This is part 1 of a 3 part series. Check back later this week for parts 2 and 3.
I remember very clearly the day I decided to end my life. I had been wrestling with the idea for months, but on this day I realized something that finalized my decision. I realized that God wasn’t going to answer my prayers.
My prayers had started out as pleas for help. God end this pain, take away the Great Sorrow. Let me feel Joy again. But He never answered. Then my prayers changed. God let me die. Let me go to sleep and not wake up tomorrow. Please let that semi swerve into my lane and crash into me. Those prayers went unanswered as well. God was ignoring me. It was time to take matters into my own hands.
So I did what I always do when faced with a difficult decision. I made a list. Not a list weighing the pros and cons of suicide. Instead I made a list of the most efficient way to follow through with the act. My first thought was a gun. We had several, but it just seemed too violent to me. I had read a book about a man who ran a hose through his exhaust pipe into the window of his car. But that sounded complicated, and I didn’t want anything to go wrong. There was always a razor blade to the wrist; I had seen that in a movie once. But I knew it would leave an unbearable mess behind, and I didn’t want my family to have to deal with that. Finally I decided; it would have to be the bottle of narcotics my trusting physician had given me to cope with the pain of recent surgery. It would be painless, peaceful even. I could finally have what I really wanted, to go to sleep and never wake up.
For months my mind had been tormented. But now that I had finally decided my mind was at rest. I was clearheaded for the first time in a long time. The voices that told me over and over again that I was a failure, that things would never change, that it was all my fault, those voices were suddenly silent. It only further convinced me that I had made the right choice.
I decided to wait until Sunday night at bedtime. That was my window. I would be alone, there would be no interruptions.
You may wonder how a good Christian girl like me could wind up feeling so hopeless that death seemed the only answer. I often wonder the same thing myself. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow gradual progress of losing my grip on reality. It started with change, then disappointment. Relocation. Loss of friends. Little things that on their own were part of normal everyday life. But these little, manageable things began to pile up. One on top of the other. And before too long I found myself drowning. Laughter left and sorrow moved in. I became reclusive. Quiet. Sad.
In the beginning I remember wondering how such great sadness could grip the heart of a child of God. I had been taught to believe that as long as you loved God, prayed, read your Bible and went to church that God would make your life wonderful. I believed that the faithful Christian never suffered. Therefore the only conclusion I could come to was there was a problem between me and my God. Perhaps I wasn’t reading my Bible enough. Maybe it was my lack of diligence with prayer. Or it could have been my uninvolvement in ministry at my local church. Desperate to be approved of by God, and consequently set free from this punishment of depression I jumped head first into the works expected of a good Christian girl.
For some strange reason it didn’t work. No amount of Bible reading or prayer lifted the black cloud that enveloped my life.
I know now that I was doing everything wrong. I went to God demanding answers. I opened my Bible in search of a magic formula. I went to church because it was expected of me. But my heart was shut down, closed off, walled up. My pursuit of God was not for love, but for relief. And wrong motives never lead to right outcomes.
So I stopped. I stopped praying. Stopped reading my Bible. Stopped listening to Christian music. I still went to church, but I showed up at the last possible minute, and left before the closing prayer. And even while I was in the building I was running from God. I found every excuse I could to leave the sanctuary and go hide in the bathroom, nursery, or random hallway. God had forgotten me, why should I give Him any of my time or attention?
If you are suffering today can I ask you to please get help? My story doesn’t end here, in fact this is just the beginning. God wants to rescue and redeem us from the deepest darkest pit. Will you hold to Him?