Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Krychocosm - Episode VI: Knowing You


video


original "Knowing You" by Graham Kendrick ((c)1993 Make Way Music)
w/ new verses by me

Why do I shed tears though I know your name,
And I tremble though you say, “be strong?”
I try hard, my Lord, but I’ve failed again.
Though you fill, I feel an empty shell.

but
Knowing you, Jesus, knowing you –
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, you’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love you, Lord!

You’re my steadfast friend when I know it not.
This I am assured – tomorrow, I’ll see
That you hold me close and you keep me warm –
While my heart is cold, you’re loving me!

Knowing you, Jesus, knowing you –
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, you’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love you, Lord!

Won’t you break my heart with your gospel truth
As you make me more like you today?
Oh, my hope is sure, I cannot be moved!
I am washed in love and saved by grace!

Knowing you, Jesus, knowing you –
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, you’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love you, Lord!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book of Questions

What do we wait for?

What do we wait for while we sit here, the netherworld of the amorphous "future?"
What do we do as we float in that space before the "real world?" Do we live in a fake world now?
What do we wait for?

What do we work for?

What do we work for while we do work to earn work?
What do we work for as we work at what our hearts love, knowing our hearts alone won't keep us alive?
What do we work for?

Who are we?

Who are we while the world strives to define us by what we do? Are we students? Are we employees?
Who are we as grow into people that no people have ever seen us be before?
Who are we?

Christ has signed his name over my book of questions --
as I question, I will call on his name and remember
who I wait for,
who I work for,
who he is.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Heartcry, Today

How I long to please you with my life!
How I long to bring you glory!
How I long to live by your Spirit and Truth.
How I long to know you holy.
How I long to know you wholly.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Handling Heroes

This is going to sound odd.

It's important for me to remember that other believers sin.

Some of Chris's and my most profitable conversations have arisen from [seemingly] unrelated starting points. Yesterday, I was struggling with the lie that doing a particular mundane thing can make me morally better. No need to go into that further -- at least, not for now -- because that was merely the starting point. It morphed into a discussion about different believers that I admired, and that I considered, "really awesome people."

If you have a list of really awesome people, great! It's good to think positively about the godly people in your life! Just don't take it as far as I tend to. I like to create standards for myself via other people. As a black and white thinker, I either grow bitter towards those "standard" people out of frustration that I'll never be able to be "as good as them," or I'll put them on a pedestal and, star-struck, continuously praise them in my head, wondering if I'll ever be able to be as cool as they are. In my eyes, they do everything right.

It looks quite juvenile all typed out, but there you have it. Chris proceeded to warn me about how dangerous this kind of hero-worship is. People are sinful. They will always let me down, and while it is wonderful to imitate others living a godly life, it's detrimental to set their lives up as perfect and complete standards for living. All people, even they, struggle with sin, whether or not the sins are visible. The only standard I must have is Christ, in the acknowledgment that it is by his grace alone that I strive to be more like him.

Chris's warning about hero worship was not one I'd never heard before -- au contraire -- but it was a much-needed reminder. After all, I didn't even realize what I was doing until the topic came up. I was dabbling in idolatry without a second thought, because it seemed that if I chose good idols, they wouldn't count as idols at all!

Silly human that I am! "Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24-25)

Friday, October 15, 2010

I.A.T.M.A

IATMA. I Apologize Too Much Anonymous.

Now that I've told you I'm part of this "anonymous" group, I might as well tell you everything. Chris and I created IATMA in our merely-flirting days when he pointed out that I, well, apologize too much. I apologize for everything. For being in someone's way when they're squeezing past my knees in a theater. For not writing "milk" in clear-enough handwriting for Chris to read what it says.

My latest addition to this sad list took place yesterday. The young woman I'm meeting with asked me to hold her accountable to read her Bible during the week. I have quite a bit of trouble doing this. Last week, I didn't ask her, even though I remembered to. That was selfish. Bah. Sorry for being a bad person.

This week, though, I did ask her. Aren't you proud of me? Sorry, I had to ask!

However, I stumbled through the question with something along the lines of, "So, I really hate to ask you this, because I always feel bad, but since you asked me to..." Blah, blah, blah. She just laughed at me and told me she would keep me accountable to not apologize for pointless things.

Sorry that I'm not explaining where I'm going with this. I'll do so now. My apologizing addiction indicates how terrified I am of offending people! I hate offending people. It makes me a little sick to my stomach to think about. But I mean, if I'm going to be a Christian, which I am, then I'm going to offend someone at some point, right?

Anyhow, all this was further underscored when I was deciding on a memory verse for myself and my mentoree (pretty sure that's not a word, but whatevs). One particular verse was on my heart, but I was afraid to choose it because I didn't want my mentoree to think I was trying to send her some kind of message about how she should improve her life by doing more good, Christian-y things. I was so afraid of offending her--with scripture!--that I acted in my own earthly "wisdom" and kept my mouth shut. Later, the Spirit made clear it was the edifying verse we should memorize this week, and I shared it. Oy ve!

After that, I decided I need to start attending my IATMA meetings again.

I'll try not too apologize for missing so many of them lately.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Letter to a Lovelorn Friend

Dear friend,

I wish that my telling you that God has a plan in this, and that you're worth more than you could possibly know, could soothe your hurting heart. However, after all the rejection you've been through, I know you doubt yourself, wondering what's wrong with you. Is it your personality? Your appearance? Your past? I want to scream, "It's none of those things! There is nothing wrong with you!" What basis do you have for believing me, though? I don't blame you for wanting proof that many will consider the one you marry someday a truly lucky person.

I know. You can't hear it from me, since I'm already married -- for me, the game is over. That doesn't offend me in the least, it only makes me pray harder. My relationship status doesn't de-legitimize the pain I feel for you. I've watched you cringe from the wounds that romantic interests have dealt you continuously. I've watched them try to hang on to the things they like about you while letting go of everything else -- a cruel half-commitment, a friendship that tortures you, built on the most fragile foundation. It's a keen form of injustice.

Unfortunately, it's also normal. It's the nature of our strange dating culture, of skewed expectations and of miscommunication between men and women. Anyone who's been broken up with has felt it. For some reason, though, you seem to get a dose of it more often than anyone else I know.

How can that be? You are a treasure.

I know God is not cruel, and he is not a trickster. He would not toy with you. He is so good and faithful. Keep holding on to that! I admire you for already doing so. I only wish I could make you believe it with all your heart.

In any case, I will continue to lift you up in prayer. I can't wait for that day that your future spouse sees your face and knows they have found someone worth holding on to with every scrap of love in them. On that day, we can rejoice together.

Keeping hoping until then,
Jaimie

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dropping Bricks

Conviction is a rather fascinating thing. It's heartbreaking until you realize it is a call for rejoicing, as Nehemiah 8:9-11 discusses.

God reveals sin in run-of-the-mill activities. When he does, it's like getting hit in the nose with a brick that you tossed into the air yourself. God makes sure the brick lands on you so that you know that the sin exists.

Since elementary school, I've been known as one of the "nice people." It's been easy for me to settle into this reputation and lower my guard in my relationships, opening myself to unchecked pride and impatience with others. Lately, I've been struggling with some bad attitudes toward people, and the Lord faithfully revealed them to me today. Without him, these little black spots that dirty my conscience would go unnoticed for much too long -- after all, no one wants to admit that they deal with jealousy, bitterness, anger, etc. -- and we would just keep feeding them and impeding our own spiritual growth.

In Psalm 19:12, David prayed,
Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.

Christ indwells us as the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit convicts us. Because of conviction, if we're willing to be obedient to the Lord, we don't have to fear that sin -- even our "hidden faults" -- will overtake us. In the past, I often worried that my faith would crumble if I didn't keep a close eye on my "good/bad list" every minute (This morphed into major legalism after awhile). I was cowering in fear, rather than pursuing the Lord and relying on him to speak to me through his power and Word as I pursued.

I am thankful for conviction, though it hurts. I'm not going to "eat the fat and drink sweet wine" right now, but I am going to rejoice over it!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The 38,000 Breakdown

38,000 words into my fantasy novel, I found myself saying, "This sounds stupid. My characters are starting to annoy the heck out of me."

I then proceeded to laugh at myself.

Writing a novel has been an interesting process. In addition to learning more technical things, like writing quickly without editing and avoiding repeat verbs and adjectives, I've learned life lessons about putting one foot in front of the other, taking breaks rather than beating my head against a wall, and recognizing where I'm headed instead of plowing forward in blind enthusiasm. Oh, yeah -- and about taking constructive criticism.

I just started developing the romantic relationship between two unassuming lead characters. I was so excited to jump in and make the sparks fly after slogging through one hundred pages of near-fatal blunders and somewhat melancholy revelations. Once I started to create the romance, though, I found myself concentrating too much on the pair involved and losing sight of the grand narrative.

The narrative is a great and terrible adventure. That's what I want to concentrate on. The romance is, after all, a subplot, not the story itself. And as much as I adored my lead character Calum when I first started working with him, he doesn't do well on his own, without the momentum of the entire story to carry him.

So, I continue to learn from the roller-coaster process of novel writing: sometimes, it takes stepping back from the details to remind oneself of the big picture, and to get a proper perspective on life. We are valuable, and our every moment here is valuable, but if we let our selves or our circumstances cause us to forget that God is in control and His grand plot cannot be thwarted, we will fumble through writing our own story.

And I'm just not as good a writer as God is.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Really Bad Friend

When I hang out with Insecurity, I like it to be just us, with no one interfering. After all, no one else gets me but this childhood friend, right?

I'm finding out that Insecurity is a pretty bad friend. I always come away worse and more discouraged after talking with him.

Unfortunately, I've never been very good at letting go of friends.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hope of Life, Taste of Death

It's OU-TX weekend, and I am going to Texas. For the game, you ask? No, indeed! To celebrate my best friend Katie's birthday! Don't you love and admire my school spirit?

---

While my life has been calm, praise God, storms rage around me in the lives of those I love.

I held a newborn baby for the first time yesterday -- Lydia, the beautiful daughter of my friends Mike and Whitney. It made my heart ache with love and awe, and I'm not even the parent! Lydia is a miraculous birth, in a way, and while the story is not mine to tell, I can say with all confidence that here, God was in control.

Not too long ago, Mike found out he is being deployed to the Middle East for three months, leaving his wife and new "little princess" behind. We prayed over them yesterday with our Bible study group, since Mike leaves tomorrow morning. It was heartbreaking. And yet I know that if we "take the wings of morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there [God's] hand shall lead [us], and [his] right hand shall hold [us]" (Psalm 139:9-10). Here, God is in control.

Today I received an email informing me that my favorite teacher's mother just died. I know the burden has been heavy on him, as his family members look to him for stability though he is as shaken as they are. It's strange thinking about death after holding vibrant life in my arms yesterday. Two extremes, both showing that we small humans have no control over our lives.

Yet even here, even in death, God is in control.

Praise him who is sovereign -- there is comfort unparalleled  in that great knowledge!