Cynics, Heartbreak and My Heart

I think that inspiration is good until it isn’t. At some point, you become like an angry drunk on inspiration and what was once encouraging has created an angsty cynic. Not a skeptic, but a full on cynic.

There have been seasons where I was up to my eyeballs with inspiration. It made me mad. I became a heartbroken cynic who wanted to believe the best but was flat out weary. I’m a bit of an optimist by nature, so believing the best comes pretty easily. Weary can set in and change everything. I am not the only one.

The heartbroken cynic: They are everywhere and the reasons they are in that season (much like the reason I was in that season) are many. I dare say that a lot of it has to do with our own unmet expectations, delays and fear that nothing will ever be different. Maybe we have been failed by people we thought were for us. Maybe there was a season where the Lord started to stir in your heart and when you shared your question or a new dream, you faced rejection you never saw coming. Regardless of the unlimited why, it shakes us. These seasons happen for everyone. I’m convinced I am not the only one. It may be a short season or one that lasts much longer than expected, but they do come.

If this is you, I need you to hear my heart in these words:

I have been praying for you specifically for 2 years. 

My heart was broken for you in your season in a way that has shaken and shaped me and I have not stopped praying.

I have prayed for the hurting for a long time but this was specific and different. Since February 10, 2016, I have prayed for you…on purpose on a regular basis, asked God for you and for Him to show me how to love you and serve you.

I believe in what God calls the church to be with my whole uncomfortable heart. I know for some your biggest hurts from the ABSOLUTE LAST place that pain should have come from.

I don’t minimize your pain. I know it is real. I also know that there is a whole life on the other side of it…and that doesn’t typically happen overnight. You are not alone.

So here it is. I’m going to keep praying. I am going to keep asking God to do what only He can and show me the part I can play in it.

And if that is YOU, please please email me at

I want to hear from you. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s ok. Just send me an email with a simple “you are talking about me”.







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Favorite Things: What To Do With All of This Edition

How do you sum up the last couple of weeks?

There is scene in the movie Something’s Gotta Give where Diane Keaton is standing on the streets of New York, heartbroken over Jack Nicholson (playing who I am convinced is his actual self) and she says the best line; “what do I do with all of this”.

And those words, friends, sums it all up.

(Side note: not at all for the same reasons. But those words… Stick with me, I’m going somewhere)

What do I do with all of this?

Those words have probably summed up a decent part of my emotional state for a while now.

We had had a CRAZY couple of weeks. I mean crazy. You know the week with the phone calls and the feelings and life and all while trying to prepare to host our IF Local. It was a couple of weeks where I felt I needed to explain that I am not a “the devil is around every corner” type of person but I know an attack when I see one. Sometimes it looks like a thousand little things and some of those things aren’t even the thing, it’s the lies that try to sneak in with them. Then I call my husband weeping from a conference room at work. It was one of those. On top of that, I knew day 2 of IF was the two year mark of losing Caleb. I wasn’t out to run from any of the feelings (this is progress) that came with it but the reality was, it was coming and it made my heart ache.

IF Gathering always brings up a lot for me. There are a couple of reasons but you have to know, it is one of my most favorite things that we get to be a part of as a church. IF Table is a regular for us as women in my church (and if you aren’t apart of CCA, you are totally invited…we like making friends) and IF Equip is an awesome source for daily bible study. I love what they do and how they do it and it is absolutely ALL about Jesus, His church and what we can do together for His kingdom. I’m all about it.

But what does it bring up? Everything.

The first year I stood in my kitchen crying because I had tried to run away from how I was feeling. But God gave me Ray Ortiz. The man who asks questions. The fact of the matter was, I didn’t know what to do with all of this. All of the desire in my heart to serve God in a greater capacity and have NO IDEA where to start had reaching a breaking point. I was afraid I was going to hear one more message about being willing to step outside my comfort zone. We planted a church, y’all and if you think for one second there aren’t one hundred other “only Jesus” things in our heart and on paper…Hello, my name is Chantel Ortiz. I haven’t been “comfortable” since…I don’t even know. I know now that that is not what this was about. All the passion is my heart was breaking my heart and I didn’t know what to do. So I told my husband and cried in the kitchen.

What do I do with all this…

That became the question and the more I seek the Lord, I don’t have an answer but I have Him. The “all of this” could do several unhealthy things. Giving up is not only not in my nature, when something has you and not the other way around, you just can’t. Turning to cynicism and bitterness or frustration were all options and I won’t lie and say I have never been there but I couldn’t stay there. But instead, with all of this, I am learning to lean in closer. I’m praying prayers that scare me and I am praying them over and over again. The Lord is pinpointing areas of fear and where it is a giant lie about His heart. When I lean in, wondering what to do with all this, the passion doesn’t dwindle, the dreams don’t die and my heart can suddenly take on a little more than the day before.

So what happened when a bunch of women got together in a living room and worshiped together, ate together, prayed, sought the Lord together and talked about it? The “all of this” grows but feels less scary. The big things in life are still big things but the way we carry them changes. We carry them together, bring the things slowing us down to the Lord together and through it all God just keeps drawing us closer to Himself. The dreams and the passions grow but He starts to give us feet. Our dependence shifts off of ourselves to something far more scary and totally freeing. It’s not about our ability anymore. We aren’t afraid of the seemingly small steps of obedience. We don’t look down on them.

We are learning what to do with all of this. One step at a time. Loving one person at a time. Leaning in to God and His word one day at a time. He is faithful. He doesn’t mess up. He didn’t give you that passion to torment you. Lean in. He knows what to do with all He’s given you.





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Favorite Things: That Time When…and the No Plan B Edition

Seven Years Ago.

I know this makes a consecutive “remember when” post but it feels important.

Seven years ago we had said goodbye to a church, youth ministry and a whole lot of people in between that we simply adored and knew we were loved by them. Ray drove a U-Haul and I drove our loaded up Explorer and drove on completely ice covered roads from San Angelo back to Austin with one plan to start a church.

There was no plan b.

I thought I was gonna puke. We walked away from a loving church home, a bunch of teenagers I didn’t want to say goodbye to and a salary. Did I mention we had a salary? We were walking into a giant unknown and with what we had saved and my giant income that came with waiting tables at Chili’s.

And I knew God was with us.

I was confident. I was terrified. Courage meets us along the way. Opportunity meets us along the way.

A couple of months before we left San Angelo, two couples said they were joining us. One would get married a little faster than planned and move from Lubbock. The other would move from north of Austin.  A couple of weeks before we left, one couple said we are coming with you. On our last Sunday, one other couple said they were coming with us. Since then, there have been a few others from San Angelo that made their way to Austin. God really does a special work when He builds a family.

People sold houses, quit jobs, left the familiar, where their families were and most of them, where they grew up.

Did I mention that I wanted to puke? And at the exact same time, I knew God was with us.

What do you say about seven years later?

My prayers seemed big then, now I see where I put limits on how I prayed. And yet, God was so faithful. The need seemed big then, but my heart has grown, my eyes have seen and the passion and the call that beckoned us to leave one place for another is not the same one that drove those roads seven years ago. It’s so much bigger.

This last year feels like a magnifying glass on how I pray and how I believe God will move. I have felt my expectations challenged and in turn shift from what I have seen to what I have yet to see God do. I want the latter.

And beyond that, I have watched God do this same work with those we do life…so much life and ministry with. You stretch in groups. I have to laugh at it. It’s just so true. It’s better that way, in my extroverted opinion. Even the more introverted among us know the need for others.  The Lord just won’t leave us alone and we are starting to see pieces come together that for us, has taken seven years to get where we are. When I look and see what the Lord has brought to light (or straight up exposed), healed, restored and to be honest, some of the more painful roads He has allowed us to walk; I see Him. I will never be the same. Isn’t that what we want for everyone? I know I do. He has shown us His heart and what He is about. He is showing us the power that we have as His children and what happens when we pray. He is about His Church. His love is so real. He is faithful. He is good. He is just getting started. Every step feels like we are just getting started. The best really is yet to come.


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Favorite Things: A Day to Remember Edition

I am big on days. My memory is weird to begin with but there are certain memories that no matter how much time has passed, it sticks. I remember things from my childhood that make my cousins shake their head wondering how on earth THAT is the thing I remember. It is almost always in my favor. I am grateful for this little tidbit about me.

I also write things down. I haven’t been as good about keeping a journal as of lately but I’ll get back to where I was. It was a really good habit for a really long time. This helps with the memory part. It also helps to be able to look back and see and remember where we came from. I can look back on many years worth of journals and have moments where I totally roll my eyes at myself and then there are the moments where I remember what was going on and how faithful God was to me in those moments. Those are the moments I really want to remember. The eye-rolling stuff just comes with the territory. Thank God for growth. Annie Downs often talks about being kind to who you were then…whenever and whatever “then” was. I need that reminder as well…it makes the eye-rolling stuff a little more tolerable.

I have gone back to one particular day for 16 years now. When I type out that timeline, it doesn’t make me feel super young. I was 19 years old. 19! It makes me dizzy even thinking about.

So last week…January 19th came up. Ray remembered it. I remembered it. And 16 crazy years later, I still thank God for it.

A guy who was barely even a friend asked me if I would help out with leading worship for a worship night he was leading, at a church he had never been to for pastors he didn’t know. He had never heard me sing. All the signs pointed to desperation…I didn’t think that then, but I know that guy pretty well now. He plans. He had no time for that. I was 19, loved Jesus and wanted to lead worship, thought it would be a good time, had a couple of other friends who were jumping on the band wagon and said yes. I don’t even think I thought about it. I just said yes.

And as the story goes; Jesus changes everything.

That night, January 19, 2002 a day that the world changed for me.

This was not about a boy. This was not about a band. This was about God wrecking me. This was about being pulled out, called out and I had to depend on Jesus to move and He did. I had never led like that before in my life and I knew there was no going back. I didn’t know that was even in there till it came flooding out. God is so good like that.

That boy became a friend and worship leading partner, who became a best friend and for a while, that was it and I was grateful for a trusted friend who pushed me to lead and was someone I could lead alongside. Within a year and a half he became my husband. I love that I can look back and see where it started. I love that this was a beginning that I never saw coming. God surprises are the best.

The friendships that formed during those days were incredible then and remain treasures to us today. The prayers prayed over us that night were by people who became our pastors and dear friends. We are slowly but surely seeing those words come to pass. I thought those words were for that summer (remember, I was 19) and I thought it was about a camp we would lead worship at. Story of our life: God has something different in store. What I thought would be in a few months has lead us into 16 years with the best still yet to come.

I’m grateful for the boldness and obedience of others that pushed us towards Jesus and reminded us that He would do things in His time and to keep moving forward. I am grateful for those who took the time to see beyond and would often remind us of why they were for us. Our leadership today is shaped by those who loved us then. We are forever grateful.

16 years is a long time but I know it’s just a beginning all at the same time.



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Favorite Things Monday: Celebrations Edition

Let’s celebrate people! It’s worth it to love them and be loved by them. It’s not safe but it is everything.

Today, I want to celebrate someone else that means a whole lot to me. God really can do a lot with a family if he let Him. It’s flat out miraculous. It’s the BEST. My Aunt Sharon married my Uncle Ron when I was 7. He claimed us, we claimed him and the rest is history. A LOT of history.  

This side of a couple of months ago, he had a health scare that shook me. When the texts read, “pray for your Unca’ Ron”, I prayed (and yes, thats how I spell it and he started it). When the texts read, “this is not good, he can’t form his words”, I wept. I prayed. I believed. I knew it was a big deal when he didn’t check himself out of the hospital. He is strong and determined, some may say stubborn like that. It runs in the family. When God builds a family, sometimes you don’t share DNA but you take on each others character traits.

He’s the reason I appreciate good coffee and know it is best served with a little splash of heavy cream. He’s also the reason I hate paper plates and will opt for glass every time. When me and my sisters were little, he bought us a go-cart. Like, a for real go-cart. He did a scavenger hunt around the house and had this dream gift in the garage. THE BEST. He had named it Speedy Pete. He included helmets.

There are so many reasons I can list but there is something in particular that still makes me cry.

It never, not one time ever occurred to me that maybe I couldn’t do something because I’m a woman. Not one time. The first time I ever heard that women shouldn’t or couldn’t be in leadership in the church or be a pastor…whatever you want to put here…was in bible college…by other students. I wasn’t friends with these people. Who has time for that?! It breaks my heart and you better believe there is this giant part of my heart that feels a responsibility to speak into the lives of women who have been told otherwise.

I come from a long and strong line of women who love God and serve His church, often in leadership and pastoral roles. My grandma would still be preaching if she could. I grew up seeing my Aunt Sharon in her office at the church where she led a huge single’s ministry…and that’s not the half of it. I have cousins that are powerhouse worship leaders.

To quote my mom, “now it is just all fluff”. She’s right. There is a lot of noise that tries to stop us. Unfortunately for those who seek to silence, I not only come from a long and strong line of women, I come from some incredible men who have loved and challenged me and pushed me towards Jesus.

But my Unca Ron? He put the microphone in my hand and said to speak. He wasn’t content to only let me sing a song but pushed me beyond that. As a teenager. At church. In front of people. He didn’t ask if I wanted to. He didn’t ask if I had anything to say. I learned to be ready. It wasn’t a suggestion, he wasn’t hesitant and he didn’t apologize if I felt put on the spot. It was a demand to speak to the people what God was doing or what God was saying. He sat and waited. As a young teenager, I learned to read the bible with an inquisitive eye and a listening ear. He taught me well, then followed through with pushing me forward. I remember being 15 and believed in. Every girl should be surrounded with that kind of love and confidence. So let’s show our sons and daughters well and push them forward. It’s everything.

I am so grateful that Christmas came and so did time with my family. I have never been more grateful for a time to sit and talk to my Unca Ron…and praise God, he had the words to speak back to me. He is well (very well) on his way to a full recovery. He has his words again. I’m so grateful that he helped show me mine.




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Favorite Things Monday: God Can Can Edition

I’m gonna get straight to the point today.

2017 was weird. There was a lot of good but you can often tell how a year went overall when it’s over and you are looking back.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and when I could, it still didn’t make any sense. At least not at first. We can see a little more clearly now. In the last 6 month we walked through a season of discouragement unlike anything I have ever felt before. Moments that were supposed to be restful didn’t leave us feeling rested. I felt as if I was grieving things I would typically celebrate. It knew at it’s peak that there was another side to what we were feeling but I was also confident that the Lord wasn’t going to just lift that weight but carry us through. And that is exactly what happened. He carried us through. There wasn’t one moment that marked the end of that season, there were several by the time I felt we were on the other side. But what I do know, is that the Lord is so faithful. It was a year of realizing that lies about God’s heart had set up residence in mine. His heart is so good. Lies and fear are sneaky…but His perfect love casts out fear. Discouragement can make you weary. Disappointment can weigh on you. Passion stirring in your heart is costly. But my God, He is so faithful…and His love is so perfect.

So how do you head into a new year when the last one left you more than just worn out?

I will say, we are excited about 2018. We feel prepared. We are expectant. So we gave the year the can.


At Central City Austin, we call it the “God Can” can.

We kicked off a new sermon series, have a lot coming up and we are excited. I mean, really excited. But this series kicked off with a message that stated three things:

I Can: Follow Christ

We Can: Make a Difference

God Can: Do the Miraculous

That last one… it has gotten me all kinds of worked up. The first two are so important and this giant desire in my heart but as I walk them out, I need that last one in ways I have limited in the past. I want to see God move and I am ready to drop kick my limits on how He wants to do that. I want the “not by might, not by power but by MY spirit says that Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). We serve this God who moves mountains. He wants to on our behalf. And we need Him to more than ever before.

So we got bold. What are we believing God for in 2018? As a church, as a family, as a church leadership team, as friends who hold each other up… what are we believing God for in 2018?

I don’t even have a picture of it for reference but we have the God Can can. We went old school and wrote things down and put them in a can. We can’t wait to pull papers out of that God Can can and see the answered prayers. There is nothing too big and there is no such thing as small and silly when it comes to asking for the miraculous (we limit it all…). May we know His heart and His love in ways we have never before in 2018. Knowing that makes you a bit more bold. Or a lot.

This Sunday was bold. Really bold. It felt like a really great start to a new year. We have this big ole God Can can…and we believe that God can do the miraculous. This isn’t fluff, this isn’t hype, this is my God who is good and faithful and true to His word and His people. He doesn’t fail. We have had seasons of waiting but that does not affect His ability. We have had seasons with unanswered questions but that doesn’t affect His love. He is the God of the exceedingly abundantly, above and beyond… and I want that. Not mine, His.

Maybe you need your own God Can can. We aren’t done filling it. But this we know, He is the God of the miraculous and He will do it.




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Favorite Things: Year End Review

Hello Friends

I have missed you.

This isn’t so much a year recap, more like a “where did you go for a whole month”. Welcome to the last bit of random from 2017. I’m not sad to see 2017 go and welcome a brand new year. We love the new and the bold stirring in our hearts as we step into 2018.

The holiday season came in like a wrecking ball. I had never in my life felt more behind. In reality, I hadn’t been more behind. This includes the year where we had just started a church and Ray ended up in the hospital needing two blood transfusions just a couple weeks before Christmas. Then again, that is the kind of thing that stops everything in it’s tracks and not much else matters. It’s really wrong of me to compare but I still do. This past month was just all of life all over the place. There was a lot of good but a lot is a lot regardless. We managed to get all the things done, all the gifts wrapped, get to Georgia to spend some much needed time with my family and make it back to Austin in one piece (with a couple of colds and coughs to go with it…but we made it). That drive is far. But those people God gave for me to call family are worth it.

With the hustle and bustle things didn’t exactly go the way I planned. I am confident that we did no more than 6 days of Advent as a family. Six days may be me being a little generous. I know for sure that we did 5. I did the She Reads Truth study on my own and still had to use those blessed grace days that they include to get caught up. I am really glad that my kids know what Christmas is all about because I am pretty sure they got more Advent-type reading watching Charlie Brown this year. Since life doesn’t slow down unless you make it, we may have to rearrange when we do things next year. Lesson learned. Again.

Our church did our annual tacos and coffee outreach with the homeless community downtown. We do different things throughout the year but this is one that we do every year on the Sunday before Christmas. I kind of love that a big group of us show up for church service post-outreach and looking like we have been outside all morning. This has never been what we do to do our good deed. This isn’t something we do so we can pat ourselves on the back. I think there was one picture that Katie got and it was of our backs as we were pouring coffee and prepping hot chocolate. I love how our kids love this. I love how they see people and how that challenges me. We do because we have to do something and we won’t let overwhelming need stop us from starting. Love your neighbor. It’s simple. Sometimes it seems small and sometimes it seems really big. Both matter. And sometimes loving your neighbor looks like tacos, coffee and hot chocolate (and bus passes and other things…but we start with tacos and go from there…that is a life lesson if I have ever heard one).

Every year is different. Every year we learn something new. Every year we learn to love better than before. We look at the past and say good-bye to what we must and say a giant HELLO to the new.

I have some things in the works…including a lot more Favorite Things for 2018. Let’s do this!



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Favorite Things Monday: The Darkness Has Not Overcome It Edition

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life, and life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

I think this is typically a verse that we read as we head into the Advent season. I love John chapter 1 because of the plain and simple, straight forward verbiage. The Word has come, Christ has come, he is Emmanuel, literally God WITH us. And with that, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

We are fresh out of Thanksgiving (the holiday, not the act of giving thanks) and Christmas is fast approaching. We have a couple of weekends of soccer tournaments ahead of us, and there are a few behind us. We have had great cause for celebration. That’s always good. There have been moments over the last couple of weeks where life felt incredibly fragile. I realized that I wasn’t overcome by fear but I will tell you, it felt so fragile. The pendulum swung far and fast and for really good and really really difficult reasons. Back and forth…

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

These words are true today. These words were true a few weeks ago. They are always true. Sometimes we have more opportunity to see it, that light blasting through the darkness. Sometimes we don’t see it right away but it is still true. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He came for us. Darkness has not overcome it.

It was good to have a few days to give thanks, run a race and spend some time with my family. I liked being under the same roof, watching Hallmark movies, enjoying a twinkle light filled house and relaxing with my people. Today was a little shock to the system. My eyes felt a little computer screen fried. There is a lot coming up to look forward to including one of my favorite times of the year. Cephas got really excited thinking that Sunday was the first day of Advent. I almost hated to tell him he had one more week. In hindsight, I should have just gone with it.  Advent has made Christmas that much more special for us as a family. It isn’t close to any definition of perfect but it has become something that is special to us. As much as my kids love the expectation and anticipation of Christmas, I need the time that forces me to be still so that I can sit in the anticipation of Christmas. I can get busy and distracted and then end up missing it and then it’s time to pack everything up till next year.

Maybe you haven’t done Advent before. Whether that is on your own, with friends or with your kids, I encourage you to do that this year. I’ll post later this week with some resources and things that we love and some traditions that my kids appreciate. I don’t care if you are single or married, no kids or fill an SUV, I love little things that slow me down (even if there are kids running around) and make this time extra special. I love to walk that road of scripture, to remember that the Word became flesh and dwells among us. Christ came. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He was perfection, born into our mess…then steps into our mess and changes everything.  And the darkness has not overcome it.



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Favorite Things Monday: Great Is Your Faithfulness Edition

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart…

Mine could burst. We have been so busy our feet are tired before we are out of bed, but the gratitude is real.

Our church Fall-O-Ween Fest was Saturday. Thanks to a friend with a back-up tu-tu, I managed to accidentally be Ace Ventura. It was the best Halloween costume. That night was amazing. Our team is the GREATEST! Hands down, no joke, no contest. We are so grateful for them.

Our church honored Ray and I for Pastor’s Appreciation on Sunday. God really is THIS good! He really does surround us with people THIS amazing! He really does call us to each other…and that my friends, is the good stuff.

Today, is Monday but it doesn’t stop me from taking in the weekend. In what has been a crazy season, Sunday about took my breath away.

We ended out worship on Sunday with ‘Do It Again’ by Elevation Worship. We have sung and declared those words a lot over the last few months and I keep going back to it. There is something about declaring God’s faithfulness. I am reminded of who He is and who I am. I am forced to look behind me in awe and ahead with fresh confidence. We’ve seen our God move mountains, make a way where there was no way…and He will do it again.

“Your promise still stands. Great is your faithfulness. I’m still in your hands, this is my confidence, you’ve never failed me yet”.

The words “great is Thy faithfulness” will get me every time. Every. Single. Time. They are words that my mom played over and over again while I was growing up. They are the words she would write on the cover of journals and where we would see it on the fridge and just about everywhere else I could look. I know the words to the hymn. I know the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir version of that song like the back of my hand. The older I get, the more they make me cry.

Sunday morning came and so did those words. Over and over again like a fire in my bones… Great is Your Faithfulness, GREAT is your faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says it like this: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed; His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.

His promises still stand. He does not fail. Those mercies…and am forever grateful that they don’t run out and He doesn’t give up on us.






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Favorite Things Monday: You Are Braver Than You Think Edition

Happy Monday Everyone!

You made it. I made it. I didn’t just survive Monday, I made it through a Monday with both kids having check-ups. It was a necessary evil when they were little. They are much better as big kids but it’s still a struggle. Today, they had me laughing till I thought I would cry and allowed me the chance to say “stop it” one hundred times. When your kids doctor tells your nine year old to “look straight at me” and she crosses her eyes because she knows she’s cute…Jesus help me! Cephas had to get 2 shots. Turns out that when it comes to needles, 12yr olds turn into mush. He made the goofiest face I have ever seen him make and me Sophia are still laughing about it. There was laughter and tears and everyone is healthy. We have no complaints.

It’s a Monday that tried to take me out. It didn’t. There is more going on in this wild heart of mine than I can even stand and it makes Monday feel like a giant stinky Monday.

You know what happened today? Christine Caine happened. I was casually listening to the Relevant Podcast, when WHAM! When putting one foot in front of another with a fire in my heart feels like the hardest thing, it isn’t. Even when it feels like it is…like this season I am in right now. I want to take 20 steps instead of focussing on one at a time.

“What I have been called to do has to proceed what do I feel like doing. I don’t ask myself how I feel anymore, I just follow what I have been called to do”.

And she is freaking Christine Caine. I had nothing to say to that. It was true. I think of all the areas that that flows into.

Sometimes it is putting one foot in front of the other. It’s obedience. It’s doing the next right thing or the last thing that God told you to do.

It has just felt like a doozy of a few months it almost seems unfair. Nothing has slowed down at all…not even for a second, then there are the things happening outside of my world. The news…Jesus take the wheel! I have ranted about what feels like forced negativity (Jeff. Rossen. Reports…I see you and your bad news bears) and have been heartbroken over the rest of it.

News moves so big and so fast I can hardly keep up. Sadly, when something hits big on a Monday, by the next week it feels like it was all so long ago. Of course, it only feels like a long time ago when it isn’t your story. Last week was the uprising of #metoo. Women saying that they have either been sexually harassed or assaulted. I get that those are two different things but in the same vein. It was huge. It was everywhere. What had been hidden in darkness was being brought to light and for some, for the first time. It hit me hardest when I saw my college roommate post her #metoo. I remember the day, I remember what she said happened, I remember threatening to hunt another student down, I remember her crying. I remember how she didn’t say anything, afraid she would get in trouble. I remember when she said she would have reported it at a later time had this person still been a student. I know how the 30-something year old versions of us would respond and only wish that the late-teen/early 20’s had understood.

I get to surround myself with incredible men and women who are quick and bold and brave and share their stories. Their bravery to tell what they have done and/or what has been done to them is awe-inspiring. They point me to Jesus every time. It can be scary but saying it anyway is worth it every time. If #metoo is part of your story, my hope is that you find the freedom of what happens when light is shed on darkness.

I have watched God use a willing voice and vulnerability to break an entire room of pretense. So speak. Where there is injustice or silence because of past injustices, speak. Maybe that is the first step to you being free. There is likely someone waiting on someone else to go first…to show them what brave and vulnerable looks like. To show them that people will love and meet them where they are.

One foot in front of the other in obedience. Let’s not underestimate that. Your voice? Don’t hide it. Don’t silence it. Don’t dismiss it. You are braver than you think and your strength is not your own.

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