“Do we stop the story here, or turn the page?”
Every day you and I answer this question, whether consciously or unconsciously. Circumstances may feel impossible, help too distant, but by turning each page of our personal story, there is always hope that answers will come.
I asked this question of myself and the packed church at my oldest son’s funeral on July 7th, 2014. The next morning I took in a deep breath and began writing Turn the Page, first on Facebook and now my blog.
My goals were simple…
Keep writing your story. After five years beauty continues to spring out of the devastation of significant loss.
The day that suicide ripped my son from me was an evil day. Don’t give up, and stand firm.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
— Ephesians 6:13, ESV
God brings life out of death, just as he always has. Your legs may feel weak, perspiration beads on your forehead, tears sting your eyes, and your soul groans with pain words cannot describe. Dig in your heels and keep standing.
I stand firm by writing the Mind, Body, and Spirit Blog, to encourage you to fight with whatever tool you currently have.
My training since my son’s death includes:
…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…
— 1 Peter 3:15, ESV
Suicide is one of the harshest realities of our fallen state. I too struggled with despair and attempted to take my own life in my teen years. God pulled me from the pit and taught me how to persevere. I hoped for a different story for my son, and my heart breaks that he struggled so profoundly with despair.
So, I speak truth to the lie that this life is impossible. Conversations about despair and depression are worth having. The Psalmist thought so too when he cried out, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 43:5, ESV).
Let’s talk about despair, how to fight it, and be moved with compassion for one another.
There is more to your story to write beyond despair. Decide to turn one page, and then another, and another until breakthrough happens, and hope becomes solid, tangible, and sustaining faith. As you turn each page, remember, every hero and heroine has support.
Each of us has a story to write and every page is worth writing. May my transparency be a witness of hope that strengthens you to turn your pages.
And when you are ready, share your story with the community.
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/