Suicide-A story of hope & intention

It was January 2007 when I got the call.

He died. My dear friend, the one from high school, the one I’d always considered a brother. It was suicide. It was intentional.

I could describe for you the pain, the looping roller coaster of grief. A cheap ride I never wanted to go on in the first place and one that took a long, long, long time to get off. But I’m assuming you’ve been acquainted with heart wrenching loss. If you haven’t…someday you will.

So, this is my suicide story. The way it sliced me to the core, bloody and bruised, leaving me vulnerable to the realms of this world and beyond. This is my story of how God courted me during that season. This is my story of how He used all those broken pieces to create something new in me.

God says He is the beginning and end. He who is, who was, and who is yet to come. {Rev.1:8} He is the past, present, and the future. And when I welcomed Him to live and reign in my heart, He promised to never leave me or forsake me. He knew what was to come, and looking back I discover that in a million little ways He was preparing me for that black moment. He always does.

Even still, grief is an unwelcome companion.

In the month’s preceding my friends suicide I had developed a very strong unsettling feeling within my spirit. It was odd. Unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I kept it to myself mostly. I prayed. Then one day, while driving I heard a voice whisper, “Death is near.” Whoa! I shook it off. Yet, it periodically returned. The voice. Those words. Death is near.

And then, the call.

Death is destruction, disaster, and a devastating mixture to our soul. Suicide tosses in additional ingredients. Heaping cups of guilt, pounds of regret, and bitterness served up in bulk. We assume our role. We feel part to blame. We could’ve, we should’ve….

This past week a young college student from my church committed suicide. I didn’t know him but my heart aches for his family and friends. I remember the pain as if it was yesterday. It’s palpable. I hold my journal in my palm, I flip back, and I recoil as I relive that moment.

This grief zone; it’s complicated, dangerously confusing, and life changing.

Are you there? Here are a few things you can do:

1. Record Your Journey. A journal helped me pour out my grief. It was good to help me cope and process the waves that crashed and battered. I quickly discovered that grief measures itself with time. One week, one month, the last time you did this, the anniversary of, words exchanged, all of which become marked by time. In the same way, your grief journey can be measured through words, thoughts, and feelings. As you look back, the million little ways that God was comforting and restoring will slowly be revealed. Not now, not in the fog, but later when you can see a little more clearly. Believe it or not, this journey will be used as a tool. It’s shaping your testimony. Write it out.

Resources: Evernote is an online tablet that you can use to record events or make simple notes. Or consider using Blogger. Opt for private settings if you wish to record for your eyes alone.

2. Guard your heart. Above all else, guard your heart. Imagine your heart as a door, the gateway to your soul. Would you allow a thief in? Never. It’s tempting to want to connect with your loved one. I know. I dabbled. I did not protect myself because I did not understand fully. And because of it I flung open doors to a world that I never intended to enter. But God gave me wisdom and in JESUS NAME I cleaned house and closed doors. I also learned some truths about the Devil. He is a trickster, an impostor, and he masquerades as light. {2 Corinthians 11:14} This means he can disguise himself to look like someone we care deeply for. To masquerade as light means that by all appearances it is good and lovely. Why would Satan do this?  To deceive.

 “Demons are undoubtedly more than willing to masquerade as dead humans if they can deceive tens of millions of people and draw them away from Jesus.” -Ron Rhodes

What’s at stake? When we focus our attention on the spiritual realm or connecting with a loved one rather than fixing our eyes on God, the enemy succeeds. The last thing the Devil wants is for you to gain strength, wisdom, and council from the Lord. This subject is wildly controversial in most circles. I’m stating the biblical truth that has been made known to me. If you wish to have a private conversation about this I’d love to talk. Please message me here.

And pray. He who is in you is greater that he who is in the world.

Resource: The book, The Truth Behind Ghosts, Mediums, & Psychic Phenomena by Ron Rhodes was a huge gift to me. Full of wisdom!

3. Step out of your comfort zone. I know your hurting. Scripture says, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”{Psalm 126:5} Stepping forward and wrapping your arm around someone who shares your grief is good for healing. When my friend died, God laid a burden of compassion on my heart for his mother. One week after the funeral, my sweaty hands picked up the phone and called her. We talked and cried together for hours. And that was only the beginning…

The remedy does exist. We discover it in a movie, a novel, or in the lyrics of a song. We see it painted in a rainbow or in one star twinkling brighter than the rest. We read it in the Word. Profound and bold, we’ve never noticed it before. The calm, gentle voice whispers truth while the hot shower beads our tear streaked faces. These are the things that bring out hope. Cling. Write. Live. Hope.

Make this your intention.

 

Comments

  1. Beautiful, Rachel. My first experiences with suicide were when I was younger … it was always a distant relative or the spouse of a relative and it was sad but I was young & dumb & didn’t ‘get it’ and was able to easily move on with my life. Then, in 8th grade, a friend/classmate took her own life at the age of 14. It shook me, made me angry, saddened me and terrified me. we all clung to each other in our heartache, promising ‘never to let it happen again’ – not realizing we were powerless against the lies told by depression and angst. we moved on, never getting over it but moving forward and past it… Then, on December 13, 1998, it happened again. My beloved uncle, my friend … how could he? I let the anger win. i let the sadness consume me. I turned away from God and those who loved me most. I wish I had your words to help me back then. They help me now…Grief is a never ending process. You may be fine one day and the next, you are right back in that emotional turmoil and gut-wrenching pain of that experience. The 15 year mark hit me hard this past December. I hope your words touch others and provide comfort and a way to begin their journey of healing. Thank you for writing this!

    — Kadie

  2. Wow, Kadie! That is a lot of heartache and loss. Thank you for pouring this out to me. I have to wonder, with this thing repeating itself in your life, what does God want you do with it? You are a strong and beautiful woman and I believe that you can be used to make beauty from ashes. Xoxo

  3. Thank you for putting into words what many of us on the periphery of his life felt these days. It’s been affecting me all week as well. We know that pain through our own journey, wouldn’t dare to compare it, but are just ‘outside’ the situation enough to have no vehicle to support anyone except through prayer. Hope and intention. Big big words, and ones that we must hold on to. Thanks for courageously revealing more of your story. Love you!

  4. Wondeful, wise words. I am sorry for both of your tragic losses, and so grateful for how you allowed God into your pain.

  5. I love your heart. Thank you for sharing it in a way that can bring hope and healing to others. Grateful for your contribution to #TellHisStory.

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