God’s Love Thwarts a Suicide Attempt

Instead of a suicide attempt, seek and find God’s love and new life — as this one young woman did.

 

Image: anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

A group of lively young women—none of them over twenty years of age––sat at attention in a chapel service, ready to talk about their past and how God had rescued them from a life of ruin before they died by suicide or from an overdose of meth or heroine.

As a woman old enough to be their grandmother, I was shocked at what I heard.

“I started drinking and drugging when I was ten,” said one. “And I continued for seven years. I’m nineteen now and have been clean and sober for two years thanks to the love and guidance of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.”

She went on to say that just three years prior to that evening, she had attempted to take her own life by overdosing and drinking. She had passed out and nearly died.

I suddenly felt sick to my stomach imagining a beautiful young woman with practically her whole life ahead of her even thinking about suicide. But she had. Now, however, she referred to herself as “a new creation in Christ.” She went on to share how God had shown up in her life through a Bible study she attended at the invitation of a friend who saw how much trouble she was in.

Psalm 23:1-4 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 121:7-8   The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

These and other Bible verses spoke to her in a way that no human being ever could. If God’s Word in the Bible could call out to this young woman who had been in bondage for a decade, he can do the same for you.

Take a look at this incredible YouTube video, “God’s Love Letter” based on Scripture from the Bible. It is not only inspiring–but also true.

When Someone in Debt Says: “I’ll Kill Myself”

By Karen O’Connor:

“If My Debt Overwhelms Me I’ll Just Kill Myself!”

 

Image from Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

I sat across from a pretty dark-haired young woman who appeared to be in her mid-twenties. She and I and others were in a financial planning seminar seated horseshoe fashion in front of the instructor. We were asked to go around the table introducing ourselves and sharing one thing about our financial circumstances that brought us into the room.

When it came to Melody (not her real name) she made the startling declaration that she was up to her waist in debt. Then she laughed and added, “But if my debt overwhelms me I’ll just kill myself.” I was stunned by how casual she was about the possibility of committing suicide. Her declaration shook me to the core. I couldn’t imagine money, of all things, having such a profound effect on a person that she’d give up her life rather than clean up her debt no matter how long it took.

If you’re in debt and ever had such a thought I hope you will consider the serious consequences you’d be leaving to those you love. Not only would they miss you but also they’d be stuck with your bills.

But more important, as the Bible says, “the love of money causes all kinds of evil. Some people have turned away from what we believe because they want to get more and more money. But they have caused themselves a lot of pain and sorrow.”

At this time of year when gift giving has become an overrated commercial enterprise, people throw themselves into debt in order to purchase toys and presents for those they love. One grandmother I spoke with recently told me the amount of money she’d spend on gifts for her grandkids the year before.

“I didn’t have it at the time so I put it all on my credit card, planning to pay it off by this year. But here I am still in debt and it’s time to give all over again.”

We talked for a while and I suggested she consider giving homemade presents from her kitchen—jam or jelly or cookies or home-baked bread—talents she was known for. Somehow she had sold herself short when it came to creating gifts with her own hands. But the more we talked the more excited she got about doing something simple, easy, and within her budget.

I wish I had been able to speak with the young woman at the financial planning meeting but she rushed off afterwards and I never saw her again. Suicide is never the answer to anything. God is the answer to everything!

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” [Proverbs 3: 5-6 in the Bible].

It is never too late to start over, to turn to God in humility and repentance, asking for courage and guidance and wisdom. He will not fail you. He will call you his own.

Enjoy this inspiring YouTube video on how God helps us in times of trouble.

Scripture Helps Overcome Thoughts of Suicide

By  Karen O’Connor:

One man discovered that hearing and applying scripture to his life helped him overcome thoughts of suicide.

 

Image by jdurham

Image by jdurham

 

During a class on faith building at church this week I heard an inspiring story about a man who had been so despondent about his situation that he planned to take his life. But he decided to go to church one more time before committing suicide.

That Sunday he heard a sermon on how much God loves his people—regardless of who they are and what they’ve done.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 the Bible.)

The man postponed his suicide for another week. He returned to church and heard a sermon on fear and faith.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 the Bible).

Week after week he reconsidered his decision to end his life, returning to church and always hearing just what he needed in order to hang on a little longer.

 (Jesus speaking:) “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you (Matthew 17:20 the Bible).

 “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 the Bible).

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 the Bible).

After one Sunday service the man approached the pastor and told him of his plan to commit suicide but that after listening to some of the pastor’s sermons he put his plan on hold.

“It’s been two years since my first thought to end my life,” the man admitted. “I now feel so loved that all thoughts of suicide have vanished.”

And for further encouragement take a look at this inspiring music on YouTube:

“More Than Sunlight” – Mustard Seed Faith

Loneliness Can Lead to Suicide

Image by Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Karen O’Connor:

An article by Stephen Marche in The Atlantic magazine  focuses on an important point:

“Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever.

Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.”

Loneliness can lead to suicide.

For example, soap opera star Nick Santino took his life on his 47th birthday in January 2012 after euthanizing his pit bull, Rocco, following an alleged threat from a neighbor about the dog, according to an article in US Magazine.

The man was so distraught he believed his only solution was to commit suicide, after posting his concern on Facebook and calling a former girlfriend. “Police found Santino’s body in his bedroom later that afternoon. The actor had overdosed on pills.”

This is just one of many cases of suicide following bouts of extreme loneliness and fear.

Kevin Caruso on suicide.org  encourages lonely people to take the following steps, among others:

“If you are suicidal and feel intense loneliness, please get help for your suicidal feelings. And please take steps to be less lonely. If you feel lonely and isolate yourself, your risk of suicide will increase. So, get out and talk to people. You can talk with people in stores, at events, you name it. And open up to your friends and family.”

And you can find help in the Bible. God cares about you and your feelings of loneliness.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

 Loneliness can lead to suicide but if you turn to God with your feelings he will rescue and uphold you and help you take the steps that lead to healing and caring relationships.

And for further encouragement take a look at this YouTube with Dr. Larry Crabb of NewWay Ministries—”What Does Loneliness Tell Us About Ourselves?”

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.

God Loves You and Approves of You

By Karen O’Connor:

 You may not think it’s true that God loves you and approves of you, but he does. He says so in the Bible:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew and approved of you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

God loves you, thumbs up, approval

Image by mack2happy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Imagine: the God of the universe is on your side and has been for all time. Your life is important to him and to those around you.

If you are thinking about suicide today or have thought about it in the past, I urge you to take a moment to consider this. Above all your friends, your family, your coworkers, your neighbors—God cares about you and says that your life counts.

That means you can start over today.

Pastor Joel Osteen in his message of encouragement this week, Before You Were Born, says the following:

“No matter how you may be feeling right now, no matter whose approval you didn’t get on this earth, know that Almighty God loves you and approves of you today. There’s nothing you can do now or ever to change that. You may be thinking, “I’ve made so many mistakes, how can God approve of me?

“Understand that when God sees you, He separates you from your behavior. He may not approve of your actions all the time, but He desires to help you grow and make better choices.”

Here are three steps you can take right now to start over, trusting that God loves and approves of you and wants to be Lord of your life.

  1. Buy or borrow a bible and read one psalm each day.
  2. Jot down what you learned from that reading and how it applies to you.
  3. Tell someone you trust that you want to make a fresh start and ask for support.

View and share this excellent YouTube video from Joel Osteen “Dealing With Negative Influences.”

 

When a Parent Commits Suicide

By Karen O’Connor:

When a parent commits suicide, it impacts children for the rest of their lives.

 

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“A gunshot awakened our household when I was eleven years of age,” said Marie P.,  now in her 80s. “My father, in his late 40’s at the time and a good Christian man, had taken his life, leaving my mother, my four older siblings, two younger children and me behind.”

According to Marie, her dad was not a man who would do such a thing to his family. Some believed his action was the result of a brain tumor. “But that belief didn’t take away the sting of losing him in such a tragic way,” Marie added.

 “The next few years are mostly blank pages in my memory book, except for a dream-like image of people gathered around to view the body and pay their respects.” As Marie grew up she remembers missing the presence of her father at school plays, graduation, holidays, and later, her wedding.

“My older brother became a father-figure and along with my mother continued to run a large dairy farm and keep the rest of us in school. Our lives were never the same again. I missed hearing my father and mother singing duets while Mom played the organ, Dad’s playful rough-housing with my brothers, and the way my father and I held hands on our way to and from church.”

Marie’s mother once told Marie that she grew up too early, hadn’t really had a childhood.

“Following that tragic morning when my father committed suicide, apparently I demonstrated more maturity than my age would indicate,” said Marie. She believes her desire to make something of herself was driven by a need to make her absent father proud of her.

 Marie reminds people that “the stigma of suicide is an ever-lingering presence in the minds of those left behind. She encourages families to:

“observe those around you for  changes in behavior or personality. Seek professional help. Some drugs trigger changes that can lead to tragic results. Listen for hints of hopelessness or even periods of euphoria, which can indicate a solution has been found to their despair. Learn to be a good listener, encourage dialogue, show compassion.”

As an adult, Marie is now able to speak out when she feels her experience may help others.

 To those who may be considering taking their lives when they are in despair, Marie says with conviction: “You will be taking away their most precious possession–– your presence.”

Marie turns to God when faced with problems beyond her ability to solve. “I pray, ‘God, please handle this. I can’t.’ I then let go. He can’t help me if I’m in his way.”

“He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways”

 Psalm 91:11 (the Bible).

View and share this excellent YouTube video from Joyce Meyer on trusting God when you don’t understand what is going on.

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.

Want to Give up on Life? See ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

By Karen O’Connor:

Don’t give up on life. It  may seem very dark to you right now, but there are people in your life whose world would not be the same without you.

 

Last night my husband and I watched the 1946 classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey. George nearly commits suicide in his despondency about everything going wrong in his life.

Following the prayers of his family, Clarence, an angel-in-training comes down from heaven.

As a quick aside, it’s good to know that people don’t become angels in training, or angels at all. Angels are heavenly created, powerful beings. If interested, you can read Angels by Billy Graham, or read his answer to the question: Does each person have a guardian angel that watches over them?

In the film George is about to jump off the nearest bridge. Yet he ends up ‘saving’ Clarence instead, who shows George what the world would be like if he had never been born.

Over the course of the story, George learns to not give up on life. He discovers through experience that:

“No man is a failure who has friends.”

The same is true for each one of us. No one is ever really alone if we look around at what we have rather than at what we don’t have.

The Spirit of God is always available if we simply call on him for help, as George did in a pub one night when he was at the end of his rope:

“God…God…dear Father in heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if  You’re up there and You can hear me, show me the way, I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God…'”

In an article published in Christianity Today, Stewart talked about his faith and how that scene impacted his life at that time:

“As I said those words,” Stewart shared, “I felt the loneliness and hopelessness of people who had nowhere to turn, and my eyes filled with tears. I broke down sobbing. This was not planned at all, but the power of that prayer, the realization that our Father in heaven is there to help the hopeless had reduced me to tears.”

View and share this excellent YouTube video from the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, showing George Bailey praying to God when he was in despair.

Depressed? Don’t give up on life. Instead, turn to God. Plead for His help, as George did, and allow God to reveal his plans for you. Not sure how? Visit GodTest.com.

Also see what it can be like for people left behind: Grieving the Suicide of Family Members  You can also click to read articles on Hope and Help.

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.