Still Here…..

Dear friends, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression and or thoughts of suicide, please seek help. Here are some resources that you may find helpful:

The Trevor Project 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ( 1-800-273-8255)

To Write Love On Her Arms

The Hope Line

International Association for Suicide Prevention

Today’s blog is written by my husband Chad. We hope this encourages you and helps you seek help. Remember that NO MATTER WHAT that you are loved, you have worth and you matter. 


32 years ago this evening, just a couple of weeks after the end of my freshman year of high school, I was in the final stages of what I thought would be the plan to end my life. But the Lord had other plans for me, starting with getting me to drop the bottle of pills I’d planned to ingest, having me set aside the suicide note I’d written out, and telling me that He loved me.

I don’t even know where to begin in thanking Him for what He has done in my life since that time. Some of you reading this may not have even been alive 32 years ago. Some of you may wonder if God really hears us when we cry out to Him. Some of you may even be wondering if life is worth living. If the past 32 years of my life are any indication, God’s faithfulness and mercy and peace and grace for us are absolutely stunning and inexplicable and worth every moment of hardship that we may go through even as we hold onto Him and follow Him wherever He leads us.

My life since 1986 hasn’t been easy at all–in fact, it’s been downright agonizing at times–but I have seen God’s faithfulness in so many ways, big and small, far too many for me to count, and I’ve seen how He has carried me through dark days, surrounded me with what Hebrews 12 calls a “great cloud of witnesses” and has given me joy and peace that are totally beyond comprehension–believe me, I’ve tried to wrap my brain around what He has done and is doing in my life, and all I can do is sit in awed silence. I don’t know what the Lord has planned for me the next 32 years, but I hope that no matter where He takes me, I can share this message of His love, peace and hope with others. I can hardly wait.

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Dear Good Morning America……

**As Suicide Awareness Month draws to a close, this is a reminder to head on over to The Leaf Pile to help raise money for To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The owner of The Leaf Pile is doing a 30 day art challenge and will be posting artwork every 5 days in her store for purchase during this month, with every $5 going directly towards TWLOHA***

Today’s blog entry is in response to this article in The Mighty.

Dear Good Morning America:

I am tired. SO tired.

In the past two years my husband and I have lost 4 friends to suicide.

We’ve stood in line to comfort grieving widows and friends of friends who for all intents and purposes were happy-go-lucky people.

One was a pastor.

One thing suicide does not do is discriminate.

I am tired. Of having suicide on the brain. But you know what I’m more tired of? National platforms, like your show, that shut down the conversation on suicide prevention because talking about suicide is awkward. It’s messy. It’s freakin’ hard to talk about.

But we HAVE to. Talking about suicide, bringing it out in the open, SAVES LIVES. Helping those contemplating suicide to realize they are not alone in the world helps to KEEP THEM HERE.

So Good Morning America, as Suicide Awareness Month draws to a close, you still have an opportunity to make this right. To put suicide awareness on the national stage.

Because for some of us, suicide awareness lasts longer than a month.

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A Charge For Back To School: Be Kind; It Gets Better…..#TWLOHA

**This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, a cause that is the reason why I started this blog last February. All this week, I will be collaborating with the Etsy store, The Leaf Pile to help raise money for To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The owner of The Leaf Pile is doing a 30 day art challenge and will be posting artwork every 5 days in her store for purchase during this month, with every $5 going directly towards TWLOHA***

It is back to school time in the states. All over Facebook, children with shiny backpacks and a determined smile have been spotted on their first days of school. But there was one headline about back to school that made my heart sink. It was about a high school student who committed suicide the day before classes started.

Now this kid attended school at my alma mater, and although I didn’t know him or his situation, one question did come to mind. I wondered if he had been bullied.

Back in the day, bullying only consisted of mean taunts on the playground, but with the rise of the internet and social media, bullying has been taken to scary and ridiculous levels never seen before. Kids aren’t even immune to bullying when they get off the school bus and enter their homes.

It’s everywhere. And at times, it can seem too dark and hopeless to ever end.

But there is hope. Below are some steps you can take to combat bullying in your school:

1. Find a student who is sitting alone in the cafeteria and sit with them.

2. Make a new friend every week.

3. See someone being bullied? Step in and stand up for the person being bullied. Be brave. If it’s too much for you to do, tell a teacher, guidance counselor or principal.

To those being bullied:

You have worth, you have a purpose and you have a bright future ahead of you. Don’t believe the lies your bully is trying to tell you.

I’ll even tell you a secret that most of us don’t discover until years after we get out of school: EVERYONE in middle school and high school is awkward and insecure with varying levels of sweatiness. They are just trying to figure out how to navigate life and get through those years that are awkward, insecure and sweaty.

It gets SO much better when you get older. You realize that life isn’t all sweaty and awkward. Life is beautiful and rich and full. The world is a wonderful place and needs you in it to do the work only you can do! The world needs your talents, your passions, your joy.

Just hang in there. You are loved more fully than you will ever know. And I’m in your corner, cheering you on.

You got this, Boo.

Don’t Make Me Turn This Blog Around…..STOP IT!

Ah! So today’s scheduled funny post is being postponed till probably next week so I can address some of the adults in my life.

Now, I know that we all have differing opinions, but, as I’ve learned this week, some of the ways we express those opinions have real life repercussions. Let me explain. Today I saw this article written by one of my favorite Christian bloggers, Rachel Held Evans. The first paragraph of her post broke my heart and filled me with anger:

“It’s been reported that in the wake of all the controversy surrounding North Carolina’s HB2 “bathroom bill,” calls to transgender suicide hotlines have more than doubled. A quick glance at my Facebook timeline would explain why, as the amount of fear and misinformation being spread about transgender people seems to be reaching a dangerous peak.”

Let me spell that out again; the debate this week over transgenders in the bathroom have made this already marginalized and ostracized community feel more afraid, and less safe in their own environment, to the degree that suicide seems to be a “good” solution (when of course in reality this is the absolute worst solution). And it’s not because of the policies that have been put in places like Target. It’s because of the way some of those those opposed to the policies have shown their opposition.

THIS is why I’ve been so passionate this week. Transgendered people are people. It’s just not a matter of having their feelings hurt. They are a people group that is repeatedly harassed and ridiculed (whether by being called “he-she’s” or with memes demeaning them by showing people poorly dressed in drag.) We would never think of passing a meme around of an overweight kid and calling him names…..Do we not see that this is the SAME THING??

Even today after posting the Evans article on my Facebook news feed, there began a fairly quick debate about the morality of transgenderism and LGBTQ persons. Young people are committing suicide because of a lack of support and the best the adults around them can do is sit on their bums and debate whether or not their lifestyle is a moral one.

This lack of concern for the people themselves is offensive and needs to stop NOW! People’s very lives are at stake! And the saddest part here is those memes and comments I’ve seen shared this week have been by ADULTS!!

Now, I understand. I get it. It’s in our human nature to maybe laugh or make a joke when faced with something we don’t understand that makes us uncomfortable. But I think there is a better approach to this issue than chuckling and posting a childish meme. Think of it this way: What if you have a child that is trying to come to grips with feeling that they’ve been born into the wrong body? Feelings they don’t understand and need parental guidance to help to navigate. But what if that same child sees you sharing these off color memes and making these comments? Do you think that child would feel safe confiding in you what’s been going on? Do you understand now why this child may attempt suicide?

It’s time for us to all grow up and band together to stand up for and show love towards these people…..who were also made in God’s image, by the way. 😉

So stand with me to save a life. We can do it.

Together.

Cheers!

To the LGBTQ Youth Sitting In the Church Pew Contemplating Suicide……

As a blogger, there are times when you have to take risks. Today is one of those days. But the risk is for the greater good.

Last night I felt God asking me to write about a controversial topic. I stopped dead in my tracks and asked for clarification. I heard the same message again. Again I asked to be sure. I prayed for clarity and if this was really something I was supposed to address on my blog, that I would do so without fear. When I woke up today, this was the first thing that I thought of. So I took that as confirmation that, although this is a heated topic, specifically within the bubble of Evangelicalism, that I remain obedient to the Lord’s leading.

But I still struggled. I can’t stand conflict and knew if I wrote on this topic the way I had been led, conflict was going to follow. But then He reminded me that even if conflict follows, writing on this topic will help to save lives and that is more important than fielding dissenting views and being uncomfortable. So, deep breath and go!…..

To the LGBTQ Youth Sitting In the Church Pew Contemplating Suicide…….

1. Jesus loves you. Let me rewrite that. Jesus loves you NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU’VE DONE (or think you’ve done). He loves you unconditionally. Nothing you do can change that. EVER.

2. You matter to the world. You have a purpose here and have talents and strengths that the world needs. Figure out what these are, and use them to further God’s Kingdom.

3. God also doesn’t make mistakes. YOU dear reader, are NOT a mistake. You were made perfectly in the image of God.

4. If you need someone to talk to who is a person of faith in a supportive community, you can find resources at the link below. The Trevor Project exists to help save lives and support LGBTQ youth in crisis. They have links to religious organizations that are supportive and welcoming.

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/lgbtq-and-religion#

If no one else will tell you this, know that I am in your corner, dear reader. You are loved and you matter.

And you are never, EVER alone.

Why I Blog…..

This week marked an anniversary of sorts for me. It was one year ago this week that I quit my job. As you recall I worked in child care in less than favorable conditions towards the end. Through prayer and discussion with my husband, it was finally decided that I’d put in my two weeks notice. Scariest email I’ve ever written. I had no back up job to take. But I knew it was time for me to move on. 

And so a year later, I reflect. I still don’t have a “regular” job-one that takes me out of the house on a daily basis from morning till evening. But I am working pretty regularly for folks needing child care. And I love it. The people I work for are amazing and I’ve never once felt under appreciated. Working in a positive environment does wonders for ones mental health. And I can now put “change diapers” to my skills acquired on my resume. 😉 

I’ve taken on more of a role at home. Since my husband works crazy hours, he’s unable to do much housework, and since I no longer work a regular job, the housework has fallen to me. While I’m not exactly a domestic goddess, I do what I can. I’ve also taken on the role of chief scheduler and coffee maker. The latter is quite important as my husband single-handedly keeps the coffee market afloat. Seriously.  

What? You didn't believe me?? :-D

What? You didn’t believe me?? 😀

And I started this blog. For years several people have been chiding me to “write more” and I guess I finally decided it was a good idea. Actually on a more personal note, there is another reason this blog was started. Several months ago a man from my church, who had struggled with poor mental health, took his own life. It was devastating for those of us that knew he was struggling, but felt powerless. After his death, I wanted to do something. So I prayed. And the Lord showed me that it was time to start a blog. This blog would be on anxiety and other mental health issues that I’ve struggled with in my life. But more importantly my blog would serve as a place of encouragement and hope for those that are struggling. With each post I write, I want you to understand how loved you are and how much your life matters. If you need some help walking through this life, you can call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). If you are outside the US, go to http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html and pick your country. This page will also direct you to the number to call if you are military or LGBT. 

Know that you are loved, you matter, and you are NOT EVER alone. 

Cheers!