Suicide and My Spiritual Warfare

When I heard the news yesterday about Pastor Rick Warren’s son dying by suicide it brought back a flood of emotions and feelings for me. I remembered the night call…falling to the floor, crying out to God and feeling utterly shocked. There was the disbelief and the hope that it was all wrong; that someone had made a mistake. There was the feeling of abandonment and persecution from God; that He allowed this horror to take place and that I was being punished for something that I had done or didn’t do. These did not go away over night….they plagued me for some time. This was the beginning of a long spiritual warfare.

As a Christian for most of my life, I have always had a deep faith in God. I guess I had never truly been tested. This was my Abraham moment…my Job moment….but I felt like I had failed because of my initial reaction. I can’t really put into words all of those negative attacks…those words…the thoughts…a host of emotions balled into one tearing at my soul. The first thing I had to do was pray and ask God to replace the images in my head and give me peace or I would not be able to make it through. It seemed contradictory to my feeling toward God but I was not going to give up on God. I knew that I had to pray because prayer has always seen me through up to this point…and it had always been the way my son handled things, too. We had a relationship with our Lord.

I have grown in my faith since that day. I have learned so much more about God’s grace than ever in my life. I no longer have the anger towards Him as I did in the beginning. I have learned that God has my child….my wonderful son, who was depressed. In no uncertain terms, God has allowed me to know what I needed to know about my son’s fate…that He loves my son more than I do. He cared so much for my son that He whisked him away to Heaven so he would not be terrorized anymore. Brandon is at peace more than he ever was here where his mind and emotions betrayed him.

Because of my own misunderstandings about suicide and sin, I had thought that my son was unforgiven. The world is unforgiving in its understanding of this act….the end result of a terminal disease known as mental illness. To the world in its judgment, a suicide is bound for hell because they can’t ask for forgiveness….a ridiculous thought. There are even certain religions that believe this way. Jesus died for all sin..yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is freeing to know that a person’s last act does not condemn them. Our Lord loves us too much for that.

On March 6, 2009, we lived in a historic neighborhood in Alabama. We had renovated a home that was built in 1849 and turned it into our dream of a bed and breakfast. Our three children supported our idea to move from our lifelong home in Florida to pursue our dream. We had only been living there for 3 years when our most devastating loss happened. We lived two and a half hours from where our children lived.

Although, I was not there when my son died by a gunshot wound to the head, my mind went wild. I can barely type it now, even though it has been 4 years. I imagined the scene and how my son must have felt to do such a thing. I remembered our conversation just that morning on the phone. I even remarked to him how happy he sounded and how glad I was to hear that in his voice. He spoke to us for 17 minutes. (It is recorded in his cell phone that I now possess.) He often called us and that morning he was calling to give us his new cell number….a number we would never use.

My nights are long and I have clung to God and begged for His mercy  the peace that passes all understanding. I have received it over and over because He is patient with me. My most prized possession was taken from me and I cannot get over it…only through it with God’s help.

I know that I am not alone on this long road to healing from grief. Death of any kind is sad to those left behind but as it has been revealed to me…this is a “complicated” loss. There are so many more questions that leave us shaking our heads. My heart is with the Warren family as I know what lies ahead. Even in our deepest faith we can still experience deep pain. No one is exempt from the trials that await us….most especially Christians who are told by Christ: John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I recommend to any Christian these books written by Charles Spurgeon, “Spiritual Warfare in a Believer’s Life” and “Finding Peace in Life’s Storms.”

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4 thoughts on “Suicide and My Spiritual Warfare

  1. My beloved sister, you have undergone an experience that is rare even to a Godly person. I can (try) to imagine the amount of anguish in your heart, particularly when you state that you feel 100-plus old at only 59. In fact, your case has so grasped my heart that I decided to read as many of your posts as I could. Having read (and watched) through your posts on the subject of your son’s death, I have come to the conclusion that this is a trial that the Lord has allowed into your life (don’t for a minute be tempted to think it has anything to do with any ‘sin’ you might have committed; God is not vindictive); a trial which God wants you to overcome. It’s clear to me God wants you to release Michael – indeed, to ‘die’ to Michael. Just as God released His Son Jesus, He wants you to let go. No more talking, writing or even thinking about him. It is a tall order indeed, and you might need to swallow some pride to accept it. You must leave off your quest on suicide for it will destroy you. You must now look to Jesus, your New Life. He must become your new Quest – His joy, peace and comfort will rejuvenate you. I do not lay claim to any ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in telling you all this, but I can claim to have some experience in being led by the Holy Spirit. Your test, though extreme, will bring you big spiritual returns if you will simply say, as Job did, “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away”. May the Lord give you that grace. I have written this with my heart because I love you.

    • Dear Friend and man of God, I so appreciate you taking the time to read my posts and to comment. There is no doubt that I am being tested. As a mother, a nurturer by nature, who loves her children very much, I would find it very difficult to just “forget” my child or to quit writing about him. It has taken me some time to admit this but perhaps the Lord would want me to find purpose in my son’s death so that I might help others in this same position. If it had been any other kind of death…but it was “suicide” and I find myself having to defend what may propel a person to take their own life. It is very important to those left behind to know that they were not to blame. We assume a lot of guilt because of the very nature of the way our loved one died.

      I have come to the conclusion that we are all appointed a time to die just like we are to be born and suicide is no different. It is just another way to die. God knows when it will happen and how it will happen. God is in control. There is nothing that happens that He did not foreordain or allow. This is the very thing I must accept. We all have free will and in saying that, suicide just looks like “free will”…a choice…but it is quite the opposite. Those who die this way would rather live but not with the state of mind that prevents their “free will” ..the illness, the chemical imbalances, the brain injury, etc…the constant agony of mental illness. Cancer seems a better option only because the sympathy is with the victim of illness..,not so with mental illnesses that affect behavior. People have little regard for those who “choose” to misbehave or shoot themselves.

      Back to your comment….It would take the hand of God to wipe away the memory of a boy who was so very loved and is indelible upon my heart and mind. God did give and take away….but my question to Job would be, ” How could you have forgotten your first family and then start all over again with such joy?” Only a miracle. I do pray for the “peace that passes all understanding” every day so I can conduct a normal life but I could never allow my son’s life and death to have been in vain if God wants me to use it to His glory.

      Again, I appreciate you so much and am glad to have found a new brother in Christ…or rather, you found me. I ask that you pray for me as I move through this trial so that I can be the person God would have me to be because of it. Brandon would want that for me. Love and blessings to you dear brother in Christ.

      • I so much appreciate your heart, my sister, and I realize you are a woman of exceptional strength, probably that is why God would allow you such a trial…. I agree with all what you say, as I said I know suicide is a trial beyond compare; but I am assured Christ can comfort you even in that, as Paul says in 2 Cor. 1. Yes, dear sister, count me as a brother; I have been praying for you and will continue to do so, I am sure somewhere along the way, God’s grace will begin rejuvenating you and your countenance will return as of old. It is He who wounds us who heals us. Once again, my love to you, in Jesus’ Name..

  2. Dale, the death of our children is truly a “make it or break it” time of faith testing. That’s when we need our foundation to be on The Rock…

    I started over with Family #2 because God blessed me with a way to have a family again…much to my weary delight… The “busyness” also helped me not to have to think too much! My love for my first family never diminished, when I started life with my new family. My heart was expanded though suffering and God’s saving ability…I was able to give, without having a lack of love toward my deceased family. Love is extravagant and generous. I knew in my heart that my family was more than “OK” and that gave me the confidence to move forward and start life anew. There was more of me to go around…Mostly over the years it’s been a series of “It’s all OK” being said to myself, about matters that used to plague me without ceasing beforehand. I am confident that over time, you will gain more peace…not less love toward Brandon (that isn’t even possible!) –just more peace “all around”! 🙂

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