Posts Tagged: depression

Suicide Didn't Diminish Worth

Suicide CSI

When the dust settles on the grave,
the investigation begins. Dust for prints,
who’s to blame? Check every angle of motive
and spend countless hours of speculation.

None of it resurrects you.

No matter how often thought follows lead, the facts
remain concrete. I loved you. Valued you. And tore
up my knees praying over you.

What could I
have done differently
to save your life?

I spin the clock backward
toc-tic, toc-tic, until your heartbeat forms
in my womb. Rebirth of soul cradled in cells.
The tension of potential and unknowns recalibrated.

You are still not here.

Though I must pack up my crime scene tools,
press into living beyond your grave, I love you. I value you.
And I would do motherhood all over again still knowing…

You are not here.

The Big Picture of Us: Life after my Father’s Suicide-Guest Blog

That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Romans 8:24-25 MSG

Turning My Page

I have a suicide story. My loss and pain connect me to others struggling with and hurt by despair. However, it is hope that moves each of our stories beyond the chapters of despair we experience to deeper love, redemption, and joy.

My guest blogger, Christina Rose is the author of My Appeal to Heaven, and just as she chooses to share her life with you I encourage you to share yours. If you have a story of hope like Christina Rose, I would love to share it on my blog. Email me at [email protected] You are not alone and there are many of us building a mountain of evidence that this life is worth living, come what may.

Christina’s Story

When I was 21 years old, my father leaped to his death from the top floor of a government building in Washington, DC.  Immediately news reporters swarmed our home. I stood at the front door, holding my weeping mother, while my 12-year old sister looked on in shock.  After a few months of being on the news each day, they forgot about us, but we never forgot about Dad.

Dad was a sensitive, introverted man and compassionately took care of others while not expecting anyone to take care of him.  He kept most of his troubles to himself, not wanting to bother others. He was extremely stressed over mounting bills and kids in college and felt there was no way out. In his mind, we left him to pay the bills and did not appreciate him anymore.

The day after the funeral, Mom left for Greece for three weeks, leaving my sister and me to fend for ourselves. 

She was a travel agent and started taking any trips that offered an escape.  The trauma of dad’s death and my mother’s frequent absences sent us into constant PTSD and anxiety. Thoughts of suicide started haunting me. We were still in the family home with memories of dad. It felt like an ugly vulture was sitting on my shoulder, continually whispering dark, hopeless thoughts into my ears. I had night terrors with visions of dark, hideous beings running up and down the stairs. Instinctively, I would recite the Lord’s prayer, which was the only way I could get them to leave.

Dad loved to camp, and we had many remarkable adventures traveling in our Volkswagen bus.  When my daughters were born, I got my own Volkswagen bus to share my father’s love of camping. I would feel his presence strongly on these trips as I pitched the tent, made campfires, and cooked on the camp stove, just as he had taught me to do.  Sitting by the campfire at night, once the girls were asleep, it was so quiet that sometimes I felt that I could hear Dad speaking to me. He seemed to tell me that while he destroyed his body, his soul was still alive, and he had to go to his own funeral. He had to watch us all suffer because of what he did and no longer had arms to comfort us and a voice to tell us he was there. I felt him say, “If only I’d seen the big picture, there was a beautiful life planned for me after that storm I was in, I wished I’d had hung on and gotten through it for all of you.”

I wish he had hung on.

At the funeral, we learned that two of his friends were starting their own business and wanted Dad to join him. He could have quit the job he hated.  My brother had recently moved to Colorado to marry his high school sweetheart and join their family.  Our families were very close, so a few years after Dad’s death, the rest of my family joined them. Dad would have loved the adventure of living out west with our big family.  He never got the chance to meet any of his 23 grandkids or the more than 40 (and still counting) great-grandkids. He missed walking each of us three daughters down the aisle at our weddings and wasn’t there to help us when we needed him when we started families of our own.

 My father’s death and my struggle with despair have taught me that change is part of life, and storms always pass.  If we are still comfortable, we will never grow. The most difficult tests are often a catalyst that catapults into an upgrade in our life that we may not have considered if we had not experienced challenges.  If we can hang on and climb the mountains that face us, once we reach the top, we can see the view of how far we have come and trust that we need not fear the future. 

Never be afraid to ask for help in this process. None of us are equipped to live life alone.

Consistent, unconditional love and support are a lifeline to someone who feels hopeless. Reaching out with encouraging words, taking walks in nature, going to dinner, to movies, for coffee, a road trip, buying a puppy – engage in simple pleasures. Life is full of joy.  Position yourself to listen; people open up when they feel heard.  I pulled myself and my family out of this dark hole several times.  I sought the support of community and churches; they lift my spirit when I feel weak.

In the more than 40 years since my father’s suicide, I have learned many valuable lessons.  The way the universe, stars, sun, and moon operate daily testify to a perfect, divine order to all of life, down to the most minute, microscopic detail.  The earth is complicated. Millions of inhabitants and their diversity, the vast number of species and plants, and the millions of years that we have all existed, we must know that there is a perfect design for everything, including each of us.  It is not up to us to figure out the future but to trust that the creator already has a big picture of who we will be on his mantle.

About the Author

Christina Rose

Christina Rose is an author, trainer, and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership. She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs and auntie to over 40 nieces and nephews.
Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and
freedom. Follow her at: christinarose.org

Turning Your Page

Compiling evidence that life is worth living requires placing hope in what you don’t yet see. Every single person who has ever moved beyond despair has taken that first step to hope for something different and then step into another unknown and then another. What step can you take today.

  • Observation is crucial in embracing hope. What are some characteristics you see in nature that reflect trust in the unseen provision of God?
  • Who in your life steps outside their current circumstances to trust in what they can’t yet see? What work or effort do they put in to maintain that hope? Do they experience set backs and disappointments? How do they get back up.
  • Meditate on Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Lord, my life is a mess and I am tired of the constant fight. Help me to see your promises and keep pressing into the fact that you are with me. Amen

Graceful Hope

Hope tilts the heavy head towards heaven,
widens weary eyes to witness rescue,
and laces up slippers for
you to dance in the fire of despair.

Ugly Duckling Interupted: Acrostic

You Were Always a Swan

You Were Always a Swan

Such an ugly duckling.” the others cackled, slapping the water in agreement.
(Your head ducked),
Under the burden of shameful stares.
(You swam away),
 Inclined to believe what others say.
(You)
 Couldn’t see the swan swimming smooth as silk on the other side of the reeds.
(Searching)
 Inside yourself for true identity.
(Your answers)
Decidedly never came.
(You)
Ended the story before your clouded reflection cleared.

Is Motherhood Worth The Climb?

I could have stopped climbing motherhood,
after you fell.
Sat in the crag of grief
and let death bury my scarred soul. 

We were supposed to view this summit together.
Your spirit strengthened and equipped,
ready for the difficult ascents of adulthood.
Teaching your siblings life is worth the climb.

You were my first heartbeat of adventure.
My own fearful expanse of the impossible
became a vibrant vista of God because
you lived.

The struggles of life became another rock to conquer.
And we did. I breathed joy more deeply because
we grappled circumstances. Our pain revealed
gems of truth—life to the fullest.

The muscles of motherhood burned 
when I first stretched out 
for the next handhold of hope after your death.
The ache of loss—you lived—crumbled resolve beneath my feet.

Did I make a mistake in motherhood?

No, you grew in the rich valley of youth.
Stumbled, yes, but you scrambled back up, eager to learn.
I look back at your tiny fingers wrapped
around mine as I swung you up and wiped your tears.
Every struggle was worth it.

The foothills became treacherous mountains.
Required sturdier equipment, a deeper trust, training, and
faith without seeing.
I watched you climb further away, testing
footholds that would not sustain. 

Was letting you go a mistake?

I wipe my dusty tears and jump
to the next ledge of trust.
I was never meant to make
secure your every step.
God you are faithful.
Sturdier in grief, because I loved.

Did I fail motherhood?

So many missteps.
I watched in agony as your grip on life loosened. Motherhood
stretched and strained to breaking. I prayed.
Pleaded. Don’t give up. God catch him!
Your life was a sunrise worth experiencing.

Does motherhood end?

No, because love always remembers life.
Your laughter echoes
in the canyons of my sorrow,  the memories
of your beautiful, valuable, life
stirs my warrior cry of joy.

Was it worth it?

I climb this mountain of motherhood—gut it out to the fullest
because my scraped knees of prayer
and bruised soul of faith
testify life is sacred, come what may.

Motherhood is worth the climb,
even if I see the vistas of heaven
without you.

Motherhood is Worth the Pain

Turning Your Page

… but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

John 19:25-27, ESV

Motherhood tests every spiritual and physical muscle you have. Your children may be grateful. They may hate you. Keep a short account. Be humble to admit when you are wrong. Embrace, love and hold them when their hearts are broken by this life. Celebrate life.

Do your best to steward your children, but know their life is their own. Motherhood is worth every bump, bruise, and yes, sometimes even loss.

  • What is motherhood like for you right now? Be honest with any bitterness you feel. Record what you love about moments with your children.
  • Pray for your children by name. Stormie Omartian has books that guide scripture prayers over your children. These are an immense help and encouragement in spiritual battles.
  • Your children have an enemy and they need you to fight well. Equip yourselves and gather others to pray and support you.
  • Write a story, poem, or list out scriptures that describe motherhood.

Father, motherhood is a mixture of pain and joy, love, and sacrifice. Help me to value the good moments and let go of attempting to control the outcome for my children. May your love be enough. Amen

A Mother’s Scream

Hold me Lord, as grief
empties me of child,
and yanks soul to the floor.
Cover my naked sorrow with
your lullaby of peace,
and drench me in your
tears of understanding.

Turning Your Page

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Matthew 6:28, ESV

Life, as you expected, may have just crumbled. Tears. Jesus sobs with you. That loss you think he doesn’t care about, that you judge as God’s cruelness, heaven mourns. Not a sparrow. Not a sweet child leaves this earth without his knowing. Without his weeping the losss.

  • Who in your circle of influence is mourning a loss today? Cry with them. Hold them in the bone crushing shock of grief. Comfort with the comfort you have been given.
  • If you don’t yet know how to comfort another in their loss, slow down, study scripture, and ask God to guide you. Ask others who have grieved what brought them the most comfort.

Lord, teach my soul to mourn with those that mourn, and rejoice with those who rejoice. Amen

Turning Over Agitation

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Romans 7:25 MSG

Turning My Page

Red Ball of Agitation

I woke up to a red ball of agitation, bouncing angrily against the wall of my mind. The simplest tasks felt heavy and frustrating. The red ball is hard to ignore because it is continuous friction of thoughts, feelings, ideas, and physical stress. Sometimes what we do and how we feel gets so compacted it requires sorting or turning over. Much like a compost pile.

Growing up, my family composted. Regularly we took a pitchfork and turned the pile over. I still remember the steam that rose as we began fluffing the highly compacted substance below. There was a delicate balance of microbes doing their job to break down the material, and the heat they produced ended up killing them if not given fresh oxygen.

At its core, my agitation stems from my flesh and spirit at war with one another. I am continually turning over all these fantastic new, useful, life-giving opportunities God has placed in my path. But, sharing a story of hope creates friction. In my own selfish desire, I want to withdraw every time God asks me to engage. My sinful nature says that says I will fail when the Holy Spirit teaches I am a part of a bigger story.

Even good things get compacted. I turn them over again and allow the fresh oxygen of God’s perspective to reveal truth, faith, love, and hope compressed within. Agitation isn’t a bad feeling if we choose to let it expose the fertile soil beneath and give oxygen to grow.

Turning Your Page

Agitation is a part of our lives because there is both good and evil; flesh and spirit at war with one another. Agitation is simply your soul’s cry to turn things over, air out, and create more fertile soil for growth.

  • List some areas of agitation right now.
  • Is God directing and ruling over all aspects of your life?
  • Are their areas that need to be turned over, re-purposed, or removed?

Father, my soul is turning within me. There is no rest. Reveal to me the most productive part of my life, and help me to cultivate a place your glory can grow. Amen

Study Courage

Courage,

though fear knocks you awake
to a relentless enemy. Ill-equipped, broken,
resources exhausted, you lay in a pool of despair.
Listen to those who know there is a way to win.

Get up! Cry out! Help is close at hand!


Observe

each warrior as they strap
on their armor. The defense and
weapon they choose. Feel the quiet
dissidence of preparation, as each
gazes beyond self to become one body.
Brother strengthened by brother.

Look

to the early riser, the soldier with tear-stained
cheek and dogeared photo–
intimate with the cost. They remain secure
through the routine of prayer. Bed of hope tucked
tightly for inspection.
Their bodies battle-ready,
no longer dependent upon the fat
of fleshly desire or wine of apathy.

Build

muscles of confidence in a God
who eavesdrops at tent flaps
and reports the fear that weakens invading camps.

Notice

the dirt on the unwashed face
of the midnight watcher. The one who
stands on the perimeter of your knowledge
so you can sleep.

Listen

for singing. Oh, the glorious
song recorded by all who put their hope in God.
Feel the heightened joy as the trumpeters
announce, you never fight alone!

Pick

up the Sword of Words and wield truth
that penetrates to marrow, revealing every spirit
that hides in the hollow of our flesh.

Stand

with the one who strategizes with
generals and glows with the
assurance of heaven’s mapped out peace.

Follow

the one who runs across enemy lines to sacrifice
and lift the spirits of the fallen, the weary surrounded by despair.
They are not abandoned. Pinned in.
Show them how to push out like defeat is not an option.

See

a God who surrounds the enemy
and causes the wicked to crumble.
Lives depend upon you
knowing who wins.

Pass on the good news.

Turning Your Page

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

What was the last true story you read where the protagonist overcame impossible odds? Share in the comments. History is plump with stories of victories. Study what makes a person stand when others do not. What qualities did they already possess in going into battle? What strengthened them? Where does courage come from?

  • Do you feel courageous? If not, study scripture and true stories of courage and list out characteristics. If so, write down the daily habits you have. Are their areas you need strengthened?
  • Who do you listen to for direction? In what ways have you grown from their counsel?
  • Find one person to spend time with who loves you enough to strengthen and challenge you.
  • Write your own poem about courage or study Ephesians 6 and write a Haiku about courage.

Lord, I learn so much from scripture about courageous men and women. Open my eyes to steps of faith you want me to take. Help me to encourage others in battle. Amen

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/