We were not like other people who go about their business day after day and feel safe and secure when they lay down to sleep at night. No… we were fighting for our lives.
I remember the day I realized that there was something out there that wanted to claim my life. I remember waking up the next morning, feeling the pain in my broken ankles and realizing that this was serious… that this is a matter of life and death.
Recovery for me was not optional. I had no desire to drag my children through the same roller coaster I went on with my own parents.
The other women I met in recovery had the same issues I had. The things that tripped us up were different but the reason why we stumbled through this life was the same. We all believed that we were worthless. There were days when we grabbed hold of the truth but most of the time, we suffered under lies. All of us knew Christ. That was the easy part… it was discovering what our value is as a follower of Christ that was hard.
Everyone of us operated under this lie differently. One would put on airs and tried and display her value as being better than others, in an effort to convince herself that she had worth. She put others down to try and feel valuable. But at her CORE she felt worthless.
Another would try to be invisible. She never felt herself worthy of anyone’s attention. She would work tirelessly to help others, never expecting to receive even a word in return. No amount of work felt good enough for her, she felt she always had to do more. At her core she felt worthless.
Yet another would timidly try and assert herself. There was a tiny, birthday candle of hope that she had something to offer the world and yet it seemed each time she wanted to do something… something meaningful, it seemed someone was trying to douse the flame… snuff out her light. She wondered why she even tried. At her core she felt worthless.
What does this lie do to a person in the dark of night… when the lights go out and the house is still? It wears away at the soul… When there is no truth going in, the lies just multiply. Every mistake, every criticism seems to just confirm the idea that we are not valuable. When I mess up again the lie whispers: “See you messed up again… you can’t do anything right… you’re never going to amount to anything”
We fought the battle together. We told each other truths. Some days we screamed it at each other. Some days we screamed at the enemy. Some days we screamed at God. Some days we cried together.
It was the day they cried alone that claimed their lives.
Each one of these beautiful women believed the lie and took their own lives. They euthanized themselves like a mangy ole stray that no one wants is put down at the local pound. Like garbage that is incinerated they torched their flesh in the flames of self-harm. They were the ones that fell in this gruesome battle. This battle that rages inside our heads… inside our souls…
The battle goes on in our homes, our schools, our workplaces… our churches.
They are the victims of the enemy’s evil plot to snuff out the lives of the people who have so much to offer the world. They are the ones who did not make it out alive.
My mom didn’t make it.
My mother was a pianist. It is her music I miss the most. I crave her song. Not just the songs she used to play… but the way she played them. She played them soft and meditative. She sang softly along.
She sang, “You are my hiding place… you are the one who fills my heart with songs of deliverance… Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. I will trust in you… Let the weak say I am strong, in the strength of the Lord…”
Did she believe those words… or were they just something she sang? Or did she believe it one day and forget it the next?
Yes… I grieve. Yes I weep.
I cry to the Lord, “Why?”
“I have battled the SAME lie. Why was I the one to make it out alive? Why did I survive and not her?”
I know the answers and yet I still ask. So I ask, “Where is your glory Lord? Where are you in all this?”
The still small voice answers my why:
“Because you are going to walk through this with me and there are those who are not. They are walking through this alone and you are going to show them the way… the way to me.”
OK Lord… There is a RAY of hope in this valley of death.
First, I have to state the harsh truth: A person can be saved eternally and yet not know how to truly rest in the Lord. A person can believe in Christ and yet not believe Christ. A person can call themselves a Christian and have hope for their eternal soul and yet not have any hope for their life on earth.
That is not what Christ called us to.
Here is another truth: I made it out alive, not because I’m “better” or “stronger” or anything like that. I made it to this spot on the trail solely because I allowed the Lord to carry me through.
That is where God’s glory shines. It is truth that shines through the gaping holes in my soul… the jagged edges of pain and heartache that have the warmth of God’s peace shining through.
How can I have swallowed so much loss and grief and not be simply a shell of a person or drowning my pain in substance abuse? Because God is the master healer. Because God is my provider. Because God is not afraid to be my Wonderful Counselor and hear all my heartache and grief.
Everyday I pour out my cares on him and he carries them. When I go to my Mom’s house and see her night gown STILL hanging behind the door, when I read her words on paper… the words of a tortured soul…. I cry out to the Lord.
But this is not just about surviving. No. Don’t you go there… dear reader. This is about all those painful places in which you and I choose to press into the Lord and find that he has something more for us in life than just surviving. He has a fountain of joy and peace for us in this place.
I look at my children through different eyes. I look at the world through different eyes. I see people in a whole new light.
When someone snaps at me at the grocery store, I don’t get offended or hurt. I try to imagine the pain that they push down, that erupts in angry words to a perfect stranger. When I see a woman who is callously hurting her family to follow her own path, I try to imagine the damage that brought her soul to this place where she is blinded to her family’s pain.
I try to remind myself that we are all in the painful place of having to circumcise our own veiled hearts of the sin that besets us. AND it is a painful place. A place where we have to admit that we cannot achieve perfection and can only hope to walk in the strength of the perfect ONE… the only ONE who never sinned… and came to free us from our own sin.
I see the world through his eyes now. I see the world with GRACE in my heart and LOVE on my arm.
Because you see there is another in my life who didn’t make it out alive.
He never hurt anyone. All he ever did was bring healing to those around him. He even brought a man BACK from the grave and yet he went to the grave scorned and hated… battered and bruised.
Jesus Christ didn't make it out of this world without first tasting death.
And yet the grave could not hold him, because the grave had no power over him. He walked into glory on his own two feet with nail scarred hands.
He gave his life willingly, so that we would not have to surrender our souls to hell. We do not have to surrender our souls to torture either. He has conquered death and the GRAVE and that’s the TRUTH.
I stand on this side of the trauma of losing my mother and other beautiful women to suicide to tell you that this EPIC tale DOES have a happy ending, when you are standing hand in hand with the resurrected Christ. You may feel you are standing alone… a survivor of suicide but if you are standing with Christ, you are NOT alone.
If you are tempted to succumb to the same lie that tells you, you are worthless let me talk to you more on the topic. Read about it here… I have more to say…