I was five years old when the series M*A*S*H came out. For the next eleven years, I laughed and cried with its characters with each new episode. It was probably the most influential TV program in my young life. There was no need for me to despair when the final episode aired in 1983 because many of the earlier episodes had already been in syndication for years. At one point, I was able to watch thirteen episodes a week. Often I would watch several episodes in a row and see tremendous growth in some of my favorite characters when watching one of the early episodes followed by one of the later episodes. No matter how much had changed in them, they were still very much the same characters I had come to know and love over the years.
Okay, besides embarrassing myself by admitting that I’m a M*A*S*H freak (yes, I own all the DVDs), there is a point to be made here. I’ve had the opportunity over the last few months to really look back on my life and be reminded of the person I was eleven years ago when Jesus came into my life. I was a very shy, scared, and hurt human being. I hated myself more than I could hate any other person I have or will ever meet and no one could’ve convinced me that I didn’t deserve all the shame and blame I wrapped myself up in. But Jesus broke through all of that. He saw me – the me he created poking through the storm of depression and pain that consumed my heart. He reached through that darkness and pulled me out. If you could see the me I was then standing next to the me I am now – Wow! I’m the same Maureen but I’ve grown so much as a person and as a child of God. I am so different now, but I am still me and grateful to God for all he’s done and continues to do in my life.
Sometimes it’s hard to see how much I’ve grown because I see me every day and growth is a long slow process. However, we can’t discount the occasional growth spurt. In fact, I know a young man who grew five inches in one summer. Often he would be close to tears from the growing pains that seared through his body that summer. It’s the same with our spiritual growth. Yes, there are times when we have noticeable growth spurts in our spiritual lives and it usually comes with waves of great pain. In fact, that’s been my experience these last few months. I’ve grown so much in such a short time that even I can see it. It was not an easy road and I fell so many times, I lost count. But God was there to pick me up, clean me up and point me in the right direction. He gave me good friends who supported me in prayer, friends who sat with me, cried with me and guided me back to Jesus when I felt lost.
I’ve learned so much this summer that I couldn’t possible write it all down in this blog. However, I’d like to share the most important thing I learned: it really is all about Jesus! My focus needs to be on him. I need to seek him in all things. It’s his attention, his love, and his approval I seek. I need to meet him in His Word, not just in my daily devotion, but always, for everything. When I’m happy or sad, confused or hurting – I need to run to him in his Word and in prayer. My heart’s desire is to be with him everywhere I am and it starts here. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)
About the pictures:
North Park (October 2012)