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111 || Accepting the Gift of Life

Suicide.

Have you ever thought about it? I mean really thought about killing yourself — exiting this world and ending it all? I have walked on the precipice of that hush-hush word, especially with Christians. What makes one think of taking his life, especially if he is a believer in Christ?

Some, even some close to me, believe if someone commits suicide, he could not have been a real Christian. After all, if he were a true believer, wouldn’t he have had complete peace in his life?

One day, I walked into the kitchen to put away groceries after a dreaded shopping trip during a difficult time in life. I walked to the kitchen sink and I saw it. The butcher knife. I looked again and the next thought in my mind was, “Should I do it?”

I questioned myself because I struggled with the effect it would have on those around me. I knew it was the easy way out of the continuous battle that seemed to wage inside of me. It was the selfish way to stop the pain. Yet I stood transfixed, staring at the knife conveniently lying on the counter, the black handle glinting at me as if saying, “Just do it already! You know you want to!”

I was shocked to see that knife in my hand. I had actually picked it up. I turned it over and over as its shiny reflection continued to taunt me. Was it the devil wickedly whispering those things in my ears? After all, isn’t that what he does? Taunt us? Tempt us?

I put the knife to my right wrist. I had a war raging inside of me: Take my life and end it all or stay and fight. All the while, feelings of being a worthless failure and a major disappointment in all areas of my life, especially as a wife and mother, invaded my thoughts. Then an image of my child in the next room flooded my mind. My child would most likely be the one to find me on the floor. And as much as I wanted to end the pain of a lifetime of struggling, I loved my child and my family more than I loved the thought leaving all my problems behind.

Jesus died on the cross at Calvary so that I might live in Him with an unsurpassed hope. He died to give me life, not for me to selfishly take it. I am a believer, a follower of Christ. Whether I would go to Heaven or to Hell for taking my own life was not the question. What stopped me was the fact that Jesus gave me life so that I may live to love and serve others as He did and to share His Gospel. He also called me to share my story — even one of struggling with depression so intense sometimes it led me to a counter with a butcher knife — a story that might encourage you during your own struggles, no matter what those struggles may be.

I made the decision to put that knife down, to keep walking along my Christ-directed path despite my battle with depression because I believe His plan and His purpose for my life far surpasses the pain I sometimes feel. I love Christ, who held back the knife and called me to a future filled with hope, faith and peace.

Finding Help

At Shattered, we never want to present you with capricious to-do lists that just put more on your plate. We aim to share the glory of God through our stories. However, sometimes we need to address some issues through the godly provisions of biblical counselors — professionals who are trained to assist you, god-given helpers who are meant to bless us greatly and help us put life and eternity into proper perspective.

We have asked Leah Lucas (LCSW, PP) and Lindsay Taylor (LMFT) to offer advice to our readers, and we love what they had to say:

A book written by the late Wade Hyatt titled ‘Self Talk for the Christian: Helping Christians Live a Positive Life in a Negative World’ gives some wonderful advice and scripture references for many of life’s challenges, including depression. Hyatt states that some Christians think that they should not get depressed, that we’ve somehow failed to appreciate God’s blessings or that He is punishing us. There are some who even hold the belief that depression is a sin. What we know from a Christian counseling standpoint is Christians are not immune to low feelings, which can be in response to various life circumstances.

We also know the Bible is full of people who experienced depression. For example, David states in Psalm 88:6-7, ‘You have thrust me down to the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavy on me, wave after wave engulfs me.’ David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Job and Moses experienced trials and tribulations, yet David later states in Psalm 34:18 that ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ The Lord calls us all to have different stories, and only He knows our hearts, but we aren’t all just granted automatic peace in this world. The devil wages war on those who love God, and while we are still in this fallen world, we will fight battles. The difference is that the Christian knows the One who has won the war.

Sometimes God miraculously heals, like in the case of a heart condition or cancer, but other times He requires us to take initiative and make changes. Some ways that can assist you in fighting the battles God has called you to fight are to:

  • Visit a professional counselor or physician
  • Receive medical interventions
  • Make different decisions about diet and exercise.
  • Change your thought patterns by focusing on thoughts of hope and faith in order to combat Satan’s lies in your mind. ‘Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.  Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about’ (Philippians 4:8b).

So what should you do if you have tried all of these things and still cannot seem to shake the overwhelming negative thoughts? Those who are struggling with feelings of utter despair and hopelessness need professional help, and contrary to popular belief, those who talk about suicide should not be ignored or considered to be attention- seeking. Therefore, whenever you or someone you know experiences these thoughts and feelings, it is imperative to do the following:

  • Visit your local emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800- 273-8255.
  • Call 911 for assistance with protecting someone if you fear for their safety, and they refuse to seek help.

When encouraging someone who is struggling, there are important things to avoid saying, as certain things can discourage and actually push someone further into a depressed state. These include statements like: ‘If you just have more faith in God or pray more, God will heal you from this,’ and ‘God must be punishing you for something; get rid of the sin in your life,’ and ‘Stop whining and complaining, and just pull yourself together.’

It comes down to a delicate balance of conveying empathy and understanding as well as gently and gracefully encouraging the person to make changes and/or seek help.

We at HopeSprings Counseling would consider it a privilege to walk beside you or someone you know struggling with depression and suicide.  Please contact us at 256-725-3722 for more information about our mission and services.”

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