Akron Women on Purpose

Four years ago today.

There is an app I used called one day. It’s a journaling app, I add a picture. I write a line or two and move on with my day. It’s simple and an easy way to document some parts of my life. Now that I’ve used it for years, most days I look at the “on this day.” I was at Starbucks at Portage Crossing when I clicked on it, yesterday. Several entries came up, but three entries specifically came onto the screen from four years ago. Exactly four years prior I was sitting in this exact Starbucks desperately trying to hold on. I remember that day so clearly. The hopelessness I felt, and the doing everything in my power not to give into the darkness in my mind.

Yesterday, I took this picture while there… the journal app open, a cup of coffee and the exact Starbucks I was wrestling so much at. As I sat there I was waiting for a friend to talk through Akron Women on Purpose.  Something that wasn’t even a thought in my brain four years ago, and now we are preparing for our third conference.

I left the meeting and the Starbucks a little emotional. Thinking how gracious God has been through it all. Through His love and intervention in healing that suicidal season. And now how He has allowed me to be part of what He’s doing in Akron! I’m just in awe.

And this morning, as I finished this blog, I again clicked “on this day” and saw THIS post. Which also caused me to be humbled and so grateful for how God has moved in my life. I knew nothing about Akron Women on Purpose, when I wrote this four years ago, but He did! And called me to it years before I knew it… Even in my dark season, and when I was desperately holding on. He is so good!

As I close, I have to say, even though some of the days that came during this last 4 year window were the hardest I have EVER experienced, I’m glad I didn’t miss them. I am SO grateful that the darkness didn’t win. To those who are struggling with suicidal tendencies and feeling worthless. Please keep fighting!! There is hope on the other side. And although it won’t look like my journey, God has you here for a reason too!

Monday Momentumn – Podcasts

For your Monday Momentum, I wanted to share the podcast that Women on Purpose has been hosting. We’ve recorded several, I wanted to highlight the last two as these two women are those who walk in the room and sense the Spirit and their life of faith before they even say any words.

The first one is Gail Benn, someone who has been an encourager and friend for almost 20 years.

The other one is Liz Miller, who I literally just met and this was our first official conversation.

Such wisdom and faith coming from each.

Three weeks away… yikes

As I sit and write this we are three weeks away from Akron Women on Purpose 2018!  I’ll be honest in saying I woke up a bit nervous.  As I’ve said before, running a women’s conference is not my passion or call, not even close!

The reason I host this is because this is me being obedient to the next step.  This is something I feel God has asked me to do because I really believe that if every women is obedient to just the next step God is calling her toward, we would see radical transformation!  I know it!

Since this isn’t my natural calling, I am so reliant on God for all it – for speakers, for the details, and for those who are going to attend.  I take it all seriously, and since the beginning of the year I have been seeking God so intensely, eliminating anything that I could put in my mind or body that would prevent me from being in tune with Him.

Today I sat and prayed for the leadership team and started to pray for every seat in the auditorium.  I so desperately want this day to bring God glory!  I so desperately want women to feel empowered to go be on mission with Him!!  Can you imagine the amount of spiritual transformation in our city if every women was?!!?

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IMG_0274.jpgTruth be told, I also do all the things above to make sure I’m functioning out of the Spirit and not my flesh.  I do this to combat the desire to impress those who are coming, fight against the intense spiritual warfare that comes with hosting this event, and to make sure my motives are never based out of fear.  I am so very human and work so hard to stay connected to the God while leading this day.

My desperate prayer each day until the event will be that every woman will feel amazingly loved by our creator and would be obedient to the next step God is calling her toward.  

My dear friend Kara Ulmer

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Kara and I met years ago in a bible study.  Honestly the first time I met her I didn’t quite get her.  Over time I understood the way her mind worked… always deep, amazingly insightful and super encouraging.  Our friendship has grown over the years as we talk about life and non-profit leadership.

There honestly no way explain all the ways God has used Kara in my life, but here are a few that stand out.

Years ago Kara would encourage me, in all situations, to have “palms up”.  That God was in control and to not hold onto anything too tightly.  She would text it to me regularly, sometimes reminding me of this truth, other times reminding herself.  I soon adopted this as my own (I talk about it here Palms Up, and even got a tattoo on because of it A permanent reminder).

I have quoted Kara more times than I can count, “if you really love someone you will always want what is best for them.”  I bring it up it when talking about leadership, marriage, friendship and any relationship really.

Kara also is the friend I was with who inspired me to move forward with Akron Women on Purpose.  I wrote about it in this post Be obedient to the next step.

I’ve had the privilege to hear her insights over the years and wanted to share some of her with all of you.  I’ve posted two videos, the first one is her story that she shared at Akron Women on Purpose and the second is when she spoke at TEDxAkron.  Both are amazing, honest, and powerful!  I truly am so proud to call her my friend.

 

 

I was obedient… Akron Women on Purpose

Host a women’s conference.  I’m confident I heard that wrong.  I had to have.  I didn’t.  In this blog post I talk about how I was obedient, despite me not understanding exactly what I was being obedient to.  I simply took one step at a time, and this past Saturday I had the opportunity to see God at work.  For months leading up I prayed this prayer over and over again, the morning of was NO different!  FullSizeRender 7

By the end of the night I wrote several women and said, “God answered my prayer. He showed up, and He got all the Glory.”  I don’t know why I am always so surprised when God prompts me to do something, shows up, and does more than I could have asked or imagined!

My heart is still so full!  There are no way in words I can adequately express to you what happened on that day. It was a powerful time of 300 women gathering and sharing  stories about a God who interacts and redeems and who we get to live on mission with!  At the end of the day it was ALL about Him!

This was the opening video to the day along with some pictures of the day.

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Be obedient to the next step

Over a year ago I was having dinner with my dear friend Kara Ulmer, who is an impressive leader of World Relief here in Akron.  On the drive home from that dinner I had an idea based on something that happened at dinner, and when I pulled in the drive I sent a text to Kara that said, “I think we should host a conference called ‘badass women of Akron unite'”.  (Sorry mom for the swear word).  The idea behind the conference is to gather some of the most BA women I know for Jesus here in Akron.  The reason I wanted to gather them is because they are often put on a pedestal in some capacity because of the ministry they do or the life they live, but if  you were to ask each of those women how impressive they are, they would all say that they are not.  This isn’t just humility coming to the forefront, but each of them would say they weren’t impressive, rather obedient.  Ultimately they are obedient to the next step.  Often God calls us to simply be obedient to the next step, and as we continue to be obedient to each step along the way, we end up in some amazing places… this is how I ended up being the Founder and Director of First Glance.

Here’s my confession; I wasn’t obedient.  I sensed I was to do this conference and gather these women, but I thought “who am I?”  So I put it off.  I thought the idea would go away.  Grief was ruling my life.  I run First Glance.  I don’t need something else. I had lots of reasons to not do it.

The idea didn’t go away.  It continued to come up.  So I went away for a few days with another one of my favorite humans, Hannah Nitz, who happens to host conferences for a living.  And as I was away praying and thinking through weather or not to do this conference, I woke up in the middle of the night and very clearly sensed God say, “the premise of this conference is to be obedient to the next step, and you aren’t listening to that message.” Well that was convicting.

So I moved forward, still reluctantly.  I was curious of who might come and wondering what amazing women for Jesus would join the leadership team besides Kara.

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But as I was obedient to the next step, and after talking to other women about the leadership team, they ALL signed on.  At our first meeting, these women all expressed how God has been giving them a similar vision for what the women in this city could do.  Suddenly I realized it wasn’t MY vision.  It was God’s vision.  He simply was going to let me be the organizer of it.  What a privilege!

As the past couple weeks have moved forward I continue to see God in ALL of it – from the leadership team, to the womens’ interest in it, to all the details.  It’s simply amazing and quite humbling!!

This is the save the date video for Akron Women on Purpose (which is the official name).
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Save the Date- May 6, 2017 from Hannah Nitz on Vimeo.