Luckily for me, you believe in soulmates

The Garden Tomb | Jerusalem

Today we turn seven faith adventure years.

So much pressure in society today is on women to “do-it-all” — but here’s a secret: to be able to enjoy both a rich and rested motherhood while stewarding a fulfilling and passionate career, and scale executive levels in industries rare for women to, it takes a husband who “does-it-all”, too. And who still forges his own career leadership and life trajectory. Yet, it’s less “doing it” all than living the wholesome design of our creation.

When we left LA in 2014 four months after we began dating, and got married in SF a few months later in 2015, there was a narrative we thought we carried that is loosely about him parting ways with Jubilee due to differences, and then finding God again.

What we have come to recognize in the last couple of years as we became new parents was the divine shift the LA departure did in shaping him towards a wholesome man in pursuit of His unique journey for him that is still unfolding. It may just look different from how the world around him does it or the temporal validation he could have gotten if he hadn’t let go of the patterns or formula of the world (Romans 12) in exchange for a secret divine strategy to live beyond the chaos, hustles or the rat race of the world.

So in as much, he walked away from making films with Jubilee, left ‘good’ jobs, turned down promotions, etc, for the great unknown, but that we know, it’s about winning the long game. (Spoiler: Money is necessary and vital, but it alone will not get you there.)

That we have since each taken turns to be the “breadwinner”, so that the other could take a sabbatical, rest, heal, go to grad schools — even after Maisey had come along.

That in marriage and parenting together, we are one and for each other — especially in defying societal gendered roles. For alleviating the traditional motherhood load for my well-being and for me to thrive, the husband does daily school drop-offs and pick-ups, doctor visits, weekend play gyms and swim classes, plenty of long stroller or baby-wearing walks, taking turns on bath time and bedtime ‘routine’, and could hold down the toddler fort when I travel for work. (We’ll next figure out how-to with two kids!)

There is the whole deal with the mental load that comes with motherhood (this comic illustrates it well) — but I suspect that’s mostly the nature of “maternal instincts” than not, and is a whole discourse on its own for another time. I will say that homemaking has always come very naturally to me, while the ambition to scale executive ranks only grew on me maybe in the last decade or less as I grew in vision for that.

And so the two things I do significantly more in our household is cooking and cleaning — due to my Southeast Asian roots, I do have very distinctive taste in our food flavors. With homemaking, Marie Kondo is my alter ego (spark joy!), I’m OCD about order and tidiness in our home — even after having kids! And the sustainable fashion geek in me obsesses over care labels doing laundry… okay you get the idea.

We started with nothing together when we exchanged vows seven years ago, until I scaled the heights in the God-ordained work I get to steward with all that’s placed in my hands. Then I picked up real estate investment to enable all my profits to go into our ministry and nonprofit work, serve our city, and pay off his Masters seminary program, and now mine, without incurring debt. Truly, Matthew 6:25-34 is our song.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, all of a sudden, everything finally made sense of the journey we have been on and the best-est possible timing of us entering parenthood — even without having family nearby or hiring nannies to help and all that usual ‘takes a village’ jazz. Between tapping into God’s creativity in parenting strategies and living in sweet tandem with His timing is everything.

So when I do conclude motherhood can be restful, or not the hardest thing I’ve done, or I genuinely look forward to fourth trimester and postpartum to enjoy slow living unapologetically so… It isn’t because I got it all down nor are we a ‘great parenting team’ kind of cliche-speak, but instead, it’s because the husband’s life has been on a reshaping process against the norms of the world the last seven years.

It’s a journey we are still on and will always be on, for that’s life and the lot of marriage if you may (Matthew 19:10-12). That there will always be ghosts of our less than glorious pasts to navigate too. But if we can look back on our first seven years until now where we are in our growth individually and collectively (and dreaming in film reels too), and even with what’s supposedly tough to be new parents through a global pandemic in ways beyond our grasps or imagination — I’m so very hopeful and increasingly fearless.

For all the fear I had seven years ago today in our pastor’s living room (before there was even weddings via zoom), when I said ‘I do’ to a stranger I had then barely met.

Seven years later I’ve learned, marriage is not hard work, it is simply honest work.

That today we get to live an alternative lifestyle to the world’s in parenting, marriage or ministry and beyond to genuinely thrive between diapers, date nights, and deadlines.

For in the end, it’s about marrying a man who (in our creative egos aside) can share the co-director title in the parable short films we make together, and who can also readily change dirty diapers like a champ for our active athletic head-strong toddler — even if most public bathrooms aren’t always fitted with changing tables.

So luckily for me, you believe in soulmates.

Whether in my ugly-crying or hearty-laughing in between honest confrontations and uncomfortable conversations, how our souls knit together in a profound depth of quiet understanding, how much you enjoy us even in the stillness, how against unknowns or unchartered odds you confidently remind me, always, you will choose us all over.

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