Helping Students Understand Suicidal Thoughts

By Karen Kosman:

 When talking to teens at a high school, we discussed suicidal thoughts, but also how unique and special each of those teens are.
teens by Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos net

Image Courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An opportunity opened for me to speak to high school students, in special needs classes, about suicide. I spoke at 4 different campuses. As I entered each class room I was introduced as a speaker and author. I set my books on stands so the students could see the titles. I noticed that they looked apprehensive. Some nervously wiggled in their seats. Silently I prayed, Lord, please open their hearts. Help them to know that I am here because I care.  

I began to share about some of the challenges I’d had in school and later in my adult life. I noticed that they were listening intently.

When I said, “Do you realize that each one of you are special?” I noticed several sat up straighter. I walked over to a student and said to her, “Do you know that no one in the world has the same set of finger prints that you do?”  Then I walked over to a young man with tattoos on his arms and said, “Do you know that no one in the world has the same design in your eyes as you do?”

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalms 139:14

At that point you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. I knew then I could talk about my son whom I’d lost from suicide.

I brought them into the presentation by asking questions: “What would you do if a friend told you they wanted to die?” Several responded to my questions and listened closely to how to get help for depression and suicidal thoughts.  Throughout my entire presentation one student keeping saying, “I need your book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye.”  Before I left that classroom I signed a book and gave him one. The students wrote letters to me. The young man whom I gave a book to wrote:

Today I learned what to do when you are suicidal. I am a Christian and I really feel bad that so many want to die.  At one time, I wanted to commit suicide, but when I gave my life to my Father -God my life got better. I want others to know that their lives can get better, too. I know that I can win those lost souls and teach them that God changes lives. Please, stop and think before committing suicide.

Another student wrote: Today in my 6th period class we had a guest speaker. She’s written a book about suicide. We learned it is okay to ask for help when depressed. Life can improve and the future can be good. You need to live your life. We also learned how important it is to listen to friends that are talking about committing suicide and tell someone that can help them.

I have no way of knowing what has taken place in each student’s life since that day, but their letters continue to touch my heart. Every time I read them I pray for each student. We all have problems to work out, but we also have the hope that those problems have solutions. Each day we live is a gift.

See this video with Kristin Anderson: Suicide Interrupted, about a failed suicide attempt which led to a life change in this young woman.

You Can Survive Holiday Blues

By Linda Evans Shepherd:

Are you wondering if you can survive the holiday blues? Feeling a bit depressed post-holiday?

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

You may recall a scene on TV where a husband tells his wife her Christmas surprise is in the driveway with the motor running,  but when they run outside to take a joy ride they are extremely disappointed. The only thing in left in the driveway is the bow that fell off when a thief drove away with their new car.

Perhaps you understand their disappointment because you feel your expectations for holiday joy, peace and contentment were stolen as well.

You may have had high hopes that this holiday season might be different and that your family would suddenly become functional and loving.  Instead, all you have left to show for your attempt to create holiday joy is your credit card bill.

Or perhaps you’re disappointed simply because you weren’t able to buy the wonderful presents you felt would help provide happiness for your loved ones.

Would it help you to know that you’re not alone in feeling disappointed in the holidays?  However, if you’re feeling suicidal because of these disappointments, know that you can and should survive.

Eve Meyer, executive director of the San Francisco Suicide Prevention hot line told the  San Francisco Chronicle that she dispenses three “rules for coping” if you are feeling emotionally vulnerable this time of year. She said, “First, find someone that you have to take care of. It helps give you perspective and feel needed.

“Then, find someone to take care of you. And lastly, remember that people will love you in December as they loved you in May. If your family was dysfunctional earlier in the year, they will be dysfunctional now. So let go of any idea that everything will suddenly change and be great.

“If you do get together, just tell yourself, ‘We’re going to be typically us as a family,’ ” Meyer cautioned. “And if you do feel bad (because things aren’t going as you hoped), pick up the phone and call us or call a friend. Don’t put off getting help.”

These are great tips, and I especially like Eve’s advice about taking care of others if you have holiday blues.  In fact, just today a friend told me that a few years ago she too was feeling suicidal during the holidays, and she even contemplated ending it all.  But before she could act on that impulse, her best friend Emily unexpectedly killed herself.  Beth said that when she went to Emily’s funeral and saw her grief-stricken family —  it broke her heart.  Beth knew she had to spare her family from that kind of suffering and decided  she would never again consider taking her own life.

Please note that even if your family will never be like that perfect family as portrayed in magazine holiday ads, or even if you simply cannot provide the Christmas gifts you would have liked, your family needs  you to stay alive. However, what they do not need is the guilt and pain of your death – a permanent solution to your temporary pain.  So, do your part to care for your family by considering the heartache you will cause if you were to take your own life. Know that this difficult season will pass and though life may not be perfect, you have hope that things will get better because they will.

If you feel you need to talk to someone about your holiday blues or depression in general, you can get free counseling by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.   Also, please check out the resources HERE.  (Be prepared to take a quick test first).

I Need Hope Now

 Linda Evans Shepherd:

If you are thinking: I need hope now, there indeed is hope:

 

If you have been on a diet of frustration, despair and pain then you may be thinking, I need hope now.

But how do you find it? Why not try feasting on my five favorite scriptures about hope to see if they’ll make a difference:

1.  “So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!” Psalm 31:24

2.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

3.  “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’” Lamentations 3:24

4. I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

5.  “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Let’s pray these Scriptures back to the Lord as a prayer:

Dear Lord,

I choose to be strong and courageous and to put my hope in you.  For you have plans for me that are for good and not for disaster, to give me a future and a hope.

My hope is in you because you are my inheritance, meaning you have stored up purpose, love and life for me. As the source of hope, you will fill me with joy and peace because I choose to trust in you. Therefore, you will overflow my heart with confident hope through, not my own power, but the power of the Holy Spirit.

You will do this because you love me because it is written, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”  Therefore I choose to claim, to believe to trust that your love is for me.  And that love changes everything.

Thank you!

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

If you want to know more about starting a relationship with God, click HERE.  In the meantime, I encourage you to cling to these scriptures, and to feed your soul with them whenever you feel hungry for hope.

Take a moment to watch what people would say to those who need more hope in their lives.

I Feel Worthless: Why Keep Living?

By Liz Cowen Furman:

I  feel worthless, so why keep living? Have thoughts like this ever plagued you?

 

Image by Liz Cowen Furman

There was a time in my life when I found all of my self-worth based on what I believed others thought of me, sometimes on what I thought of myself. I was an absolute people pleaser.

Living like that is very dangerous; like standing on the edge of a cliff. A person standing on the edge of a cliff has no chance when the wind changes or a gust comes, or especially if a storm blows in.

When I was in college, I took an apologetics class. The professor shared with us that the Bible clearly states that there are no accidents, that God is in control. See Revelation 3:7

In Psalm 139 it says, God knit each of us together in our mother’s womb. That we each are fearfully and wonderfully made. We learn from the life of Mary (Jesus’ earthly mother) that God has a purpose for each of us to fulfill. That He will equip each of us to complete that purpose. That our worth is not found in what others think of us, or even what we think of ourselves, but in what our Abba (Daddy) God thinks of us. And since He created us we must have worth. He makes NO mistakes. He also has promised to forgive us when we fail.

So take heart! If you are in a season where you think your life has no worth, know that is a lie of the enemy. Your life does have worth, purpose and there is a reason you were born at this particular time in history, like Esther. See Esther 4

Every one of us, while here on the planet, will be forced to go through storms that threaten to knock us off our feet. Somehow for me, just knowing that God is really in control helps. He will see me through and just like the rainbow at the end of a storm, His promise to never leave me or forsake me stands. If you are His, it stands for you too. See Joshua 1:5: No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

If you are at the end of your rope today, cry out to the living God. Ask Him to help you, to show you the way. He will. Look for the answer. It might come in a different form than you expected, but He will answer. For more about how to be best friends with the One in control of everything and how to find God, see Linda Evans Shepherd’s book When You Can’t Find God. http://www.ignitemyfaith.com/  Read why to keep living and hang in there.

Check out this video by Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli singing The Prayer, and know that I am praying for you as you read this post, that you will find peace and know that God Loves YOU. Praying you will know that your life has purpose and the current circumstances are not the way it will be for long.

What to Do When a Spouse Threatens Suicide

By Karen O’Connor:

 What can a person do when a spouse threatens suicide? Here is what Marcella did.

 

Image from Photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Marcella was married for fifty years when her husband died. For at least thirty of those years he controlled her by drinking heavily and threatening to take his own life. She cowed every time he raised his voice and she hushed her children whenever their father went into a drunken rage. She did not want to be responsible for his death.

Following twenty years of his threats she listened to a friend who encouraged her to go to Al-Anon, a 12-step program for families of alcoholics.  (To find out more about that, click here: Al-Anon Family Groups; Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers .)

With the strength she gained from turning her will and her life over to the care of God and from following the philosophy and steps of the program, Marcella was able to reclaim her life and let her husband be responsible for his.

“After several months in the program,” she said, “I told him that if he wanted to end his life that was up to him. I had my own life to live and I planned to live it.  I wouldn’t try to stop him from doing what he wanted to do. ”

Something amazing happened right after that.

“He never again mentioned suicide,” said Marcella. “Eventually he stopped drinking and he died from natural causes some years later.”

Marcella is not advising others what to do. She simply shared the step she took in her situation. She realized that as her husband was trying to control her life with his threats of suicide, she, too, was trying to control his life by succumbing to and living in fear of his irrational behavior. So when a spouse threatens suicide, perhaps the best thing to do is stand firm on your own two feet, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the person but acknowledging with dignity and grace, that person’s right to make his or her own choices. This ‘hands off’ approach may be the very thing that turns the individual in the right direction. Perhaps he or she has never experienced true respect before.

And here is what God says:

Stand firm, and you will win life (Luke 21:19  NIV Bible)

View and share this excellent YouTube video from Joyce Meyer on the hope of seeing change.

I Hate My Life, So Now What?: Finding Purpose

Linda Evans Shepherd:

Feel like you lost your purpose and you’re thinking, I hate my life, so now what?

 

Ever get the feeling that the universe or even that God himself is out to get you?

What if you could turn your disasters into a promise of hope? Your purpose in life doesn’t have to be a grand gesture—it just has to be meaningful to you. Watch as Bishop T.D. Jakes explains why you shouldn’t live being something you are not, and how you can turn life’s disasters into direction to find your purpose.

You are uniquely designed, and here on this earth for a reason. Your troubles may seem too hard to deal with, but they are not, with God’s help.

Why do you hate your life? Are you ill? Facing foreclosure or other financial troubles? You can read about how one woman, Cyndi, experienced both cancer and financial crises (and still faces difficult circumstances), yet offers hope to others in this article about overcoming feeling shame.  Despite one crisis after another, she herself has made a difference in the lives of others, including being a miraculous answer to prayer.  (See Comfort from God in a Long Distance Miracle) God has a purpose for your life and can use you to touch the life of another person–probably many people.

You know what might also help when you’re thinking ‘I hate my life’?  Invite God’s presence into your life. Then trust him that he can take your difficulties and turn them around.  To learn more about how to personally know the Lord of the Universe – click HERE.

What is My Purpose?

Linda Evans Shepherd:

If you have ever wondered, ‘What is my purpose?’, you’re moving in the right direction.  Did you know that people who discover their purpose are happier, less likely to harm themselves and more likely to live fulfilling lives than those who never work through this question?

So, if you’re feeling down, confused, or just stuck, it’s a good idea to take some time to explore your purpose.  And yes of course you do have one — you have a purpose for good, not for evil and God agrees.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (AMP) says,

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams.]

What this means is that through God’s power working in you, God will superabundantly use your life in ways even better that what you’ve prayed, desired, thought, hoped or dreamed.   And it also means that even if you’ve never even desired a goal or dream for your life, God can surprise you with a powerful purpose. But it might help you to pray:

Dear Lord,

I’m praying now for purpose, and I’m asking that you give me the dreams and goals that you have for me.  I also ask for your supernatural ability to follow those dreams and goals —  in your power.  Make my life count Lord, with purpose, your purpose.  And the best of it is, I know that you can take my past mistakes and turn them around into wonderful purposes like helping others through the same difficulties I’ve survived.

But whatever Lord, I’ve decided to give my live for  you and trust you with my future.

In Jesus name,

Amen

If you would like to know more about having a relationship with God, click HERE.

Are you still wondering, ‘What is my purpose?’.  I suggest you take a peek at the YouTube below with Ophra and Bishop T.D. Jakes who says, “We may not be perfect people living in perfect situations, but we all have the ability to ignite our passions and find our true purpose at any age.”

Watch the conclusion of Bishop Jakes’ lecture below:

I Got Fired – Is My Life Over?

Linda Evans Shepherd:

Help, I got fired!

A couple of days ago, I got an email from the Philippines from a young woman who’d lost her job because of a mistake she’d made at work.  “I got fired, is my life over?” ‘Amy asked me.

“Now I know you have a future and a purpose,” I explained, because it was God who called you to write me tonight.  You could not have known that 30 years ago, I had a very similar experience.  I too was fired and humiliated because of a mistake my boss made.

She made me the fall guy (girl!), embarrassed me in front of my colleagues, then escorted me out of the building with a cardboard box of my belongings.  As a young woman just out of college, I was devastated.  I felt shamed and wept hot, angry tears, fearing I would never find my way around what turned out to be a mere bump in the road.

You see, God redeemed it all.  I went on to find a better job, to start a family, and then to answer God’s call for my life and to write almost 30 books to help others.

“So you see, you too will get past this.  But what you need to do is give this circumstance, your very life to God, and ask him to lead you to a new purpose.  Despite what it feels like now, it’s all going to be okay.”

Amy wrote me back.  “I had tears of joy in my eyes when I read your letter.  I am so excited.  Now I know I have a future.”

And my friend, if you too have also been fired, know that you have a future too.  Things may not turn around overnight, but they will turn around. Everything is going to be all right as you learn to trust God with this situation.

Pray this:

Dear Lord,

Despite my circumstances, I choose to trust you.  I call on you to provide for me and my family, not just financially but with purpose.  Lord, give me a clever idea, a witty invention, an anointing of favor – to get me the job you have for me.

I trust you.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

If you need to know God better, take this quick test.

Oh, and know that a lot of people have survived being fired.  Here’s another story below:

I Hate my Job!

Linda Evans Shepherd:

I once met a woman who told me, “I hate my job,” and expressed that she wanted to die.  But as we began to talk, what  happened next was so remarkable that I wrote about it in my book, When You Don’t Know What to Pray – How to Talk to God About Anything.

See the excerpted story below:

After speaking at an event in Iowa, I was chatting with the soloist when a grandmother in her early sixties approached us. Her conference nametag read “Barb” and she said, “Linda, I appreciated your talk today on joy but it didn’t help me.”

Startled, I stared as she continued, “I can’t go on. I’m no good to anyone. It’s like I’m already dead.”

My friend Jackie’s eyebrows shot into her hairline and she looked to me as if to say, “Yikes! What do we do?”

I studied the woman before me. Her eyes were dull and her face hard. She was in incredible emotional pain. “What’s happened to you, Barb?” I asked softly.

Barb frowned, then in one long breath she said, “My husband died last year of a heart attack. I hate my job. I was left to raise my granddaughters and I’m doing a terrible job. My son-in-law committed suicide and I think he had the right idea. I’ve decided I should kill myself too.”

I asked, “Who are you mad at?”

Her blue eyes locked with mine. With a trembling voice she answered, “I loathe myself and I’m mad at God.”

I nodded slowly, comprehending her fury and replied, “That’s okay. God’s big enough to handle your anger. Do you want to let go of it? Do you want to give God your anger?”

She nodded her head and together we knelt on the carpet. There on the hotel conference room floor, with conference attendees milling around us and Jackie looking on, Barb let go. She not only gave God her anger, she also gave Him her burdens, hurts, and disappointments with a simple prayer, “I give it all to you Lord, the anger, the burdens, everything.”

When we finished, Jackie and I witnessed an amazing transformation. Color returned to Barb’s cheeks. Her eyes glistened. The hardness in her face evaporated as if she’d received an instant facelift. It was a stunning moment as we witnessed Barb’s return from the dead.

Barb and I stood up and hugged. I said, “Barb, this is what it feels like to be free.”

Barb jumped and clapped her hands. “Oh, I didn’t know this could happen. I am free. I’m free. I’m free!”

If you are finding yourself in the same situation as this woman, why not pray a prayer of your own.

Dear Lord,

I’m so angry about my job situation, and all the people who have contributed to my difficulties, including my boss, my co-workers, me and even You!  But I’m willing to give you my anger, to lay it at your feet, and to say to you, I give my anger over my job to you, Lord, it’s now your problem.  Help turn this situation around into a miracle.

In Jesus’s name,

Amen.

 Speaking of miracles, Zig Ziglar, who passed a few days ago , was a man who spent his 86 years living life with zest as he helped others find their purpose.  Watch him tell about a woman he met who also hated her job, and how he helped her turn her situation around.  His solution is brilliant and I think it might also work for you.