Hello Uncomfortable!

Hello Uncomfortable!

It is probably no surprise that this season in my life is not a comfortable one. There haven’t been very many times in my life where I have been all that comfortable. While I have been content, comfortable has never consumed my life. These last few years have been full…very very full! I wouldn’t change any of it for anything or for any comfort.

I go way back to when I was a teenager and praying things like “God, I don’t want to live a normal life”. Never giving thought to what my “normal” would be but I prayed the prayer and I meant it…whatever it may look like.

Fast forward to 2006, living in Austin and uncomfortable, knowing that God was about to do something, just wasn’t sure what it was. I did not expect what came. We were in a church we loved (looking at you Celebration), I had a job that I loved, surrounded by amazing friends and family. Oh…and they had just built and HEB Plus. Other than what was stirring in us, life was peachy! Then my husband made “the call”. He called our dear friend and mentor Pastor Jaycee and told him we felt lead to be youth pastors (after years of being youth leaders). Pastor J said words that radiate in my ears “are you ready to lay down Austin”. In all honesty, NO! But we did. The next day he called and said he got a call from a church in Tonkawa, OK. They were looking for a youth pastor and said to call them. Ray called, we visited, we moved. It was hard to say the least but it brings me to point of today’s blog. I had never been so uncomfortable in my life.

It was when I was in that place of discomfort that God stretched me in ways I could have never imagined. I’ve said before that being in OK, my heart grew. It grew to love a group of students more than they could ever know and more than I thought possible. Still believe with everything in me that they are a group of students who will change the world. It was being in OK that vision for what we look forward to today took root. Outside of everything I thought made sense, God showed me what I would likely never see had I not been uncomfortable.

Just food for thought…

Here we go!

If you have read my husband’s blog (http://rayjortiz.com/ ), you probably assume there is a lot on my heart and mind. There are a lot of emotions, excitement and a smattering of nerves.

So the word is out! We are moving back to Austin at the end of the month and planting a church at the end of the summer! While there are many thoughts that go through my head right now, I am working on writing about one or so at a time. It’s a part of me learning to be more succinct. I am female and this does not come naturally. Right now, I’m a bit in awe. This all started with our late-night pillow talk…about planting churches. If you didn’t think I was strange before, you do now. I’m ok with that. It went from talking to something we prayed about…for years. Then something we seriously prayed about, then the Lord started to give vision and at that moment, no timeline.  We were serving in other ministries with this vision developing inside of us. And I do mean “us”. This stirs in my heart as much as my husbands. Then there came a day where we knew that this was no longer a “someday” without a timeline. The more we continued to pray and dream, more vision came.

I am in awe of many things right now. This past week was the fullest and most emotionally exhausting week that I’ve had in a long time. We are blessed. We are blessed with dear friends and a church family whose support and encouragement is incredible.

There will be a lot more details to come!


Better is One Day – Part 1

The Ortiz family just got back from our summer vacation. Last year we said we would never take one that late in the year again. So of course this year we took it later. We were grateful for some down time, time with family and the friends that life just wouldn’t be the same without. You know those friends you can talk with, dream with, pray with and laugh so hard you cry your make up off???  I am grateful for that!

Now we are back to life (“back to reality”…the song was suddenly in my head). Back to our own beds and routines…and blogging. It is good coming back refreshed. The next couple of months don’t exactly slow down. ‘Strong’ Women’s conference at our church is in less than a month!

Yesterday I was looking through Psalms, looking at what I have highlighted.  For someone who tends to talk fast, surprisingly, I take the time to read at a slower pace. I stopped at Psalm 84. It has been one of my favorites since I was in high school. I had the words “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” taped on my wall. I blame the Passion CD that someone got me for my 16th birthday. I listened to it over and over again. I loved those CD’s. I swear I learned to harmonize listening to Christy Nockels on those CD’s. The words to the song Better is One Day….and the chapter/verse were captivating to me. They still are.

Just think over these words:

How lovely is your dwelling place O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and flesh cry out for the living God….for a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

There is a lot of awesomeness in between there. I love reading the passion in those words. To say “my soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord”. Wow! I’ll have another post on those words tomorrow.

Today, read and read slowly…take it all in. Better is one day….

I So love this…

Last night was our “Back to School: Close Encounter” at CFC. I stood in the back, as the room was full of students.  You couldn’t see my face, but my expression had to have read simply “THIS is AWESOME”!

We kicked off the night with ‘Not Without Aim’, a band that one of our leaders is the vocals for….they were great! I loved seeing the hardcore dancing in the front of the room and the genuine worship that came from those guys. I must also mention the white girl getting down off to the corner…she is a leader too and has the absence of shame…and that is why we love Katie 🙂 I only wish I had a picture to show the awesomeness. Next was hip-hop with Prophetic Flow! Then we continued worship with our youth band and my husband preached. It was a night that made me stand back and say “I so love this”! Youth ministry is awesome! Having different genres of music and seeing the diversity was amazing. It really all was for the glory of God.  Don’t give up on this generation people…don’t be scared….they aren’t!  When they catch vision and purpose, there is no stopping them!

Can’t help but think about it and smile!

We have an incredible group of students and leaders. It is an honor to be a part of their lives and serve alongside them!

What are others stepping in???

Today’s post is a short one but it is my thought.

There is something that I have heard my senior pastor’s wife (co-pastor), Shelly Nelson say. I love the image that it has engrained in my brain. It all starts with this verse.

Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….

Pastor Shelly gave the image of goodness and mercy following you….and you leaving goodness and mercy in your wake. I don’t know about you…but I love that visual! Imagine it being like a cloud of goodness and mercy. Some of your may imagine ‘pig pen’ from Charlie Brown….honestly, that was how I first saw it. Now I envision some kind of princess movie (I’m a girl, I do that).

We all leave something in our wake. Being back in a restaurant waiting tables, this is has brought on a fresh take on an old understanding. When people encounter you, they encounter more than your face. What residue do you leave behind? What are people left with after you are gone?  It is most definitely a challenge. We all have bad days and rough moments….but how we handle them determines what we leave others with.

That is my thought for the day.

Focus and the voices of 300 and Troy

I just started reading through the book of Joshua. My over-thinking brain can hardly keep from spinning….it is awesome!

I read this warrior and man of God as he leads his people, I suddenly realized that in my head, Joshua had a distinct voice. I blame my husband. When I get home from work, he is as of lately, watching a man movie (ex. 300 or Troy, hence the blame).

Reading chapter 3, Joshua sounded like a warrior from the man movie of your choice…slight accent, booming voice…the whole deal. Made me laugh a little bit but it I bet it is right on. I bet Joshua put these actors to shame. The more I read, the more I want to know. More on that later….

The purpose of this post is this….

I was reading chapter 3. I kept going back to verses 3-5. Joshua commands them – When they see ark of the covenant, go after it, don’t get ahead of it (or in their case near it…glad we don’t have to keep that distance)….they don’t know where they are going, this is a new way. This is a way that they have never been before.

Reading this, I think of Joshua’s preparation. His whole life has been preparation for what was about to take place (whether he realized it or not). He has already been commanded to “be strong and very courageous”. Now, he has all of these people looking at him. He is this leader/warrior….and his first command is “go after the presence of God, don’t get ahead of it and get ready….we have never been here before”. Something about those words excite me! I truly believe we have only seen a tiny glimpse of the bigness of God and what he desires to do in and through His people. To quote Pastor Jaycee Jennings “The BEST IS YET TO COME”! I believe that statement so much that I have the t-shirt!

Where is God leading you? Does it scare you? Put your warrior voice on and run!

And the answer is….The Church

I grew up in the church…and grateful for that. I knew God at a young age. I loved church. I loved worship. I loved the message. I am realizing something that for some, is a no brainer but for me, really stirs something new. Like I said, I grew up in church. There were three (not including where I went for youth as a teenager….) that I went to from birth-19. The first grew into a very large church. We left around my 10th birthday due to discovering adultery within the pastoral leadership. The next church we went to was wonderful. If there was one person from that time that I wish more than anything I could see again, it was my children’s pastor there (God bless you Ms. Lisa)….I see that the way I do ministry today is a reflection of how she poured into my awkward 11yr old life. We moved two years later to be near family. My uncle was my pastor (my favorite Aunt was the worship leader along with my cousins). The church was much smaller but it was home and love was there. I was given ministry opportunity at a young age and I am so grateful for it. I still say, ministering in front of thousands could never be as daunting as that group of 40. Ha!

My point is this…I grew up in the church. Most of my hurts, disappointments, areas of insecurity, pain (I think you get the point)…they came from the church…or should I say people in the church. I saw the best of people…and I also saw the worst of people (I also saw some crazy people…that could be saved for a ‘Stuff Christians Like’ essay). Something hit me after speaking with a friend a few weeks ago regarding the church in America. I was thinking about the conversation later that night. I knew this but it hit me like never before…

Are you ready for this???

Christ loves the CHURCH!

Not only loves, He gave his LIFE for the church. In all of our messed up, broken, selfish, pride…he LOVES HIS church. His people (I hope you realize by now, I’m not talking about a building). More than ever before this is something I cannot wrap my brain around. I probably never will. Imagine that passion! Think of what He has called the church to…what the purpose of the church is. It is amazing! He draws His church unto Himself, a love we cannot understand….

This is an on-going thought for me but one I wanted to put out there.