Monday, May 31, 2010

Contemplations of a Young Wife, Eleventh Part

I miss the people I love very easily, so you can imagine how much I miss Chris when he's gone. Some scoff or laugh at me for declaring I can't wait to see him after one day of being apart, but I don't care.

Aneissa and Kevin married yesterday. Sitting back at the reception table, surveying the crowded tables and dance floor, I basked in joy for the new couple. When God draws two people together, I glimpse divine beauty and experience divine happiness. A partnership has come to completion in a covenant made before our King. Two people are irrevocably connected. There is a sense of finality and of rightness.

Chris has been gone since Friday morning. I knew I would miss him, but I, of course, didn't know how God would whisper in my heart through that longing.

I realized that I was glad that I missed Chris like I did. God used that to renew my deeply burning joy in and appreciation for oneness. Without Chris, I feel bare and incomplete--like I'm wearing tennis shoes without socks, or like I forgot my wedding ring for a day.

How great a miracle, when God makes two parts into a unit, like a puzzle that only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in their oneness can both create and complete.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Making Friends is a Dilemma

Three weeks ago, I met a math grad student, probably in his early thirties, at the bus stop. He looked eager to chat--though I wasn't overwhelmingly social, I commented about the bus being late, and the conversation launched.

Kessau is a very cool, perpetually grinning guy from Nepal. After taking Perspectives on the World Christian Movement at Trinity Baptist Church, I am acutely aware of the variety of different "nations," if you will, all over the community, so meeting Kessau was encouraging. Plus, I want to get to know more families in our apartment complex.

Kessau called me awhile back, just to talk, because "he was bored" sitting in his office on campus. I invited him to a party--for Perspectives, no less!--so he could meet more people. He still calls me at least once a week, which I find amusing, because such calls are not generally appropriate between two acquaintances of the opposite sex, both married. Of course, the intention is entirely platonic--he said he'd like to have both Chris and I over "for tea and to talk" some time.

He called again today and wanted to hang out. I've been immersed in the hustle and bustle of wedding prep for my friend Aneissa, so I politely declined. He understood, and mentioned that maybe we could go out for a drink one day (the Library being his bar of choice). Again, cultural no-no.

The situation isn't disturbing to me by any means--I simply don't know how to react! Here's my thing. I want to cultivate relationships with people I can share the gospel with. Therefore, I don't want to keep turning down Kessau's invitations, especially since the Krycho schedule's not going to get much more open (mine will be, I think, but not my hubby's). Meanwhile, Chris and I spend time with Christians, for the most part. This may sound awful, but given a choice, how do I know whether I should help a Christian or a non-Christian to do maximum kingdom work? Ack! Horrible question! I wish it never passed through my mind!

I'm afraid of becoming lazy and squandering opportunities to serve God, even though I'm not even given to laziness. I'm afraid that the Holy Spirit won't step in and convict me if I grow to be a sluggard, and I'll just keep riding the downward spiral of sin.

The downward spiral of sin. Sounds like a ride at Six Flags.

Anyway, all that to say, I don't want to turn down invitations I'm "supposed to take." Actually I feel like I'm "not supposed to" ever turn down such invitations, no matter how little time I have or how strange the invitation is (read: going out by myself for a drink with a man not my husband), lest I be a "bad Christian." I know, it's awful theology, huh?

I'm sitting here feeling guilty for saying no, while realizing that I'm making a person into a project again. This is my cue, dear reader, to do something else for awhile--namely, pray, eat and read book six of Wheel of Time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Club Lights on the Deck - a dream.

My active imagination strikes again! Last night's dream came back to me in a rush as I made macaroni salad. I just shared it with Chris and Stephen, and now I'll share it with you!


The ship's metal hull ran off into the distance, slicing through waves. I watched the sun whiten the surface of the water, and sighed. Here I was, on a ocean liner with my husband and a large group of peers, absolutely bored.

I was about to turn away from the view when I spotted a boat a ways off, a black dot against blue. It was barely close enough to make out, but it was definitely a party boat. The alluring idea of a party drew me in--I climbed over the side of the ocean liner and dived gracefully into the sea.

I swam until I reached the party boat, only to discover it was a VIP party/club. I was no Hollywood actress, but maybe I could get in some other way. A large black man with sunglasses approached me, towering over my head. Behind him, a dimly lit room throbbed with music.
"You can't go in yet."

That answer did not satisfy me. I decided to prove my qualification to join the other partiers, and started to dance.

After I busted some moves, the man made a broad welcoming gesture. "Aw, yeah, you can come in!"

Aw, yeah, indeed.

I was dancing my heart out in the club when a familiar voice hailed me. "Jaimie!"

It was Chris, threading through the crowd. Oh, no! Will he be mad that I ran off to party?

Our greeting was uneventful--that is, until another small, brunette woman like myself, with long, half-styled hair and a blue cotton dress, approached my hubby. She proceeded to blatantly flirt with him right in front of me--I seethed. Chris looked fairly baffled.

The woman started dancing--it was a club, after all--and continuing her flirtations, when I stepped in beside Chris and shot her a glare that could have set the boat on fire. It's on, woman.

I began to dance, too.

Why? Well, dear reader, what's the best way to decide whose turf a party is? A dance-off.


Unfortunately, that's the end! I never found out who won the dance-off. I do know that when I woke up, I wasn't on a boat, I wasn't dancing, and best of all, Chris was still with me. :)

He later told me that if that actually happened, he would just say, "Psh. There's no way I'm going with you; my wife's way hotter." He made me happy. Then again, he always does.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Proper Idol Worship

[I removed the denominational joke in this post. It could have come across as a jab and I certainly didn't intend it to be so. Very sorry, dear reader!]

Some thoughts on idolatry are appropriate, in light of the last post. Idols come in all shapes and sizes--big, round Buddhas, cows made out of Israelite gold...I digress, dear reader.

In all seriousness, idolatry is hard to identify. Someone who unwittingly chooses a life of slavery will not, at first, recognize he's enslaved. 

Idols look so innocent! I mean, Satan's not stupid; it's not like he's going to try to reel us in with something that looks horrible and smells disgusting. The Word says he disguises himself as an angel of light; correspondingly, he presents sin in a seductively lovely package. For instance, the Peacemaker Ministries video we saw today mentions that order and responsibility can become an idol to a perfectionist, and even children can become an idol to their mother. The list goes on.

I just finished reading a post on "Gospelized." Hopefully I'm not misreading it, but the post concludes that if we are (in this case) abstaining from sex before marriage for the sake of abstinence rather than the sake of obeying and glorifying God, it will backfire. That being said, now is a good time to evaluate the seemingly good things in our lives that may be misdirected--the things we've made into big, round Buddhas and cows made out of Israelite gold.

Time for a fun little quiz! Fill in the blanks:

I am constantly preoccupied thinking about _________.
I only ___________, I would truly be happy.
If ___________ doesn't happen, I am resentful.
If ___________ doesn't happen, I am fearful.

I had to laugh at myself after I looked at these questions. It was funny until I actually had to deal with them. The video talked about the progression of idols--things we trust, fear and serve--from their inception (blue equals my notes):
"I desire"(not necessarily bad things) >> "I demand" (I deserve this! I can't be happy unless...) >> "I judge" >> "I punish" (It's your fault! You're not giving me what I need! Take that!)

In the words of my lil' brother (or lil' brudder, for you Homestar Runner fans), let's kick this pig! There's more to life than petty obsession. I won't understand that entirely until Heaven, but it's nice to have a head start.

P.S. To clarify, the speaker did provide the following Biblical responses, which are truly happy and hopeful - confess, repenting and receiving God's forgiveness, and worship and delight in the Lord (Ps. 37:4). Jaimie Krycho, out!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Contemplations of a Young Wife, Tenth Part

It's okay for me to want to be found beautiful. It's not okay for me to want to impress anyone but my husband.

The awesome conviction of the Holy Spirit, juxtaposed with relevant circumstances, made me revisit a subject I hadn't thought of much since the days of middle school puberty: modesty.

I was always the good girl growing up, and I mean always. I followed dress code. I wore one-piece bathing suits. You name it, I did it--I could've been the cover girl for "Stuff Christians Like". At the same time, I longed for the boys to think I was pretty. I wanted to  steal breaths at "Junior-Senior Banquet" (our equivalent of prom) armed with an elegant, long red dress as much as I did walking down the hallway armed with shining eyes and a smile.

Thus began the Freudian suppression of the insuppressible desire to be desired. Confused and warring values created prudishness, since I didn't know a way to emulate beauty (a healthy want) other than the "bad" way. Fear and legalism--that dastardly pair that almost always go together--gnawed at me. 

During my junior and senior year of high school, the legalism began to break down. By sophomore year of college, I recognized that God had given me a good face and body, and started to appreciate the ways he made me beautiful, which is what I wanted all along. However, the revelation meant I had power in my hands that I didn't know I had. Forgive me the quote, but as Uncle Ben tells Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility!"

I conclude that beauty is a power that all women have--when we wield it, relationships change on all sides, for better or for worse. 

My personal struggles didn't present a problem until this year. Immodesty (even "subtle" immodesty) was just another form of my age-old search for affirmation in all the wrong places. As I tried to figure out my value by looking through the eyes of man, my subconscious remembered I would be admired if I wore shorter shorts and lower shirts, which I did, which became increasingly shorter and lower as I pushed the boundaries. Sin is a lovely lure, you know.

Finally, after a conversation with one of my best friends, Katie, and my mentor Ann (both women I admire and want to imitate), I decided it was time to deal with the fact that while I've always maintained purity of body, I have not maintained purity of mind.

Chris didn't know my underlying motivations for my actions; even so, God would not allow me to get by with a mere show of godly wifehood. The fact that I would dress to impress any man but Chris had to go. I want to honor my husband--I want to be for his eyes only, something inherent in the vows I spoke that is a means of showing my faithfulness and desire for him. 

Most importantly, though, I want to honor God. Immodesty is symptomatic of my disrespect for myself as God's creation ("Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?"), as well as dependence on man and out and out idolatry.

I am memorizing Psalm 24:1-4 this week, and the last portion echoed in my mind as I contemplated these things: "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false..."

Why do modesty and purity matter? For crying out loud, what's the point? 
The point is that no one can serve the idol of one's body or human opinion, and serve God and represent Christ at the same time. 

There's just no room for two great loves.

The Voice of the People

Quote of the day -

Me, very seriously and convictedly, to Dorathea: "I'm planning to be more spontaneous this summer!"


It's summertime! What a great feeling! God is continuously healing me, mind and heart, so thank you for your prayers, and know that Chris and I are seeing the fruit of them.

I was listening to Casting Crowns' Lifesong today, paying close attention to the lyrics. I'm pleased with that CD. So many of the songs are written from the perspective of hurting people. They address things that are pretty hard to discuss, like hypocrisy in the church, a Christian's response to tragedy and periods of depression and darkness. You know, the stuff that ticks you off or makes you cry that you can never say aloud.

These voices aren't often heard. I proffer myself as a comparative example: this semester has been a practice in honesty for me--in opening up in all my pain and confusion and anger to people who unconditionally love and support me. The fact that that was so hard for me, a long-time Christian with a very fellowship-oriented husband, begs the question: What aren't people saying?

Surely, you've experienced the kind of pain that makes your heart feeling like it's literally breaking, or that makes your consciousness feel caged in the dark. I want to be a Casting Crowns kind-of woman, who sees and cares about what God sees and cares about.

In the words of my favorite worship song, Brooke Fraser's "Hosanna": "Heal my heart and make it clean, open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like you have loved me!"

I feel like I've written this post before. In fact, I know I have. I've also written this addendum before. Ah, well, it's a refresher; moreover, a picture of where my heart is at as I do my best to surrender my feelings and my selfishness to my Lord and God.


I just remembered how in sixth grade, my best friend and I used to say, "yeppers peppers."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This song is because I love the Word of God!

You Speak
by Jaimie Krycho

May 13, 2010

v. 1
There is life in your Word,
It’s a sword with a double-edge
It judges me

So I’ll meditate here
Feeling nothing, but still you move
When I can’t see

You are sovereign, glory like a storm
So your whispers hold that power
Released within my heart!

You speak, I know
And though I don’t hear you I sing
Praise to your name

My faith will grow
Though I only know you in part
You change me the same

You change me the same

v. 2
I depend on the Vine
I’m a branch, I can’t see the whole--
You’re holding on
To me

I am safe in your hand—
Praise you, Father, your space is broad
Where we are free!

You are mighty, glory like the sun
You are ever-present here
You make the darkness run!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ditching the Drama?

Please pray for the families in Norman who lost loved ones and/or homes/property in the tornado.
Sometimes looking at old pictures makes me sad. Wistful might be a better word. After the last ten times of not doing so, I've made a mental note that I shouldn't go all nostalgic and pour over photo albums (digital or not) when I'm already quite melancholy.

I know for a fact it's possible not to do this. For example, Chris doesn't. What is it that keeps my heart hanging on to periods of time that I'm glad are over and would never want to experience again?

I'm telling you, it's the proverbial rose-tinted glasses that gets me! I've always felt things deeply--often more deeply than is appropriate--so any moment of high joy or dramatic despair from the past has a foothold in my memory. And yes, I chew on some old despairs as much as joys because the despair is over now, and I can appreciate the sheer drama of the situation.

I guess it's a guilty pleasure of mine, drama. Not the I-dyed-my-hair-blonde-and-you-told-the-guy-I-liked-how-ugly-you-think-it-is kind of drama, but epic, Pride & Prejudice-y, grandiose music swelling in the background kind of drama.

It's silly! As if life isn't dramatic enough without my hyperbolic interpretation of it! I'll be honest. I think that drama has given me a goal throughout my life. That is, I think that if I am part of the story, I can make it end the way I want it to. So, no matter what happens in between, the drama is going to be awesome because all's well that ends well, right?

If you don't know the answer to that question, please refer to reality now,  as it took me too long to do so! :p

I think this is but one of the infinite reasons that we need God more than life itself. Our hearts are built to participate in a grand, sweeping narrative way over our heads. Our hearts long for a reason for the extent of both pain and delight we are able to feel. That vague ache in our hearts must be homesickness--we won't be what we were truly meant to be until we're home.

And then, my meager stories will be swallowed in glory, when everything we hope in, everything we love, comes to completion--Christ the King will reign forever and ever!

I love this verse--it has carried me through many dark moments:
"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

On the Edge of the Cliff

Clouds hung in the sky, a shade of indigo that made the last bit of daylight shy away.

She sat on the edge of the cliff, as always, and breathed in. Air flowed smoothly into her lungs. Finally, a place to sit and think.

She had come here many times before over the last ten years of her life. When nothing but nature surrounded her, she could take an objective look at the world of man, and her very small place in it.

The whole earth seemed to shift when her life did. It was as if she couldn't transition to a new stage without dragging every detail of life behind her. What was the point of braving the transition unless something good came of it--not for her sake, but for the sake of something more?

She told herself that everyone wants to live for something outside of themselves. Then, she reminded herself that they actually can. The thing worth loving that much would not exactly be what they expected. It would seem solid and tangible at some times, ephemeral and frustratingly translucent at others.

 Maybe that was why she liked the open air and the scenery so much. She couldn't have thought of anything so beautiful if she were the greatest artist in the world. There was something outside her, greater than her, encompassing her whether or not she could imagine a better life than the one she lived now.

The answer to "why am I here?" was ephemeral and frustratingly translucent at the moment, but she had seen the solid side before, and joyed in the knowledge that she would see it again.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A song of new colors and heavyhearted hope.

by Jaimie Krycho

May 5, 2010

v. 1
The creation of a new world
Is coming into bloom
One palette of color fading
Delicate, dissolving painting

Who can keep a dream so closely?
It's a paltry, faithless thing
Just like springtime speeding past,
Miss the landscape driving fast.

And I
Pray you open up the sky--
There's a permanence in sunset
That helps me say goodbye!

They're watercolors, all of them--
I'm terrified to tear the page away
There's passion and there's providence
And fire burning in my soul
Without these colors, how can I be whole?

v. 2
Introduction to a new home
Holds echoes of the lost
Wander through the silent hallways
They will be abandoned always

Then there's sunshine in the open
Fields of yellow, purple, gold
Little buds and bright blue water
Given to your princess-daughter!

And I
Pray you break the rule of time
Lock away the chest of yearning
Let the jewel of life be mine!

Chorus . . . 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Worthy Promo for Stephen

Dear reader, 

I have a friend named Stephen Carradini. He is a talented writer, a good friend of my husband, and a very cool person to know.

I am writing you this letter because I don't usually promote sites, but I'm promoting this one!

* Have you every been bugged by the utter cheesiness of Christian art, writing, etc? 
* Did you agree with my earlier article The Flannery Factor
* Are you a temperamental artist?
* Are you alive?

As a favor to me--and to Stephen, of course--check out "Gospelized." It won't be a waste of time, I promise. Subscribe to the RSS feed and/or drop Stephen and comment. And if you haven't clicked the link to "Gospelized" yet, I cannot post it seventy times seven times, so I'm going to stop forgiving you at  five...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy Mail

I received my first read-and-returned manuscript today! My stomach jumped when I saw my SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) in the mailbox.

Enclosed was the first story I wrote this semester--a romance called Buying Her Back for an issue of Woman's World Weekly.

It was a rejection letter, but it had writing all over it. That's a very good thing. If you receive a rejection with nothing accompanying, it's said and done. However, the assistant fiction editor wrote me personal notes, including "If you want to re-write it I'll be glad to take a 2nd look--no promises though, as all stories must receive final approval from my editor in chief."

 That is so exciting, and you can bet I feel pretty honored! My professor said none of his students have ever gotten back detailed notes and edits from Woman's World. 

I've recently learned that some people dislike me for my recent successes. It's really unsettling. The only time I talk about my stuff in class is when Mel entreats me to. Apparently, Mel's done it too often, and it's ticking someone off.

I recognize that it's a truly hard thing to rejoice with someone without comparing yourself to them. I struggle with that. As the recipient of negative reactions, I'm acutely aware of how perfidious jealousy can be. I hope I keep that in mind next time the green-eyed monster tempts me.

*sigh* I'm in a melancholy mood. I think I'm tired, so I'm going to go read my nerd material now, aka the latest issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.