A friend who I hold very dear is going through a serious rough patch in their life right now. Talking to them led me to the question that has been on my heart for months: when is it all just too much? How much pain and suffering does one have to endure before they reach their breaking point? Can a person die from an overload of heartbreak or emotional suffering?
I was in this very place in my life some time ago. I ended an abusive marriage that not only damaged my boys’ trust of men, it eviscerated any trust and assurance I had gained in the years I was single.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I sat on my couch with a bottle of pills for most of the day. Pen and a pad of paper in hand. I screamed at God with sobs that wracked my entire being. I convinced myself that my boys would be better off without me…that they would be safer. I just wanted the fear and the relentless misery to stop. I, too, felt completely empty.
How does one go about writing a suicide note to their loved ones? This goodbye letter that must contain everything you have on your heart and the reasons behind why you’re abandoning them. It must contain how much you love them, but how do you explain the vast expanse of your love for them in writing a letter of goodbye? The answer is you can’t. No amount of explaining, no words of affirmation and love, nothing will ever be enough because you will be gone and in your place sits a piece of paper, and try as you might, they will never ever understand why you willingly left them.
I must have started a half dozen letters…to my boys and to my mother. I just couldn’t get past the first sentence. Death would be the easy part compared to saying my goodbyes. Yet I couldn’t even fathom enduring one more day. I wrestled with knowing suicide was wrong, yet feeling like it was my one and only option. I was drowning. This is when I gave up. I begged God for my life.
At this moment a few things happened. First, my step-father called me out of the blue just to tell me he loved me. He and I aren’t very close, so this surprised me. He listened intently and we both cried. I felt the faintest glint of hope. Then I came upon a verse in the Bible that essentially said that God wasn’t done with me yet, that I hadn’t fulfilled my purpose, and when I did I would be welcomed into heaven. I wish I would have written that verse down because it saved me in so many ways. I then physically felt God wrap His arms around me and I finally felt the chains that had held me down for so long lift. I was free.
This was a turning point for me. Knowing that I didn’t have to do it all alone. Knowing my life had purpose and that I was here for others and not myself made all the difference in the world to me. The fact that God can take such an imperfect person and still use me is incomprehensible, yet of this I have no doubt.
Our lives matter…every life. We may not always see our value, but God does. We might not be able to fathom a tomorrow, but God is already there waiting for us. Waiting with grace, comfort, mercy, unconditional love, hope, forgiveness, and if we let Him, His spirit to help guide us.
All of this withstanding, my problems haven’t all just miraculously disappeared, but they no longer have a choke hold on me. I truly do believe that the effort Satan puts into holding us down is directly proportional to just what God has in store for our lives.
So, dear friend, just so you are aware…you are loved. Your life and calling matter to many and especially to God. He isn’t through with you yet, but when He is you, too, will be welcomed into His kingdom.
For anyone struggling I am praying for you. Having gone through the valley of the shadow of death and coming out on the other side, I can, without even the slightest hesitation, say that it does get better. I pray that you find peace and comfort, and eventually joy…and joy will come again.
God’s grace is infinite. His love knows no bounds.