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.”We cried and embraced each other.
“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.”