Reasons to Live

 

Imagine a person sitting at their computer, typing in the phase ‘reasons to live’ because they’ve personally run out of ideas on how to do that.

But maybe this person isn’t so hard to imagine, because maybe you’ve just landed on this page to see if there’s perhaps even one good reason to continue your life. If that’s the case, I have great news: I’ve listed three great reasons to live below.

  1. God really does love you. (Bear with me on this one and keep reading… please?)
  2. You really can trust God.
  3. If you were to die today, then you would never get the chance to understand reasons 1 and 2.  Plus, you would never get the opportunity to see how God is going to help you through this in such a way that you can look back on your life and be glad you didn’t give up.

As for me, I know this is true because I’ve been where you are. Imagine twenty-one health care professionals surrounding you, telling you that your baby, who has been in a horrendous car accident, would never wake up and could live for eighty years as a vegetable.

That’s what happened to me. And one of the reasons I didn’t kill myself that very night is because I knew that God loved me. I knew I could trust God, and because if I were to die, then I would never get the chance to find out how God would move in our situation.

So I waited on God.

And I’m glad I did.  My baby is now 26 years old, and though she has disabilities, she has joy and purpose, even if it’s only to love and to be loved.  It’s in fact the same purpose that both you and I share– to love others and to let them love us.  (Sounds impossible, it’s not, but it may take some practice.  Give it some time!  ; )

But I’m here today to tell you that I trusted God and he got me through.

Don’t know God?   Try praying this prayer.

Dear Lord,

I want to know you so that the two of us can walk through this life together.  So, I am willing to follow these steps to know you; 1. First, I recognize that Jesus Christ died in my place, for my sins, so that I could wear his righteousness (not mine) and so that I can walk with you.  2.  I ask Jesus to come into my life and I choose to follow him. 3.  I giive you my whole life.

In Jesus Name.

To find out more about knowing God, go to: www.GodTest.com

Now that you’ve made your acquaintance (or reacquaintance) with God, pray this:

Dear God,

My life is not going the way I want.  But because I’ve put my trust in you, I choose to trust you with my very life.  In fact I give my life to you, and ask you to guide me through my difficulties.  In fact Lord, I’d like to ask you to turn my life into a miracle.  I know this may or may not happen overnight, but help me to trust you, step by step, to a life of peace and even happiness.  I choose to live and I choose to trust you.

In Jesus Name.

 

Now, give it some time and watch as God moves in your life.  If you want take our new believers Bible Study, click HERE.

 

By the way, in the twenty-plus years that have passed since that terrible day I almost took my life, I can tell you that I’m glad I lived.  God has comforted me, and given me even greater purpose in the writing of many books that have helped thousands of people, including When You Need a Miracle, and When You Don’t Know What to Pray.

My prayer for you is, that twenty years from now, you can look back at this time you will be oh, so glad that you choose to live and to trust God.

We are praying for you.

Watch this great YouTube clip about one teen’s list of  46 reasons why you should live.

Japanese Students – Please do not Kill Yourself

This is a message to all Japanese Students – Please do not kill yourself!

Currently suicide is the leading cause of death in many age groups in Japan.  This is partly because suicide is often a considered solution if one feels they have shamed themselves or their family.  Today, even school children commit suicide simply because they made a mistake or got a lower grade than they had intended.  Recently, I met a teacher from Japan, who is sad to lose so many of his students to what he called ‘senseless deaths.’  He asked me to write an article which would show an important alternative to student suicide.

So, this article is written to the young (and old) students of Japan:  Please do not kill yourselves! Japaneses students, please do not commit suicide!

Despite you or your family’s or society’s expectations, shame is not a good reason to take your life as I will explain below.

Consider this; if you should live past this shame, you will get a chance to honorably redeem your grade (or situation) another day.  Life will continue, and this incident, which seems shameful right now, may even be forgotten in time.  If you live, you will have a chance to bring honor to yourself and family, even marry, raise a family, find in a job,  perhaps in part because you learned how to handle shame and disappointments with honor and grace.  But no matter what you decide to do, you must know this sacred secret I am about to share with you.

The secret is this; there is hope for you when you discover the God above all gods– a God many people in Japan know and meet every day.  This great God is a God who has a different plan for both you  and your shame.  I would very much like to introduce to you to this God.

This mightly, holy God wants, more than anything, to love you and to be your constant companion.  But he had a problem.  He was too holy to walk with mankind because we all make mistakes and shame ourselves.  So, God sent his son Jesus to die a cruel death on a cross.  You see, his son Jesus died in our place.  Jesus, who was good and never did anything to shame himself or his father, allowed himself to be hung naked on a wooden cross until he was dead. He did this to pay the price for our shame, sin, and mistakes. When we accept Jesus’s payment for our shame, God  will allow us to wear the righteousness of Jesus like a beautiful, holy robe.  The righteousness of Jesus covers our sins, failures , mistakes and  shame.  In this way, God counts us as good enough to walk with him without shame.

You can start a relationship with this great God with a simple prayer:

Dear Lord,

Please forgive me for my failures and the shame that I have brought upon myself and my family.  Thank you that you provide forgiveness for my sins as well as my shame through the sacrifice of your son. Jesus. Thank you that Jesus gave his life for my life.  Jesus wants to carry my sins and shame on himself.  So I give Jesus my sin and my shame.  In exchange, I give God my whole life.  God, thank you that because Jesus is your son, and because he never sinned, he had the power to rise alive from the grave.  Because Jesus did this for me, I can now walk with you, holy God, without sin or shame.  God, please send your holy spirit to live inside of me so that you will be my constant companion.  For with God, through Jesus, I am free from shame!  My life becomes too valuable to throw away or to end it with suicide.  God thank you for giving me your love, purpose and for honoring me by taking my sin and shame!

In Jesus Name,

Amen

This is a happy development.  For now you belong to a God who believes that  your life matters.  To learn more about your new life in Christ, go to:  http://thinkingaboutsuicide.com/new-believers-bible-study/

We have several videos which may interest you.  The first video shows a Japanese worship service where the worshippers are honoring God with songs of praise.

Watch this anime (below) which shows part of the story of Jesus’s death on the cross.

This is an importatant movie in Japanese which shows the whole story of Jesus:

‘Nobody Cares’ and Other Lies

By Martha Bolton:


[Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

They’re lies–those thoughts that swirl around in your head when life seems to have turned upside down.

Nobody cares.

I have no friends.

The world would be better off without me.

Lies.

I’m not sure why some people back away when their friend goes through a crisis.  Maybe they don’t know what to say. Maybe they’re waiting until they deal with their own problems before they can reach out and help someone else. Or maybe they’re just not a strong enough friend to depend on in the rough places of life. They’re superficial friends, and that’s okay.

You’ll know that now.  We all have both kinds—the good times friends and the hard times friends. The problems comes when we put the right friend in the wrong column.

You may be wondering where any of your friends are right now. And if they are your friends, why are they being so silent?

All I can tell you is to not base your future on what someone else does or doesn’t do.  Determine to make it through your crisis, even if the only people on your team is God and yourself.  I promise you when it’s over, you will hear story after story of where people were in their lives while you were going through your lowest point. They’ll explain how they wanted to stay in touch, but thought you wanted your space. Whether you did or didn’t want space, it’s their honest reason for remaining silent.

Or they’ll tell you heartbreaking stories of how their own life was in shambles at the same time yours was, and you might regret not being in a place that you could have been there for them. And some will not even have realized that you were going through anything at all, apologize, and promise to never let you walk alone again.  They may even turn out to be your closest friend from here on out.

Remind yourself that misunderstandings happen all the time:

“Did you get my call?”

“You called?”

“At least six times.  Did you change your phone number?”

“I guess we did since the last time we talked.”

 

“Did your brother tell you I asked about you?”

“No.  Guess he’s had a lot on his mind.”

 

“We’ve prayed for you at church every Sunday.  You remember the old group.  We laugh so much at some of the things we used to do.

“Really?”

“I had no idea you were feeling so down.  I just thought…”

Please don’t base your self-worth on what might be a simple misunderstanding.  Don’t base your self-worth on anyone else’s opinion or actions. You may have friends that you care deeply about, but that you haven’t called for one reason or another. They may be going through a rough patch in their life, too.

The bottom line is what your mind might be telling you right now could all be lies.

What is truth? God loves you, He cares about you, and He has a plan for your life. There are people in your life who love and care about you, even when you are thinking nobody cares. You may not see God’s plan right now, but no matter how far away from it you’ve gotten, or how far away you feel, it hasn’t changed one bit. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Looking for something to believe in?  Believe that verse. He cares about you and wants to give you hope. He has plans for your life. And you have a future.

What is My Purpose? Why Should I Live?

by Liz Cowen Furman:

Many people ask, “What is my purpose?'” Some go so far as to think, “Why should I live?”

The truth is: God can use YOU to touch the lives of others, no matter how old you are, or how disabled.

What happens when your kids are grown and gone, your spouse has passed on, and you are old?

Several of my dearest friends are in this group and some have contemplated suicide because they feel they have outlived their purpose.

My Dad and Step-mom live in an assisted living facility. Their neighbor was in the center of her church’s activity in another state for decades. A recent widow, her family moved her closer to them. She shared with me that she sees no point in going on.

After that dinner conversation, I prayed about how to respond. Before I left my folks apartment to head over the mountain the next morning, I popped up to her apartment to share my thoughts.

As a child, I had a favorite Great Auntie Zorah. She was dear to me. What an amazing faith she had. When my parents divorced she took me under her wing and saved me.

When I went off to college, she moved closer to my Aunt’s place, much further from my college and home. I was young and busy with my studies but she wrote to me on a regular basis. I’ve kept her letters all these years. She has long since gone home to glory. I’ve read and reread them. Her letters were like an anchor in the storms for me. I encouraged my Dad’s friend to write to her many grandchildren.

 This story may help you see a little more clearly:

Another friend of mine was at a nursing home visiting her grandmother. Her cousin was there visiting as well.

He leaned over, and said:“If I ever have to come here just shoot me. What is the purpose of living like this? Look at all these oldsters drooling on themselves.”

Char looked at him and said, “My dear cousin, every day the Lord gives you on this planet has a purpose.”

He wrinkled his brow, “Like what?”

At that moment, an elderly gentleman rolled up in his wheel chair and addressed the grandma, “Elaine you look like you are hurting today.”

Elaine nodded in reply.

“Well, let me just pray for you, would that be OK?”

She again nodded a reply. He grabbed her hands and launched into a heartfelt prayer for “relief from the pain, peace that passes understanding, and a good visit with her family.” Then as soon as he had appeared, he was gone.

Char couldn’t have planned it better. She looked at her cousin, “That is what.”

One of the best, most helpful, things to do when you feel depressed is to look for opportunities to minister to others.

No matter our circumstance, there is always someone we can minister to. A kind word, a letter of encouragement, a prayer lifted up on their behalf. So don’t loose heart. While the circumstances may have changed, and you may feel like there is no purpose, if you are still on the planet He has a purpose. Ask the Lord to show you your new purpose, a new reason for being here. Then look for opportunities to live it. That is after you get some exercise. See this article on how exercise helps combat depression from Harvard Medical School: Exercise and Depression.

If you can’t find a place to be used of God try these links:

think you are too frail or disabled to help others? Check out this video and remember. No matter your circumstance, there is always hope.

A Mother’s Grief: Coping with Death by Suicide of a Daughter

By Jeenie Gordon:

Coping with death by suicide of your own child is a grief incredibly difficult for any mother to bear. Here’s how one mother, Mary copes.

 

This article is an excerpt from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide, used by permission from New Hope Publishers. Jeenie Gordon, contributing author to that book (and many others)  is a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Mary has found that one way of coping with her daughter’s death has been to write about it.[Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net] 

One Sunday after coming home from church, I listened to my voice mail from my close friend, Mary, of twenty-five years.

“Jeenie,” sobbed Mary, “Paulette took her own life.”

Here are Mary’s words.  “Five months ago my eldest daughter, Paulette, took her own life. She had attempted this several times in the last twelve years but this time she accomplished her goal.

“It began when she was diagnosed with a mental illness (schizoid affective disorder). She was hospitalized many times during those years. Medications were adjusted and new ones introduced. One negative side effect of these psychotropic drugs was weight gain. During treatment she gained more than 125 pounds, which contributed to her depression.

“There were times in her life when the medications seemed to work and she’d feel better. I treasure the memories of those moments. We went shopping together and stopped at our favorite coffee shop. I know she felt my love as we sat and talked. I kissed the top of her head and said, “Paulette, I love you.”

“I also find peace in knowing that in fifth grade Paulette accepted Christ as her Savior. During her long illness, her faith brought her through many trying times.

“Shortly after my daughter’s death, thoughts of her constantly filled my mind. Several times I asked myself, “Do you believe that Christ died for you? Yes. “Do you believe in eternal life?” Yes. “Do you believe Paulette is safe in the arms of our Lord?” Of course I do. These conversations with myself gave me solace. Many times, I could almost hear her say, “Mom, I’m O.K. Enjoy your life.”

“Several things have comforted me during with their lives has helped. As one of my friends, whose son died from suicide said, “You get through it, but you never get over it.” Another friend wrote, “No more dark days for Paulette, only happy days with Jesus.”

“Every few days after she died, God seemed to give me insight into her death.

“I am comforted as I look at the pictures of Paulette – pictures of happy times. My favorite is one taken a year ago when she visited us in Oregon. Barefooted and holding a soda, she had a beautiful serene look on her face as she sat among other family members. As I look at this picture, I kiss it and whisper, I love you, Paulette.

 “Not everyone grieves the same way. I have never been embarrassed in front of others if the tears fall. They are tears of love for my sweet daughter.

“Those same memories give me courage to move on with my life. I have set some new goals in my life. Ten years ago I wrote a book. Paulette was the only one who read it in its entirety. I have started a writers group where I live and now am working on the rewrite of that book. This has kept me focused and I can almost hear Paulette saying, “Go for it, Mom.”

At Paulette’s memorial service, Mary requested that I read a special rendition of Psalm 23:

The Lord is my Shepherd – that’s relationship.

I shall not want – that’s supply.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures – that’s rest

He leadeth me beside the still waters – that’s refreshment.

He restoreth my soul – that’s healing.

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness – that’s guidance.

For His name’s sake – that’s purpose.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – that’s testing.

I will fear no evil – that’s protection.

For Thou art with me – that’s faithfulness.

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me – that’s discipline.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies – that’s hope.

Thou anointest my head with oil – that’s consecration.

My cup runneth over – that’s abundance.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life – that’s blessing.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord – that’s security.

Forever – that’s eternity.

                                                                                         –  Anonymous

Coping with death by suicide of a loved one will be different for everyone, including every mother who loses a child this way.  In addition to the Bible, one helpful handbook to walk through the grieving process is SOS, a handbook for family members who have lost loved ones.  You can find that on our Helpful Resources page and download to read. It does address mental illness, and how difficult it can sometimes be to understand the thought processes of those who take their lives. It also addresses struggles unique to parents.

Waiting: Even When Life is Hard

By Martha Bolton:

Is it hard for you to wait when life is hard?  If you wonder, ‘Why go on living?’, rest assured, there is hope.

 

Waiting.  We hate to do it at traffic lights, in line at an amusement park, or waiting for the voting results of our favorite televised talent show.  But there are many instances in life when waiting can be a good thing.  Waiting can help us say no to that person who isn’t meant for us to marry, so that we’re available to meet and say yes to the right one. Waiting just a little longer can help us be home to receive that package we had been waiting for most of the day, or not miss that repairman when he finally does show up. Waiting can help us get a better deal, give a better answer, or land that perfect job.

Waiting can also be a good thing to do when we’re feeling down. Waiting can bring clarity to a situation that may seem overwhelming or confusing at the moment.  Waiting gives time for circumstances and people to change, even if the change is simply our acceptance. And waiting through the darkest of nights will eventually, and always, bring the morning light.

So don’t get impatient.  Don’t quit on your situation or yourself.  Keep waiting. A little bit longer. And, if necessary, longer still.  While you’re waiting, there may be things you can do to change your circumstances. Or even yourself. If there are, do your best to start working on those changes.  But above all, wait.  Sometimes, that’s all you need to do.

If you try, I’m sure you can recall situations in your life when you waited and your circumstances changed. In the morning the situation didn’t look anything like it looked at night. Remind yourself of these times. Times when something seemed impossible, but ended up not being impossible at all.

Life is constantly in motion. Like the waves of the ocean—rushing in and pulling back. What we’re hoping for may not come with this wave, or the next, or the next. But if we keep waiting, it will come. Or something better will come in its place.

Even if life is hard for you right now, there IS hope. If you wonder ‘Why go on living?’ and are considering taking your own life, please don’t.

Even if it feels difficult to wait for things to get better, pray, and please give God time to work in your life.  He is real and truly  loves you. No doubt others in your life do too, who would be devastated if you were gone. If you feel angry at God, or even wonder if he exists, tell Him that! You can be honest with your feelings with Him. Ask Him to reveal His presence and love to you, then wait to see the future he has in store for you.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (From: Jeremiah 29:11 in the NIV Bible.)

He Doesn’t Love me Anymore; I Want to Die

By Linda Rooks:

Does life offer hope when the one you loves leaves?  Or do you think, “I want to die?”

Linda Rooks, author of Broken Heart on Hold: Surviving Separation shares thoughts on remaining hopeful:

 

 “I don’t love you anymore and I’m leaving.  I want a divorce.”

These words or a variation stun spouses and break hearts every year on a regular basis.  Seldom is a spouse prepared for the suddenness of these words or the devastating ramifications they bring to their lives.

In my ministry to those in broken marriages, I hear this story on a regular basis from women and men who are reeling in pain when they suddenly face the prospect of divorce or separation.  The pain is so great they can’t imagine living with it.  When they hear their spouse say they are leaving and that she or he “doesn’t love me anymore”, they just want to die.

As frightening as these words are, however, there is still hope that things can turn around.  But the way a person handles the situation can make the difference in the outcome.  While no one can promise the marriage will be restored, reconciliation is possible when the following steps are applied.

  • Realize that feelings can change.  In marriage classes we now teach, my husband drives that point home almost every week.  And he knows firsthand—because many years ago he was one of those spouses who left and questioned his feelings of love for me.  After three years of separation, we reconciled with a stronger and healthier marriage.  Feelings fluctuate, and what your spouse feels right now may be very different six months from now.  According to recent scientific studies of the brain, that “in love” feeling is considered a very temporary state that lasts anywhere from 3 months to 36 months.
  • How you react to your spouse at this point is important.  If he or she leaves, give them space.  If they pull away and you chase after them, they will pull away even more.  Of course you want answers, but at this point you probably won’t be able to get them.  But with a little space, he or she may see things more clearly. This means, don’t call, e-mail or text.  Let them clear their head.
  • Give it time.  It may feel hopeless, but things can actually turn around. The problems that led up to this have probably taken a long time to develop, and it will take time for them to heal.
  • Find friends that encourage you, not ones who immediately suggest you file for divorce.
  • Don’t let the person who has left you define who you are.  You are a precious child of God.  God loves you and created you to be the unique person that you are.  He has a purpose and plan for your life.
  • Because it’s so easy to become obsessed with what is happening, take your focus off your spouse and your circumstances and focus on God.  Spend time reading the Bible and listening to Christian speakers.  Pick out Christian books to read.  Immerse yourself in the things of God.

If your spouse said, “I don’t love you anymore” and you want to die, grab onto the Lord and let Him wrap you in His love.  God is a God of hope, and He has good things for you in the future.  If you feel discouraged and need to see a more tangible example of hope, here’s a TV interview I did on this very subject.  In this interview ( starting at about the 4:40 minute mark) I tell a little of my own story and share more about the hope that is possible when your spouse says, “I don’t love you anymore,” and you feel you just want to die. Even though your spouse may have said, “I don’t love you anymore,” there is still hope that those feelings can change.

Here’s video that may help:  http://vimeo.com/44472548

 

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10, 2012

By Dianne E. Butts:

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is “dedicated to preventing suicidal behavior, alleviating its effects, and providing a forum for academians, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors.” The IASP offers a variety of events throughout the year, including World Suicide Prevention Day, which is September 10, 2012.

World Suicide Prevention Day is held on September 10th every year, with a unique theme for each year. This year’s theme is “Suicide Prevention Across the Globe: Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope.” Previous themes include “Preventing Suicide in Multicultural Societies” and “Many Faces, Many Places: Suicide Prevention Across the World.” September 10th, 2012, marks the 10th anniversary of the World Suicide Prevention Day.

The IASP says its research shows evidence that “we can prevent suicide.” In the past “education campaigns have focused on the role of risk factors in the development of suicidal behavior. In order to increase effectiveness in preventing suicide we propose to direct our efforts not only towards reducing risk factors but also toward strengthening protective factors,” the site says.

Factors considered protective against suicidal behaviors include the ability to cope and adjust to adverse life events, a sense of personal worth and confidence, problem-solving skills, and help-seeking behaviors. Social and cultural factors include religious and social integration, connectedness, good relationships with friends, colleagues and neighbors, access to support, and ready access to health care. Healthy lifestyles and abstinence from illicit drug use is associated with reduced risk of suicidal behavior.

The World Suicide Prevention Day web site has a wealth of downloadable information, including:

World Suicide Prevention Day 2012 has its own Facebook Page.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention was founded by the late Professor Erwin Ringel and Dr. Norman Farberow in 1960. The organization includes professionals and volunteers from more than fifty different countries. It is a nongovernmental organization in official relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Take a few moments to stop by the site today or make professionals in your area aware of the resources available at the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Working together we can help prevent suicide. Check out the resources and see how you might support World Suicide Prevention Day, which is September 10, 2012.

Here is a short video from one group who got involved in World Suicide Prevention Day 2011:

Also cClick here to see a playlist of 7 short videos from a variety of people involved in World Suicide Prevention Day 2011.

A Parent’s Suicide

By Karen Kosman:

Photo by Anita Peppers

The loss of a loved one by suicide causes deep pain and struggles for families left behind–especially a parent’s suicide for children who only understand that Daddy or Mommy is no longer there to tuck them in bed, to hold them, to play ball, or to help with homework. Activities, no longer possible, that once seemed normal create a deep yearning in a child’s heart. Often they are too young to ask questions. People who are in a position to work with children can be a light that shines through their darkness. One such story is about a Sunday school teacher, named Jeanne Pallos, who started a special class for hurting children.

The following story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

Erik’s Papa’s Suicide

Jeanne Pallos

I knew about hurting hearts and how God could use safe, loving, caring people to bring healing. He had done it in my life. In return, I longed to reach into the hearts of emotionally wounded children and minister with God’s love and grace. So I started a class at church for children with hurting hearts. The staff knew I wasn’t a trained counselor, nor did I pretend to be, but they agreed to allow God to direct me.

Erik’s mother pleaded with me to let him into the class. “He’s seen so much pain in his short life,” she said. “At five years old, Erik lost his dad to suicide. He needs to be in your class.”

Even though Erik was only eight, and the other children were 4th through 6th graders, how could I say no? I thought, Love and support is what all these children need. “I’ll be happy to take Erik into my class.”

The first week, a shy little boy, with his head down, walked into the classroom. We sat in one large circle, and Erik took the seat next to mine. Although I knew the personal tragedies in each child’s life, I never mentioned them. I vowed never to pry into a child’s heart.

Erik rarely spoke, but at the beginning of each class, he scurried to sit next to me. One week I asked the children to make collages depicting people and things they loved. We searched through magazines and collected pictures. Then the children disappeared into their own private worlds as they cut and pasted pictures and words onto large sheets of paper.

Since Erik was the youngest, I often helped him with projects. As we sat pasting a picture of a father and son tossing a ball, he said, “Papa liked to play ball with me.”

Erik had never mentioned his dad before.

“That must have been fun and made you very happy.” I silently prayed, Thank you, God, for working in Erik’s heart.

The next week, during the class activity, Erik whispered to me, “Papa used to read to me.”

“That sounds so special,” I replied. “I’m sure your papa loved reading to you.”

A few weeks later, just before Christmas, our church held its annual memorial service. Families brought pictures of loved ones to display on a table and wrote the deceased person’s name on a list to be read. During the service, each family walked forward to light a candle.

I walked forward and placed my mother’s picture on the table. Suddenly, I noticed Erik walking towards me. He looked up at me with expressive eyes.

“Do you want to see Papa?” he asked.

“Oh, yes,” I answered, taking his small hand. “I’d love to see your papa.”

Together, we found Papa’s picture—a snapshot of a man and a child secured in a cracked frame.

“Is that you?” I asked.

Erik smiled.

“I can tell your papa loved you very much. Do you want to see a picture of my mother?” I asked.

When the evening ended, Erik’s mother took me aside and told me the details of the suicide. “Erik’s dad and I were separated. He lived alone. One evening he phoned and threatened, ‘I’m climbing onto a chair and making a noose. I’m going to kill myself.’

“I pleaded with him, ‘Please get some counseling. Your kids will always need you.’ Then I heard a thud, and the conversation ended in an overpowering silence.”

I wanted to say something comforting, but couldn’t find the words. As I looked into her eyes, I saw sadness, but I also saw determination. Widowed, and left with three heartbroken children, she’d not given up.

Had my class touched Erik’s young heart? Could the love he received in a few short weeks bring healing for a lifetime? I knew it couldn’t, but it was a beginning.

Erik loved his papa, no matter how he had died. That’s all that mattered. Erik now needed me and others to listen, care, and affirm this love. This little boy had a lifetime to deal with his papa’s suicide. For now he needed help in treasuring his dad’s memory before it faded away.

See this touching video, Grief Through The Eyes of a Child, from The Child and Teen Program of Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado. It includes stories from kids about Camp Good Grief to help children cope with loss.

Support for the Unemployed and Depressed (Suicidal)

By Karen O’Connor:


Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

According to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, writing in the New York Times Sunday Review:

“The prospects for the re-employment of older workers deteriorate sharply the longer they are unemployed . . . ” This is all the more reason to support the unemployed and depressed who threaten suicide.

The authors referred in their column to a paper by the economists Daniel Sullivan and Till von Wachter.

“A recent study found that a 10 percent increase in the unemployment rate (say from 8 to 8.8 percent) would increase the suicide rate for males by 1.47 percent. Assuming a link of that scale, the increase in unemployment would lead to an additional 128 suicides per month in the United States.”

The authors urge policy makers to recognize this emergency, and to fashion a comprehensive re-employment policy that focuses on the specific needs of the long-term unemployed. “. . . spend money to help expand public and private training programs with proven track records; expand entrepreneurial opportunities by increasing access to small-business financing; reduce government hurdles to the formation of new businesses; and explore subsidies for private employers who hire the long-term unemployed.”

How can we as individuals support support the unemployed who threaten suicide. over their jobless state?

Author Jessica Miller-Merrell in a column on blogging4jobs.com suggests the following:

  • Be Supportive.  There are more than 27.3 million unemployed (via SHRM.org) out there many of whom have exhausted their unemployment benefits or given up altogether.  Provide them an ear to listen before your mouth suggests to them a solution.
  • Help a Job Seeker.  Offer to evaluate a resume or provide mock interview feedback. By giving the job seeker a moment of your time, you provide hope and help.
  • Treat Them with Dignity.  Job seekers who are displaced and out of work are people too.  Talk to them. Get to know them, and remember that more than 27.3 million are unemployed.

It’s the little things that matter.  Meeting your friend for coffee just to check in, helping them update their LinkedIn profile, or calling just say hello.  I promise there is life after unemployment.”

And more than ever, the unemployed need our prayers and spiritual support. These verses from the Bible can be a start on the road from suicides among the unemployed, to the road of hope in God.

Anyone who is among the living has hope. Ecclesiastes 9:4

No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame. Psalm 25:3

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:18, 19

View and share this excellent YouTube video from Joel Osteen, “God is in Control.”