Eugene Cho

my greatest fear and joy

When you turn 40 years old, you’re not sure if you should be looking back or looking forward. I know in my head that it’s supposed to be both as both the past and the future are significant and meaningful

But in doing so, I’ve also learned that if I’m not wise and careful, I can be so immersed in the past or the future that I may miss out on the gift of the present.

In fact, one of my constant reminders to myself – especially as a father and husband is:

to be present…

One of my biggest fears is waking up one morning and realize that I’m on my physical death bed.  And as I reflect on my life, I have regrets about my family – particularly with my children.  Or simply, that it all went by so quick – and I missed it – or rather, I missed them growing up.

There are days like this week when I cannot believe how big my children are and how fast they are growing.  Minhee and I feel so privileged to be the parents to our three children.  And this past weekend, we celebrated our 2nd child’s birthday.  TC is now into double digits as she marks 10 years.

Oh.my.gosh.

My oldest child is now 5 years away from college.

Oh.my.gosh.er.

We obviously love all of our children but TC has a special place in our hearts because she was born at one of the lowest points of my life. We had left our previous church months ago with the conviction and call to plant a church but we had no idea how difficult the new year would be:

  • I was unemployed and had been looking for work for several months
  • we were financially broke
  • the kids were on foods stamps and the WIC program
  • I felt like a failure for letting down my wife and kids since I felt like I couldn’t provide for them
  • the job I eventually got was working as a custodian at a retail store
  • I had grown increasingly angry and frustrated about not being able to get Quest Church off the ground

Mostly, I was angry because I had “lost” control over my life.

When TC was born, it was like a “miraculous” birth.  She was born in about 4 minutes after Minhee laid on the hospital bed.  There were no drugs, no epidural, and no doctor.  She experienced sharp pain, pushed several times, and the next thing you know, the nurse and I – in panic and frenzy – saw the crown, then the body, and then Minhee and I cried like we’ve never cried before.  We sensed God speaking to us so intimately:

I love you.  I am with you.  I have not forgotten you.

Enough of my existential ponderings and looking back.  No need to live in fear but to live in joy, contentment and to enjoy God and all of life’s blessings in the here and now.

Thank you God for the gift of our children.  Minhee and I want to treasure, nurture, and enjoy them.

And be fully present in their lives.

Thank you, T, for the constant reminder you are to us of God’s grace…

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12 Responses

  1. Daniel says:

    Thanks for this. I really needed to read this today.

  2. Sejin says:

    Loved it. Your child is beautiful!

  3. Ian Ebright says:

    Dude. i really, really relate. this season you’ve shared- your down and out years, has stuck with me over time. it’s incredibly raw and moving Story, and it preaches effortlessly, as does this post.

    really beautiful.

  4. teresa says:

    Beautifully put! A certain little grandbaby reminds me of many of the same things….
    Thanks for a beautiful glimpse into your heart and your very fortunate family.

  5. Wayne Park says:

    tho my kids are smaller, I can relate to a LOT in this post, specially those bullet points. Must be why we’re kindred spirits

  6. Laurel says:

    Oh man. The second photo of T, with her hand on her hat, is about the cutest thing ever, and she looks so much like Minhee. Awesome.

  7. Jason says:

    My oldest recently turned 7, and I had some of the same reflections.

  8. bnhickory says:

    Thanks Eugene, we are feeling like we are amidst one of the hardest times for us. It is always so much more beautiful to talk about the hard times than to go through them. Knowing God is still there, helps us to move forward, even if its a little at a time.
    B&N

    • Eugene Cho says:

      B&N, i’m sorry to hear that you guys are going through one of those “hardest times.” if i had a private jet, i’d be there in a sec. we’re so proud of you and are continuing to lift you up in prayers in tanzania.

  9. Kathryn says:

    Very special, PE.

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

my tweets

  • Heartbroken. Praying for Manchester & the UK. For those mourning loved ones. For those injured and fighting for life. Lord, in your mercy. || 1 day ago
  • Window seat. For the win. https://t.co/yG66Sm2bvu || 3 days ago
  • As leaders, we must not sacrifice our family for the sake of ministry because loving our family IS good leadership: instagram.com/p/BUVAGVwg-5z/ || 3 days ago
  • We long for a Gospel that comforts but resist the Gospel that disrupts. Having the former without the latter seduces us into complacency. || 3 days ago
  • Love wins in the end but in the meanwhile,it fights for things that matter. Love isn't sentimental. It's both gentle & fierce. Love endures. || 4 days ago
  • This is what we love to do. Empowering local, indigenous leaders to serve their own communities. Thanks for your su… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 5 days ago