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Hey there, I'm Sunny Shell, a wretch saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord. I'm married to the most incredible man on earth, who loves Jesus more than he loves me, and we have two precious adult sons.

The compassionately endures me through my metabolic disease (since 2004) that enables me to be more prayerful and careful about commitments I make and helps me to make the best use of my short time here on earth.

If you want to know more about me, click HERE.

The Christian, Depression and Suicide from a Heavenly Perspective


Ever since Robin Williams' death and alleged suicide, there has been much talk in private conversations as well as mass media coverage and personal blog posts. I generally stay out of these "hot" topics because there's already been more saturation of a certain issue than necessary. Often the news and us bloggers alike, tend to beat a dead horse...twice.

So, as unusual as it is for me to write about the topic of depression and suicide after we've all been immersed in volumes of words over the past few days, I am writing about it. Not to join in and repeat what's already been said, but to bring a heavenly perspective to it so that all who read this, might find true hope.

I don't share this often, and especially not in public. But I feel it's time now that I must, so that the work of God may be displayed in my life (John 9:3) even in the depths of sorrow.

When I was 15 years old, I became so depressed by all that I suffered and all the horrid evils that were hurled at my little frail body since I was four, I wanted to escape. Brutally persecuted for being a Christian for 11 years, raped twice, stalked by a neighbor in his late twenties for nearly seven years and bombarded by teen hormones and the cruelty of high school life...I was done.

Seeing no other way out, I made my first attempt to take the life God gave me. Back in those days, we didn't have coated pills, so when I tried to overdose, the pills began to melt in my watery hands as I leaned over the sink to cup water in my hands, took pills and cupped more water and swallowed more pills as fast as I could. I made myself very ill and remember waking up in bed with no one in my family knowing what happened. At least I don't think they did. We never talked about it.

My second attempt was to jump out my two-story window. I did, but not realizing it wasn't high enough, to my great disappointment, and being an athlete, I subconsciously landed well and only sprained my ankle. Feeling even more desperate at two failed attempts and worried that by now, my family might suspect something and try to stop me, I quietly began formulating another plan. And this time, it would be fail-proof....and it was. I won't share what I planned lest I give anyone ideas. But trust me, it was fail-proof.

After carefully plotting and planning my last days here on earth. I exhibited what many suicidal people do. I was happy. I was happier than I'd ever been. And everyone noticed. I went from being sullen, bitter and desperately hopeless, to extreme bliss nearly overnight! Why? Because I had finally decided and knew that without a doubt, my plan to take my own life (the one I had no right to take because I'm not the Author of it) was finally in view. It was over. I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel...so I thought.

You see, I was saved when I was four, so during all these calamities I was a Christian. Yet, in great despair, as a Christian, I had no other Christians around me who cared enough to love me through this. But...there was always God. And for a time, it seemed enough, until I took my eyes off Jesus and put them on myself and others.

Like many people who suffer from depression that leads to suicidal thoughts, I not only became very happy overnight, but I also began giving treasured possessions away...and happily so. After all, what did I need them for? I had the perfect exit plan and I knew when my desperate suffering would end because I was going to end it. Finally, at last, I was calling the shots and no one else was going to hurt me, laugh at me, and assault me.

I was going to leave this miserable place and go Home to eternal bliss before my Savior! But...there was always God. And, there was the way He made me. Jesus said, "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Mk 14:38) and it is written, "if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself." (2 Tim 2:13), and again it is written, "And I am sure of this that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil 1:6).

When we are all born again by the Spirit of Christ through repentance and faith in the only Son of God, we are all given spiritual gifts with our new birth. We are also given the Holy Spirit as our Counselor who leads us into all truth. And though God uses ordinary people to help us in ordinary ways (loving one another as Christ commanded), He also employs Himself without the use of people if He so chooses. In my case, for whatever reason, the latter is what He chose.

Though I had no tender heart to help me out of the cesspool of depression and suicidal inclinations, whether in this world or within the Body of Christ...there was always God. God my Father who created me for His purpose. God my Father who called me to Himself by gracing me with the gift of repentance that leads to salvation. God my Father who called me His own through faith in His one and only Son. God my Father who saw the horrible sins done to me and even those I did to others gifted me and purposed me to love Him and others, greater than myself. So as I sat down to write my suicide note, and read over it, I strangely discovered the main thought that crossed my mind was, "Let me write this, sharing what signs and symptoms a suicidal person displays so that when I'm gone and others read it, it will help other people who may know someone who's suicidal and help them."

This curious suicide note caused me to pray, "Lord, please make sure this note gets into the right hands so it will help many. Please open the blind eyes of people, especially in the church who are so wrapped up in their own lives, they can't see the brutal nakedness of those who are hurting...right before their very eyes. And Lord, please don't be angry with me. Oh Lord! Will you be angry with me? I never thought of that!"

In all the time I carefully planned the taking of my own life, I never thought about what God might think about all this. I was consumed with what I thought and how I thought others would feel. My singular focus was inward and horizontal rather than vertical. No wonder I remained in such despair.

Remembering Psalm 139, I saw clearly I would grieve God if I took my own life because He created me and numbered and ordained all my days before any of them began (Ps 139:16). His purpose is greater than mine. And His glorious love is greater than any pain I will ever suffer here.

Depression isn't pretty. Suicidal thoughts and attempts, failed or successful aren't pretty either. But God, my God, my Christ, is always gloriously beautiful and His ways and thoughts are infinitely greater and higher than ours! Trying to comfort people who are depressed and/or suicidal—in the midst of their cave of confusion and desperation by the ways of this world...is not good...it is not helpful.

It is written, "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor." (1 Cor 10:23-24) Whether we do the most mundane things in life, like eating and drinking, we are to do it all things for the glory of God. We are commanded to love God with everything we have and love others as ourselves. However, we are not commanded to love God and others the way we want and think is best. And human philosophies, pretty painted words and emotion-filled ideologies of comfort, hope and peace, are neither helpful nor do they build up.

Rather than turn hurting hearts and tear-filled eyes toward heaven, toward Christ, we try to comfort others by allowing them to remain inward and horizontal...the place where the despair began and swells. Rather than mourn with those who mourn and give them time to weep over the heartaches, praying the entire time so that we can clearly hear God say, "The time of mourning is over, now get up and walk", we sit too long in another person's cesspool. In this, we are not seeking the good of our neighbor, but we are seeking our own good, because if we're honest with ourselves, we do this because it makes us feel better about ourselves. It makes us "feel" like we're helping them, though God says we are not.

If you know someone who is depressed, you first need to pray before you intervene because only God knows if the depression is a faith issue caused by sin (theirs or others), or a medical issue. Then prepare by immersing yourself in Scripture so you can be strong enough to actually help the person suffering from depression rather than falling for the deceptive practices of this world yourself (1 Cor 10:12).

Remember, the only help we can offer anyone in need is the hope found in Jesus Christ alone. For this alone is true hope. In Christ alone can anything in this miserable world make sense and make us want to press on...for He who suffered more than any human being ever has or ever will, yet was without sin, suffered for our sake; reconciling us to God.

Desiring to take your own life is a sin...but there is always God. Trust Him and look to Him; not yourself or others. Only the Gospel saves. Only the Gospel heals. Only the Gospel restores and induces praise.

"Be not wise in your eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil... The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death... Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit... [but] Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered... The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit... As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."
~Proverbs 3:7, 14:27;
Psalm 49:7-9, 32:1, 34:18, 103:13-14 (ESV)

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11 comments:

  1. Tiffany Brigette Bold-ObrienAugust 13, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    I have just read this two more times and had to say it is just wonderful and so loving and full of God's wisdom. <3

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  2. I have been grieved by the comments calling suicide selfish and questioning a person's faith. Now to be honest, at the core suicide is selfish because the person is only considering how they feel, and as you said above, are not thinking about what God thinks about their decision. However, depression can be the result of biochemical issues within the body, and one's thought processes are not logical or rational. My goodness, even some antidepressants carry a warning that they may cause suicidal thoughts! I have struggled with depression for many years of my life, and although I never considered suicide, there were many times I wanted to die. I was just too chicken to do it by my own hand...what if I failed and ended up a paraplegic or a vegetable but my mind still worked? Right now I can say I'm depression-free, but I also know that I am prone to depression and it could return. I am diabetic, and studies have shown that diabetics are at risk for depression because of the biochemical effect diabetes has on the brain. Some people seem to believe depression is a choice--who would choose to live like that? I am grateful that Robin Williams' suicide has brought a new awareness to depression and suicide and pray that the church will respond to those who suffer similarly with compassion, mercy, and wisdom.

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  3. You're precious Tiffany. Thank you precious sister for your kind words of encouragement. ♥ I love you dearly.

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  4. HI there Elldee, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your experience with depression. I agree that depression can be a medical issue, which is why I included near the end of my article, "only God knows if the depression is a faith issue" which, if you clicked the link, goes to another article I wrote about a recent bout of depression I suffered due to a lack of serotonin in my brain after a very hard and painful back surgery.


    Just like any other part of our bodies, our brain is an organ that is just as susceptible to getting "sick" and not functioning properly and in my other article I talk about how to discern if the cause of depression is a faith issue or if it's a medical issue and how to proceed. I am not opposed to anyone taking medications, being hospitalized or seeking other means of medical intervention for depression anymore than I am opposed to anyone seeking it for other illnesses like the cold, flu, heart disease, lung disease, kidney malfunctions, etc.


    However, regardless of whether or not depression is caused by our own sin nature and lack of obedience to the Lord, or a medical issue, in everything, as Christians we look to the Lord for guidance and help and rely on Him rather than the temporal "fixes" of this world.


    Our hope and true healing is found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There is no "but" after God is amazing. And life in Christ takes us farther in this life and the one to come than anything in all creation. Jesus Christ is not of this world and as He is eternal, so is all that He offers.


    I will pray that you come to know my Lord Jesus and that you will be known by Him dear Rach. May the Lord my God grant you the gift of repentance that leads to salvation. :o)


    If you're so inclined, please click "Know Christ" on my menu bar above.


    May God be with you. :o)

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  6. "Because of the sermon on the mount, I am deeply grieved for the many (that Jesus says) will be shocked to find out they are not His." or is it "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). Which one is it? I believe it is John 1:12. We are received because of what Jesus did...

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  7. Not to minimize depression, but what would Jesus have done for Robin Williams? Would He have healed him of his depression, cast out spirits of depression, and healed him from his Parkinson's Disease (which is now something else that is being reported that he had)? If we believe the Bible to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, and we believe that when Jesus said that we would do greater works because He was going to the Father, then we should not accept depression. End of discussion. Written by someone who also suffered with depression.

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  8. Sweet Elldee,


    I'm with ya sister. And I'm grateful the LORD has helped guide you out of depression. And like any other issue we have in this broken world with these feeble and frail bodies, we will struggle with all that comes with it until we get HOME. But thanks be to God who has given us freedom and victory in Christ and leads us always in a procession of praise because of His great grace and mercy in our lives. :o)


    I'll keep you in my prayers sisters. ♥

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  9. Diana, you have to read all of Scripture together to understand it rather than dangerously practice the topically method of reading Scripture based on our own opinions and skewed understanding of the eternal words of God.


    Jesus said ONLY those the Father calls can come. And I based what I said in your quote on the Scripture I referenced above (Matt 7:21-23) that you didn't like. Like I said, those are Jesus' words, not mine, so If you don't like the words of Christ, then know you have a problem with Him and not me. I didn't make it up, I just repeated it.

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  10. You have mentioned John 6:44 in your response. I am wondering what exactly you are trying to say by referencing this. Are you suggesting that there are some people that will never receive salvation, not because of their own free will, but because God has already decided that these individuals are destined to an eternal separation from God? Because I see this scripture as Jesus saying that even salvation is 100% His doing, He and God's, and that the Holy Spirit draws us unto Him. We cannot attain anything on our own, and the Father draws us to Him. Otherwise, you may run into a problem with I John 2:2, John 3:16....and how do you reconcile this with Ephesians 2??????

    Weren't the religious of Jesus' day keeping the law, and so outwardly, didn't they seem closest to our Father? What was Jesus' opinion toward them? Outwardly, they were the "gold standard", but how did Jesus reference them? Not much has changed. There are many who think that by joining a church, getting baptized, or by doing many other "wonderful" works that this will produce salvation, but that is religious deception. There are many who may think that God has used them to minister to others and to perform miracles when they were actually ministering from their own abilities. We will be received because we have been saved. We will receive that salvation because God draws us. And we will be co-labourers with God (I Cor 3:9), completing those plans that He has prepared for us in advance to do -- but not us alone, us working together with the Holy Spirit that is in us (Eph 2:10).



    Who said I didn't like Jesus' words? It was your words I didn't like. Sorry (spoke the truth in love, and hopefully a little less abrasively than you).


    Your sister,
    Diana

    ReplyDelete

"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." ~ C.T. Studd
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