Start here. In
the shivering nakedness
of not knowing but
being known. A rebirth.
Where your heartbeat
nestles under the Father’s. Listen.
His voice secures
your every anxious thought when
He calls you by name. Beloved.
Finally, you can rest in His
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
Isaiah 41:17-18, KJV
What is this hidden spring that bubbles up
from the sorrow-baked cracks of my despair
and satisfies my soul with joy where
there should be only sorrow?
Turning the Page on Suicide
Tomorrow is July 1st and I should be dreading it, but I’m not.
Jonathan will be gone eight years, and for the first time I feel joy leading up to that terrible date. It is literally bubbling it up and causing me to laugh outloud today.
Not in spite of my loss, not ignoring the ache of loss, but because Jesus’ presence, his plan, and his purpose far outway anything I have or will ever experience in the future. He is shaping my grief.
How do I know this?
I have been reading through the Bible this year which includes readings from both the Old Testament and New as well as a Psalm. The thread of God’s trustworthiness is there. His sovereignty over every experience, including the suicide of my son, is imprinted in every description of loss,, rebellion, redemption. Stories such as the overwhelming sorrow of Job, the prophets, David, Jesus and his disciples. Scripture was like a golden thread of hope that once pulled I could see in vivid detail, God was not asleep at the wheel when Jonathan died or any other moment in my life.
So tonight I cry out to a God who hears. I pray for you my dearest readers and friends. Don’t lose hope! I mourn with you as many of you walk through the deepest layers of grief and suffering. I lean into the Holy Spirit’s leading. Nothing is impossble for my God. Including springs of joy in the desert wasteland of a child I loved deeply dying by suicide. I don’t dread tomorrow because Jesus, I know you are there.
Lord, so many of us are dying of thirst from walking through deserts of hopeless circumstances. Help us to put our faith in your living water that never runs dry. Amen
I was planted in the parched desert of suffering.
Others scoffed at The Gardener who sows
in such unforgiving ground.
“Nothing could ever grow in that graveyard.”
They think they know better how to be fruitful.
Scattering seeds in shallow
soil of rich pleasure and ignore the weeds
that will one day choke them out.
But joy grows in this barren land
chosen for me.
I can’t depend upon myself to sustain.
I look to Him for rain.
Lean into His whispering wind for understanding.
Open my heart to the sunshine of His love,
Hope in the fruit I cannot yet see.
Faith and trust grow here.
I know that I know, The Gardener loves reaping a harvest.
Even in deserts
There are reminders that He is near.
If I reach back to touch the dogeared image of who you were,
I forget to take pictures of who you are now with God.
I acknowledge I want you here today. Concrete.
Real. Healthy. Vibrant.
You are all those things with Him.
He is my promise, beyond the years of loss, that nothing
Heartache isn’t the end of my story.
So, I keep my eyes fixed on the horizon. Anticipate
God’s goodness in my pain.
And God shapes the sunrise of hope—without you.
Remember you beyond the grave.
Joy still comes. Joy comes!
I snap a fresh picture of you by living motherhood forward.
Make new memories, not despite missing who you were,
but because I live, remembering you
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
Matthew 10:29, KJV
Not even a sparrow falls without God’s knowledge and we are more precious than they. Oh, one day, I pray that I embrace this truth with the depth and security of one who trusts God no matter what I experience in this life. I’m not there yet. As the poem reflects this was a tear-streaked day. I have witnessed God’s care over and over, but I still don’t understand why he allowed Jonathan to die by suicide. The bottom line, is I just want Jonathan here.
Turning My Page
I wanted your heart to heal from
the world’s unrelenting fists of hatred.
I tried to shield you, but their blows penetrated
to marrow. Broke bone and spirit without pity. They
meant to crush you—rob identity.
Rearranged home until
you no longer recognized love or belonging.
I thought if I cradled your heart
enough with my love, that somehow, someway
you’d emerge from despair.
of your rhythm was never mine. Your
soul was formed and shaped by a God
who knit you together in my womb.
On my knees I plead that His will be
done in your life—from beginning to end.
“DO SOMETHING!” I screamed at a
God who was not deaf to my desperation.
He comforted. He still comforts,
but I will not pretend to understand
why He didn’t rescue you.
Your future—my future—was never
mine to determine. And I pray
one day I walk this path knowing
that not even a sparrow falls to the earth
without God’s knowledge.
Your life mattered, and heaven
mourned you even deeper than I.
Turning Your Page: When Sparrows Fall to Suicide
You may have sparrows who have fallen in your life. Your mourning may be deep and waves of emotions swamp you. Courage! May the promise of God’s care sustain you, even when the feelings simply are not there. You are precious to God. Your loved one was and is precious to a God who was willing to suffer with and for you. As you think about Easter consider the following:
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners” (Romans 5:6, NLT).
“When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36, BSB).
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29, ESV).
Lord, this sorrow is too great. Carry it for me. Your tenderness and mercy towards my loved ones exceed my own and not one of them falls to the earth without your knowledge and mourning. Amen
And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
Mark 5:5-7, KJV
Turning My Page
Hopeless is a word I hear a lot as I walk through my daily encounters with people. “It’s a hopeless situation.” “Don’t lose hope.” “Don’t get your hopes up.”
Many of us have or are currently feeling hopeless about our, circumstances, loss, desires for a better life, families, and, friends. Like me you may have exhausted all medical avenues without finding relief.
My oldest son is dead. My middle son deals with many of the same painful symptoms his brother wrestled with, and my daughter and husband are constantly battling a known genetic disease. I don’t sleep. I have days in exhaustion, I am tempted to give in to hopelessness. Yet I read in scripture and acknowledge:
When all seems lost Jesus changes everything.
In Mark 5, this poor demon-possessed man in the passage is tortured and hopeless! Maybe his family tried the medical route, maybe they asked the priests to heal him. We know for sure that he was chained repeatedly but broken the chains every time. If you and I saw him today on the street, more than likely, we would give a wide berth and we certainly wouldn’t take a shortcut through the cemetery. He might be medicated and institutionalized.
Jesus drew close enough to the tortured man for the demons to recognize that he was “Jesus, Son of the Most High.” The idea of getting so close to demonic forces that they call me by name is frightening.
Just ask the men who tried, without having a personal relationship with Jesus, to cast out a demon. “And the evil spirit answered and said Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” ( Acts 19:15, KJV). And then the demon proceeded to strip the men naked and beat them.
The more I know Jesus, the more I understand that he has given me his authority, but I honestly, don’t know how to use it yet. It certainly takes being led by the Holy Spirit. Speaking boldly most assuredly takes humility (knowing by whose authority we speak), obedience and discipline. The demons knew that Jesus had the power to destroy them.
Had those who loved the demon-possessed man struggled with wanting to give up? Most definitely. But God, had already planned to cross the grave to rescue this man through his son Jesus Christ. Rather than steering the boat away from the place of the dead and this man among the tombs, Jesus steered the boat towards him.
God steers his people towards the fight, not away from those in need.
I once lay in a hospital ICU with my wrists bound to the bed so that I didn’t hurt myself, but in the year to follow, God steered Christians my way. He showed me scripture that squarely placed my hope in him alone plus nothing. These men and women opened my eyes to his unconditional love, to his redemption, to the promises in scripture, and to the fact that I could live an abundant life praising him. I am unbound because God steered the boat of his love towards the graves, not away from them.
My current circumstances do not have the final word on my life or my family’s lives. Instead, I wait. I cling to hope in Jesus. Heal us? With man this is impossible but nothing can stop God from healing our infirmities. Not even 2,000 demons.
Turning Your Page
When our enemy Satan and his minions see a Christian coming their way, do they tremble in fear? They should if we take the authority passed down to us through Jesus.
Miracles still happen today because the gospel of hope has never been thwarted from reaching its goal.
Christians must wake up every day and see that the world needs hope and that God has given us the authority to offer the truth of the gospel. God provides hope for deliverance, hope out of depression, hope for our marriages, and life to the fullest measure. Jesus came that we can have life and have it abundantly. Like the demoniac, there are so many left to wander life tortured and miserable. Let’s offer the reason for our hope boldly!
Lord, I fear man, and as long as I speak by their authority rather than yours, any effort I make to offer hope will fall flat. Oh, Father, I praise you alone for saving me and ask that you strengthen me to proclaim freedom for the captive and release for the prisoner. Amen
While we recognize that Christmas is the time believers celebrate the birth of Jesus and family and friends gather, we also acknowledge the heartache many of you are experiencing today. Some of you have just lost a loved one to suicide.
That is why our guest blogger, Pam S. Walker’s testimony is so moving.
She uses both the sorrow from the loss of her mother to suicide and the joys that emerge out of her choice to live life to the fullest. She encourages us to do the same.
Jonathan brought Pam and me together through his death in 2014. As we mourned and comforted one another, we discovered our mutual love for writing ministry.
May you be both challenged and encouraged this Christmas as you walk through all circumstances in life.
Merry Christmas, from Turning the Page on Suicide.
“Does God still care for me? Does He even exist?”
It has been 36 years since I celebrated Christmas with you. Yet, not a year goes by that I don’t miss you or wonder what life would be like had you not chosen to end your life 11 days before your 41st birthday. Your birthday, so close to Christmas, keeps your decision fresh in my memory each year.
During this month, I often think of the famous letter that a young girl, also named Virginia, submitted to the New York Sun in 1897. She asked if Santa Claus was real. Instead of asking about the existence of this jolly St. Nick, I think you must have asked another compelling question throughout your depressed state: Does God still care for me? Does He even exist?
So many questions were unanswered back then. With no note left behind, we had no choice but to draw our own conclusions. Sadly, as a sophomore in college, I was too consumed with my own life to see the depths of your despair. You hid it well. Always wearing a smile for others, and yet wrestling inside with sadness.
I thought your suicide would draw me back to God. Back to the childhood faith, you shared with me. I remember feeling His presence so strongly during that long car ride from college when Uncle Mike and Aunt Camille came to pick me up. The radiant sunlight bursting forth through the dreary Indiana winter sky seemed like God’s own hands reaching down to tell me that things would be okay. Although much of the week that followed your death was a blur, several things remain forever etched in my mind.
Attempting to console Grandma after burying her youngest daughter. Seeing Daddy’s tears and blank stare. Wondering if I could grasp the depth of pain Gary would have to deal with for the rest of his life after being the one to find you.
Why would a loving God allow one of His own to choose the path of suicide? Instead of seeking answers from His Word and other Christian brothers and sisters, I ran.
For nearly 10 years, I turned to unhealthy coping: stuffing my emotions, drinking to numb the pain, but thinking I was brave. When I finally stopped running and surrendered my life to God, I moved back to my Indiana home. Only then, I realized that God’s hands protected me every day since losing you. His love, care, and protection have been so evident throughout the seasons of my life.
If only you were here for me to speak of His unfailing and extravagant love. I would tell you, “Yes, Virginia, there is a God. I experienced His love when He saved me from my hell-bound race and turned my eyes toward Him. I learning to live one day at a time without numbing my pain through alcohol.”
God was there when Daddy walked me down the aisle on my wedding day to my beloved, David, where we committed to spending the rest of our lives together until death do us part. And God comforted me when David took his last breath six years ago after losing his battle to cancer but winning his eternal prize; everlasting life with our Lord Jesus Christ.
He was there when I experienced the miracle of birth through my two beautiful daughters, your granddaughters, and the sadness of a miscarriage in-between. I experienced firsthand how fearfully and wonderfully we are made.
God was there when Gary and I discovered your closely guarded secret. You sacrificially gave a baby up for adoption before you were married. Lisa is now a part of our family. She looks so much like you with her curly hair, short stature, and spunky personality. And she was raised in a Christian home just as you requested of the agency.
God was there when He gave me the desires of my heart, allowing me to live my dream job of combining writing and ministry. And He was there when Uncle Mike walked me down the aisle to join hands with the new love He had brought into my life, Michael.
Yes, Virginia, there is a God. And I know that you are with Him now. While suicide ended your life on this earth, God’s love for you is eternal. I hold fast to His promises in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I know that nothing can ever pluck you from His hand!
Your Pamela Sue
Pam S. Walker is the former National Editor of Answers magazine, a publication of Answers in Genesis, and is a freelance writer living in the Cincinnati area where she writes for various Christian publications.