.

    One issue I do worry about is, say in 10-20 yrs. How will my fifth wheel be? Old, outdated, a peace of junk? But by then I will most likely be married again and we can use it for camping in, unless we trade up and live in a newer one. I am really feeling confident about this decision now, thank you for sharing your faith and your rv experience.


  • 14. Virginia  |  January 24, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I just stumbled upon this and I have been in our 5th wheel for 6 months and love it, still have home but will soon sell, down-sizing alittle but need to finish…loved the story and it is so true once in a 5th wheel it’s hard to live another way

  • 15. Tim  |  July 8, 2008 at 12:22 am

    It’s been 14 months since you posted this and still you get responses from people beginning to see the Western world tradition of “plenty” from perspectives unthought of before.

    the Son of Man had no place to lay His head… but I have 10 pairs of shoes. 10!!! Do I really need all the “stuff” in my life?
    Do I really need the house and all its trappings & bonds?

    I’ve been contemplating the move to a fifth wheel. My wife was ready months ago. We want to travel and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Meeting the needs of others as we go along.

    Sounds like you have finally gotten to your appointed place and time and are doing what you are supposed to do. Pray we too will arrive, not early not late, but right on time . thanks for sharing your heart.

  • 16. Linda  |  June 6, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Amber – God bless you and your family. Correction: God HAS blessed you and your family. As a mom and grandmother, I feel compelled to tell you that you will be fine. In every siutation, every circumstance, there are lessons for us to learn something specific from. Trust that God has your best interest in mind – and usually something ahead that is even better than you could imagine. It may not always be easy for you with small children under foot, but it will be a very special experience. And this too shall pass….
    I’ll keep you in my prayers. Stay strong. You can do this!
    Blessings, another Linda

  • 17. Amber  |  June 2, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Wow! I love your way of thinking, not only how positive you are, but the fact you bring the Lord in your life through all of this. My family will be moving into a fifth wheel next month and I have to say I am scared. I’m a young mother with a 7 year old and a 4 month old and possibly one on the way. We are doing this because my husbands job has been transfered. We can not afford to buy another house until this one is sold. Thank the Lord I have a wonderful family that is allowing us to stay in theres until that happens. With the market the way that it is now who knows when that will be. We are a very strong family both together and strong with the Lord but I still have to say two kids and two Labs in such a small area makes me nervous. Thank for all your wonderful words, and God Bless.

  • 18. Linda  |  May 26, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Wow, what a coincidence (that is, if I believed in coincidences!)…I just moved into my 5th wheel (3 weeks ago) w/my yorkie, Georgie, and cat, Bella. Due to various circumstances, I have gone thru the purging of ‘stuff’, the letting go, the down-sizing trauma (and subsequent liberation), and I am ‘living small in a very big way’. It’s a challenge, for sure. I believe that this new arrangement is God’s plan for me even though it was difficult initially, but I’m starting to get the hang of living small. Where closet space used to be paramount to my personal contentment, I am now forced to be very selective about what I bring in and what I really, truly need to be comfortable. I’m on my daughter’s property, and 10 miles from town, so I do feel somewhat isolated, but that’s not such a terrible thing either. It’s definitely a challenge – and a learning experience. One night when I was whimpering into my pillow about ‘having’ to move into this 5th wheel, the Lord corrected me – a thump on the head type correction that jarred me from my pity party – and made it clear that I DON’T have to live in this 5th wheel – I GET to. Whoops… It just seemed to me that (according to society’s expectations) for someone my age (63) I ‘should’ have more stability in my life. I ‘should’ have ‘stuff’— a big home with all the trappings. I ‘should’ be better situated in life…but hey, ‘life happens’ and unexpected circumstances can change one’s direction in the blink of an eye. It did, and it has, so I’m doing whatever it takes to make this work. I know nothing ever happens by chance, so I also know that God has a purpose for me in this 5th wheel. He indicated that ‘it’s not about me’. Another whoops. So my goal is to just be a blessing to my family ‘for such a time as this’ and to stop my whimpering and get on with it!

    It was so good to read your article. I needed that…Thank you.
    Linda in rural Nevada

  • 19. Diana  |  April 21, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    I have felt for years that this is something God was telling me to do as well. Though I listened, and wanted to follow the plan, I didn’t see how it could happen. I believe it would, but could not figure out how. Our children are still young. How could I ask them to give up their things? Well it’s easy, because they are just things. Through circumstances far beyond our control, we were thrust into the fifth wheel life. We are sorting and selling our belongings right now. The new mini home arrives Friday. The children were not much dismayed at all. IN fact they are totally excited. Life in recent months has been insanely difficult, and yet, when I was told the other day that I am blessed, I could only smile and agree completely. Let it begin father. I’m ready.

  • 20. Jolene  |  April 10, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Linda, its as if I wrote this myself. My husband David and I sold our home of 30 years 4 years ago and we have lived full time in our fifth wheel and have never once… not even once regreted it. We had stuff in storage for a while and then realized we didn’t need them. Our son is all grown and we can now have more fun with family and especially our grandson! We love it love it love it

  • 21. Dorothy  |  April 10, 2008 at 10:40 am

    That is the lifestyle we want to live!!
    some of our friends think we are crazy but that is what we said forever, when our kid leaves home, we are going to semi-retire.
    Live in a 5th wheel and work, take winter months of and go south.
    we already bought a studio in Cabarete,
    our son will be in grade 12 next yr.
    Almost there!!!!!!!

  • 22. Ruth Radmacher  |  May 14, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Well, I wrote once and hadn’t filled in all the stuff at the top. So, hope this works. Thank you so much. I’d love it, too, if they would just make a 5th wheel on ground level. Stairs are hard at 77! Good attitude on possessions being so much less important than people.

  • 23. Nancy  |  May 11, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I have already made a huge step to declutter and simplify my life. I sold my home and a lot of what was in it. I have a small storage unit that also has my kids stuff in it and its only half full. I live with my mom not but I only kept a couple pieces of bedroom furniture and my cloths. Moms house is full and that drives me a little crazy. I love the feeling of not having all that stuff. It is like a huge weight off my shoulders and a great feeling of freedom. I have let my family know that when it comes to gifts a certificate is the best. Now if I could just figure out how to be free from my job.!!

  • 24. Kasey  |  May 10, 2007 at 6:57 pm


  • 25. Kenan  |  May 10, 2007 at 10:31 am

    While at this point in my life, I am probably not going to own a fifth wheel, the Lord has been changing my heart about “stuff”. One result of this is that if I build or buy a home it will be small. It will be the people that live there that draw people there, not the house or things. I feel called to strip away things that have encumbered my life to better run the race set before me. This passage by Paul in the scriptures has come alive for me.

  • 26. Brooks  |  May 10, 2007 at 6:42 am

    Wow! Really enjoyed reading your thoughts about this topic as the Lord has been speaking to Steph and I about simplifying our lives too….even considered the 5th wheel thing too. I’m also reading a book by Watchman Nee about taking the ‘things” out of our hands to be more free for the Father.

  • 27. missy  |  May 10, 2007 at 6:42 am

    Betcha didn’t think when you wrote this you’d have so many people saying “Hm. I want to do that!” but guess what? You convinced me! What an awesome lifestyle you have.

    I’ve been trying to declutter my life for a while now. Get rid of all the junk I’ve accumulated. You inspire me to dig even deeper—all that ‘stuff’ is just more work, right? 🙂

    Thanks so much for a peek into your life!

  • […] View from a Juniper Tree also had a great post about living in a fifth wheel. That is something my husband and I dream of being able to do one day. When our kids are grown and […]

  • 29. Doug Wright  |  May 9, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Great word, insight and attitude. I’m excited for both of you and prayerfully hold you up.

  • 30. momlovesbeingathome  |  May 9, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    That is exactly what my husband and I dream of doing one day. We are always joking about selling everything we own once the kids are grown and traveling the country in an RV. I really hope we can do it! I would love to spend the summers doing that with the kids before they are grown and gone but so far that hasn’t been an option. Maybe one day. 🙂

    I also wanted to say I’m so sorry about your friends’ son.

  • 31. PGG  |  May 9, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Amen – do you have room for one more 5th wheel on your pad?

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