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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The family that karaokes together stays together. #ChoFamilyKPopFamily Family time in one of my favorite cities in the world - especially when the exchange rate is so favorable. Thank you, Vancouver, for being such a great refuge for our souls for the past 20 years. #QuestVancouver It's the day after...that day.
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#PreachingToMyself This is what real life looks like after a crazy couple weeks. Grateful for this woman. I love her. She's gonna scream at me for posting this pic. #ThoseSocksThough Grateful for the opportunity to encourage 2500 youth leaders & pastors at the @youthspecialties conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Had prayed for wisdom to encourage leaders and courage to navigate a word for leaders post election about empathy and compassion for the unseen, marginalized, and those experiencing real fear.

Also, what a joy to have my church's youth pastor, @cobycagle, also here teaching. Some years ago, I was a youth pastor for several years in California, Korea, NY, and NJ. They were meaningful years but filled with challenges and loneliness. Sometimes, I felt unseen and insignificant - in comparison to "real" adult ministry. As a lead pastor now, I want to make sure I don't make those mistakes of overlooking our youth and children's ministry and their volunteers and staff. 
Pastor Coby, Pastor Katey, Pam, Jalle, and Jasmin: We see you. We appreciate you. We are grateful for your presence and leadership at Quest and beyond. Thank you and all of our amazing volunteers Wow. So proud of our 13 year-old son. When he began the trumpet in middle school, you could say it was a little painful. But this cat has got some groove. He's taught himself the piano, guitar, and really come along on the trumpet.

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