My Dearest Mirim,

The love of my life! After waiting 9 long years, we are finally celebrating Mother’s Day. After 9 years of painfully being reminded of not having a child as you congratulated and celebrated the motherhood of your friends and after all those years of dealing with the underlying feelings of shame and guilt of not fulfilling the role of being fruitful and multiplying, we’re here in the midst of COVID-19, in the midst of long nights and unending attention to our newborn child, celebrating your motherhood.

How many unspoken moments we endured as we both thought to ourselves why God wouldn’t give us a child. And how many tears we shared as we prayed, “God, this month, let it be this month.” Going out to buy the pregnancy test kit, opting to purchase the more expensive ones every time your period was late, secretly hoping that a better testing device would result in a better outcome.

Early in our marriage, we didn’t feel any pressure or guilt or shame. We married young and it seemed beneficial to enjoy our time together for a little while before trying to have children. But then we began to try a little. Then we saw all our friends get married and start having children. And then we began to try consistently without any good results. Thankfully, we knew God was in control and we did what we always did with any of our burdens and worries. We laid it at the feet of Jesus.

Through our many years of praying and the encouragement of our friends of the faith, God led us to a place of peace that surpassed all understanding. The thought of being childless that had once gripped us became a reality we could accept. It only made our ministry to children that much more precious. The idea of adoption, which had once felt so foreign, became a regular topic of discussion and prayer. I remember watching the documentary called Dropbox with you one night, so broken by the stories of abandoned infants in Korea. Although answering questions of when we were going to have children were still uncomfortable, we were at peace that if God willed for a child, we will and if He didn’t, we would trust Him in that as well.

And God led us in life, in marriage, in church, through so many different seasons. Honestly, the journey has been quite the adventure including all of its pitfalls and failures. Every single time, God has been faithful. And so, even after these 9 years of marriage, I am not afraid to say that this is only the beginning.

As we celebrate parenthood, I pray that I may be a husband and father of faithful devotion to Christ and fulfill my duty to serve and protect our family and our faith. And as I celebrate motherhood especially today, I wanted to thank you for always helping me keep my eyes on God and always testing my heart and motives for genuine faith. You sharpen my faith as you hold my hand through the refiner’s fire.

Today, I just want to celebrate you. You are not more complete because you are now a mother. You are not defined by your motherhood. You weren’t even defined by our marriage. You were complete even before you met me through Christ who calls you His daughter.

You are the most beautiful person I know. You are the strongest person I know. You are the most loving person I know. You fear being a disappointment and you worry about uncertainties. But you also know when to surrender and you know who to run to for help. Yes, you always certainly run to God first and maybe I make it easy for you sometimes but that’s still not easy to do. You are a woman of God and you are filled with the Holy Spirit. I know you and you know me to the deepest and fullest extent.

Thank you for putting up with me and believing in me. Now we have a child who we must raise up in the way she must go by teaching her diligently in the faith. With you, I know we can do it. Happy first Mother’s Day!

Christ with us,

Joseph Ryu