I Have Found My Treasure
Matthew 13:44-46 (ESV)
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
I grew up in the most basic, common Korean-American immigrant family. My sister and I always tried to keep our grades above a 90 and our parents would work hard to support us. Money was always an issue in our family but I never really thought much of it.
My mom came to America after she married my dad, which was when she was around 23 years old. She grew up in a very humble Christian household with not a lot of money. She grew up as an “ideal” daughter and I often got compared with her younger self. My mom takes a lot of pride in the fact that my grandma never asked her to study, since her grades were always on the top. She went to a good college, but after she came to America, none of that really mattered. It was difficult for her to find a job because of the language barrier. My dad came to America when he was 14 years old. I’m not certain of this, but I think that he went through several difficult times and made a lot of mistakes. As an adult, he didn’t have a good job and my mom had to get a stable job for the family. At one point, my mom couldn’t handle it anymore.
The financial hardship and the burden my mom carried resulted in a divorce. At that time, I had a very distant relationship with my whole family. It has been like that since I was younger and it was hard for me to express my gratitude or love to them. I always felt that I had a lot of similarities as my dad and that really scared me. It would be worse especially when my mom would say out of anger that I was just like my dad and that I would fail in life too. I pitied my dad unlike the rest of my family and I was scared whenever I saw him because I would feel an overwhelming amount of guilt that I cannot express. I never admitted to this guilt and always reassured my mom, telling her that I was completely okay with the fact that they were splitting up because that’s what I always told myself.
But I think that she could tell that I had trouble coping with the whole situation. She helped me see a therapist. The therapist diagnosed me with depression. After that, I felt no hope. I didn’t think I could ever get better. Maybe it was because I was too tired to care. I stopped going to half of my classes and I got hooked on drugs. I didn’t want to feel lonely so I would do anything to please the people around me. Even though my mom worked really hard for me and my sister as a single parent, I didn’t help at all. I often threatened her with taking my own life and that led to her being more lenient with me and I just gave up on everything that was supposed to be good for me.
I even stopped going to church because I was really angry at God for letting all these things happen to me. There had been a time when I had casual conversations with God, because I considered Him my friend. But as my issues got worse, I didn’t understand why He would let this happen to our family so I just broke down. I really didn’t think that a divorce can hurt someone so badly. I still wish for a complete, happy family.
Even during all this, my mom continued to send me to missions and sign me up for church activities, and I am so grateful for it. In the beginning, I didn’t even know I was going on a mission trip until everything has been processed. And people at church came up to me about different church events that I didn’t remember signing up for. Honestly, it was hard for me to come out to church and participate in different events after being absent for so long. I felt like a hypocrite, acting holy at church.
But going on this past summer’s mission trip to Wales really changed my life in ways I didn’t think I wanted back then. I didn’t have my phone with me during the trip, so I was cut off from all social media that I had so much pride in. I finally had one on one time with God after so long. I had been feeling like an outsider at church because I haven’t been going actively, and I was aware that people probably viewed me as an outsider. I don’t know what came over me, but at that moment none of that mattered to me. I don’t know how, but I was able to focus on God and on Him alone. I was able to lay my problems with depression and my pride down before Him. I also prayed a lot for my family, which is something that I never did before.
Of course, there were times when I broke down again and felt like my old self, even at some moments during the mission trip. But it is when I came back home that I realized I had really changed. I know how blessed I had been through the trip. I got off my antidepressants after I got back and I started putting effort into improving my grades. I tried to connect back with my dad and be more supportive of both my parents.
Ultimately, I even decided to drop this fake image of myself that I showed other people, especially to my friends, who I valued so much. I even stopped talking to a lot of my close friends because I knew that they were being a bad influence. At first, I was doubtful that I would succeed cutting off all the bad influences in my life, but to my surprise, I had this peace in my heart that I didn’t have before. I knew that God will lead me through everything.
To be honest, sometimes I do regret my decision when I feel lonely, but that’s when I think about God and start having conversations with Him. I’ve been so blinded by other things to realize that God gave me a family that is always there for me, as broken as it may be. He allowed me to realize that I have to let go of something that I thought was important to see that there is something even more important than anything else: My relationship with Him.
For Your Reflection
Following Jesus is a commitment, and commitment entails making a choice. This is the reason Jesus often challenged His disciples to choose (Matthew 4:22, 6:24; Luke 14:26). They all had to give up something or let go of someone in order to follow Jesus. I am sure there are many things that you consider important in your life, but are they really that important? Today, why don’t we take some time to think about what is really important in our lives and make our choices accordingly?