Eugene Cho

a tribute to my imperfect wife and best friend

In Asian culture, it’s usually customary not to speak highly of yourself, and even more so, to speak highly of your spouse.

In this case,  I can’t help it. In fact, I have and make no apologies.  I think it’s more than appropriate to celebrate a special person in my life –  my partner, wife, and best friend.  I am amazed and encouraged by my wife, Minhee – even more so after 15 years of marriage – and mutually seeing all of our collective flaws and blemishes.

And there are a lot of flaws and blemishes. More with her than me…but I digress. This is a tribute and not a roast.😉

This last week, we celebrated Minhee’s graduation from Seattle Pacific University as she completed her graduate school degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. To say that it has been an arduous journey is an understatement but she is finished!

In our marriage and family, people naturally see me because of my visible role in numerous capacities. If I am the face of our family (and not a pretty one at that), she is certainly the heart.

And oh, how she beats…

Not only do I love her but…I know her – and I respect her deeply:

Love.

She left all that was familiar and comfortable in Korea to trek to the United States to begin our new life together – at the difficult adult age of 26.  She left family, friends,  her native language, culture, her job, etc. She left everything out of love and covenant to begin our lives anew in a new and foreign land.  

Faith.

She loves Christ. She is devoted in her faith. She pours her heart into reading and studying the Scriptures. She prays for so many. She is my pastor. I am moved by her faith.

Courage.

She took a mountainous step of faith in agreeing to leave our former church 10 years ago to plant Quest Church with me. That decision meant agreeing to be without salary and health insurance in the first year –  and she was pregnant with our second child.  Thanks for your courage.

Compassion.

The last couple years have been the most trying time of our lives but she held true to our commitment and conviction to give up our year’s wages and start One Day’s Wages and launch this grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. That decision was costly on many levels including a stretch of couch-surfing – perhaps the most difficult decision we’ve made as parents. I have been moved by her investment and care for the numerous foster children she counsels through her work as a therapist. Thanks for your compassion.

Wisdom.

I admire her wisdom and her commitment in our partnership in loving, nurturing, and raising our three children – including honoring our joint and prayerful decision for her to be a stay-at-home mother until all of our kids entered the public school system. We made an intentional decision knowing first hand that we’d go into heavy debt but we saw this to be one of the most important investments we could make. Additionally, there was a particular sacrifice for her to put her career and dreams on hold…Thanks for your wisdom.

Patience.

She deals with me. Enough said.

Vision.

At the age of 38, she decided to go back to school and pursue a second Masters degree and study Marriage & Family Therapy. She got into the program years ago but after receiving the joyous news of the pregnancy of our first child, we decided to wait,  wait (after our 2nd child), and wait even more (after the arrival of our 3rd child). In fact, she waited thirteen years.

When she went back to school three years ago, I have to be honest and share that I had my doubts…but she received stellar grades, earned a scholarship, and was a true model to our children. She persevered and remained true to the dreams and vision God placed upon her heart many years ago before I ever met her. Thanks for your vision.

Minhee is not perfect. Truth be told, she’s far from perfect – just as I am far from perfect. But in her weakness, I see, witness, and experience the substance and sufficiency of God’s grace and it is truly beautiful.

Congratulations to Minhee as she marks and celebrates this milestone of her graduation. Can’t wait to see what the next chapter unfolds…

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17 Responses

  1. Sejin Park says:

    You have a beautiful family. I say that with an adoration of what marriage is truly supposed to look like – that it is not a cookie cutter type of relationship but one that perseveres through the thick and rejoices through the thin. Tying this back to Christ – that He is not a cookie cutter type of God.

  2. This is so beautiful. Thank you for honoring your wife this way.🙂 Congrats, Minhee!!

  3. Elaine says:

    Eugene, you don’t know me . .But I got to know your wife, Minhee through the Mother’s School in Seattle . .:)

    She surely is a wonderful lady. And you’re so blessed to have her as your wife, a partner in ministry and the best friend.

    Bless both of you . .

  4. Wayne Park says:

    you guys are role models for us as we seek to both be equipped as a team, to find true vocation, to wrestle with the pastoral / “samonim” titles and to build legacy beyond ourselves

  5. Dave Ingland says:

    Thanks for sharing this Eugene. I hope to someday get to a similar place where I can lift up flaws and imperfectikn without them being a point of contention between my wife and I. Strength through your journey continually inspires me. As you have said to me, I say back to you, “respect!”

  6. Paul says:

    It is very uplifting to see a man living out his faith and commitment to the one the Lord has given him. Thanks Eugene for sharing her with us. What a lovely couple you are.

  7. Jennifer Kay says:

    Eugene!! Congrats to your beautiful wife. I’m so happy to be able to follow your blog and keep in touch this way.

  8. Kristen says:

    As far as I can see, the teachings to husbands in Eph. 5 can be summed up as follows:

    Lay down your life
    To raise up your wife.

    You have done both. Good for you.

  9. steph says:

    what a beautiful tribute to your wife. it’s so inspiring and encouraging.

  10. This is beautiful, Eugene. Thank you for honoring your wife and exampling a Godly marriage to your children, your church, and your community. Congratulations, Minhee! You are an inspiration and a blessing to many! God bless you both as you continue to seek Him!

  11. Minhee’s journey sounds a bit like my own…I have been waiting 13 years to start my 2nd Master’s at Bethel Seminary and be faithful to God’s call on my life. But I have also had to be faithful in the wait. Thanks for this post, I feel encouraged.

  12. Kayce says:

    Beautiful! Congratulations! Me thinking about going to SPU one day too.

  13. penny hunter says:

    Simply beautiful. Every word of it.

  14. Jonghee Jo says:

    What an impressive story! She was impressive back in 1988 (I knew Minhee from Somang Church in Seoul) and now she is even more amazing.

  15. […] it is customary [and wise] to speak well of your spouse on your anniversary but Minhee truly is an expression and embodiment of God’s grace and beauty to my life. Our marriage – while clearly not perfect – remains focused on the three pillars I often […]

  16. […] hard for me to put into words how proud I am of my wife. Not an arrogant kind of proud but, “Wow, God is working through my wife” kind of […]

  17. […] I’m thankful for my wife, best friend, and deepest advocate – Minhee.  A simple bullet point would not be sufficient to explain her inspiration in my life. So, feel free to read this. […]

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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  • The Gospel, not social justice, is our identity as believers but the Gospel compels us to love God/love people incl. work 4 the common good. || 1 day ago
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