Posts Tagged: suicide

The Sweet Fragrance of Worship

Mmm, what is that sweet fragrance?

I am learning to crawl onto
the altar of trust,
daily,
and die to self.
Oh God, refine me.
In the flames of suffering,
nothing else matters but You.
Burn off all that hinders
until thoughts and actions renew.
And I remain
whole and pleasing to You.

Mmm, what is that sweet fragrance?

Worship.

Made in Your Image

 

Twisted by confusion and sin—
My body lay, crumbled, wearing rust
among the discarded and dispised things
of this world.
Worth. Purpose. What were those?
I was no longer useful.

Until you gathered my broken pieces
and welded my soul
into a reflection of your identity.
You gave me my wings of faith.
Now I soar with love, joy, and hope.

 

Unfair Fight

I shouldn’t be standing.
You’ve twisted and broken my body so many times
The count should be over.
How many knockout punches can I sustain?

As many as He allows.

You should have known you’d lose.
My manager bought the match with His life.
He already wears the crown,
King of kings and Lord of lords and I
get to share in His glory.

A Hidden Spring of Joy in my Sorrow

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

Sparrow Falls

Not Even a Sparrow Falls Without God’s Knowledge

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.

But, control
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

 

Further Resources

Rob’s Kids is an excellent resource for children who have lost a parent.

 

Yes, Virginia, There is a God (Guest Blogger)

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?”

Dear Mother,

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.

Gary, Pam, and Daddy

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!

Love Always,

Your Pamela Sue

Pam S. Walker

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.

Contact Pam at: pswalker1010@yahoo.com

 

 

Sparrow Falls

Not Even Sparrows Fall: Suicide

Sparrows Fall: Suicide

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. Bottom line, 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.

But, control
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

 

Further Resources

Rob’s Kids is an excellent resource for children who have lost a parent.

 

Healing Among Tombs

Healing Among Tombs

Healing among the Tombs emerged from time studying the demon-possessed man described in Mark 5. I wrestled with and even hesitate to post anything in this arena. I have edited this intro repeatedly, but a wise friend suggested, “If you could tell your audience anything, without hindrance, what would it be?”

I would tell you:

  • There is hope, no matter the reasons for your mental health struggles.
  • We have an enemy called Satan who seeks to separate us from the love of God in any way he can.
  • As Mark 5 shows, nothing will ever hinder Jesus, not even a legion of (approximately 6,000) demons.
  • We need to be as equipped by the Holy Spirit with discernment of the needs of those around us.
  • We fight the spiritual battle with scripture, allies, prayer, fasting, and by knowing whose authority we speak.

Many are terrorized by despair right now and I can’t just advocate for the physical fight. 

The people of the town had tried everything to subdue the man. Nothing in this world could save or relieve him of his torture.

He made his home among the tombs and was so violent that he broke through chains repeatedly. It seems that no one could possibly help this man. Had they given up? How did he come to be possessed? Did others bring him food? Did he have a family? Who chained him? What was the man’s family feeling? They may have even been the ones who chained him so that he would stop his self-harm.

The bottom line.

It took a divine encounter with Jesus to free him.

It took a divine encounter with Jesus to stop my self-harm and place me on a different path.

We have an enemy seeking to destroy us all and it is a spiritual battle as well as a physical one. I have witnessed spiritual attacks firsthand. I can’t pretend the problem will be only solved with physical solutions. 

This man needed Jesus. I need Jesus to stand against a spirit of despair that has led to over 48,000 suicides in the US. He will turn the tide, and my prayer is that you and I can be a spark of hope.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:10-12

Turning My Page: Among the Tombs

Forgotten, I greeted you from the remembrances. My home is hollowed from wealth, ready to entertain kings and demons. You crossed the unclean threshold of my grave, your royal robes billowing in the sea sworn breeze.

 

A crown, only seen by our eyes, testifies to us who you are. Naked, we claw with rocks at our putrid vulnerable flesh, mutilating your earthly jewel. We’ll make you unrecognizable too. Rip the flesh off God.

My God, why have you forsaken me?

 

 

I screamed for release from day and night horror. While they cried out to remain fast. I was a scarred lamb within, and a roaring lion without.

 

Mighty Samson would not tame we beating beasts.

 

But You, the Son of God, entered my tomb and knocked the breath out of me. What man chained you commanded freed. Clothed in righteousness, I now cling to you.

I am a demoniac commissioned to share the truth of your love for mankind.

Only God raises the dead.

 

Turning Your Page

You may have a loved one wrestling with mental illness. Whether demonic in nature, physical, or spiritual is not for us to determine. Only God can do so. Yet, God gives authority and discernment for man to cast out demons. Jesus used scripture to fight Satan; we can do the same.

  • Start with prayer. Ask God to equip you with His Holy Spirit’s guidance. 
  • Begin listing out scriptures that speak about the spiritual battle we fight.
    • Ephesians 6
    • 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
    • James 4:7
    • Mark 9:29

Lord, I acknowledge that I feel ill-equipped to catch glimpses of the heavenly battle, yet you have chosen to open my eyes to the unseen attacks of Satan. Father, train me from head to toe to trust your will and shut the mighty lion’s mouth that seeks to devour our world! Amen

 

 

depression aired out

Poetry Hope for Depression

Poetry Hope for Depression

Aired Out

Sucking in the stale air
of depression, regurgitating
regret day after day.

Throw open windows!

You break the seal of
our tomb of circumstances.
Resurrect the fresh fragrance
of hope planted in the sunshine of our dreams.
Filter life through the curtains of our mourning soul.

Invite us to open our eyes to Spring.

Turning My Page

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”

John 5:6 ESV

We couldn’t open our windows and I might have squealed when the installer replaced the old useless windows. Today the temperature finally dropped and we spent the day with the windows open. Throughout the day I found myself smiling and breathing in more deeply.

Depression also shuts down all avenues for fresh thought and truth to enter our souls. When I am in a pattern of fear, anger, doubt, and worry, I stop what I am doing and get outside. The sights, sounds, and illustrations of the outside remind me that nothing is impossible for God.

For example, my daughter’s plant she grew from seed, is now a flourishing loaded with plump almost ripe tomatoes. I thought it wasn’t going to make it. It was such a scrawny little plant at the start. We neglected it, but my neighbor spent time caring for it while we left for vacation. Ten days later, we came home to a plant loaded with buds. Now we water it every day. The plant didn’t change, its DNA told it what to do. My neighbor’s attitude changed ours. it was worth saving.

These illustrations in nature, remind me that I too must feed, water, and care for myself. When I feel fears, doubts, and worries closing in on me, a short walk outside, sitting on the porch, and photography at my favorite park all help expand my world. Despair is no match for a fresh perspective of hope.

Turning Your Page

Depression breeds in stale air. Therefore, in what ways can you begin keeping a fresh supply of new thoughts, memories, and experiences flowing in your life? Do you have a person who makes you laugh, or encourages you to step out of what currently feels safe? Reach out to them and see if they’ll send you a daily text, or go out for coffee. You may not feel better after opening your life to something new immediately, just as our eyes have to adjust after being in a dark cave, our soul has to find security in a new positive pattern.

  • Write down some things you’d like to do if you felt better.
  • Ask someone to take a short walk with you.
  • Do a word search on depression (despair), downcast in the bible. What does it say about the cause of these things and the remedy for them?

My struggle isn’t the end of the story. Open my eyes, Lord, to your love, provision, and answers through nature. Amen

Jesus Chose to Praise Rather than Curse God

COVID-19, Praise, or Curse God?

During the many shifts, changes, and difficult challenges caused by COVID-19, we can either choose to praise or curse God. As a result of your circumstances, what will you choose?


Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.

Job 6:29 NIV

Turning My Page: My Response to Covid-19 is to Praise or Curse

I slammed my Bible shut. After spending a month with Job’s friends, I couldn’t take one more sentence of their arrogant presumptions about Job and God. “I can’t wait for you to speak,” I complained out loud to God.

God in his infinite wisdom answered back, “Oh really?” So, today, I listened to the first words God spoke to Job and his friends, and also heard him say to me, “How often do you lean on your own understanding, trying to explain why I allow suffering in your life? How often do you presume to know my ways and what I will or will not do in the lives of your children?”

God’s rebuke was not harsh,

but it cut through my self-righteous judgment of Job’s friends and placed me squarely in the storm of his answers to Job.

Reading through Job, you and I have the benefit of Chapter 1. This causes us to question God’s goodness because we know God calls Job, ” blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil”. God made it clear Job does not deserve what is happening to him. Take the first chapter out and we are just as blindsided as Job when his favored life turns hard.

Witnessing such great suffering I would have asked:

  • Is God punishing Job because he sinned?
  • Has God withdrawn his love?
  • Job was wealthy, therefore, is it a sin to accumulate possessions?
  • Is God allowing Job to suffer as an example of what happens when man thinks they are better than God?

Too often I presume to know why God allows suffering

in our lives rather than knowing and finding security that he is good and that I am part of God’s larger story for mankind. He does not answer to me, nor does he have to explain himself to me.

I pray that one day I can say, “Satan meant Jonathan, my oldest son’s, death for evil, but oh Lord you meant it for the salvation of many.” Suffering has a greater purpose, just as God had a divine purpose when he allowed Jesus’ death on the cross. I choose to praise you, Lord, just as Job chose to praise you even when he didn’t understand your full design.

Lord, you created the heavens, earth, and all that resides in it.

I don’t have the first clue of your purposes. But I do know you are good. I praise you for creating my life, giving me breath. You gifted my first child and transformed motherhood for me. As Jonathan was placed in my arms, I began to recognize your love for me as a parent. Therefore, I praise you in my suffering now after the loss of Jonathan. because I know you didn’t stop loving me. Again and again, you extend grace to me. You gave me a husband who not only committed his life to love me but knelt down and said vows to the seven-year-old son who looked up him with eager and nervous expectation. You blessed me with Brian, Jonathan, Daniel, and Natalie and even if the worst comes true in my life, you are still a good God.

Lord, you gave me your passion and creative spirit. I am in awe of scripture, you don’t leave me guessing. You tell me the beginning, middle, and end of your story. I know all I experience is temporary. Leave your mark on the world through me.

Turning Your Page

What are your current judgment of God during this pandemic, world suffering, and personal trials? Do you find yourself saying, I must have done something wrong, or what kind of god allows pain? Are his actions in your life measuring up to your beliefs and expectations of how a good God should act? God does not ever give Job a reason for his suffering, but he does establish authority in Job’s life, the lives of his friends, and over their circumstances. Is that a God you can live with? Job determined that yes, he could still worship a God that both took away and gave him good things. What do you say to the creator of the universe in your suffering?

  • What are your beliefs about God? How did they form? (example: I was raised in a Christian home, but also learned a lot about God through nature and reading on my own.)
  • How are your friends, family, and coworkers responding to God during COVID-19?
  • List the ways God is providing for and being active in your life. Spend time writing down praise for who God is.
  • How can you develop a COVID-19 praise over curse response?

Today I choose to say, “You give and take away, but still, I will praise your name.” Amen

Kathy is an Author, Speaker, Lay Counselor
Kathy Collard Miller

Interview August 25th at 7pm EST

My guest, Kathy Collard Miller. She is a lay counselor, author, speaker, and a person who struggled with anger and depression. Next week, we will discuss how God transformed and shaped her brokenness. and therefore he can shape us as well. Just like Job, we don’t always know why we suffer. Kathy’s testimony is an opportunity to see that our emotions are not beyond redemption. Be encouraged by this sweet and Holy Spirit-led woman. She has a catalog of resources to help you on your journey. Check out her ministry at Heart Change: Thirsting for God’s Living Spring

She will be offering giveaways of her two most recent books:

“God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature”
“God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature”

Poetry posts this Thursday at 7 pm.

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Suicide Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to the website at  SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.