Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

The Depths of Despair

The Depths of Despair

In the last few days, I’ve had two people I love admit suicide has crossed their minds. TWO.

These are not loners with no friends and nothing going for them. They are smart. Kind. Compassionate. Well-educated. Successful. They are loved by family and friends. On the outside, it would appear they have everything.

On the inside, they are suffering with demons of depression and anxiety. Life circumstances have robbed them of joy. They are only going through the motions of life some days, finding it a struggle to get their lives on track.

How does this happen? How do normal people become so low they contemplate the ultimate act to end the pain? How do people who know and love God become so distressed they think there are no other options?

I won’t even pretend to fully understand. I am not a mental health expert. I am only a human who loves Jesus and loves people.

But I do kind of understand.

Ten years ago, my husband had just left, and I found my perfect life shattering before me. I was a single mom trying to raise three young kids on my own with no real job to speak of. My kids and I had suddenly become a statistic.

These things aren’t supposed to happen to God’s chosen, to those who have faithfully served Him, or so I thought. But here I was, lower than I ever imagined I could go.

I was driving down the road one day, overwhelmed with the pain that had become my life. I looked off the side of the road, over the cliff. The thought crossed my mind that I could simply veer my car off that ledge and end it all. The pain would be over. I wouldn’t have to face another ounce of pain. I would be with my Savior where there are no more tears, no more pain.

The thought was inviting.

Until I thought about my kids.

My kids were suffering so much. If something happened to me, what would happen to them? I knew my kids needed me.

They needed the stability I could give them.

They needed the unconditional love I have for them.

They needed to see someone rise from the ashes to find joy again.

They needed to see someone thrive in the midst of difficult circumstances.

They needed to see God resurrect a broken life from the ashes of devastation.

They needed me to make the decision to thrive, not just survive.

And so, in that moment, I focused my mind on becoming all God had created me to be. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I became like Daniel and in that moment made a life-altering decision that would guide my steps the rest of my days.

In that moment, I chose to live and I have never once regretted it.

As humans, we face a life that can be filled with despair. Even us Christians can reach such a low point that we think suicide can be the answer. If you have been there—if you are there—can I please ask you to do a few things?

Tell someone. Do not suffer alone for one more minute. You may think something is wrong with you, that you should never experience this level of despair as a Christian. The truth is that none of us is beyond the grips of depression. One of the individuals who told me about having suicidal thoughts voiced that he could never understand how anyone could be that low—until he was. And, it wasn’t until I told him about my own brush with suicide that he felt comfortable and confident to share his own feelings.

Please, I beg you, find a safe person and tell them what you are experiencing. It might be a friend or a family member. It might be a pastor or a counselor. It might be a co-worker. I don’t know who it might be, but find someone and share your thoughts. Don’t let those thoughts keep you separated from God or others any longer.

Remember who you are. Chosen. Masterpiece. Loved. Blessed. Valuable. Redeemed. Forgiven. Royalty. There are so many words to describe who you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), and you were designed with a purpose.

Yes, you have a purpose! Even your suicidal thoughts serve a purpose. Maybe that purpose is to draw you back into relationship with God. Maybe that purpose is to minister to others in similar situations. Maybe that purpose is to be a life-changer in the kingdom of God.

I don’t care who you are, but you are worthy of love and you are destined for great things (Ephesians 2:10).

Focus on the future. This goes along with your purpose. Maybe today the waters are murky and you can’t see your hand in front of your face because of the pain and despair.

But God has a beautiful future for you!

For me, I needed to see the faces of my children in a future without me. It still brings tears to my eyes. For one friend, he had to see all of the blessings in his life. For yet another, it was the hopes and dreams and aspirations he holds bottled up inside of him.

Pain and depression are but a season. The day will come when joy returns. Don’t let today’s pain rob you of tomorrow’s beauty.

Know God will use your story. I listened to sermon this week on being called. Pastor Craig Groeschel said that often our greatest pain is the point of our greatest calling. I know that’s been true for me. What if I had chosen to sulk and remain bitter about my divorce? I would have never had the opportunity to help others. What was my point of greatest pain has become the place from which I minister to others.

And the same can be true for you. Look at your pain as a testing ground for your faith, a place where you can find the love and healing of a gracious Father who loves us so much. Call out to Him. Ask Him to take this pain and use it for your good and His glory.

He will never leave you where you are.

Father God, my heart aches for all of my friends who are hurting and feel so alone. Pour out your love and blessings on them today. Help them to see themselves through your eyes, as beautiful, chosen children of God. Give them the courage to tell someone about their pain, to open their hearts to someone who can be available. Give them discernment to find the right person. Give them eyes to see the future from your perspective, a place where their pain has purpose. Let joy arise within them as they see your goodness, even in the midst of the pain of this world. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen

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