A behind-the-scenes photo of the Darrows filming “The Cultivation of Purpose with Leah Darrow: Faith, Farming and Vocation” on their Missouri farm. / UST MAX Studios
Denver, Colo., Jan 28, 2023 / 07:00 am (CNA).
Nestled within the countryside of Fordland, Missouri, a town of 800 people, is an 80-acre farm filled with chickens, cattle, vegetable gardens, pumpkins, and a whole lot of faith called the Big Family Farm. This is where Catholic speaker, mother of six, and former model Leah Darrow and her family reside.
In a new video series called “The Cultivation of Purpose with Leah Darrow: Faith, Farming and Vocation,” created by University of St. Thomas Houston’s MAX Studios, Darrow welcomes viewers into her home and shares what inspired her family to leave the hustle and bustle of the city for the peace and tranquility of the farm.
Raised on a cattle farm in Oklahoma, Darrow was brought up in the farm lifestyle and would share stories about the farm with her husband, Ricky. He, on the other hand, was raised on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. Their family of eight was living a life in St. Louis that Darrow described as “incredibly comfortable” thanks to the accessibility of having groceries delivered to their front door, Amazon, Uber, and more.
The married couple began to ask themselves, “‘Do you think that this life is how God is calling us to live? Are we living the life God is calling us to live right now?” Darrow said in an interview with CNA.
“And then we began to say, ‘Where could we raise saints the best?’” she added. “And we just realized that it was in a place where we had more space, and we had more quiet, and we had more nature, and we had more time for contemplation, and we had more time just to be together as a family.”
She also emphasized that the couple knew they wanted their lives to be a “little bit more uncomfortable and inconvenient” — a life where it was necessary to plan ahead to account for the 45-minute drive to get groceries.
“We have our milk dropped off to us by our farmer down the road every week. That’s probably the most convenient thing that we have right now in our life,” she joked.
Darrow shared that part of the driving force behind their move was a desire to create something for families where they could come together as one. This led them to plant a 3-acre pumpkin patch on the farm, which now hosts an event called Pumpkin Days during the month of October.
“We did want to create an opportunity for families to come together and spend time outside in nature and just connect themselves back to the land and ideally back to their Creator,” she explained. “So, what could we do to bring people here? What could we do to have an opportunity where families could get out instead of doing something inside or being on screens all day? And we decided to have a pumpkin patch.”
Darrow discussed how moving to the farm also impacted not only how she sees God’s creation in nature but also how her prayer life has changed. Now, when she sits down at her kitchen table, she knows where everything came from — whether it be vegetables from their garden, eggs from their chickens, milk from their neighbor, or meat from animals they raised.
“It’s a very different relationship with the land, with respect to nature, with the weather — obviously all this leads to God willing all of this,” she shared. “My prayers have never included rain as much as they have after becoming a farmer.”
Through this video series, Darrow hopes that people will be inspired to look at their lives and ask themselves where God is calling them to be a little bit more uncomfortable.
She explained: “We want to create a deeper awareness of asking ourselves, where am I comfortable? Is this where God’s calling me? And where could I begin to branch out and seek something in a more natural state?”
Life on the farm and the purpose behind the video series also offer a segue into Darrow’s new personal development program called Power Made Perfect. This program is a Scripture-based course for women that focuses on human formation. The 14-week course is split into two sections: restoration, looking inward; and resurrection, looking outward. Its purpose is to empower Christian women to reach their full potential and embark on a transformative journey, done through faith in Jesus, in order to experience true change from within.
“The goal of Power Made Perfect is to really help a person live in a state of possibility with God,” Darrow said.
Together through the video series and her personal development program, Darrow hopes to “increase awareness” among people so that they begin to develop a growth mindset and are willing to ask themselves the hard questions about where God is truly calling them.
“There’s something to be said about growth, and we grow when we have those difficult moments in life. That’s where we’re really growing,” she said. “And if life is incredibly comfortable, if we have everything we need at literally a drop of a hat … if we’re in a place where we’re not looking up and connecting with people and connecting with nature and what God is providing, we really miss out on something greater.”