Hope and Encouragement from Hot Apple Cider

From N. J. Lindquist:

Excerpt from A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider (free book through Dec 2013 as a special gift for our site visitors or anyone who could use a little hope and encouragement. All 50 stories. Download Now.)

The story below is from the book A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, with N.J. Lindquist.

The story below is from the book A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, with N.J. Lindquist.

Be Still and Know by Glynis M. Belec:

Throughout my cancer journey, “God signs” proved that He was orchestrating my days. In one instance, we arrived home after a particularly grueling appointment in London. Dr. Lanvin, my new oncologist, had checked all the reports, confirmed my diagnosis through examination, and then briefed me about the upcoming surgery. So when we arrived home that day, my emotions were fragile. Although I had never played the “Why Me?” game, blaming God for allowing this to happen to me, I was starting to wonder about God’s plan for my life.

As I walked into the kitchen, I noticed my phone flashing red, indicating messages were waiting. A voice I barely recognized said, “Hello, Glynis. It’s Sue.”

I hadn’t heard from Sue for three years or more. We’d been acquaintances through drama ministry and school functions, and when we got together we always had a lovely time, but somehow we’d lost touch.

The recording continued. “So why did God wake me up at three a.m. and tell me that I should be praying for you? How are you doing? We haven’t talked for ages. Give me a call when you get a minute.”

I was floored. I quickly punched in her number. We chatted for a couple of minutes, chastising each other for not calling sooner.

“Are you okay?” she inquired.

“I have cancer.”

Silence.

“I had cancer, too,” she replied quietly.

I burst into tears. Sue and I spent the next hour talking and sharing. She encouraged me, promised to pray for me, and assured me I could call her any time. She also reminded me that as a 12-year cancer survivor, she was living proof that cancer can be overcome.

I got off the phone and cried again. This time my tears were not out of self-pity. They were tears of joy and gratitude for God. He had known my needs and was putting people and circumstances in place so that I could see His mighty hand.

I remembered God’s nudging to write it all down, so my bedside journal became a therapeutic outlet. Words oozed through ink as I penned my thoughts and my day-to-day struggles with everything from fear, to spiritual questions, to relationships, and more. I started to realize what God had meant by the term “fodder.”

If there was any doubt about Who was in control in my life, it was completely obliterated the night before my surgery, May 27, 2008. My journal entry reads:

This is it. My final sleep before surgery. I am ready. I am Yours. I am prepared to be still and truly know that You are God! I am in awe at the confirmation that You have placed before me (and Gilles) this very night. What was the day’s scripture verse in the Our Daily Bread devotional for Tuesday, May 27? “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). God—You rock! You know this is my favourite scripture verse. I love the soft, subtle ways You find to communicate with me, Lord—especially tonight. How blessed am I to know You in this heavenly way. How can anyone deny Your existence? You are real. You are living. You are in control…

Note: Please do not copy and reuse this story without permission.

 

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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.

The Crime of Suicide Baiting

by Laurie:

A recent site visitor told us her heartbreaking, horrifying story: her son was a victim of suicide baiting.

Be the one who would shout "Stop! There is hope for you! God loves you!" ?

You can, instead, be the one who shouts: “Stop! There is hope for you! God loves you!”

Debra DeAngelo from the iPinion Syndicate summarizes this well in her post, What have we become when suicide becomes entertainment?:

Can there be anything more soul-shredding than your child committing suicide? Yes: discovering that his/her death provided entertainment for a cheering crowd.

Who does that? Who goads a person into killing him or herself? I never thought about that much before. Neither did Kathie Yount of Harrisburg, Missouri. Until she called her son Dylan one random day and a strange voice answered. He identified himself as a medical examiner, and told Kathie that an unidentified man’s body was on the sidewalk six floors below her son’s apartment window at Hallidie Plaza in San Francisco.

Kathie’s own article describes her loss and the horror of the situation in her own post: “Suicide baiting — they cheered while my son jumped,”, writing:

“He died, dehumanized and in despair, in front of 1,000 people who mostly stood watching while others taunted him, provoking his death.”,

This could be compared to the Bystander Effect, a term that came about due to the Kitty Genovese murder case.

Yet Bystander Effect has more to do with apathy than with participation in a crime. Suicide baiting behavior falls more into the area of bullying, as opposed to apathy. It’s taunting and bullying someone to take their own life. This can also be in the form of cyberbullying, as in the case of Megan Meier who took her life after being bullied by an adult posing as a teen on the Internet. (See our related post: How to Stop Cyberbullying.)

An even better word for suicide baiting is sin. Evil personified. It doesn’t matter how many in a crowd are chanting “Jump!” Every one of us must be that person who offers healing and hope, not jeering or apathy. And this happens when we realize that each and every person–including yourself– is unique, created by God for a purpose, and loved by Him.

Every individual has the moral reponsibility to speak life — not death — into the life of others. 

Kathie Yount now feels compelled to prevent similar occurences by increasing public awareness of the crime of suicide baiting, and is pushing for changes in legislation to make suicide baiting a felony. You can visit Kathie’s Facebook page: Support Suicide Baiting Prevention Awareness.

To learn more about God through a relationship through Jesus Christ, visit our sister site: GodTest.com. Not only can He provide healing for your own hurts, but forgiveness if you have in the past caused others pain without considering the consequences.

If you have ever participated in or watched and not stopped a sucide baiting and feel guilt over that, do repent of that and ask forgiveness. Please do not consider this an excuse to take your own life. God can lead you to a new life of encouraging and helping others, possibly even saving the lives of others. You can also help stop the crime of suicide baiting by joining Kathie Yount in her efforts.

Loving a Suicidal Parent

by N. J. Lindquist:

Despite loving a suicidal parent dearly, one daughter saw her need to look out for her own mental health.

 

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Five years ago a young woman’s mother committed suicide. Prior to that, the mother had struggled with mental illness and addictions for many years.

From ages 14 to 17, the daughter looked after the mother without telling anyone what was going on at home. At the age of 17, the daughter made the very difficult decision to leave her home before she went down the same path as her mother. And shortly after that, she made some very wise decisions on how she would live her life, which she shares in this video.

Unfortunately, the mother could not or would not change.

To honour her mother, this year, the daughter swam 500 laps to raise money for mental health in her mother’s memory.

If you’re living in a situation that is going to destroy your life, if you feel burdened down from trying to help someone who shows no intention of really wanting to change, or if you feel guilty for not being able to help someone you love, please watch this video. The story beings at the 3-minute mark.

And if you identify with the mother, please seek help from those who are qualified to give it.

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.

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.

Thinking ‘How Do I Commit Suicide?’ But DO Want Life–Without Heartbreak?

By Janet Perez Eckles:

Are you thinking, ‘How do I commit suicide?’ simply because it’s hard for you to imagine a future without  the heartbreak you feel right now?

 

Those were thoughts Sandy had.

Her husband walked in one night and said he found the woman of his dreams. No warning before dropping that bomb in her heart. No clue he had been unhappy. No idea he could ever betray her.

“Maybe I could understand if he seemed unhappy,” she sobbed, “but he never showed any signs. How stupid I had been.”

I was there, in her shoes and shedding those same tears. Life crumbles, dreams shatter and the future seems to end.

Sandy thought about ending it. Ending her anguish and ending the heartache she couldn’t mend.  She even thought, “How Do I Commit Suicide?” Yet she really did want to live, just not in pain.

That was the real torment. Her days were dark, but she still longed to restore her marriage. She longed to live for that hope.

Sandy and I had the same situation. We both wanted to live. It was the heartache we wanted to end. But God came into her life and mine. His power that pierced through the anguish—how could you end your life, when I have the beginning of a new one? The life that shines with meaning, confidence and security.

I had dried my last tear. Gave my last sob and chose to believe.

My husband had betrayed me, but God was faithful. My husband had taken his love somewhere else. But God poured his love to soothe my wounds.

The question changed: How can one commit suicide when the healing is in God’s hands, and the future clearly etched in His plans?

I trusted, and no matter what disappointments, big or small, I will look up and repeat over and over again: I want to live because tomorrow is in His hands. I will receive the richness of His love and exchange my pain for joy. Nights will bring back sleep because He’s by my side. I will overcome because He said I could. And He will heal me because He promised He would.

Are you one who is thinking ‘How do I commit suicide’, yet deep in your broken heart simply want to live without pain?  Find out more about God, the master healer of broken hearts, at GodTest.com.

Also read more stories of hope here at our Thinking About Suicide site by clicking on our categories or using our Search box. Do you know that Janet, the author of this article, not only lost her sight, but also lost a son to murder? There truly is hope in all terrible circumstances.

Grieving the Suicide of Family Members

By PeggySu Wells:

At a family reunion, we grieved the suicide of family members, causing two people to be permanently missed.


Does this symbolize your own broken “family tree”? Who will be missed at your own family reunion?

Last weekend was our annual family reunion. Because of the suicide of family members, there were two important people missing. Because of suicide, several of the people in attendance were deeply hurt, and all of us were affected.

My cousin is two years older than me, and the most beautiful girl I know. When we were kids, her dad committed suicide. Today my cousin is a grandmother, and we still do not know why her father took his life. It was a shock. His wife and my cousin never recovered.

Last year, like his grandfather before him, my cousin’s son took his life. Very calculated, he did this in a fashion that his mother would be the one to find him. It devastated her on many levels. As the days go by, she merely learns to live with the gaping hole in her heart. Life for her is forever altered.

I cannot begin to fathom what these two men were thinking that led to their decisions. Her father. Her son. But from an outsider’s view, I see this as a selfish act because of the sad impact these choices wrought on those left behind. The close loved ones. The wives and mothers who loved these men.

When they thought about suicide, was this the legacy they wanted to leave on their family? Is this what they envisioned the family tree would look like for their children?

Suicide doesn’t appear to have been the answer to any problem. To have solved anything. Suicide certainly has proven to cause generations of unanswered questions, family members left feeling abandoned and shamed, and an unquenchable sadness that blankets their hearts.

We can learn from the experience of others. Perhaps this father and this son believed their situation was dire. Unfixable. Without alternatives. Yet, today their family members live at a different address, in a different state. Settings and people change.

I understand that suicide may be filling your thoughts. And there are other options. Please make a choice that is healthy for you and for those around you. Get the help you need. People are available to support you through the rugged times. The number for the suicide hotline is 1-800-784-2433.

(I Believe, Help Thou My Unbelief by the Gaither Trio in their studio)

John Waller – How Prayer Lifted His Depression

Prayer Lifted His Depression

 

Singer John Waller had a 20 year struggle with depression, but a depression that no longer lingers. But before his depression lifted, no one was able to help him, including his loving wife and three beautiful children.  Medication helped, but did not fully control his bouts of suffering.

 John relates“It was all in my family. It was a generational thing that was passed down and I believed I would always struggle with it.

So, how did he get over his old nemeses that darkened so many of his moods and days?  The healing started with friends from church came over to his house to pray for him.  Over time, Waller noticed that he had been transformed.

Since prayer lifted his depression and helped cause Waller’s transformation, this Christian recording artist loves to write songs that help others who are struggling to pray.  His songs are more than encouragements; they are actually prayers, the same kinds of prayer that started his own transformation, like the song below, My God Reigns. Waller has seen other people transformed whenever he sings it.  Take a listen, and then consider putting it on your play list.

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You can see more of Waller’s story on It’s Supernatural with Sid Roth:

If you would like to have a recorded prayer from our GodTest.com website prayed over you, click HERE.

Sexual Abuse from a Trusted Coach (Olympian Kayla Harrison)

By Dianne E. Butts:

Kayla Harrison, on having been sexually abused by her former coach and overcoming suicidal thoughts.

 

 

Image from Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kayla Harrison started judo at six years old when her mother, Jeannie Yazell, a black belt, introduced her to the sport. She showed promise, winning two national titles before her 15th birthday. But behind the scenes, she was being sexually manipulated and abused by her judo coach, and that sexual abuse led Olympian Kayla Harrison to think about suicide.

The abuse started when Kayla was 13.

An article in the New York Times online, “For Judo Champion, a Painful Path to Gold” by Campbell Robertson revealed that “sexual contact led to sexual intercourse over a period of years, on trips to Venezuela, Russia and Estonia, until she was 16.”

In an article in The Telegraph (www.Telegraph.co.uk) titled “London 2012 Olympics: US Judoka Kayla Harrison overcomes horror of sexual abuse to aim for gold,” by Ian Chadband, Kayla said:

“When I was young, he would say, ‘We have to keep this between us or we will get into trouble’ and, honestly, as I got older, I was pretty brainwashed. I knew it was wrong but I thought I loved him. And I thought he loved me.’”

After three years, Kayla confided in her friend Aaron, who told her mother. Jeannie Yazell then “smashed out the coach’s car windows with a baseball bat” according to the NY Times article.

After Kayla exposed her coach as an abuser, she confronted him in court. Daniel Doyle was sentenced to ten years in prison and banned from the sport.

“I couldn’t look in the mirror and had no self-esteem. Now I can’t imagine not speaking up against that. It’s so wrong and I don’t want others to have to suffer what I did,” Kayla told The Telegraph. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned through all this is that you’re only a victim if you allow yourself to be. And though it feels like hell and it feels like it will never end, it will. But you have to have the courage to say ‘I won’t play victim’.”

Going for the gold in the Olympics kept her going. Her mother teamed her up with coach Jimmy Pedro, who helped her overcome the trauma of abuse and make the Olympic team. Her mother told the NY Times, “‘We just felt like she just had to get back to what she knew how to do… She could have control over what went on on the mat.’”

On August 2, 2102, Kayla won the first gold medal in judo for the United States.

But that’s not all. Kayla is now engaged to Aaron Handy, the friend she turned to for help. He’s a firefighter now. After the Olympics Kayla may return home to take the E.M.T. test and continue the process of becoming a firefighter herself.

Sexual abuse led Olympian Kayla Harrison to think about suicide. But she overcame abuse and suicidal thoughts to become a Gold Medal Olympian with a future filled with love, marriage, and a meaningful career. You can overcome your circumstances too, and have a future filled with hope.