Posts Categorized: suicide

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Grief effects our health. It is important to hydrate (I find I get dehydrated more quickly), and eat foods that will encourage and strengthen our bodies. In the weeks after Jonathan’s death my back went out, I had a sever respiratory infection and had seizers that were triggered by insomnia. To say that my body was depleted and not strong enough to carry the load I now bore, is an understatement.

I don’t have much of an appetite these days, but the health choices that I am making are horrendous. You’d think, if you aren’t craving things, that it would be easier to make better choices. But, I went into grief with bad habits and they are now magnified. I have enough to deal with, without adding more pounds to carry.

What does it mean to eat to the glory of God? At its core is acknowledgment that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) Jesus had just completed 40 days of fasting, prayer and preparation for ministry. Satan tempted Jesus with food first because Jesus’ body was in desperate need of food. Jesus responded that man’s health does not come just from physical fulfillment.

Throughout scripture, there are so many examples of breakthroughs in the lives of Israel centered around food. Daniel and his friends were put in charge because they honored God by not defiling themselves with the king’s rich foods and their health was better than all of the other candidates. Jesus stated that there are some demonic forces that can only be cast out through prayer and fasting. There is power in what we choose to put into our bodies when it is to the glory of God.

Lord, I long to glorify you in what I eat. Father discipline me to bring scripture to mind when tempted. Help me to enjoy what is before me, and for food to no longer be a hindrance in living on every word that comes from you. Amen.

Getting Ready Completely: Putting on our spiritual wardrobe

‘You have me ready, completely.” Natalie declared, as I put her hat on her head; completing her winter assemble.

Her statement struck me as I drove them to school. Do I have my children ready completely? Do I dress them spiritually with all they need to fight the enemy? And what do I clothe them in?

Colossians 3:12-15 gives me some clues:
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Looks like a long list, but Paul boils it down to love, which binds all of the others together in perfect harmony. You might call love our tuning fork. I realize that right now my love is out of tune with Christ because Jonathan’s death dominates my thinking, my body, and my spirit. So as I lean in to Christ’s character, my his love bring me into tune.

I completed our journey to school with prayer for the teachers, my kids, husband, and myself, and felt an ever so slight shift in my spiritual wardrobe for today. May your day dressed in the splendor of God’s love so that you are complete.

Turning the Page no Matter What: Forming routine in the midst of crisis

1 John 1:1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing these things so that oura joy may be complete. ESV

My children have struggled to head back to school. Two weeks of being out, one of those weeks in a different time zone have wreaked havoc on their routine. They are grumpy, hyper, and testing the limits of bedtime and routine. Yet they need structure and order.

For that matter, so do I. Routine is vital in healing from the trauma of any kind. My son’s suicide has forced me to simplify (my brain simply cannot store any sort of useful information right now), to write notes, to weed my schedule down, and to limit my interactions with people who drain what little energy that I have.

My husband and I went into Christmas with a plan and it was a good one. It aided us in saying no when we needed to, guarding each other’s hearts, and in creating new memories to cherish Jonathan. God blessed and honored our commitment with surprises around every corner, reminding us of his presence with us! Thank you Lord.

The future spread out before me is daunting. I must take each day one at a time, just as Jesus did. Jesus knew he was headed toward the cross and he maintained a routine of prayer, scripture, fellowship, and witnessing. The burden of walking towards the cross was broken down into daily pieces that fit perfectly in God’s plan. The four spokes of the wheel illustration I mentioned in an earlier post, aren’t just nice ideas. They are the daily routine that keep us focused and reliant upon the will of God! As we are strengthened in each, the crosses we bear are not a burden in the light of his love and God’s plan for salvation. Lord, give me enough for today. Amen

The Value of a Page Written in Tears

Luke 23:44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

I was doing great yesterday morning, but in the afternoon I began sobbing uncontrollably as I was working on laundry. Especially when I saw my son’s bed and could so clearly see his figure, both as a child and as a teenager, curled up under the covers.

Everyday functioning is so much harder with a piece of you missing. You walk through your day with a constant nagging feeling that there is something valuable lost that you are constantly searching for. For those of us who have lost a loved one, there is no quick fix, no glue that will repair this crack in our soul.

I truly believe that heaven is affected by the loss of Jonathan. The day I put my son in the ground the weather went crazy. For the burial the sun shone brightly, but quickly after it began storming and the sky went black. That is why, when the sky suddenly began brightening at 9:00 in the evening, everyone took notice.

My neighbor and I went outside and began snapping pictures. On one side were the billowing lines of the storm clouds, but to the west was this eerie orange light. My husband felt that heaven was mourning with us.

And why wouldn’t heaven mourn? God created each person with a unique fingerprint, there is not a single one of us that he does not value! Jesus came so that we may have abundant life. My son’s life was valuable to God.

What is it that you were created for? As I mourn for Jonathan I also have two more precious little ones who need to know that they have value. My kids struggled to settle down for sleep last night. I snuggled with Natalie first. We giggled like little girls, and she shared how much she missed Jonathan. I then climbed up into Daniel’s loft bed to snuggle with him (no easy task); he was so pleased that I was taking the time to be present with him that he began talking a mile a minute. He had so much he wanted to share with me. To reach beyond my grief to be present with them felt good.

My life has value, So I keep turning the page of my story to find out what happens next, even if it is a day heavy with tears. What page are you writing today?

What Do I have to offer?: Getting over fears of sharing hope

1 Peter 3:15. . . but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, . . .

A trip to a museum sharing the journey of early settlers out West would be told today if it weren’t for the passing on of their story through journals and families. They gave witness to their spirit of hope that kept them moving in the midst of great loss. Many lost family and friends to the difficulty of the journey and I can identify with their sufferings on a deeper level since my son’s suicide. I am able to keep moving, to keep sharing  my journey because others share their faith with me who have gone through the loss of a child. They witness to me.

When I got involved in Navigators (a collegiate ministry), I was a baby Christian. I was hungry to know this God who had so clearly pursued me. The Navigators have a simple wheel illustration that depicts my Christian walk. Christ the hub or center, the supporting spokes are scripture and prayer(vertical), fellowship and witnessing (horizontal). I kept growing in each of the areas in the years I was involved, but witnessing was the hardest for me.

I have strong beliefs in right and wrong, but don’t like offending anyone. I tend speak my mind, but then second guess myself. The abuse I experienced throughout my growing up tends to make me awkward around people. I have come a long way in my healing process, but witnessing is one area that my insecurities come out big time. The written word comes more naturally for me.

Yet I am compelled (commanded) to share my faith. Paul was consistently accused of being bold in his letters and timid in person. He didn’t let that stop him from doing either. Since my son’s death I have begun to understand that it was never about me being perfect in my delivery, it is about delivering the message of the gospel! The same gospel that saved my life and that my hope will save many more lives.

The Cross is Necessary: Why God couldn’t rescue us through a baby

Mark 15:39When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Since Jonathan’s death I have struggled with the cross. In all of my getting to know the character of God the cross always made sense. But, since Jonathan’s death I have questioned why the cross is necessary. If God is God then why did Jesus have to die? And of course the underlying question, how does Jonathan’s death work anything for good?

At the Christmas Eve service, as the pastor shared the sermon, the Lord jolted my attention. I mean, sat me up straight and sent me searching for a pen. He said, Karisa I want you to hear this and he wasn’t talking about my ears. My soul was now leaning into the next words.

“It was not enough that Jesus came as a little baby. We don’t need a perfect example, we need a savior.”

It isn’t enough that Jesus came as a baby, grew up among us, did miracles, gave us some good principals to live by. Those are all amazing, but the cross is necessary! Because, you see, with one fell swoop God said Karisa I came for you! Reader, I came for you! Oh, the power surging through my fingers as I type this message to you.

I can celebrate Christmas, despite the loss of Jonathan this year, because God said that I was worth saving. My son was worth saving. You are worth saving.

How can I not live life to the fullest? How can I not wake my daughter up yesterday morning with the delight of Christmas? How can I not share with you the joy that comes in the midst of my pain and casts despair to the deepest part of the sea? I want you to know that Jesus came for you, not when you had your act together, but when you didn’t even know that you needed him. He loved me when I was still forming in my mother’s womb, he valued me when others abused me, he claimed me when I rejected him at 19, and became an anorexic drunk, and he saved me when I was an unwed mother at 20. I had grown up hearing about the man called Jesus, but it is only at the foot of the cross that I really saw him for the Son of God!

Open each day like it is a gift and may it be filled with joy that transcends your understanding! Because, God does things that don’t make sense to me and I love him for it. He rescued me in a mind blowing way, and it started with a little baby in a manger, but it did continued all the way to the cross and a grave that could not contain him! Merry Christmas!

A Snowflake of Refreshment: The Gift of Frienship

Proverbs 25:13 Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.

I dreamed about my son Jonathan last night and awoke in deep heartache; the world of the present was difficult to embrace. I walked outside to take the kids to school and saw this snowflake hung from our Jonathan tree.

At just the right moment, when my soul needed refreshment friends brought it to me. WE NEED FRIENDS! I spent the majority of my young life pushing people away and isolated. When Jesus showed me my need for him, my need for friends soon followed. Jesus was not a lone wolf, he started his ministry by calling disciples. He called them friends! The God of the universe called broken man friend. Amazing. So don’t wait until you have it all together (never happening) or mankind has it together (also never happening). I let my friends down, they let me down, but the cool thing is that I now see it as opportunity for grace, growth, and maturing together in faith.

Ecclesiastes 4:9Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?…

Holy Kiss Bat Man: Greeting one another with the depth of God’s love

2 Corinthians 13:11Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13All the saints greet you.

When was the last time you greeted someone with a holy kiss? A bit awkward in our present day social norms. Kiss aside, do we greet each other with the fullness of God’s love? I have been in many churches and there is a marked difference in those who are intimately acquainted and simple love worshiping with each other, verses those who worship on Sundays and have no relationship outside the church walls.

What a mighty work of the Lord, that so many different personalities could love worshiping together. I feel like I have gotten to know my church family better as they have embraced me, and comforted us, in the loss of our son. My shyness kicks in on Sundays during the greeting time, but I am determined to change that. When we meet, I want it be a moment that Christ love for you is clearly evident! I encourage you this week to step out in faith and fully be present with those around you. May your family, neighbors and coworkers become aware that the twinkle in your eye is the joy of Christ’s presence in your life. A joy that is all the stronger as we build each other up in faith.

Questions and Doubts

Luke 7:20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’”

Yesterday was a particularly rough day for Daniel at home and at school. As we began trying to dig past the bad behaviors to what was going on in his heart Daniel started blurting out a series of doubts and deep questions. The same questions and doubts I still struggle with. If Jesus took all our sins away why do we still sin? If I love Jesus why can’t I seem to do good? If you and the adults in my life love me, why do you punish me. If Jesus loved Jonathan, why did Jonathan die? He concluded, “It would be easier to obey, if Jesus was here and I could see him.”

John who had been preparing the way for Jesus to come asked “Are you the one, or should we expect someone else?” He’s sitting in prison, awaiting execution because the wife of Herod wants John dead. It would be a natural question for someone who has spent his entire life preparing for Jesus. At its core, if I obey God, why am I facing death?

Many of us have these very same questions. We wonder why do bad things continue to plague us, we wonder if God and those around us really love us. If you struggle with depression, you wonder why living is so hard. I struggle every day with why Jonathan took his own life. I see it as so preventable and sometimes I too am overwhelmed by my questions and doubts. So what hope is there when we have so many doubts and questions?

Luke21-3 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” John the Baptist, took that hope and did not give in to his doubts as he faced death. Even if that path leads through dark places like Jonathan’s death, I still see him laying a foundation for me to offer healing and hope to others who are grieving. Am I going to be offended by who Jesus is? He is patient with my questions and doubts. Do not lose heart Daniel, do not lose heart dear reader!

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Suicide & Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or go to the website at https://988lifeline.org/