Favorite Things Monday: Bless This Mess Edition

Happy Monday Everybody!!!

If you are like me, you are celebrating Monday survival. Is Monday really all that bad? No. It’s just that it always comes so quickly after Sunday. Sunday’s are my favorite and after yesterday, I woke up with my Sunday voice still in tact (which means, I sounded especially manly) and a body that could have used a Saturday to follow my Sunday. I said it yesterday and I will say it again, I would do that all over again in a heartbeat.

What happened to last Monday?

Beauty and the Beast. That’s what happened. The Monday AFTER spring break makes the most sense, right? We thought so. And after a full Spring Break week and full weekend, the only thing I had time for last Monday was that movie…it also went longer than planned. That movie was everything I hoped it would be. We loved it!

As for this Monday…

I’m still spent. There is nothing like the totally worn out-post-church-post teaching (or leading worship) tired. It’s a tired that I know well and am so so grateful.

This past Sunday, Central City Austin celebrated 3 years as a church. Revive Church launched in 2011, Austin Grace was founded in 1933…and 3 years ago, two churches, after much prayer, meeting, more praying, more meeting…believed that we could indeed be better together. It’s appropriate that we are in the middle of our Bless This Mess sermon series. God has done just that. I love how he uses our mess. I love how even if we didn’t follow Him into a mess, He doesn’t let us go and leads us through. In this case, we obeyed into this not knowing what or how, just that God was leading…and He continues to do just that. “Because it is amazing what God can do with a family, if we let Him”.

That quote is from my Aunt Sharon and I got to quote her yesterday. It made me cry. This was something she said to me during Caleb’s Cup but something she has modeled for me my entire life. God has set me up in the example department. God does some of His best work in our mess. He makes such beauty of it. Whether that is a messy family, messy circumstances or messy obedience…He is really that good.

This seems to flow into every single area of life and that is good news.

And you guys, I get bossy and super passionate about the Church. The purpose of the church around the world and the local church…mine included. We may be messy, but it is amazing what God can do with a family if we let Him.

I barely got any pictures yesterday. There was so much going on and I was trying to keep my head on straight. That alone is a full time job. I had my phone on me and managed to get a picture of Willow wearing a sombrero party hat and one of Ray and Mr. Davis. Also, everybody needs a Mr Davis. Everybody!

At one point, Ray realized he was wearing the hat and took it off…but I don’t have any of those pictures. Where is the fun in that anyway?

 

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I’m still pretending that Jordan is just going on a vacation, so I’m not ready to talk about him moving…even though we have prayed for him as a church and celebrated him. We love him not only as part of our church family but these Ortiz’s call him our own. I’m not there yet. Somebody pray for me.

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Like I said, God really does the work of building a family and a church family. We give Him plenty of material to work with. Some of us messier than others but the truth is, we are all messy. Today, I’m resting in the work that only He can do.

Favorite Things Monday: Springing Forward and Lent Edition

It’s Spring Break week in the Ortiz home! It was also Spring Forward day on Sunday. I always, always, always feel like a pat on the back and an extra giant cup of coffee is in order for making it through the day. It may seem a bit dramatic, but I don’t know whose children those were that I so rudely woke up. I also don’t know who that 11yr old thinks he is. He pointed to his foot and told me to apologize. You need the audio but since it doesn’t exist, can I please get some momma solidarity? It’s not even a long story. His foot was not injured. You guys, this was before church. I hadn’t had a moment to talk to Jesus or drink my coffee before this. If I had, I assure you it wouldn’t have been enough time or enough coffee.

Spring forward is a giant trap. I’m too tired in the morning, then not tired at the end of the day because my body still thinks it’s an hour earlier than it is. Sure, we got more daylight but at what cost?!

Ok. I love the extra sunshine. I love coming home and the sun still has miles to go before it sleeps. I love that this feels like the beginning of summer, even though we haven’t had the first day of spring. God bless Texas and winters just the way I like them. Basically splashes of cold air surrounded by sunny and 70 (or at minimum 60).

I love the change in seasons. I like certain ones more than others. I guess it is a lot like life in general.

I’m really liking this current season. It’s not because everything is always spring-like. It’s not. I just plain like what God is doing, how He is stirring my heart and honestly, how this season feels like a new kind of stretch. 

I have been in church and serving Jesus for a long, long time. The older I get, the more I appreciate certain rhythms. The “She Reads Truth” ladies call it, “the forced rhythms”. This is not about legalism but more about a calendar. In the last few years, Advent has been the thing that has made Christmas. There is just no going back. The slowing down, the focus on certain passages of scripture, the remembering, the waiting. It has grown my faith and made something really good even better. Amazing what slowing down and focussing can do.

This year, I have taken the same posture toward Lent. If 4 Sundays before Christmas is good, what can 40 days of focussed scripture reading and prayer leading up to Easter do???

A call to repentance, fasting and prayer. A call to learning God’s heart and character and what that means for me. I am on day 15 and in the middle (not quite middle) of Isaiah. News flash, this is not delicate reading. It is challenging, eye-opening, convicting and beautiful.

There is a lot more going on than meets the eye. There is a lot more going on in me as I read it.

I get it, life is chaotic. It is full. It doesn’t ever stop. So sometimes, I have to. Life can move on at it’s regular pace, but there is something on the inside of me that is desperate to slow down for these 40 days. A “peace be still”, even when life isn’t.

For what may feel like the 1,000th time, I ask you to make those moments happen. God can meet us anywhere and interrupt anything but lets not take for granted the moments that happen when we create space and set time aside. Early mornings work for me. I know that that is not everyone but the time matters. 

We live in a world FULL of resources. Find one. Sit. Be still. No excuses. How else do you live a crazy life without it?!

If you are looking for a local church body to do life with, I know a great one. A bunch of crazy, loving, surprisingly honest bunch of people who love Jesus and are praying for you. Yes, you!

These are things that we need.

Looking for some steps? A couple of my favorite resources…and the link to my church are listed below. Don’t give up. Come on!

IF Equip has a new study that started today. IF has been an incredible blessing in my life…and it’s free. You can sign up for that here.

She Reads Truth (there is also a He Reads Truth and one for kids) did the Lent study I mentioned. You can check that out here.

Central City Austin. Come on! We are waiting for you. 

Favorite Things Monday: Pressure’s Off Edition

What. A. Week.

My head feels like it could explode after a full week and an incredible Radiant Conference weekend. I really kind of love going to a women’s conference in town. I love getting to go and enjoy, then sleep in my own bed. Getting out of town is nice, but so is getting to be home when the kids get home from school. I loved every second of this weekend. This conference blessed, refreshed and challenged my socks off. It was great seeing old friends, making new ones and getting to enjoy the conference with a couple of my people.

Then Sunday happened. My goodness. In Austin? Come and see for yourself.

This weekend brought some of my favorites as a kid to remembrance. While I clearly remember having Psalm 139 and 91 memorized as a kid, they didn’t make the list this weekend.

I have been thinking back on the songs I sang as a kid. For the record, I can still sing most of Great is Thy Faithfulness from memory…and the memories attached to it are treasures to me now. This is where the inner workings of my brain get interesting. It may seem random, but I think of them often. I also laugh at how I learned these songs that were nothing more than scripture…and the translation of choice was good ole King James.

I have very clear memories of singing:

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not, loveth not God for God is love. So beloved, let us love one another. 1 John 4:7 and 8, yeah”.

Complete with jazz hands at the end. I can’t sing it without the “loveth”.

Then this week, a verse I haven’t read in a little while. You have to go looking for the book of Zechariah (chapter 4) anyway, so it isn’t one that always jumps out. The verse is familiar but it had been a little while since it has stuck with me. It’s not going anywhere now.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord”.

There was a song for that too…it ended with “and that mountain shall be removed…but by my spirit says the Lord”.

The memory isn’t quite as fantastic with that one, but I remember it nonetheless.

I have had this verse on repeat since Friday. While the life before us is huge and there will always be a fight for it, there are always people worth fighting for, there will always be needs and there will always be demands; this verse is the reminder of how the pressure is not on me and time and time again, God proves that He is in control and He is enough. I need to be obedient. I need to stay in the word. I need community. I need to pray. I need to remember that it’s not my might, not my power…but His spirit.

No matter the fight ahead of you, maybe you need the reminder as much as I do on a regular basis.