For moms with littles, time in the shower can be precious. And it seems, at least for me, that sometimes in the shower I get some pretty good thinking done. Those few precious minutes all alone can birth great ideas. And honestly, sometimes, that's where the most quiet moments of my day are found. And that's where I can hear God's still small voice.
I was living in Louisiana with my family. My husband was finishing graduate school, and we were anticipating a move back "home" to Iowa in March. I was thinking about my friends and what we need most in life. I was thinking about how we are busy and distracted by all sorts of things - jobs, side jobs, at-home businesses, kids, husbands, volunteering. I was thinking about how we all want to be better at something - better at being an employee or sister or wife or mom or employer or daughter or at home business leader or homeschooler or . . . . . .
And then God reminded me there is only one way to be better at any and all of those things. JESUS.
And then I imagined a room full of friends from all around, hearing another friend speak truth and point us to Jesus as the answer to all of our seeking and striving.
And then ONE was born.
It wasn't ONE at the time, but an idea, a crazy idea, to find some friends to put on a women's event. It didn't have a name or a date or a speaker or a location. It was just an idea.
I called my bestie Joy. She thought I was nuts. And being one of my best friends, she knew that putting an event together of this magnitude might be stressful for me (that's an understatement. She said it pretty straight to me.) But I pushed on, believing that if God had called me (and by me, I meant us!) to this task that He would provide everything we needed - from start to finish, from details to big stuff, from the work in my own heart to the work in others to make it happen. And that's just what He's done.
We moved to Iowa. I tossed the idea at a pastor friend who encouraged me to talk to a pal in a state denomination office. That was late June 2014. And things moved fast from there.
I had been praying that God would even go so far as to name this event - that I wouldn't necessarily be the one to come up with something catchy or creative or influential or trendy. But that God would give us the name for this event. Joy and I had been tossing around ideas. One day she shot me a text message with close to 20 possibilities. "ONE" was among the possibilities. And it stood out to me almost immediately with an addition of a tag line: life. love. passion. I even sat down at my computer with my very limited skills and sketched out a logo. I took a screen shot and sent it to 3 friends with an explanation that the name of the event could be ONE with a "life.love.passion" tagline. I thought I included Joy in this message. Later that day, she and I finally got a chance to connect by phone.
Me: "What do you think about ONE: life. love. passion?"
Joy: "I have been praying all day and hoped you would choose ONE."
Me: "Right. Like I said in the text."
Joy: "What text?"
Me: "The text with the mock up logo and explanation. I sent that to you and Jill and my sister."
Joy: "Nope. You didn't send that to me. But there ya go. I think we have a name!"
By July we were talking about ONE and we had secured Jen Wilkin as the speaker.
The next big decision was the Scripture focus for the weekend. I obviously wanted to leave that to Jen's discernment as she thought about our conversations and what we believed Central Iowa women might need to hear. I continued to be drawn to Deuteronomy 6:4-5 where God challenged the Israelite nation, amidst ALL that distracted them from Him, to worship Him alone. Jen and I were chatting one day about the conference and I asked what she was thinking for a Scripture focus. Jen said, "I think Mark 12 would be a home run in this case, a no-brainer. Jesus answered the question of "What is the greatest commandment?" by pointing back to Deuteronomy 6." And there ya go. We had our Scripture.
All along this path God has been faithful. Not just because of stories like those above, but because He simply IS FAITHFUL. He has put this together. He will do the work. He will bring His daughters to Himself. We just get to be a small part of this adventure called ONE.
Joy and I were also blessed in this journey to find a partner in ministry in Kari Minter. Kari serves as women's ministry director at WestWind Church in Waukee. At her pastor's prompting, Kari met with us late fall 2014 to hear about this crazy idea. Joy and I both felt nearly immediately that we wanted Kari to say "Yes!" to working with us, but we weren't sure she would. At the end of our meeting that day, Kari told us that she would certainly spend time praying about this decision, but also that she had a contract for a WestWind women's spring 2015 event on her desk. She explained that she didn't know why, but something had been keeping her from sending it back in with a deposit. "And I think ONE just might be the reason."
And the rest, as they say, is history. 1229Ministries was formed as the leadership/planning crew behind ONE. Mark 12:29 is our banner verse: "This is the most important,' Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One." We pray that our lives are focused on the ONE Who gives us life and breath and purpose.