Why We Live Off Grid in a Tiny House, Pt VI

Echinacea blooms in our herb garden

This series explains our family’s choices in lifestyle, including early impressions shaping our world view, a commitment to live debt-free, building family values, simple living and sustainable life skills, living close to the land, and family ministry. Last, but not least, we share our desires to prepare for the future and provide a safer place for our family.

Preparing for the Future

The first time we prepared for possible calamity was for Y2K. Not knowing if it would happen, we invested in things wise to have anyway, within our budget (which wasn’t much). Thankfully Y2K was uneventful, but the beans and rice, gas and toiletries we stored became huge blessings later in financially tough times. Our little generator was a lifesaver when a tropical storm knocked out power for several days the following year. It saved our frozen foods (including homegrown beef) and our sanity. We thanked the Lord for using a false alarm to prompt preparation for what He knew was coming.  “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.” Prov. 31:21 KJV

It occurred to us that wisdom prepares for disasters and unexpected twists in life; especially if God gives warnings, which He usually does.  God may send a prophet (Jer. 25:4) or a sign in the heavens (Gen. 1:14; Joel 2:28-30) or otherwise (Gen. 19, Heb. 11:7) to warn His people of judgment or calamity. Those tuned in to Him can hear (Jer. 6:10; John 10:27). He has recorded things in a Book showing patterns for recognizing future events by past happenings.

Redressing and mulching the raised rows for a winter planting.

Believers should be content with God’s daily provision, not fretting about tomorrow (Matt. 6:31; Heb. 13:5). The Lord provides grace and personal needs one day at a time. Anxiety renders us unproductive and powerless to face a crisis (II Tim. 1:7). Trust in God is practically applied in the simple yet profound principle of spending only what He has provided, rather than presuming on the future and making purchases with resources not yet in hand.

So, does the Lord want us unAWARE and unPREPARED for something coming? Jesus repeatedly warned to watch, be alert, and be ready for a variety of things in the FUTURE. Lack of appropriate preparation creates anxiety. Believers live for the future, not just the present. What we do (or don’t do) today has repercussions later in this life and in eternity. The wise and foolish virgins with their lamps are good examples (Matt. 25:1-13).

About half the beds are prepared.

As noted previously, we have various reasons for homesteading off the grid, regardless of the future. We do not regret following this God-given dream, and the adventures it has created. Nevertheless, we are also keenly aware of the times in which we live, and the responsibility to prepare our family.

These words of Jesus in Luke 12:54-56 speak to this: “When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” KJV

What are the signs of this time? With our eyes open wide to current events, history repeating itself, and prophecies in Scripture and by godly men, we ask the Lord if we should do something about signs we see. Learning to live more sustainably and helping others do the same has been one answer He has given our family. Working together, living with less, growing food, learning sustainable skills, acclimating to tighter spaces, independent of modern systems, and thriving on a limited budget are other practical ways we’ve felt led to prepare.

The new brick pitcher pump housing made by Silver Oak and Farmer Boy is the centerpiece of the herb garden...adding beauty, but fully functioning as an alternative water source

Safety

We would like to think our lovely little homestead in the boondocks, surrounded by friendly neighbors, is a perfectly safe haven, far from violence, pandemics, and evils of town or city…a place of peace and tranquility, broken only by exuberant noises of birds, frogs, chickens and goats, and enhanced by brilliant starry skies at night. And it is.

But without God’s protection we are still susceptible to dangers within and without. In a serious crisis we may be farther from the action, which will hopefully buy some time. If it is quickly resolved, we may not even be directly affected. However, we are not immune to crises.

We thankfully don’t face Smart Meter issues with their health problems and dangers, the lack of privacy, and the control given to others. We didn’t even have to opt-out.  🙂

Nevertheless, another danger in our country has been taking shape, slowly creeping in around us. Things have changed and are changing. Friends of ours were raided on their grass-fed dairy for selling raw milk as pet food…no matter that it is legal in Florida. A woman in Cape Coral, FL was fined for disconnecting her home from the city’s utilities.  The pervading attitude toward people with our lifestyle does not seem to be moving in a positive direction. Of all the reasons we’ve ended up living off the grid in a tiny house, the reason of “safety,” though still a good one, could prove to have an interesting twist.

Our home feels inviting and "safe" under the Lord's protection

A quiet place...

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psa 91:1 KJV Divine protection is our only true safety…in the “secret place.” And, if while under God’s protection something “bad” happens, we can trust “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV

Our greatest safety and preparedness is filling up regularly with God’s Word and walking in tune with His Spirit and responding when He says “jump” or “hold still.” What a daily challenge in this busy society. Our family has taken this more seriously the past year and a half, preparing spiritually and emotionally several hours each day in Bible reading, and also in praising the Lord and praying together. The impact is profound. I hope to share more about this soon.

We pray this series is a blessing and inspiration to you, not so much about living on or off the grid, analyzing house size, or being prepared or sustainable, but in evaluating values and priorities. In short, the goal is to live in the “secret place” of God’s will for us in all of these areas, resting in His protection and care, ready to go where He leads, do as He directs, and serve how He desires. Though it may look different for you than for us, that place, alone, is where we really learn to know Him, and He can make Himself known.

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Blessings,

Why We Live Off Grid in a Tiny House, Pt V

Note:  Credit must be given to Silver Oak for editing, critiquing, commenting on, and offering Scripture for what is written.  This is his vision (shared by me), and he blesses me for taking time to write it down, freeing him to answer the many projects calling his name “out there.”

Linked w/Natural Living Mama, Barn Hop, The Art of Homemaking, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Down Home Blog Hop, Homemaking, Wildcrafting Wednesday, HomeAcre Hop, Old Fashioned Friday, From the Farm Blog Hop, Little House in the Suburbs, Farmgirl Friday, and Simple Saturdays.

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Why We Live Off Grid in a Tiny House, Pt V

Silver Oak and Farmer Boy lay up new brick housing for our pitcher pump

This fifth in a series explains a few more reasons why our lifestyle has been a dream in the making…a dream all eight of us embrace and love. Sometimes we tire of it, like when it is mercilessly hot and muggy and we’re dressing up to go somewhere “civilized,” or there is not enough room in our comfy tiny house for many guests at once. But those whiny thoughts usually don’t last long, especially when we visit town and see the alternatives. And our lifestyle is built on something that goes much deeper than preferences and interests.

Mission and Ministry

Wherever Jesus went, He relieved suffering, healed sickness, and met genuine needs. This drew many people to Him, with ears that were eager to hear. He did not go around trying to convince people, working hard to convert them, or do entertaining shows to attract them, but He compassionately served and cared for them. Many readily opened their hearts and followed Him, hungry to know Him.  He did not ignore their physical and emotional needs, or tell them to think only of their eternal destiny.

Jesus’ example really challenges us. He spoke through words AND deeds. How has He called our family to meet needs that will show Jesus to others? We are still trying to fully grasp that idea, asking the Lord to clarify His calling. We are perhaps a little slow in getting this, but we have had a sense of Him calling to do what we’re doing on our off-grid homestead, not always totally understanding why. Why would He want us to spend so much time on “temporal” things like growing our own food, living more simply, and learning practical skills? What is His eternal plan for us living this off-grid lifestyle?  Is it the same reason He spent so much time on earth meeting physical needs, especially of the poor?

As we sweated to clear the driveway back to our home site three years ago, doing lots of hard work by hand, we wondered if God was preparing us for something else in the unseen future. What did He really have in mind for us as we built this homestead?

Our winding driveway through the woods that we cleared three years ago

We have felt a burden and desire to encourage and challenge Believers, and shine the light of Christ to unbelievers. Those are some of the main purposes for this blog, as well as to record our journey for our children’s sakes. It is an attempt to call others to examine accepted American ways of thinking, to discern what is profitable and what is not.

One of Silver Oak’s portable chicken houses sits in the shadow of our trusty windmill which keeps the tanks on our roof filled with water from our well

Our children are being prepared to serve wherever God calls them. They are not scared at the prospect of not always having hot showers or running water. And although we desire to have our children always around us, we know God may call them elsewhere. We want them to be prepared for the work God has for them, to be His witnesses. The whole point of having and raising children is to glorify God and make Him known.

Meanwhile our family’s desire is to be missionaries wherever we are. How can we meet needs and relieve suffering for the sake of making Christ known? In the US many suffer from ignorance of what commercial “fake” foods are doing to their bodies. In other countries physical suffering may be caused by poverty or other hardships. Here in America, with all our material abundance, the breakdown of the family unit causes much emotional and spiritual suffering. Families in other countries are torn apart by poverty, oppression, sickness and disease. Here and abroad there are physical and emotional needs that can be met in the Name of Jesus to bring glory to Him, although folks in our prosperous country tend to be less open.

The front of our tiny house and red shed, fenced in with young perennial and annual garden beds

ECHO is a Christ-honoring organization with a vision for relieving suffering by providing agricultural and appropriate technology training (using available resources) to Christian development workers in many countries.  We have been very blessed by all we have learned on their global farm in Ft Myers, FL.  In November we look forward to attending their International Agricultural Conference to learn more.

Evensong’s rabbit hutches and greens grown for the rabbits to eat, including spanish needle, garlic chives, cranberry hibiscus, moringa, perennial peanut, papaya, and cassava.

SIFAT (Servants in Faith and Technology) is a mission organization with a similar vision. The founder of ECHO helped them establish a training center in Alabama that prepares Believers to share Jesus through meeting basic needs around the world. We’ve been greatly challenged by the journey of the Corson family, founders of SIFAT, who moved to the jungles of Bolivia years ago, and realized the people in their village needed more than spiritual nourishment.  We’ve read their experiences of sharing Christ through living simply with the people, using appropriate technologies to help alleviate suffering. Their books, Risking Everything and Glimpses of God in the Lives of the Poor, are inspirational reads for the whole family! They can be purchased here.

Intensive food forest gardening and sustainable agriculture can be powerful tools to make Christ known, here in America or elsewhere, if done by the leading of the Holy Spirit. An intact family working together, demonstrating the basic arts of growing and preserving, living abundantly within our means, practicing skills that in a crisis could bless those dependent on “the system”…all can be part of the work of Christ.

A small food forest featuring fig, lemon grass, sweet potato, edible hibiscus, cranberry hibiscus, and roselle

The back of our bioshelter which is being set up for intensive gardening with edible perennials and annuals

Several days ago we were dripping with sweat (yes, it was still hot here) as we all unloaded a few tons of mulch on our fodder beds. It was miserable and we were exhausted when we remembered why we were doing it: not just to nourish our own fodder beds, but to help someone else learn to grow fodder for their livestock to provide needed nutrition…and share the love of Jesus!

A freshly mulched fodder bed with roselle, chaya, and perennial peanut

A newer fodder bed with young katuk plants and some sweet potato

When we see our lifestyle in this light, it gives a much richer meaning to what we are doing. It is our prayer that our focus would be first and foremost on God’s eternal purpose for leading us into this off-grid life…that it will make a difference for eternity.

Join us next time for the final post in this series.  (Click here for previous posts: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.)

To receive future posts click here, or sign up in the column on the right.

Blessings,

Why We Live Off Grid in a Tiny House, Pt IV

Photo credit:  A friend of ours (MW) was visiting and very kindly took many of the pictures on this post to help me out.  Thanks!  🙂

Note:  Credit must be given to Silver Oak for editing, critiquing, commenting on, and offering Scripture for what is written.  This is his vision (shared by me), and he blesses me for taking time to write it down, freeing him to answer the many projects calling his name “out there.”

Linked w/Natural Living Mama, Barn Hop, The Art of Homemaking, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Down Home Blog Hop, Homemaking, Wildcrafting Wednesday, HomeAcre Hop, Old Fashioned Friday, From the Farm Blog Hop, Little House in the Suburbs, Farmgirl Friday, and Simple Saturdays.