This month is suicide prevention month.
Many people will let it pass without giving it a second thought. Not because they’re insensitive. Not because they don’t care. But because they’re lucky enough never to have been touched by suicide or the affects of it. They’re lucky enough never to have lost someone to it. They’re lucky enough never to have contemplated it. They’re lucky enough to have never tried it.
Some of us are not so lucky.
So this month touches us deep down in our souls as we remember.
We remember those we lost.
We remember almost losing ourselves.
We remember the excruciating pain, the darkness, the emptiness, the confusion, the fear.
We remember silently crying out for help.
We remember the loneliness.
We remember what it was like to grasp at nothing, to imagine the world without us, to cry for our family and friends, to truly believe this world would be better off without us.
We remember that we didn’t want to die, but we didn’t know how to live anymore.
We remember a suffering so horrific that it left us writhing on the ground, agonizing in pain, and praying for anything, ANYTHING to make it stop.
We didn’t want to die. We just needed the terrorizing hurt to stop.
Some, like me, are blessed to be able to remember because we didn’t succeed in our attempts or desires to leave this world. Something stopped us. Something saved us.
I know God saved me. He intervened each time I wanted to end it all. In those moments, I didn’t know it was Him, but looking back I can see it. He sent someone or something that helped me to hold on a little longer.
And He used the time to help me heal a little more, to help me grow a little stronger.
I can remember in my younger years crying out to God and asking what I had done to deserve such suffering. I begged Him to take my depression away. I promised to ‘be better’, I promised to ‘be good’.
I wanted a reason for my pain. I needed someone to blame. I assumed it was my fault.
It was in the times of quiet, when I was exhausted from the tears, and the unending battle within, yet my mind would not sleep, that I was able to turn to Him and grow closer to Him.
I was too weak to pray, to move, to question. The anger and struggle had worn me out. So I lay in stillness and He used that time.
He spoke to me.
And I heard Him.
It was not my fault. There was no one to blame.
My depression is the result of a fallen world. God never wanted this for me.
But He used my pain to draw me close to Him. He showed me Jesus, who understood my suffering because He suffered so greatly. Jesus knew my hurt. He knew my struggle. He felt my pain.
And He told me to hold on to Him. He took my hand, validated my feelings, and said “You are not alone”.
He picked me up and told me He would fight with me. He told me we could conquer it together because nothing is impossible with Him.
He saved me. Again.
And now I am here today. I can share my story. I can share how things got better, how I got healthy.
I did it with Jesus.
It doesn’t mean life is perfect. I still struggle. I still have to fight my depression. There are still days when it’s hard to get out of bed.
But I know I can do it. God has given me the strength to fight when the war wages within. He goes before me and endures the hardest attacks Himself. He shields me from the worst of it.
And He gives me hope. Hope for tomorrow. Hope for the future. Hope in Him.
He reminds me He has a purpose for me. He reminds me that I’m here because He wants me here. He reminds me I’m not done.
Amazingly, He shows me how He can use my suffering to create good. He’s allowed me to help others who struggle with mental illness. He’s given me the strength and wisdom to counsel them, walk with them, encourage them, pray with them, love them, and point them to Him.
He’s shown me how He can take something so messy and horrible, and turn it to beauty.
Because nothing is impossible with Him.
If you are struggling today, I encourage you to turn to God. Take the hand of Jesus, let God go before you, and fight your battle together.
It can get better. It will get better. Surrender it to Him.
And don’t stay quiet. Don’t suffer alone. God gives us people to reach into the pit of despair that we’re drowning in. They want to help pull us out. Grab that hand. When you climb out of that pit, grasping that hand, you’ll see not one, but many people behind the hand that pulled you out. People who love you, who need you, who want to help you.
Don’t give up. God’s got you.
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