Posts Categorized: family

Yes, Virginia, There is a God (Guest Blogger)

While we recognize that Christmas is the time believers celebrate the birth of Jesus and family and friends gather, we also acknowledge the heartache many of you are experiencing today. Some of you have just lost a loved one to suicide.

That is why our guest blogger, Pam S. Walker’s testimony is so moving.

She uses both the sorrow from the loss of her mother to suicide and the joys that emerge out of her choice to live life to the fullest. She encourages us to do the same.

Jonathan brought Pam and me together through his death in 2014. As we mourned and comforted one another, we discovered our mutual love for writing ministry.

May you be both challenged and encouraged this Christmas as you walk through all circumstances in life.

Merry Christmas, from Turning the Page on Suicide.


“Does God still care for me? Does He even exist?”

Dear Mother,

It has been 36 years since I celebrated Christmas with you. Yet, not a year goes by that I don’t miss you or wonder what life would be like had you not chosen to end your life 11 days before your 41st birthday. Your birthday, so close to Christmas, keeps your decision fresh in my memory each year.

Gary, Pam, and Daddy

During this month, I often think of the famous letter that a young girl, also named Virginia, submitted to the New York Sun in 1897. She asked if Santa Claus was real. Instead of asking about the existence of this jolly St. Nick, I think you must have asked another compelling question throughout your depressed state: Does God still care for me? Does He even exist?

So many questions were unanswered back then. With no note left behind, we had no choice but to draw our own conclusions. Sadly, as a sophomore in college, I was too consumed with my own life to see the depths of your despair. You hid it well. Always wearing a smile for others, and yet wrestling inside with sadness.

I thought your suicide would draw me back to God. Back to the childhood faith, you shared with me. I remember feeling His presence so strongly during that long car ride from college when Uncle Mike and Aunt Camille came to pick me up. The radiant sunlight bursting forth through the dreary Indiana winter sky seemed like God’s own hands reaching down to tell me that things would be okay. Although much of the week that followed your death was a blur, several things remain forever etched in my mind.

Attempting to console Grandma after burying her youngest daughter. Seeing Daddy’s tears and blank stare. Wondering if I could grasp the depth of pain Gary would have to deal with for the rest of his life after being the one to find you.

Why would a loving God allow one of His own to choose the path of suicide? Instead of seeking answers from His Word and other Christian brothers and sisters, I ran.

For nearly 10 years, I turned to unhealthy coping: stuffing my emotions, drinking to numb the pain, but thinking I was brave. When I finally stopped running and surrendered my life to God, I moved back to my Indiana home. Only then, I realized that God’s hands protected me every day since losing you. His love, care, and protection have been so evident throughout the seasons of my life.

If only you were here for me to speak of His unfailing and extravagant love. I would tell you, “Yes, Virginia, there is a God. I experienced His love when He saved me from my hell-bound race and turned my eyes toward Him. I learning to live one day at a time without numbing my pain through alcohol.”

God was there when Daddy walked me down the aisle on my wedding day to my beloved, David, where we committed to spending the rest of our lives together until death do us part. And God comforted me when David took his last breath six years ago after losing his battle to cancer but winning his eternal prize; everlasting life with our Lord Jesus Christ.

He was there when I experienced the miracle of birth through my two beautiful daughters, your granddaughters, and the sadness of a miscarriage in-between. I experienced firsthand how fearfully and wonderfully we are made.

God was there when Gary and I discovered your closely guarded secret. You sacrificially gave a baby up for adoption before you were married. Lisa is now a part of our family. She looks so much like you with her curly hair, short stature, and spunky personality. And she was raised in a Christian home just as you requested of the agency.

God was there when He gave me the desires of my heart, allowing me to live my dream job of combining writing and ministry. And He was there when Uncle Mike walked me down the aisle to join hands with the new love He had brought into my life, Michael.

Yes, Virginia, there is a God. And I know that you are with Him now. While suicide ended your life on this earth, God’s love for you is eternal. I hold fast to His promises in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I know that nothing can ever pluck you from His hand!

Love Always,

Your Pamela Sue

Pam S. Walker

Pam S. Walker is the former National Editor of Answers magazine, a publication of Answers in Genesis, and is a freelance writer living in the Cincinnati area where she writes for various Christian publications.

Contact Pam at: pswalker1010@yahoo.com

 

 

The Big Picture of Us: Life after my Father’s Suicide-Guest Blog

That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Romans 8:24-25 MSG

Turning My Page

I have a suicide story. My loss and pain connect me to others struggling with and hurt by despair. However, it is hope that moves each of our stories beyond the chapters of despair we experience to deeper love, redemption, and joy.

My guest blogger, Christina Rose is the author of My Appeal to Heaven, and just as she chooses to share her life with you I encourage you to share yours. If you have a story of hope like Christina Rose, I would love to share it on my blog. Email me at turningthepageonsuicide@gmail.com You are not alone and there are many of us building a mountain of evidence that this life is worth living, come what may.

Christina’s Story

When I was 21 years old, my father leaped to his death from the top floor of a government building in Washington, DC.  Immediately news reporters swarmed our home. I stood at the front door, holding my weeping mother, while my 12-year old sister looked on in shock.  After a few months of being on the news each day, they forgot about us, but we never forgot about Dad.

Dad was a sensitive, introverted man and compassionately took care of others while not expecting anyone to take care of him.  He kept most of his troubles to himself, not wanting to bother others. He was extremely stressed over mounting bills and kids in college and felt there was no way out. In his mind, we left him to pay the bills and did not appreciate him anymore.

The day after the funeral, Mom left for Greece for three weeks, leaving my sister and me to fend for ourselves. 

She was a travel agent and started taking any trips that offered an escape.  The trauma of dad’s death and my mother’s frequent absences sent us into constant PTSD and anxiety. Thoughts of suicide started haunting me. We were still in the family home with memories of dad. It felt like an ugly vulture was sitting on my shoulder, continually whispering dark, hopeless thoughts into my ears. I had night terrors with visions of dark, hideous beings running up and down the stairs. Instinctively, I would recite the Lord’s prayer, which was the only way I could get them to leave.

Dad loved to camp, and we had many remarkable adventures traveling in our Volkswagen bus.  When my daughters were born, I got my own Volkswagen bus to share my father’s love of camping. I would feel his presence strongly on these trips as I pitched the tent, made campfires, and cooked on the camp stove, just as he had taught me to do.  Sitting by the campfire at night, once the girls were asleep, it was so quiet that sometimes I felt that I could hear Dad speaking to me. He seemed to tell me that while he destroyed his body, his soul was still alive, and he had to go to his own funeral. He had to watch us all suffer because of what he did and no longer had arms to comfort us and a voice to tell us he was there. I felt him say, “If only I’d seen the big picture, there was a beautiful life planned for me after that storm I was in, I wished I’d had hung on and gotten through it for all of you.”

I wish he had hung on.

At the funeral, we learned that two of his friends were starting their own business and wanted Dad to join him. He could have quit the job he hated.  My brother had recently moved to Colorado to marry his high school sweetheart and join their family.  Our families were very close, so a few years after Dad’s death, the rest of my family joined them. Dad would have loved the adventure of living out west with our big family.  He never got the chance to meet any of his 23 grandkids or the more than 40 (and still counting) great-grandkids. He missed walking each of us three daughters down the aisle at our weddings and wasn’t there to help us when we needed him when we started families of our own.

 My father’s death and my struggle with despair have taught me that change is part of life, and storms always pass.  If we are still comfortable, we will never grow. The most difficult tests are often a catalyst that catapults into an upgrade in our life that we may not have considered if we had not experienced challenges.  If we can hang on and climb the mountains that face us, once we reach the top, we can see the view of how far we have come and trust that we need not fear the future. 

Never be afraid to ask for help in this process. None of us are equipped to live life alone.

Consistent, unconditional love and support are a lifeline to someone who feels hopeless. Reaching out with encouraging words, taking walks in nature, going to dinner, to movies, for coffee, a road trip, buying a puppy – engage in simple pleasures. Life is full of joy.  Position yourself to listen; people open up when they feel heard.  I pulled myself and my family out of this dark hole several times.  I sought the support of community and churches; they lift my spirit when I feel weak.

In the more than 40 years since my father’s suicide, I have learned many valuable lessons.  The way the universe, stars, sun, and moon operate daily testify to a perfect, divine order to all of life, down to the most minute, microscopic detail.  The earth is complicated. Millions of inhabitants and their diversity, the vast number of species and plants, and the millions of years that we have all existed, we must know that there is a perfect design for everything, including each of us.  It is not up to us to figure out the future but to trust that the creator already has a big picture of who we will be on his mantle.

About the Author

Christina Rose

Christina Rose is an author, trainer, and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership. She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs and auntie to over 40 nieces and nephews.
Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and
freedom. Follow her at: christinarose.org

Turning Your Page

Compiling evidence that life is worth living requires placing hope in what you don’t yet see. Every single person who has ever moved beyond despair has taken that first step to hope for something different and then step into another unknown and then another. What step can you take today.

  • Observation is crucial in embracing hope. What are some characteristics you see in nature that reflect trust in the unseen provision of God?
  • Who in your life steps outside their current circumstances to trust in what they can’t yet see? What work or effort do they put in to maintain that hope? Do they experience set backs and disappointments? How do they get back up.
  • Meditate on Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Lord, my life is a mess and I am tired of the constant fight. Help me to see your promises and keep pressing into the fact that you are with me. Amen

Is Motherhood Worth The Climb?

I could have stopped climbing motherhood,
after you fell.
Sat in the crag of grief
and let death bury my scarred soul. 

We were supposed to view this summit together.
Your spirit strengthened and equipped,
ready for the difficult ascents of adulthood.
Teaching your siblings life is worth the climb.

You were my first heartbeat of adventure.
My own fearful expanse of the impossible
became a vibrant vista of God because
you lived.

The struggles of life became another rock to conquer.
And we did. I breathed joy more deeply because
we grappled circumstances. Our pain revealed
gems of truth—life to the fullest.

The muscles of motherhood burned 
when I first stretched out 
for the next handhold of hope after your death.
The ache of loss—you lived—crumbled resolve beneath my feet.

Did I make a mistake in motherhood?

No, you grew in the rich valley of youth.
Stumbled, yes, but you scrambled back up, eager to learn.
I look back at your tiny fingers wrapped
around mine as I swung you up and wiped your tears.
Every struggle was worth it.

The foothills became treacherous mountains.
Required sturdier equipment, a deeper trust, training, and
faith without seeing.
I watched you climb further away, testing
footholds that would not sustain. 

Was letting you go a mistake?

I wipe my dusty tears and jump
to the next ledge of trust.
I was never meant to make
secure your every step.
God you are faithful.
Sturdier in grief, because I loved.

Did I fail motherhood?

So many missteps.
I watched in agony as your grip on life loosened. Motherhood
stretched and strained to breaking. I prayed.
Pleaded. Don’t give up. God catch him!
Your life was a sunrise worth experiencing.

Does motherhood end?

No, because love always remembers life.
Your laughter echoes
in the canyons of my sorrow,  the memories
of your beautiful, valuable, life
stirs my warrior cry of joy.

Was it worth it?

I climb this mountain of motherhood—gut it out to the fullest
because my scraped knees of prayer
and bruised soul of faith
testify life is sacred, come what may.

Motherhood is worth the climb,
even if I see the vistas of heaven
without you.

Motherhood is Worth the Pain

Turning Your Page

… but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

John 19:25-27, ESV

Motherhood tests every spiritual and physical muscle you have. Your children may be grateful. They may hate you. Keep a short account. Be humble to admit when you are wrong. Embrace, love and hold them when their hearts are broken by this life. Celebrate life.

Do your best to steward your children, but know their life is their own. Motherhood is worth every bump, bruise, and yes, sometimes even loss.

  • What is motherhood like for you right now? Be honest with any bitterness you feel. Record what you love about moments with your children.
  • Pray for your children by name. Stormie Omartian has books that guide scripture prayers over your children. These are an immense help and encouragement in spiritual battles.
  • Your children have an enemy and they need you to fight well. Equip yourselves and gather others to pray and support you.
  • Write a story, poem, or list out scriptures that describe motherhood.

Father, motherhood is a mixture of pain and joy, love, and sacrifice. Help me to value the good moments and let go of attempting to control the outcome for my children. May your love be enough. Amen

Develop mind, body, and spiritual resilience

When Motherhood isn’t Playing House: Living Beyond Imagination


“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

John 15:55

Dear Page Turner,

I loved holding my baby dolls as a little girl. I sat in my rocker singing them to sleep and kissing their boo-boos away.

Motherhood did not turn out as I imagined.

It has been full of pain, laughter, surprises, mistakes, and successes. But what no one prepares you for when they place that new wiggly crying baby in your arms–loss.

Why would they? How could they? Amid the balloons, gifts, cards, and celebration, life breathes fresh, expectant, and new. Hopes are not tainted by the darkness of health problems or overwhelming trauma. How do we live beyond the life imagined?

As hard as losing a child is, there is life beyond the grave. It is possible to draw the first breath, then another and another. Jesus prepared his disciples for such a new life. But they had to walk through his death first. And even though Jesus tried to prepare them, the disciples scattered in the crushing betrayal of dreams. The death of Jesus spiraled them into confusion, abruptly stopped all they planned, all they imagined. Why didn’t he fight, why did he not defend himself or call his heavenly army? Was he really the Son of God? Jesus rerouted the disciples’ lives from an earthly kingdom to a cross on Calvary. From royal court to servitude. Victory over the Romans to disgraceful defeat. There would not be a single one who sat beside Jesus’ throne.

Yet, Jesus raises all things from the dead and makes a new life out of the confusion of the grave. Here how he is making things clear to me:

  1. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5
  2. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Luke 7:22
  3. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel  that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.

I am learning to live vibrant beyond the grave because I know that what I experience in this life is not all there is. Jesus’ will is that none perish. The gospel is my heartbeat. I find joy and delight in the unexpected breath I now breathe more deeply because Christ is not limited by the grave my son is in.

I would not trade the joys of motherhood for an untroubled reality. I came to Christ through a child’s heartbeat, and I now breathe life into others because Jonathan, Daniel, and Natalie are a part–not the whole of my story.

Love Always,

Karisa

Life is So Worth Living

Gracious Host (101 Words)

I had never tried my hand at flash fiction, but as a poet, I realized that telling a full story in a few words was very similar. I submitted my first story to 101 words and they published Gracious Host. Are you up for the challenge?

Karisa Moore

Home Bouquet

Home is a bouquet of sweet memories. I close my eyes and breathe in the familiar fragrance of you.

Knee-Knocking-Obedience

1 Corinthians 2:1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith would not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
Dear Fellow Page Turners,
Yesterday I took a step to face disabling fear and in my brokenness encouraged others struggling just as deeply.
 
We do not know who is on the edge of hopelessness. It is not in our achieving “Christian perfection” God uses us for the most glory of his kingdom. We become oaks of righteousness in our knee-knocking-obedience. 
Be real with your faith. Be bold in obedience. Be open in your weakness.
Love Always,
Karisa

Keeping Our Eyes Fixed (Faithful) to Christ

Scripture

Mark 5:28,34  For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” . . . And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Devotional

 

Yesterday could be summed up in one word.

Overwhelmed.

Many of you have been praying for my family, and I thank you deeply. It has been a very rough week. My pain and insomnia are so severe that I can’t function very well. By the time I made it for my son’s archery practice, my body and mind had enough. I melted down into tears and couldn’t stop them from coming.

Just a glance at my webpage tabs yesterday, would tell you what I spent my day doing. On the one side were scriptures and commentary on the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garments to be healed, and on the other multiple medical sites were open researching answers for my family’s myriad of illnesses. The woman who had sought medical care had spent 12 years without relief. She was an outcast and now broke with failed medical treatments. I think she might have shed some major tears. Then she hears about this great healer . . . he’s the answer, I just know it!

Do you and I know Jesus is the answer? And if we do, do we also remember that his plan is good for us?  Are you wrestling with a God who just will not fit into a nicely wrapped box? Do you believe that his purposes are greater than your circumstances?

The weight of my family’s health is so heavy that it feels as if my faith might break. I want an outward manifestation that God is good, but I realized last night that I don’t need to touch the hem of Christ’s garment, I have HIM in my heart. Do not take for granted that the greatest miracle in our lives is that when we believe, Jesus chooses to dwell with us. No more law to get to God, the answers are all right there, living with us! Amazing!

So as I close the medical tabs of anxious searching this morning, and determine to trust God’s perfect plan. Maybe he does an outward healing, but I can tell you this much for sure. Our family is changing from the inside out.

We cannot always help the moments of wrestling with flesh, the world, our enemy–we live in the crowded, smog filled, faith-challenging world. But, don’t spiral into fear, depression, and despair because God isn’t answering the way we think he should. A friend reminded me last night, what is God’s greater purpose in my circumstances?

The growth in my family spiritually has been noticeable. My book is in the hands of the publisher. And I certainly can speak bold encouragement into your lives.  None of my physical circumstances have changed this morning, but God is giving peace from the inside out.

Hit the mark of faith. We’ve stepped out of the boat, but we still have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Prayer:

Father, you are faithful. Help us to deeply root our trust into the rich soil of your promises. When our eyes fail us, help us to breathe in your testimony of miracles. You still do them today! Break the chains of depression that say God will never measure up to our expectations. Thank you for changing my family from the inside out! Amen

 

 

Dressing in Delight: Changing our Outlook on Life

Numbers 6:25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 

Playing dress up was not on my agenda yesterday. I have been battling a cold that is moving in and picking out curtains. To say I was miserable yesterday is an understatement . . . I was even second guessing going out on the planned date with my husband.

But, grandparents arrived to watch the kids and I prepared to leave, such as I am. . . enter Natalie. “Can I pick out your dress?” Dress . . . I was doing well to get out of the house in jeans and a nicer shirt. But, sigh, who can resist a pretty little redhead with big brown eyes who just got to be her daddy’s princess at the Father-Daughter Dance. So dress up it is.

 

Ready to Dance

Dancing the night away!

A funny thing happened when I put on the dress. I perked up. I laughed and was more in the mood to go out. Not even daddy escaped the wardrobe fairy. He was transformed into dress pants, my favorite of his blue shirts and a tie put it all together. We even took a picture, just as she and he did for their dance. All because a little girl expected elegance for our date.

There is something about putting on a different attitude in the circumstances we are in that can help change the course and pattern of our lives.  When we put on grace, forgiveness, or gratitude that can replace the rags of depression, hatred, and unforgiveness. It doesn’t just happen. We must grab those downward spiraling thoughts and pull them back up out of the pit. Sometimes we need someone to come in and say, ‘You aren’t going out dressed like that!’

Story Telling

Keep those smiles looking good.

 

Make a date this week and then dress, not based on feelings, but on the event planned for.

Some suggestions that perk me up:

  • A hike in the woods
  • Out with your spouse
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Trampoline with kids (impossible not to giggle)
  • A local band
  • Photography
  • Art class
  • Surprise me

I would love to hear how your date went. What did you talk about? Where did you go? What was your favorite moment? Did you find your countenance improved?

When Words Fail: Laugh

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. 

Words have been failing me lately. Literally. I try to respond in conversation and I can’t bring what I want to say to mind, or I’m talking about cooking and “cat” comes out. Imagery and laughter aside, it is quite frustrating for a wordsmith to be silenced. So, since laughter is good medicine and the kids and I have been creating an abundance of jokes . . . here are a few of my favorites.

 

Why are suckers always singing? Answer: Because they are covered in rappers.

Why don’t musicians like the police? Answer: Because they place you under a-rest. (Daniel original)

What note can a car tire play? Answer: B flat

Who gets in trouble more, a football player, or figure skater? Answer: A figure skater, because they are always skating on thin ice.

 

Cultivate laughter, plant it in the lives around you and watch joy grow.

 

 

 

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Suicide Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to the website at  SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.