Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Talk with Aleta Jo

Two weeks ago, my grandmother Aleta Jo fell and broke her hip, and has been in the hospital for surgery and rehab ever since. I've spoken with her a few times, including today. She said a few things that both touched and broke my heart:

- She's loved spoiling her grandkids, and she's sorry that she can't do it anymore.
- She's concerned about whether or not she'll be able to live on her own after this, which she so loves to do.
- She's so proud of Chris and me for finishing payment on student loans, and would have paid for them herself, if she could have.
- She thinks I'm a mature young woman and that Chris is a wonderful husband to me -- the one she has been praying for for me since before I was born (now those were beautiful things to hear).

Hearing these things from my grandmother was difficult, yet special. Difficult, because once upon a time, everything we talked about was simply happy, and she and I were so much younger. Special, because she now trusts me, as an adult, with the thoughts of her heart.

It serves to remind me that I cannot escape the changes that come with time. They bring both good and bad. They are normal, and universal. There is no point in the fearing the changes -- they will come, and by God's grace, we can walk through them well.

I feel as if a baton has been passed. My time of childishness is over and done, and while I will jealousy guard my childlike heart, I walk forward into adulthood with confidence, knowing that the Lord is over and above time itself. He can walk atop the tumultuous changes just as Jesus walked on the roiling surface of the waves so long ago.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Words Trapped Behind a Fearful Smile

As the night settles over the mountains of Colorado Springs, my Thanksgiving break draws to a close. I've had a wonderful week with my parents- and sisters-in-law, and Chris' and my friend Stephen.

I have a feeling of letdown. Vaguely, I dread returning to Norman, knowing that life wil resume, and with it, all the everyday insecurities I long to escape. When I'm here, I rest in the knowledge that I'm loved. Granted, it took until almost six months ago for me to feel entirely myself with my in-laws, comfortable enough to let loose while knowing they accept me just the way I am.

I must admit that it takes me a looong time to trust anyone fully. When I do, it's so freeing! It's like stepping from a greyish world into an entirely new reality, where I experience hope and confidence and joy to overflowing. It's like suddenly realizing the heart of God, realizing the holy pride he feels in his unique creation -- me.

In "normal life," though, I don't know who I can trust, no matter how many times they've "proved" themselves to me. My warped perspective on life is that everyone has a button that drives them away for good, and it's only a matter of stumbling over and pushing that button. The longer I spend with a person, the more likely I am to find that button and lose their love forever. That's why it's difficult for me to grow attached. The deeper and longer I love, the greater the risk of heartbreak -- a keener kind than I experienced in middle school break-ups. This is what I hold to every day I'm in Norman, going about my business at OU and elsewhere.

Now that I realize this, I long to give it over to God. I cannot live in bondage depending on who I'm with or where I'm located. It is not the responsibility of every person outside my family to show me exactly what I want to see as proof of their sincerity. They can't show me perfect love -- I have to realize this.

Not only that -- I have to realize that there is a greater love that fills my need, because it truly is a need. When we sinned against God, we were cut off from him and his glory, and brought a death sentence on ourselves. Our debt was too great to pay. God knew that. He sent down his son, the very image of himself, to live a human life, bearing our human temptations and pains, and at the end of it endure false accusations, betrayal and brutal murder at the hands of those who he loved perfectly. In that way, he paid the blood price that was too much for us to pay, and he paid it in full. Not only that, he rose again, thereby proving himself conquerer of sin and death -- the very things that kept us away from his great heart. He ascended into heaven. He has prepared a place for us with him. One day, he will come again, and reign in all beauty, goodness and majesty that we have barely tasted.

Hallelujah. May his grace rain down on me in this struggle.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I like to clean.

When I'm cleaning something, I'm in control over it. I can wash away what I don't want, and make a thing lovely and pristine again.

Then, I can step back, survey my work, and sigh with pride, knowing that what once was worse is better for my having been there.

Unfortunately, you can't clean a heart, or a life, for that matter. There are a few loved ones whose lives seem in complete chaos right now. When I hear their stories or see their actions, I feel as if I'm staring at a black chalkboard scribbled all over with white chalk, or a plain wall plastered in angry graffiti. I see a floor covered in the shards of broken dishes. I see white furniture splashed irredeemably with black paint.

It makes me want to shout at them. How can you be so blind, and how can you be so stupid? It makes me want to tear my clothes, like the grieving Jews did in the Old Testament. Please, only turn to God! You are tearing the world apart piece by piece to find your purpose, but it's in front of your face! How can they be made clean? They've only fallen further as the days go by, deeper and deeper into muck and slime. How can they be made whole again? Their brokenness cuts so deep and so painfully, they're numb to the pain and they don't even know where the brokenness begins.

This is where I most understand, I think, our helplessness as humans. We live in a needy world. We are a needy people. And we don't have the means to fill our needy hearts.

Here, I begin to see the necessity of prayer, as well. Really, isn't our natural response in desperation to cry out loud to a higher power for help? I can't do anything for these people, which would drive me crazy (and sometimes still does, I'll admit) unless I knew there was someone who can do something, and in a greater, more awesome way than my comparatively feeble mind can conceive of.

Clean, my Lord, I pray you clean!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Read This, You Button Face

I've neglected you, folks. It probably feels much longer than it's actually been since I've blogged, as I stop both reading blogs and writing on my own when I go through one of these uninspired periods.

I've been inspired in non-blog writing lately, though, so I've been working on my novel and a new, humorous short story. This gives me a break from the almost-60,000 words (phew!) that I've completed on the still-untitled fantasy work.

The last few days have been rough for me. On bad days, I find it difficult to do almost anything, including the things I generally enjoy doing. However, it's going to be okay. This is a fact that I couldn't grasp before, but the fact that I now know hope flowing in my heart assures me that God is continuously healing me, no matter how slowly I feel like he's doing it. My husband is, of course, taking good care of me. Especially when I am able to let go of my pride and fear enough to ask for help...

Chris, myself, and our good friend Stephen (who writes the blog Gospelized) are heading to Colorado Springs this Monday to spend time with family for Thanksgiving. I'm greatly excited. Want to know the best part of the story? I forgot that my Thanksgiving break actually doesn't begin until Wednesday. I am one of those kids who never, ever misses class, so that's why it's funny to me. I guess it probably wasn't funny to you. Oh, well.

Apparently, the fact that I'm on the internet is causing Chris's HALO game to lag. Someone just killed him, and Chris proceeded to call the uncouth scoundrel a "button face." These are the common "expletives" that you will hear within in the Krycho household. I like to tell the story about the time I was on the road and yelled to a frustrating driver, "What are you doing, you...bumblebee?!"

Yummm. Warm, homemade Nestle toll house cookies are baking, sweetening the air with their thick, chocolate-laden scent and warming my hands and toes with the heat from the oven where they are pleasantly housed. These grey autumnal days, while often bad for the mood, can be good for the heart when such things are in the mix!

And now, my response to something Chris just said to me: "I like killing people after it ends." I'll leave  you to try to figure out what the heck I was talking about. And for those of you who know the inside joke, the answer is not bounty hunters. Which are only legal in the U.S. and the Philippines, by the way -- the two countries of my immediate ethnic background.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Give more grace. Don't just give it, give more of it.


Well, simply, that's what God does.

Showing here: Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the Spirit he has made to dwell in us?' But he gives more grace. (James 4:5-6a, emphasis mine)

I've recently -- as in, today -- been convinced that no matter how gracious I feel like I'm being, it is not "enough" or "too much."

For instance: I often, subconsciously or not, consider myself a kind, grace-filled person because I think the best of people, and sometimes I'm so nice that I let people walk all over me by accident. Wow. Go me, right? Except today, as I was walking about campus, I was thinking about an issue that someone else had, and how it bugged me, and how I just wanted to pop them over the head at times. I stopped short. My heart was filled with bitterness, and nothing but a desire to see that person change so they'd stop bothering me, not because I loved them and wanted the best for them. What happened to my "grace?"

"Giving grace" doesn't mean lying to yourself and telling yourself that the person who wronged you didn't do anything wrong, after all. It doesn't mean saying absolutely sunshine-and-unicorns-nice things all the time. It's granting someone forgiveness -- indeed, exemption from what they deserve -- out of a pure love. Check this out:
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)

Hallelujah! What more is there to say? :)


P.S. "More" is a really strange-looking word, after you stare at it for awhile.