What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Is it big enough and important enough that you’d do it anyway, even if you were afraid? That’s what we did in 2018.
We bought a 20-acre farm. We raised meat and eggs and vegetables. We planted and harvested and canned and dehydrated and processed chickens when it was so cold that our fingers were numb. We cried when the squash bugs took over the zucchini and rejoiced as the freezers filled with sausage and bacon.
We watched with pride as our sons stepped up to greater responsibilities. We all shouldered greater responsibilities as we toiled our way through major home renovations while simultaneously tackling the growing season on top of homeschooling endeavors plus the demands of two online businesses not to mention Mr. Native Texan’s full time corporate job.
And everyone still needed to eat three meals a day and wear clean clothes every now and then!
As one year draws to a close and a new one begins, we are tired. But it’s a good kind of tired, a soul-satisfying weariness that whispers “welcome home, this is where you belong”.
We’d do it again in a heartbeat
- Are the renovations finished? No, but we made a lot of progress.
- Are we fully unpacked? No, but we’re close.
- How are the gardens doing? Some did well but some will take time, maybe even years.
- Are we expert farmers? Definitely not, but we’ve sure learned a lot!
- Would we do it again? In a heartbeat.
For years we had pondered the pros and cons of renovating our former home versus looking for a new homestead. We wanted more land for livestock and we wanted an open layout inside that would be more conducive to the gatherings we love to host.
There’s a lot more to the story, and maybe one day I’ll gather all those thoughts into a separate blog post. But in the end, we finally shifted from asking when, how, and what if to declaring “Now! Somehow it will work out if we just take the first steps.”
Stepping out in faith
A major shift occurred when we realized that sometimes vision is enough.
We don’t necessarily need to have all the details worked out, we don’t have to know each step. Sometimes we just have to embrace the deep desire God places in our hearts, and step out in faith to see how He’ll provide.
Now, I’m not talking about delusional desires. Even if I had a deep desire to be a champion figure skater, there is no way that is ever going to happen! I’m too old, too out of shape, and I’m not committed enough to put in the time and effort it requires.
But for years now, both Greg and I have had a growing desire to get more and more into homesteading and maybe even pursue it full time. Scary! It took us a while to even admit it out loud to each other.
What were we to do with this strong, growing desire? Should we go all in on our 3 acres on the side of a hill with a house that wasn’t really meeting the needs of our family anymore? Or should we look for a property with more land?
How would we afford more land in the most affluent county of the entire nation? How could we manage a homestead while Greg continue to work full time? Is it really possible to make a living from homesteading? Were we too old to start such a physically demanding adventure? Were we crazy??
What would we do if we weren’t afraid?
The linchpin came when we watched Justin and Rebekah Rhodes set out on their Great American Farm Tour. We’d been following the adventures of these unconventional homesteaders for a while, and as they asked themselves “What would we do if we weren’t afraid?” we found ourselves asking the same question.
- What if we removed fear from the equation?
- What if we stepped out and did what we longed to do?
- What if we kicked status quo to the curb and tried something amazing?
Even more motivating for me personally was this haunting question: What if we never tried?
- What if we scoffed and said “It’s impossible. Too hard. Too uncertain.”
- What if we accepted mediocrity because we were too scared to do something about the deep yearning in our souls?
What happened next…
Does it surprise you that as soon as we decided to start looking for properties, the first online search led us directly to our new farm? What if I told you the asking price, already lowered from an even higher starting price, was beyond our budget but the property had been on the market for two years and the sellers accepted our low offer?
And then (oh no!) another buyer came along and offered full asking price with no contingency and we were forced to get creative in order to remove our own contingency. We were terrified to own both homesteads at the same time, with no buyer in sight for our 3-acre property.
Does it surprise you that, just in the nick of time, we received two offers on our home in one weekend, including one for full asking price?
Like I said, sometimes we just have to step out in faith and trust the specific steps to the good Lord who knows the whole plan better than we do.
What if we succeed?
We’ve made a few unconventional decisions in order to buy and renovate our new farm, and there are no guarantees it will turn out well in the end. But if we fail, at least we will have given it our very best shot.
And oh, if we succeed, it will be so sweet. And may the glory go to the One who deserves it.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Have you ever stepped out in faith and watched all the details come together in ways you couldn’t have planned?
Kathleen Henderson is the yankee behind the homestead. Follow along as we grow real food and three boys while renovating a 20-acre farm in northern Virginia. Do you love homegrown food, Paleo-ish recipes, and natural living? You’re in good company! Let’s grow together…