I grew up in Seattle, Washington, with two parents and a sister who is 10 months older than me and a brother who is 16 years and 10 months younger than me!
Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s was sometimes difficult as I am half Korean and Caucasian but with a head of curly hair. My childhood was difficult in many ways but the challenges taught me perseverance and endurance. Harsh judgments were made towards me by society, teachers and peers because of my heritage and skin color.
Harsh judgements were also made towards me by my father. Emotional and verbal abuse was pretty much a regular occurrence.
At almost 11 years old, I accepted Christ as my Savior through my mom who had come back to Christ because of the kindness of a neighbor (knowing your neighbors can be a life saving experience). Because I wanted that ‘Daddy’ who sounded so good to me, I knelt with my mother and invited Him in.
The moment I asked Jesus to come into my heart, I felt this beautiful feeling of joy come over me. I remember telling my mother I felt so happy and clean. And that began my journey of walking in fellowship with Jesus. Nothing in my life got easier or much better after I accepted Christ, and oftentimes the lies crept in and crippled me. But my perseverance in trials and tribulations continued to grow my faith and caused me to walk closely with Jesus.
God was faithful to use the ugliness of pancreatic cancer to bring my father into a relationship with Christ at the age of 46. But his harsh words and abusive actions during my first 20 years of life took it’s toll and it took me 10 more years to begin the healing process from that trauma and abuse.
The year now is 1984. I’m getting married and I have found someone that is the opposite of my father- a true gift from the Father. After five years of marriage we decide my husband should leave his great sales job and follow his dream to become a teacher. But because of his health issues, we needed to move to a warmer climate…. which brought us from the cool crisp air of Washington to the oven temperatures of Tucson!
God’s timing has always been perfect, and His provision, amazing. My last day at my job and the sale of our house all close a week before we move to Tucson. David was offered and accepted a great job at a school before he even finished his master’s degree! So we packed up and drove the moving truck with our 18 month old daughter from Seattle, Washington and arrived in Tucson on Saturday, August 3,1991 where the temperatures are at an all time high as the summer heat lingered, lasting much longer than usual.
We were having a house built that wasn’t scheduled to be finished for three months, so we settled into a small apartment, and shared one vehicle. David was set to start his job the following Monday morning and he excitedly threw himself headlong into it, spending long hours and weekends in his classroom. The adjustment for me was really hard and I felt so isolated with a toddler, one vehicle, no friends and the oppressive summer heat.
I would often tell my family, “I live in the armpit of America.” I left my job, my family, my lifelong friends, our home and our church family; and so I began growing resentful, can you tell? These are the ingredients for troubled waters ahead.
We eventually weathered those storms, found a great church, and began to make new friends. On December 3, 1991 we moved into our perfectly non-southwest pink house in a new development where the playing field is leveled. We are all new to it and we all want to know each other’s neighbors. We host a neighborhood Christmas party annually for all those dear neighbors and have continued that tradition for almost 30 years!
Over the next eight years we add three more kids to our family with one heartbreaking miscarriage in the middle. So now we have two girls and two boys: the adventure and heartache begin.
David worked for ten years in the public school system before deciding to switch to a private Christian school for the kids. He is a leader in the school and I find myself isolated again; I don’t know who wants to really be my friend and who wants to use me to get to my husband. The criticisms of the school and what they should be doing to accommodate each student according to the parent is overwhelming and oftentimes discouraging. We were a part of this school for 15 years and throughout that time, I no longer had a name other than Mr. Towne’s wife and my kids’ mom. I’m losing my identity as an individual woman.
As I feel the loss of my identity and the need to have moments to myself outside of our home my husband encourages me to become an independent consultant for Premier Designs Jewelry. I loved their biblical philosophy, the product, and the new friends I make at the shows I do twice a week. A necklace, earrings and a bracelet can boost a woman’s confidence and also the key that opens their hearts to me. My heart for these women grows as I hear their stories. God continually gave me the opportunity to pray with them on the spot, and it made that career worth so much more than simply selling jewelry – it became a ministry that ran for 14 years.
We all have stories of heartache, dreams we’ve had for ourselves, our marriage or our children, that don’t always play out the way we had written them. But this is also where our faith grows the most.
Menopause, the black hole.
For me menopause brought a lot of tears, frustrations, depression and a dislike of my husband for a time; all of which required medication and marriage counseling. It took a year and a half of counseling to make us whole again but stronger than before. Of course, God knew what was coming and we needed to go through the black hole to be ready for the next chapter being written in our story.
Our oldest daughter is a pleaser, so when it came time to choose a college we encouraged her to find one a little further away from us (crazy I know) where she could experience a different climate and have the experiences she wouldn’t necessarily have staying home. Freedom isn’t always freeing though. She began drinking at school every day to try and fit in and to help with the loneliness. She would eventually move home and finish at the U of A. She is now healthy, happy and married with two beautiful boys.
Our second daughter was only a handful in grade school because she was strong-willed and we didn’t understand her needs. Today she is happily married and has one son and moved back here a year ago from Seattle. She is the one who will be taking care of us in our very old age!
Our sweet and artistic first born son had emotional struggles growing up and it all became clearer when he revealed himself as having same sex attraction at the age of 17. The sadness we all felt that he had carried this burden himself for so long was so deep. He had imagined all those years how we would react, the fear of being rejected; the fear of losing his family was so ingrained in his thinking that when we only met him with open arms and love – he rejected us. Today he is 23 and we have a strong relationship with him. We simply love him.
Our fun-loving, entrepreneurial youngest son had a difficult time with his brother, as his best friend, coming out and then moving away from us. He in turn took us down the darkest road we never would have thought possible. He became homeless, a drug abuser, dealer, and thief which led to an arrest, and now a life away from God and physically away from us. There was a period of five months where we didn’t know where he was or if he was alive. Today we have a good relationship with him via random phone conversations. We are choosing to just love him where he is at. We have great Hope for our boys.
Our old life is new, the blinders, judgements, finger pointing, blaming, complaining are gone and Jesus is walking/carrying us to the finish line. We have great HOPE for the story God is writing for us, our kids and our grandkids.
And this is why I am here for YOU, this is what God prepared me for at Romans 12 Ministries. Nothing shocks me anymore so please use me to hear your heart, everything you choose to share is confidential.