For years I have felt called to homestead. I have felt this deep, yearning desire to have acreage and live where our family can practice traditional skills that connect us to this beautiful creation of God.
Are you called to homestead, but you live in the suburbs?
For a season I truly believed that God was about to fulfill that dream. He led my husband to leave the military and for us to sell everything we had. We moved into a trailer while He reworked everything we ever knew and the direction of my husband’s career. It was an absolute faith walk for us, full of incredible testimonies of His faithfulness. He broke down major strongholds that got in the way of our marriage. And many times, He provided for our needs through seemingly miraculous means. As Abram and Sarai, we had been called to step out in faith and to leave everything that we knew to go into the wilderness with Him, and we obeyed that call.
I had believed that this season would come. I trusted that He would rewire our lives. And I believed that He would bring us to a new land that we would call home. He reminded me that we would have “a land flowing with milk and honey” where we would be able to set down roots once and for all with at least a few acres. But, God is not without mystery. For reasons I still cannot explain, that is not what He decided to do. Instead, He carefully and unmistakably placed us right into the suburbs of the greater Charlotte area. Right where we regularly feel deeply out of our depths and like strangers in a foreign land.
Like Strangers in a Foreign Land
I have to admit, I was not happy when we got here. While I knew that God had placed us here, which He made completely known through both a vision and repeated confirmations during my husband’s job search and our house-buying time, I was not happy about it. For the first year, I wallowed in bitterness. I was frustrated with this new area and the seeming obsession with prosperity and wealth, and I regularly let God know it. Eventually, I gave in. In the deepest sorrows of my soul I cried out, “Okay, God, what do you want me to do with this strange land where you have placed us?”
“Prosper where you are planted,” He said.
“Do what you can with what you have where you are, and then trust Me with all of the rest.”
I knew that I had this spirit-led desire to homestead, but no acreage on which to do it. So, I had to choose to do what I could. And what I could do was start a garden. I initially literally grew lettuce out of bags of soil that I cut holes in and planted seeds directly into. Then we expanded to a bed of strawberries and some containers.
When 2020 hit, we enlarged our growing area quite a bit. We built several raised beds to start learning even more about growing our own food.
Now we are a few years further into the process and have even more raised beds. In addition, we have several seasons of growing and storing food under our belts. It is still a work in progress.
And ironically, as we have worked to cultivate the land that He has given us, we have also experienced a deepening love to share these blessings with others. While I thought that the main goal was going to be for us to become “homesteaders,” I’m slowly learning that this is not really what God has planned for us, at least in this season.
He has called us to be people who “stead” the home, which is not a trend, but a spiritual movement.
The word stead carries with it the meaning “to be useful or helpful to someone or something” or “to be of service.” Today, very few homes are useful for others or “of service.” They have become places where people sleep, but do very little else. Rarely are God’s people working to engage the community and invite people into their lives. Sadly, far too many homes have very little living today. But that is what God has called us to focus on.
He has laid it on our hearts to be producers of good in our community, whatever that looks like.
Sometimes it is buying groceries for a neighbor in need. Other times it is baking a loaf of bread or a tray of cookies for someone who is hurting. At other times it is inviting another over for a meal to offer love and kindness in an otherwise depraved culture.
A few years ago He laid the word “haven” on my heart as a vision for what I want our home to be for others. Haven is another word for “refuge,” which is the idea of a place to turn for protection through a storm.
The storms of life are all around. God is calling His people to be safe places for others. But it takes intention and focus to do it for Him and not for show.
We do not live on dozens of acres. We don’t have a cow or any animals besides two adorable beagles, but we are embracing the homestead calling. He is calling us to be informal servants in the community and engaged members who care for one another. There is nothing more Christ-like than this kind of mindset, even when it goes against what we “want” in our idea of God’s plans.
Seek Him if you are called to homestead but your vision and reality have not yet aligned
If you feel the same spirit-led urge to buy land and homestead, but God has not yet opened those doors or made a way for this to happen, pray. Seek Him for what He is calling you to right now, where you are. Maybe you, too, have been called to a different kind of “homestead”-ing. Could you also have been called to a “spiritual homesteading” that tends to the hearts and minds of those nearest to you, rather than to the land or to His animals? Maybe you, too, are being led to trust Him with where He is leading you, knowing that big things are coming that are far outside of your control. Maybe you, too, are being called and set apart from the masses for such a time as this.
God is making a Way with His people. Place your trust in Him, and get to work doing what you can right where you are.
“Trust in Him at all times, oh people; Pour out your hearts to Him, for GOD is our refuge,” (Psalm 62: 8).