Is There Hope? Take Action (Decision 3)

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Don’t give up: change your thinking and take action, one small step at a time.

From our Is There Hope? series (Click to see Decisions 1 & 2). Material from The Travelers Gift used by permission from Thomas Nelson and Andy Andrews as we hope to save lives–including yours.

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over a lifetime there are moments when one can feel desperate enough to even be thinking about suicide. There are so many things Satan uses to send a person to the brink of losing hope. And a life without hope is the one that may ponder suicide.

In the previous post of this series, I promised to share with you the third decision a person can make to start getting their life to a place they want it to be. If you recall I encouraged you to start reading (new, used or from your library) Andy Andrews’ book The Travelers Gift. 

Decision number 3 calls us to move. I Am a Person of Action. Here is the description by the character in the book:

Beginning today, I will create a new future by creating a new me. No longer will I dwell in a pit of despair, moaning over squandered time and lost opportunity. I can do nothing about the past. My future is immediate. I will grasp it in both hands and carry it with running feet. When I am faced with the choice of doing nothing or doing something, I will always choose to act! I seize this moment. I choose now.  I am a person of action. (Page 69, The Traveler’s Gift)

The rest of his advice is wonderful and completely encouraging. Here is how it ends:

I am a person of action. I am daring. I am courageous. Fear no longer has a place in my life. For too long, fear has outweighed my desire to make things better for my family. Never again! I have exposed fear as a vapor, an impostor who never had any power over me in the first place! I do not fear opinion, gossip, or the idle chatter of monkeys for all are the same to me. I do not fear failure, for in my life, failure is a myth. Failure only exists for the person who quits. I do not quit.

I am courageous. I am a leader. I seize this moment. I choose now. (Page 70, The Traveler’s Gift)

I understand that when a person feels despondent, depressed, scared this may sound like an impossible undertaking. Nevertheless, remember a voyage of a 1000 miles starts with a single step. Do what you can today, pray for help and agree to be committed to reading every post and the book to get you on a path away from thinking about suicide and begin embracing hope.  Look forward to post 5 to hear the next decision.

In the meantime, why not watch this You Tube clip of Andy Andrews describing becoming a person of action himself.

When Suicide Seems Like the Only Option

By PeggySue Wells:

When suicide seems like the only option, having someone walk with you through your struggles can give you hope for the future.

Many have been where you are now, survived, then thrived. Ask for help! Your struggles can also teach you how to encourage others.

 

Life preserver image by cbenjasuwan FDP net

Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Seasons of famine in our lives can be caused by broken relationships, financial struggles, or by periods of severe stress. For my friend it was all three at the same time.

Here is his experience:

“Through my own poor behavior choices, I lost my job, my house, and my wife.  Going through that loss brought me to the brink of suicide. I didn’t see any other option. But my mother faithfully drove out to spend time with me every weekend for four months. She had little money but she always treated me to a meal, movie, or shopping trip. She sacrificed her own needs for mine. If it were not for my mom, I wouldn’t be here today. She was lifeline when I was drowning in despair. When I was thinking about suicide, she showed me how to live again.

“From her example, I learned to look for the signs of depression in others and give a little of my time to be with that person. Going through that dark tunnel of hopelessness is brighter when someone shares the journey.”

“When helping someone, it is more important to bring hope than to be an expert.” Pat Palau (Breast cancer survivor)

When suicide seems like the only option–you feel you have lost everything–all is NOT lost. You still have help you can give others, and you don’t know the future God has in store for you.  Don’t cut that short!

If you are feeling desperate, be sure to share that with someone who can walk you through your journey. Tell them you are currently not seeing hope at the end of the tunnel, and ask directly for prayer and encouragement. Don’t assume they will know how desperate you feel unless you tell them. They too may have been through very difficult times in the past and be able to encourage you. You can even share your own story in a comment here, and our volunteers will definitely pray for you and reply in additional comments here on this site.

See also:

New Normal: New Hope After Trials

A Successful Suicide Prevention Story

 

The Effect of Suicide on a Mother

By Susan Titus Osborn

 The effect of suicide on a mother who’s lost a child is complex; while grieving she puzzles over how–or  if–she could have prevented that loss.

 

Image "Heart Jigsaw Puzzle" by digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image “Heart Jigsaw Puzzle” by digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

If you are depressed and considering taking your own life, please stop for a moment and think of the effect suicide has on loved ones, your loved ones, who are left behind. The following story sums up the feelings of a mother and the devastating effect her son’s suicide had on her.

This 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.

In this story Dr. Balodis, a Christian psychologist, was able to help a heartbroken mother who wondered if she’d ever feel whole again after her son’s suicide.

The Puzzle Pieces

by Dr. Jacqueline Balodis

The phone rang, and a hysterical voice on the other end cried, “I just found out that my son shot himself. How could God let him die?”

It took me a moment to pull my thoughts together to respond to her. Then I replied, “I’m so sorry. Brenda, why don’t you tell me exactly what happened?”

She took a deep breath. “My son was going to college and living with his grandmother in Illinois. I just received a call from Grandma. She had just returned home from a shopping trip. When she opened the door, her grandson’s golden retriever met her. The dog was shaking all over and looked distressed. Grandma knew something was terribly wrong and started walking through the house. When she reached Jim’s room, she saw him stretched out on his bed with a gun still gripped in his hand.”

Brenda started sobbing again. “I should have been a better mother. I shouldn’t have let him go to Illinois. He should have stayed in California with me. Where did I go wrong?”

“Brenda, I’m through seeing patients for the day, so why don’t I come over. I’ll be there in half an hour.”

I knew Brenda blamed herself for her son’s death. She also blamed God for letting it happen. On the drive over to her house, I prayed and searched for the right words to give this hurting mother.

Brenda greeted me at the door, and I hugged her, holding her in my arms for several minutes. We went into the living room and sat on the couch. I held her hand, and we were silent for several minutes. I realized my presence was what she needed more than anything.

Finally she spoke. “Why did he do this to me? Didn’t he know I loved him?”

I realized at this point that Brenda blamed her son as well as herself and God. I knew it was going to take a long time for her to work through the pain. Brenda came to my office twice a week for seven months.

Sometimes I let her pour out her feelings. Other times we sat in silence. Often there is strength in quiet solitude. Every session I gave her homework as we worked on various issues she needed to deal with. That way she could progress at her own speed. Ultimately I had her write a goodbye letter to Jim.

I could see that this was the beginning of her learning to forgive herself. The letter was filled with her good memories of special times she and Jim had shared together. The more she wrote, the more her love was strengthened for Jim and the more she grew herself—loving unconditionally, dealing with and erasing “what ifs,” and forgiving Jim.

During one session Brenda announced, “I understand now that Jim’s death is not my fault. I couldn’t have prevented it. More important, I don’t blame God anymore either.”

Finally, all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Once she forgave herself, her son, and God, her faith was again strengthened.

Although a mother may eventually be able to forgive herself and have her faith sustain her, and counseling indeed can help with that, grieving in many ways lasts a lifetime. The loss of a child usually causes recurring pain with each holiday, birthday, and many events that remind them of that lost son or daughter.

If you are depressed and contemplating suicide, please stop for a moment and think of the effect suicide has on loved ones, your loved ones, who are left behind.  There are a number of resources available as near as your telephone. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

Army Suicide Prevention: Faith and Counseling Help

By Penny Monetti:

Military life presents unique marital challenges for the warrior and his or her family in an already stress-ridden society, but many army suicide casualties can be prevented.

 

Called to Serve, by Penny and Tony Monettii offers encouragement to soldiers and their families.

Called to Serve, by Penny and Tony Monettii offers encouragement to soldiers and their families.

My family looked forward to attending my son’s first Army Christmas party this last December. After 24 years as an Air Force pilot’s spouse, I was looking forward to observing a different military branch, meeting my son’s Army unit, and being the party guest instead of the party planner.

It was time to relax. During our military years, I helped organize holiday parties: From bases spanning from America’s heartland to the deep South. From New York to California’s coast. All the way to bases located in Europe. For weeks, my son, Antonio, verified that no commitments or unexpected time conflicts would interfere with us attending his first Army holiday gathering. He was excited that his dad, a B-2 stealth bomber pilot, would meet his fellow Army reservists and commanders.

When we pulled into the base parking lot for the awaited festive day, Antonio met us with apprehension. His normal ruddy complexion was ghostly pale, and he had a forlorn look that will be forever ingrained in my memory. He shared the devastating news.

Someone at the base had taken his own life just the day before.

Unfortunately, this military unit’s suicide is not an isolated incident. A 2010 report indicated that an average of eighteen military veterans committed suicide daily (Maize, 2010). The number of suicides among US Army active duty and Reserve personnel in 2012 was higher than the total combined military fatalities from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan over the same time frame (Burke, 2012).

Military life presents unique marital challenges for the warrior and his or her family in an already stress-ridden society, such as: Deployments, dangerous missions, reintegration into family, civilian, and college life after separations, numerous relocations, and post-traumatic stress to name a few. Depression can be the fall out from any of these challenges.

Unless you’ve experienced the darkness of depression, you cannot relate to its vice-like grip it seemingly holds on the afflicted person’s life, whether you are affiliated with the military or a civilian.

If you or someone you know has expressed suicidal thoughts, do not ignore the warning signs, hoping they will disappear on their own. Seek immediate professional guidance, but before locating help, submit your challenges to the Lord and ask for His guidance to finding counsel. Know that before you begin this journey you are not alone:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.

Depression is a very real enemy, but the Lord reassures us:

“The one who is in you  (The Holy Spirit) is greater than the one (Satan) who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.

The Lord further strengthens us with the promise:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.” 1 John 16:33.

Notice that the Lord makes clear that the indwelling spirit triumphs over evil. So how do we get this internal protector to abide within us?

It’s actually extremely simple. We invite the Lord into our lives by confessing that we are sinners and believing that Jesus is the Son of God, He died on the cross, and rose from the dead to save us from our own sins. This belief assures us eternal life in heaven.

What have you got to lose? Perhaps you don’t buy into the whole Jesus will save me if I say those words idea, but you long to. You can take comfort knowing that you are not alone in your doubt. Some of the Biblical “greats” struggled to believe God’s promises, as well. John the Baptist, who fiercely preached that Jesus was the Messiah, doubted his own declaration when he was at his lowest.

While imprisoned in the foul atmosphere of a dark gloomy dungeon fortress tucked within the savage cliffs of Moab, John doubted Christ as the true Messiah. John, who formerly held the firmest convictions that Jesus Christ was the true Savior, wavered in His conviction. After all, Jesus was not performing as John expected. This prophet was not axing the trees, winnowing the field, and judging the unrighteous. He was gentle of spirit, humble, and forgiving. So he asked two disciples to simply ask Jesus if he were truly the Messiah or should they expect another.

Instead of rendering a yes or no answer, Jesus asked the disciples to convey to John the awesome wonders that they witnessed: The blind could now see. The lame could walk. Leper’s infected flesh was cleansed.  The down trodden were uplifted. Jesus then continued to praise John. He didn’t ridicule him for his doubt, but explained those doing God’s work would be persecuted whether they dined with tax collectors or ate locusts from the land.

If you doubt God’s power and feel God has not lived up to your expectations, you are in good company; however, get ready, because once you invite God into your heart and submit your challenges to Him, you will be spiritually awakened, shaken, and claimed as God’s adopted child. You will begin to experience that God works all things for His purpose in your life, even the bad stuff. (Romans 8:28)

Sinking to a low point in life can cause doubt in Christ and imprison you in the wretched pit of depression’s confinement. If this depression remains unaddressed, it can lead to suicide, but once you acknowledge your doubts, confess them to God, and make healing your new mission, there is nothing that can stop the restoration process. Roman 8: 38-39 promises:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Remember, you are not alone. God is waiting for you to reach out to Him from your place of despair where the enemy is holding you captive.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy.”  Psalm 18: 16-17.

There are some great military sources to help you or your loved one overcome depression. Military OneSource provides FREE online counseling and will pay for 12 counseling visits that will not transferred to military health records. Focus on the Family will help you  find a Christian counselor in your area:

To get immediate help, call the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1, or chat online now for 24/7 access to trained counselors. www.wingmanproject.org is another organization to help military veterans combat this very real enemy.

 

How Suicide in the Family Hurts Loved Ones

By Susan Titus Osborn:

If you are depressed and considering taking your own life, please stop for a moment and think of how a suicide in the family hurts loved ones who are left behind.

 

This 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.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The following story sums up the feelings of a mother and the effect her son’s suicide had on her.

In this story Dr. Balodis, a Christian psychologist, was able to help a heartbroken mother who wondered if she’d ever feel whole again after her son’s suicide.

It shows in a devastating way how a suicide in the family affects those left behind.

 The Puzzle Pieces

by Dr. Jacqueline Balodis

The phone rang, and a hysterical voice on the other end cried, “I just found out that my son shot himself. How could God let him die?”

It took me a moment to pull my thoughts together to respond to her. Then I replied, “I’m so sorry. Brenda, why don’t you tell me exactly what happened?”

She took a deep breath. “My son was going to college and living with his grandmother in Illinois. I just received a call from Grandma. She had just returned home from a shopping trip. When she opened the door, her grandson’s golden retriever met her. The dog was shaking all over and looked distressed. Grandma knew something was terribly wrong and started walking through the house. When she reached Jim’s room, she saw him stretched out on his bed with a gun still gripped in his hand.”

Brenda started sobbing again. “I should have been a better mother. I shouldn’t have let him go to Illinois. He should have stayed in California with me. Where did I go wrong?”

“Brenda, I’m through seeing patients for the day, so why don’t I come over. I’ll be there in half an hour.”

I knew Brenda blamed herself for her son’s death. She also blamed God for letting it happen. On the drive over to her house, I prayed and searched for the right words to give this hurting mother.

Brenda greeted me at the door, and I hugged her, holding her in my arms for several minutes. We went into the living room and sat on the couch. I held her hand, and we were silent for several minutes. I realized my presence was what she needed more than anything.

Finally she spoke. “Why did he do this to me? Didn’t he know I loved him?”

I realized at this point that Brenda blamed her son as well as herself and God. I knew it was going to take a long time for her to work through the pain. Brenda came to my office twice a week for seven months.

Sometimes I let her pour out her feelings. Other times we sat in silence. Often there is strength in quiet solitude. Every session I gave her homework as we worked on various issues she needed to deal with. That way she could progress at her own speed. Ultimately I had her write a goodbye letter to Jim.

I could see that this was the beginning of her learning to forgive herself. The letter was filled with her good memories of special times she and Jim had shared together. The more she wrote, the more her love was strengthened for Jim and the more she grew herself—loving unconditionally, dealing with and erasing “what ifs,” and forgiving Jim.

During one session Brenda announced, “I understand now that Jim’s death is not my fault. I couldn’t have prevented it. More important, I don’t blame God anymore either.”

Finally, all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Once she forgave herself, her son, and God, her faith was again strengthened.

If you are depressed and contemplating suicide, please stop for a moment. I hope this story has caused you to think about how suicide affects loved ones who are left behind.

There are a number of resources available as near as your telephone. See the numbers below for a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

If you lost a family member to suicide, consider reading the book Too Soon to Say Goodbye. Request it at your local library, read more excerpts from this book here on our site, or download the Kindle (or Kindle for PC) version to read right away.

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).

What to Do When a Loved One Talks About Suicide (LEARN)

By Karen O’Connor:

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The trained personnel at Marriott hotels handle customer complaints by practicing a technique called LEARN.

According to Kevin E. O’Connor, CSP, LCPC and senior lecturer of pastoral counseling at Loyola University in Chicago, this same method could be helpful to families who want to know what to do when a loved one talks about suicide.

It’s not to be taken as a ‘formula’ but rather as another of many ways to open a conversation among family members, which could lead to healing and understanding.

Here are the steps involved as Mr. O’Connor explained them to me:

LISTEN:  “We listen to the person even if we disagree. We provide the sweet attentive feel of what being heard is really all about––without judgment, interruption, or logical comeback.”

EMPATHIZE: “We empathize by understanding the emotion and feeling the person is expressing by hearing it and doing our best to understand its importance in that person’s experience.”

APOLOGIZE: “We apologize for the hurts we may have inflicted and for what they perceive as actions the world and others put on them.”

RESPOND: “We respond both verbally and physically, sharing our experience of life, alternatives, issues we struggle with, and so on, in order to show our understanding and appreciation of what the person is going through.”

NOTIFY: “We notify those in authority, medical professionals, other relatives, and any related personnel. If you believe the threat is real, it is not only okay but necessary to tell those who can help even at the protest of the one who is threatening suicide.”

It can be difficult to know what to do when a loved one talks about suicide. The LEARN technique can help lead the victim into professional counseling, where he or she could get the deeper healing needed to embrace life again.

You may wish to do a practice session with someone before exercising the technique, to experience what it means to listen, empathize, apologize, respond, and notify––in case that becomes necessary later in responding to a family member in crisis.

View and share this excellent YouTube video on suicide prevention. It begins with many startling statistics, then offers thoughts on how to respond to someone who is suicidal (at about the 3 minute mark). Most important, it reminds us to “not dismiss or undervalue what the person is saying” and to take any suicide talk seriously.

Note: the music with this slideshow is beautiful, but the audience cheers (at odd points, for this topic) a tad distracting, so it might be most helpful to turn the sound down to absorb the wise words on the screen.

I Want to Die, I Miss Him So Much

By Dianne E. Butts:

 If your grieving reaches a point where you consider taking your own life, you need help–do seek that.

Your pain will eventually ease, despite how terrible as it feels right now.

 

I am convinced that the grief and loss we feel when a loved one dies is in direct proportion to how much we loved that person and how big of a hole they left in our lives.

When we are grieving, it’s easy to feel like we will never feel any better, that we’ll be grieving for forever. As you miss that person, do you find yourself thinking, “I want to die?”

In the article series “10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief (from Dear America), we’ve been exploring what  I learned after losing my father, brother, two grandparents and a friend, all when I was a teen. I hope what I’ve learned will help you.

Here’s the eighth thing I’ve learned about grief:

Somewhere I read the average person grieves for a full two years after the death of a loved one, so give yourself plenty of time. However, if you or someone you love is struggling after that, consider asking for help.

I remember as a teenager how losing my Dad ripped the ground from under my feet. Most of my friends didn’t understand (although some did because they had lost a parent too).

A couple years later when my brother was killed in a motorcycle accident, a friend told me I needed to “get over it” and “move on.” When she told me that, we hadn’t even had the funeral yet! It took me many years to realize that she meant well; she really was trying to help.

But the fact is we can’t rush grief any more than we can turn it off or on. Grief has a mind of its own and it will take the time it needs to work itself out.

If you try to rush through grief, you may enter into denial. But grief will come back to you sooner or later.

If you try to ignore grief, it might hide for a while, but it will be back to visit.

If you get frustrated with grief and think that it is taking too long, or if you go the other direction and hang on to your grief because it’s all you have left of the person you love, you may be headed for trouble. That kind of trouble can possibly lead to thinking about suicide.

Give yourself, of someone you know who is grieving, a proper amount of time. But if the grief hangs on, seek help.

Of course you need not wait. You can take advantage of organizations and services that can help.  To find them, check with the funeral home, a church, a counseling center, your doctor, the phone book, or the internet.  One reputable organization is New Life Ministries (1-800-NEW-LIFE) www.newlife.com.

If you’re thinking “missing him (or her) for so long makes me want to die,” check out the article 10 Tips for Healthy Grieving by Steve Arterburn, host of the radio show New Life Live.

Here is an encouraging thought for when discouraging times or dark shadows come: Video: “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” by Lynda Randle:

Keep Writing Your Story

By Martha Bolton:

No matter how desperate you feel, don’t cut short the life God has planned for you. Keep writing your story.

 

I’m the youngest in my family. My sister, Melva, who is the next youngest, is currently battling two forms of uterine cancer.

Assessing her life, she recently shared with me a time in her teens when she wondered if life was worth the pain.  She had been going through difficult circumstances and felt overwhelmed.  She remembers looking into the mirror and contemplating ending it all.

But then she breathed.  She took a moment to consider the finality of such an action and she changed her mind.  Today, she and so many others who love her are so very thankful that she did.

What has followed has been decades of a life that she cherishes.  Two marriages, four children, three step children, and many beloved grandchildren later, she is proud and appreciative for what life has given to her.

Has she had trials, challenges, and hurts since that day in her teens?  Yes, but she has also had wonderful things happen to her.  More importantly, she has given much to this world– contributions that would have been sorely missed had she not been here to offer her unique gifts.

Throughout her life, she has worked with missionaries on an Indian reservation and performed missions work in Alaska.  As an adult she has volunteered for at least three national disasters with the Red Cross.  She has donated her hair multiple times for cancer victims (she was doing this years before she developed the disease herself.  Before her first chemo treatment, she did it again.)

She’s had the opportunity to travel to Africa, Egypt, Europe, and many other places (awards for work achievements), and she’s met President Bill Clinton.

In the midst of her own pain, she has always had an ear to listen to other people’s problems–even perfect strangers.  She once had a taxi driver break down and weep as he began sharing his life within minutes of her getting into his cab.  I was there.  I saw it, and I’ve seen it many times since.  She has that effect on people.  A heart that size is hard to hide.

She’s taken people into her home, and has traveled from state to state, often sleeping in her car on her way to visit elderly relatives and friends and help them with whatever they needed.  She has never hesitated giving to those truly in need, often giving what she didn’t have herself.

Has life always been fair?  No.  Has it been tough?  Many times.  Has she been tempted to give up?  Maybe.  But she hasn’t.  She’s held on and continues to this day adding more chapters to her story, turning page after page after page.

Do you realize you’re the writer of your own story?  The chapter you’re in right now might be full of things you’d rather not have to include in your story.  But don’t stop turning the pages.  Sooner or later you’re going to see some of those situations get resolved.  You’re going to have a victory where you didn’t see any hope at all.  You’re going to get some understanding and clarity as to why certain things have happened in your life.  You’re going to get past this hurt, learn from it (even if it’s having better boundaries next time) and move on.  You’ll even find some comic relief somewhere along the way and regain your ability to laugh again.

Just a few weeks ago Melva was told that the nine chemo treatments are not working.  But in spite of that prognosis, she is still writing her story.  She isn’t ready to type “The End” just yet.  That is in God’s hands and his timing.

Until then, she’s giving it all she’s got.  She would say without hesitation that even with all the ups and downs of life, her story is so much richer than it ever would’ve been had she stopped writing it before God said it was time.

So whatever you’re feeling right now, don’t type “The End” while your story is still evolving.  Keep turning the pages.  Keep living your story.  You never know what you’ll miss if you close the book too soon.

Feeling suicidal, call the Suicide Prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you ‘d like to find out how a relationship with Jesus Christ can change your life, visit GodTest.com.

If I Commit Suicide Will People Pay Attention?

By Karen O’Connor:

To commit suicide out of revenge doesn’t help. You will be gone forever, and never know the true effects of your suicide. Meanwhile, others must move on in their lives.

 

Kevin E. O’Connor, CSP, LCPC and professor of pastoral counseling at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, talked with me about what drives people to commit suicide:

“According to Alfred Adler, the famous Viennese psychiatrist, the desire to take one’s life may be related to the lack or diminishment of the courage needed to perform life tasks connected to work, love, and friendship.”

Adler referred to two things we have control of in life: our self-esteem––how we feel about ourselves, and our social-interest––how we relate to others and our feeling of connection with them.

“Over or under-exaggerating one or the other leads to an imbalanced life,” says O’Connor. “Our task is to find balance and harmony between the two.”

People who consider suicide as an option are often looking for revenge against someone they feel hurt them in some way. “They want that person to notice them, to feel bad about what happened and they often commit suicide at a time and in a place where the ‘offender’ will find them.”

Others might kill themselves because they want to attract attention to themselves, showing the world how it failed them.

“What the suicide victim fails to understand,” added O’Connor, “is that after the event they will be dead and life will go on. Adler counseled a woman who had threatened suicide in order to show him how unhappy she was that he couldn’t cure her. He in effect said, ‘Yes, you can kill yourself and I can’t stop you. I will then read your obituary in the newspaper tomorrow and will use that newspaper to train my dog. He wanted her to have no illusions about her legacy with him!'”

Although loved ones you leave behind may not be so calloused and are likely to grieve your loss, the truth is that they must move on with their own lives, so it appears that a goal of gaining attention for a suicide attempt or completion never achieves what the victim intends.

“My job, as therapist,” said O’Connor, “would be to listen and help such persons become aware of just how angry they are with someone, and just how little their death will solve the problem that we could solve together in counseling.”

And even more important is to trust that God wants you to live and will guide you.

Today you are going against your enemies in battle. Don’t lose your courage. Don’t be troubled or upset. Don’t be afraid of the enemy. The Lord your God is going with you to help you fight against your enemies. He will help you win! (Deuteronomy 20:3-4 in the Bible)

View and share this excellent YouTube video of a testimony of a young man named Dale who overcame his hopelessness by giving his life to God.