I proof courage before it makes headlines. Erase errors and daily edit my existence until acceptance. The looks, scholarships, the homecoming queen, the pageantryâ€”You caption my lifeâ€”A Success On and Off the Field. But fear echoes in my ears, after the bleachers stop pounding with admiration. I donâ€™t know who I am without the helmet. I polished life before my final submission. Made sure remembrance is stamped into who you think I am. Before the Suicide.
My heart cries out for you if you are currently cutting. I understand the deep heartache, hatred, and pain that goes into this cycle. It took an act of God to stop mine, and I pray the same for you. Your life is so valuable to Him and to me.
This is how Godâ€™s love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. --1 John 4:9 BSB
Therefore, every second, even the abuse and hardest moments you experience matter to him. He died for them. Keep turning your page to find out what happens next. Live. Reach out and allow others to reach in. They won’t do it perfectly, but share your heart because you need to, and they too need to know they are not alone. We are created to connect with others. We need each other. I am encouraged by each breath you choose to take. And I thank God for each breath I take.
(Poetry response to a person contemplating suicide.)
When I canâ€™t take anymore and decide to give up … Hope seeped into my blood A resurrecting transfusion of truth Captivating the germ of thought like a head-turning shape, A glimpse of His hands, cut for me. Stopped my cutting. My self-destructing. God wore my hate, my shame, like Iâ€™m worth saving. I couldnâ€™t fathom a fearless night, but when Jesus held my broken soul, I felt whole.
What is this life? Life. Nothing more, nothing less–PRECIOUS Why am I here? To encourage, to speak life, testify to what Iâ€™ve seen and heard. I no longer fear when I canâ€™t take it anymore, Iâ€™ve given up and decided to live, no matter what hell hurls at me.
Depression is a villain masquerading as hero. Promising romantic rescue as he brings poisoned wine to lips.
Depression pirates your treasure. burying faith, relationships, desire, work, adventure beneath the unmovable rock of despair.
He woos souls with thoughtless caress. â€œIâ€™ll always be here for you.â€ â€œYou donâ€™t need anyone.â€ â€œI am devoted when others divorce you.â€ â€œYou can escape if you want to â€¦ but you donâ€™t want to.â€
Depression grips with jealous isolation. Till blood flows thick, and fear penetrates The last barriers of reality. Â Prying your fingers away from the ledge of truth. I WANT TO LIVE!
Allow new breath, though motherhood aches, and mind screams in the tight squeeze of despair. Each face, traced anew, is valued from womb to grave. Every sorrow felt, a precious jewel, shaped and hardened by the pressure of both good and bad experience in my heart. My children, shimmer in the palm of a God who loves.
” The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3 BSB).
It is now 1:51 in the morning and I have given up on sleep. So I came downstairs to meditate on scripture and pray. This as my go-to habit when I can’t sleep. The time has been sweet, refreshing my spirit, and reveals so much about myself and God.
The Lord prompted me to share with you step by step, as it is happening, what my time looks like.
Writing Utensils (Highlighter, Pen)
Read through the first time without notes
Highlighted verses that stood out to me
Wrote out thoughts or questions in margins (can be done in a journal as well)
Looked up parts I didn’t understand
Looked for context words (i.e. lots of battle terms)
Prayed for understanding throughout, for myself, and for you
prayed for rest
Perfect Peace=Perfect Trust (What I learn about God and myself in each verse)
God’s Character/My Character
Our Salvation/Strong City
Keeps in Peace/Steadfast Mind
Rock Eternal/Trust Lord Forever
Humbles Prideful/The Oppressed Win
His Judgment Teaches Righteousness/Student
Worthy of Praise/Wait, Obey, Know Him
Majesty/ Experience Evil Because of God’s Grace for All Mankind
Authority/Protected From Enemies
Establishes Peace/Open to His Good Things
Lord and Ruler/ Honor His Name No Matter Who Rules Over Me
Destroys Oppressor/Temporary Suffering
Glorified Through the Righteous/Repent and Cry Out
Disciplines the Wicked/I Suffer If I Do Not Do What is Right or Bring Salvation to Others
What does “perfect peace” mean? vs 3
What is the significance of a upraised hand? vs 11
Lest you be intimidated by the fact that I am looking up the Hebrew translation of the verses, realize this, I love languages. I am a word girl. We lose some depth of meaning through our English translation, so I try to look at the original. This is a desire God placed in me as an aspect of my delight in scripture. Reading the original aids in my understanding. By no means do you have to do this, and I would actually caution, anyone beginning to read scripture for the first time to keep it simple.
At the core, my basic reading pattern looks like this:
Indeed, the Hebrew revealed something I didn’t see before. “Perfect peace” could literally be translated “peace peace”. By doubling up, the writer is implying this is complete, without a shadow of a doubt peace. It doesn’t come from man building security on high. It comes from God fortifying our lives, protecting us day and night, and trusting him to do what is right for us.
God has been chiseling away at the hard places in me where I lean on my own understanding and don’t trust him (i.e. my daughter’s health) and revealing over and over his trustworthiness.
Going back to my list again, what developed as I read is the following:
Read–God’s actions my response (looked for in each verse)
Question– What is the significance of God’s hand being raised? (I figure a kingly gesture of judgment, like a gavel)
Apply–God is trustworthy in my family’s health. Run to him for healing and direction. He will not let me down. Rest in his faithfulness.
Blessing and and peace peace dear brothers and sisters.
The seasick panic of blistered seasoned fishers of men, uncontrolled swells smashing faith against wake of our doubts and you sleep you don’t care for us our fear swamping confidence in your claim to be I AM is rocked to asleep By the destruction overwhelming us Awaken to our insecurity “Silence! Be still.” Secure control. Peace.
“And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15)
Dear Page Turner,
My feet have good news. Faithfully, not perfectly, I have tried to grieve with hope and walk in obedience to God’s direction. After four years of grieving with hope, I am almost done with my second book, a devotional to help anyone who has just experienced a loss to suicide.
I have also joined The Dented Fender writing team, and am developing my speaking chops so that I can share hope more effectively. I want to be fully equipped, not lacking anything. God’s love is shining into the darkness of despair, and I love getting to be a part. So many amazing things are happening, way beyond what I thought myself capable of, but with God nothing is impossible.
Four and 1/2 years ago it was painful to turn 1 page on Jonathan’s death. I have now turned over the 2007 pages. Each page has been important, even the ones I could barely turn. My initial hope, that others would be encouraged to choose life is coming to fruition. I refuse to bow to the spirit of despair. Each page, some intensely painful, have produced new joys, new discoveries, and encouragement. I look forward to sharing with you what God is accomplishing, even when we don’t understand the fullness of his purpose.
As the work on my second book is nearing the finish line you inspire me to finish strong. Writing this book has made me look back over all that God has accomplished in four years of Turning the Page on Suicide, I am so thankful.
I learn from each of you. Thank you for wrestling with despair and not letting the darkness have the final say! Thank you for choosing writing as your outlet to share hope. Thank you for encouraging others with poetry, stories, photography and scripture. Thank you for commenting and blessing one another with courage for each individual journey.
The mental health community is made up of spectacular and uniquely gifted individuals. Don’t ever underestimate the value of your words, your courage to breathe life into others, in spite of your own physical and emotional pain. If you are just getting started on turning your page on suicide, may 1 page become 2 until you look back and find a lifetime of spreading the good news, death does not have the final say. Life is worth living.