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Next Steps

Next Steps

Next Steps

Freedom in Christ - L.K. Ortiz

Laci

My name is L.K. Ortiz and this is my story:

"I was unplanned. Unplanned pregnancies are often seen as disgraceful, a life of less value. Being undervalued is a narrative from a young age that I believed. I was an accident and a mistake, with the face of a father that was undesired. To be born resembling a mistake leaves a lasting mark. I am thankful that my young parents decided to give me life and make the best of their circumstances. My grandparents and extended family showered me with love. I am forever thankful to them for imprinting the seeds of Christianity on me.

Painfully shy and aware of family disfunction, I had difficulty relating to others. As a teen, my parents’ divorce forced me to grow up quickly, juggling work, school, and supporting my single-parent mother. The message that my thoughts and emotions were wrong and unvalued led me to keep things to myself. There were no safe places, which led to despair, trust issues, and believing my only value came through accomplishments or hard work. All of these circumstances led to feelings of intense loneliness, worthlessness, and invisibility from a young age.

In early adulthood, I was exhausted and burdened by a world of rejection and pain. The root of Christianity planted early felt like a cruel joke, a belief not based on my hard reality and out of touch with my intellectual sensibilities. I became an atheist, less of the evidence for it and more out of my hurt and a disconnect with people who claimed hope but whose lives looked more like a ritual. Years passed, and I was lost and confused; failure in my career and relationships led to desperation and depression. I felt like a fake and a failure.

I was trying to fill a void only the Lord could fill. In 2005, my pride faced the reality of Romans 7:18, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out." I realized that I could not do this life on my own, no matter how hard I tried. I broke out in tears, humbled the Lord could love a wreck like me. He knew I would cry myself to sleep, He knew how I sought to numb the pain, and He loved me and died for every hidden tear, wound, and sin.

The past seventeen years have been challenging and blessed beyond belief. I won't tell you that the life of discipleship has been easy. He has used wisdom around me to continually call me out in my areas of weakness and guide me when I am not abiding in Him. I have been radically loved by God’s people and have so much peace and joy in my life, no matter the circumstance, that I can barely recognize the person I once was.

Freedom in Christ, prayer, and the truths of Scripture help me process how hurts from my past impact my relationship with God and allow me to forgive and find healing in a way that is not achieved outside of Christ. The Lord has transformed my heart and mind (Romans 12:2), and sin no longer carries weight or has power. I hope to spend every day of the rest of my life proclaiming all Christ has done for me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)