I’ve been waiting for some time to write this post. I was organizing my photos last night and found a video that John had filmed of me during the proposal dinner… this was already two years ago! And I look so happy, my hair and dress look really nice, and I’m laughing so much ha ha. Young love! At this point, I still didn’t know John was going to propose to me that night.. it was still a well-kept secret. It was our 1 year anniversary dinner of dating and I thought he was just treating me to a nice meal – thinking back, it was a realllly nice meal. He had rented out an entire room (called the Guy de Maupassant private room decorated by the Mountain piece by Marco del Ray) with a full wide window view of Namsan tower and Seoul downtown at Pierre Gagnaire on the 35th floor of Lotte Hotel in Seoul. After a long windy corridor led by the server, I entered a private room decorated with hundreds of rose petals, glowing candle lights, and white and purple flowers (because purple is my favorite color). Apparently, John had visited the restaurant 3 times to hand pick the color of the roses and flowers and to check on every little detail. And it was perfect. John won my heart over as always. As they say, Happy wife, Happy life. John knew this early on. haha.
This post is on my, once in a lifetime, proposal from my husband which happened on August 29, 2014 on our 1 Year Anniversary of Dating! He had disguised this event as a “bowling party” (because I hate bowling) facebook event to invite our friends from near and far to surprise us that night – I still remember getting upset because I found out from another friend that John had invited several others to bowling without me! HA HA I have issues. Nevertheless, I had no idea that this “bowling party” was actually planned on this night so it was a complete surprise. We had celebrated Junhye’s graduation that morning, and went off to celebrate our Anniversary Dinner together at Pierre Gagnaire. We had wanted to check this place out as we heard that the Chef was a Michelin 3 star. To be honest, it’s been two years so I don’t remember what the endless course meal consisted of haha but I do remember it was elegant and delicious. I was just grateful for the experience and felt so loved and cared for, down to the smallest details.
When John and I first started dating, I was the most insecure being on this planet recovering and having had closure from my past intense relationship. I was lost and broken not only emotionally but also as to my purpose and direction in my career. I had just applied to graduate schools in Seoul after getting rejected after 3 months of interviews and on the final round of an opportunity to work at UNEP in Kenya and at the second round of a national examination that I had studied 8 months for. I felt defeated. I had always done well in school, I was Valedictorian of my high school, and had graduated from studying Economics and Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. I had always gotten the internships I had applied for. And, to be honest, I had never really experienced failure up to this point. And thus, the following rejections and failures had hit me really hard. It was a period where I had trouble loving myself, where my identity was still chained to my education and pedigree and God was in the mission of setting me free from what the World defined as success. It was a season where I was learning to let go of my controlling and perfectly-planning-everything nature which was not healthy, and learning to re-define how I valued and loved myself. My pride had become too big and I looked down on people who didn’t come from good schools or were as educated. I had a strong sense of “entitlement” where I believed I “deserved” certain things because of what “I” had achieved through my hard work and education. I had avoided meeting people as I didn’t have the ideal job that I felt would “justify” and redeem my identity and I was becoming severely depressed. And obvisouly, that disrespectful attitude and perspective had to go. God was in the process of cleaning me inside out. I found New Harvest Ministry and I found myself listening to many messages on identity. How I have been beautifully and fearfully created by the creator and that it is not by works but by grace that I have been given new life to live a fruitful and abundantly giving life on this earth. God reminded me of how much He treasured and loved me, for just being me without all the accomplishments or failures.
And it was during this time of healing and recovery that I met John. He loved me when, by the world standards, I had nothing going for me – no job and all uncertainty. He loved me when I had a hard time loving myself for who I was. John walked by my side throughout that entire journey, of finding myself and re-grounding my identity in Christ, in coming to love myself for my unique and beautiful self. He encouraged me every day, cherished me every day, prayed for me every day, and was by my side as I fell and learned to pick myself up again from the negativity and self-doubt. He thanked God for me every day and reminded me of how beautiful and valuable I was. And from that humbled self, I learned to value others and view others through the eyes of God. That every single soul is precious and valuable because He has created them in His image.
From the first week and first month, John said he knew that I was the one. Even in my dark times and ugly moments of falling apart, John never considered leaving the relationship as an option. He would always be there for me. And thinking back, I am so grateful that God has allowed for this genuine, loving, and kind man to be in my life particularly at that point in my life. I became thankful for EVERYTHING. Before I had always expected certain things to come my way because they had, but I realized that they were all blessings and I had been extremely privileged. I learned that Gratitude is a CHOICE. We have to choose EVERY SINGLE DAY to be thankful. It is a mindset and choice. And how that choice transforms our lives…”Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)” Life-giving words indeed. With the prayers and support, I slowly but surely began healing from the inside out.
I applied for and got in to the Discipleship Training Program at New Harvest Ministry to learn and read the entire bible for the next 9 months which was an incredible learning experience and journey. And I also got in to Seoul National University, Graduate School of International Studies to study international cooperation and development as I had always wanted to! God placed AMAZING professors and fellow students who became amazing friends and continually showed me favor and showed me how everything was in His perfect timing. There is so much more I want to say on this but I shall wait for another post, seriously though EVERYTHING in perfect timing. The perfect classes that openend, the perfect visiting students that came that exact semester, and the professors that came that semester. God is good. All in all, John saw me grow, heal, recover, rejoice, soar like an eagle ha ha and come back to “life”. He celebrated and rejoiced with every little success that I was given and blessed with, and was there to encourage me in the dark spots.
So back to this proposal night. After this fabulous dinner, it was pouring rain and we headed back to my house near Namsan. Little did I know, the gazebo infront of my house was lit with hundreds of little christmas lights which lit up as we came near. Moongchi, our puppy, ran to us with a ring box tied to his tiny back. And John got on his knees to propose to me. I think I laughed in shock and then said I’ll think about it HA HA and then I said Of course! And to my shock, our friends popped out left and right from the dark bushes to say congratulations! I am so blessed and thankful. It was magical. Thank you John! So when people ask me, how did you know John was the one, this is why! In a world filled with millions and millions, God placed this genuine gem in my life. I had prayed for many many things regarding my future spouse, and my three main prayer requests were exactly John which I found within the first week and onwards! (1) A man who loves the Lord and who will get on his knees to pray with me when $h*t hits the fan, (2) One who loves children and education (I had been very interested in educational policy and early childhood education), (3) One who would be willing to live in distant places – far away developing countries (as I’ve always wanted to work in international development). I did not tell this to him when I first met him, but in our sharing he talked about his passion for all three. THANK YOU GOD. HAHA He knows the desires of my heart.