The season of summer always seems to bring growth into my life. For as long as I can remember, I have looked to summer with hope, expectation for care free living, and full of adventure. This summer turned out to be filled with grief, confusion, shock, and heartbreak for me.
The beginning of my summer was full of change. I moved out of my parents house and into my own. I started a new job as a bridal consultant and left my summer job that I had held since my Junior Year of High School (I’m going into my senior year of college now…so basically a lifetime!) Just kidding, but moving and starting a new job was for sure a new adventure for me.
The first few weeks of summer zoomed by. June came which meant my 21st birthday happened! Little did I know only 3 days after my birthday, I would experience the worst heartbreak of my life.
On June 11th, a loved one of mine who had suffered for a long time with chronic pain, chose to end his life. It was a Sunday afternoon, and as I planned to go to his house after church, I opted out and chose to take a nap instead and visit him later on.
I woke up an hour later from my Sunday afternoon nap to two missed calls from my Dad. I called my Dad back, asking him if everything was okay, and he responded with the tragic news that my loved one had died. As I sat in shock, tears rolling down my face, Dad revealed to me even more horrible news… that our loved one had taken his own life.
I could not grasp what Dad was saying to me. The next few hours of processing are a blur to me. I remember telling my roommate Lauren what had happened and letting my other friends know to pray for my family.
I came home to my parents and my family later that night, still in shock. When someone you love commits suicide, you automatically have tons of questions, start to wonder where to shift the blame, and struggle to not wonder what you could have done better.
The weeks following his death, I found myself at random times hearing the lies of Satan…”You should have gone and visited him but you were selfish and napped”, “You could have stopped him”, “You could have been better”, “He didn’t love you or else he wouldn’t have committed suicide”, or the one that got me the most; “You didn’t mean anything to him for him to end his life like that.”
When I was confronted with Satan’s lies, I either had the choice to believe them or to rebuke them. I found myself starting to believe them, until I was reminded through scripture that Satan is a liar.
I have had to rebuke the lies Satan has thrown at me through this everyday. No matter what we are going through we have to rebuke the lies of Satan. God will never take us through things alone. God will never talk down to us or remind us of our failures.
I found myself feeling hopeless a lot this summer. I have felt alone, anger, confusion, and have found myself where I was so exhausted that I was just proud I made it through another day. I had to give up my questions of “why?” and “what could I have done differently?” or “Could I have stopped him?” and I had to lay each question at Jesus’ feet.
I say all of this to make these points…
Suicide is not an option. If you struggle with depression or wanting to end your life, please know this is not the end, your life will get better. Talk to someone you can trust. Go to a counselor, (I’ve learned it’s okay and important to do so). In the end suicide leaves your loved ones high and dry, searching for answers,as I found it doing to me this summer. There is always a better way, and that is by looking to Jesus for a way through this life, not looking for a way out by yourself.
It’s okay to not be okay. This summer I have not been okay. It was hard to admit at times even to my friends. Death does weird things to people. It’s a topic people try to avoid. If you’ve gone through losing someone to any kind of death, you probably noticed people may not always know what to say… and that’s okay. If you have a friend going through the loss of a loved one, do not worry about what to say to them, rather just be a comfort through listening to them and prayer.
God will work out everything for good in our lives. In situations such as losing a loved one to suicide, it’s honestly very hard to find any good in it. God works through each situation in our life. It will always get better. Just because God works out everything for our good does not mean it will always be easy. It will be HARD sometimes. But, in those moments of pain, we sometimes can see Jesus clearer than we have ever seen Him. “ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Throughout the pain of this summer, I have been able to grow closer to Jesus than I could ever imagine. The hard times are sometimes unbearable, which is why we have Jesus who will take our burdens and walk through them with us. You are never alone. You are so loved. No matter what you have gone through, just know that there is always a light in the tunnel. It may be a super dim light, but it’s there. I’m currently at the beach and it is night time. I can see a boat with a light miles and miles away. I would have to go through currents, ups and downs to get to the light, but I can see it is there. Jesus promises to go through the ups and downs of our lives with us. He has never left us and He never will.
Yes, I still have days full of heartache. No, I’m not okay, but I know one day I will be. Never give up. It will always get better. Lay your burdens down at Jesus’ feet and run recklessly to Him. I guarantee He will be there with open arms for you.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” -John 14:27