Last week, I read about another Hollywood celebrity that committed suicide. My heart always breaks when I read about someone who commits that act. Suicide is something that affects my heart because my brother David ended his life 20 years ago this past July. Suicide affects everyone that loved that person. It seems to represent failure—but I would like to look at it from a different perspective. (Hang in there with me as I try to explain myself.)
I mentioned in my last post the verse that Joseph spoke to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Good can come from horrible situations. I believe that the good that came from my brother’s death was a changed life for me.
My brother and I grew up in the same home, but the toxic environment affected us differently. I was the first born, performance oriented child who was going to please everyone and keep the peace. David was the more sensitive child. He was quiet and more reserved. He was very intelligent and spent many hours playing alone. We were exact opposites. I have learned from being a parent that each child is different and each one reacts differently to situations.
When David ended his life, I felt like he was telling me, “There is something wrong here! We have pretended that everything is okay, but it isn’t. Stop doing that! Stop acting like there aren’t serious issues here. It isn’t just me! Quit being in denial. Please do something and for goodness sakes, say something!”
It took a few years after his death for the panic attacks to hit full force—and when they did—I knew I needed help. I knew I was going to have to face things I had been in denial about. That is when I went on my journey to go after God like I had never done before. I knew deep down inside that I needed His truth in my life. I also knew I needed a counselor who could guide me and show me truth. Thankfully I found a wonderful woman who wasn’t afraid to get in my face and show me God’s truth.
Here is the thing I want to explain to you. We are all born into different types of environments. Because of the things that happen to us or are said to us, we can easily fall into the trap of believing lies that aren’t true about ourselves. I was spending time with the Lord yesterday and He impressed upon me to write down the lies that I have believed. I would like to share a few with you. “I need to make everyone happy.” “I just need to work harder.” “I am all alone.” “There isn’t anyone who can help me.” “There isn’t anyone who is going to come to my rescue.” “I am trapped and helpless.” “I am always going to live in fear.”
Lies and wrong thinking can easily get ingrained in you and cause you to feel utterly hopeless. God has shown me that the majority of my thoughts were not from Him—they were from the enemy. All those lies and thoughts were sown into the fabric of my upbringing. I can’t speak for my brother, but chances are he had a lot of the same thoughts. Of course, I didn’t realize how much those thoughts affected me until later in my life.
I realized that there was a lying spirit inside me that wanted to destroy me—and almost did. I had to go through all the lies that I believed and command them to leave. I had to write them down and renounce them in my life. Now, they didn’t leave without a fight and sometimes they come back—but when they do—I have to go to the Lord and realign myself under His authority and renounce them again. (There are some pesky ones that like to try to get back in!)
The one lie that got me more than anything was the lie that God wouldn’t want a messed up kid like me. That one brings tears to my eyes because I kind of think my brother thought the same thing. If you have ever thought that way, it simply isn’t true. You need to stop that thinking right now. I want you picturing God whispering in your ear, “I love hot messes like you! In fact, I think you are a beautiful hot mess and I love you! You are my specialty! I want to take all your messes and make beauty from them. I am going to love you and help you.”
The lies the I mentioned earlier are from my past, they are not going to define my future. “Heartbreaking seasons can certainly grow me but were never meant to define me.” TerKeurst We must be bold and take the lies that we have believed and get rid of them.
I can say that I no longer wish I had a decent relationship with my Dad. I had to say goodbye to that fantasy in order for me to have a thriving relationship with my Heavenly Father. I had to give up what I thought I wanted and turn to God and say, “If this relationship isn’t what you want for me, then I don’t want it.” There are some relationships that aren’t healthy for us and God wants something even better for us. We just need to let them go and give them to God because He is the only One who who can fulfill our desires and dreams.
Listen, I know how hard it is to overcome lies and doubts and hopelessness. It is a fight! When you have an upbringing like I did, it is an uphill battle. It has taken me years to deal with a lot of issues. I had to become determined not to let Satan win. There were days that I didn’t want to live—but I also knew that killing myself was not what God wanted me to do either.
The only way I have been able to move forward one day at a time is focusing on the character of God. God is good. His plans are good. C. S. Lewis says, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” (How true!)
I am going to tell you that my biggest fear has always been that I would end up like my brother. I have been scared to death that I would end up so mentally ill that no medication or treatment would be able to help me. I saw him suffer so much and nothing helped him. I have to renounce that lie and remember that I am not my brother. I am not going to fall for that lie! I have to fill my mind with scripture and the truth of who God says I am.
If you are suffering, please get some help. Find people who can pray for you and find a counselor who can help you with your issues. The best way to get to know the character of God is to read the Psalms. Immerse yourself in God’s word. Spend time with Him. Talk to Him and tell Him how you feel. Ask Him to help you see the truth about yourself and Him. I want you to see how much you are loved by the God of the Universe!
I am going to leave you with some scripture that I pray will be helpful to you. Keep reading His word and claiming HIs promises! (I am doing the same!) Until next time…
Psalm 16:1-2 “Keep me safe, O God, for I come to You for refuge. Every good thing I have comes from You. You are my Master.”
Psalm 16:8-9 “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.”
Psalm 16:11 “You show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
Psalm 37:23-24 “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds Him with His hand.”
*Thank you Dyan Larmey for pointing me towards the right counselor. Thank you Marcia Mills for your countless hours of counseling, prayers and truth.
*This picture represents two kids who were “beautiful hot messes” in God’s eyes. (Gotta love the 70’s style!)