Posts Categorized: mental health

Run After Me, Not Man

Turning My Page

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

1 Corinthians 1:20 ESV

I wasn’t feeling fearful of Covid-19 at first. After endless days of news updates, cancelations, empty store shelves, battling my own respiratory infection, and my kids home for the next two weeks, I am exhausted. This morning, I was challenged to spend five minutes meditating on the following question:

What things am I running after?

After spending an hour longing for those five minutes, but instead, working on chores, and assisting children with projects, I only found agitation and more exhaustion. All of those things were good but would not refresh my spirit. My mind, body, and spirit do exponentially better at responding to the needs of others when I put Christ first.

My husband very wisely stepped in and told the kids to steer all questions to him and give mom space to settle her spirit. He gave me a breathe. The Lord gave me a lesson.

I settled into my quiet-time chair and opened my Bible and journal. ” Holy Spirit guide my thoughts and help me to lean into your answer. ” This is God’s response:

Answers do not come from the news of today, but the good news of the gospel through my son Jesus. There is no anxiousness in me. Journey towards the eternal rather than the temporal. Calamity is an opportunity to shake off the agitation found in your attempts for short term security. Discover peace and calmness through the longterm practice of keeping your eyes fixed on me.

Covid-19 is temporary. Homeschooling my children is temporary. Shortages are temporary. Work changes are temporary. This life of trouble will come to an end. But the love and freedom of my salvation through Christ is eternal. The love of God is eternal, and his will is done along this short journey. Christ, I choose to run after the things that please you.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 ESV

Turning Your Page

Fear is easy. It was the first feeling we experienced after the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. Fear is the consequence of knowing good and evil, but not having the omniscience to know what to do with either. What are you running to?

  • Take five minutes to sit quietly and listen to God’s answer.
  • Where do you spend the most time, scripture, or the news?
  • What does scripture say about the source of your help in a crisis?
  • Create a picture or collage of all the ways Jesus is currently loving you and helping you to remain calm.

Father, help my anxious thoughts. I confess I have not run to you, and my attitude shows it. Thank you for speaking to me and calming my spirit with the truth of your presence in hard circumstances. Amen

Embrace the Awkward

Turning My Page

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.…

Philippians 2:5-7

I experienced an intense, painfully shy day in an unfamiliar place last week. The knots formed in my stomach, shame flamed my cheeks at the first awkward flub. I wasn’t getting anything right, and I wanted to crawl in a hole. I was sure everyone was laughing at my fumbling.

I forget growth, success, and God’s faithfulness. I was the same insecure child of my past, attempting perfection. But as I pulled out of the wrong bay, I spoke out loud. “Embrace the awkward Karisa. Only you are expecting to make no mistakes”, and with that, the knots in my stomach loosened, and the negative mantra in my head was silenced.

I can’t help that I have moments of mistakes in new terrain, but I can change how I treat myself when I do.

  • Acknowledge perfectionism is rooted in pride.
  • My insufficiencies cause me to seek God.
  • Who am I trying to impress, God, or man?
  • Embracing mistakes helps others to come to Jesus as they are.

Embracing the awkward means, I accept that I’m still growing and learning in faith.

Turning Your Page

You will make mistakes. There is a difference between sin and mistakes. Mistakes are the gap between what we know and what we still need to learn. I truly believe Jesus made mistakes. He didn’t eat perfectly as an infant, he stumbled and had skinned knees as a child. Jesus learned as an adolescent and adult to draw close to God and walk in humility and persistent obedience. He was God, limiting himself to our fallible flesh.

Jesus didn’t consider equality with God his goal. He embraced the awkward to save mankind and show us how to live free from the bondage to sin. Beauty is created in the persisting through uncomfortable feelings.

  • How do you react when you make private or public mistakes?
  • Is there someone you are trying to impress?
  • Practice responding to mistakes with grace.
  • Record what you learn from mistakes.

Lord, mistakes are not the end of the story. Help me to embrace, learn, and move forward from my fear of others’ reactions. Amen

Dark Side Lightened

I benefit from this anguish.
Your judgment that finds faith
lacking. You reveal secrets.
Pull truth from my heart like
a colorful magician’s scarf. I choke
on the hate. Vomit anger, and
bite down on the bitterness of repulsive
slavery. I weep.

And still,
you empty me.

Remember my image to me, the
heart you canvased in my mother’s womb.
Brushstroke light, concealed in
despair. Display
a masterpiece through the shadows of my suffering.

Dedicated to the many children who experience abuse.

Hope, A Festival of Living: A Community’s Future After a Suicide

I look for hope in the aftermath of my son’s suicide. Last year, I encountered hope playing, speaking, supporting, and praying, inside a high school gymnasium. Almost ten years after Chelsea Ryann’s death her parents, Matt and Jennifer Westwood continue to encourage their community to reach out and reach into to the lives touched by depression, through Chelsea Ryann’s Festival of Hope.

An impressive pool of volunteers, organization, and outreach opportunities greeted me as I explored the many activities offered. People, inflatables, crafts, information booths, joy, and sorrow, connected me to the community. Displayed throughout the Chelsea Ryann Festival of Hope was a God who cares, a community involved, and a family who remains faithful through the hardest of experiences.

Matt and Jennifer took the time to engage individuals and ask how each person was doing. Compassion and understanding were evident in the couple’s eyes, as they hugged me and mourned my loss as well as their own. Both parents admit we didn’t believe mental health was a problem until it became our problem.

Since Chelsea’s death, the Westwood’s immersed themselves in the world of depression and suicide, while also holding tightly to the truth of who they are in Jesus Christ. Suicide touches every age, gender, and demographic and they feel they are responsible for showing their community faith in action.

The Value of a Life

I participated in the Memory Walk held on the outdoor track where photos shared Chelsea’s story, and signs of encouragement lined the infield, “You Matter”, “Don’t Let Your Story End”. “Chelsea was a smart, witty, amazing daughter, friend, and sister. We had 16 beautiful years with Chelsea”, Jennifer stated in a recent video on their site, but they wish for more experiences with their daughter. In the ten years since her death, many of her friends have graduated from college, married and are starting their families. But Chelsea has no new memories to share.

Chelsea loved hiking at Red River Gorge and once successfully carried her injured friend down the mountain without help. She was up for a challenge and became an innovative problem solver. Matt smiled as he described her as a wiz at Trig. But, as she entered junior high, the outgoing, vibrant Chelsea they knew, was slowly crowded out by dark thoughts, self-hatred, and deteriorating mental health. The school, community, and church rallied around Chelsea to support and encourage her.  But in a moment of despair, Chelsea ended her story in 2009.

Thinking back on the day of Chelsea’s suicide, Matt said, The enemy was certainly prowling around that day. The enemy wanted people to think that it was their fault that Chelsea took her life. He looked at Jennifer, I think we both knew we are going to stand strong for these people who have now flooded our living room with tears and regret, and guilt. The Westwoods felt protective of their immediate family and the house full of friends experiencing shock. “We chose the path we did because that is what we believe”, they both stated firmly. “We realized we had to stay strong. Jesus calls us to emulate him, as much as we can”, because others were watching.

Emulating Christ in Grief

Suicide destroys many marriages but faith, family, and the adversity already experienced strengthened Matt and Jennifer’s relationship. Such commitment did not go unnoticed by the community, others asked how their marriage remained secure. “Why wouldn’t it, was Matt’s response. We need each other. The simplicity of their belief and strength of their convictions emerged from years of practicing a united front. “Never losing hope. That is what got us through. There were highs and lows, but knowing God was always going to be there for us. He’s got our back, even through the difficult times. I never gave up hope,” Jennifer stated.

The Westwood’s teach others through their talks on suicide to lean into the lives around them and ask how they are doing. Jennifer emphasized, “How are they really doing?” They take back the date of Chelsea’s death in March by preparing care baskets for neighbors and friends and visiting to encourage. “Because we have made ourselves vulnerable and open, we have a lot of people who approach us, not just for teen suicide, but for a lot of things.” A prominent man in the community who shared with them he was struggling with depression serves as a powerful illustration for going deeper with our circle of influence. Matt shared, “All these people around him knew him, but very few knew he was battling depression. Because on the outside everyone was like, I want to be that guy. But no one took the time because everyone assumed, he was okay.” The community reached into Matt and Jennifer’s lives as well. Supporting them at work with understanding, time to grieve, and a listening ear.

Jennifer marveled at the support they received and realized how many resources God blessed them with. Being surrounded by so many amazing people “helps us not to lose our hope”, She affirms.  Many of those same people who loved Chelsea then, love her now through supporting her memory at the Festival of Hope.  Chelsea’s grandparents, siblings, extended family, church and community open their hearts wide to offer hope in the midst of their own sorrow and grief alongside Matt and Jennifer.  As I completed the loop, I felt valued, my individual story nurtured and ministered to by the strangers I now call friends.

Signes around the track encourages that your life matters.

Establishing a Habit of Hope in Community

Through prayer, openness, and vulnerability, Matt and Jennifer designed Chelsea Ryann’s Festival of Hope with their community in mind. Inspired by the work of the American Foundation for the Suicide Prevention’s Community Walks, Chelsea’s family began working with their local community to support individuals and families struggling with depression. They enlisted the help of school resource officers, teachers, friends, and community professionals. Now, beginning their preparation for their 4th festival which will be held this Saturday, October 20th, they encourage us to both celebrate life and value the journey of anyone wrestling with depression. Matt and Jennifer remain steadfast and determined to continue their story to completion. It is good to know their loss is not the last chapter. Chelsea’s story is part of a bigger story. One that includes others experiencing depression embracing hope in Christ Jesus through a community’s testimony of perseverance.

Making Headlines

I proof courage before it makes headlines. Erase
errors and daily edit my existence
until acceptance. The looks, scholarships, the homecoming queen, the pageantry—You caption my life—A Success On and Off the Field.
But fear echoes
in my ears, after the bleachers stop pounding
with admiration. I don’t know who I am without the
helmet. I polished
life before my final submission. Made
sure remembrance is stamped
into who you think I am. Before
the Suicide


Allow new breath, though motherhood
aches, and mind screams in the tight squeeze
of despair. Each face, traced anew, is valued
from womb to grave. Every sorrow felt,
a precious jewel, shaped and hardened by the
pressure of both good and bad
experience in my heart. My children,
shimmer in the palm
of a God who loves.

Peace Peace: Resting in God’s Promise

” The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3 BSB).

It is now 1:51 in the morning and I have given up on sleep. So I came downstairs to meditate on scripture and pray. This as my go-to habit when I can’t sleep. The time has been sweet, refreshing my spirit, and reveals so much about myself and God.

The Lord prompted me to share with you step by step, as it is happening, what my time looks like.


  • Bible
  • Writing Utensils (Highlighter, Pen)
  • Online Commentary
  • Journal
Meditating on Scripture


  • Read through the first time without notes
  • Highlighted verses that stood out to me
  • Wrote out thoughts or questions in margins (can be done in a journal as well)
  • Looked up parts I didn’t understand
  • Looked for context words (i.e. lots of battle terms)
  • Prayed for understanding throughout, for myself, and for you
  • prayed for rest

Perfect Peace=Perfect Trust
(What I learn about God and myself in each verse)

  • God’s Character/My Character
  • Our Salvation/Strong City
  • Open Gates/Faithful
  • Keeps in Peace/Steadfast Mind
  • Rock Eternal/Trust Lord Forever
  • Humbles Prideful/The Oppressed Win
  • Upright/Smooth Path
  • His Judgment Teaches Righteousness/Student
  • Worthy of Praise/Wait, Obey, Know Him
  • Majesty/ Experience Evil Because of God’s Grace for All Mankind
  • Authority/Protected From Enemies
  • Establishes Peace/Open to His Good Things
  • Lord and Ruler/ Honor His Name No Matter Who Rules Over Me
  • Destroys Oppressor/Temporary Suffering
  • Glorified Through the Righteous/Repent and Cry Out
  • Disciplines the Wicked/I Suffer If I Do Not Do What is Right or Bring Salvation to Others


  • What does “perfect peace” mean? vs 3
  • What is the significance of a upraised hand? vs 11

Lest you be intimidated by the fact that I am looking up the Hebrew translation of the verses, realize this, I love languages. I am a word girl. We lose some depth of meaning through our English translation, so I try to look at the original. This is a desire God placed in me as an aspect of my delight in scripture. Reading the original aids in my understanding. By no means do you have to do this, and I would actually caution, anyone beginning to read scripture for the first time to keep it simple.

At the core, my basic reading pattern looks like this:

  • Read
  • Question
  • Apply

Indeed, the Hebrew revealed something I didn’t see before. “Perfect peace” could literally be translated “peace peace”. By doubling up, the writer is implying this is complete, without a shadow of a doubt peace. It doesn’t come from man building security on high. It comes from God fortifying our lives, protecting us day and night, and trusting him to do what is right for us.

God has been chiseling away at the hard places in me where I lean on my own understanding and don’t trust him (i.e. my daughter’s health) and revealing over and over his trustworthiness.

Going back to my list again, what developed as I read is the following:

  • Read–God’s actions my response (looked for in each verse)
  • Question– What is the significance of God’s hand being raised? (I figure a kingly gesture of judgment, like a gavel)
  • Apply–God is trustworthy in my family’s health. Run to him for healing and direction. He will not let me down. Rest in his faithfulness.

Blessing and and peace peace dear brothers and sisters.


Taken for granted, the straight A’s

Riddled with stress. Popularity

Ostracized by the lack of interest. Neither in nor out. Depression always

Underestimated by the well meaning church choir. “Isn’t he such a nice

Boy?” they sang. “Doesn’t he show such

Leadership potential?” Until you teetered on the

Edge of the unknown and revealed your spirit was already


Look around you, is someone struggling in secret? Notice the needs of others and be a light for someone battling despair.

The Feet of Good News

“And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15)


Dear Page Turner,

My feet have good news. Faithfully, not perfectly, I have tried to grieve with hope and walk in obedience to God’s direction. After four years of grieving with hope, I am almost done with my second book, a devotional to help anyone who has just experienced a loss to suicide. 

I have also joined The Dented Fender writing team, and am developing my speaking chops so that I can share hope more effectively. I want to be fully equipped, not lacking anything. God’s love is shining into the darkness of despair, and I love getting to be a part. So many amazing things are happening, way beyond what I thought myself capable of, but with God nothing is impossible.

Four and 1/2 years ago it was painful to turn 1 page on Jonathan’s death. I have now turned over the 2007 pages. Each page has been important, even the ones I could barely turn. My initial hope, that others would be encouraged to choose life is coming to fruition. I refuse to bow to the spirit of despair. Each page, some intensely painful, have produced new joys, new discoveries, and encouragement. I look forward to sharing with you what God is accomplishing, even when we don’t understand the fullness of his purpose.

As the work on my second book is nearing the finish line you inspire me to finish strong. Writing this book has made me look back over all that God has accomplished in four years of Turning the Page on Suicide,  I am so thankful. 

I learn from each of you. Thank you for wrestling with despair and not letting the darkness have the final say! Thank you for choosing writing as your outlet to share hope. Thank you for encouraging others with poetry, stories, photography and scripture. Thank you for commenting and blessing one another with courage for each individual journey.


The mental health community is made up of spectacular and uniquely gifted individuals. Don’t ever underestimate the value of your words, your courage to breathe life into others, in spite of your own physical and emotional pain. If you are just getting started on turning your page on suicide, may 1 page become 2 until you look back and find a lifetime of spreading the good news, death does not have the final say. Life is worth living.








Karisa Moore

Poetry Collection: Broken Butterflies


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