Depression in Parenting an Autistic Child

By Rhonda Leverett:

In my depression in parenting an autistic child, I began thinking about suicide.

 

Then I found hope.

 

Stock photo by David Castillo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stock photo by David Castillo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In 1988, my youngest child, Caleb, was diagnosed with autism. I had no idea what autism was, but it looked like this: blank stares; fear of unfamiliar people and surroundings; books, crayons, shoes, and other items stacked in odd-shaped mountains from corner to corner of our house. It sounded like high-pitched squeals, crying, or silence.

I was exhausted, and consumed by fear of the unknown.

My marriage soon soured as well. Too overwhelmed to engage, I could think of nothing so extraneous as my adult relationship. This was survival mode, dysfunction at its finest.

Still, I prayed. The weakest prayers known to womankind maybe, but I knew God loved us, and I prayed.

Fast forward seven years, no marriage counseling, and many autism therapies later—Caleb was not better, but dramatically worse. Everything was worse.

My daughter and her stepfather fought constantly. She, fourteen, and my oldest son, Cliff, eleven, had become my assistants in curtailing Caleb’s now dangerous behaviors—and in cleaning up messes like broken eggs, broken glass, and smashed food. The understanding that they had not experienced childhood themselves bore heavy on me day and night, but I had no alternative to offer.

My daughter announced she intended to live with my parents, and ran away to prove it. Her grandparents supported her desire, due to my unwillingness to leave my husband. There had been separations, but I always came home because it seemed impossible to find anyone willing to take us in due to the challenges of autism.

Determined to escape what had become an intolerable situation, I called a shelter for help. Although hauntingly destructive, emotional trauma was not shelter criteria.

I moved into my daughter’s room and shut out the world, even my boys. I watched the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” every night, all night, for three weeks, and slept during daylight hours.

Thinking About Suicide

I had drawn the conclusion that life was not worth living.

One bleak afternoon, I sunk down on the bathroom floor and contemplated taking my life, even considering a suicide plan.

I heard Caleb then…but in reality, the house was silent. My husband had taken the boys somewhere. Nevertheless, I heard my son in my heart. He cooed as when he was a baby. I saw him reaching for me. My suffocated mind received the oxygen needed to remember this Truth—my life had purpose.

My children needed me. I remembered this just in time.

I stood up, put everything away, and washed my face.

I would live, because I am a mother—and because I am a daughter, God’s own daughter. I live because I was rescued by Jesus Christ long ago, on a cross.

He died to save you, too. If you cry out to Him, He will meet you wherever you are.

He will remind you of your purpose, and that you are loved.

If you turn to Him, He will save your life.

Read an update by Rhonda Leverett about her son (now-grown) and her own joyful life at rhondaleverett.com. 

One Christian resource for parents of autistic children is Autism’s Hidden Blessings, by Kelly Langston. You can read an excerpt at kellylangston.com.

Moms of special needs children may be encouraged by this video from Kelly Langston:

Don’t Do It! Save Your Family Heartache from Suicide

Father image by BlueKDesign

Father image by BlueKDesign

Guest Post by Pastor J.K.:

Family heartache from suicide of a loved one can go on for many years. Would you put your own children or siblings through such terrible grief?

The familiar voice of my administrative assistant greeted me on the phone. “Gary is here asking for you.” Her voice then became very soft. “He seems pretty shook-up.”

“Send him in,” I said. I got up and greeted him at my office door.

Gary cut straight to the reason for his visit.

“Preacher, you have 60-seconds to convince me not to blow my brains out.” He pulled a Saturday night special from his jacket pocket, pulled back the hammer and he placed the gun-barrel in his mouth.

I remember immediately praying and claiming James 1:5 (King James Version), “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

I needed God’s help and a miracle. I needed it now.

The words that flowed from my mouth surprised me. I said, “Gary, don’t do it. Why would you want to do this to your momma, grandma, and kids? You know how this town talks. Sure they’ll miss you, but they will be answering questions the rest of their days.”

He took the pistol out his mouth. He said, “I don’t care what people say.”

I replied, “But you love your family. Think about what your girls will be facing.”

“My girls,” he said as he again removed the pistol from his mouth. This time he slowly released the hammer and placed the weapon back in his coat pocket. He sat down in a chair at the table in my office.

“Gary, let me share with you something I’ve never told anyone in this church,” I said.

He looked up at me. The expression was both sadness and curiosity. He nodded giving me permission to continue.

“My wife’s brother killed himself while I was in seminary.”

“How?”

“He used a pistol. It was a single shot through his heart.”

“Oh,” he said. He placed his left hand over his heart.”

“My wife started crying the second she received the news. She cried for hours. She still cries for him from time to time.”

“But you were in seminary years ago …”

“It doesn’t matter. She still grieves. She has two sisters, one older and one younger. They still feel sad as well.”

“What about his parents?” Gary asked.

“Heartbroken. The real tragedy was for his children. His youngest doesn’t remember him. His oldest asks why, researches the police and autopsy records for information, and every birthday, holiday, and special occasion feels cheated by not having her daddy. Plus, he never got to see his grandchildren.”

“Grandchildren?”

“He wasn’t there for graduation or her wedding. I officiated the wedding and know how much she wished he was there.”

Gary handed me his pistol. Later that day he was admitted in a residential treatment program.

After his release he told me thank you. He never thought of the impact it would have on his current and future family including his yet to be born grandchildren.

(Names have been changed for privacy.)

The Choice: Become an Overcomer

The Choice
by N.J. Lindquist

Sometimes we feel small.

Sometimes we feel small.

I’ve often wondered why two people can experience similar circumstances and emerge totally different.

No one ever goes through exactly the same experience as another person. No one knows, for sure, how another person feels or thinks. Two people with very similar stories and vastly different outcomes. One person becomes an overcomer and an inspiration. Another person may continue to live focused on the past or tune out through suicide, drugs, or another method.

A past blog post video shares about a mother’s inability to handle life after divorce, which eventually led to her suicide. As a teenager, her daughter realized she could follow in her mother’s footsteps or find a new and better life. She chose the life, but many people would have chosen the former. Why?

Recently, I blogged about baseball pitcher R. A. Dickey, who was abused as a child, but eventually dealt with the abuse and shame. Now he helps others. Many people in similar situations have lost their lives, whether literally or figuratively, because they were unable to handle the pain of dealing with the past.

Where I’m going with this?

I read a book by Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries (A is for Alibi, etc.).

I knew very little about Sue, other than she divides her time between California and Kentucky, and she once wrote screenplays for movies. I’ve seen her in person at mystery cons and even shared a bathroom once. (No, I didn’t slide a manuscript under the door of her stall or accost her with a barrage of questions while washing our hands at the sink. Yes, she seemed nice.)

The book I’d found in our local library was called Kinsey and Me: stories. The introduction said the first two-third of the book contained mystery stories with Kinsey in them. The stories in the last third of the book, however, were about Sue Grafton. They were written in the 10 years after her mother’s death, long before she began writing her mysteries.

I enjoyed reading Kinsey’s mystery stories. Then I came to page 205.

The stories were very different, rather literary, dealing with the memories of a young Sue who grew up in a sadly dysfunctional home. Nothing like the mysteries. But compelling.

I discovered why Sue’s protagonist, Kinsey Millhone’s parents die when she was five. In real life, Sue grew up with alcoholic parents after her dad’s two-year stint in the army — when Sue was five. Her dad was a functioning alcoholic, and her mother non-functioning and occasionally suicidal. Sue and her older sister basically raised themselves. They also looked out for their mother, who was only occasionally a “normal” parent.

Sue married at 18, had a baby, then divorced. When Sue was 20, her mother committed suicide.

The short stories were written in the decade after her mother’s death. Sue says she wrote them as “my way of coming to terms with my grief for her.” (p. 209) Sue remarried twice before she found her present husband.

A couple of thoughts that stood out to me.

“I wish life could be edited as deftly as prose.” (p. xvii.)

So true. Is there anyone who wouldn’t like to go back and rewrite the story of his or her life, erasing all the pain, making everyone kind and everything positive? But we can’t go back. We have to learn from the past instead. Forgive, and ask forgiveness. Forge on, trying to write a better storyline into our future.

“Wisdom comes at a price, and I have paid dearly for mine.” (p. xvii.) So many have paid dearly for their wisdom, and yet not all make use of that wisdom.

As I closed the book, I still don’t know why some people are able to overcome the past and others aren’t. I just know Sue Grafton is an overcomer. It wasn’t easy. She spent years dealing with the pain of her childhood and wrong choices made as a result of the confusing messages she’d received. But she made it through, and carved out a new life. She established a solid marriage, raised three daughters, and became a world-renowned mystery writer at age 37.

The past is always going to be the past. The future is not yet written.

I felt sadness for the young girl who didn’t know what it was like to have a “normal” life with caring, responsible parents. I identified with the sorrow of the adult who would love to somehow make everything better for everyone. But I also felt great respect for the girl/woman who dreamed of a better life, and made it happen for herself and her children.

Seasons change. Even when we feel small, there are ways to overcome the feeling.

Seasons change. Even when we feel small, there are ways to overcome the feeling.


It’s never too late to become an overcomer.

Speaking of which, you might want to listen to this song by Mandisa. It’s called “Overcomer.”

Mandisa – Overcomer (Official Lyric Video) from mandisa on GodTube.

Painful Pasts Leading to Extreme Risk: Dickey (Review)

There’s more than one way to commit suicide.

For some, a painful past leads to extreme risk and can result in death. If you struggle with your past, seek hope and healing instead of putting yourself in harm’s way.

 

Wherever I Wind Up

Extreme Risk Suicide Attempts: Don’t let something in your past lead you to commit suicide through extreme risk.

I remember “Extreme Risk,” an episode of Star Trek: Voyageur, where  B’Elanna Torres is suffering from various injuries because she is going on dangerous holodeck programs with the safety mechanism turned off. She eventually tells Chakotay that since she learned of the death of most of their Maquis friends, she has been numb. The risks she’s been taking have been to try to find out if she’s still alive inside.

In reality, this is clinical depression. And B’Elanna might very easily have died.

An accident? In some ways. But it’s also a form of suicide. People who play with fire usually get burned.

I was reminded of that episode recently while reading the book Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball, by R. A. Dickey, with Wayne Coffey.

R. A. Dickey is a baseball player, a knuckleball pitcher, and last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner.

But while his book certainly chronicles his journey to become a major league baseball player, it’s about a lot more than that. Like B’Elanna, R. A. did some crazy things because he felt numb inside.

Dickey’s parents got married because his mother was pregnant, and according to him “the marriage didn’t last five years.” They divorced when R. A. was 8 and his mom turned to alcohol for solace. His dad, who had been a good father, gradually eased out of his life. R. A. felt alone and confused.

Then, when he was 8, a 13-year-old babysitter abused him sexually. Afterwards, in his words, “I feel discarded, like a piece of trash. She acts like she’s mad at me, like I didn’t follow her orders properly. I lie on my bed by myself, wondering if what just happened is real. I am trembling, still sweating. I feel paralyzed, my limbs leaden.”

It happens four or five more times that summer.

But something even worse happens that fall.

While visiting with family in a farming area, a boy of 16 or 17 finds him alone and grabs him, then overpowers him and abuses him.

R. A. boxes all these memories up and hides them in his mind as far away as possible. And he becomes numb. Until he’s 31 years old, he never tells anyone, doesn’t even let himself think about them. On the outside, he appears to be normal, but without his even realizing it, the memories are impacting him, telling him he’s “filthy and bad, like the scum of the earth, only worse.”

This goes on until he’s 31 and his own marriage is in serious trouble.

He finally breaks down and tells a counselor about the babysitter. He feels a measure of freedom, but he can’t go all the way; not to the brutal experience with the teenage boy.

A year later, on June 9, 2007, he does something absolutely crazy. While in Council Bluff Iowa with his triple A baseball team, the Nashville Sounds, he jumps in the Missouri River to swim across it. The water is brown and sludgy and there are strong currents and undertows. He’s wearing boxer briefs and taped-on flip-flops. He is basing this swim on the fact that he’s in good shape, and once upon a time, years ago, he swam the 200-meter freestyle for a local team. He believes he can do it.

And that’s where I was reminded about the Star Trek episode.

Because this isn’t the first time he’s done something crazy. In his words, “You could say—and some have—that I have a death wish. Not sure. I think it’s more accurate to say I have a risk wish, somehow clinging to the notion that achieving these audacious feats will someone make me worthy, make me special, as if I’d taken some magical, esteem-enhancing drug.”

He doesn’t make it across the river; instead, he almost drowns. But as he realizes he’s going to die in the muddy water of the Missouri, he finds a new desire to live. And afterwards, he’s finally able to talk about the worst experience of his life, and face the darkness and the anger that has burned inside him for all those years. Anger at the boy, anger at himself, anger at his life, anger at the God he believes in but up until now couldn’t fully embrace . . .

And he begins the journey to freedom, to feeling truly alive, and to helping others break their shackles of self-condemnation and shame.

Terrible things happen to most of us.

They don’t even have to be huge things, like sexual abuse or violence. Sometimes it’s just a person who constantly puts us down or tells us we aren’t good enough that stays within us and makes us numb inside.

No matter how much we try to pretend they never happened, they don’t go anywhere. They stay inside and tear us down.

We have to find the strength to bring them out and examine them, talk to people we can trust about them, and let God heal us and cause good to happen.

R. A. is now passionate about helping kids who have suffered from abuse.

Check out what he had to say recently.

More about the book, Wherever I Wind Up.

Suicide as a Way Out of Domestic Abuse

When you’re in a relationship that involves domestic abuse — physical or emotional — suicide may seem your only way of escape.

 

 But there is hope and help.

 

Off the Map domestic violence

Jacquie Brown, author of the book, Off the Map: Follow me out of Domestic Abuse, certainly felt that way the day she ran to her bathroom after a violent confrontation with her husband. Her “crime”? Urging her husband not to drive his truck after drinking seven glasses of whiskey and cola in a few hours.

In Jacquie’s words:

He shoved me into the wall, yelled and called me disgusting names, criticized everything about me, searched for the words that would hurt me the most.

Fear gripped my being. My stomach tensed, and I huddled into myself, trying to disappear as tears flowed and I thought, Am I really those foul degrading words I hear him calling me? He’s right about my stupidity; I never learn. I’m always the catalyst for these explosions of torment. How do I solve it? How do I stop it? The agony and desolation is relentless. How do I escape?

Time seemed to stand still as a thought seeped into my mind. I knew a way to escape. I turned and race up the stairs to the washroom, locking the door behind me. I shouldn’t have run. Now he knows something is unusual. I hurried and swallowed several pills before he reached the door.

He yelled, “Open the door or I’ll kick it in!”

Jacquie came out of the bathroom and her husband got their two young children out of bed, and told the children “This I what happens if you try and kill yourself.” He then beat her.

After he left, Jacquie made her way to each of the children’s rooms and assured them she was okay. Afterwards, she wondered how she could ever have been so selfish as to think of leaving her children alone with their father. But of course, she wasn’t thinking clearly. She was just trying to find a way out of the constant fear and abuse. (p. 42-43)

Suicide lets the abuser win

While there may be times when suicide seems like the only way out of abuse, fortunately, Jacquie eventually found a much better way. And then she wrote a book in order to help others find their way out, and also to help friends, family, and others who want to help domestic abuse victims understand what’s going on in the mind of a person who is being abused.

Off the Map is written with alternating chapters, first giving us a glimpse into Jacquie’s life, then immediately following that with an explanation of what she calls the “underlying dynamics or aspects of domestic violence.”

In her introduction, Jacquie says: “Off the Map demystifies domestic violence. It brings to light how we are ensnared and why we stay trapped. It also reveals our self-destructive coping mechanisms and ultimately the way out of the dungeon to discover the treasure of life.” (p.xiii)
Jacquie also explains that all violence isn’t physical beatings. There are many other ways an abuser can hold someone captive.

The book has a number of helpful lists, including:

  • signs that you are in an abusive relationship
  • how abusers isolate their victims
  • different types of abusers
  • types of abuse
  • wrong beliefs of both the abusers and the abused
  • reasons why victims stay in the relationship
  • common coping mechanisms that lead to more difficulty
  • people and groups who will help abuse victims
  • practical steps to take to ensure safety when leaving

The book clearly explains how pretty well anyone could wind up being abused without necessarily realizing what is happening. Jacquie shows how abusers can mix kindness in with the abuse in a way that creates dependency and keeps the victim ambivalent about the abuser and unable to break free.

She also links long-term abuse to C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). On page 93, Jacquie says, “A woman suffering in a relationship of domestic violence is similar to a soldier’s experience as a prisoner of war. Both undergo prolonged exposure to traumatic experiences and both can develop C-PTSD.” She then goes on to explain how chemicals in the brain (such as serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline), are impacted, and how this can lead to a variety of negative things, including forgetfulness, depression, detachment, self-condemnation, loss of identity, hopelessness, etc.

Everyone needs to read this book

This book is specifically about domestic violence, and is invaluable for anyone wanting to understand that type of abuse. However, the implications of abuse go far beyond that to any long-term relationship where one person has power over another and could use it in abusive ways: either situations where one has direct power over another (e.g. a parent, teacher, coach, boss, pastor, doctor, counselor) or situations where a peer can exert power over another person (e.g. a co-worker, teammate, a sibling, close friend, roommate, classmate). Please check it out, especially if you:

  • suspect you might be in an abusive relationship
  • suspect someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, whether domestic or otherwise
  • suspect you might be an abuser
  • are in any way involved with people; pastors, teachers, psychologists, counselors, doctors, nurses, politicians, managers, parents, etc.

Click to visit Jacquie Brown’s website and for information about her book Off the Map: Follow Me Out of Domestic Violence 

Divorcing Her to Marry One of Her Best Friends

By Linda W. Rooks:

She was stunned to learn her husband was divorcing her to marry one of her best friends.

She considered suicide. Then she found hope.

 

Rock to cling to by Linda Rooks

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. (Psalm 18:2)

 

His words struck her ears and reverberated through her head as if she had just stepped into the middle of an exploding bombshell.  Georgia saw her husband’s mouth still moving, but a black cloud was descending upon her and the sound of his voice echoed through the chambers of her mind like shots from a cannon.

He’s leaving me. Divorcing me to marry one of my best friends!  They both plan to get divorced, then married to each other.

Georgia asked him questions, but the hardness of his answers made her freeze.  She looked into blue eyes, now dark and cold.  Who was this man?  Where was the man she had married? How could her husband leave her, like her own father had left her as a child? And worse, how could he be divorcing her to marry one of her best friends?

She felt the flesh of her heart tearing apart.  A crushing pain gripped her as if a vice were squeezing the life from her. She could hardly breathe.

After he left, she stumbled out to her car, enveloped in a darkness that shut down her mind and embedded one dark desire into her heart.  “I don’t want to live.  I can’t live.  I must escape this pain.”  As if caught up in a death spiral, her mind raced back to the memory of a friend who had committed suicide years before.  It sounded simple.  She could escape the pain, escape the horror of what was happening to her life.  She would do what her friend had done.

But Georgia was not as skilled as her friend in making the preparations.  After trying her best, she finally climbed into her car, sat at the wheel and in her anguish called out the only name that came to her, “Jesus.  Jesus, if you’re as real as I thought you were,” she cried, “you know I’m not going to make it through this night.  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

After a few minutes of sobbing and calling out his name, she felt a peace pouring down on her like a light gleaming through the darkness.  The darkness released her mind and the light swept in.  Jesus would show her the way.  She didn’t have to take this deadly route.

After Georgia found out that her husband was divorcing her to marry one of her best friends, her pain did not immediately go away after that night, but in the midst of it, she felt the love of Jesus holding her up as never before. Whenever Georgia felt desperate, she called out the name of Jesus, and God became more and more real to her. She immediately had a hunger to read the Bible, and when she opened it up, it was like God spoke to her personally. She and the children began reading the book of Job. Here she read about a man who lost everything and suffered the same anguish and doubts she was feeling. But he continued to worship God anyway.  Eventually, God blessed Job with more than he had before.

Today, years later, despite her devastating experience, Georgia wouldn’t trade where she is spiritually for anything.  The circumstances that tore her apart brought her a deeper love and a deeper joy than she would have ever known otherwise.  When others disappointed her, God was always there, providing her with what she needed in unexpected ways.  As He promised, Jesus has never left her nor forsaken her. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

The name of Jesus carries enormous power when we call on His name.  When our heart cries out to Him. He hears us and surrounds us with His presence.  Jesus is the lover of our soul. He longs to be near us.  He longs to comfort us and give us His peace.  Scripture tells us that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:7).

You might not understand it, but His love and peace can undergird you in your pain.  Just call out His name.  Let your heart reach out to Him. He will become a rock to cling to when you feel you are being enveloped in currents of tragedy and adversity.

Just like Georgia felt when she found out the terrible news about the betrayal of her husband and friend, you may feel like life is not worth living.  You may just want to escape the pain, but Jesus loves you and has a plan for you.  He will never leave you when you call out His name. So right now, call out to Him.  “Jesus!”  Let Him heal your heart.

 

Finding Acceptance When Laughed At and Hurting

By Martha Bolton:

 Are you feeling laughed at? Bullied? Betrayed? We know it hurts, but don’t let those bullies win.

 

Image of sad girl used at thinkingaboutsuicide.com

Feeling betrayed? Laughed at? Wounded by others? Be your own best friend.

Whoever:

hurt you

left you

bullied you

didn’t accept you

discounted you

didn’t see your pain or your worth

laughed at you

wasn’t there for you

betrayed you

devastated you

convinced you that you’ll never be any more than the person they want you to be for their own reasons (usually to feel better about themselves)–

DON’T LET THEM WIN.

They may have labeled you, but their label is far from accurate.

They may think they’ve stepped on you, squashing any hope of your ever rising back up, but they missed you by a mile.

They may have treated you like you’re worthless, made you want to run away or go hide in a corner of the room, but don’t get sucked into their destiny for you.  Move on with your life.  You have better things to do.

Even if you’re the loudest negative voice in your own head, stop listening to it.   If you’re the voice saying, “What’s the use?” then answer yourself as though you’re talking to a friend you truly care about.

If no one else is speaking up for you, speak up for yourself.  Be your own counselor, your own cheerleader, your own best friend.

Do something else for yourself.  Seek help as soon as you can.  Talk to a teacher, pastor, parent, or friend.  It’s not embarrassing to ask for help.  Everyone needs help once in a while.  Life can get tough.  People can be mean.  Maybe a friend has betrayed or hurt you.  Maybe they’ve made your life unbelievably difficult.  You might even find yourself so injured that you have become numb and now find yourself desperately trying to “feel” again.

But hurting yourself isn’t how to feel again. 

This isn’t the day, the way, or the place for your hope to end.  It’s not in “the plan.”  What plan, you may ask.  The one God has for you.  He created you with a clear plan in mind.  No matter what has happened in your life, His plan hasn’t changed.

Your life was meant to go on until you’ve seen all you were meant to see, gone everywhere you were meant to go, and done everything you were meant to do. 

A bully can’t stop that.

Discouragement can’t either.

No obstacle that someone tries to throw in your path can truly block what God has intended for you.

I’ve had to deal with bullies throughout my life.  Like the “anonymous” Letter to the Editor writer who, after my first humorous opinion piece was printed, tried to bully me into never writing again.  I cried when I read it, shook in fear throughout the night, and contemplated following his advice and never attempting to put my writing out there again.

Then, I took a deep breath and went on with my life.

That humorous opinion piece turned into a 9 year newspaper column, and now, 88 books, numerous plays, and an Emmy nomination later, I think maybe he might have been a little off track with his criticism.

Thankfully, I didn’t let his hurtful words stop God’s plan for my life.

As it turned out, that letter was from a middle school boy probably doing a school assignment to write a letter to the editor.

Some bullies are driven by insecurity and jealousy.  Something is missing in their own lives, perhaps it’s something you’re doing, achieving, or are just being, and they can’t handle it.  Without even realizing it, you might be representing something they wish they had.

So don’t change who you are to make them feel better about themselves.  You aren’t the problem.

Bullies will try to rob you of enjoying your life, your work, and your loved ones.  Don’t let them.  And remember, your encouragement might not come from the people you expect it to come from either.  It hurts when it doesn’t, but God may, and often does, send it through someone else.  Sometimes a complete stranger.

So take a deep breath.  It may be hard to see your future right now when someone is making you feel like you have none.  It’s hard to see your worth when someone has left you, friends have betrayed you or not stood up for you, or you’ve endured any number of hurts.  But none of that changes your worth.   How people treat you doesn’t change your value.  Mistakes don’t make you who you are.  And betrayal doesn’t mean you weren’t worthy of being defended.

One more thing, always leave room for people to change.  Whoever hurt you could have a change of heart (yes, miracles do happen) and apologize to you someday.  If they don’t, you can still get over their hurt.  You can get strong enough to stand in spite of any bully in your life.  And you can get strong enough to continue standing.  All it takes is practice and the right kind of friends around you.  They’re out there, just waiting to meet you.

Give yourself the gift of your future.  Don’t be one more person walking out on your potential.  You, more than anyone else, should give yourself another chance.  And another.  And ten thousand more. 

You’ve let the negative voices in your life have the stage long enough.  Replace them with voices of truth.  You are loved by God.  You have value.  Your life is worth living.  You are accepted.  Don’t let anyone, any hurt, or anything else convince you otherwise!

 

Is There Any Hope for Me? (Decision 4)

By Liz Cowen Furman:

 Do you wonder, “Is there any hope for me?” Considering suicide? There IS hope.

 

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In my previous post in The Traveler’s Gift series here on our site, about the  Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews, I promised to share with you the fourth decision a person can make to start getting their life to a place they want it to be.  (I encourage you to seek out that book as a resource.)

Although this passage pertains to being more successful in life, when you are feeling depressed and overwhelmed one of the most important “successful” things you can do right now will be to succeed in staying alive.

Instead of letting your troubles overwhelm you, lift them up to God, and ask Him to help change your way of thinking about them, because new thoughts lead to new actions and new hope. And remember, this article is only one part in our series on finding new hope, so do read the other articles in this series.

Decision number four relates to the passage in the book titled I Have a Decided Heart where the character makes this declaration with deliberate new choices:

I have a decided heart. I am passionate about my vision for the future. I will awaken every morning with an excitement about the new day and its opportunity for growth and change. My thoughts and actions will work in a forward motion, never sliding into the dark forest of doubt or the muddy quicksand of self-pity. I will freely give my vision for the future to others, and as they see the belief in my eyes, they will follow me. (Page 88, The Traveler’s Gift)

This may be one of those times when we have to “fake it ‘till we make it.” If you notice, it says I have a DECIDED heart. Meaning we can choose to decide to live with a new outlook. Listen to what the historical character of the book shares with our protagonist (main character).

I have a decided heart. I will not wait.

I know that the purpose of analysis is to come to a conclusion. I have tested the angles. I have measured the probabilities. And now I have made a decision with my heart. I am not timid. I will move now and not look back. What I put off until tomorrow, I will put off until the next day as well. I do not procrastinate. All my problems become smaller when I confront them. If I touch a thistle with caution, it will prick me, but if I grasp it boldly, its spines crumble into dust. I will not wait. I am passionate about my vision for the future. My course has been charted. My destiny is assured. (Page 89, The Traveler’s Gift)

 

I encourage you to take hold of these decisions, and others we have discussed in The Traveler’s Gift. Also, take a few minutes to listen to Andy Andrews description of the Decided Heart himself, in this video:

When you trust God with your future, it’s more than just about positive thinking–it’s about allowing your creator to lead you in new directions, before you give up hope.

Not sure how to find God? Visit GodTest.com.

When the Burden of Debt Drives One’s Thoughts to Suicide

By Karen O’Connor:

Do you have a burden of debt that feels overwhelming?

 

Image: Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About thirty years ago I sat in a meeting one Sunday afternoon with a group of people trying to figure out what to do about their financial debt and the trouble it was causing themselves and the people they loved.

One young woman about twenty-five years of age admitted to an amount of credit card debt that was greater than her annual salary. When it was her turn to share she took a deep breath and said with a tremor in her voice, “If I can’t control this habit then I’ll just commit suicide and I won’t have to think about money anymore.”

Heads turned and whispers rippled through the room. When debt drives one’s thoughts to suicide, that’s pretty bad, I thought. Could it happen to me?

I left the meeting that day shaken to the core and committed to getting my own debt under control. In my case it meant finding a way to earn more so I wouldn’t rely on credit cards to carry me from one month to the next when I ran short.

I applied for a part-time teaching position and won the job. Within months I had eliminated my small debt and was on my way to living debt-free. I don’t know what happened to the woman I mentioned. She dropped out of our group and I never saw her again. But her words of despair certainly got my attention and changed the way I earned and managed my own finances.

Over the months and years following that somber day I learned what the Bible has to say about money and the principles have guided me ever since:

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other . . . (Romans 13: 7:8)

. . . the borrower is the slave of the lender (Proverbs 22:7).

With God on your side you cannot miss. The Lord says:

“So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows” (Matthew 10:31 in the Bible).

Ask for his help and you will receive it. He will guide you to classes, books, and support groups so you too can manage your finances responsibly and live free of debt.

Take a look at this YouTube video with Joyce Meyer on living debt-free:

Also Dave Ramsey suggests reducing your burden of debt using the Debt Snowball idea: eliminate your smallest debt first, so you feel some measure of success right off and stick with a plan to eventually get rid of all your debts.

Surviving

By Martha Bolton:

Do you feel you are barely surviving?

Stop. Think for a moment about everything you’ve lived through, throughout your life. If you’re like the rest of the human race, you’ve no doubt survived your share of:

. . . bad decisions, failures, betrayal,  unfaithful friends, embarrassing moments, devastating moments, put downs, rejection, disappointment, loss, regrets,

. . . and more.

But the simple fact that you’re reading this right now means you’ve surviving!

surviving

Image by suwatpo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

A lot of it hurt; perhaps a few almost did you in, but you survived. Some of the events taught you painful lessons, but you survived.  You learned who you can count on in life. And who you couldn’t. But you survived.

You may have gone down for the count a few times, but you still won because you got back up. You’re still here. You survived. Even if you’re not fully back up on your feet just yet, you’re in the process. You’re alive. You’re breathing.

Maybe you’re scarred just a bit. Perhaps a lot. But you’ve survived.

Our scars make those injured parts of us a little bit tougher. A little bit stronger. They make it more difficult for us to be injured in that exact same place the next time.

So embrace your scars. They’re proof the injury, or injuries, didn’t take you out. Even if a few of your wounds are still bleeding, stop and look at all the ones that have already healed. That should give you the assurance that this wound can heal, too.

Ask for help. Reach out to someone. There are resources listed on this site that are available 24-7. God is available 24-7 to comfort you and help you heal, too. You’ve already survived a lot. Now, you have a new wound that needs time and attention to heal, or an old one that needs a little more time to complete the healing process and to form its protective scar. Giving it that time makes sense, doesn’t it. Especially to a survivor like you.

Remind yourself that you are a survivor.  Not “could be one,” “might be one,” or “hope to be one.” You are one.

Don’t let anyone, including yourself, try to convince you that you’re not.