Meet: Stephanie Swanston
The moment I met Stephanie at the coffee shop, I knew she was special. Stephanie is radiant. She loves the Lord deeply and her posture is peace & joy. Immediately diving into matters of the heart, Stephanie tells me about her journey as an artist.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved to create. In college I actually started out as a graphic design major, but eventually switched my degree to psychology. Immediately after college, I found a full-time job working in the public school system. During those first few years out of college, I convinced myself that it was the right thing, the rational thing, for me not to pursue my passion – art.
Looking back, I realize for a long time, FEAR kept me from the place I am now in today.
- Fear I would disappoint my family.
- Fear others would judge me for leaving my job and pursuing art.
- Fear I would never be financially stable.
- Fear I was not capable.
- Fear that I would stop loving art if it was “my job.”
Satan evokes fear to keep us from using the gifts & talents God’s given us.
"Satan evokes fear to
keep us from using
the gifts & talents
God's given us."
Stephanie's no longer a slave to fear. Her smile brightly beaming, she begins to tell me a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness, a story that ignited her faith and drove out fear as she began to pursue her dream – launching her own business as a full-time artist.
It started when my husband and I began looking for a new home in a new area. We sensed we were looking at the right time in the right place, but we couldn’t find anything. A few weeks after house hunting, we put an offer through a realtor and got rejected. Then months of this went by. It was an emotional roller coaster ride. Of course, my fears heightened. Was this what God wanted or what we wanted? Were we making the right choice? I felt TRAPPED – it reminded me of previous fears in my life. I was completely out of control, and I knew it.
During this season I went to a women’s conference at my local church. A woman spoke on seeking guidance from the Lord. And so I prayed fervently, ‘God not my will, but yours be done.’ No longer did I want to take things into my own hands. As I surrendered fully to God, a wave of peace washed over me.
That same night while at dinner, my husband said, ‘I think we’re about to find out what God has next for us.’ (He had no idea what I experienced at the conference!) During our dinner we received a message, that long story short, left us with the opportunity to affordably rent a beautiful home! I was in complete shock! The timing of it all was perfect and allowed me to step into art full-time! It was such a confirmation from the Lord. God’s plans are different than we think & better than we could imagine.
Prior to this moment, for nearly 2 years, my husband and I worked hard to be faithful managers of what God entrusted us – all our time, talent, & treasure. We were learning to be faithful over the little God gave us. I remember reading Mathew 25:23 and just being blown away. It says, “Well done good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little, now I will set you over much.” This is what I prayed. I prayed we would be faithful over the little things, whatever God entrusted us.
"I prayed we would be faithful
over the little things,
whatever God entrusted us."
It is amazing to look back on God’s faithfulness and see where we were 2 years ago and where we are now today. We recognize this was nothing we alone did. God’s hand was over us the whole time.
It takes courage to let go in the unknown. But letting go and letting God was the best thing I’ve ever done. This whole journey increased my faith. The fruit is not the provision. The fruit is faith.
"This whole journey
increased my faith.
The fruit is not provision.
The fruit is faith."
Stephanie’s story warmed my heart. We continued talking about her brand new business venture, creative art process, and more.
I like trying so many new things I don’t classify my work into a certain type of art. For me, it’s less about what I’m making or tools & techniques and more about why I’m making it + who I’m making it for.
Art for me is more about creating authentic relationship & intentional community. Whether it’s preserving a moment in time or creating art on the walls of a coffee shop, I care most about a client’s vision coming to life!
Through art, God’s teaching me to slow down, notice others, and focus on the people He wants me to serve. Instead of being consumed with getting better or working harder, I am consumed by the beauty in others surrounding me in this season.
I asked Stephanie what it’s been like the first couple months running her business. Here’s what she said:
It’s been amazing! There is this coffee shop where I love to draw and meet people. The owner met with me and asked me to help design some art pieces for their shop and allowed me to feature my work there! Also this girl messaged me on social media and wanted to send art supplies to encourage and support the business. From providing paint brushes to bringing community, God's proven Himself faithful through faithful people!
I asked Stephanie what she would say to someone pursuing their creative dreams. Here is what she said:
- The end is so worth it! Don’t get distracted. Don’t take it into your own hands. The second I let go God met my needs and desires!
- Let your art be a catalyst to build relationships with others.
- God cares deeply about the desires of your heart. He planted those desires within you!
- If you are in a season of waiting, God wants to teach you. There’s always a reason in the waiting – the reason will shape who you are and make you a better creative.
- Be faithful over whatever God’s entrusted you right now. Manage it well, use it, multiply it for your good and for His glory!
Join me as we pray for Stephanie's new business! Purchase her art & follow her journey: