I emailed Nicole Espy a while back asking her to jot down some of the bullet points of how MOPS came to be at RRC. I didn’t want to burden her with having to write it all out so I asked for the important bits with the intention that I’d just fill in the rest. When I opened her email, I laughed. . . HARD and then cried a bit at the end seeing God’s hand so clearly throughout the deatils. It hit me that I didn’t need to fill-in or edit a thing and that simply stated, this story wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t told in her voice, from her heart.
So here you go, the story of how MOPS was brought to Red Rocks Church as a result of our girl Nicole Espy’s obedience and love for Mamas and Jesus:
“I had just had Evie, she was maybe 6 or 7 months old and I was doing a clients hair who ran the MOPS at Foothills Church in Arvada for 8 years when she said “How about you start a MOPS at Red Rocks?” Considering I now had a child and Jake had just gotten the job there earlier in the year it made sense but my first thought when she said this was “Ummmm, no thanks. MOPS isn’t that cool, and I’m like. . . way cool.” So I just said “Oh yeah, maybe” shrugged it off and changed the subject.
I went home THAT night and felt God speak to me saying that I should do this. I should bring MOPS to Red Rocks. I feel like there have been times in my life when I’ve clearly felt the Lord instruct me to do something and this was definitely one of them. Over the next few days I wrestled with it and prayed through it and ended up contacting that client at Foothills Church. I told her I wanted to do it and asked if she’d help me get some thoughts and plans together before I talked to the church. I remember bringing my daughter into her house with she was with her four kids. We’re sitting there as she’s trying to explain to me what all goes into MOPS in an hour long play date while kids are running around and interrupting us every two seconds. I remember leaving feeling more overwhelmed than I had when I walked in without any information.
A few weeks later at church I saw Jill Johnson. I didn’t know her well but I stopped to talk to her nonetheless and basically asked her what she thought about MOPS at RRC. She replied that it was one of the things that saved her life when she had just moved to Colorado to start Red Rocks and had young babies. She went to MOPS at a different church. She advised me to email BZ and that she would personally “help” get this moving up the pipeline, so to speak.
About a week after this I sat next to a girl in church at Littleton where Jake was leading. I’d seen her drop off her baby upstairs a few minutes prior so I knew she was a Mom and I thought she was adorable. Lol During worship I felt God leading me to ask her to help bring MOPS to RRC so after church I lean to this stranger, introduce myself and ask if she’d be interested. This woman’s name was Lindsey. She went on about how she’d been praying for MOPS at RRC and agreed to help. I find out shortly after this that she lives in Highlands Ranch which is a HIKE from Arvada but we started our “long distance” friendship anyway. We’d meet in the middle and spent some time getting to know one another and dreaming through all of the things we wanted to do while waiting on a response to the email we sent to RRC leadership. She had a friend who led MOPS at Cherry Hills in HR so she offered her as a resource. It dawned on me in this moment that I’d never even been to a MOPS meeting so I really had no idea what I was doing.
We got our response from Brian Zibell that he and the guys agreed to let us start it! They felt that this demographic had been hard to reach through life groups as a result of bedtimes and child care so they saw the need and wanted to meet it. They let us start one group of around 100 women and would see how it went from there.
At this point, I began stalking people on Facebook. Mom’s I’d seen at church with children, people I kind of knew the names of and just started cold messaging them asking them to form our steering team. Needless to say, I found a team, they just might’ve thought I was a crazy person. Lindsey and I met with Nat who was her friend in charge of MOPS at Cherry Hills and walked away feeling really confident that we could actually do this. We set up a meeting with BZ and JB and brought our ideas to the table. We discussed retreats, decor, the Mom-Con conference; the expensive details. The guys kind of stopped us and said “Yeah. . . we’re going to let you do this… but it’s going to have to be a little simpler than that.” I walked away feeling a bit defeated wondering how we were going to manage to do this.
God reminded me over and over that week that it wasn’t about those things, the bells and whistles but rather getting Moms together, providing community and encouraging one another through the journey of Motherhood. I recognized the need in myself for friends I could walk through this season with and I knew others had to feel the same. I also knew I couldn’t get through a single day of this Mom thing without Jesus and I just wanted to share that.
So, we scaled back. We created and invented ways to make this thing nice and classy without it being expensive. As a team we grew together and we did it.
We filmed our first promo and I remember asking a Mom of three, Kenna, what she does for herself and watching her start crying as Carson was filming because she couldn’t think of anything she’d done for herself for a long time. It clicked in this moment that this was going to be big. Moms needed this.
Registration filled up quick. We had to turn some Moms away. My heart broke but I was reminded that God works all things together for the good of those who believe in him and are called according to His purpose.
There have been additional hurdles since the inception of MOPS at RRC. Year two of MOPS, the night before the first meeting (I was 36 weeks with Scar) my power went out before 7pm when it was a calm comfortable NINETY FIVE degrees. I packed my family up and went to my Moms to spend the night because Satan wasn’t about to stop me from sleeping and getting there semi-presentable without killing someone. Then I had Scarlett the day of our second meeting. Every meeting after for that second year of MOPS, I would nurse her in a little dark room before I went up to speak and after I got done. (Needy much Scar?) I went through MAJOR post-partum depression that year but I made it through that year as a direct result of my tribe and my Jesus and through sharing my misery that year with the women around me. I might’ve cried through every devotional but I made it.
Anyways, God has ALWAYS shown up and taken CARE of MOPS at RRC. I think that’s why my heart doesn’t begin to accelerate when discouragement knocks. There have been lots of hurdles but He crushes them every single time.” -Nicole Espy
Hear this. You wouldn’t be reading this right now, you wouldn’t have followed the link from the blog or Facebook page because it wouldn’t exist had Nicole not listened to what God was impressing on her heart. She answered the call boldly in starting conversations, stepping out in faith and spending special time with the Lord early in her motherhood journey. As a result, we are her, together growing and shaping one another’s lives for the better and giving Jesus a wider door from which to enter into our homes, marriages, and lives. Remember this the next time you feel stifled or intimidated that you don’t know someone well enough to approach them or that what you have to offer doesn't seem like enough. Your impact matters. You are fiercely loved and relied on by the Kingdom of Heaven. -MT