Last year, due to the lock-downs, we wiped out our emergency supplies in the middle of hurricane season. First, I restocked. Staying home to work also gave me a chance to improve things. With the crisis in full swing I started thinking of ways to improve my emergency skills.
“4and such trust we have through the Christ toward God, 5not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything, as of ourselves, but our sufficiency [is] of God,” [2 Corinthians 3:4-5 Young’s Literal Translation]
Because we have a six-month hurricane season, many Floridians stock up all year long. Being stocked for a storm means we don’t have to run out under storm warnings for provisions. When we get a hurricane watch order, I fire up my two crock-pots and the oven with the meat from the freezer, and my dear husband puts up the shutters. Then we stash the outside items in the shed, fill the water jugs, stock the cooler with ice, lock up, and hunker down.
The storm preps help in an emergency. However, in my current everyday life, I have three grocery stores within walking distance of my house. So I usually go to the store two to three days a week. To be self-sufficient I depend on an open grocery store. That will change in the future.
When we move to the mountains, we can no longer go to a grocery store a few days a week. The nearest grocery store to our property is thirty minutes by car. Realizing this I said to my husband, “Yikes! I am going to have to learn how to grow my daily salad!” He laughed then sobered and said, “Yeah we’ll need to do that.”
It has been decades since I was “self-sufficient” and made do with the freezer and pantry. Which meant brushing up on my skills. I began to research and I stumbled on homesteaders. I still thought homesteading was something only left in history books and novels. Not so! Homesteads can be any size. From small urban homesteads to large rural or remote homesteads. My research started with a small idea to grow my salad bowl. Now I am learning how to make my laundry soap, gardening, and anything else that captures my attention.
The thought of being as self-sufficient on my property is appealing. It’s about relearning ancient skills to thrive. We have lost the daily art of fending for ourselves. I find I want to go beyond modern conveniences and know how to supply our needs.
In the research, I also found the dark side of emergency preparedness. It is an urgency promoted by those looking to earn money off of fear. They are selling the need to be “self-sufficient” in all things. “Hurry! The disaster is coming!” But, when I gave into fear, which I did a lot, I made poor decisions and mistakes. Now I have a pile of packaged foods and gear we probably won’t use. But when I listen to His quiet nudges, things become clear.
This past week looking at emergency supplies stacked in my dining room overwhelmed me. Sitting on the couch, I prayed. “Lord, Where do I start? How will I organize this? What goes where? And what do I really need?” I waited.
As my mind quieted, my soul whispered. Any food we won’t eat needs to go to the church’s food pantry. This is the first order of business. The fact is the pantry gets low this time of year as people return north and family vacations begin. It is time now time to sort the food.
Another suggestion tugged at my soul. Find out what tools homesteaders actually used. In days of the wild west, they lived in small cabins. The barns housed their tools, feed, seeds, and livestock. They didn’t waste space with the newest gadget. The tools had many uses. I want to know, what were their favorite tools? What tools did a new homesteader purchase first. And what was their favorite knife for everything? I need to know! There are preppers out their suggesting I carry four to six knives for everything from self defense to whacking away shrubs to cooking. I would get the knives mixed up and defend the campsite with a penknife. Yeesh!
The amount of information is overwhelming. I also wonder, is there such a thing as a minimalist bug-out bag? With my physical limitations, it is hard to see myself as self-sufficient in the woods. I get discouraged watching others make homesteading look easy. It doesn’t look so quick and easy to me. I was reminded what the Apostle Paul said about his painful affliction in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:
8Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, 9but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. 10Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. [New American Bible Revised Edition]
In life I find myself physically weak. I realize I cannot be totally self-sufficient. I need my Father’s help in everything that I do. Please pray with me:
Father, be with us and guide us as we try to take care of ourselves and others in a dangerous world. The only way we can be sufficient in all things is through your strength and grace. Remind us that no matter what happens around us, your grace will always be sufficient, and through your grace our needs are met. I do not need to worry about the storms or pestilences, for you are my shield and my refuge. You are my strength in weakness. Thank you, Father, for being a Dad to me. In Jesus’ name amen. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.”
Peace and Blessings,