Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Because of Her and Her and Her {and Him}



Whenever I get the privilege to tell my story, I can’t get very far without talking about a few special women.  Even though my Mom and I had our ugly moments, I have a deep appreciation for her that continues to grow as we live through different seasons together.  She was and still is selfless in the way she serves our family.  Her reliability throughout my growing up years provided a security all children need and never once did I wonder if I was loved.  I won’t try to encapsulate her in a few sentences here, but her influence in my life is invaluable in so many ways.  Mom and Dad made church a priority each Sunday which placed me in an environment that I could explore spiritual things as my heart began to search.  What a gift.

I remember almost all of my Sunday School teachers-- and the ones I remember best are the ones I felt loved by and who spoke with joy and excitement about the things of God.  In early high school, John and Denise began pouring spiritual truths into my spirit by opening their home to me and a few friends on the weekends.  When Jill graduated from college and came back to Soperton to teach, she began challenging me with almost every eye catching time in the halls at school.  “So what did you learn in your quiet time this morning?”  she’d yell as I passed.  She didn’t ask if I HAD one, but wanted to know what I had LEARNED.  Those three together plus my crazy youth minister at the time entertained us {spontaneously} long into the night on the weekends with silliness, yummy desserts, cokes over crushed ice in styrofoam cups {Denise's ice machine-- NO Sonic within miles}, and truths from His Word that changed a few of us forever.  {Remember the song 1974 by Amy Grant?  It’s a favorite of mine and I call it “1984” because of those years in my own life.}

And then I had to leave them when I went off to college.

They were convinced I was ready for UGA.  I wasn’t.  Phone lines were hot those first few months as I made my way in Athens, Georgia.  John challenged me to find a local church quickly and I did and that’s where I met Mrs. Summey.  The only thing she had in common with my “team” from Soperton was the she loved Jesus as much as they did.  I stubbornly stayed in her Sunday School class all four years.  I never promoted.

It was never “official” but these people, in their own special way, discipled me.  We never went through a book, but I considered myself discipled by each one of them.  If their investment in me was worth money, no one could calculate their profits- not my fruit, but THEIR investment.   I’ve lived through the last 25 years of my life benefiting from them at every stage.  I have wanted to bless others with the same sort of relationship I experienced with them but it never has looked quite like a Friday night on the Pournelle’s den floor or a random Tuesday afternoon in Denise’s kitchen watching her cook catching her love for Jesus or a spring break trip to Texas {from Georgia} with Jill or a 911 call to John from the library at UGA.  I am learning that was unique for me.  It was what I needed at the time.

The Bible is clear on MANY things-- many things I seem to be really good at ignoring but discipleship is where I am focusing today.  Like many things in His Word, it’s a no brainer.  No need to pray about it-- if given the opportunity, take it or if it doesn’t come to you, pursue it.  And since the opportunity didn’t just arise out of existing relationships, I decided to pursue it.  If you’ve been in a church very long at all that emphasizes discipleship, you know the goal is to be discipled and then disciple someone else -- and as each pair does this, the multiplication factor is mind boggling.  I knew it would take a commitment/agreement like that for me to find someone to disciple. I needed to find someone to disciple me so I would, in turn, be bold enough to disciple someone else.

I made a phone call to Kathy Horton.  I knew she and her husband, along with his brother and wife, were discipling full time in their “retirement” from pastoring a large church for many years here in Fort Worth.  {By the way-- is that awesome or what?}  She didn’t agree to it on the phone but met with me and let me know the seriousness of  “the deal”-- the time commitment and the agreement to find someone else to disciple.  I just never could imagine approaching someone and saying, “How would you like ME to disciple YOU?”  Entering this type of agreement, I would have to trust the Lord to bring about this person.  Thankfully, she said yes and has been such a blessing to me in the short time we have been together.

To be ugly honest, I wasn’t sure what being discipled at 42 would be like.  I mean, I’ve done my share of Bible studies.  I worked through most everything that came from Billy Beacham's office down in Burleson, Texas from 1983 to 1992.  I’ve been in some sort of Sunday School since I was in the nursery.  I have had regular doses of God’s teaching from the likes of Beth Moore, Henry Blackaby, Nancy Lee DeMoss, Tony Evans, Cynthia Heald, Bill Hybels, Kay Arthur, David Wilkerson, Priscilla Shirer, Warren Wiersbe, Rick Warren through the years and heard sermon after sermon after sermon from every kind of preacher you can imagine.  What could I read/hear that I haven't read/heard before?  Ugly honest, remember?  {Give me a break. I know.}

I wish I had done this material years ago.  And maybe I have in some way or another and maybe, now that I am so familiar with my sinful nature, it seems so necessary and applicable to my life.  I have been challenged from day one and session after session stretches me to ponder these Scriptures I have known-- and even memorized-- for years.  I am about to make a bold statement-- and I am pretty nervous about it because then I am accountable--  but I know I will be different for having gone through this study.  Even if it doesn’t seem an outward change at first, I HAVE to think differently because of the way it has provoked me.  Then I have a decision to make.  Will I change my responses?  Will I change my actions?  Will my life look different?  Will I experience victory in the areas that keep tripping me up?  God, I hope so.  May it be so.

And as I am blessed to do it with someone else, I can’t forget how I was provoked.  I can’t put it on the shelf and think, “I will look at that again next week.”  I won’t be able to look in the mirror and walk away and forget what I look like. {James 1:23-24}  So, if you know me well, and months from now think, "She the same ol' Krista," don't give up on me, because I am going to keep it fresh in my mind and spirit.  I am counting on change as I keep looking in the mirror of His Word.

2 comments:

Emily said...

I'm excited to see that God is continuing to teach you and look forward to seeing how He uses this whole experience in your life. Discipleship is an awesome gift, and so few people ever get the chance to be discipled, because so few Christians are willing to give of themselves to extend that time/energy/effort, etc. I love that you are proactively pursing this!

andrea said...

Very interested in how this goes. You are inspiring!

I love your words that your mother blessed you with the gift of love and that you never doubted her love for you.