Why Not End My Life If I Have Nothing Left to Give?

By Lisa Copen

“I am exhausted. I am in so much pain. No one knows how hard it is to just get through each day. I am of no value to anyone. . . Why choose to live?

Have you ever felt that way? It can be hard to see value in life when you don’t feel productive, but even when we don’t have a list of accomplishments, we are still cherished by God. And you never know how your situation may actually be encouraging someone when you don’t even realize it.

When my grandfather was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, my grandmother basically couldn’t see the need for him to keep living. She was–coldly–ready to move on and felt like he was holding her back. As she complained about him for the umpteenth time I looked her firmly in the eye and spoke my mind.

“Grandma, he may not know what is going on, but he is joyful. Every day, every single person that comes into his room has their day brightened by his joy. They love him. You don’t know what those people may have been going through. A nurse could have been beaten by her spouse last night; an attendant may be losing his own father to this disease but he lives across the country and he can’t be with him. Grandpa may be the only person in their life who makes them smile. You don’t know how God is still using him.”

I am not certain she understood. But even as I said the words, I realized just how true they were. Even while he was suffering and not completely aware of who people were, he radiated joy and passed that on.

I have heard the saying, “It all works out in the end and if it has not worked out, then it is not the end.” Perhaps you have asked, “Why choose to live when I have nothing left to give?” Maybe you wonder if you are of use because of your disabilities, mental health challenges, financial struggles, etc. But whatever it is, these are just your circumstances–not you.

We all have something to give, even though some days we can only give our tears. What? How can crying help someone? Each day I see people who are discouraged and downtrodden who live with physical chronic pain, and even as they share their discouragement, their needs, their depression, others step up and encourage them. Not only do people who woke up feeling useless feel needed, they also have their own sufferings validated.

Yes, inspirational, encouraging videos and words are always welcome, but some days we just need to know that someone else is suffering too and and it is not all rainbows and smiley faces. We are all in this thing called life together. You are always valuable to the Lord, but your willingness to be vulnerable, to share the real you, can make you vessel to reach someone else who feels unneeded, when no one else can.

In 2011, following a discouraging appointment with my rheumatologist and frustrated with the circumstances of my illness, I came home and made a “real” video. Instead of my typical “Latte with Lisa” this one was called “Lisa: Unfiltered“. . . And I cried. If you feel up to seeing a gal fall apart, but still see God in it, you may want to take a listen. It’s not pretty, but it is honest.

To date, this is the highest watched video I have ever done, but even as I pressed that publish button I wondered, “what have I done?” What I had done was just allow people to see me–the real me that gets discouraged sometimes like everyone else. If you ever wonder if your tears can encourage someone else, this video may help you see how that happens.

You may think: Why not end my life if I have nothing left to give? But that’s not true: your life itself is a gift, and there is hope.

Your life has value because you are you. Suicide is never the answer. You don’t need to be perfect, you don’t need to have it all together, you don’t need to be happy-go-lucky all the time. God loves you. . . just the way you are.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

Why is Life so Hard if God Won’t Allow More Than I Can Handle?

By Lisa Copen:

Why is life so hard?

 

Over and over I have heard the saying, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” But what about the pain. . . the grief. . . the depression. . . the darkness? It is more than we can handle. Much more. There are days that we wonder, is life worth living if we have to get up every day and fight to be strong?

We look enviously at others who seem to not struggle and wonder why God seems to bless those that can handle so little, and curse those of us who are so strong.

As I have dealt with the physical and emotional losses since my twenties when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I have heard this cliche answer from the stranger at the store to my pastor who was grasping to instill encouragement at my hospital bedside.

Have you noticed how people ask, “So, how are you?” and no matter how badly things are, and how honest you may be with them, their answer is, “Well, God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”? In other words, buck up! Hang in there! Find something to get your mind off of it. Get out of the house. Don’t worry because God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.

It feels like they are saying, “Obviously you aren’t handling life’s challenges nearly as well as I am.”

Let me tell you something that may come as a surprise. God does give us more than we can handle. Every day He may place us in the position where the pain is too much to bear. Why? Because we were never meant to do this life without Him! He gives you more than you can handle–but not how much you and He–together–can handle.

Hebrews 13:5 tells us, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” And Philippians 4:13 reminds us that we were not created to do this life on our own. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We do not have to be strong on our own.

There will be days when you may wake up and think, I can’t do this. I cannot keep living this way. Why is life worth living if I can’t meet the expectations of others or even myself? I cannot figure out how to get rid of this darkness that haunts me.

There are no simple answers, except to speak to God about it. You were designed to need to turn to Him a million times a day. God does give you more than you can handle because you were never meant to handle it.

In the video below, vocal artist Matthew West, speaks to a young girl who has experienced 13 surgeries due to one car accident. Her mom tried to encourage her by telling her God wouldn’t give her more than she could handle. Her response–and her journey–became the inspiration for song, “Strong Enough,” which is also included in the video.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

On days you are wondering Why is life so hard?  visit Finding God Daily. There you will find stories from many who have overcome great obstacles with God’s help.

Why Bother Living When Facing a Serious Infection?

By Lisa Copen:

When you cope with health problems, you hold on and fight to stay positive, but there are days when you can easily wonder, “Why bother living when I am facing the pain of a serious infection?”

It was the seventh day of being hospitalized with the flesh eating bacteria and I felt so alone. The couple of people who had visited were friends my husband had emailed or called and pleaded that they stop by to say hello, since the original announcement of my hospitalization had not resulted in any visitors or calls.

Sitting there feeling so alone, I refused to cry. If I started, I knew the tears wouldn’t stop. My husband had to work. My mom was flying to town to help once I was released from the hospital, but now I had to have the big, painful procedure of debriding the dead skin that had turned black on my ankle.

I may live with painful rheumatoid arthritis daily, but the truth is, I am a wimp when it comes to painful procedures where I have no control over someone else’s actions.

The nurse came in and helped the surgeon prepare, and then she grabbed my hand. “I know it is scary, honey, but I am not going anywhere. I will be here the entire time and hold your hand. Squeeze if hurts. Just pretend I am your mom.”

I squeezed when the pain of the procedure became unbearable and tears flowed down my cheeks without a sound, but having that hand to hold made the difference.

So often we feel like life is just not worth living anymore and it is not unusual when you are dealing with a serious infection or illness to have suicidal thoughts. If we have to go through the tough times alone, and the people who know us and love us cannot even be here, why bother hanging on? When you live with daily chronic pain and then additional infections threaten to take your life, why not just give in and end the pain?

Because someone will hold your hand. Pray for a hand to hold, whether it be a stranger or a best friend. In Genesis 21:17 we read that when the fourteen-year-old Ishmael cried, God heard him and sent His angel to tell his mother, “Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand. . .”

And those times when no one appears? God is there to hold your hand.

When you see someone who is hurting, ask them if you can take their hand in some way. You may find purpose in your life today by just holding the door open for one who is struggling, taking a box into the post office for one who is in need. Lift someone up by taking your hand and offering it to someone in need. You may never know the difference you have made. They may have been wondering that very day, “Why bother living?” and you have let them know there is hope.

This song below, “Hold Her Hands,” is written by Carolynn Grace who shares, “I wrote this song about a close friend of mine who went through a stage of depression, but God pulled her through. He is always faithful and his love never fails.”

nEIPoV-eU-U

 Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization,  Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.