Our home is a base we work out of; I guess that’s the best way to say it.
Let’s see…where do I begin? Home business opportunities, homesteading, doing ministry out of the home – this is a great topic that covers a wide variety of things! ? Our family does not homestead; I’m not exactly sure what you would call what we do/how we live. It may not fit into any particular category, but almost everything we do is home-based. I think the last half of that – the word “based” – is key here. It seems many people hear the words home-based, and think that means spending all your time in the house or sitting at home! Most of us who are doing “home-based” anything, come and go frequently from our homes. It’s just that home is what we come back to, what we work out of, and where our team is, instead of it being out in the workplace, or somewhere else. For those of us who are old enough to “be responsible enough to be living on our own ?”, it can also mean that the home in which the family that we grew up in lives, is our home as well … at least for now. When you do something as different from normal as this is, I guess we should just expect the questions.
It is so hard for many to realize that one can actually be happy and content in this situation. Most do not even know what it is. While our family does do a lot actually at our home (ministering to others both in our home and out of it, gardening, canning/cooking/food preparation, woodcutting/stacking, PROJECTS!!, a greeting card/etc. small business, playing instruments, and having fun together ?, to name a few), we go and do a lot outside of the house as well. I think a lot of people have a picture in their mind of a girl in a chair looking out the window as it were, wishing she could be somewhere/do something else. Ironically, many people sit in their offices at work looking out the window (if there is one!) doing exactly that!
So, if that was the case how is there really that big of a difference? That is not the case, but really, most people’s lives at work are controlled by their employer. As a woman working from your home, it is possible to have more (not less) room and outlets for creativity than this!! Used well, the opportunity has excellent potential. Used wrong, it (like anything else) has the potential to be a disaster. We must use the opportunity well and to bring God glory for it to be a success. In and of itself, being home is not the answer if that time is not used wisely.
Sadly, even though some of the remarks people typically make on a home-based lifestyle are rude and sound condescending, I think a lot of it comes more from the influence of our society (and the complete lack of much of anything different existing) than it does from criticism. I realize it also runs in the face of humanism, but some people simply have no idea at all of what “you could possibly do all day at home.” ? We were talking to mom awhile back and she was saying, “Who ever told us that the only place to grow and branch out in is a career? Or college? Why is it that we think that we cannot find all that and more, at home? Possibly because most of us have been told exactly that over and over for generations now?” I think so.
Over the years, because what we did was unconventional, we were asked so many different questions by people who were curious. And I’m sure many of you who read this magazine and write articles for it are just as familiar with the typical ones: “Isn’t it boring being at home all the time?”
“Yeah, but what will you do when you get out of the house?”
“When you get out in the world, then you’ll…”, and the very best one:
“When are you going to start living your own life?”
“When are you going to do something with your life, though??!”
The recurring word in these questions is “out”. The majority has bought into the lie that the only place it is possible for us to find our individuality, or any avenue(s) of creativity, are “out there” somewhere, not at home. The connection is inevitably made then, that those who have not ventured far have not found these things and cannot until they do so. Rather than be offended by such questions, invasive though they may be and are, I think the best response is to say with a smile,
“I’m doing it right now! ? I’m already living my life!”, and then explain a little bit of what you do and why you do it. I think it helps the people you know to understand this whole concept a lot better, even though it takes time, when you talk about what you do in a positive, not a defensive way. Confidence that comes from God (and not yourself) about what you do, and a lack of being unsure, conveys the message that you are happy in what you do and where you are at. This is hard to do in a room full of people who view this choice as not only inferior, but as nothing; something that has no value.
I will admit that I struggled for a long time as a young person trying to answer well the questions that came my way. I failed completely so many times. And there are times when I still do. But over time, God has given me the grace and strength to gain enough confidence in the things I believe in to the point where it shows through. In the world we live in, however, we are never “there”. It is a constant battle. We need to constantly remind ourselves that it is the Lord’s opinion that matters; we only live to ultimately please Him, and only answer to Him in the end. We need to rely on His strength for the rest.
So many times, I caved in to the view of others, seeing myself (though momentarily) through their eyes; in the duration of a conversation feeling somehow a failure, a disappointment for my choices. While I was doing what I believed in, and what I believed was right, I battled with just wanting to fit in and be like everyone else so I wouldn’t be a target. Some of our extended family tried to understand, yet could not be supportive of our choices as they did not share the same goals. This hurt. God used all these things and lots more to start to grow me, but at some point He worked in me small victory after small victory over these feelings.
Instead of answering remarks like, “Oh, I wish I had all day to sit and make cards and bake bread, but by the time I come home from work, I’m so exhausted I can’t even make dinner!”, it is sometimes best to just realize this isn’t really a personal thing and to say nothing, realizing that sometimes people don’t have to understand. Sometimes they don’t have to see the value in what we do. God does.? And if we can be content with that, we know He has accomplished a work in us.
As far back as me being a little kid, I can remember making cards and coloring pictures for people, as most little people do, I guess. Mom was always really good about encouraging and reminding us about thank-you notes, get-well wishes, birthday cards, letters, etc. I can’t really remember exactly when it was, but at some point it kind of caught on and eventually we took over pretty much all “cards” for the family (except dad and mom’s own correspondence and notes, of course) because we enjoyed doing it. We also made cards for gifts, and were always coming up with new ideas we’d like to try. Years went by, and people started asking us if we would sell our greeting cards to them. Our answer was always basically the same: this wasn’t something we did for profit, just something we did … long story short;? about four years ago, we began selling them to the people who had continually asked and shown an interest. We started out with just a few orders, and it has grown from there. We are thankful that the Lord has blessed it, and allowed us to be able to contribute to family funds in this way. Our prayer was that it would be big enough to be worthwhile, yet small enough where we would still be able to keep up with orders (each one is hand-made) and most importantly, to focus mainly on ministry with our time, which is our main goal. We want to still have enough open time to have the freedom to enable us to do that. God has kept it at that place for us.
Making cards is something all of us sisters do out of our home; we all make different cards individually but the majority are made from photos we all take and make photo cards from. In the past few years we have also sold hand-painted garden rocks, signs, etc. to a few small local stores. We also started making a variety of things to sell at several craft shows, especially around the holidays, like skirts from jeans, shirts made from used clothing, a few purses, decorative pillows, wreaths, etc. Often we try new ideas and see how it goes and if it is an item that will sell or not. We each make different things.
It’s funny … I was remembering the other day why I started taking up-close pictures of flowers, leaves, etc. with our new digital camera. At first, it was not for photo cards at all! A friend of ours who is an extremely gifted and talented watercolor painter, liked to study the photos for getting all the little details just right in her paintings. So I took some for her, and made a disc. Not long after that, we started selling photo cards, and we were able to use all of those photos plus the ones we continue to take.?
We have gone through many different stages and seasons of life in our family. As our parents often tease, they had no idea (and neither did we!) that they would be “blessed” with our presence for this long!!? That was no-ones’ goal at the outset, but rather what God apparently had for us. However, because the youngest in our family (Timothy) is 16, we are able to both pull together as a team for ministry opportunities, and divide up and get several things accomplished at once because we are all living here. There are so many other possibilities for things you can do using your home as a base to work out of!
Once again, this article has turned into something far longer than what I intended to write.? But then, this topic only covers a big portion of my whole life.? So far, there’s never been enough time to try, to study, to do; all the things on the list that we’re interested in and would like to accomplish! At times, ministry or service opportunities may take you out of your home for a while. Just remember home is not a box that you are taped in to. It is somewhere to start and finish; to both pull together and divide and conquer any given task.