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Posts tagged ‘her story’


 It was a defining moment during our first year of marriage.  He sat on our black futon couch in our cozy living room, a size or two smaller due to more boxes of our stuff than space to unpack them all.  He was sipping at a glass of water as we talked about whatever newlyweds talk about.  There was definitely some tension in the air.  And then it happened.

I said it.  What the words were, I no longer remember.  But whatever I had been stewing about, had only expressed inside my heart and mind, but not with words direct enough for another to understand, came out unfiltered.  They were not covered with love to smooth over his lack, but unable to be any more than the state of my own heart- raw, ragged and hurt.

He usually has a long fuse with me, but in that moment that long fuse ran out.  Not the type to take out his anger (at me) back onto me, he took it out on himself and dumped his water over his head.

I was speechless.  Did my husband just dump a glass of water all over himself?  Why the hell did he do this?

Looking back, I guess I’m thankful he didn’t take it out on me directly.  He didn’t hit me, he didn’t yell at me.  He didn’t punch a hole in the wall as I’ve heard men are prone to do.  That would have really scared me.  But while I’m thankful he didn’t scare the living daylights out of me, his action on himself has remained a puzzle to me for years.  I conveniently forgot about it over time as our communication (and relationship in general) improved.  It certainly didn’t happen again.

But it’s funny how time changes how you see a thing.  When he first dumped that water on his head, I was afraid I’d married the most dysfunctional man on the planet.  We were committed to the marriage, but I was definitely afraid I had made a mistake.  I saw him as the one with the most issues, and my needs, especially emotional ones, always felt legitimate, and deserving of being filled.  By him.

And there was the crux of my problem.  I was so overcome by the cries of my heart for a specific picture of marital bliss, I couldn’t see past myself to actually hear what he was trying to say to me or peek into his heart, full of legitimate needs and desires of his own.  Now I know the things I thought I wanted were but a shadow of the real thing.  I know even today, my heart joins my husband’s in our cries for the real, which we have been tasting more and more, but to some extent, our daily reality,  and even many of the things we think we want will continue to be a shadow of the Real Love we are heading towards.

I now see David’s water pouring incident as a cry for help, a cry for an outpouring of love beyond himself, to the One who delights to love us with the real thing so we can stop destroying each other trying to get what our partner can never provide on their own.  Now I think he did the best thing he could have possibly done, a symbolic way of saying “I can’t give you what you want.  No person ever could.  Let’s look up together to the one who can.”  Of course, at the time, he wasn’t necessarily that optimistic.  His symbolic act was pointing to a love more like this:

And as we can attest by the years following this incident, when we are covered in this awesome love, and as we learn to walk the day to day in this love, marriage, family and life is absolutely amazing.  This is becoming more and more the new cry of my heart.  It is not yet our daily reality, but we have tasted enough to say THIS IS WHAT WE WANT.

Photos by Chad Fust and spablab

What if? Didn’t I? Who am I to judge? Is nothing impossible for God?

*I usually only post extremely well-processed things on here.  Even with this care, I know too well if the wrong-minded people get their hands on my words without my heart, there is SO much room for misinterpretation and we constantly write with the risk of having our words used against us.

**In stark contrast, this post is under-processed and I am using this blog as a place to attempt to process this externally a bit.  Why?  I’m not sure yet; I just somehow feel (at this time) that it will be helpful.

So here goes…


What if my husband were to find himself entangled in a same-sex relationship, both physical and emotional?  Could I forgive him?  Would we get over it?  Is it perhaps something that he needs to do to see firsthand that it’s not going to fulfill him after all?

We’ve known for years he needs to be in emotionally healthy, but close relationships with other men.    He needs it.  It’s a legitimate need.  We both want more of this.

But the truth is, I know his type.  I know which kind of man is dangerous territory for my man, and I’d be lying if I said I had no qualms about him meeting such men, particularly one on one.  (Now there are a few men fitting his ‘type’ who are mature, trustworthy, and not in the least attracted to my husband physically, who I have no qualms about him meeting.  I’m talking about men of unknown character and relationship to us.)

And my instinct is to keep my husband away from such men.

And then I feel guilty.  Are my fears (and his) somehow sabotaging this key to growth?  Do I not trust him enough?

Even King Solomon in all his wisdom, gained some of it by trying things out.

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.

According to these verses from Ecclesiastes 2, he learned by experience.

Personally, my strongest convictions have come from doing the wrong thing and learning ‘the hard way’ that it didn’t bring the life, love or fulfillment I was seeking.

So in my strange logic, I wonder at times if David simply needs to get out there and try out what he has always wanted, but has chosen away from.

Why the fact that this is adultery and betraying me and our family doesn’t seem to bother me in these moments of wonderings is strange to me.  The idea that this would ‘bother’ me is actually a ridiculous understatement.  It would devastate me and I would leave at least temporarily, and strongly consider becoming those parents whose communication mainly consists of working out child care arrangements for weekends and vacations.

But on the other hand, if he were to explore this, I can easily imagine that we would still be there for each other as we always have, processing what is going on together and more than likely getting out of the entanglement rather quickly.

Wouldn’t it be smooth sailing from there?

And yet, I can’t imagine that it would.  According to the Maker we love, our marriage bed is to be kept just for us.  David ‘going there’ would cause damage of a different flavor than the damage I caused with my experience before we married.



But isn’t our Redeemer just that, our Redeemer?  Doesn’t he take our mistakes and turn them into good, ‘for the good of those who love him?’

But then, is holding a seasoned believer of twenty years to the same standard of a naive teenage girl really our Redeemer’s way of working?  I don’t think so.

But then, we know we will not be perfect in this life.  So we will continue to need the reality of our Redeemer as desperately as in our youth.

All those influential men who have fallen in leadership, is it just an inevitable end?  Ted Haggard comes to mind.  I know he has found redemption after his fall.  His wife has forgiven him.  He probably walks with more humility now than ever before possible.  Maybe it wasn’t inevitable, but it wasn’t the end.

But though I know our same Redeemer would walk with us through that path with the same grace, I would never choose to walk that path on purpose.

But being driven by the fear of ever having to walk that path may inadvertently lead us right there.

So I’m back where I started.  How to encourage him to grow in healthy friendships with men while keeping it ‘safe.’

I need to cling, and it’s not to David.  I need to cling closely to the One who tells us whether a risky step is putting our feet in the river before he parts it into dry land, or if it’s stepping into dangerous waters not meant for our frames.

In clinging to him, my confusion is cleared up by his light.  In clinging to my Redeemer who is alive and well, I am free once again to operate in love and not in fear.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  -1 John 4:16b, 18

I want to live in love.  I want to live in God.  But most of all, I want God to live in me.  The little bits I have tasted this have been amazing.  And yes, such living does drive out fear.  I want more of this, and in this love, I will find the answer I’m looking for, or maybe see more clearly that there are better questions I could be asking.

Eruptions of the Heart: beautifully redeemed pms

I don’t really know how I compare with other women, but I do know my PMS is always noticed and felt by David.  When he first encountered it during our dating and engaged days, my hormone-inspired emotional energy wiped the life out of him.  When I was pregnant with our first child my entire first trimester was like severe PMS which he suffered through bravely, then was rewarded with an extremely even-keeled wife for both second and third trimesters.

I’ll be honest here.  Throughout our relationship, his journey into manhood has often taken the forefront to my journey into womanhood.  I have always been okay with that, as I had journeyed significantly in the years before our relationship, and of course interspersed throughout.  And who am I kidding?  Pregnancy and birth and motherhood as been in the limelight THREE times now, and David has more than done his share of stepping aside and letting me be in the limelight.

But this year is different.  I’m stepping up into a new level of womanhood slowly but surely and I am loving it.  I guess it is finally my time.  A dream I had around the new year where I wore this simple, comfortable, but also flashy and beautiful red dress kind of captures where I am being taken.

A significant part of this journey has been redeeming my PMS.  The ugly things I managed to keep hidden in my heart regarding issues in our relationship during dating/ engaged days were released with vengeance within the first few years of marriage.  They threatened my husband, and  sometimes scared the heck out of me.  And over the years, I slowly took in the lie either believed by David or at the very least implied by him unintentionally: the emotions of my PMS were an unwelcome interruption to our otherwise peaceful life.

Over the last couple of years, as I grew more secure in who I am, I started realizing this is a lie.  I stepped up and told him no, actually my PMS was a time when VALID but difficult to handle emotions I can repress easily the rest of the month can’t hide anymore, but milder forms of those same emotions are going on all month, and this means WE have issues to DEAL WITH, not _I_ have emotions that are so strong they do not count.  He slowly took this in, and it’s been good for our marriage.

But I wasn’t satisfied.  There was something deeper I couldn’t get my finger on and from time to time, I was troubled by it.  And then, just a couple of months ago, I REMEMBERED.  I remembered crying over a troubled friend and praying for her desperately one random afternoon in high school, then noticing my period started the next day.  I remembered being so overwhelmed with thankfulness one afternoon in college that I stopped by a prayer room on campus as I biked by and ended up weeping for sexually broken women everywhere, especially women just like me who were prone to look for love in all the wrong places.  And then my period started the next day.

Then I realized that the battles of our life had been SO overwhelming, the issues in our marriage and each of our characters SO unresolved (we have a great marriage, but far from a perfect one!), and my immature emotional response to try to live in denial or cover-up for my husband (who rarely seemed ready to deal with issues that were crippling me) was SO strong, that by the time PMS struck, all it could be was a volcano of hidden emotions erupted.

But as I’ve learned to view our issues rightly, as I’ve walked the walk again that my husband is not my enemy but we are fellow warriors on the SAME side of a greater battle, and as I’ve walked in greater freedom than I’ve ever known before of knowing who I am and WHOSE I am, my PMS is being beautifully redeemed into what I believe it was designed for.

It’s an opportunity for intense emotion to be released on behalf of others, the oppressed, the victims of injustice, my own children, my husband, even myself.  Christians call this intercession, literally, standing in the gap for someone who needs help in their journey towards our Maker.  It’s an opportunity to cry out truth over lives deceived by lies.  It’s a time to reclaim lives to be all they were meant to be.  It’s a battle cry of a strong warrior ready to lay her life down for those she loves most.

It’s beautiful, it’s powerful, it’s fiery intense, and it’s pretty dang awesome.

photo by Petur Gauti


At the End of the Day

David doesn’t know what I posted yesterday about the deceiving voices in my head when he isn’t doing well.

But as if he did, he made me a beautiful Mother’s Day card with a beautiful picture he drew of a scene reminiscent of the Japanese garden we liked to frequent during dating/ engaged days, only different, like  a new place we have never been together representing a fuller, richer life together.

Inside the card were five simple words of assurance to seal the cracks in my heart broken down from my insecurities and fears, just beginning (once again) to embrace my own lovability by both my husband and my eternal Lover of my Soul.

You are my safe  place.

Yes, he can get angry with me in the moment, and with good reason, but at the end of the day, I am his safe place.  He doesn’t have to worry if I love him, because I just do.  I may go through short spurts of not liking him very much when he is walking in his own deceptions, but at the end of the day, I love how he is made, how he is so uniquely wired, and I long to see him walking fully in who he is and doing all the things he was created to do.  I am his champion, his cheerleader, his biggest fan.  I am also the recipient of his beautiful expressions of love, often quite undeservedly so.  I don’t think I’d do very well being married to myself, but he handles me and all my eccentricities and rough edges with a delicate touch, a wisdom beyond words.  In dealing with the fragility of my feminine heart, his patience has been tried many a time, but he has risen up in manhood and has learned to love me through it.  Our marriage has been tested in this last year more severely than ever before (not SSA-related), and resolution still awaits our current life circumstances, but with very few exceptions, at the end of the day, we have found refuge in each other’s arms, doing our best to remember Whose hand we are in, the source of our ultimate safety.

I love you, babe.  I’ve got my own five words for you as we prepare to enter into a new season of life, the details of which are currently unknown to us: Let’s get this party started!



Breaking the Power of Lies Over Me

David has been having a hard day. Actually, he’s been having a hard year. And at the height of his frustration today, a careless error on my part pushed him over the edge.

I was legitimately busy, juggling dinner preparations with facilitating our sons’ homework. I was relieved to see our little girl calmly looking through a colorful book her brother had brought back from the school library. I hoped and hoped she wouldn’t rip it (she didn’t, thank goodness!), since we are responsible to take care of it, but trusted her genuine interest in each page. Next to the book was our labeler, which I had left on the table after using it to label yet another school item with our son’s name.

I checked in on her every few minutes, and as I am wont to do when stretched with multitasking, interpreted her calmness and interest in whatever she was doing (looking at the book and innocently pushing buttons on the labeler) as acceptable.

An hour or two later, after both dinner and homework were done for the day, David needed the labeler and was not impressed to find that not only had random letters been printed out, but lengths of ribbon were all tangled up deep inside the machine. A simple labeling task had turned into a fix-it project, and it was not welcome.

He held it together in front of the kids, but the tension in the air was palpable.

And it was my fault.

He had already spent days dealing with technical problems with mobile phones and computers on multiple levels, spending inordinate amounts of time that already felt ‘wasted’ to him when there were many more truly important things he needed to be working on. His own wife’s preventable mistake was like rubbing salt onto an open wound.

After awhile, he left the house discreetly. A wise move I understood. I hoped he was getting his anger out constructively somehow.

But then they came to me. The lies. The accusations. Deceptions. Familiar ‘friends’ that have been with me my whole life.

In my younger years they told me I wasn’t lovable, that I wasn’t worthy to be loved unconditionally, that I wasn’t fit for a lifetime of a loving marriage.

After marriage to David, they changed their voices a little, and it got uglier, even as we walked a healing journey together. Look at what you just did. See??? You are a bad wife. You’re lucky God brought you together, because if he didn’t, no one would have ever married you. If you were a better wife, David would be doing better in his career/ healing journey/ etc.

And here we are, almost a decade married. My fantasies that marriage to me would wipe out all same-sex attractions in my husband have come to an end. Not a disappointing end, mind you, just a much-sobered one.

And so at times like this, the uglies come at me again. When incident after incident, stress after stress piles up (and trust me, a tangled up labeler is the LEAST of the problems David is actually reacting against) and David needs to leave the house to cool off and let off some steam, my fears take on a new turn.

Will he go to a gay bar? Is he going to a gay bar or other local gay hangout I don’t know about right now? Is he checking out guys on the street without guarding himself as he usually does so faithfully? Is he going to come back and tell me it’s over? That he needs to go find himself and start over without us?

He’s already told me when he was doing much worse than this that he had no desire to leave me or our children. He loves us and is committed to us. He feels incomplete without us. I see him make choices every day that show he values us and loves us.

And yet my mind has been going there many times over the last several months. And I see now that it’s a lie I do NOT have to fall for.

Even building up today’s story to write out these fears of mine for the first time I felt a measure of oppression over me, as if someone was trying to stop me from writing it out.

Because writing it out, putting it out there, into the light, exposes it for the lie it really is. And its power over me is broken.

What lies are YOU believing? Are you ready to get them into the light?

Dropping the Bomb

[This post was written almost a year ago, but not posted for some unknown reason.  Here it is, in stark contrast to my new post from tonight.  What a refreshing read.]

So this summer, like many other American couples, David and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.  This year there has been a marked shift in the way David feels and acts towards me, for the better.  He is more culturally Korean than I am, so I had to lay down just about all of my American romantic ideals I brought into our relationship/ marriage.  And over the years, I learned that his quiet ways of serving me and our children, and choosing the direction of our family in wisdom and faith, were actually far preferable to showy, public demonstrations of emotional love which I admittedly craved, but didn’t truly need.  The knowing I had in my heart, mind and spirit that he loves me and our family was unmistakable, and it ran very deep.

The shift this past year has been more emotional eros love on David’s part than I have ever felt in the course of our marriage.  He spontaneously expresses his love for me verbally out of the blue, in ways I craved when we were first married, but honestly which throw me off now.  I’m usually in the middle of something and quite distracted.  But I’m learning to take a step back in those moments, and take in his compliments, his verbal expressions of love.  I choose to remember how much I used to want this, and allow that portion of my heart to open up again, receive his expression, and return my affections in the moment.  And while I hold it loosely, I can’t deny his verbal love and proclamations of my beauty nourish my soul and build me up like nothing else.

This recent development is the fruit (I believe) of me choosing to love and support who he really is (vs. my projected image of what I thought he SHOULD be), and encourage him to pursue the dreams of his heart.

But I digress.  This post isn’t for analyzing why we are doing well right now.  The point is, we are doing well.  Our emotional intimacy has never run this close, and I feel for those married who have not tasted this level of safety, trust, and simply knowing and being known.  It’s amazing, whenever I stop a moment to think about it.

And then, it all disappeared in one moment.


David chose to tell a group of new friends his story, and I was not able to be part of the conversation.  I could not control their reactions.  I could not qualify statements that may be misunderstood.  And I was not there to watch and analyze their reactions and nonverbal signals to gauge their comfort levels with our story.

My brain raced to think what could I do to convince them we are doing well.  Ways to pepper our conversations with tidbits about our marriage.  Ways to publicly show physical affection more than usual (we both definitely carry the typically Asian behavior of saving our physical affection for private contexts rather than in public).

And I was reminded of when Michael Jackson was married to Lisa Marie Presley, and they made out on stage and made that one music video together.  It was so showy, it made you question the relationship more than if they kept that to themselves.

For me, I had to do a double take on myself.  How could my take on our marriage go from most secure EVER to completely insecure and uncertain in one instant?  I am reminded of the power of what other people think, and challenged to let it go.  These are our friends, new as they may be.  They are safe people.  If there are areas of misunderstanding, if we continue on in relationship, they will probably see their questions answered simply by the depth of our character, who we are, rather than how we behave with one another at any given moment. And if some misunderstand?  It’s okay.  How many people have I misunderstood over the years?  When my perception was wrong, it would correct itself over time.  If the person I misunderstood was defensive about my opinion, it only lowered my opinion of them even more.

So here I am, asking for courage and faith to let it go, and cling to what is good.

Twenty-three. Little Did I Know.

“Of course, I do hope to marry one day,” David confessed to me towards the end of what became our annual three-hour phone conversation.

We were 23, a year out of college, dreaming dreams and taking baby steps to pursue them. We hadn’t spoken in months, and one Saturday night, procrastinating from my own mountain of work, I decided to give him a call to see how he was doing. He was happy to hear from me, and we shared both what we were up to and the deeper things of the heart. Our most beautiful Maker was shaping us, forming us, refining us, in these formative adult years, to become all that we were meant to be. Our Maker was opening our eyes to poison in our lives, from our pasts, our childhoods, and generational legacies (both good and bad) passed down to us from our parents and grandparents. And we were each in our own way welcoming our Maker to whisper cleansing and hope into these areas, that we could walk in a new way.

A couple hours into our conversation, David shared where he was at with his struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA). I joined a weekly support group, he told me. It wasn’t perfect, but it provided him enough support to keep him growing. For now I feel called to singleness, he shared.

I was at the exact same place, wanting to eradicate my life of some of my own inner demons before pursuing marriage, and also focusing on my career and personal goals at the time, which kept me far too busy for me to feel like I could adequately invest into a dating relationship.

We laughed together about older Koreans from our parents’ generation, who all seemed to conspire to match us up with other Korean-American singles. Even my dry cleaner lady! It was like as soon as you graduated from college, during which time most of us were discouraged from dating so we could focus on our studies, we were now ENcouraged to date and marry at a rate far faster than our generation was comfortable with.

We were both at peace with our singleness and utilizing our life stage well, and we shook our head in amusement at our elders who thought they knew what was best for us when they simply did not. At least not in this area.

And then he said those magic words. “Of course, I do hope to marry one day.” It was an honest confession of the heart. Did it stir my heart? Not really. I knew he wasn’t confessing feelings for ME; he was simply sharing HIS hope for HIS future.

As his friend, I tried to be encouraging, nodding my head in agreement as if my nonverbal signal could somehow travel over the phone lines and into his faith for the future.

But I was not just his friend. I was a young woman who four years before had been cripplingly attracted to him in in my own well of emotional neediness. I was a sister in the faith, fighting my own deceptions that any man could ever fill the holes in my heart to complete satisfaction. I was a sister in the faith, who after some months of this fight, emerged victorious, free and light when I finally saw my romantic feelings for him were done, and all that remained was a pure concern for his well being and growth. I was a sister in the faith, and at that time I believed with all my heart that my life calling lay geographically on the opposite side of the world as where he was headed. I was a sister in the faith, with my own life so full and busting at the seams, and my own heart so wounded and damaged in different ways that just thinking about the healing journey that lay ahead for David tired me out.

I was proud of him for how far he had come. I trusted our Maker to complete this obviously good work which he had started. I was happy to hear his progress during our annual three-hour catch-up conversation. But that was really it.

The gut response in my heart and mind was “I’m SO glad I’m not the one for you!!!” I may have even breathed a sigh of relief.

Little did I know.

photo by fraumrau

From Sam-wise to Aragorn

When the LOTR films were popular, a common questions asked girls and women was “Aragorn or Legolas?” meaning which one was more attractive to you?

I scoffed at the question, because I didn’t like either of them. My favorite character was Sam, the ever-encouraging, ever-persevering, inspring-when-you-need-it servant and friend.

I’ll cut to the chase. I liked Sam because he is non-threatening. He didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body, and I’ve always felt threatened (at least subconsciously) by aggressive men. He wasn’t weak, but he was not aggressive, and I loved it.

And honestly, the reasons I liked Sam are the same reasons I liked David. Non-threatening. Good listener. Really cares. Sensitive. Serving. Gentle. Happy to meet my needs before his own.

All of these things are wonderful characteristics, but paired with my controlling, always-have-to-get-it-my-way self-centeredness, there was a rather hard-to-miss power dynamic at play here. An extreme way to put it would be: I chose to be with David so I could retain power in my marriage. To put it another extreme way would be to say I wanted David to be my man-pet (existing just to please me) rather than my man-husband/ protector/ leader (who I am called to support, empower and walk alongside).

Well, God loved us too much to let this pathetic young couple continue this dynamic till death do us part!

To make a long story short, he is transforming my Sam-wise husband into an Aragorn, from servant to servant leader, from behind-the-scenes helper to frontlines warrior, from being completely non-threatening to ushering in the kingdom with force.

And as I released my husband to find his destiny, walking my own journey of relinquishing control, finding ultimate love and acceptance from Jesus lover of my soul, I am finding out that God has more in store for me than just walking the lonely desert I was on for the rest of my life.

As Sam-wise becomes Aragorn, I am simultaneously growing into Arwen, his strong and beautiful queen. My natural strength which I used to step all over my husband is being transformed into redeemed and repurposed strength, fighting common enemies alongside my husband king, and together looking outward to build up the kingdom for the good of all.

So my question for you, should you find yourself in a similar situation, is this:

Are you ready to let God transform you from your husband’s mother into his queen? Are you ready to walk in spiritual authority, in the fullness of who you are and will be, and like Jesus, choosing humility and coming TO serve and not to BE served?

photo from andy z

moments of healing

Several months into our relationship, there had been several key moments of healing for me as David was able to provide some of the affirmation I needed, and for him as he saw how positively I responded to him when he gave of himself.  Our weekly 4-6 hour phone dates had proven more precious than originally anticipated.  The ‘curse’ of being long-distance turned into a blessing, as we were free from having to work out too many logistics (where should we eat?  what should I wear?).  We could just ‘go there’ and delve into deep issues of the heart, as well as simply sharing about our weeks, during our times together.  Getting to know each other deeply was truly awesome and laid a foundation for our future life together.  We had also met in person several times, and there was no doubt that we enjoyed each other’s company, and got along with one another’s friends and family.  We certainly enjoyed eating together!  We had also had our share of constructive conflict resolution, and had worked through some difficulties, clarified expectations, and both apologized a lot for our respective shortcomings and immaturities.

We were at the point in our relationship where it seemed like we were ready to move forward a step closer towards possible marriage.  We decided to seek counsel from our former pastor from college, who we both loved and respected very much.  He had been the second person David opened up to after me back in the day, so he knew our basic story.  He graciously agreed to meet us despite his busy schedule.

I anxiously awaited our meeting because I really really needed to speak alone with our pastor.  He was the only one I could turn to completely honestly because he was the only one who I personally knew and trusted who already knew David’s story.  To this point I had not shared our secret of his ‘orientation’ with any of my girlfriends (to protect David, since he did not know them well enough to feel comfortable with them knowing).  So all my other sharing (of my insecurities, etc. in the relationship) were met rather blankly because my girlfriends simply didn’t understand the depth of what I was going through.  One perceptive friend did observe I seemed to protect David a lot when talking about him, always defending his position when she would question something about our relationship, even if I was wallowing in a lot of pain over the very thing she was observing.  I still felt ugly and unloveable still in so many ways, but had not been able to share this in its raw depth with a trusted friend.

Our pastor first met with both of us, then excused me as he met with David privately.  I was so grateful he initiated meeting with us individually because I may have been too nervous to ask for one-on-one time myself.  Not too long afterwards, David came out and I went in.  I was so nervous because I didn’t know what was going to happen in the conversation.  Would he say I’m crazy and I needed to get out of this relationship as fast as I could?  Would he tell me I have serious issues and we were just not ready for this?  I didn’t know what to expect, or exactly how to put into words the questions in my heart.  As we began talking, he was most encouraging and as gracious as could be.  These many years later, I don’t remember too much of our conversation, but two things that set me off on the right course.  First, I needed to share David’s story with one girlfriend so I would not have to struggle alone. Afterwards, David quickly gave his blessing to this, which brought me a great measure of relief.  I did not have to struggle alone.

Secondly, and even more powerfully, a little hole in my heart was healed that day when he said in his typical understated way, “Oh, and if you’re wondering if there’s anything wrong with you, you are perfectly fine.”  I don’t think these were his exact words, but it conveys the gist, including his conservative Asian way of communicating.  If I may take the liberty to fill out what he meant by that, what I would tell a woman in my shoes at that time would go something more like this: “I want to affirm that you are beautiful, and there is nothing about your appearance that makes you inherently unattractive or unloveable.  Your boyfriend’s struggles in this area are completely unrelated to your inherent feminitity or womanhood, and I encourage you to look to God and His Word to affirm your inner beauty and let God love on you and fill your needs in this area.  You are God’s beloved, and His desire is for you.  The more you can take in this truth and walk confidently in it, the more true beauty will emanate from the inside out.  And regarding your boyfriend, be patient as he grows in his ability to feel and demonstrate physical attraction to you.”

photo by DKFrost

Walking on Water

It was close to midnight on a weeknight, as I sat at my desk, attempting to get some work done. The cries and questions of my heart overshadowed the demands of my job once again.

Only a few short weeks into our long distance dating relationship, I had already had it with the hurt, the constant feeling of rejection, compounded by my own insecurities about myself.  I was slightly overweight and not particularly feminine, making me feel ugly and unloveable.  Deep down inside, I wondered if my lack of physical beauty took me out of the running with any totally straight man I would be attracted to.  I’m so ugly only my gay friend would even consider dating me was the lie it took years to get over.   Added on top of my insecurity was his need to test out the waters of dating very slowly.  His deliberation with every move we made, though motivated by genuine care for me and an attempt to guard my heart, was like rubbing salt and lemon juice into an already deep wound and tonight I had had enough.

In desperation, I opened my bible completely randomly for answers from the One I was sure had brought us together.  It landed on Matthew 14, and my eyes quickly settled on the passage where Jesus walks on water.  His words to his disciples, who didn’t recognize him on the water, were his extremely personal words to me that night:

 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

I knew in that moment God was speaking to me.  He didn’t analyze the psychology of what was going on.  He didn’t tell me how it would all turn out.  But He affirmed that it was He who began this relationship, and I was looking at the wrong place by focusing on David’s shortcomings and my unmet needs.  My task was to look at Him and Him alone.  I didn’t need to wallow in my fears.  I could take courage and look to Him.  And as I took courage, I could walk on water too, as Peter miraculously did.

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

      Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

Dating and possibly marrying David was essentially as impossible a task as walking on water, but I felt so strongly in that moment that the Spirit was saying to me that the impossible would be made possible if I kept my eyes fixed on Jesus (and not David).

My spirit broke, tears poured out, and I surrendered myself once again to the God who had never failed me yet, whom I could trust to be faithful even when we were not.

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Peter, fixing his eyes on Jesus and obeying his call to come, did the impossible; he walked on water.  But when he took his eyes off of Jesus and let his logic come into play (“Hey, this is impossible!  How can anyone walk on water at all, much less with all this wind?”) he began to sink.  He was at least smart enough to cry out to Jesus to save him, but he could have walked all the way to Jesus had he not lost focus on the source of his miracle.

Our story is one of a lot of sinking, a lot of cries to Jesus to save us, along with periods of not even calling on Jesus to help at all, and some awesome times of walking on water.  Ultimately, our story is one beautifully written by Jesus Himself, the author and perfecter of our faith.  He is the One that has led us to a pretty flourishing marriage today, over a decade and many, many storms after that fateful night in my room.  Today we are one in spirit and together able to battle the storms of life that come at us.  But honestly, this is a fairly recent development.  Many years were spent battling each other, or ourselves, or not even putting up a fight, but simply losing at the war of life.  But the one thing that has been clear through it all is it is God who is masterfully writing our story, and we can trust Him to finish this good work that He has begun in us.

photo by atomicjeep