I think we can all agree that the last two years have been incredibly different than the “normal”. In 2020, we went through a pandemic that showed us every break in the system of our country, government, and church (as a whole). In 2021, that trend continued, and worsened. But in 2021, we learned just how corrupt people and systems truly are….and how many people will blindly follow. How many people will put their trust in people and systems, but not things that will actually help them. How many people will pour fear into the plagues, but just like pharaoh, refuse to fear God.
All of this aside, 2021 was a very interesting year for our family, for our homestead, and for me individually. It was the most successful business year of my entire life. Literally. And I know that blessing is for a purpose—I’m just waiting for God to show me how to use it (though I have some idea).
I want to share with you what God has been speaking to me over the last year. Though I won’t go through every detail (because, I just shouldn’t), I’ll share as much as I can, and as much as I feel led to share. Because I truly believe God uses each of us to share and sharpen one another.
The Beginning of 2021
In the beginning of 2021, I went into the new year with choosing two “words” for the year. People often choose words instead of goals. This was the first year I truly let God choose those words for me, and He came through like a blazing wildfire. Those two words were “purpose” and “vision”. You can read about my 2021 words here. I truly believed that God gave me these words specifically for our family and for my organization, Homesteaders of America. He did. And he showed me exactly why.
Every month, for the first six months of the year, God showed me something extraordinary that He’s been doing within and through His people. Most of it very secretly, or at least not on display. All of it connected to homesteading and the church. And while I won’t go through much detail (this is one of the things I don’t feel led to talk about publicly), let me assure you, if you feel the call to homestead, it is not by accident. It is not just because of a broken government, food, or health system. It is truly because God has a plan, a purpose, and a vision. He knows what’s coming—tomorrow, and fifteen years from now. And it’s not just food shortages and more government corruption. It is truly part of the modern “Underground Railroad”. Many of you will read this and think I’m crazy. While many others will read this and say, “yes, He’s been showing me this, too”. Those are the ones I’m speaking to. It is not a coincidence.
In June, it all finally came to a head when we (my husband and I) sat down during a private meeting with several other individuals and couples in the area, and listened to a diligent man of God (I won’t share his name or anything about him) share a vision that God gave him a few years ago. He quit his job, and now travels the world to meet with groups of people to share this vision God gave him about what is coming to America, and the world. Most of the time, God pulls these groups of people together before he even gets there to talk to them (and many of the meetings are private). Which is exactly what happened with our small group.
We felt like we were suddenly gifted with opened eyes and a new purpose. Notice, the words purpose and vision suddenly were fulfilled in the sixth month of the year. And it wasn’t just this incident. It had been many incidents leading up to this meeting—purpose and vision were constant words in 2021.
The following six months, however, were not as glorious. Six is the number of man. How coincidental that the first six months were full of God and His glory and perfection (just like His creation). But the following six months would be full of man and his incredible corruption and reality of man’s fall
The Middle of 2021
During the first half of the year, we felt as if God were all around us. We watched Him tangibly work in our lives and the lives of others. I’m not kidding when I say this—we could literally see His hand working all around us. We could hear His voice and not question it. Our relationship as a couple had never been better (though it hadn’t recently been bad), and we were sharing so much with each other that God had been showing to us.
On top of our spiritual walk, God was growing and leading my personal businesses like I had never witnessed before. It was truly Him, not me. I could not have done what was done in 2021. It was completely and totally Him.
I had to make some very hard business decisions in 2020 that lead me wondering how 2021 would unfold. It was truly within His will that it work out the way it did—of that, I am now sure. What blessing there is in obedience, and when we let things go and into His hands and will. I launched my Homestead Herbalist Membership and my Herbal Virus Course—both were absolutely incredible and are still going strong. I love building this herbal community!
In July, we felt strongly that the Lord was leading us to bid on a farm that was going up for auction right around the corner from our church. It was really a shoe-in. We were willing to pay more than what it was worth. We just felt very very drawn to this property, its history, and all of the things leading up to auction day. So many spiritual aspects had led us to this place, and we were very certain this farm was ours. That’s how much faith we had that this was completely a God thing. It wasn’t just us. MANY people had prayed and were certain this farm was ours. It was incredible.
But the day of auction came, and the bid kept going higher and higher by a man standing in the corner bidding against us. We had already bid over our absolute highest offer, and way more than the farm was worth. And yet, he still kept bidding higher and higher. Finally, my husband looked at me and shook his head with a whisper, threw his hands up and said, “he can have it.” And in that moment I was the most confused I had been in months. What happened? This wasn’t supposed to happen like this. For sure we had heard from the Lord and knew this was our place to be. But apparently, that wasn’t true. Wait, what? All the other things we had been hearing from God were happening and coming true….but not this? Had we not heard His voice?
What made matters worse is that several people congratulated us on winning the farm, and yet, we hadn’t. Their faces just as confused as ours were. It was as if we’d had an out of body experience that got reversed and then skipped over. It was the craziest experience of our lives.
My husband walked away confident that there was still purpose in what had happened (and there was, which I won’t go into detail about). But it wasn’t the outcome I wanted. It wasn’t the “blessing and favor” I had prayed for.
The reality is that, blessing and favor often come in the form of God saying “no”. And later in the year I had to remind myself of this. I hope this story reminds you, as well. Just because God says “no”, doesn’t mean there wasn’t another reason. One you may never understand. But it also means, God has something better for you. Isn’t it funny how the desires of our hearts are known by God, long before they are known by us? How many times I can count on my fingers and toes when I had prayed for what I thought was a desire of my heart, only to realize years later I was so thankful it didn’t happen (because something better did!).
We didn’t lose hope on finding a farm, but it has continued to be very difficult even into the new year. We have made offers on farms (not yet on the market) for outstanding prices (more than they are worth), and people still don’t want our money. It has been frustrating, but we have pressed through it. We know our God is faithful. We know the purpose He has for our farm. And because of this, we will wait patiently and faithfully on Him. We even chose our farm name…but I don’t think we’ll ever share it publicly. We’ll see….
July flew by. We even waited until the end of the month to see if the bidder would pull out of the contract. He didn’t. We were discouraged, but we weren’t giving up on what we knew God wanted for us—a farm. A place of refuge.
Unfortunately, the end of July and beginning of August brought with it distraction. Things quickly began to shift, in an eery way. And distraction has gripped hold of us for the remainder of the year. Corrie Ten Boom once said, “If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”
If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.Corrie ten Boom
How interesting that a quote from a woman who survived the holocaust continued to come into my mind throughout the rest of the year, because in June, the holocaust was a very large portion of our conversation. Also, C.S. Lewis’s book, The Screwtape Letters is a fabulous one to read about this topic (distraction), as well. It’s the fictional novel of two “devils” against their enemy—God. And how they manipulate man into doing things. It’s on my short list of things to read and re-read again this year.
“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
August brought with it distraction. And even a “good” distraction and purpose can be bad. The project we began working on in our local community wasn’t bad. It was very good. But what came out of it, and the things we learned from it, were not. And suddenly I realized that what the Lord had revealed to us at the beginning of the year, also had a purpose in the things He was revealing to us through the distractions in the second half of the year. I learned just how easy it was to create sub-communities within regular communities. Information lines and secret groups.
Suddenly I realized how easy it was to be manipulated by people you thought were friends (who are really just pawns). I realized how easy it was for agencies, organizations, and governments with evil intent to infiltrate communities without them even knowing. How rural America is saturated with individuals pursuing the will of the enemy. They probably shake your hand, smile at you, work with you, and goto church with you. And most importantly, I realized why teaching others to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle is more important now than ever before.
I understand now why Christians need to learn the term “vigilant”, and why the Bible talks about being vigilant. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” [1 Peter 5:8]
[ vij-uh-luhnt ]
ever awake and alert; sleeplessly watchful.
While I can’t go into detail about the project or relationships or anything like that, there are some things I want you to know. I want you to know that the time has come for you to know this world is absolutely corrupt. That there are people in your communities that want to get close to your homesteading lifestyle, but that do not belong in your camp. Read that part again, and let it sink in. Not everyone who seems interested and comes knocking is truly there with your best interest in mind. Be vigilant.
Distraction is not just with these things, of course. It could be general busyness, like your job, a relationship, a hobby. But the moral of the story is, whatever is distracting you and taking time away from God, it is ultimately sin. This is the pitfall I found myself in during the second half of the year. Or, at least for several months of it.
It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
September was a difficult month for us, but what the devil wanted to use for his work, the Lord turned for His good. He’s amazing like that. October brought with it the discovery of new life growing inside of my womb. Something I never really thought I’d experience again since we’d dealt with infertility for nine years between our first and second child. And while it brings its challenges, I am overjoyed that the Lord has decided to bless us with one more child (really thinking this will be the last one, though!)
October brought with it the “pull back”. It was time to pull out and away from anything and everything that had been distracting me—mostly my conscious and mind. Every project that I knew wasn’t for me. Every relationship that I knew could be (or would be) unfruitful or detrimental. Every business decision that looked good but was truly just low hanging fruit that could be rotten inside. I said “no” to almost everything that I had said “yes” to in the first ten months of the year. And it felt like a divorce. It felt like ripping away from things I wanted and needed. Or, that I thought I wanted and needed. But really, it was a divorce from sin. From distraction. From a will that was not His, but mine.
When we look at life this way, it sounds dirty (even if these sins seem minute compared to larger ones). But it’s our reality as Christians. If we are spending more time doing something that’s outside of the will of God, it is truly sin. We are the bride of Christ. A bride cannot spend more time with someone or something other than her husband. And if she does, well, we all know how that ends up. I would rather divorce sin than divorce the God of the universe. Even if that sin looks nothing like sin. Which is normally how it goes. Normally it’s the gentle slope and downfall. The “good things” that you think you’re doing, that eventually turn into distractions….and so on.
And so, this brings us to November and December….the months of sickness, for me. I couldn’t be distracted by the other things, so I would be distracted by severe nausea from morning sickness (aka, all day sickness), which leads to slight depression every time I’m pregnant (praise the Lord that has surpassed). Every time I have to hold every single thought captive. It is the only way I get through the first three to four months of my pregnancies. I posted about this exact thing on instagram a few weeks back (read below).
November also brought with it something profound that happened at church one Sunday. During morning introductions and handshakes, suddenly I felt hands on my shoulders, sweeping my shoulders off. I quickly turned my head to see who it was, and it was our loving Pastor, dusting my shoulders off. I have no idea how he got from the front of the room to the back of the room so quickly without me seeing him, but he did. He smiled and said, “I came back here to brush off any weight that you’re carrying that the Lord doesn’t want you to carry….” And then, he went back to the front, and he started his sermon for the day.
Can I tell you how much that broke me? It broke me in such a good way. A confirmation of “I see you”. Knowing the Father see’s you…tangibly. Knowing that no matter how distant you feel in that moment….He hasn’t moved at all. God uses brothers and sisters in Christ to do this when we need a touch from heaven the most. And I am thankful for an obedient pastor who isn’t afraid to walk in the glory of God and be obedient in His promptings. It was the first step into true healing for my mind and heart after this long year.
By the end of 2021, we felt like we’d been through the ringer, and not necessarily in a bad way. But, we truly felt like we had fought a war. In some ways, I’m certain we did. We have held on to what God spoke to not only us, but many others, within the first six months of the year. In true Christian fashion, after learning some of the depths of God’s heart, we were attacked endlessly through distraction, spiritual attacks, mind games, and more, shortly after. But we learned that this is how it goes. That no Christian is immune from testing. That no follower of Christ will not have these fiery darts thrown at them. And that Satan absolutely wants to kill, steal, and destroy anyone he can that stands in his way. Thankfully we serve a greater God. Thankfully, God is within us….we will not be shaken.
The difference is, now we know better. Now we know how to say “no” to distraction, as much as we can. And we know why the distraction comes. But we were also given the gift of sight in 2021. Vision, you might call it. We feel as if God has blessed us with the ability to understand just how cunning the devil is. Just how secretive and effective darkness is covered up. Just how much in danger we can be just from following Christ. We needed to understand this before we could fully understand the calling He has placed on our lives. And that, my friends, is humbling.
The beauty of it all is that we have the King of Kings. And He knows more than anyone. And He shares the depths of His heart with His children. He protects us, He consoles us, and He leads us…..if we let Him, and if our minds aren’t distracted. And when we’re walking through even the darkest moments, He uses them….every single time….for His purpose and will.
Welcoming in a New Year….
Now, the story brings us to a brand new year. I’m sorry for the 2021 vagueness, but it’s necessary. And really, I could write a novel. There are not enough hours in the day for that, right now. Nevertheless, pray that the Lord would open your heart and mind to what He is doing, and I know He will show you.
I have been wrestling with my word for the new year. And if we’re being honest, at the beginning of writing this blog post, I really had no idea what it would be. Until now…
My word for 2022 is VIGILANT. I will be vigilant. I will be “sleeplessly watchful” just as Jesus instructed the disciples to be in the garden. Of course, we know they failed, and I will fail time and time again. But, I have a goal, and I know why.
I’m not over committing or under committing. Just “committing”. Committing to being vigilant. Commitment to God. Commitment to my family. Commitment to my home. Commitment to being a good steward of my time. Commitment to doing whatever it is that God calls us to do in this brand new year. I have no time and no room for anything else. And I know now more than ever that distraction is the biggest enemy of vigilance.
I will practice the word “no” over and over again. I will commit to myself that I will not take on projects, deals, or relationships that cause me distraction from the ultimate plan that God showed us in the beginning half of 2021. And I am committed to finding a new place for us to call home….without settling for something just because we want to move.
I will be vigilant in slowing down when my body says to slow down. I will be vigilant in resting when my body says rest. Likewise, I will be vigilant in going when God says go, no matter how exhausting it may be.
I have absolutely no idea what this year will bring. And this year, I’m not even going to think about it. I am thankful to be going into a brand new year wiser than I was in the previous year. I am thankful to have the courage to be vigilant in the face of adversity, and watchful in the darkest depths of community and country.
Friends, the church is on the verge of the biggest plot twist of its life. The last two years we have been on the threshing floor—separating the wheat from the chaff. And in 2022, I truly believe God is about to kick that power switch up a notch. Hold onto your seatbelts, friends. Be vigilant in discerning what God has for your life. Be vigilant in prayer, every single day. If you’ve noticed that by the end of the day you haven’t spoken to God, make it happen. If you aren’t into His word daily, or at least weekly, make it happen. Be vigilant in prayer, reading His word, searching His heart, and renewing your mind….daily.
As this new year begins, I am truly thankful for the people He has brought onto my life journey (some have been here for decades). I am thankful for the people He has taken out of my life journey (they all served an important purpose, but they weren’t meant to be on this journey forever). And I can see clearly now, more than ever, just how the goodness of God works. And why it works the way it does.
Heading into 2022, I have no real focus. I’m intentionally focused on Homesteaders of America now more than I have ever been. It is my first business and spiritual priority. Second business priority is this growing educational community of herbalists and herbalism. I truly love helping others understand how the body works and how we can heal it.
But more importantly, I am focused on my family—their health, our relationships, education, and growth. I am focused on the farm that I know He has prepared for us, and that is full steam heading our way….we’re just patiently waiting for it. And I am focused on this new life that’s growing inside of me. What a beautiful blessing in this year.
Happy New Year, friends.