Saturday, June 9, 2018

Behind the mask

Good morning my sister warriors-

Today, I'm going to talk about a topic that is close to my heart, suicide. Unfortunately, this tremendously sad and lonely act has hit my family twice and when I was young almost got me too. This is very personal for many reasons but so important to discuss on a public forum.

This week two very successful, public figures died at their own hand. One strangled herself and the other was found in his hotel room in France. They both seemed to have it all.  Money, fame, and adoration surrounded their earthly lives but it wasn't enough. Lurking somewhere deep within them was failure, loss, loneliness and a lack of hope for tomorrow.  These are the symptoms of suicide and often they aren't seen.

Since the 90's childhood suicide is up 30%, 1% would be bad and yet, we are up 30% in the US. Our masks have gotten better, more beautiful and far less revealing than what's really happening inside our minds.

You might not know Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain. You might not have had suicide hit your family and you may never have experienced the thoughts that run through your mind. I pray you haven't. Statistics, however, are indicating that it's possibly 3 out of 10 people who are experiencing the thoughts that lead to this horrible act. Not only is it sudden, raw and devastating it leaves those that knew them, loved them and needed them;feeling guilty, lost, confused and defeated. The questions survivors ask themselves are: Why didn't I see the signs?, Why couldn't they have asked for help?, Wasn't I enough to keep them here?, Why didn't they want to stay?, Didn't they love me?, and the biggest one, WHY?

The children left behind will feel abandoned and like they weren't enough and the adults will rattle this around in their minds for the rest of their lives. Because we all feel like we can save people from the feelings and acts that are negative and destructive. Unfortunately, we don't have that kind of power only Christ does.

Depression, addiction, loneliness and turmoil lead to this line of thinking. The more a person can hide behind the mask the deeper the devil has a chance to churn those dark thoughts. The Bible calls it the pit of despair and boy is it. If you live on this earth, there is a chance you have felt lost, lonely and depressed. Many factors go into the deceptor and his ways. It starts small, maybe it's striving to be a success or making more money.  It could be the failure of your marriage or a loss of a child. It might be the fact that you've looked for that partner forever and you're still alone or maybe you are a child that's being bullied, being abused, or worse has been raped. These are all areas where people can fall down.

People contemplating suicide can hide these inner thoughts well. They can put on a smile and play along with the world as if everything is alright. To the outside world they are normal. Inside their minds these negative thoughts are causing lost sleep, the need to medicate or to run so fast everyone thinks they are supermen and women. These masks are the disruptors finest art. The better the mask the more people begin to feel like life isn't worth living and no one needs them anyway and this is the biggest LIE. You were born for a God-given purpose and every human on this earth was placed by a loving God who is near.

The destroyer taints what God has created. He is like a lion waiting to destroy you with one swipe and if he can get you isolated in your mind and with your flesh, he will pursue you. That's why the Bible talks about the full armor of God. There is a reason we must become one with Jesus in Spirit and in truth. The Word and the Spirit are powerful and will fill you with light, sometimes it's just a glimmer but a glimmer of the Holy light is all we need to weather tremendous storms. It's when the light is lost that suicide happens and that's what we must be aware of and pray against.

I, once thought there was no hope. I felt abandoned, my mom and I weren't getting along, college wasn't going well and I had gone through a series of bad relationships. All I wanted was to be loved and there was no love, no great friends, really no one. I went to school and work with a mask on. People thought I was so happy, that is, most people. My boss was a Christian and for some reason he just knew I needed Jesus. I was working at a Walmart pharmacy and I was lucky enough to work for a man that lived what he believed. Somehow God gave him a glimpse of what was behind my mask and before I knew it, I was accepting an invitation to a revival.

I was proud that no one knew I hated myself, that I felt unworthy and unloved. I had everyone fooled except my Savior. He was watching over me, whispering to a man I worked for. Larry asked me to go and I did and it was at this meeting, I found Jesus. I wish I could say that I never put on another mask but I have. I know how to hide when needed. Like all of us, I have times I feel unworthy and not enough but they don't last long because Jesus is my reason to live and through His word I can fight off the destroyer and carry Him in my heart, spirit and flesh. We are conquerors when the light fills us in our darkest times.

I tell you my story so that you understand that normal, everyday people go through times where they get deep into the pit of despair and as much as I believe in counselling and talking to people, in order to fight a dark spiritual battle, you need more, you need Jesus. The Bible says, He is the light of the world. We need the light, our children need the light and we must seek His wisdom daily to gain that light.

The destroyer hates light. He loves images and masks. He is the great deceptor spinning his evil dark thoughts and if allowed he will destroy. DON'T LOSE HOPE. God is near, He has been since He created the moon and the stars. He made us in His own image. He is our lamp unto our feet. The war between dark and light will go on until Jesus comes once again. That is a fact. Another fact is we will suffer from depression, conflict, turmoil and tribulations but there is one that holds you close and that's Jesus. No one comes to the Father unless they confess Jesus Christ Lord and Savior. The first step in getting those suicidal thoughts out of your head is to be covered by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Jesus can unveil the mask, cast off the deception and bring light into your darkened mind and soul. He paid the price of ALL sin and He knows what you're facing. He spent 40 days and nights being tempted by the evil one. And through it all, He said man does not eat bread alone but every word of God. Why words? Because the Bible is the lamp unto our feet. It is the sword that allows us to conquer those dark thoughts and it's the truth. Those other thoughts, negative, penetrating dark thoughts are not of a loving maker, they are of a destroyer.

If you are in the midst of feeling like the world is against you, that you don't want to wake up another day on this earth, please walk into a church, find a pastor, talk to someone and ask about Jesus. If you are afraid to do that, then right where you are ask Jesus to show you the LIGHT. The Bible says, when we seek Him we will find Him. Get online and Google Bible, there are free resources like the Bible app. Jesus is at your fingertips. He will make Himself known I promise.

The event I describe here happened when I was 19 years old. I can tell you that if Larry hadn't been the man he was, I'm not sure I would be here today. The God of all understanding knew who needed to invite me, when to invite me and opened my heart to receive Him. Thirty-three years later I have fought many battles with the destroyer and it has taken the Word to be my sword and My Savior to fight the good fight. Due to my trials, I pray for people, I understand and have empathy for the lost and lonely and I know that with Jesus we can and will stand for our God-given purpose in this life with hope and the security of knowing that we have a God that loves us in all our mess.

I believe that suicide is a spiritual battle and we must fight it with the only thing we have, the Words of God. We must pray and condition our minds, hearts and spirits to hear from our Lord and Savior. We must pray over schools, mental health clinics, daycares and mansions. If you have believed that you aren't meant to live another day, please go to someone and tell them. There is nothing sexy about suicide, it devastates those left behind. Notes don't help. Only you will fill the need your family has for you to be here. And if you want someone anonymous reach out to me. I will pray for you and if you're willing I will lead you to Jesus for He is the great counselor. You are valued and needed, please just reach out.

I pray my story and these words bring you hope for the future. Hope resides in Jesus.

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 NIV

For God gave us a Spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

The God of Peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Romans 16:20 NIV


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