Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wings to Fly — 12

Memoir Index

Taking a Stand

I loved having an education business—Proevity. Tamara and I were partners, and we fit so well. Tamara took care of all the practical business and bringing clients to our company. I developed, designed, and produced education curriculums with help from speakers. I then submitted the programs to Medical associations to get a formal approval which can be translated into continuing education credits. It was exciting. There is a part of me that hungers for academic achievement.

I became the moderator who introduced speakers to our audience which comprised healthcare professionals and other interested people. To my surprise I did not get nervous in front of audiences of one hundred or more. In fact I loved it.

I found my work fulfilling. I dreamed of my company growing and having real impact on the health care industry by moving it toward preventative medicine. I worked with passion.

In 2002, Proevity was contacted by a human-potential school in New York. They wanted Proevity to accredit their courses so their students would earn educational credits. My first project was a two-and-half-week course. In order to see if the program was worthy of accreditation, I needed to participate in it.

I had never been away from home or from my Christian community that long. I asked the Lord to be my supply and reality during the two-and-half-week business trip. On the airplane I realized that I only had a small New Testament without any footnotes. At our church we all used the same daily devotional book, and I had forgotten to pack it.

I started to read the Bible without any notes. I said, “Lord, You must reveal Yourself to me. I don’t know how to interpret Your word.” I always relied on others’ exposition of verses. After each full day of the workshop, I would read and talk to the Lord. His presence was so dear and so rich. His word came alive.

As I would be amazed at the intricacies of biology and worship the Lord for His wonderful creation, I found myself totally amazed by the intricacies of the human psyche that I was learning about during the day, and I would worship the Lord for His creation of the human mind. Again at night I would come to the Bible. I would continue where I left off the previous night. Some nights I did not cover more than two or three verses in two hours. His riches, His speaking, His love, His wisdom filled me. I would fall asleep and wake up with the sensation of total immersion in the Lord’s love. This love overflowed from me and found expression in the public setting of the workshop sessions in a way I was not accustomed to. I was surrounded by unbelievers. I loved them.

There were about 30 of us. All the participants thought that I paid for the program just like them—$7000. The participants were business owners, physicians, politicians, executives, and other people who could afford such a program and who wanted to enlarge their human potential. There was one memorable event where my Lord manifested Himself through me. Two weeks into the program, we had a session discussing the topic, “Religion and Man.”

“What is religion?” asked our facilitator. Different people started to answer. “Religion is obligation and duty against your will”; “Religion is something someone created to appease man”; “Religion creates war”… I was fine with anything they had to say. But once they started to equate this religion with Jesus, something started to happen within me. I was experiencing God in such a real way that I had to defend Him. I thought of all the consequences of such action. I could see them leading me out of the room and slamming the door. As the discussion progressed, I was becoming infuriated with these people who were talking about my dear Lord in such a degrading way. I stood up without even realizing what I was doing. I started to speak. “Yes, religion is all these things that you are stating. However, don’t you dare connect Jesus Christ in these terms. He is not an obligation. He is not unwanted duty. He is not something created to appease man…” My voice was getting louder and louder. I was actually shaking. I don’t know how the words flowed from me. They just came. I was going through the chapters in the Bible, talking about the Apostle Paul who gave his life for this Jesus who empowered him inwardly. I talked about Peter who was not afraid to confront the thousands of Jews who had killed Jesus…. I did not know I had so much of the Bible in me. I must have spoken for ten minutes or more. Then I stopped.

You could hear a pin drop. Everyone was looking up at me. I was ready for any consequences. I was not afraid. Someone started to clap, then the whole room joined in. Then they all stood up and formed a line. They were coming to me. What were they doing? The first one came and gave me a huge hug. “Thank you that you stood up for Jesus. I am a Christian, and I was too afraid to defend Him.” The second person hugged me and said, “I was so afraid for you when you started to speak. I was praying for you desperately the whole time you were speaking. Thank you for your courage.” Every person in the room came to shake my hand or to give me a hug. Our facilitator said, “Let’s call it a day. Our quiet JaeHi has blossomed with our program.”

Slice of Life

Slice of Life Index


Biking on a trail near my home.

We started to go on a bike ride, Tom and I. The last time I was on a bike was when I was in high school ….more than 30 years ago. It was exciting getting re-acquainted with a bike, a long lost relationship... To ride a bike in a trail canopied by trees and woods as long as your eyes can see is so beautiful.

Music is back in our lives.
Tom has been spending time going through some classic hymns and matching them with beautiful old tunes. He is always looking for tunes old or new that will enhance ushering us into our spirit. He is singing at home, and I love it. There are experiences only songs can portray. Tom has written so many songs decades ago…and the spark of music is reignited in him.

Amish country
Last night , as we were driving through Middlebury, we passed so many buggies and horses. Tom said, “they must be going to an Amish ball.” We laughed. I wondered when they decided that world was evil and thus they will not continue with modern advancement? When did outward manifestation replace the inner life?

A music weekend at Ashland Woods.
This weekend we were at a music workshop with about 70 musically inclined Christians. I don’t have music gift, but Tom does. The purpose of this weekend was to usher rest of us back home… into heavenlies through music…I wish you were here to experience this with me. To be brought into the love of Christ, to soar above the sky with joy as my spirit is ignited by Christ Spirit… So many new songs written by young and old bubbling from their spirit…a sign of enjoyment in life

Today one of our work-shop was learning to write a song. Mark gave us some techniques and we all participated. In 45 minutes we came up with 2 verses and a chorus with a new tune… before the day was over we had a song with 4 verses and 2 chorus. For the evening session; each group performed their music. Some were classical hymns with 4 or more part harmony with no instruments. Some were hymns with matching classic old folk tunes; others were completely new songs. Instruments ranged from piano only, guitar only, and/or combination with viola, base, and drums depending on the song...

One group consisted of 2 adults and 3 children; their songs were so moving we all stood up and sang with all of our heart in our love for Jesus. I wish I had the lyrics for myself and for you. Our group sang 2 songs that we have written within last 2 weeks.

It’s been so long since I was awakened to my love for Christ through music. It was so reminiscent of my earlier years as a Christian when I poured out my love to Christ through music, and the Lord spoke to me through music.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wings to Fly — 11

Memoir Index

Diverging Roads

Tom began a new life. Now he was in a full time ministry. His official W-2 title would be minister of the gospel. His actual function was always behind the scenes. He desired to develop a children’s Sunday school curriculum. There was a great lack in this area in our congregation as well as in our sister congregations. He worked with two others. He worked tirelessly. Often he would be up till two in the morning working on the curriculum, researching stories, writing and creating magazines for children. He wanted to develop something that would instill love for God.

At this time I started a network marketing business. It took much of my evenings and weekends. As Tom’s time was consumed with his work, a sense of loneliness flooded me. There was some excitement in my business, and I put more and more of my time into it. I did not know how to be a restful wife accepting life as it comes. Tom wanted me to do well in my business. I could work from home and be with our children. As time went on I was doing my work to hide from the intense loneliness developing within me. Taking care of children, keeping a house, being busy with church activities and doing business kept me more than occupied; yet as long as Tom began to be so consumed with God’s work I could not shake off the feeling of loneliness.

I longed for balance in life. My yearning was to have a working husband with income whose first concern was for his family then serve the church according to his ability. It seemed to me such a balanced life was never to be. Tom began to be very unhappy with me as I drowned myself in work. If my success meant losing me, Tom did not want it. He wanted me. I had another struggle within me. I needed to replace Tom’s income. Eighty percent of his salary was cut by quitting his work to serve. This was not okay for me. I could not tolerate what felt to me like a hand-to-mouth existence.

In 2001 I started another business with a friend who also recovered from her chronic illness. Tamara had a kitchen and bath business which folded due to her fibromyalgia. When she was healed through nutraceuticals, we teamed up to create an education company that would teach health care professionals that there were healing modes other than medicine and surgery. I became a firm believer that natural foods and food supplements can heal body ailments.

Now I worked during business hours. I felt that Tom’s concern would be abated. My company name was Proevity. I traveled all over the US with Tamara. We established education seminars that would give continuing education credit to health care professionals. I was working with speakers: professors and medical doctors well known and not so well known in the United States and in the United Kingdom. It was exciting. Tamara and I fit well together in our ambition and vision. Most of our employees had love for Christ. As we traveled we would often pray together before the day began.

Tom and I were going in our different directions. For me this was covering up the feeling of Tom’s abandoning me with his life choice and I hoped that my business could succeed to replace the income he left behind. Thus again the cycle of unhappiness caught up with us. I felt that I could not live in his world and be the wife he needed and he could not be the normal husband I yearned for. I came to him many times, “Tom, maybe we should get divorced. The life you need to lead leaves me desperately unhappy. You need a wife like Shirley, your sister, who willingly will serve Jesus along with her husband and be happy doing it.” Tom always told me that he married me because he loved me and no one else could be his wife. Even in the depth of unhappiness he held on to our love. I loved him yet I could not shake off the pain of loneliness and insecurity.

I would spend the next many years in emotional valleys and hills. I would often ask Tom to go back to work. I could not live like this. Yet whenever God became real to me I was totally at peace. Tom told me, “JaeHi, I cannot go back to work every other month as you experience insecurity then quit again to serve when you are at peace.”

To bury my pain that I could not explain, I immersed myself more and more into my business. Now I was working all the time from home and I was filled with business dealings and frustrations. One evening I approached Tom, and said, “Tom, I will release you and maybe help you find a wife more suited for your life calling.” He held my hand. “JaeHi, we never exchanged marriage vows at our wedding. I know you made many vows as a child, and you have always been faithful to those vows. Would you be willing to make a marriage vow now?” I knew what he was talking about and we both cried. We had been married for over twenty years and had four beautiful children before making these vows to one another:

“I, Tom, take you, JaeHi, as my lawfully wedded wife, to love and to cherish in sickness and in health, in abundance and in poverty, for better or for worse till death do us part.”

“I, JaeHi, take you, Tom, as my lawfully wedded husband, to love and to cherish in sickness and in health, in abundance and in poverty, for better or for worse till death do us part.”
We cried and embraced each other.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Wings to Fly — 10

Memoir Index

A Decade of Pain

1988 to 1997 was the hardest years of our marriage years. Tom had gone back to work. I had my guard up that I could not give Tom all of my heart – I needed to protect myself from hurt. I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1991 which continued till 1997. Physically I was out of the picture. We hired out for cleaning. Luella down the street cooked for us. I did grocery shopping via internet. Our office was upstairs. Often it would take me half an hour to get myself upstairs. I had to stop and recoup at each stair. Once I was up there then I could order groceries on internet.

But worse than that was Tom’s spiritual health. As time went on he no longer was the dynamic person I fell in love with. He became listless, restless, and downright unhappy… maybe even depressed. He was playing a perfect husband for me yet zeal for life had gone out of him. When I was upset, he no longer was the person full of irresistible love which always restored my soul and spirit. I realized that my withdrawing from him had a detrimental effect on him. Then it became very scary to realize I had broken a wonderful man. For this reason alone, I started to seek Jesus. I did not care how I ended up. By now I had no appreciation for Christian life, our church life or even Jesus. I would take care of so many things in the church, faithful to go to meetings... yet all for what? My heart was not in this mundane Christian life.

In this seeking to save my husband, I realized that only Christ can do that …. and my prayer life began. I stumbled across Isabel Kuhn’s book and I was touched to the core. I begged for God’s mercy to restore Tom. I needed to pray. My baby Elizabeth seemed to have a sixth sense. If I woke up at 7 AM, she was up with me. If I woke up at 6 AM she was up with me. It seemed that I could not work around her. I began to ask the Lord to give me time for daily prayer. I started to wake up every morning at 4:30 and that was my personal time with the Lord. It was no struggle. When I opened my eyes it was 4:30 AM. After an hour, I would go back to sleep and wake up again with Elizabeth. Although I did not see any change in Tom, I realized that something was happening within me that was affecting Tom deeply.

In 1997 I heard that there would be another one of ten months time in the Word and Training to serve Jesus. The first one nearly killed me and I was contemplating that it might be good for Tom to take a year off and immerse himself in the Word. My health was restored back to me and I was seriously getting involved in Net Work Marketing of this nutraceutical. I started to give public speaking on the science why body can heal with proper nutrition. My business was growing. My ambition was that I would be able to replace Tom’s income and still stay home and be a mom to my four children.

Another conflict began to surface in our marriage. Tom began to hate all the time that my home business was requiring. He had lost me to illness for seven years and he was not ready to lose me to “business”. He did not care for the money I could earn. He wanted me for the family. What I did not communicate was that I wanted to release him from a job so that he can choose to serve Jesus. As my determination to be successful became stronger the more intensely unhappy he became.

We both agreed that he would take one year leave of absence from work and join the ten month Bible & Training program. This was September of 1997. Ten years from the last one year leave of absence for a Bible Training. We lived from our savings. Tom promised me that he will go back to work when the program was over. As he began to spend hours daily in the Word and in Christ, I was beginning to see the dynamic Tom resurface. When he was half way into the program, he went in to work for job review and such. His boss said, “Tom, you are not coming back to work, are you?” Tom responded by saying “I will come back to work. Why did you make that comment?” His boss said, “I have never seen you so happy and content. You will not be coming back” When he reported to me this, I was extremely bothered. During the rest of the months, Tom never brought any comment regarding any possibility of leaving his job.

I was invited to come with Tom to spend a week with him and be with him in his program. It was Thursday night. The Lord gave me clear feeling that I should let Tom follow his heart. I told Tom, “Tom I am scared to say this but if it is in your heart to pursue full time service, DO IT! We will manage somehow.” I could not believe that I was saying this. Tom hugged me. He said, “ I told the Lord that if I am to go into full time service, it would have to be JaeHi coming to me and telling me to quit my job and enter full time ministry”. He did not believe that I would actually come to him and release him to serve. To him this was an impossible prayer answered.

Thus our new life began. Tom has been serving full time for the last ten years now. Last three years have been with out any support from any churches.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wings to Fly — 9

Memoir Index

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Years

My sweet marriage life had turned into inevitable waiting for that dreaded day—when Tom would quit his job to serve God, and we would have a hand-to-mouth existence which I did not even want to imagine. Also I had to be on guard. I could not allow myself to love him and be devastated again.

In 1988 Seth was born. Now we had three beautiful children. We were busy with “the church life.” That was our social life and spiritual life. I continued to work as a pharmacist part time.

I was very aware of all the verses that talked about building up your riches in heaven and not on earth, that God takes care of lilies and how much he will take care of you, to have Christ as my all in all …on and on. I desperately prayed those verses, wished from depth of my heart that I could live those verses.

In 1991 I came down with illness, known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which lasted until 1997. I was sick all the time. When my older children came home from school and sneezed, I was deathly afraid. Small cold for me meant being bed bound for a month. I no longer was able to walk up or down the stairs. We moved from our second floor bedroom to first floor so that I could be near the kitchen.

When Seth was three years old, I was not able to enroll him into pre-school, swimming, or any other activities. I no longer had energy. Even spending time to teach him alphabets became too exhausting. I found myself in bed most of the time. One day, Henna’s school called me saying I need to come and pick her up. She was sick. I could not get myself out of bed and driver to her school and bring her home. I pleaded with school secretary “please keep her at school. Have her lie down and put her on school bus later. I am sick and cannot come.” I felt that I was the worst of moms.

When I was sick for one full year without a day of relief, I realized that I could be sick for a long time to come. Tom tried to maintain the house, the children, the laundry, and whatever else came along our way … my heart went to him. I watched dust accumulate on our dresser yet helpless to do anything about it. I did not tell anyone of my health condition. I did not want any of their comments; couldn’t doctors do anything about it? Did you try to do this or that? My journey to get help medical world had still left me sick.

Yet in 1992 we made a grand plan to go to England with Nigel, Shirley and their three children and spend two and half weeks there. For five of us that would be quite an expense. That money could have remodeled our second floor bathroom. In my mind I may die soon. I wanted my family to remember me having fun with them…instead of someone who was sick all the time. I would rest in our rented home as much as I required.

Oh those were so memorable days. I watched from our kitchen window, our 6 children playing in bliss. We had rented a farm house in southern England. In front of this old English home was a beautiful flower garden. Beyond the garden, was a pond our kids loved and hills partitioned by hedges. Every morning one could see sheep grazing on green grass of beautiful English hills. The dogs often would romp about in nature’s ecstasy. Henna and Faith were ten years old. They were lost in their dream wonderland. I often would find them in the midst of flowers. Oh they made such a beautiful picture. Christian, Nathan and Seth were lost in their games of adventure. There were so many hills, rocks, and gardens to explore. Jesse Tomes was a baby. Each day we would have an outing to the beach, or towns with so much history. Somehow, in this atmosphere of peace and tranquility my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome seemed to subside. I loved it.

In 1993 our family went on another long vacation. This time it was to Guatemala. There was a stark contrast from the previous year. We were visiting a couple, Mario and Anna who we became very close to in Chicago. Because of Mario’s work injury, he was no longer able to support his household in Chicago so they moved back to Guatemala. They took off two and half weeks to travel with us. They were our guide. We saw the Mayan ruins, black sands from volcanic ashes, natives who still lived very primitively in their mud huts, a small boy who hung a lizard on a tree and was beating it…it was their family dinner. When we were on a small boat going to an island, there was a woman with boisterous chickens under her arms, a man with his motorcycle, half-dozen others who stared us as if we were from Mars. Tom was a white man and I was an Asian woman. There were no others like us. And we had our three children with us.

That was the last of our vacations until my CFS days were over. Looking back, those times did much for me in the healing of our marriage. The wall within me was coming down somewhat.

Back home, Tom was becoming restless. His spiritual life was waning. I began to wonder if it was I who was causing this. Slowly his fervor for our church life diminished. I could feel his unhappiness. My CFS continued. We have both fallen into the world of duty rather than the world of contentment. I realized that he needed me and I was still protecting myself from hurt. Our ability to be involved in our church activities diminished due to my health. Now I was up about four hours and spent twenty hours in bed.

Elizabeth was born in 1994. How was I to take care of my new born! I could not even take care of my three older children. I watched Tom, Henna, Christian, and Seth actively involved in helping me bring up a new born.

Tom became more and more listless, discouraged, and unhappy. I started to pray for him and I also started to pray for myself. My sensation was that I may die soon and I wanted to get to know Jesus before I died. All of my ‘building God’s house’ meant nothing to me when Jesus was not real to me. It saddened me greatly to see Tom so unhappy. One time he said to me, “…I need your support. The churches...the ministry...” He never told me what bothered him so much until many many years later.

In 1997, my health was restored to me through using nutraceuticals. This was nutritional supplements with pharmaceutical properties yet without any negative side affects that always accompanied pharmaceuticals. Now for the first time in seven years I experienced normal health. Oh the glory to be able to take my children to the beach whenever they wanted. Oh the glory of doing simple things like grocery shopping and cooking.

I was introduced to net work marketing or multi-level marketing for these nutraceuticals. A light bulb had popped in my thoughts. I can have a home business and be with my children. If I can create a successful business that would take care of our needs then Tom can quit his job to serve. It appeared to me that the only way Tom would be perfectly satisfied was to be in full time service to Jesus our savior.