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How We Became Homestead Owners (spoiler: it wasn’t easy)

In 2021 we sold our suburban country club house in Kentucky and moved to a 5 acre country cottage in West Tennessee. Idyllic dreams of frolicking in wildflower fields after collecting the day’s egg harvest floated through my mind from sunrise to sunset. I had watched umpteen Roots and Refuge videos on Youtube so I was more than prepared for life as a homesteader.

Or so I thought, anyway. So, did my dreams become a reality? Let me tell you about our first nineteen months as land owners.

Why Did We Move To West Tennessee

To help this story make sense, you should know that I prayed fervently for 12 years for the Lord to deliver me home to my family. See, in 2009 I left my hometown of Atlanta and moved to the tippy top of Kentucky, just outside Cincinnati.

That move was supposed to be temporary while I finished college but that isn’t how the cookie crumbled. A wedding, four babies, three job changes (and not necessarily) in that order) happened. All the while, my family was back in Georgia.

Raising your kids away from their grandparents is hard. Living away from a familial support system is hard.

Over those twelve years I begged the Lord to bring us closer to them. My husband would look for jobs in cities nearby but God would always close the doors. I never understood why but that’s because I was too immature in my faith.

Finally, in 2020 after the birth of our fourth child, we purchased our dream house in one of the nicest neighborhoods where we lived. I had finally become content with knowing that the Lord didn’t want me (us) to leave and it wasn’t His timing to deliver us back to our family.

I felt peace from the Holy Spirit that He had better plans. My faith grew immensely in that year.

Where You Go, I Will Follow

Fast forward to spring 2021 and my husband, who had been working remotely since the onset of covid, was notified that his team would not be returning to the executive offices and that relocation was permitted.

At this same time, my parents told us they were planning to move back to my Mom’s hometown in West Tennessee to be nearer to my Gran. My home away from home, actually.

WHAT? This was all very much to process.

Lord, you just told me it wasn’t time yet. We just bought this house. West Tennessee, really? This was not at all how I expected things to go.

But, I knew in my spirit that the Lord was telling me it was time to go. I just didn’t understand why.

We travelled up to Tennessee to look for houses. The pickings were slim. This was the height of the market boom, before interest rates skyrocketed, and it was really hard to find something within our family’s needs.

As always, the Lord provided. I walked around the pond the day we looked at our house, crying and praying, thanking God for answering this prayer. I knew in the depths of my soul this is where He wanted us.

So, in the next 3 months we sold half of what we owned since we were downsizing for this country cottage, and sold our house.

Surreal doesn’t even begin to cover the array of emotions during that time.

The First Six Months

From the moment we received the keys to our new home, which in and of itself was on par for an episode of Judge Judy, the Lord humbled me down real low. We’re talking Flo-Rida and T-Pain level low.

Our home, which had sat vacant for a very long time was filthy. With the moving van in the front yard and rain pouring down, I wiped away my tears and began wiping dusty bug covered counters as our movers unloaded the last of our belongings.

I kept reminding myself those first few days of how the Holy Spirit comforted me as I was walking around the pond chatting with the Lord a couple of months prior.

Those first six months were anything but idyllic. Despite paying for a home inspection, we found electrical problems, rotted windows and doors, leaks behind walls that resulted in having to replace all the flooring in the house, and brand new appliances that needed to be replaced for a myriad of reasons.

By March of the following year, we basically had a brand new house after all the money we had to dump into it.

It’s worth noting too that in this six months, we could not find a biblically sound church, had no friends, our kids were lonely because we had no neighbors, and we felt like major fools.

I kept asking the Lord “is this really what you had in mind for us? Tell me it isn’t so”.

So what did we do? Naturally, we called the local realtor and put a for sale sign in the yard.

Chicken coop what? Forget this, we’re going back to the country club to sip cocktails by the golf course!

His Plans Are Better Than Ours

With our house on the market for three weeks, we didn’t have a single nibble. When I say crickets chirped, what I really mean is the buzz around our house was so quiet it was deafening.

Not only did the Lord close that door faster than we could grasp the handle, he padlocked it shut from the other side.

He brought us here and here is where we were staying.

Okay, Lord. We’re staying. What now?

My prayers changed from cries of lament to asking God to reveal his next steps for our family. I asked the Lord that if He wanted us to be here, then would he please bring us community, a church, and friends. I begged that he would bring us out of the feeling of despair and into one of joy.

And in only the way that God can, He answered that prayer.

By October, our one year anniversary of living in The Money Pit, we had a church, our kids were enrolled in a small local Christian school, and we were all making friends.

We were finally breathing easier and feeling like we could call this place home.

The First Half of the Second Year

The second anniversary of land ownership came around. I praised God for how He made beauty from the ashes of our life. God is always at work on the most minute of details!

From the specific city He moved us to, to the small country church that is our home away from home, the little school nestled in the middle of nowhere that my kids attend, all the way down to the baseball team my son played on for a season. No detail was left untouched.

Hindsight is always 20/20 but I think hindsight is a miraculous gift that we can use to reflect on exactly how the Lord works. Just like so many details in the Old Testament connect to Jesus in the New Testament.

When you think he’s silent, you’re forgotten, or your prayers aren’t being answered, remember that God is working out all of the details!

What’s Next

We still don’t have chickens, pigs, or a dairy cow. I haven’t planted wildflowers around the pond or even a boxwood in front of my porch.Some of those projects are slated for this second half of our second year.

By the way, have you seen the prices for chicken coops? Holy moly!

But today, I can confidently say that the Lord has redeemed this move in more ways than I can count. He’s given me a vision for our home, a heart for our community, and a renewed spirit for the work that lies ahead.

By the end of 2023 I think there will be tangible differences around the homestead and I hope you’ll follow along as we progress into bonafide homesteaders!

“And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.”

Isaiah 58:11