Posts Tagged: suicide

Tree of Hope

Tiny oak, planted and watered with tears,
You grow slow, intentional, strong, in the windy bend of grief.
Hope remembers loss and drops treasured seeds of compassion
in my soul. Love, the fruit of grief.

Thank you to the neighbors and friends who remind me to keep growing and hoping in grief.

Turning Your Page

Friendship is a gift. When you open your heart to your neighbors, family, and friends, they help you to remember forward. Love the person who died and creating new memories at the same time.

  • What are some of the best ways friends are helping you to grieve with hope?
  • How can those in your circle encourage and help you?
  • What is one thing your friends can help you create in memory of your loved one?

Take Up Stones and Trust God to Bring Down the Giant of Suicide

But Saul replied, “You cannot go out against this Philistine to fight him. You are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

David replied, “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep, and whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, I went after it, struck it down, and delivered the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”

1 Samuel 17:33-36

Turning My Page

The lines are drawn. I stand on the side of the faithful who refuse to let despair take any more from us. Suicide has touched some warriors personally, others share our burden and use their skill set where needed. It is easy to grow weary against the daunting monster of despair who mocks us with his suicide stats. He is mighty and he seems to thwart victory at every turn.

But men and women have heard the threats of the enemy throughout history, fought back, and took down giants with the small stones they possess. I testify, those “shepherds” exist today. You can read about some of those warriors here.

I met with a suicide prevention team last Friday. They listened as I shared my story, asked questions and shared how they are stepping into schools and trying to equip teens, parents, and the teachers with tools to navigate depression. I was struck by their passion. I was deeply encouraged by their genuine hunger to learn and grow. I was challenged by their faithfulness.

I battle the Spirit of Despair, and it feels daunting, but just like David fought the giant as a little boy I too can obtain the same weapons.

  • A habit of protecting others from attack
  • A strategic plan for taking down things bigger than ourselves
  • Acknowledge and speak truth
  • Back truth with trust, act based on truth
  • Security, God fights for us

Taking on despair feels like David taking on Goliath. But if you are seeing the problem of despair, and reading this blog, then it is safe to say you aren’t blind to the problem. David identified the problem. The Israelites were paralyzed with fear, but David knew God could take down the giant.

How can a little person like me speak and write life under the crushing foot of over 48,344 suicides each year? I take the stones I possess and trust God to win the battle.

  • I love God
  • I have a unique perspective on God and man as a writer
  • Experience of abuse, eating disorder, depression, suicide
  • I am an encourager
  • Recognize hopelessness
  • Willing to stumble and learn

Others will follow. All I have to do is obey God’s call to me to stand firm as the enemy mocks. How can you help? Pray. Hold me accountable to the word, and truth of God, and pick up your own stones against the enemy of despair and take a stand for those around you. Despair will fall!

Turning Your Page

You may be stepping into the fray for the first time. Don’t be dissuaded by the enemies might statistics. Look around you. The giant of suicide is not going to be toppled by someone else. It will be toppled by you. Take up the stones, weapons God has equipped you to use. Fight, and trust God will defeat the giant of despair. This is a persistent enemy, don’t give up. Stand firm.

  • What are your weapons? Are you a writer? Encourage through the written word. Are you an employer? Train employees to develop an awareness of each other’s struggles. Possess the gift of hospitality? Invite neighbors who are lonely over.
  • Identify a specific aspect of the giant despair you fear?
  • What scriptures speak specifically of despair coming to an end? (King David wrote about despair repeatedly in the Psalms.)

Lord, the task you call me to is taunting me. I rely on you, guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. You say in your word that you are the living God. Come, live in me that the whole world will know you are faithful. Give victory to me over despair. Amen

Gothic Angel Holding a Clock

Clocking In

I didn’t quit my job of loving,
When you stopped punching your time card.
I clock in to life,
Heart uncallused by the rough, 24-hour, work of losing.
I freely hope, with splinters of grief digging deep into my soul.
Faith, joy, and compassion embrace the world
With a work ethic that suicide cannot render unconscious
To the world around me.

A poem from Broken Butterflies Emerging Through Grief

Turning Your Page

Your story is powerful. Knowing what caused you to turn the pages on the hardest day of your past can help you to turn the page on the hardest page now.

  • Meditate on the verse: ” Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 1:7 NIV).
  • Journal about a day that was difficult as a child, adolescent, first job. Identify the elements that made it hard. Did someone hurt you? Were you in constant physical pain? What did you believe about yourself at the moment?
  • What helped you to move forward to take hold of the next day?
  • Did someone encourage your spirit or stand up for you? Did you take a walk? Sleep on it? Speak truth over the situation?

I will be on Facebook until 7:30 pm.


You planted me firmly
in the desert of despair.

A comfort.
A witness.

Flesh is not my strength.
I am dust under the weight
of sorrow soaked hope.
Cracked souls remember
rain will come.
I grow rooted. Crave you. Secure.
Sustenance will come, you appointed
the season. I know it.

Striving quiets.
Your promises stored.

Though I stand here for a hundred years.
A drop of your love is enough for me
until you flood my soul with the
joy of presence. And I feel the steady
rhythm of revealed rain.

Deflate the Bed and Give Me Life

By Karisa Moore

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Turning My Page

My bed finally deflated. After three weeks of camping out in the living room, post foot surgery, I made the decision I would brave the stairs to sleep in my bed. I didn’t realize until I determined to press forward into healing how crippled I had become in spirit. Two nasty falls had made me terrified of reinjuring my vulnerable foot. Even when my family attempted to help or push me around in a wheelchair, I would grip the wheel or gripe that they were going too fast. I wanted control of the healing.

But I don’t get to determine how long the bone, tendon, muscles, or skin take to heal. I both need to be actively moving my foot to keep muscle weakness from setting in, and keep weight off it. Time, patience, and a willingness to allow others to provide for me are all necessary. Oh, how restless I become while dependent upon others.

God, I treat you with the same impatience. When I hear another person has given in to despair, I wonder where you are. When my own children wrestle with loss and health issues beyond their comprehension, I grow weary. Do something! I scream. I know you have a perfect plan, but this does not feel perfect. I desperately want to know my two remaining children will survive their physical challenges and thrive in life and faith. I want friends and family to know the compassion and grace of God, and I want the tide of despair in this world to turn.

And God agrees with those desires because at just the right time he entered the world in human form. We were sinners, longing for someone to rescue us from the cycle of destruction we seemed set in. Heal us from our sickness! Deliver my child from demons! Rescue us from oppression. Years and years Israel waited for the Savior and he didn’t come. They poured over scripture, neighboring nations heard of the promised one, and paranoid kings shivered with nightmares of a God greater than themselves. People suffered. Still, he didn’t come.

Just as God knew his one and only son had to be born at the exact time in history for Christianity to spread like fire, he enters our pain and reveals his good, pleasing and perfect will. Do some of us hear the message and reject him? Yes. He is nothing like I expected. He will never fit into my box of preconceived beliefs, but he expands my faith to recognize his will is that none perish. Healing came for all mankind. may never fully see this side of heaven the result of standing firm in faith when my legs are literally jelly right now. Are you standing in what feels like quicksand? Press into the fullness of God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will. His timing brings us stories like Isaac, Joseph, King David, Ruth, Esther,  the Apostle Paul, Corrie ten Boom, Harriet Tubman, William Wilberforce,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Kanye West and my own. Add your story to this list. Be patient in affliction and wait expectantly for God’s will.  Deflate the bed of fear and trust God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will.

Turning Your Page

Do you have a fear you need to deflate? Identify any fear that hinders you from moving forward and embracing life. There are so many heroes of faith. Study the ones in scripture, study the modern-day heroes of faith. Not even one of you is alone in fear, alone in circumstances, and or alone in faith. Take courage that you can stand firm even when your heart feels it can’t.

  • What fears are currently plaguing your life and crippling action? List them on paper and then pick one or two verses addressing fear to meditate on.
  • Observe others who wrestle fear. What actions do they take to move forward, what encourages them?
  • What positive habits do you have, or will you have that are not based upon feeling? Pick a few to do every day without fail. These are nonnegotiable.

Lord, I am paralyzed with fear. Reveal the clear next step and help to stand firm when I feel I cannot go further. Amen

Join our Facebook discussion on fear at 7 pm EST.

We’ll talk about the reality of fear and the weapons we have to fight, protect, and take new ground.

I Cannot Stop the Impact of Evil, But I Can Trust God

“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:6-8, NIV).

Sara cradled me as she braced for impact.

I was only a toddler and the seatbelt laws had not yet been implemented. It was News Year Day and my parents were driving back from a party with their friend holding me on her lap in the back seat. As we drove through a four-way stop another car broadsided us sending Sara and I flying against the opposite door. I was safe in her arms, but Sara’s collarbone was broken by the impact.

I have no memory of the traumatic event, but others do. Sara’s only thought, as she saw the oncoming headlights, protect Karisa. She sacrificed her own body to keep me from harm. I couldn’t stop the evil that occurred that night. I wasn’t even aware of it. The driver of the other car sped off and never seemed to experience justice for hurting us.

Sin has an impact but does not have the final say. For the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). Everything in this life is working towards that end, but Jesus came that we may have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10). His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection has always given the opportunity for an abundant life. The choices are: Come into agreement with death or embrace life.

I hated my life and came into agreement with Satan’s plot by attempting to take my own life. Growing up I accused God of neglecting me and harbored anger towards him for not stopping the evil of abuse in my life. Yes, sin had an impact, but God protected me from the consequences. I now know the only difference between Judas, the betrayer of Jesus and Peter the betrayer of Jesus is, Peter did not take his own life. He turned his page of betrayal to see the resurrection. God built his church on Peter.

God is building his church on me. I thought I was worthless, unredeemable, and God too distant to care about me. God protected my purpose in the loving arms of a woman who bears scars for my sake.

Jesus bears scars for our sake. We may never know all of them, or how deep they are, but he has a mark for every evil done to us and every evil we have done to others.

I am reaching through these next words and cupping your tear-streaked face in my hands and declaring: Your life was purposed since the foundation of the earth. How many times has God redeemed and protected your purpose? He knows you, he created you, and no matter how much evil impacts you he is trustworthy.

I realize I cannot stop the impact of evil, but I can trust God. Yes, evil takes precious things from us, but there is so much more to the story. Don’t stop living it. There is resurrection. There are changed lives. There is hope that does not disappoint. Don’t stop standing firm in the midst of evil. Come to know the one who wins and resurrects every heartache we experience and give crazy, amazing and abundant life.

Hope, A Festival of Living: A Community’s Future After a Suicide

I look for hope in the aftermath of my son’s suicide. Last year, I encountered hope playing, speaking, supporting, and praying, inside a high school gymnasium. Almost ten years after Chelsea Ryann’s death her parents, Matt and Jennifer Westwood continue to encourage their community to reach out and reach into to the lives touched by depression, through Chelsea Ryann’s Festival of Hope.

An impressive pool of volunteers, organization, and outreach opportunities greeted me as I explored the many activities offered. People, inflatables, crafts, information booths, joy, and sorrow, connected me to the community. Displayed throughout the Chelsea Ryann Festival of Hope was a God who cares, a community involved, and a family who remains faithful through the hardest of experiences.

Matt and Jennifer took the time to engage individuals and ask how each person was doing. Compassion and understanding were evident in the couple’s eyes, as they hugged me and mourned my loss as well as their own. Both parents admit we didn’t believe mental health was a problem until it became our problem.

Since Chelsea’s death, the Westwood’s immersed themselves in the world of depression and suicide, while also holding tightly to the truth of who they are in Jesus Christ. Suicide touches every age, gender, and demographic and they feel they are responsible for showing their community faith in action.

The Value of a Life

I participated in the Memory Walk held on the outdoor track where photos shared Chelsea’s story, and signs of encouragement lined the infield, “You Matter”, “Don’t Let Your Story End”. “Chelsea was a smart, witty, amazing daughter, friend, and sister. We had 16 beautiful years with Chelsea”, Jennifer stated in a recent video on their site, but they wish for more experiences with their daughter. In the ten years since her death, many of her friends have graduated from college, married and are starting their families. But Chelsea has no new memories to share.

Chelsea loved hiking at Red River Gorge and once successfully carried her injured friend down the mountain without help. She was up for a challenge and became an innovative problem solver. Matt smiled as he described her as a wiz at Trig. But, as she entered junior high, the outgoing, vibrant Chelsea they knew, was slowly crowded out by dark thoughts, self-hatred, and deteriorating mental health. The school, community, and church rallied around Chelsea to support and encourage her.  But in a moment of despair, Chelsea ended her story in 2009.

Thinking back on the day of Chelsea’s suicide, Matt said, The enemy was certainly prowling around that day. The enemy wanted people to think that it was their fault that Chelsea took her life. He looked at Jennifer, I think we both knew we are going to stand strong for these people who have now flooded our living room with tears and regret, and guilt. The Westwoods felt protective of their immediate family and the house full of friends experiencing shock. “We chose the path we did because that is what we believe”, they both stated firmly. “We realized we had to stay strong. Jesus calls us to emulate him, as much as we can”, because others were watching.

Emulating Christ in Grief

Suicide destroys many marriages but faith, family, and the adversity already experienced strengthened Matt and Jennifer’s relationship. Such commitment did not go unnoticed by the community, others asked how their marriage remained secure. “Why wouldn’t it, was Matt’s response. We need each other. The simplicity of their belief and strength of their convictions emerged from years of practicing a united front. “Never losing hope. That is what got us through. There were highs and lows, but knowing God was always going to be there for us. He’s got our back, even through the difficult times. I never gave up hope,” Jennifer stated.

The Westwood’s teach others through their talks on suicide to lean into the lives around them and ask how they are doing. Jennifer emphasized, “How are they really doing?” They take back the date of Chelsea’s death in March by preparing care baskets for neighbors and friends and visiting to encourage. “Because we have made ourselves vulnerable and open, we have a lot of people who approach us, not just for teen suicide, but for a lot of things.” A prominent man in the community who shared with them he was struggling with depression serves as a powerful illustration for going deeper with our circle of influence. Matt shared, “All these people around him knew him, but very few knew he was battling depression. Because on the outside everyone was like, I want to be that guy. But no one took the time because everyone assumed, he was okay.” The community reached into Matt and Jennifer’s lives as well. Supporting them at work with understanding, time to grieve, and a listening ear.

Jennifer marveled at the support they received and realized how many resources God blessed them with. Being surrounded by so many amazing people “helps us not to lose our hope”, She affirms.  Many of those same people who loved Chelsea then, love her now through supporting her memory at the Festival of Hope.  Chelsea’s grandparents, siblings, extended family, church and community open their hearts wide to offer hope in the midst of their own sorrow and grief alongside Matt and Jennifer.  As I completed the loop, I felt valued, my individual story nurtured and ministered to by the strangers I now call friends.

Signes around the track encourages that your life matters.

Establishing a Habit of Hope in Community

Through prayer, openness, and vulnerability, Matt and Jennifer designed Chelsea Ryann’s Festival of Hope with their community in mind. Inspired by the work of the American Foundation for the Suicide Prevention’s Community Walks, Chelsea’s family began working with their local community to support individuals and families struggling with depression. They enlisted the help of school resource officers, teachers, friends, and community professionals. Now, beginning their preparation for their 4th festival which will be held this Saturday, October 20th, they encourage us to both celebrate life and value the journey of anyone wrestling with depression. Matt and Jennifer remain steadfast and determined to continue their story to completion. It is good to know their loss is not the last chapter. Chelsea’s story is part of a bigger story. One that includes others experiencing depression embracing hope in Christ Jesus through a community’s testimony of perseverance.

Suicide in the Abstract

Suicide happens in the abstract.
Thoughts, fears, loss; all pile, unnamed.

Pour concrete into despair
Reveal color, shape, texture, and dimension
and take a sledge hammer to

Recognizing Despair: Patty Mason Interview (Part 1)

Patty Mason is a living testimony that God is not distant from our anguish. Though other types of depression are clinical, Patty attributes her depression to attempts to fill the hole in her soul where God should reside with things that did not satisfy. God set her free through the quiet touch of a woman who had no idea of the impact she would have on Patty.

God set her free from depression and invited Patty to learn more about his love for her. For more than twenty years, she has developed her relationship with both God and others struggling with despair. She ministers and equips others to learn to discover, embrace, and live in freedom through Liberty in Christ Ministries.

I will post our interview in three installments. Patty’s answers speak life and hope into the darkness and oppressive grip of despair because she offers no less than what God offered her.

As we conversed about her book Finally Free: Breaking the Bonds of Depression Without Drugs, Patty focused her answers on what she has seen and heard of God’s work in her own life. She didn’t make broad and sweeping comparisons about the depression experience, but instead, she passionately described the consistent character of Christ no matter our history of despair.

Our stories of depression are individual, but God’s story of freedom for all mankind is the same. Patty declares with passion and compassion; God is restoring us as his bride, and despair loses its grip in the hands of a loving redeemer.


Turning the Page on Suicide: You open Chapter 1 by distinguishing depression as a constant battle bringing on overwhelming feelings of sadness, rage, and hopelessness. Describe why a depressed person can’t just snap out of it and choose to be happy?

I don’t know why we can’t snap out of it. I know I couldn’t. My husband loved me, I knew he cared about me, but he didn’t understand what I was going through. I think his attitude was,˜Oh, you’ll get over it.  A lot of people ask the same question. We all have sad days, or days we feel off, but that is not depression. Depression is a very deep and dark place, and it’s not someplace we can just snap our fingers and automatically get out of, no matter how much we want to be free.

TPOS: What are some ways people responded to your depression in the early days? Were friends and family aware of the shift in your behavior?

No, not at all, I tried to give the impression I was perfect. I wore the mask way too well and covered my emotions. I didn’t let people into my world. In fact, I didn’t let my husband in that world for a long time.

TPOS: You say in Finally Free, I never saw the depression coming, nor did I realize how much it would steal from me. Is it possible to be prepared for depression; to create an emergency kit for the pits of life?

Depression gives off warning signs. Before the symptoms of depression become visible, I exhibited frustration and anger, which indicated something was wrong. Our life experiences, even if they seem trivial at the time, do affect us either positively or negatively. If there is trauma in your past, then start looking at it, don’t sweep it under the rug, and think, I’ve moved on, and that’s the end of it.

TPOS: You credit your desire to find yourself, and later speak of success as representing “a notch on the belt of life that told the world I had worth. Young men and women often talk of self-worth or finding their identity as they are beginning their adulthood. What were some of the things you thought would give you self-worth?

Adventure was my first journey, I traveled quite a bit. Actually, travel became a drug. I was so addicted that I no sooner came home, I started to plan the next adventure. Next, I turned to men, then family to try and fill that void. I thought marriage and children would fill me as a woman.

TPOS: Relationships and marriage offer the opportunity to feel valued and special, but why can’t another person complete us? Why is it so easy to lose our identity in marriage?

If we look for someone else to complete us or tell us who we are in order to find our identity, we will come up disappointed every time. The only way to find our true identity is to connect to God through a personal relationship because he is the one who created you. He knows who he desires you to be, and when you tap into a relationship with Jesus, you will discover your true sense of worth and purpose.

TPOS: How does the world look at motherhood? Why do our children not fill the void in our soul?

The world today doesn’t look at motherhood the same way it did fifty years ago. Back then, motherhood was critical; it was a woman’s primary role. Today the world tells you that it’s not enough to be a mother. You have to be successful in all these different areas of life. This was a great struggle for me as a young mother. Prior to marriage, I had a career, but my husband and I made the decision that I was going to walk away from that career and become a full-time mom. I thought that was a wonderful decision until I went to different events, like my husband’s Christmas party or some other event with women who were in the workplace.  The minute I told them I was a wife and mother it was like my brain fell out of my head. Suddenly I wasn’t interesting, worth anything, or successful. This made me feel very disappointed and disillusioned about who I was as a young mother. I even started looking down on myself because other women looked down on me.

TPOS: You said, For all this time I allowed a world that didn’t have the faintest idea how to live tell me how to live. When piling up all the things the world says are of value and finding yourself still unfulfilled, what do many turn to at this moment?

It depends on the person, but sadly, many people turn to addiction. Drugs, alcohol, social media, video games, anything that will distract them from feeling the emptiness and the void that is in their soul. The place they couldn’t fill with success or money or career or power or whatever else they try to fill it with.

TPOS: Describe the moment you knew you were depressed. Because you weren’t ready to share, and frankly others might not have been willing to listen, understand, and offer encouragement, what choices did you have with the recognition of depression?

Depression has a root. Just because you are not feeling symptomatic, doesn’t mean there are no underlying roots. That is what happened to me. At the time, I didn’t realize I was depressed because I was still pursuing what I thought would fill me. It wasn’t until I had everything I thought was going to satisfy me and make me happy, and it didn’t. When nothing I pursued filled that void in my soul, that was when I began to realize I had fallen into depression.

TPOS: What are your recommendations for anyone who has experienced deep trauma in childhood, just starting into adulthood?

Don’t wait. If you have gone through something in your past, in childhood or your teen year, don’t sweep it under the rug and think it’s in the past. Whether you have been physically or sexually abused, or experienced verbal abuse, where someone spoke hurtful words to you, or you experienced bullying in school, take a look at it. Don’t wait. Ask yourself some tough questions. Take a deep look at what you went through. How does that trauma make you feel when you think about it? What emotions does it stir up in you? I highly recommend a counselor, or trusted friend, to help you sort through those emotions. Someone who can help you dig into your past so you can start to understand what you are feeling. These emotional wounds and feelings are embedded in your soul, and unless they are exposed they will continue to fester and grow over the years until finally face them. Maybe ten years from now you start to have emotional breakdowns, and you will have no idea where they are coming from. (Continued on 9/19/2019)

Finally Free

Patty Mason is an author, national speaker, and the founder of Liberty in Christ Ministries. For more than two decades, Patty has shared her story of God’s redeeming grace and deliverance from depression before numerous audiences, in several books, blogs, and magazines, such as Lifeway’s Living More as well as radio and television programs, including American Family

About Patty

Suicide & Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

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