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I remember having a dream so real I cried uncontrollably when I woke up. We had been trying to have a child for years and in the wee hours of the morning while I slept, God gave me a moment with my daughter. Wrapped in a soft pink blanket, I soaked in her full rosy cheeks, pink pouty lips and slick dark hair. I could feel the weight of her body in my arms and the rhythm of her breathing against my chest.

This might be nothing to you but I had never dreamed about our family. I couldn’t imagine what our children would look like. I hadn’t had names chosen since third grade recess.

I woke up to what I thought was a dream, trying my best to cling to the vision that I thought was reality. It was a reality . . . just not yet.

I had to be awake to realize the dream – a vision really – was a promise from God. He was giving me a glimpse of things to come.

Three years after the dream, I held my daughter. She was the reality of the hope in the God-given vision. And yes, she looked just like the sweet girl I held that night years ago but this time I was living wide awake in the dream.

Long before that I was a young marketing professional working in publishing. I had a burning passion for women like me to know God better, together. I prayed and worked and talked about it to anyone that would listen. Job changes, moves and new friends only fueled my passion for such a time as this. I knew God was calling me to create something for the hearts of women. Years later, after meeting Holley and working at DaySpring, we laid the foundation for this beach house that God wanted built for you. (in)courage was born.

Those are usually how the stories go. We read memoirs and blogs and watch a five-minute montage of an Olympian’s perseverance that won the gold for their small unheroic nation.

We see others living the dream. They made it. In the victory of others, we are encouraged just as we should be.

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Hindsight is always sweeter. It’s easy to look back and see where God intervened, the arrows pointing the way. But the future doesn’t belong to those of us that are passionate about our dreams. The future belongs to God.

What about when we’re struggling with the In Between?  How do we live in the now?

We’ve already waited and worked and waited longer for the fruit to come and yet it doesn’t. No signs of even a bud, yet we know spring always blooms after winter. We sense a calling that is beyond our doing. We pray, knock, wait for the door to open. We knock again.   

We leave the door and knock on others. We question ourselves, our motive, our ability. We wander. We wonder about His grace, our understanding and His will.

Yes, without vision the people perish. But those carrying the vision sometimes feel like they will die if they don’t birth what’s growing inside of their souls. We can only carry the vision full term with extreme patience and perseverance.

In Between is where most give up. It gets really hard. There’s a lot of work to be done on our parts, too. Sacrifices are always made when you assumed there wouldn’t be any. In Between is not about waiting for the vision to happen but being a part of the process.

God can be silent after a time of great revelation and clarity. Even the resilient are weary and look small. Endurance feels like it began years ago and today is the last-ditch effort to just hold on to some resemblance of what we are called to do.

In Between is when the complaining and whining can get really loud. Almost wishing away the gift of being apart of something bigger than ourselves just for a few moments of relief to ‘normal’ life.

Vision is not of our own doing. We are mere vision carriers.

This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
Habakkuk 2:3 (NLT)

We don’t cast the vision. We can only live it, allowing God to unhinge the hooks and fling the nets wide.

Vision is of Spirit not flesh and blood. Each piece planted in our hearts is looking backward to the garden, encouraging us heavenward.

Vision is not about completing a task or an assignment, but with steady courage living in faith the God-led adventure, daily.

The In Between is eternity and it is now.

Take heart and look for arrows pointing to the pieces of vision fulfilled in your life. I watch my daughter sleep knowing just as God fulfilled the vision He planted for her to be born into the world, He will fulfill this new passionate vision for His Kingdom through my life.

Relish the In Between for that is life.

{Photos by whitefield_d and GollyGForce}
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  1. 1

    Stephanie,
    So glad you had the vision for (in)courage…this place has been such a blessing for me! Right now I am being asked to be a part of someone else’s vision – a type of missionary endeavor and like Moses, I feel inadequate and like Jonah, I feel a bit like I’m running away. It’s easier when it is our vision, but I am praying for wisdom as to whether God wants me to be part of someone else’s vision. I could use prayers…not sure where God wants me to go from here? Thanks for a message I needed to hear.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • 2
      Beth WIlliams says:

      Bev,

      Prayers are being sent for clarity for you. If it is truly from God then the vision will come to be.

      Blessings :)

  2. 3

    Stephanie,
    I am so thankful that you had the vision for this space as it has been a huge blessing in my life. Thank you for this message today. I’m struggling in the in between a bit and this has reminded me about where my focus should really be.

    -NJ

  3. 4

    These are beautiful words. I lived through 15 years of miscarriage, stillbirth, and secondary infertility. Waiting in the between time was hard and it hurt, yet God used it.
    Your words “steady courage” really touch my heart today. The God-led adventure truly is the best adventure to take, even when it hurts…

  4. 5

    Stephanie, you really struck me when you said “even the resilient are weary and look small.” So true. It takes so much time to build anything worthwhile. I know I tend to want everything now, now, now if I just let my feelings rule! But then God says “little by little I will drive them out from before you.” And I look back at the foundation He is building in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world – even though I tend to forget NOW that He’s still building my foundation and I’ll be grateful when I look back upon THIS moment. But it’s all good. If I can just keep myself looking at the beauty of this moment, and being thankful for today and what God is doing today, rather than looking at the “not yet!”

  5. 6

    Thank you for this post! I have a vision but am in the BETWEEN part of the journey. It is tough, it is painful, but I am praying that I produce fruit and that God continues my vision! thank you again!

  6. 7

    {Mleinda} Love this, Stephanie! I was just thinking the other day about how many dreams that God has fulfilled … ones that He had given me a vision of years ago. And how I still wait for some dreams to be fulfilled. The “waiting” can seem so long, but I’ve found that it is a very active time as God is refining and growing me to be ready for the fulfillment of the dream.

  7. 8

    Stephanie,
    Your words mean so much to me today. Thank you for your vision and sharing your experiences with us in this beautiful post. God is using your words today to speak to my heart as if they were coming right from him — and I know they are!

  8. 9

    I must say thank you to you for this post. It is that God moment when your ache is heard and someone puts the words to it. Thank you for your courage, your perseverance, and your sharing of your journey. It helps me in mine. And you are a voice of Him, present here. A prophet, speaking truth into the world. Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you.

  9. 10
    Sheila Louise says:

    Thank you for priceless words of hope and encouragement. No matter how long it takes, my faith rests in the Lord. He alone is my light and comforter in this journey called life.

  10. 11

    I needed this today, Stephanie! Especially this: “God can be silent after a time of great revelation and clarity.” Thank you for sharing pieces of your story and encouraging us to live well in the In Between.

  11. 12

    Yes…the ‘ellipses’ if you will – that time between vision and victory. Ah – that’s where the real living happens….the real faith-building….the real growth.

    I’m finding myself there now :)

    Sweet, precious words. Thank you for the timely encouragement today.

    Kind Blessings,
    Kate :)

  12. 13

    Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for sharing this word. You have no idea how much I needed to read this today. I am “in between” right now- a dream was given and I am beginning to see the early stages of fulfillment, but the “fullness of time” has not yet come. I panic. I worry. I’m afraid. But, He is the giver of the dream and “the Lord will accomplish what concerns me.” Thank you for the Habakkuk scripture as well. I’m holding on to that today. Blessings to you!

  13. 14

    This is beautiful, and so timely for me.

  14. 15
    Christal says:

    As I can see, I am not alone in the in-between. Thank you for your words, and for putting down what I struggle to make sense of in my tug-of-war heart. A gift today, and I am grateful.

  15. 16

    Hi. A vision by its very nature is a path that leads us to His reality for us. The journey we take to get there is Him working out in us just what is needed to make that visit materialize. A woman can not give birth without the womb and even in the womb the waiting period is 9 months. Today I write – write words of encouragement. In the past I had little encouragement for myself must less enough to share. He bore what was need in my heart during the journey. A rock climber is not a rock climber in one day. She has to build up the muscles to get to the top. Thank God for the vision it keeps us moving on. The beauty in the journey is we’re never alone.

  16. 17

    This message was wonderful. Had to share this folks…my life was a mess for years and years on end. I prayed and cried and raged and pretended…then I got busy with the process of building my dreams. It took hard work, courage, patience and many, many prayers. I finally realized that waiting around for God to bail me out with no effort on my part was not the way it’s done. It has been, and still is, such a humbling experience. I want to give all the glory to God. Every bit of it. I have a great job. I am debt free. I have, quite possibly, the most wonderful sister on earth. Great friends who have been with me through thick and really, really thin. I have a wonderful man by my side, who never judges me for my past or present, always supports me, believes in me, encourages me and loves me unconditionally. Did I get everything I wanted in life? No. But God blessed me with new hopes and new dreams…and it is truly stunning to see them realized. I love my life!

  17. 18

    Oh, yes-the in between! I am there too, Stephanie. Thank you for your wise encouragement!!! I’m refreshed already!

  18. 19

    “The In Between is eternity and it is now.”

    A short but profound sentence. God is never in a hurry. I recently posted my thoughts on this very subject on another blog, and here I see it popping up again. As I was doing housework the other day, a thought occurred to me–Why am I always rushing around?

    Eternity–it not only belongs to God, it belongs to us, too. As believers, this is where we live everyday, and because of that, we can rest in peace wherever we are; we can take our time. Even though we may feel rushed and harried as deadlines stare us down like black monsters, the reality is that we are eternal beings and live on God’s “time”line…

  19. 20

    Thank you so much, Stephanie. These words of hope today have lifted me up. I’m living in the land of In Between, have been for almost 6 years now, and am getting very weary. Thank you for reminding me that Spring always follows Winter, I have no idea where God’s taking me from here but you just helped me to keep following Him no matter what. God bless you and thank you for persevering to bring this blog to life. I know it ministers to many.

  20. 21

    I have had one of the most challenging times in my life. I always use the analogy of being in the desert. This time was long. In reading about In Between as my vision for missions in my church takes hold it has been the hardest thing I’ve waited for but God has wanted to teach me about waiting for Him and His timing. What made the waiting possible because as I ran into brick walls I wanted to quit and voiced “I quit” to my pastor several times, but the key for me was my pastor and a few others never stopped believing in me. I have never experience this in my entire life. I’m so thankful to them because we are going on this church’s first mssion trip and other positive things are happen as well. Yes, there are lots to do in the waiting time. I prayed and prayed and search and search. Finally the fruit is budding. I continue to pray but my soul is content.

  21. 22

    Thank you dear heart for putting those promises to paper. I also have a “vision,” not a vivid dream like you had but just as real by faith. I have a mentor who says, “In the waiting is the weaning.” In other words, our trust must be “perfectly placed” in our Father and His Word.!
    Thanks again, Stephanie!

  22. 23

    This is really a good article of learning for me though I’m at the receiving end and not in the middle nor in-between times. I was there but survived and did not give up. I’m not a give up person at all. I get right back up and keep on going. Upwards towards my Saviour with my eyes fixed on JESUS, literally.

  23. 24

    Oh my. Stephanie, this resonated so deeply for me today. I am bookmarking this post because I need to remember the Holy Spirit words you’ve written here for my own In Between.
    “Vision is not about completing a task or an assignment, but with steady courage living in faith the God-led adventure, daily.” So often, I view the birthing of the vision God has given me as completing a task or “assignment”, yet you’ve so beautifully reminded me that waiting for the fruit is no less important than bearing it. Thank you.

  24. 25

    The “in between” CAN be a tricky place. I remind myself there are lessons to be learned here, friendships to be made, patience to be developed, faith to be strengthened… the list goes on and on. In God’s eyes, the “in between” isn’t as boring as we think!

    This (in)courage community is a blessing, and so many of us are grateful for the vision the Lord cast here.

  25. 26

    Been going through some tough times too and indeed I was just wondering how tough the in between can get. Thank you for your words that soothed me this morning and the Habakkuk verse.

  26. 27
    Jan Armbrust says:

    Stephanie,

    I am joining with all the others to say a thank you for your post. Although we are each individuals, sharing (like you did) reminds me of what we have in common, that we are all human and that we are part of one God-created community. You gave love by sharing and from the responses I just read, you received love back. That’s community building spiritually. So, thanks for being a “builder”.

  27. 28

    Stephanie, thank you for this post. It wasn’t so long ago that I found your Vision here at (in)courage. I was so blessed that day, as I continue to be today, by the women sharing their stories. It makes this In Between so much easier to withstand knowing that there are women out there going through the same things. Blessings to you!

  28. 29

    Hi Stephanie, (that’s my daughter’s name, too… *smile*)

    I am blown away by how often the words that are shared from this platform have been exactly what I needed to hear – “on-time” words, prophetic in nature, with the sole purpose of edifying and healing the body. I can see the body of Christ being built in this place, and am so honored to be connected to the ministry that occurs here. I take every opportunity to spread the thoughts shared here into “my field of ministry”, because I see the impact it has made on me as a woman, and a child of God. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the deepest part of my heart, for what you’ve allowed God to birth through you. I am (in)couraged. Completely. :)

    Blessings.

  29. 30

    Oh the In Between can be so hard! I am working on trusting God in the waiting. I have noticed lately how up and down, tossed and turned I can be depending on what doors are opening or closing, or whether or not things are going my way today, this instant. I’m feeling a God nudge to grow up, mature to the point where I can be content no matter what, knowing fulfillment in His way and His time is coming! Blessings on your family!

  30. 31

    I’ve lived in the in-between for a long time, and I feel a little like the Israelites wishing for a return to Egypt. To normal, but also to captivity. I needed to read these words today, and allow them to sink deep and spur me on to circle the mountain once again.

  31. 32

    Thank you for these beautiful words and testimony Stephanie! As I feel I am also in the difficult in-between, but also knowing this is where life happens! learning to savor the dreams and the reality…

  32. 33

    This is one of those posts that hits you right where it’s needed, thanks!

  33. 34

    Oh how I needed this, thank you. Once God spoke to me in a dream. He gave me Bible verses, but not the passages. It was that His Word would not return void, and that He would make streams in the desert. (I looked these up and found they were from Isaiah 55:11 and Isaiah 43:19.) The waiting-the in between is hard and scary. It’s where our faith is really tested, and for me personally, it’s the devil’s playground.
    Your dream and story is beautiful-thank you for sharing.

  34. 35
    Sarah Hutmacher says:

    This hit home. I’m so thankful I sat down to read this tonight. Monday afternoon our pregnancy results came back negative. We have been trying for about 2 years. With fertility treatments we were successful but miscarried. This was our last attempt at getting pregnant so it hit me hard. Trying becomes so consuming. It overtakes your marriage. Your life. It’s time for us to move on as a couple. A middle age married couple who is still a family. A family of 2 with a fun loving dog named Grace. We are going to relish the in between & live life.

  35. 36

    I’ve wrestled this waiting for a LONG time and finally feel as though I’ve arrived at the sweet spot in the onion where layers upon layers have been peeled off for me to trust Him . . . maturing in my willingness to wait it out however long it will be, trusting that Now has purpose for tomorrow. I see the importance of patience now, whereas before I wasn’t even willing to be patient; I just knew that I wasn’t. Your words resonate with me now more than ever because I’m willing for now. Your words are life to me and are such encouragement; I’m so grateful.

  36. 37

    This is so where me and my husband are at. In regards to our ministry, in regards to starting our family, in regards to other things. It requires faith, patience and constant pressing into God. I live because I yearn is what I recently learned. Desiring, yearning is what draws us to God. That in and of itself is worth a celebration and gives us a different look at not having what we see or feel inside.

  37. 38

    As I clicked incourage, I literally prayed God would encourage me as I feel so near to giving up on His vision for my life.. and THIS! Praise God, and thank you Stephanie. In March 1998, God told me to start praying for a husband. I was 26, but marriage wasn’t really on my mind at all. I obeyed to the point of attending marriage seminars by myself, as I felt I heard it so clearly and thought it was right on the immediate horizon. Fast-forward to now? I am still waiting. And now it’s compounded by thoughts of having children (or not). I don’t know how much longer I can go on with this vision in mind, especially as it wasn’t my idea in the first place, but has now become part of my heart and desires. I received a confirmation in October last year from someone who didn’t know me that ‘God hasn’t forgotten you.. He has someone for you.’ So I hold on, but literally time is running out. God is the only one now who can make a miracle happen. I really, really needed to read this today! Bless you.

  38. 39

    Thank you for this post. To be honest, I don’t know exactly where I am now, but I think it’s in the between. I’m not sure if I have a vision from God. There are ideas and longings, but it’s not clear to me if they are from God or from myself. Living in the now is something I really want to learn. Sometimes I wonder if we should dream or just accept every day as it is and do what we must do. How do you know if a dream is God given or a selfish desire……?

  39. 40

    I read this last night and was moved to tears and lifted up to the heart of God. I read it to my husband and he couldn’t believe that there was something that could speak so completely to the fears and doubts as I take up writing again and trust God with the depths of my story as I find courage to share it. I shared this post with my twin as we were talking about our dreams and I am reading it again as I will probably do many, many times. If you read these comments Stephanie just thank you…when we meet in heaven and all Vision is forever fulfilled in Him I will give you an eternal hug:):)

  40. 41

    what a timely message for me..as I live in the land ‘between’..in fact, I am reading a great book titled, “The Land Between” by Jeff Manion. I wait in that land as the Lord moves me and transforms me. His purpose is trust. Help me trust you more, Jesus.

  41. 42

    This post.

    So great.

    I’m reading it over and over, because it’s where I am.

    Thank you for this reminder…”We don’t cast the vision. We can only live it, allowing God to unhinge the hooks and fling the nets wide.”

    And that “the future belongs to God.”

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart!

  42. 43

    This post really spoke to my heart today in a powerful way, thank you!

  43. 44
    Beth WIlliams says:

    I have a simple dream. To one day either work part-time or retire and become a gourmet cook. Will it ever happen? Not sure, but now in the in-between I’m working hard saving money, and praying.

    I would love for my dream to come true now–right now, but God says wait. His timing is perfect.

    Blessings :)

  44. 45

    Believing in a dream? I too waited for God to step in. His answer, was hard to visualize: “My time is not your time.”
    It’s been a life long struggle for me to see
    a couple dreams come true. Showed up on my doorstep when I least expected.
    I had lost hope. Then would you believe
    it was so sweet, then I questioned the reality. We are so fragile. A gift my relative once said: “Accept it.” I’m looking back I see I did accept. Fear too over little by little that maybe I didnt deserve. Though
    I didn’t realize that is why I then lost what I
    loved: my garden home, a possible relationship. My hope now is I’ll recognize
    When I dream a special happening: be ready! In(Courage) is a daily gift has meant so much in my walk with the Lord!
    I’ll have a home soon again, and friendship to have coffee with. We often
    forget that had it not been for women in the Bible, we may lose hope!! Then like
    Esther or Ruth or Sarah pages of dreaming what God instilled.

  45. 46

    In between has been a long run. I’m learning & listening how special InCourage is bringing hope & sisterhood
    to women of courage. A place we can share some of our deepest dreams as well as our fears. InCourage us just that a place to put our dreams too.