Five Reasons Why I Didn't Take My Life

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. As the month draws to a close, it's my prayer that we not forget the people around us who are silently struggling to justify doing another hard day. May every day be a day where those who have found the strength to do another day find the courage to share their stories. Each one matters.

In the midst of a season where it felt like everything that mattered to me--dreams, identity, health--was being ripped from me, I found myself staring into a very deep chasm. Instead of hope, I felt violently overwhelmed. My pain appeared to be spilling over and affecting those I love the most.

 Ending this now would save them the burden I'd become, the voice said to me.

I could do this. I could keep plodding away through the quicksand. I could keep taking the slow, hard breaths.

You could let some of the pain go if you...

No. I could not entertain those thoughts.

Except I did.

Yes, me. The one on staff the church. The one who selflessly works to help other find Jesus, helps them experience His love, and finds each and every shred of hope for others. I contemplated ending my life. Seriously.

But I didn't.

Why? Well, there are five reasons.

  1. My faith--my moral compass--told me that suicide was wrong. I understand that this might not stop everyone, but it's a huge driving factor for me. While my personal belief is that those who succumb to the lies of depression and anxiety which results in the taking of their own lives are still recipients of grace, I couldn't personally bear the idea of standing at the judgment seat one day to account for the decision to take any life, even my own.
  2. My children could better tolerate life after seeing their mother fall apart than they could tolerate the aftermath of me taking my own life. In fact, I've decided that a messy life is a great opportunity to teach my children empathy and compassion.

    I don't particularly want my little ones to see me broken and crying everyday, but when they do, I want them to know to inquire about mommy withiout fear. A child who believes it's safe to cry, that it's safe to try to understand someone else's pain, and who has a pure desire to help people will become an adult who changes the world for the better.
  3. I'd rather live in pain than leave my husband to do life alone. God gave me an incredible man who loves me far more than I deserve. He's stayed beside me in situations where I'd have walked away. (I told you he loves me more than I deserve!)

    I love him more than I love myself. I couldn't tolerate the idea of hurting him so deeply to end my own pain. That is, as it turns out, the definition of love: Actions that put someone else first and in doing so give them the power to hurt you deeply. But I know that he wouldn't do that. I strive to love him the way he loves me. I'm not there yet.

    Still, I couldn't betray his love for me. I have gotten that far in learning to love him and others.
  4. I'm a coward. This wasn't the first time I've battled with suicidal thoughts or even considered self-harm. Oh, how I wish this weren't a part of my life!

    It turns out that there are some things I'm not afraid of and there are others that just plain terrify me. Rebuke the liar and his minions? I'm all over that. No matter the cost. (And really, I've learned that this battle for my life is all about that--the liar wants to stop me. Permanently. But I'm not afraid of that?!? It doesn't make sense to me either.)

    The physical pain that my plans would have resulted in were too much for me to tolerate or risk. And there's always that fear of being unsuccessful. How do you look in people's eyes where you both know what you tried but failed at? I don't know, and I wasn't ready to divulge the secret then. I'm ready now. I've tried and failed before.

    I'm not proud of it. It's something very few people know about me. I tried several times when I was younger. The saving grace then was that no one knew, only me and God.

    Which leads me to the final reason why I didn't take my life...
  5. God never left my side.

    The liar tells me all the time that I don't matter and that God isn't really here with me. The liar finds everything he can to twist so that I question everything that I know is true--

    God loves me and will never forsake me.
    (Jeremiah 31:3, Matthew 28:20)

    Ultimately, God's love and continual presence in my life reassures me that my life has immense value. It is a lie I've battled before during spells of depression. The liar loves to tell me that my life doesn't matter.

    But there's simply too much contradictory evidence around. I have filled journals, blogged, and written too much that matters and stands as a testimony to my worth.

    Even thought I was an unplanned pregnancy (the liar has a heyday with that!), God was not surprised. He has always had a plan for me. He created me!

    "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion as I was woven together in the dark of the womb." -Psalm 139:13-15

    God would never hang around and remain present in an inconsequential event or life. He left love letters throughout the Scriptures to remind me (and you) of the immense value you have in and through Him.

    My pain is not and never was an indicator that I lacked value. The deep pain I experience is just one way that God moves His Kingdom forward here on earth. As I've learned, my emotional sensitivity is actually part of my intrinsic value. My value has never come from me as creature but from the One who created me, the great Creator God. And even in my pain, I know that He never changes.
Perhaps you stumbled across this today because you're in a battle for your life. You've read the reasons why I decided not to take my life and you're thinking to yourself:

"But I don't have kids or a husband who loves me."

"I'm scared of the physical pain, but it would be over quickly."

"I'm not sure there is a god, let alone one who cares about me."

Yep. I hear it all. I've said it all. Thought it all. I've been exactly where you're standing. I didn't share my reasons to live because I thought they'd fix you. I shared them because I thought you might identify with the lies I took on.

I can offer you only two things in the end--my presence, and how God saved me. In the end, a dear Christian friend engaged in a text conversation long after she should have gone to bed, and she continued to pursue me in the days and weeks after. She didn't offer me answers. She simply reminded me to look for the TRUTH and agreed to be present with me while I did.

Looking for your reason? Can I stand beside and look with you?

If you or somone you love is considering ending their life, know that there are professionals and trained peers available 24 hours a day. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or if you prefer, you can text HOME to 741741 for assistance from a trained Crisis Counselor.


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