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The Object of Our Agitation

My son was very agitated today about surface things that I could see had nothing to do with his anguish. Finally, I heard him sobbing in the other room. “Mommy I can’t stop crying.” I wrapped him up in my arm and rocked him as he continued to talk about the object of his concern, but quickly shifted to crying out for Jonathan. “I miss him so much!” he sobbed.

My heart broke for his grief! Oh Lord, equip me to comfort him. How many of us have those moments, we feel anxious about our broken toy, the car that just cut us off, the snow trapping us inside, the phone ringing–all the things that on another day wouldn’t bother us, but today it is just too much. All the time brewing beneath that agitation is real heart ache, longing, brokenness, fear, and sorrow.

Why did God create us with emotions? Emotions tend to squish out in strange ways when we deny them their purpose. I believe that our emotions were created to feel joy, pleasure, interact with each other and our God internally and externally–literally to be stirred by God. When the fall occurred our emotions were suddenly stirred by sin, which will always point to us away from God. But, we can learn to lay out our heartache, our pain before his throne so that he can replace our burden with healing. Our emotions always long to be in right relationship with God! Don’t be afraid to lift the veil to reveal your heartache to him, He longs to hold us, and is moved with compassion for our sufferings. He may prune away what we think is causing us grief to reveal the root.

If someone around you is agitated about things that don’t seem to match in value do a little gardening. Dig past the surface to the root pain; much easier to heal when we correctly identify the source of our anguish. It may just be as simple as being present with your loved one and listening, but it can make all the difference in the world.

Celebrating a Good Day!

Exercising consistently for a month, better rest, and seeking biblical counseling has added up to a really good start today. I thoroughly enjoyed accompanying Daniel’s violin practice this morning with the piano. I’m making an organized plan today and so far I have stuck with it. I had an amazing quiet time in Ephesians 1 and Psalm 139 (See Set Free Indeed ), and I have felt a song bursting forth from my heart. I cannot even remember the last time I felt this depth of pleasure. It may be a reprieve from the grief, but thank you Lord for the sweet gift of today!

Suicide Has a Face: Learning to Offer Hope

As a survivor of suicide, there is nothing that makes me recoil worse than hearing, “Sometimes there is nothing that you can do, if someone wants to kill themselves then they will find a way.” The speaker is talking about some abstract, undefined person–not my son. Gratefully I have not heard that too many times, but I have heard it. I have not had the strength to respond until now, not out of condemnation, but out of a desire to offer hope and healing to deeply wounded souls and educate those that desire to help.

My son wanted to live! Everything he was doing, everything that he was planning for was to live a long life. Ironically I’d have to say that I would have fit the above statement better than Jonathan. I made repeated attempts on my life, he made one. I am still here because there were people who never stopped offering me hope in little and big ways, no matter what I might do.

That is the thing, the above statement always comes after someone takes their life. I believe that the speaker is trying to understand something too horrific to ever comprehend. Suicide is not something that we will ever be able to stuff into a box and say, this is what it is! I left no note, Jonathan left a note, some suffer from physical causes, others depression. Our suffering may be different, but the one thing that we all need is HOPE!

Don’t ever stop offering it to me, to those around you just because the task seems daunting or impossible. God is a god of the impossible! Jesus saw our suffering and mourned with us, brought healing, and hope to those that others claimed were without redemption. I will cling to that hope, because in my darkest days it is my sunshine.

Opening Heaven in my Grief

The line was 2 and 1/2 hours from the door to the family. I stood there shaking, unsure whether to flee or stay, my own grief deeply moved by the loss of a dear friend. I knew that I was grieving for my son now, in a way that I could not at his funeral. The tears kept coming and I finally stopped fighting them. It just is.

Often, I have heard, the things that you are unable to grieve while you in the midst of shock and pain come out in odd places, and this was mine. As we celebrated Mike, I grieved Jonathan. But, I also saw heaven in a different light. The head knowledge that Jonathan was with Jesus became heart knowledge. I felt that Jonathan was with Jesus, because God gave me a glimpse of heaven through the eyes of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.  The whole trip to Huntington my mind was on the story recorded in Acts 7. As Stephen was being stoned to death he declared, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

For the first time I could clearly see that my son was with Jesus! The heavens had opened and Jonathan saw the glory of his heavenly father. Depression clouds our perspective of heaven, we cannot see who we are or whose we are. Heaven was not a place that took my son from me, it is the place that received his weary, battered spirit and restored it!

 

It is God’s will that are sight is restored in our earthly bodies. (Isaiah 61:1-4) I have been with men and women as they were dying, I have seen the difference between those whose eyes are fixed on things above, and those who cannot see past their earthly goods. A dear woman who I sat with in her last days was ministering to me, even as she struggled to take her next breathes. Another woman spent her dying days cursing others around her, her only relief came when I sang hymens to her. Some see heaven so clearly that it changes how they live on earth, how they treat others, how they see God. Heaven is changing me! It makes me look beyond the grave to see that God is sovereign in all things, even my son’s death.

My Story

Check out Chris’s story of depression and hope! May we strengthen each other as we work on Turning the Page on Suicide.

I am a Beautiful Disaster: Letting God use all aspects of our lives

Today I locked my self out of the house. Our garage door is broken, so the whole routine is out of whack. My husband had physical therapy today, so I needed to take the kids to school. My cell phone is dead, so I had to run over to my neighbor’s to call Brian . . . straight to voice-mail. So I called the physical therapist office. . . voicemail. Maybe I can catch him before his sessions over. I hopped in the car and drove over to the office. He had gotten the message and left the keys for me. Back home to get a quick change for the gym and back out.

Are you exhausted already by the start of my day? Now I’m laughing, but in the moment I realized my keys were on the inside and I was on the outside, my mind was racing to find a solution. How did your day start?

We can feel this way spiritually. We’re scrambling to figure out this whole God thing. Is he real-is he not? Is he good-is he not. Why does he let bad things happen to us? What is his plan for my life? Who is in charge, him or me? We lock ourselves out of his will and then blame God.

What if each moment, even my getting locked out were for a purpose? I thought about skipping the gym, I was going to be late for class. But my desire for consistency and discipline won out. If God works all things to good (that does mean that all things are good) for those who love him and are called according to his purpose- Romans 8:28, then my day to day experiences are beautiful. I love the song Beautiful Disaster. That is what I am, and I love God for taking my brokenness and making me shine like the stars!

If your day started like mine, take a moment to read Romans 8. You might see that there isn’t a single part of you that is not the hands of our creator! Even if the purpose of my mess is only to encourage others beautiful disasters to let go of having it all together.

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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/