Rise & Shine Women’s Retreat Leadership team. Well, here’s the answer.
A good friend of mine, Jill, felt the Lord leading her to start a women's conference. She had felt this prompting for about 2 ½ years, but wasn't sure how she could ever pull something like this off. She kept praying about it, until it came to a point that she knew that it was definitely His idea and not hers. She shared the idea with her husband and a few close friends.
Long story short, Jill and her friend/mentor, Leanne, decided to take the idea to Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 2009. Leanne had just recently started attending OHC. They were thrilled when the church agreed to host the event.
Although Jill and I only live a couple of miles apart, go to the same church and even share a last name (we’re married to cousins), we really only became friends months before Rise & Shine began when we connected at a Bible study. During that same Bible study, the Lord started stirring up thoughts in my mind and heart, especially ones about what my role should be in women’s ministry. One day, I mentioned in the study that I wanted to do something “radical for Christ”. This started a personal conversation between Jill and I, our friendship blossomed from there. Later, when told me about the idea of starting a women’s conference she said, “How’s this for something radical?”
Unbeknownst to Jill, also about 2 ½ years before this, I was at a women’s conference when I felt the Lord speaking to my spirit. It wasn't an audible voice, but I knew Who it was. It was like He said to me, "You're going to be part of something like this someday."
Yet, there I sat, I was pregnant with my first child, a farmer's wife living in rural Iowa…in the middle of “no where“. I thought, "What? ME? How could I ever do something like that?" I have to admit that I questioned the Lord. Did He get the right girl?! Still, joy rose up within me and I remember praying in my mind, right there in the midst of this huge conference, "I don't know how, but I believe that you will make a way, Lord."
I never told anyone about this. I actually filed it to the back of my mind. Every once in a while I would recall what He said, but still didn't see a way. I would say a little prayer about it and shove it back to it's little corner in my mind.
So, even though I know she expected me to be, I wasn't shocked when Jill came to me with this idea. I knew that I was suppose to be part of it, but I didn’t tell Jill. I just told her that I would pray about it...which I did. I was thrilled a few weeks later when she asked me to be part of the Rise & Shine team. Isn't this just the way that the Lord works? He opens doors where there doesn't even seem to be a door!!!
That first year was a real leap of faith for our team. None of us had ever planned a women’s conference before. We didn’t have any funds available when we started (not even to pay the speaker we had booked). We didn’t even know if anyone would sign up to attend . But, we prayed and felt the Lord prompting us on. We chose to step out in faith and obedience. We’re so glad we did! God answered one prayer after another, opened doors and showed us His faithfulness time and time again…and has continued to do so. This year we are planning our third Rise & Shine Women’s Retreat.
So many amazing people have come on board to make Rise & Shine happen each year, people who have such a heart to honor and serve the Lord. We’re just ordinary people who have been blessed to be part of something so extraordinary, something so much bigger than us. To God be the glory! He is so great, and greatly to be praised!
This coming week I again have an opportunity to step out in faith, to do something so beyond me…I’m going to be on the radio! Leanne and I will be sharing about Rise & Shine Women’s Retreat on our guest speaker for 2011’s radio show “Live the Promise with Susie Larson”. The show will air live on Faith 1090 AM on Wednesday, June 29th at 3:00 pm. If you’re interested in listening online, here’s the link:
PLEASE PRAY for me and Leanne as we seek to promote Rise & Shine well and, most importantly, to glorify God with every word that we speak, to give Him praise for the way He has worked through this ministry. We’re so thankful for this great opportunity!
Thank you for your prayers, it means so much to me (us).
In what area is God asking YOU to step out in faith today? God will use you in ways you never thought possible, and will make a way when there seems to be no way, if you choose to trust Him, obey and follow His lead. I find that incredibly exciting!! How about you?!