Posts Tagged: suicide

The Promise of Hope

I am a seed, DNA of hope, dying
to self so that others might live. Elevated
by Holy Spirit wind, to disperse
gospel truth. Trusting no
matter the path blown,
God will snuggle me deep into the
rich soil of His love and I
awaken, blooming in the Promised Land.

Turning Your Page

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Genesis 12:1

Do you trust God to lead you to good places in your depression? or grief? Abram knew nothing about God or his trustworthiness. God called Abram. Abram went. Why? There is always an initial intentional act of the will to follow God and leave the familiar, those things that once grounded and rooted us to strike out and follow where God leads. You may not know much about God’s character, yet, but he knows yours, and when he calls you into unknown places he also equips you to get there.

  • List ways God is leading you through grief, depression, circumstances?
  • Do you have a clear idea of God’s promises, (his covenant) with you? Here is a resource to begin exploring the promises of God. Bible Study Tools
  • Pick one way you will step out in faith today to trust God.

Master, you have authority over my life. I once feared and even loathed your control. Now I find security and comfort. Guide me in the way that leads to your everlasting glory. Amen

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

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

God Paints Confidence into Everyone He Calls

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

” I want to change my room,” my daughter declared a year ago.

“Okay.” I grinned, ” To what?”

“I want it to be blue and you are going to paint me a mural of a horse rearing at sunset.”

I laughed. ” You have more confidence in my painting skills than I do.” It had been 17 years since I painted a mural, and even longer since I had sketched a horse.

“I know you can do it.” The conversation settled in her mind, she turned and walked away.

My daughter’s unwavering confidence was a soul lifter and she removed any lingering disbelief in me. All that remained was to follow through. I began studying other artists’ techniques, best paints, and brushes. One tutorial the artist shared that he gets stuck when he tries to think too much about where to go next. He slowly builds layers until the bigger picture reveals itself.

With so much time on our hands currently, we got the room painted a cheerful periwinkle blue in two days and then everyone cleared out of the room for me to get to work on the mural. I became a child at play. With each stroke, I saw the bigger picture emerge as the colors blended together and when I finally went to bed, I let go of my expectations of the outcome. The next morning when I came back to inspect the work I determined with a few touch-ups, it was complete.

My daughter’s gasp and squeal of delight were well worth the effort as she saw the finished mural. Did I make mistakes? Yes. Did she notice them? No. Her focus was on the horse and that her mother painted it for her.

God told me to drop my expectations of him and recognize he is confident I will accomplish all he has asked of me. He takes off the pressure of the final result because that is his job, not mine. The gospel is a delight to share. He builds unexpected connections with others, His truth and love is the testimony he paints into my joys and sorrows. It isn’t in becoming a perfect Christian I find his pleasure. It is through painting the strokes of his love and waiting for the clear image to appear. Thank you, Lord!

Horse Mural

Turning Your Page

God’s focus is not on your imperfections or your stumbling as you follow Him. His delight is in your obedience. The Creator of the Universe is confident you will accomplish exceedingly abundantly all he has set out for you to do. He told the disciples, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18, NIV). The disciples obeyed. “Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” (Mark 10:28, NIV). Come follow him and let him train you to paint his love into the lives you touch.

  • List our skills you currently have. If you are unsure of what they are, start exploring and connecting with others. Ask what they notice in you.
  • What hinders you from dropping your net (the job, people, expectations, you think gives your life defines you) and following Jesus?
  • Study scriptures that display God’s confidence in you. Here are a few to get you started:
    • Joshua 1:8
    • Mark 10:9
    • Philippians 1:6

Jesus, I hold nothing back from you. Teach me to be a fisher of men, confident in what you call me to do. Amen

Drowning in Lies

Somewhere during the swollen rush of depression,
“Predictable” became the portrait I painted.

It didn’t matter that I survived trauma, death lapped
gently at my soul, testing for weakness.
It found my mouth.
Invisible
Ugly
Stupid
Worthless

I was out of the boat, thinking I
knew God, but lies were
the lifeline my pride gripped.

Pulled under.

“Help” I gurgled, the water of despair
mocking my lungs desperate plea to
calm my flailing panic.

No one assumed I’d walk on water. Depleted.
Held under by hands proving their own power.
Broken, and bruised to marrow. No one
blamed me for fighting life,
but they tired of constant rescue. I drew
oxygen from their attempts like and addict. Desperate
for affirmation.

No expectation I would trust again.

I was born to drown. A statistic, speeding
up the slow drip of life’s faucet. An ocean
of regret would be quick. Easy.

You waited until I drowned my way, reached
into my habitual turning away. My impulsiveness.
Dying was predictable.
Living, eyes fixed on you,
resurrected truth.

Turning Your Page

You may build up twenty or more years of trauma, self harm, and lies in your mind, body, and spirit. You have wallpapered your soul with concepts about God, man, and the value of your life. Scripture says the complete opposite. Going after man’s approval is worthless, yes. But, seeking after a God who loves and wants to decorate your mind, body, and spirit with words like:

But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? Then Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the sea. “Silence!” He commanded. “Be still!” And the wind died down, and it was perfectly calm”

Mark 4:38-39

Lie: Jesus you don’t care about me.
Truth: He cares and has the power to take care of what we fear.

  • How do you develop the ability to recognize a lie?
  • List any lies you believe that came up from childhood. Were they planted through the actions or words or another person?
  • Spend some time looking at scriptures that speak about the lie you struggle the most with. What is the truth? Write these out, and reinforce them outloud throughout the week.

Father, I am still learning who you are. Reveal any lies I don’t yet see. Place in me your spirit of truth. Amen

On the Bridge

Stand
on the sturdy bridge of hope.
Hold
When your kingdom crumbles to sobs.
Wait…
Breathe…
and jump into the arms of truth.
Loved…
Purposed…
Your face cupped in the hands God
who creates life out of nothing.
Know Him.
He shaped you to live full.

Turning Your Page

Surely my soul remembers and is humbled within me. Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the loving devotion of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail.…

Lamentations 3:20-22

Have you ever had a moment you thought you couldn’t get past? You thought the answer would never come, but just as every ounce of you strained to breaking, relief came. There is so much in this life that looks impossible, wait. Even if all you can do is stand on the bridge and do nothing. Hope will not disappoint you.

  • Describe a moment you thought you could not withstand. What did it feel like at your lowest point? What kept you holding on?
  • Draw a picture, or write a poem answering the following questions:
    • What color, shape, sound does pain make in your life?
    • What is something concrete in your life? Describe it using as many senses as you can.
    • Is hope concrete in your life? Describe the elements that make hope sturdy. and trustworthy.

Holy Spirit come. I can’t see what comes next. All i can see is my world falling apart. You say faith is sturdy and will hold me up. I put my trust in that promise. Amen

Jesus, the Spirit of Truth

I was lowered into a grave of fickle flesh.
Royal robes stripped, I submitted to the battering
will of I AM.

His love pulls starved faith
onto nourishing knee and tucks truth
into my stories–stirring souls to adventure life.

My life willingly pick-pocked by man’s understanding,
as Satan plumps his purse with the clink-clink of despair.

In the garden, I grafted man to me.
Plant saints and sinners in the fertile
soil of my tilled blood.
Root righteous oaks of transformed lives
by streams of fulfillment.
Display my glory.
Build a testament with the screaming
Tap, tap, tap,
of nails into my hands.

 

Poetry Posts every Thursdays at 7p.m.

 

Turning Your Page

Poetry is a way of studying the nature of God and how he loves you. Spend time walking wooded paths, well-tended gardens and linger by streams. All described in scripture by the psalmist, God, and Jesus. Growth comes from an awareness that he is both sovereign and near.

  • How do you view God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?
  • Describe something in nature that stands out to you as an aspect of God’s provision and nature?
  • What questions do you have about God’s character?

Lord, open my eyes to the truth of who you are, not who I think you might be. Quicken my heart, that I may know what part you have in my life. Amen

Question Marks

The Temptation of “If”

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”

Luke 4:3-4

Turning My Page

If paralyzed me. Growing up, I feared saying and doing the wrong things and therefore changed my beliefs when pressed by the opinions of others. I was a chameleon, shifting my colors to blend in. I was misled and often hurt by those who could out-argue me. It took a desert experience, my pregnancy with Jonathan, for me to realize nothing but God would satisfy.

I began studying the character of God and he revealed my identity. But the enemy of my soul never let up. I am oppressed by the constant battering question, “What if you fail?” Fail as a wife, mother, Christian, turning the page on suicide. Satan questions my identity, my understanding of God, and my witness.

Why wouldn’t he? Satan successfully turned Adam and Eve from God with “did God really say that”. He used the word if three times when tempting Jesus at the beginning of his ministry. Since Satan was so bold to question the son of God’s identity, why would he not question mine?

Jesus didn’t back down from the fight because he spent time with his heavenly father. He knew him, and God knew his son.

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:17

My identity is not wrapped up in my position, possessions, or power. Marriage, motherhood, or ministry can all disappear and I still am who God says I am, and he is who he says he is.

“If” loses its grip the more my identity is found in Christ.

Turning Your Page

Satan can destroy you on the cliff of “if”. He’ll take you to the great heights of success and show you all he’ll give you if you submit to him. He’ll offer whatever he thinks will turn you away from God, but scripture doesn’t hide the character of God and Jesus used scripture to declare the truth when confronted with a potential identity crisis. You become more able to see the truth behind the “if” when you get to know God and are secure in your own identity. Establish experiences, traditions, prayer, fellowship, and reason as a part of your spiritual routine. These are all ways that Jesus grew up to know his Father.

  • The “if” can be subtle. Identify areas Satan tempts you to reject God.
  • How does the world describe you? How does God describe you?
  • What scriptures strengthen your identity in Christ? For example, if you are struggling with believing you are doing the right thing as a mother.
    • Genesis 3:20: “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” (Motherhood was created by God)
    • 1 Peter 3:4: “You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” ( God values my unique spirit as a woman)

Lord, you know me inside and out. May I know you so well that when I hear the word “if” I recognize the enemy and declare the truth of who you are. Amen

Observing Words

The Place of Starting

At the Lord’s command, Moses recorded the stages of their journey. These are the stages listed by their starting points.

Numbers 33:2

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

Deuteronomy 30:19

“Do we stop the story here, or turn the page?” I asked those gathered for my son’s funeral on July 7th, 2014. I didn’t know that question would be the catalyst for Turning the Page on Suicide. All I wanted to do, was encourage Jonathan’s friends to get through the next day. I was dying inside, but I didn’t want others to lose hope. July 8th I woke up with the question as my first thought. Would those words remain a nice phrase of encouragement for others, or would I answer the question for myself?

Turning My Page

Turning the page on my son’s suicide started with a deep breath of choosing, but it wasn’t the first time I made a life-altering choice. My whole life has been filled with moments of choosing blessing or cursing. I can see specific places where I turned from God and others where I chose to walk with him. And some, where I didn’t know I was choosing him. They are now all markers of my journey.

In the 8th grade, I attended a School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Even making it into the school on several levels did not penetrate the constant fog of despair that plagued me. I had long since determined I was nothing, an abstract idea, and I could not yet see the concrete journey God had me on.

Our creative writing teacher was out for the semester due to health reasons and our sub was “unique. ” She didn’t talk like other teachers. She was real and personal. She didn’t teach curriculum like other teachers, and she didn’t treat us, students, as less than. When she assigned us writing, she also wrote for the prompt. I was confused. I had learned how to live in the formula, act like others expected me to, and do just enough to get by. In a crucial moment, she didn’t just challenge my presumptions about myself, she penetrated the barrier of my fear of being seen.

“Your writing is good, but there is nothing of you in it,” she coached. We were studying poetry and while I loved the unique writing styles of the poets I kept my own writing distant and abstract. What followed was my first attempt at writing about myself:

“Visions Through Waters”

(9th grade, May 2nd)

Visions through waters
Reflecting from my eyes
Splashing into the pool
Of life, like tears
Wrinkling the shimmering
Image
Of the perfect life
Changing it into only hope

The leaves drop
The dew like seeds
Growing and adding to the
Reflection.

I am hungering for the rain
For my roots are young
The night clouds over
The hope gathers in my heart.
The storm breaks

Finally, the rain ends
And the light shimmers
Through the trees of life.

My life is renewed.

I find it interesting that I was writing about hope. I didn’t understand the depth of the meaning of the word. It was a shifting image and unstable for me then. I needed to turn and see the reflection of hope I couldn’t fully trust existed behind me and through me in the concrete, visible, nature of God. The tangible hope I now touch after losing my son to suicide.

Turning Your Page

God gives you a choice in how to respond to the circumstances, and they become markers you can look back at and see God’s hand throughout your journey. If you are struggling with despair, you can continue your current response to depression or turn in a new direction towards hope and life. This is a starting point. Breathe and choose.

  • Is there a course you can take or group you can join that stretches your perspective on life? (Join a hiking group, photography, writing, etc.)
  • Read Psalm 139 and meditate on the different images described.
    • What is David saying about God?
    • What is David saying about man?
    • What is David saying about his relationship with God?
  • Write a prayer or psalm with your own observations.

Lord, I start here. I take in a breath and acknowledge the hope you place before me. Life and death. Blessing and cursing. May I record life and blessing as I journey with you. Amen

Free Gift

Embrace hope in dark places.

Get three free printables of hope and encouragement when you sign up for my monthly newsletter.

.
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/