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Mis Raices Estan Aqui – My Roots Are Buried Here

October 28, 2015

Today (or, yesterday, rather, as it’s almost 3 in the morning now) has been an awesome day. I got to help facilitate a critical-thinking event for the law school with a very special guest, Mark Lanier. I met Mark awhile back and have had the great pleasure to get to know him over the last few years – he’s a terrific individual, a wonderful trial lawyer, and someone I’m proud to be able to count a friend. Mark came to the law school to speak to a group of students, faculty, and staff about the issues of law and justice and specifically how a person of faith can (and should) address those issues in the “real world.” We had a full house in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon, and it was just a fantastic event all the way around. Then later on, I got to go “home” to LCU to hear Dr.  Peter Williams, Warden of Tyndale House of Cambridge University speak at the Lanier Theological Lecture Series. It was phenomenal. He’ll be speaking at the Lanier Library this Friday and I’m told it’ll be posted on YouTube – definitely try to catch it!

See – that’s why today was so awesome – I got to spend the whole day surrounded by people shining the light of Christ, sharing their testimonies, and it was like coming up for air. This Halloween week can be very difficult for believers, I think – it is for me at least – and I know that I needed a “booster shot” for sure.

More than that though – I was reminded how very, very blessed I am to be an alum of a school like Lubbock Christian University. At dinner tonight, we were seated with two LCU seniors. They said they remembered me and asked when I graduated. (Spring 2013) The conversation got me to thinking about the commencement address I gave at our graduation. I’m reprinting my speech below, not because it was any grand speech to be remembered, but because it’s so obvious now that God knew at the time I gave the speech that three years later, I would need the reminder. He knew I would need these strong roots. He knew I would need the ability to get a “booster shot.” He certainly knew strong winds of adversity were going to blow against me in the next few months. But He is so very faithful. His promises are true, and whether your experiences are exactly like mine or not, you can plant your roots in Him and that will always be a firm foundation.

In Him,

KVP

Mis Raices Estan Aqui – Lubbock Christian University Commencement Address – May 6, 2013

President Perrin, Dr. Jones, faculty, staff, alumni and distinguished guests: as I was reflecting on what to say to my classmates, fellow graduates and our families on this momentous occasion, I, being the good West Texan that I am, was reminded of an old John Wayne poem I learned as a kid: “Mis Raices Estan Aqui – My Roots are Buried Here.” It tells the story of an old settler who refuses to leave his place of heritage, even when times become hard, because he has invested so much blood, sweat, and tears in his home. His life is tied up in the land – his roots are buried there.

And my roots – our roots – are here at Lubbock Christian University. I began my journey at LCU when I was 16 years old. While working for the Nursing Department, I grew and matured, and upon graduating high school, I jumped at the chance to become a Chaparral. From the first day of classes, the professors and the environment fostered by this LCU community cultivated my life and I began taking root here. Dr. Jones, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard you say the mission of LCU is to, “passionately pursue student success,” and it works! Our graduating class is proof that this mission is in the hearts of LCU faculty, staff, and administration. We’re here today because of hard work, patience, blood, sweat, and tears on the part of all involved!

In the third chapter of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he says we ought to be “rooted and grounded in love, so that we may understand the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God,” and see, that’s what each one of us has been taught every moment of every day here at LCU.

The strength of a tree is found in its roots, and the foundation of my LCU journey was laid so that I will not waver from what I’ve been taught when I leave. Everything was focused on Christ. Scott Young taught me the wonder in the laws of God’s Creation through Physics, and that knowledge, coupled with my Honors Bible classes under Dr. Patty and the others, strengthened both my walk with Christ and my spiritual roots. Through History courses, I was encouraged to learn from and treasure the lessons of the past, and in discovering ancient literature and texts with Dr. Hawley, I gained insight into the type of person I wanted to be. All of the folks sitting here in front spent every class period of every semester I’ve been here, teaching me what I needed to know to stand tall on my own.

But, as all of us know, our LCU education did not only take place in the classroom. My roots in Christ and this community were strengthened by being Master Follies’ House Manager and seeing my friends and classmates come together to honor Christ through healthy competition. I grew a little taller and my roots went a little deeper when I was given the opportunity to conduct research and be an ambassador for Christ and LCU at National Undergraduate Research Conferences. The roots of family and LCU camaraderie were fortified when I sat among classmates, professors, staff members, and alumni, cheering on our Chap Baseball or Lady Chap Basketball teams and participating in Rally at the Rip. Roots of friendship were cultivated hiking with Dr. Fehr in the Davis Mountains, learning about leadership at Student Leadership Council meetings, writing six-word stories at the Writing Carnival, through impromptu games of Frisbee Golf and much-needed breaks in the Koffee Kup. I, like many of you, grew in my faith while worshipping our God in daily chapel and at Blur. In all of these and too many other events to count, our roots grew stronger and deeper.

See, in all of these examples, I was taught to look to Christ and grow closer to Him. In this way, He was always to be the Focus of the lesson. So, whether I was in Macroeconomics or First-Aid and CPR, I was given the opportunity to grow in Him – and every time, my roots grew stronger. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says if we trust in the Lord and place our hope in Him, we’ll be like a tree planted by the river. Our roots will grow strong and we will not be plagued by drought, but will be fruitful.

Nature tells us that roots enable a tree to grow and multiply. While some of the seeds of a plant stick close to the original tree, others are carried on the wind for miles – until finally transplanting into land far away. Not all of us will stay here in Lubbock; in fact I’d say most of us won’t. We’ll all go where God sends us and will be given the opportunity to enrich the world around us. But the only reason we’re able to graduate and move on is because of the roots we have here. They’re strong, deep, and healthy because they’ve been lovingly cultivated and protected by the LCU community. Trees are only as strong as their roots, and our roots are strengthened by bonds of friendship, love, and instruction in righteousness. So – tomorrow or the next day, or later on down the road, when the fog and excitement of graduation die down and we enter the real world once again, we might suddenly find ourselves away from here, standing alone, with the winds of adversity blowing against us. (And after a few years here in West Texas – I daresay we all understand the concept of strong wind!) But don’t worry – we will be able to stand against the trials.

How do I know this? It’s simple. Jeremiah 17:7-8. Nuestras raices estan aqui – our roots are buried here.

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One Comment
  1. Alex Scarborough permalink

    Kristen, really nice address to the graduates.

    The scripture reference in Jeremiah is more prophetic to your generation than you may imagine. The first verses of the chapter speak to God’s justice:

    The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus;
    With a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart
    And on the horns of their altars,

    As they remember their children,
    So they remember their altars and their Asherim
    By green trees on the high hills.

    O mountain of Mine in the countryside,
    I will give over your wealth and all your treasures for booty,
    Your high places for sin throughout your borders.

    And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance
    That I gave you;
    And I will make you serve your enemies
    In the land which you do not know;
    For you have kindled a fire in My anger
    Which will burn forever.

    Kristen your generation is and with increasing pressure see the Judgement of God on our country. It will be astonishing and the great country in which you grew up will have to ‘let go of our inheritance’. Good trees is what built this country, their timber has blessed generations, I pray that more will be raised up in yours.

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