“Imagine 320. How did you come up with that name, Misty?” Thanks for asking! Here’s the story:
My relationship with my biological father was strained, at best. There are memories of spoiled milk when I’d go visit on the weekends. Phone calls with “drunk daddy”. And waiting to be picked up for a weekend visit, only to have it turn into a “no show”. However, there were also memories of him with his family, my grandparents and aunts and uncles. A family who loved the Lord and who loved one another well. With that upbringing, came a father who knew scripture, despite his poor lifestyle choices. As many of his choices seemed to be a slap in the face to the Jesus I knew, he also frequently clung to the hope that scripture held. That hope led him to choose a bible verse for my sister and I to memorize at a very young age. The bible verse was Ephesians 3:20; it would be the first bible verse we would memorize, and we would do so in the King James Version, the version of which we still use when we recite it today. “Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” I remember as a child, my sister and I practicing that verse with my dad on a weekend, and then upon going home, being blessed by having my mom work on the verse with us, as well. As I practiced and accomplished memorizing this verse, I remember smiling to myself and being filled with excitement. I thought, “I just learned a verse from the Bible. And it has a lot of BIG words in it too. I’m not sure I understand all the words, but I do know it makes me feel good and I’m ready to memorize another one!”
Almost 50 years later, I found myself in a session hall in Grand Rapids with hundreds of women at a Speak Up Conference. To my delight, the verse for the theme of the conference was in fact, Ephesians 3:20. Memories of my childhood flooded back to me, a smile crossed my face as I looked across the table at my mom and sister; they knowingly returned the smile, as we all recalled the time we spent together focusing on this scripture. And this verse, still embedded in my heart, was once again encouraging my spirit. I knew God had called me to attend this conference, and He used this scripture to assure me I was indeed at the right place. This time, the verse wasn’t from the King James verse, but from the New International Version. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” As the powerful weekend progressed, God continued to give me affirmation that He was asking me to dive more whole-heartedly into speaking and writing. He was lighting a fire in my spirit through the music, speakers, and sessions, that was leaving no doubt that He was asking me to step forward in faith in this endeavor because His plans were, and would be, more than I could imagine.
So taking the word “imagine” from the NIV version, and adding that to the 320 from Ephesians 3:20, Imagine 320 was born. God took a memory verse that has been embedded into my heart for decades, and combined it with His perfect timing at a life-changing conference. And to top it off, He added the detail of allowing me to have my mom and sister sitting with me at the table. God is good that way. He’s full of surprises. Weaves parts of our stories together in ways we will never understand. And creates in and through us, a life that glorifies Him in ways we can never imagine.