The deal that I made with God that night was basically this: God, if you don’t help me out of this black hole, and quickly, then I’m going to take myself out of it for You.
Now, please understand that I was a young, desperate teenager. I don’t think that I would have ever had the guts to really end my young life. But still, it was ALL that I could think about. I became obsessed with the idea. I thought and thought and thought about it all day everyday until I felt like I was already just a walking dead person. For months I lived this way. Waking up and thinking of death. Drifting off to sleep thinking of death. Burning my arms. Smothering in hate.
And so, I told God it was up to Him to save my life. I did this out of anger towards Him… I wanted Him to see how He’d let things get so out-of-control, and that He’d really messed things up. What I didn’t realize was that even in all of that anger and manipulation, I’d finally come to a place where I was desperate for Him. I realized that I needed Him for the first time in my life. He was actually, literally, holding all of me in His hands- even if I’d shoved it at Him in rage.
I honestly thought that if I had the guts to end my life, it would actually prove something to the people who’d hurt me and that I would have the final word. These thoughts are twisted and wrong, obviously, but I still had them. Most of this was just the fantasy of what people would think, do, or say if I did end it all… They would regret the pain they’d caused and realize they should have done more to help me. My young heart was craving validation and love in the midst of all my pain. I felt invisible. I wanted to be seen.
I have to stop here to say that anyone who is having or has had these thoughts of death needs to be taken seriously. Even if you think it’s just a ploy for attention or something said in the heat of a moment, you need to STOP, listen, and get them some help. Fast. Why take the risk of blowing such a huge threat off? If someone says or alludes to the fact that they don’t want to live anymore, it has to be something they have been thinking about for far too long. Because even one millisecond of thoughts like these is FAR TOO LONG. So take action.
A good friend of ours had taken his own life not long before I started having these thoughts. He was a brilliant, funny, and extremely gifted young man. He loved God. He had lots of friends and seemed to have it “all together”.
And then, one day, he was just… gone. Lost to his own hand. He had put a worship album in his CD player, set it to repeat, and ended it all. Christians are not immune to suicide. No one is.
Too many young people die this way. Are they screaming and no one is listening? Or are they silent because they don’t think anyone would “take them seriously”? His death was obviously a crushing blow to his friends and family. Chris, his best friend Jon, and my friend Rebecca all came over to my parent’s house after they’d heard what happened, and we all just laid in my dark bedroom for HOURS- unable to move or eat or talk. The grief was insurmountable. And in all honesty, I found myself relating to his ultimate desperation- wondering if it made sense for me.
But you know what? God is faithful.
I thought He’d been far from me- distant and cold. But, really, He had been close and bursting with compassion for me the whole time. He had seen my broken heart, drawn nearer than my breath, and reached out His hand. He had been bottling every tear that I had cried. He had never left me- he had always been in my room with me when I was feeling so alone and lashing out at the world by scarring my own flesh.
I didn’t realize until much later how God had orchestrated my rescue, because it was so… well, unexpected. Isn’t that always the way? I was thinking it was going to look a certain way, and then a trap door opened under my feet and, before I knew what had happened, I was piled in my Nissan Pathfinder with three strangers that I’d never even met before– headed for Washington State.
It was the beginning of my journey back to LIFE.
**to be continued…**