Forgotten. Dressed in rags and chains, I was not ready to entertain kings.
You crossed the unclean threshold of my grave, your royal robes billowing in the sea’s warm breeze. My heart strained to near you. Dare I hope.
Hopeless. A crown, only seen by our eyes, testifies to us who you are. Naked, we claw with rocks at vulnerable flesh, mutilating your earthly jewel. We’ll make you unrecognizable too. Soon. Flesh out, God.
I scream for release from day and night horror. While they cried out to remain fast. I was a scarred lamb within, and a roaring lion without.
Mighty Samson would not tame we beating beasts.
You, Son of God, entered my tomb and knocked the breath out of me. What man chained you commanded freed. Clothed in righteousness, I now cling to you.
You are God in flesh!
You are God in flesh!
A demoniac commissioned to share the truth of your love for mankind.
Muddled religious platitudes
leave me questioning existence and further
hush the echoes of truth. Hypocrites!
“God bless”ripped of its earth-quaking power
by unrepentant ministers who curse children with trauma
huddled naked under their self-righteous protection. Why would I want that?
Savior? What a laughable insult. I am god of my fate.
I am independent. A pull-yourself-up by-the-bootstraps kinda
person. Connect to god any way I choose. Or none at all.
I can stoke the flame of my passion with a flip of a channel.
Obstacle or object, I can abuse or manipulate people like pawns. Bend
them to the will of my mood.
The world is crammed with little wack-a-mole idols
popping up with flashy egos. “Look at me!” And I look.
Devoid of humility. Empty of truth. These are the ravenous monsters I sacrifice to?
Forgive and forget or take revenge are one and the same when I am god. Distilled of life-giving
obedience i forget to trace God’s instilled image in you.
To forgive and remember. Now there is the coup ‘d’ etat.
Sin, the abyss of separation from God. Sin, I once recognized and crumbled
to my knees in repentance. Sin is now bridged by
religious arrogance and social norms. “You do you.”
And in the end, when soul is spent, I ask. What is really different between Saint and sinner
if truth is what I make it?
And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”
2 Kings 4:2, ESV
Turning My Page
“It just keeps coming.” I giggled as I squeezed another serving of toothpaste two weeks after the tube was flat and looked as if it was empty. “Keep it coming, Lord.”
I wonder if the widow giggled joyously as she kept filling jars of oil. Life dealt her some harsh blows. Her husband was dead, debts piled up, and creditors were coming to take her two sons to sell into slavery to cover her debts. No one was stepping in to hep.
The widow must have felt desperate. I’ve been in that place where my only choice was to cry out to God. Have you? As I read the scripture I am surprised, no one stepped in to help. Did she have no kinsman reedemer like Ruth? Care for the widows and orphans (fatherless children) was of the utmost importance in Mosaic Law. God himself is called Father to the fatherless. Her question did not catch Elisha by surprise. His response was simple: How can I help and what do you already have? The widow must have asked others before reaching out to Elisha. Did no one else have pity on her and her sons?
There have been times in my life that God alone has helped me. I have no other human explanation for the provision. But I did have to ask, just as the widow did. What if she never sought Elisha out? I am humbled by her boldness and fortitude. She knew her worth and yet called herself a servant of Elisha. I’ve seen others approach God in the same way. The Centurian on behalf of his servant, the woman with the issue of blood, the possessed man among the graves. As soon as they saw Jesus, they cried out, and Jesus answered.
I want to approach God like the widow! To know that I am priceless and dust at the same time.
God multiplied what the widow had in supply, oil until every last cent she owed was paid off! I bet she and her sons were doing the Happy Dance.
Currently, I have friends in abundance, joys in writing, a roof over my head, and sustenance. If I need anything, I can ask. I am grateful for each of these, but sometimes God gifts reminders that my ultimate provision is him.
While toothpaste is not a dire situation like it was for the widow, it brought delight to me each morning and evening. One, it is God’s sense of humor on full display, and two, he is reminding me that when I think life is empty that he still has so much more for me. Keep filling my life with your goodness Lord!
Turning Your Page
God has infinite abundance for you. Remaining open to this truth when everything in your life is empty, disaster seems to threaten you at every turn, and God feels distant and quiet. can daunt the sturdiest believer in Christ. It has rattled Old Testament and New Testament followers of Yahweh throughout droughts of obedience. Have you cried out, “Consider your servant, Lord?” Consider, means, to take into account.
God has always been aware of your needs, are you aware of your need for him? Sometimes he allows all other avenues of help to dry up so that we know that he alone has the answers we seek. Like the widow:
Know that God will provide
Obey his directions
The widow didn’t hold some super religious card that receives a divine answer from God. All who believe in him can cry out and receive an answer, pressed down and running over (Luke 6).
Lord, you are my kinsman redeemer. Fill my vats to overflowing so that others may see our most desperate needs are filled by you. Amen
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
John 15:5-6, ESV
Turning My Page
Sometimes we start again in a new way.
My depression is often rooted in thinking God is not enough for everyone I care about. My daughter, in particular, is suffering deeply. I can’t stand suffering, so I scramble to find answers, overthink, and stretch myself to the point of breaking to fill in all the perceived gaps God leaves incomplete to my satisfaction.
In addition, I am acutely aware of my friends and family who are deeply hurting, and I want to relieve their suffering too. I need to be there for others. And the list of reasons I don’t measure up to the lofty expectations I have for myself is endless.
As long as I can remember, I have tried to fix things for everyone and be god to broken-winged animals and people, and on the surface, those are noble desires. God created me with great compassion for the downtrodden and brokenhearted, but part of my New Year’s message from God this year was: “You are not me.”
In reality, there is only one thing I need to do. Love Jesus.
I am grafted into Jesus. It’s not my job to fix the messed up world, not even my own, and God continues to work with me this year to trust him in all areas of my life, including the care for my family. When I attempt to usurp God’s plan, even in allowing brokenness, I run over his spectacular redemption. I forget that it was in brokenness that he redeemed me.
As I read scripture I see that his ways aren’t mine. My plan would not have allowed Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of the world.
I laid some things on the altar on New Year’s Day, and I confess that lately, I have picked them back up. I praise God for the humbling he has done in the past few weeks. I CAN wait to see what God has in store for my daughter, friends, and family. He asked me to pray that his will is done in the lives I care about. No more attempts to fix or correct. Trust. Trust Him.
Turning Your Page
What is in your hands at this very moment? Are you gripping people, places, purposes, or a job so tightly that God has to work around you? Make no mistake, His will be done on earth as in heaven. You can either be a fruitful grapevine or a useless branch, but either way. Jesus is the vine.
Our job is to abide in him.
Pray that God shows you areas in your life where you are trying to be the vine.
Look up the definition of abide and put the definition into your own words.
Read the story of Joseph in the Old Testament (Genesis 37-50).
What was Joseph’s plan for his life as a teenager?
What was God’s?
How did Joseph come to realize that God’s plan was the best route, even though it wound through attempted murder, slavery, and prison?
Lord, your ways aren’t mine, and I don’t want them to be. Do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond my limited thinking. Wow me! Amen
Some of us push against your goodness
Undeserving. Wretches, Self-Stamped Rejects.
Then we spin our tale, convincing everyone
around us of our version of truth. But I couldn’t
ever burn, cut, or tear your imprint
out of me. I was and am grafted into your image.
And when remembered, it’s easy to
surrender to your goodness.
Sit here. In quiet
uncertainty, just be
me with your tears. Know my
pain when you don’t have to.
Listen. I’m not alone.
Your heartbeat, your inhale and
exhale, remind me that I can bear
this weight of losing. Sit here.
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
Matthew 10:29, KJV
Not even a sparrow falls without God’s knowledge and we are more precious than they. Oh, one day, I pray that I embrace this truth with the depth and security of one who trusts God no matter what I experience in this life. I’m not there yet. As the poem reflects this was a tear-streaked day. I have witnessed God’s care over and over, but I still don’t understand why he allowed Jonathan to die by suicide. The bottom line, is I just want Jonathan here.
Turning My Page
I wanted your heart to heal from
the world’s unrelenting fists of hatred.
I tried to shield you, but their blows penetrated
to marrow. Broke bone and spirit without pity. They
meant to crush you—rob identity.
Rearranged home until
you no longer recognized love or belonging.
I thought if I cradled your heart
enough with my love, that somehow, someway
you’d emerge from despair.
of your rhythm was never mine. Your
soul was formed and shaped by a God
who knit you together in my womb.
On my knees I plead that His will be
done in your life—from beginning to end.
“DO SOMETHING!” I screamed at a
God who was not deaf to my desperation.
He comforted. He still comforts,
but I will not pretend to understand
why He didn’t rescue you.
Your future—my future—was never
mine to determine. And I pray
one day I walk this path knowing
that not even a sparrow falls to the earth
without God’s knowledge.
Your life mattered, and heaven
mourned you even deeper than I.
Turning Your Page: When Sparrows Fall to Suicide
You may have sparrows who have fallen in your life. Your mourning may be deep and waves of emotions swamp you. Courage! May the promise of God’s care sustain you, even when the feelings simply are not there. You are precious to God. Your loved one was and is precious to a God who was willing to suffer with and for you. As you think about Easter consider the following:
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners” (Romans 5:6, NLT).
“When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36, BSB).
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29, ESV).
Lord, this sorrow is too great. Carry it for me. Your tenderness and mercy towards my loved ones exceed my own and not one of them falls to the earth without your knowledge and mourning. Amen
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?”
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.
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!
Your Pamela Sue
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.