Why Am I Here?

By Martha Bolton:

Do you have days when you wonder, “Why am I here?”

 

Why by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos net

Do you ever wonder why? Why are you reading this right now? Why did that person say an encouraging word to you today? Or send you a card, or smile at you as you passed them on the street?

Why did you decide to remember the people who love you? Why did you pick up that phone and start to call a friend?

There’s a reason. There’s a reason you’re reading this. There’s a reason someone reached out to you, or is praying for you right now. You may not even know their name, but there’s a reason God put your name on their heart.

So why? What is the reason?

To remind you that whatever you’re going through, you’re going to make it.  It may not seem like it right now, but there is hope. There is a lifeline–all you have to do is reach for it.

Talk to anyone you know and ask them this one question: “What was the darkest moment of your life?”

I guarantee you they can tell you. They can tell you in great detail, I’m sure, because most people have been there, right where you are right now. They, too, have been blindsided by some unforeseen pain, devastated by an unwanted loss, bullied by heartless people who may or may not realize the damage their hurtful words and actions have caused. But they survived it all. And you can too.

There are many lifelines that you can reach for. Talk to a parent, friend, pastor, get professional counseling, read books filled with life-changing advice and encouragement, read the Bible, and pray. But be pro-active in your recovery.

There’s a reason you’re reading this right now. It’s not an accident. The world needs to benefit from the gifts that you have been given. It needs to learn from the experiences you’ve had. And someone out there needs YOU to keep going until you find hope again, and then have you share it with them.

See more helpful articles by Martha Bolton here at Thinking About Suicide to offer you hope and encouragement.

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!

 

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.

Bullied No More! a Poem by Martha Bolton

By Martha Bolton:

How can you experience victory over bullying? Part of the solution is how you choose to react and seek support.

 

Recently a young jewelry designer took her own life,  leaving behind notes describing how she’d been bullied by some co-workers and classmates in the fashion industry.

It’s a tragedy when someone takes his or her own life because of ill treatment by others. But everyone who is bullied can make a choice. If only that young woman could have turned her terrible experiences around, and positively helped herself and others who face similar circumstances by standing up, standing firm, and reaching out for help.

We believe God could have helped her get through that dark moment and find her way back into the light.

          I’ve been bullied myself; I know it’s no fun.

          So what can a bullied person do?

Image by imagerymajestic  FreeDigitalPhotos net

I will be bullied no more!

 BULLIED NO MORE

Say enough is enough by your standing; not by your retreat.

Say enough is enough through your triumphs; not by your defeat.

Say enough is enough with your faithful friends standing up for you.

Say enough is enough by telling your mom and dad and teacher, too.

Say enough is enough by being you, not by returning hate.

Say enough is enough by rising above, instead of biting their bait.

No one can make you be less than you are.  So remember when things get tough,

The ones who matter will have your back ‘cause enough is enough is enough!

© 2013 Martha Bolton

To be bullied NO MORE, and find hope when you are suffering from bullying, these articles may help:

 

Bullying Prevention Tips for Parents and Kids

Stop Bullies with Self-Confidence and God’s Help!

How to Stop Cyberbullying

Cyberbullied: Handling Mean Texts and Online Posts

 

 

Do I Matter?

By Martha Bolton:

Are you asking yourself, “Do I matter?” The answer is a resounding YES.

 

Recently, I had to say goodbye to someone who at times would ask herself if her life mattered. It did, of course. It mattered a great deal to many, many people. People whose lives she had touched are still coming forward with stories of how this wonderful lady played a major role in helping them see their own worth.

That’s someone whose life mattered. Most of the time she knew that. But sometimes, in those low moments of life…

 

No matter what you’re telling yourself right now, or what someone else is trying to make you believe, you do matter.  You matter to those who love you. 

You should matter to yourself, too. No human being knows your needs better than you do. So nurture yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to come along and do it, or spend your life wishing someone had done a better job of that. Be your own best friend, your own mother, your own father, if need be.

Examine your self-talk, too. Make sure what you’re telling yourself is encouraging and hopeful, rather than discouraging and hopeless. Your self-talk is important because your heart is always eavesdropping.

There’s someone else who believes that you matter, and that’s God.

I’d say that’s a pretty impressive circle of support. Even if you can’t feel it right now, you’ve got back up.

So don’t let someone else spin your worth into what they want you to believe. You are the only one who can listen to the naysayers. You are the only one who can throw in the towel. But don’t. Don’t surrender. Don’t give up. Never ever give up.

This wonderful lady’s life did come to an end on its own, but she went out triumphantly, with gentle acceptance and a smile on her face. She left this earth finally knowing she mattered, surrounded by a strong circle of love.

In fact, in her final year of life, she began to see how much she had accomplished, some people asked her forgiveness, and many told her what a positive influence she had made in their life. She was both pleased and amazed by it all.

When I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to do, anything on her bucket list, anything she felt she still hadn’t yet accomplished or done, she said in complete satisfaction, “I’ve done enough.”

Live your life so that when you get to the natural end of it you can say, “I’ve done enough.”

You’re not there yet—there’s plenty more for you to do. Get busy doing what you were placed here on earth to do, whatever that is. You might start seeing your own circumstances change. You might realize how much you’ve already accomplished and want to do even more.

That’s the funny thing about positive activity—once you start it, you really do begin to feel better about your own situation. You start seeing the truth that you really do matter—to God, to those close to you, to complete strangers who come across your path and need a word of encouragement, and you begin to matter to a very important person—yourself.

Reach for a Helping Hand if You Feel Suicidal

By Martha Bolton:

 

Feel suicidal? As if you are drowning, emotionally? Ask for help.  Sometimes it only takes one hand to make a difference, and people are waiting to offer you that.

 

When I was young, I went to a pool party with a youth group.  I didn’t know how to swim so I stayed in the shallow end most of the time.  That is, until the leader and I started playing a tag-like game in the water.  Not realizing I couldn’t swim, he went under the water and grabbed my legs and took me into the deep end.  I tried standing on his back to keep myself afloat, but  needing air, he playfully knocked me off and then swam away.  Now I was in the deep end without anyone to hold on to and I immediately began to sink.

But then, I felt my body rising back toward the surface.  I didn’t break through the water, except for my hands.  I tried waving them frantically, but no one noticed, and down I went again.  That’s once, I thought to myself, recalling the “three chances” rule I had always been told about drowning victims.  I wasn’t sure if it was true or not–about getting those three chances–but I started counting anyway.

As my body rose upward for the second time, I hoped and prayed that someone would notice me.  But that time only the tips of my fingers cleared the surface.  Down I went again.

The third time up was even more hopeless as no part of my body made it out of the water.  That was my third and final chance, I thought.  I went back over my young life and prepared to meet my Maker.

I could feel my body moving upward a fourth time.  I was thankful for one extra chance, but that time I didn’t get anywhere near the surface.  I figured I had no other choice but to accept my fate.

And then I heard…

“Hey, look, she’s drowning!”  It was one of the youth. Someone had finally seen me!

From that moment until the moment my youth pastor swam over and rescued me, I knew I was going to be alright.

That’s all it takes—just one person to notice that someone is drowning and do something about it.

Ironically, while I was under that water, I could hear the sounds of all the people gathered there that day.  They were laughing, eating, and having a great time.  They were also totally oblivious that someone only a few feet away from them was going down for the last time.

Maybe you feel like you’re drowning right now and you’ve been waiting a long time for someone to notice.  This website is here 24-7 to notice.  There are resources listed here that will help you.  Caring people at suicide prevention hotlines are ready to notice, too.  People who’ve been where you are right now are waiting to talk with you.  So what can you do?  Call out.  Let someone know you’re drowning.  If they don’t hear you, don’t give up.  Keep hanging on.  Keep praying.  And keep hoping.  Someone will eventually see you and reach out to help you.  And never forget that God’s hand is always reaching out it your direction. Take it. All it takes is one hand to pull you to safety.

Keep Writing Your Story

By Martha Bolton:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Depressed? Let the Good In.

By Martha Bolton:

Are you feeling depressed? Let the good in. Open the door and let the light shine into your weary and sad soul.

 

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m not sure what it is about human nature that makes our negative memories or disappointments loom so much bigger than all the good moments in our lives.

But during those times when we’re feeling down, that’s exactly what happens, isn’t it?

We have difficulty remembering the good days, the happy times, words of encouragement that we’ve heard or read, the love we’ve been blessed with, and the laughter we’ve shared with others throughout our lives.

Everything seems so dark and murky; the good buried deep beneath that muddled mess of disappointments.

But it’s there.  Every memory you once cherished, every smile that was ever given in your direction, the love, the laughs, the “You can make it!” exhortations, the comments from total strangers, the compliments, the sacrifices made on your behalf (some you may not even realize or want to admit)—they’re all there.  Dig for them.  Look for them.  They’re worth finding.

Seeing the whole picture of your life can be healing, especially if you’ve only been looking at darkness lately.  It’s like living in a boarded up house with no light shining through anywhere.  The darkness is real, but so is the light.  It’s there, but it’s just been blocked out for a myriad of reasons for far too long.

Unblock it.  Allow the good of your life to seep in wherever it can.  Make a list of your good memories as you begin to recall them and post it on your refrigerator or wall.  Look at it often and add to it as other “good memory” events and people come to mind.

The truth of everyone’s life includes both bad and good.  None of us are exempt from bad or shielded from good.  Start giving the good in your life equal billing.

Open up a window and let some sunlight through.  You may find that one opened window will lead to the next one, and the next one, and before you know it, you’ll have opened up the door, too.  When you do, you might be surprised to see just how many people have been standing out there waiting for that moment, too.

Suicidal? Ask for Help: Send Up a Flare!

By Martha Bolton:

Feeling suicidal? Or seriously depressed?  Do ask for help. Send up a flare!

Image from Wikipedia: Flares are sent up during military exercises so soldiers are prepared for when they must call for help.

If you had been hit by a car, you wouldn’t get up and limp along on broken legs, hoping bones would snap back into place, would you? Or  if suffering from internal bleeding, hope it would somehow stop on its own?

Of course not.

Some situations we go through in life can leave us feeling like we’ve been hit by a car, can’t they?  Or a train.

But just as we wouldn’t expect our bodies to heal on their own from a real car wreck, we can’t expect our emotions to heal on their own in the aftermath of life’s disappointments and calamities either.

If you’re injured, send up a flare.  Let someone know you’re hurting.

Help is available.

Call a hotline, a friend, your pastor, a counselor; call someone!  If you can’t reach your first choice, call the next one.  And the next.  Keep going until the right person for that moment in your life answers.

Even if you’re already getting help, but find yourself at an especially low point right now, speak up and tell someone.  If you were in the hospital after a car wreck, and the pain got too severe during the night, you’d ring for the nurse, right?  No matter what time it was, you’d let her know how badly you were feeling.

If it’s in the middle of your night, if the emotional pain is unbearable, pick up the phone and make a call.  Or walk into the next room and wake someone up.  Reach out to somebody.  Like injuries sustained in a car wreck, many emotional injuries can’t sufficiently heal without being attended to either.

So don’t limp along on your brokenness, hoping your emotions will heal on their own and then when they don’t, take matters into your own hands. Suicide isn’t the answer.

You’ve been wounded, perhaps deeply.  There’s no shame in asking for help for those wounds.  Don’t attempt to go it alone.  Wounds can heal. Broken hearts can mend.  Disappointments can turn around.  Pain can subside.  But the first step is to let someone know you’re bleeding.

Feeling suicidal?  Not sure who to call?

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

‘Nobody Cares’ and Other Lies

By Martha Bolton:


[Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

They’re lies–those thoughts that swirl around in your head when life seems to have turned upside down.

Nobody cares.

I have no friends.

The world would be better off without me.

Lies.

I’m not sure why some people back away when their friend goes through a crisis.  Maybe they don’t know what to say. Maybe they’re waiting until they deal with their own problems before they can reach out and help someone else. Or maybe they’re just not a strong enough friend to depend on in the rough places of life. They’re superficial friends, and that’s okay.

You’ll know that now.  We all have both kinds—the good times friends and the hard times friends. The problems comes when we put the right friend in the wrong column.

You may be wondering where any of your friends are right now. And if they are your friends, why are they being so silent?

All I can tell you is to not base your future on what someone else does or doesn’t do.  Determine to make it through your crisis, even if the only people on your team is God and yourself.  I promise you when it’s over, you will hear story after story of where people were in their lives while you were going through your lowest point. They’ll explain how they wanted to stay in touch, but thought you wanted your space. Whether you did or didn’t want space, it’s their honest reason for remaining silent.

Or they’ll tell you heartbreaking stories of how their own life was in shambles at the same time yours was, and you might regret not being in a place that you could have been there for them. And some will not even have realized that you were going through anything at all, apologize, and promise to never let you walk alone again.  They may even turn out to be your closest friend from here on out.

Remind yourself that misunderstandings happen all the time:

“Did you get my call?”

“You called?”

“At least six times.  Did you change your phone number?”

“I guess we did since the last time we talked.”

 

“Did your brother tell you I asked about you?”

“No.  Guess he’s had a lot on his mind.”

 

“We’ve prayed for you at church every Sunday.  You remember the old group.  We laugh so much at some of the things we used to do.

“Really?”

“I had no idea you were feeling so down.  I just thought…”

Please don’t base your self-worth on what might be a simple misunderstanding.  Don’t base your self-worth on anyone else’s opinion or actions. You may have friends that you care deeply about, but that you haven’t called for one reason or another. They may be going through a rough patch in their life, too.

The bottom line is what your mind might be telling you right now could all be lies.

What is truth? God loves you, He cares about you, and He has a plan for your life. There are people in your life who love and care about you, even when you are thinking nobody cares. You may not see God’s plan right now, but no matter how far away from it you’ve gotten, or how far away you feel, it hasn’t changed one bit. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Looking for something to believe in?  Believe that verse. He cares about you and wants to give you hope. He has plans for your life. And you have a future.