Breezes from the front porch encircled us as I stood with the family who was buying our farm. I listened to their plans and shared with them about this special place they were moving into. I wanted them to know God had built it, what He had taught me about dwelling with Him, and how I had prayed for them.
And then the moment happened.
The wife commented how she couldn’t wait to host her women’s church group on the big front porch. I should have been excited that God had answered my prayers for our farm to be handed off to kingdom-minded people, but my heart fell.
The buyer was going to do the very things I had hoped to do but never got to see to fruition. God had given me so many ideas for our farm, and that had been one of them. As I returned to packing boxes, I wanted to cry.
I immediately felt like a failure, followed by jealousy and disappointment in myself and, if I’m honest, in God. I was left curious why I had missed the opportunity to complete the vision He’d started with me.
Years before, God had planted the idea of our farm in my heart, and we searched for land for six years before He provided our very own promised land. Then, He gave us the chance to restore an ugly property with Him. We spent years cleaning up the property, building a home, and planting seeds. And we experienced many miracles in the process.
I never anticipated that I wouldn’t get to experience the entirety of the vision He’d revealed to me. It never crossed my mind that I would only be a part of the beginning of that vision and would have to pass the baton on to another to complete it.
Weeks after that front porch conversation, we were moved out, and I was deep cleaning the house. As I scrubbed baseboards and toilets, I chose to pray for the new owners, thank God for the good and hard we had experienced in this place, and finally come clean to Him about the feelings I had.
I told Him it felt unfair for Him to share the vision with me and then for me not to be able to see it to completion.
God was kind to listen while I complained about how He was working His plan. His Spirit was gentle but honest, revealing to me that this wasn’t the first time He’d asked me to pass on the baton in the middle of His vision for my life.
When I co-founded (in)courage with Holley Gerth more than a decade ago, I assumed I’d be in my role for years to come. So I was shocked when just nine months after launching, God asked me to resign and start my own business.
What would happen to the vision and ideas He had given me for (in)courage? I wanted to be part of all God was doing. But over the years, He has brought different women to lead this special place and has always made it clear that nothing is reliant upon me or any other person — only Him.
God is so kind to have a vision for something in our lives and to share it with us. But it’s up to Him what our role is and for how long He wants to work through us on that vision.
It’s very rare for the person that God shares His specific vision with to be the one to see it through to completion. I’m hard pressed to find many stories in the Bible where God’s people were gifted with experiencing both the beginning and the end of God’s plan. Usually each person plays a key role, but only a part.
- Abraham didn’t see the nations, just the stars.
- Moses didn’t dwell in the promised land but stood in awe of it.
- David didn’t build the temple, but he raised the son that would.
- Isaiah didn’t witness the King of kings’ birth, but he saw His light.
- Esther didn’t release God’s people from captivity, but she saved their lives.
- Even Jesus didn’t see the church go to the ends of the earth, but He finished what He was sent for.
Not seeing the completion of God’s vision doesn’t diminish my part but encourages me to have faith in His power to finish what He starts and helps me to go with the flow of the Holy Spirit.
With (in)courage, I knew God had called certain women at specific times to lead in my place. I have the privilege of watching His original vision unfold twelve years later. And now, with our farm, God brought the next woman to fulfill more of the vision He’s designed her for. It’s truly the body of Christ each playing their role in working out what God has planned.
Will you join me in being open to God’s role and timing for you? He may be asking you to join Him in a vision for the first time or to turn your current role over to another and open a new chapter so you both can serve His kingdom. He’s asking each of us to work together for the greater good and for His vision to be completed. Let’s be flexible with our expectations and timelines and trust that His ways are greater.Leave a Comment
“Nothing is reliant upon me or any other person — only Him.”
“Not seeing the completion of God’s vision doesn’t diminish my part.”
“it’s up to Him what our role is and for how long He wants to work through us on that vision.”
Hmm. Weighty thoughts. Thank you so very much for sharing!
May we always remain at the center of God’s will, however He chooses to carry it out. Amen.
PS: I just wrote a post based on the lessons/reminders gleaned from this post.
Here’s the post => May we always remain at the center of God’s will, however He chooses to carry it out.
Thanks for the inspiration, Stephanie! 🙂 I pray everything we do always brings glory to God!
Stephanie Bryant says
So happy my words inspired you!
Ruth Mills says
Weighty thoughts indeed! Good reminder it really is ALL about God, not me. When we have or eventually are given the big picture perspective we will appreciate more God’s masterful performance art’s beauty & will be thankful we were the tiny speck of detail He chose to employ in His masterpiece.
Stephanie Bryant says
I love how we each are a masterpiece and also come together to make a larger masterpiece – all of God’s design.
Wise words….. brings to mind how some are seed planters, while others take the baton and grow to new life. We’re all doing our part for His kingdom. The circle of life in God’s economy. It’s a truly wonderful, grace filled place to live. Thank you for reminding us. I always look forward to hearing from you.
Robin Dance says
It has been so sweet for me to have been a bystander to much of your story over the past 12 years, and to remember at each juncture how you always pointed to Him. Despite disappointment or not fully understanding why God is doing what He’s doing, you have consistently shared the story of His work in your life. That is beautiful.
Stephanie Bryant says
You have seen me through it all, haven’t you? I’m so thankful you can see His story in mine!
I love this….I know….I say that every day. I need to stop thinking and follow.
A beautiful heartfelt story. Thanks you for encouraging us to step forward and trust God’s plan for whatever part of the plan he chooses to include each of us.
Elisa HoekwaterCell says
Trusting that His ways are greater. Thank you for starting (In)courage and for sharing this message!
Thanks so much Stephanie! I too look forward to hearing from you. I am so thankful to be reminded that the ministry is NOT about me but what God wants for His glory. Praying a special blessing for all of the ladies who write, read & share in this place. It is truly a blessing and help to me.
Thank you for your message!
It gave me much to think
I admire you all at in courage!
I keep having to relearn the lesson, that all ___ is His, I just get to be part of it. My human side wants to claim, “mine” & cling tightly to it; instead of surrendering it up to God.
I am soooo looking forward to the time, when I won’t have to battle my “flesh” anymore…because I’ll have shed my human Body!
Becky Keife says
Stephanie, I so appreciate your honesty and courage in sharing the hard of following the Spirit and also the hope of being part of God’s plans — even when His ways don’t always make sense to us. So grateful for what you started here at (in)courage and can’t wait to hear how this next season on your new property unfolds. xo
Beth Williams says
This post is a reflection of John 4:37 “One sows and another reaps” In this matter of kingdom harvest, everyone has a job to do. One sows the seed and another reaps the harvest. But neither of them can do the job alone, each needs the other. Like the farmer plants seeds, but it is God who sends the rain & sunshine to nourish them. We are all needed & useful in God’s kingdom. Each of us should do our part & let God have the credit. For instance I volunteer with Loaves & Fishes food bank. I go as often as I can. When there I do whatever is needed. You may catch me making food boxes, putting together meals, handing out meals, doing dishes, helping cook for the next night. There is no small part. Each one is vital. We may not get to see the fruits of our labor, although sometimes we do in someone getting baptized. All that matters is that we did our part.
Thank you! Just where I am, and just what I needed to hear today.
Whoa. This is a timely message. It’s too long a story to talk about all the ways I’m questioning God’s purposes for my life, but this message gives me a sense of freedom to ask Him again to direct me. What a good reminder that God can use many people to finish what He starts.
Stephanie Bryant says
Isn’t it a relief to realize that?!
Ariel Krienke says
This was a great lesson and one I’ve been trying to work on. A great reminder that we are a part of God’s plan but not always get to finish the entire plan.
Awesome. Puts things into perspective. I’m not sure how or why my journey changed in 2021 but I know God has a plan and He brought me through it. I’m listening more now.
JENNIFER E HASSEL says
I appreciate both your wisdom and your honesty about feeling some very human feelings when God’s plans hand to another something we desired for ourselves. Yesterday I journaled on this very topic. We may feel one way due to circumstances but we can still choose to respond in faith and obedience. That is exactly what you did. Yes it is hard. Thank you for sharing part of your story as an example.
Michelle Stiffler says
Exactly what I needed to be reminded, Stephanie . Thank you for following Jesus wholeheartedly and encouraging me to do the same.
Great article. I have a hard time listening to GOD or maybe I push his words aside
Thank you for being so open and vulnerable, I needed to hear this message today!!
Terri Scharn says
Thank you This is so timely.As I am struggling to know what God wants for me in this new chapter I my life
Pearl Allard says
That is really helpful. It sounds like the way God designed you was to be a pioneer for His projects. That is so cool! I’m not like that at all, but reading your experience caused me to reflect that it’s ok if I’m rarely the one given the idea. It’s ok not to be the one starting something new. It’s ok to be step 2 or step 462 in whichever of God’s projects He’s assigned me to. Thanks for your willingness to adjust your expectations so that the “next steps” can step up to do their role. God bless!