Hot Mess Shout Out

The last few weeks have echoed many things. I am grateful for those echoes. The resounding joy, peace and encouragement in the midst of the day to day and in the amazing glimpses of what is to come. The seemingly mundane moments are far from it. They are laced, they are covered with the grace to dream, believe and know. Only grace and love can allow such things with conviction behind them. It is truth.

I am woman. Hear my hot mess roar.

There is joy in leaning on the sufficiency that is found in Christ alone. I am not…He is.

I want to encourage you to do something. Take a moment. Know.

Read.

Read Proverbs 31.

Don’t stop reading this post…keep going, I’m getting somewhere.

Read it backwards.

*For all of my overly ridiculously sarcastic friends…I mean verse by verse backwards…not the words. I know some of you. I couldn’t imagine life without you.

We are the hot mess that keeps this crazy train moving. Alone, we are nuts. Together, we form this thing that God has brought together. We are as imperfect as the day is long. We are found in Him complete, whole, loved and fought for. We find differences in each other that speak boldly of His creativity and the necessity of unity among believers (this means with other women…fear not).

It all comes down to “a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised”. When I don’t add up in my own head, I know there is one thing for me to do. Praise.

To quote my friend Tracy, “when God is on His throne everything else falls under”.

Amen.

All the impossible falls under Him, where it belongs and where it becomes the possible. Where the unexpected dreams start to find feet and joy is found in places never imagined.

The dreams, the hopes, the uncertainty, the weakness, the overwhelming inadequacies…they ALL fall under.

So shout out to you my friend, the hot mess. You are in excellent company. You are clothed with dignity and strength. May we see ourselves as such.

Parenthood…

I’ve had this post on hold for a while. The only reason for the delay was the lack of completion. A good reason for delay.

Yesterday brought up a good reason to throw out this post.

The second week of school, the second note from the teacher. 

2 for 2

At least it’s consistent.

Parenthood is this grandiose mystery to me on most days. I do not have it figured out (shocker). My kids think they know more than me. I don’t blame them for this. Ray and I are still the boss but they think they know more than us.

Who can fault them when I say things like “you are in all kinds of trouble” when I don’t know what that means…or what that trouble would even begin to look like. Discipline is something we are always in the thick of and trying to figure out. As soon as we think we have it figured out, they change and we tackle something new. If anyone can instruct me on teaching my kids that singing is still noise after you have been told to be quiet, I’ll gladly take the input.

Here is my dilema. I want to raise children who grow up and do new things, buck systems, step out in faith, create, take risks, go, do and do so without hesitation. I want to model this for them.  I don’t want them to look at the unknown with trepidation. Count cost and keep walking. I don’t want them to desire a mold or model.

I also don’t want to raise criminals.

We teach them discipline, boundaries and for the love to take us at our word. We know things. At the same time, I want them to question (not me…herein lies the dilema), I don’t want them to give up (Lord knows they don’t now).

It hit me today…

I want my kids to do new things, buck systems, make people a tad bit uncomfortable, take risks…NOT out of REBELLION but to do so out of OBEDIENCE.

Those are my two pennies.

Proverbs 22:6

Ephesians 6:4

I’d love to hear your thoughts. This parenting business is not for the faint of heart. The more you know you aren’t alone, the more your sanity stays put. I didn’t say you would feel sane…but you will be 🙂

 

Feel free to petition my husband for a post about wrestling with our kids and being the boss… www.rayjortiz.com 

 

20 Questions

Maybe not 20 questions…but one that I hope gets some dialogue going…

 

What do you think this looks like?

John 14:12

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also;

and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father.

I’ve had quite a few thoughts swirling around in my head and would love to hear from you…

 

Silencing List of Miracles…

Sometimes I read my bible and it makes me uncomfortable. I read things I have read over before and suddenly some thing hits new and hard. In this particular case, it made me a tad uncomfortable. Since I enjoy company in my discomfort, I thought I would invite you along for the ride.

***shout out to some amazing Revive Church women. I’m beyond grateful to wrestle in the Word and do life with you 🙂 I’m glad we are still friends***

I was doing a some bible reading on Sunday morning (hooray for Sunday evening services). I’ve read the new testament multiple times. I’ve read it straight through, in portions at a time, studied…you get the idea. I miss things all the time. If anything, this new little revelation can be seen as sad. Feel free to say “seriously, how did you miss this”. Regardless, here I am with a verse in the middle of a familiar chapter that I can’t seem to let go of.

Please, allow me to share my discomfort with you…

Matthew 11:4-6 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended by me.”

We could play a little game and I could make you guess which part jumped out at me…but that is mean.

My brain went something like this. “Ok, this is a list of miracles and Jesus is calling the following a sign that He is who He says He is.

Blind see – check

Lame walk – check

Lepers are cleansed and deaf hear – check and check

Dead are raised up (thats a big deal) – check

The poor have the gospel preached to themHOLD THE PHONE!

I’ve sat and thought about this for several days now. I don’t about you, but I have my idea of what a miracle looks like. This was never on that list. I always knew that it was important, have been convicted by this in the last few years more than ever before and it’s often over looked…but to call it a miracle. I think Jesus was on to something…

Something about it that screamed “you can witness all these things, but this…THIS is also a sign that I am who I say I am”.

Gulp. I have all kinds of thoughts swirling. I’ll keep some of them to myself for now. It’s best I think before I speak.

Thoughts?

Sing, O Barren…

Good Morning!

I’ll get my “I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without blogging” statement out of the way and get to the nitty gritty here. Life is busy…and I finally feel as if I can make a complete sentence and feel the desire to do so.

For the last couple of weeks, there have been a few verses that have stuck out to me. In this case, it was three words in a verse that really stuck out to me.

Isaiah 54

“Sing, O barren”…

What a bizarre set of words to catch my attention. It did…and continues to.

Not until later in the verse do you see the “why” and what is coming. Something about that command to sing…

It’s to sing without excuse and in the face of emptiness. Mind you, in this culture barrenness was seen as a curse. So, let’s add in to the mix that some people think something is wrong with you…sing anyway. The joy and restoration was coming but you don’t know that when you first start reading.

A few verses down, it says “enlarge the place of your tent”. It’s sing…and get ready…and what I feel like is a “this doesn’t make sense now but sing anyway”.

So on this Monday, wherever you are, whatever you are doing…in the face of emptiness, confusion, pain…

Sing…

Joy comes in the morning. He is faithful.

Songs That Won’t Quit and Running Realizations…

I went for a mid-morning run yesterday. Headphones in, sun shining, Nike tracking…off, no time or distance goals to hit today…just me, some music and road ahead. I failed to mention the kids were with grandma. My house was quiet and I still went out. You may question my sanity later. I got approximately ¼ mile up the street (cause who am I kidding, I wasn’t tracking but still knew that routes distance) and song #2 hit me like a wall. I know that to some, Christy Nockels’ voice doesn’t exactly sound like running music but it was what I picked today. Song #2 stayed on repeat for my entire run and has been running through my head ever since. I got home and kept listening.

The song…

For Your Splendor

You can listen here And you should.

I just finished Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian. I can’t recommend this book enough. It has challenged the way I see myself through Christ’s finished work. That’s right…finished work. If you attend Revive Church, I keep saying every week before communion that I can’t get away from “It Is Finished”. I’ll never get away from that. I should never get away from that. What that means has never been more in my face. I’ve highlighted and bookmarked a lot of that book. I told Ray when he reads it, he’ll appreciate my notes. Ha!

So the combination of that book and where God has been stretching me…this season of life we are in…and that song…something hit me today.

First thing – my fears are invalid. Even the ones that make sense in my head…they are invalid.

Not only are secret fears invalid, they are pride. My fears cause me to want to depend on myself. That always works out so well. My fears point to something deeper (all the ladies going through 7 with me know…it’s always something deeper). The “am I gonna measure up” fear…it’s a lie. The “am I gonna be all God calls me to be” anxiety trip…a lie. I am realizing more than ever the seemingly normal secret stuff that weighs me down and points to the lie. The fact is, the more I seek His face, the more I realize the “am I gonna miss it” fear disappears.

I am learning what it is to constantly measure myself up against what Christ has already done for me. It makes it really easy to see just how much this isn’t about me. It’s about Him and His glory. In all my striving, worrying, annoying those around me, God is pointing me to the no-brainer answer – It is finished. This is not a weighing reality. It is freedom. While I am a new creation, I will be constantly growing till I see His face. The “completion” part of “He who has begun a good work”…we don’t see that in its fullness till we see His face. We are always a work in progress. Always learning, always growing, always pursuing…doing so because of love and out of love. This progress doesn’t mean I have anything to earn. It’s finished. It’s “all for His splendor”.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Isaiah 61:3

Gutsy Prayer

“Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting”

Psalm 139:23-24

I went to bed on Friday night with this verse on repeat in my head. I woke up with the same verse on rotation.

I’ve read this chapter a thousand times. I love it. I’ve known this chapter in Psalms by heart since I was 12 yrs old (thanks Mom). I’ve reminded myself on my worst days that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” and there is no where I can go where God can’t.

I get stuck on certain passages of scripture from time to time. I wasn’t even reading Psalms in this particular moment, but this wasn’t going away. I closed my eyes and prayed the last two verses. I continue to.

I assure you, I have become painfully aware at what these words are asking.

Dear God,

Search me

Test me

See me

Lead me

When David says this, it is in closing of him proclaiming how long God has seen him, how much He loves him and how He relentlessly pursues him. There is no safer place to say a gutsy “search me, test me, see me, lead me” prayer. I love how David records how he asks God to do away with his enemies in the midst of this. He could have left that part out and sounded more holy but he didn’t.

I have anxious thoughts, there are indeed offensive ways in me (shocker, I know) and when I ask God to search my heart, I know that it’s not a white fluffy cloud of purity, complete with flying angels. I knew this before late Friday night. God knows this too. God loves us enough to show us the things we don’t see in ourselves. Can it be a tad uncomfortable? Indeed! Good news is, you’ll live and will do so with less junk. It’s a good deal.

Pray the prayers…don’t fear the outcome of being shown your heart by your gracious and loving God.

Don’t be surprised if your convictions shift. Don’t be surprised when your heart feels pricked (or shaken) by things, situations, people…that it never has before. Don’t be surprised when for the first time you feel more than inspired, you are compelled to do something.

With that – pray with me…

It May Be…

I was driving and praying en route to meeting a friend at Starbucks last week. One thing I have honestly missed about living in the city is that driving somewhere takes more than 10 minutes during rush hour. Granted, I don’t drive an hour a day just to get to work. However, I do cherish my moments in the car. For some reason, my kids seem to cooperate. That is, unless they are telling ‘knock-knock’ jokes…then I’m in trouble and the sounds of laughter and “poop” being the answer to every question fills the quiet with sheer goofiness.

Other than those moments, driving time normally makes for good prayer time.

During my drive, I was reminded of a few verses that all had a common theme. They were not words of assurance but I found them encouraging. They are actually words that speak of unknowns. They were the following: “Perhaps”, “It May Be” and “Who Knows

Esther 4:14 – “who knows”

1 Samuel 14:6 – “perhaps” and “it may be”

Joshua 14:12 – “if the Lord will be with me” and “it may be”

The common theme is all of these verses, that all are facing life or death…to fight or not fight…to speak or not speak…and risk. No guarantee but there is something that drives them regardless of the risk

In the case of Caleb in the book of Joshua, he is going off a 45 yr old promise….45 YEAR OLD PROMISE. I can’t wrap my brain around that one…what faithfulness…and another blog for another day that probably involves lots of ALL CAPS. Caleb has his eyes on a hill and now is the time to go and fight for it. He rallies his troops with a “if the Lord will be with me”. I can’t take my eyes off that “if”. He fought anyway!

Esther is told “risk your life and tell the king…WHO KNOWS if you have been called to the kingdom for such a time as this”. We all LOVE that verse don’t we? We miss the WHO KNOWS part. She was not told by Mordecai “God told me to tell you, you shall live”. He just offered a “who knows”…nothing more than a well worded “maybe”. Esther, in that moment has a decision to make…to do nothing or to do something. The risk is huge but either way, life will never be the same.

In 1 Samuel, Jonathan sees an opportunity to defeat the Philistines. There is a lot going on in this chapter but this particular portion comes down to Jonathan saying to his armor bearer “it may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord”. That is exactly what happened.

It is easy to read these stories, see the end and forget that in that moment, they didn’t know what the outcome would be. They couldn’t tell for sure what it would cost them. Sometimes (or often) God calls us out on the water, sometimes we go on a gut feeling that just won’t go away, sometimes it is a call to stand against injustice…sometimes we go on a 45 year old promise that we refuse to forget.  Sometimes we face it…and we do something. Perhaps we should…because if the Lord be with me

We get to read the end of these stories…who gets to read the end of ours? What will they read? Who will it affect?

The guarantee is not always there…but we do something anyway.

 

On a side note – a family who did something. Check out the Hatmaker’s adoption story here

Verse Stop – Psalm 10

I just may have to add this as a regular to my blog. When I am reading my bible, some verses stop me in my tracks. I have to go back, reread, check out different translations and pray about why it has so caught my attention. I love these. Sometimes they are passages I have read many times before. I love how that happens. Something old becomes so new, fresh, and takes a new place of understanding.  I decided I should start sharing some of these…

I have been reading Psalms in the Message.

This verse stopped me.

Psalm 10:17 (the message translation)

The victim’s faint pulse picks up; the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood as you put your ear to their lips.

This first time I read this verse, I immediately felt responsibility. It got me and all my attention in that moment. The image that it produces in my mind is one I can’t shake. Other translations read “You will cause your ear to hear”. I love the wording of the Message…

I know that God is who heals, restores…He puts His ear to their lips.

And…

He has called us to be His hands and feet. He has set us on mission.

Those are my thoughts…not all of them but these are the ones that propel me to act…