Friday, June 26, 2009

3G : Papa's Porch

...The Lord was growing me in truth, my life was being flipped and my Papa began to question what was going on. To take a few leaps back, my Papa was the youngest of 13 brothers and sisters. My great-grandparents beheld the beautiful infant in their arms and named him Munsin Columbus Humphrey. I still cannot figure out how someone can look at a sweet little baby and come up with that name, but I could not be more delighted to have been his granddaughter. Papa was a hard working, loyal, faithful, loving, caring, tenderhearted, strong and steadfast man.
I recall sitting down and asking him how he met my grandmother (Nanny). They were both invited to a friends house and (quote)"there she was...she was standing by a gate and I asked my buddy in the car who she was." Nanny stated that when she saw him she thought.."hubba hubba." (this was pretty cute spoken from her 85 year old lips at the time) On their first date they rode in a rumble seat together (for those of you who have never been to a car show, this means they were sitting pretty close) all the way to Christoval (which was a long trip then). That night they danced the night away to big band music and continued to dance through their lives together.

One afternoon, Papa and I were sitting on his front porch swing, which was not unusual for us to do. Noticing a change in my life he asked me, "Kris, do you think I am saved?" Here was an 89 year old man, whom if anyone could call someone a "good person" it would be M.C. Humphrey, asking me if he was saved. I am thankful for the wise response the Lord gave me that afternoon. My response was somewhere along the lines of, "Papa, I cannot know your heart, nor can I truly know your relationship with the Lord. I can tell you what the Bible says about the One who saves, how a person is saved and what the fruit of salvation in a persons life looks like." We continued the conversation for a couple of hours about how one cannot merit salvation, rather it is a free gift and that no one can ever be good enough. We worked through the gospel forwards and backwards. Out of all the moments I had experienced on Papa's Porch, this was my fondest.

A couple of months later, after his 90th birthday, Papa began to have health complications that continued to weaken his frail body. I went to the hospital for my daily visit and the moment I walked in the room there was an urgency in his voice. He was desperate to tell me of a dream that he had had about the Lord. I looked into the understanding eyes of a 90 year old man who knew he was a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. He continued to tell me over and over again about his experience with the Lord that evening. Alas, he knew assurance. The truth of the Scriptures finally came alive to this dying 90 year old man. He went from being what people call "a good man" to being a righteous man.

He continued to love his wife more than ever. I recall my grandmother in her wheelchair sitting by his bedside. I asked them if they had a song and without hesitation she leaned over and grabbed his hand and they began singing as they gazed into each other's eyes... "Let me call you sweetheart, I'm in love with you. Let me hear you whisper that you love me too..."

His time from thence forth on this earth was short, yet eternity was ever before him. My friend Chance and I would go to the hospital with a guitar in hand and we would have times of worship in his small hospital room. There came a point that a family member had to be with him 24/7 due to seizures every 45 minutes. I took a night shift and was so thankful for the body of believers that surrounded us during that time. I was never left alone that entire night. We sought every bit of wisdom that we could from Papa until 4:00 in the morning when he no longer made sense after a big seizure.
Writing this story makes me realize that I need more "Papa's Porch" moments in my life. It is a moving reality that this life, whether you live to be 90, 100 or 20, is short compared to the eternity that we are all guaranteed. I pray that those of you who read this would find yourselves asking the same question that Papa asked, "Am I saved?" I pray that the same desperation that my Papa had to share his experience with the Lord would be prevalent in my life also. Out of compassion and love, may the Lord drive me to share the gospel of truth with those I come into contact with.
Rom 1:16 states, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." "Indeed God’s power IS seen in erupting volcanoes, in the unimaginably hot boil of our massive sun, and in the lightning speed of a recently discovered star seen streaking through the heavens at 1.5 million miles per hour. Yet in Scripture such wonders are never labeled “the power of God.” How powerful, then, must the gospel be that it would merit such a title! And how great is the salvation it could accomplish in your life, if you would only embrace it by faith and give it a central place in your thoughts each day(A Gospel Primer)!"
The hope I have through the gospel message is what lead me to share with Papa on his porch and is also what lead me to quit my job and pack my bags for summer missions in Washington state...(To Be Continued)...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

3G: Mentors and Accountability

...When the last Lieutenant had left Amanda and I remained hungry for the Word. I can remember rising early in the morning and driving to Amanda's apartment to do our respective quiet times, get ready for class, grab a burrito on Knickerbocker and faithfully show up late to class (oops). In the evenings we were going to STAND on Mondays, Intermission on Thursdays, Glen Meadows and Paul Ann on Sunday mornings and Sunday night bible study at the Lindahl's. Once a week I rose at 6:30 to cook breakfast for a bible study we started. The two of us were growing leaps and bounds and soon the two of us would become the few of us.

Amanda met Mara Garza, a gal I knew from Angelo Aquatics and the Central Swim Team. The three of us began bonding over coffee and Christ. We began praying about starting a bible study and asked that the Lord would provide solid leaders. These prayers lingered for a few months until the night that we met Bonnie Huckabee and Cindi Dauphin. Little did we know that they too were praying about starting a bible study. We started meeting together and sought the Lord for his direction. The next few years were precious. The group consisted of about 50% college students and 50% women of wisdom. They took us to great depths and challenged us immensely.

The fourth member of our party was Lt. Laura Terry who also was converted by God's grace with Ronnie's investment in her life and proclamation of the gospel at the Air Force Academy. There were few nights that passed that the four of us: Amanda, Mara, Laura and myself, weren't drinking coffee together as we questioned the Holy Book before us. Some of my fondest memories and times with my Savior are found in this chapter with these girls. Hebrews 3:13 encourages, "exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." There is a sweetness that comes when you actually do as this Scripture calls you to do. We "reproved, rebuked, and exhorted, with complete patience and teaching" as 2 Timothy 4:2 teaches.

As the picture testifies from the previous post, I was a big girl. The Lord really began to break my heart and my habits by the catalyst event of reading and weeping over the Scriptures that spoke in regards to gluttony. That night remains vividly in my mind as does the accountability that came to follow. These exhorters and encouragers came alongside me with all of my complaints and struggles. I could barely run a block without my heart leaping out of my chest and my lungs collapsing. They bore with me and my fighting frustration of the years of damage I had done to my body. I lost almost 70 lbs as they held up my arms in the midst of the battle (Exodus 17:8-16).
Bonnie Huckabee continued to faithfully mentor us. As time passed these friends too moved on. Amanda married Ronnie and moved to Little Rock, Laura received her next assignment in the Air Force and Mara met a friend, Bethany and moved to California to pursue a Masters in Biblical Counseling (my current degree plan). I continued to meet with Bonnie and reaped such wisdom and insight. As a campus missionary I found myself quoting this woman often. I have recently thought that all of the biblical womanhood books are written about Bonnie. She would immediately rebuke me with this statement, but in summary...I am so incredibly thankful for the Lord's provision of bringing each of these women in my be continued...
(Pic 1: Laura, myself, Amanda and Mara being silly + our friend Joy)
(Pic 2: Cindi and Kirt Dauphin, both great mentors in my life)
(Pic 3: Todd and Bonnie Huckabee with me before I left San Angelo)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

3G: My Salvation Experience

... I had the mindset entering college at Angelo State University that I would no longer be 'the wall flower.' I had lived in a recluse mentality far too long and did as my friends encouraged me to do. I went out. Drinking and clubbing gave me a confidence, yet I was spiraling downward fast. Because I lacked the weight of sin I had no problem going to church on Sundays with a hangover. I still lacked satisfaction after all my efforts.

During the fall of 2000, the Lord brought a group of Air Force folk in my life. Though the initial motive for them coming to our Sunday Night Bible Study was to see what Ronnie thought about my best friend Amanda, the Lord opened their eyes to our misunderstanding of the gospel and directed their hearts in compassion towards us. During a weekend retreat they fasted and prayed for us and sought the Lord about how to minister. I praise the Lord constantly that they invested time and showed a godly love towards us. I was challenge as Ronnie asked me, "What do you believe and why do you believe it?" The fact of the matter was that my beliefs had little to know foundation and certainly did not stand against the Word of God. I had made a god that was comfortable to me, rather than seek the Scriptures that spoke clearly about who God truly is. They presented the truth graciously with love. Their truths were solid and based on Scripture, where mine were swiftly sinking as if in quicksand (Matt 7:24-29). The Lord was gradually giving me ears to hear his voice (John 10:25-30).

Amanda started walking with the Lord and at this point in the story she was walking hand in hand with Ronnie who had become her boyfriend. The Sunday night bible study was still in action and this particular Sunday evening I went to embark again in the drinking frenzy that lead to me dry heaving over a toilet bowl. With my head over this porcelain friend the Lord broke me and opened my eyes to my sin before Him who is Holy (Rom 3:23, Eph 2:1-3). Amanda came into the bathroom and held back my hair. I looked up at her with alligator sized tears and assured her that I did not want Ronnie to see me. Ronnie exhibited the spirit of Christ and reflected the one true and holy God. Ronnie thankfully disrespected my request and came into the bedroom and looked me in the eye and said, "There is nothing you can do that can take my love away from you." By this statement God showed his grace towards me.

Romans 5:7-8 states, "For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." I had always proclaimed God to be gracious and loving, yet I never understood the magnitude of his grace and love until I saw myself as a wretched sinner in need of a Savior. I was desperate for his grace and love and my response was a repentant heart. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see." These words were never so beautiful to me than this moment.

The Lord continue to use this Air Force group as Joy discipled Amanda and Steph discipled me. "Discernment comes with time" was often what I heard as I struggled to understand the bible. The time grew near that each of these Lieutenants received their assignments from Korea to Alaska. Though parting was hard, the Lord had laid a strong foundation and was preparing me for what was be continued...

The Crew + Vidal (Sorry it is not the best picture)
Yep, you guessed it...Amanda and Ronnie got married and are now church planters in Puerto Rico with their 4 children!