How Self-Employment Strengthened My Faith

January 31, 2017

Self-employment is the dream for many people. “I want to be my own boss,” they say. And that’s a great dream, until work slows down or something stands between them and a job. Self-employment is hard. It means long hours, sometimes not being able to pay yourself adequately, and wondering where your next job will come from. Over the past few months, it has tested me and my husband in many ways. But you want to know something beautiful? It has also strengthened our faith. Isn’t it funny how God works? He uses things that stress us to draw us closer to Him and build our faith. Self-employment strengthened my faith, and I want to share that story with you.

How Self-Employment Strengthened My Faith

Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money, but we always knew where the money was coming from. My dad was a high school teacher and football coach, which meant that he got a steady paycheck every month. After college, I entered into the teaching field, as well. While that’s not the highest paying job in the world, I knew that I would get paid on the 26th, every month, without fail. Then, I married my wonderful husband, a ranch hand and painter, and everything I knew about income changed.

After a few months of marriage, the school year ended, and I became a homemaker, which was exactly what both of us wanted. Suddenly, we were completely self-employed. Not only is Caleb a ranch hand and painter, but we also run a photography business, a film business, and a woodworking company. I run this little piece of the Internet, as well as working as an online transcriptionist. We are living the dream.

But I’ll just be honest; sometimes there isn’t work. In the winter, it’s hard for Caleb to find painting jobs. When it rains or snows, he can’t work on the ranch. Photography, film, and woodworking all have their up seasons and their down seasons. I can make a pretty consistent income off of transcriptions, but it pays for our groceries and that’s about it. We have our great months, with work every day and photo sessions on the weekends, but we also have our hard months, where our income simply doesn’t match our expenses.

In the midst of the hard months, it’s far too easy to question God, to ask, “What did we do wrong? Why isn’t there work? We’re here, and we’re willing.” But over the past few months, there are a few truths that God has revealed to me through our journey with self-employment. They’re truths that I needed to hear, because they’re truths that strengthened my faith and renewed my trust in God.

God Is Faithful

If there’s one thing that God has taught me over and over and over again these last few years, it is that He is faithful beyond words, beyond reason, and beyond doubt. That’s how I know it’s all gonna be okay. We know that at least for this season, self-employment is God’s path for our life, and Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” When we don’t have work and the money isn’t coming in, we seek God harder. We pray, we read, we study. We love God, we keep His commandments, and He is faithful to provide work. That’s who He is. Plain and simple.

Self-employment has given God the opportunity to speak these truths to my heart. Click To Tweet

God Is Our Provider

My husband works extremely hard for our family, and I thank him every day for providing for us. But in the end, Caleb is not my provider. God is. Caleb can work like crazy, and he does, but he’s not in control. He either has work or he doesn’t, and when he doesn’t, we are especially reminded of this truth. We can’t do anything on our own. God alone provides for us. In Genesis 22, after almost having to sacrifice his son, Abraham names the mount on which he stands Jehovah-Jireh, meaning “The Lord will see to it. He will provide.” God is our provider, our Jehovah-Jireh. He will see to our needs, and He will provide for us. We trust Him.

God Wants Us To Seek Him

“Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:31-33

I would add to that, saying ‘Where shall we work?’ God knows that we need work, so that we can simply function as a family. It’s our most basic need. Here in Matthew, we are reassured that God knows that. But we are also reassured that that’s not what we should be seeking or pursuing. We are to seek God, to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, and then He will provide. This isn’t a ploy; God isn’t trying to trick us into seeking Him. But He knows our hearts, and He knows that we need Him far more than we need food, clothing, or work. He reminds us time and again to seek Him, and sometimes He uses unemployment to draw us back in. God’s heart is for us, and when we seek Him, He can reveal that to us.

The funny thing is, something happens every single time we seek God. You know what it is? He provides. He gives us work. He is faithful. God ties all these truths together in a nice little bundle of employment and presents them to us as a gift of His heart. I won’t say that self-employment is the easiest or most glamorous life. It’s a difficult journey. But the past few months have strengthened my faith so much that I wouldn’t have it any other way. God is so good, friends.

Self-employment strengthened my faith, and I want to share that story with you. Click To Tweet

Now it’s your turn. Have you experienced the joys and trials of self-employment? What truths has God spoken to your heart?

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  • Sarah Althouse

    January 31, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I really admire people that work for themselves and although I can understand why it is stressful, love the reliance on God too!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:23 am

      Thank you, Sarah! It is definitely a reassurance of His faithfulness! 🙂

  • candy

    January 31, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Wonderful that you both work for yourselves. Planning for the downtime is important. Having your faith grow as you both work extremely hard is wonderful. Brings you closer.

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:23 am

      Thank you, Candy! It certainly brings us closer to each other and to God! 🙂

  • Courtney Harper

    January 31, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Thank you for sharing! It is so inspiring! We went through similar situations while my husband went to school and was self employed (and me a stay at home mom). Most months, the money in our bank account didn’t seem like it would be enough to cover the bills, but God always came through! It was difficult, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It gave us a deeper understanding of faith and trust in our Provider.

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Aw, thank you so much, Courtney! God certainly always comes through! 🙂

  • Crystal Coffee

    January 31, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Great words from the heart!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Thank you, Crystal! 🙂

  • Christina

    January 31, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Many, many times I have been here as well. When you think you have nothing left, suddenly something is there, so yes, faith goes a long way! Great post, especially for those who are self employed and wondering if they will make it.

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Absolutely, Christina! God is so faithful! 🙂

  • Brittany Bergman

    January 31, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    This is such a beautiful reflection on the work you guys have chosen. Self-employment is not for the faint of heart! It’s definitely an exercise in faith, trust, and creativity. The Lord really is providing for you guys!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Thank you, Brittany! It is a challenge, sometimes, but God is certainly providing! 🙂

  • Amber

    January 31, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Love this! I am self-employed and my husband would someday like to be, too. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Thanks, Amber! 🙂 It is not an easy journey, but is so rewarding!

  • Della

    January 31, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    God calls us OUT of our comfort zones. It’s scary but that’s when we really see Him work!!!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Amen, Della!

  • Catherine Short

    January 31, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    My husband has been self-employed (and really our main income) for five years. It gives us so much more freedom (though he works all of the time so it’s give and take) but there are sacrifices. I remember my mom telling me exactly what you said, God is our provider. It’s much easier to say but it’s the most true.

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:27 am

      What a great testimony, Catherine! Thank you for sharing! It is absolutely true! 🙂

  • Meg D. Gonzalez

    January 31, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I absolutely understand where you’re coming from. I’m self employed and I have some great months… and then there are those months. Your approach to the good times and bad is really encouraging. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:28 am

      Aw, thank you, Meg! I’m so glad it was encouraging for you! 🙂

  • Annie

    February 1, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Wow, I love this! How awesome that you both get to work from home– that’s incredible! I also love how you depend on the Lord through the tough times. I’m currently searching for a job and we are just living off my husband’s income. I am definitely learning to trust the Lord through all of this!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:28 am

      Thank you, Annie! Trusting God is not always easy, but He is always good and faithful! 🙂

  • Latonya

    February 1, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I relate to this post as an entrepreneur. My husband works full-time, but stuff is expensive so my projects help with some of the things his income doesn’t pay for. It can be frustrating, but we know that God is always with us, and we have yet to go without.

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Amen, Latonya! Isn’t God so good??? 🙂

  • Naomi

    February 1, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Yes yes yes! A thousand times yes! My husband is just getting started in Real Estate, and I’m writing books, blogging, and accepting speaking engagements pertaining to adoption! With 6 little people, it has left us fully relying on Him — and being constantly amazed by His provision!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:30 am

      What a testimony, Naomi! God is so good to provide! 🙂

  • Carmen

    February 1, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Wow, I love this because it reminded me of so many times that all I had to depend on was God to get me through to pay for my rent, for groceries, or anything. I remember days not having money to put gas in my car to drive my kids to school. It was hard but I chased God. I read more, studied His word more, Prayed more, and leaned on Him more. It was such an amazing time of growth. Looking back I am so thankful for it all. I learned so much about myself and what God was and is capable of.

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:30 am

      Wow, that is amazing! Thank you for sharing that, Carmen! God grows us most in the hardest times, and He is so faithful! 🙂

  • Joy DeKok

    February 1, 2017 at 11:46 am

    It is hard and beautiful and, like you, it’s part of my faith journey. And I really like the way you said it!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Thank you so much, Joy! 🙂

  • Wendy – MorningBusinessChat

    February 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I love this post and can definitely relate to it. There have definitely been those times when I’ve questioned what I’m doing, especially in the early days when so many people advised me to go and get a job. My faith kept me going always.

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:32 am

      That’s encouraging, Wendy! God is so good! 🙂

  • Anne Hockenberry

    February 1, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    This is such an encouragement to me. Even though my little business isn’t the main source of income for me and my husband, I sometimes feel like it goes through dry seasons and I wonder if I will ever succeed. My husband would like to be able to work less and live a little more but that takes faith trusting that God will provide on a daily basis. Sometimes we rely on ourselves to make it all work instead of laying some things down and trusting God to provide. Thanks for these words!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:32 am

      Wow, Anne! Thank you! 🙂 It is definitely a daily journey of faith, but reliance on God is so key!

  • Kristin

    February 1, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    I know it would be super tough, but I truly do want to make this blogging world my full-time job. I long every single day for that.But I really appreciate your point about how when someone is not self-employed, even if they don’t make a lot of money, they still know what to expect and where that money is coming from.
    I am glad that God taught you so much through this and I hope He will do the same with me if/when I am self-employed!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:33 am

      I understand that desire, Kristin, and I feel the same way sometimes! God will definitely provide if that’s the path He has for you! 🙂

  • Tayler Morrell

    February 1, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    I love this perspective. In my church (I’m Mormon), we pay 10% tithing of our income to the church. You don’t have to, but we believe that it is a commandment from God, mentioned numerous times in the Bible. We are full tithe payers–every paycheck that we get, whether from Justin’s salaried full-time job or my online freelancing, we pay 10% to our church. We believe that God provides for us because of that. We have had some trying times with finances, but God always seems to give us exactly what we needed. And we believe that is because we pay our tithing. Case in point….right after my first was born, my husband also had some large medical expenses…he didn’t have a full-time job yet (he had JUST barely graduated college and was interviewing) and I was dropping down from full-time teaching to part-time teaching…NOT a lot of $$ at all as you would be aware! But, we somehow got a refund check from the pediatrician that covered all of Justin’s medical expenses!!! God truly provides and protects His own if you are faithful!

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Wonderful testimony, Tayler! We tithe, as well, and I fully believe that is why God is so faithful to us, because we are faithful to Him! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  • Ashley

    February 2, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Wow. This really spoke to me. I just quit my job in December to be a homemaker and it’s been tough. Wonderful, but tough. We are working with much less money than we are used to but are so excited to be following God’s will in this way. I also am trying to bring in extra money through my blog and looking into selling on Etsy. And it’s hard to trust God when you don’t know exactly where the money to going to come from, but it really does grow your faith and shows you that God really cares about our needs but also our desires. Thanks for the encouragement and to know I’m not alone in this. Being a homemaker is not a popular choice and it’s hard not having anyone to relate to in it sometimes.

    1. Abbey

      February 2, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you, Ashley! That is so sweet! God will certainly be faithful and provide! And being a homemaker is so wonderful! 🙂

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