Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash
I am so thankful for this dear sister’s story and for the victory she has experienced in Christ! We have all felt the darkness of despair. May we all experience the Light and hope of Jesus like this wife and mom did. (Shared with permission.)
I am writing to you after spending three delightful days with my grandson. The miracle in this is that I am a mother and grandmother at all.
You see, I have struggled with depression off and on my whole life. I seriously contemplated ending my life around 32 years ago, and then again 9 years ago.
Thirty-two years ago I felt so betrayed by a boyfriend, that I felt worthless and that life was too hard. With his unfaithfulness and my sensitive nature, I felt destroyed.
He was my idol, my false god. I placed my own personal value upon how he treated me. He treated me like trash, and I absorbed that identity.
What saved me from taking my life? Three things:
- Personal guilt I would feel toward my parents and siblings.
- I knew this was against my church’s teaching.
- I believed God did not like suicide.
Even though I felt no personal desire to live, I reasoned that if God wouldn’t give a free pass for people to just “quit” life when someone wanted to, then He must have another way out of the mess. In my core, I believed in a good God. Life could be cruel, but surely not the Creator of life?
I remember feeling numb and just praying, “Help me, God.” I went through the motions of living. I held on. I met my future husband one year later. We will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this year.
So why in 2009, while on an island vacation with our four children did I feel suicidal again?
This time I felt unneeded, unappreciated, and unimportant.
My husband was extremely successful, admired, and appreciated at work. I stayed home with our children, working very hard to cook, clean, drive, keep up with laundry and dishes, help with homework, etc., and earned no money. I wanted to home school, but my husband wouldn’t let me. I watched our children’s spiritual lives drying up. I was frequently undermined in front of our children by my husband. I was rarely respected and the children saw that.
Needless to say, I became depressed. I remember crying a lot behind my sunglasses on that vacation in 2009, sitting in a bathroom stall trying to decide if I should overdose in that bathroom or go somewhere else. I spent many hours by myself. My husband and the children were having a great time in all the pools, in the ocean, and at the bar…no one knew what I was going through. They still don’t know and would be shocked to read this. My husband still refers to that vacation as a favorite family trip.
Again, making an idol had brought me to the point of ending my life.
What was my idol? My feeling of being a relevant member of my family. This time I didn’t feel like trash. I just felt irrelevant. They could find anyone to cook, clean, etc…
So, what stopped me this time? Two things:
- They would have to ship my body back to the U.S., and what a pain that would be…and it would be embarrassing to them.
- I still thought God would highly disapprove. I would have to face Him, with my final act being one of disobedience.
My whole life I’ve based my decisions on other people’s opinions; I have idolized their opinions, or what I have perceived their opinions to be. And my feelings have ruled my reason.
- It is amazing to me that in my depression, I could only hear the voice of death. No other ideas or solutions for making my life better came to mind. I was in a dark cloud.
In 2010 I went back to work and loved my job. In 2012 I wanted out of the marriage. In 2013 my husband’s job changed where he had to travel a lot. He asked me to quit work. I cried. But I quit for our children. I had time to google things I wondered about like “how to be a peaceful wife.” Literally, I googled that. I just wanted to be peaceful – forget happy.
Well, I gobbled up your blog, April. And for Lent in 2014, I did Nina Roesner’s Respect Dare. I begged God for help. My husband started to treat me kindly, as I started to respect the memory of all those good qualities he had when we got married and all his good qualities he still had but I had ignored because of my hurt feelings. I’m not perfect and neither is he.
- People and their opinions are horrible idols. Feelings are deceptive. Idolatry crucifies the worshipper. Jesus was crucified so I could live. He is God. He is trustworthy. Bountiful. Courageous. My faithful Godhero.
Shockingly, to me, each family member has come to me for advice on different things within the past two years. Sometimes they follow what I say and sometimes they just listen. It’s free will at this point. I ask God to help me help Him with His kingdom. I hope I have helped my Beloved King in some ways. I pray His forgiveness for my failures and near disasters.
Why did I want to share this? Mental illness and depression are very real. Putting other gods before the One true God twice nearly ended my life. These are my darkest secrets. Could anyone be helped by my story?
From The Peaceful Wife:
If you need help because you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, discouragement, or depression, please know that those thoughts are not from the Lord. If you are experiencing a spirit of death, you can be set free from that in Jesus! He is all about a Spirit of LIFE!
Don’t listen to the awful lies of Satan. He is the one who wants to steal, kill, and destroy you and your family. He is the one who speaks despair, hopelessness, and darkness into your life. Choose to turn to Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd who goes after the one lost sheep who has gone astray. He knows where you are. You are not too far away for Him to save you. Turn to the Bible. Turn to Light and Life in Him. He can heal you. You can have a saving relationship with Him.
The enemy wants you to believe horrible lies like:
- You are worthless.
- You are hopeless.
- You are unloveable.
- You are a failure.
- Your life is over.
- You will never be happy again. And happiness is the most important thing in life.
The truth of God is:
- You have value because you were created by God and everything He makes is precious and valuable.
- You have hope because of what Jesus has done for you on the cross if you will turn to Him and yield your life to Him as Savior and Lord.
- You are dearly loved – more than you could possibly imagine – by the God who created you. Not because you are so good, but because He is so good and He IS love.
- You can’t be good enough on your own, but – what good news! You don’t have to be good enough. Jesus was good enough! God will allow His life to count for your own, and His death to count for your death. And He will give you His power so that you can walk in holiness and you can please and know the Lord. All you have to do is turn away from your old ways, your sin and your old toxic thinking and turn to His truth and His life.
- Jesus offers you a brand new heart, a new Spirit, and a new life in Himself if you will come to Him in faith and trust.
- The greatest and most lasting peace, joy, hope, and fulfillment only exist in knowing Jesus. When we are close to Him, He shares with us all of His spiritual riches and treasures.
Thankfully, we can pray anytime! God is always ready to hear from us when we call out to Him for help.
The mind set on the flesh is death. But how we thank You that the mind that is set on You is LIFE and PEACE! (Rom. 8:6) You have the power to transform our thinking, our minds, our hearts, and even our circumstances. Help us to acknowledge that we need You desperately. We all do. On our best days and at our lowest points. None of us are good. None of us are perfect – not even remotely. Only You are Good, Lord. The only goodness we can have comes directly from You. We need Jesus. We need Your cross. We need Your salvation. We need Your healing. We need our old selves to be crucified with you and buried with You, Jesus. We need new life in You that comes through Your resurrection power. We need Your transformation. We need the power of Your Word and Your Spirit.
Breathe Your LIFE into every hurting heart today. Heal wounded, broken souls. Conquer the enemy. Conquer the lies. Let all who are in darkness see Your great light. Let all who are chained and shackled in the prison of sin and the prison of Satan see their chains falling off by Your power and walk out into Your glorious light and hope. Let today be the day of salvation and healing for all who are thirsty, defeated, and weary. Let them come to You and find true rest for their souls.
SOME LIFE-GIVING BIBLE VERSES (ESV):
- The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18
- He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11
- Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. … Rom. 5:2-8
- For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38-39
- For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Rom. 10:13
- Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:16-17 (For believers in Christ, we are God’s temple)
- For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:20
- But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12:9
IF YOU NEED IMMEDIATE HELP FOR A SERIOUS ISSUE:
Please contact a trusted pastor, or go to the free one-time counseling services available at www.focusonthefamily.com or check out the counselors available at www.biblicalcounseling.com
If you feel you are an immediate danger to yourself, please call 911, or ask someone to take you to the emergency room. If someone you know is threatening suicide, please call 911 and get help right away. There are a lot of reasons for suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it is because of our own sinful thoughts or a spiritual battle. Sometimes suicidal thoughts can be a side effect of certain medications or a side effect of stopping certain prescriptions too quickly. There are other possibilities, too. But if you feel like you want/need to harm yourself, you are not thinking clearly and you need help right away. Please reach out for help. You will be so glad you did.
How has God given you hope when things were hopeless? Has there been a time when God encouraged you and pulled you up out of a dark pit in your life? We’d love to hear about it.
Do you need prayer and hope today? I’d be glad to point you to Jesus and the healing that is available to you in Him. But, please, if you are in immediate danger, please don’t wait for me to be able to respond, but get local, experienced help right now.
My Commenting Policy – Let’s seek to use this place to honor the Lord, our spouses, our families, and others. Let’s seek not to share lots of details about other people’s sin here or to tear anyone else down, but let’s seek to build up one another in our faith. Thank you so much! <3
How to Have a Relationship with Christ – this is the first and greatest step toward REAL peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When He is seated firmly on the throne of your life, He gives genuine, lasting peace.
Why Should I Not Commit Suicide? by www.gotquestions.org – also provides suicide hotlines and resources
Lacey Sturm’s story – she was an atheist teenager who was planning suicide, but God intervened! Now she is a Christian who sings “The Mercy Tree.”
Articles about suicide at www.gotquestions.org
Articles about suicide at www.desiringgod.org
Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced (about God, others, and ourselves – lies lead to bondage and thoughts of harming ourselves or others)
Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials
Praying Life into Your Marriage and Family – changing the spiritual atmosphere in your home
Are You Giving the Enemy Authority in Your Life?
Roots of Insecurity, Low Self-Esteem, Sinful Jealousy, and a Desire to Control
Real Security – in my identity in Christ!
Triggers for Sinful Thoughts – sinful thinking leads to fear, depression, isolation, discouragement, and hopelessness
Thank you for sharing! I can identify with so much of what you said. My circumstances are different (unmarried and no children), but the feelings are the same and the cause is the same. I too have to fight idols in my heart and I see clearly how the sins of idolatry is so painful and destructive to me. Please read Jeremiah chapter 2! Only God is good, all He does is good, all good things are from Him, and nothing can ever be good if it doesn’t come from Him! Mark 10:18
Yes, exactly! These same kinds of temptations come to us in many forms at different stages of life, but the roots are the same and the solution is the same. I’m so thankful God is showing you how destructive idolatry is. Thank you for sharing about Jeremiah 2. And for sharing a bit of your beautiful testimony about God’s goodness!
Amazing!!! Thanks for sharing!!
I’m so thankful this was a blessing.
This article really blessed me, as I struggle with bipolar and depression. Thanks for sharing the testimony, godly insights, prayer, and verses. I love your ministry!
It is great to hear from you! I’m thankful that God used this to be an encouragement to you.
This is an awesome article. I’ve always thought that we put too much value on others opinion, including myself however, I’ve never looked at it as being an idolatry which it clearly is. Thank God for opening my eyes to receive and understand. Thank you for sharing.
I didn’t realize that for so long, either. But it is very clear in Scripture. May God continue to give us eyes to see that we might truly seek His approval, not the approval of people. We are to love people, not to idolize them – and there is a huge difference!
A few relevant verses for anyone who may be interested:
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 1 Thess. 2:4
For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. John 12:43
More verses about pleasing God rather than people.
I also have more posts on this particular topic, too, if anyone is interested.
How I praise God with you for what He is doing in your heart!
Not sure if anyone mentioned this but this also reminds me of the story of Leah in the Bible. Eventually she learns to please God instead of idolizing her husband, Jacob. Such a great message.
It is VERY hard to feel unloved as a wife. I can’t imagine how difficult Leah’s situation was – and Jacob’s, too. Her dad really put them both in a very awkward position.
It is not wrong for us to want to feel loved by our husbands. Marriage is supposed to have a mutual love. But even when our husbands fail us I’m so thankful that God never fails us and that He can fulfill us in ways no human ever could, not even a husband.
Much love! Thanks for sharing!
I also related to this. I’ve had depression off and on since my early teen years. For the last 20 years it’s been a real struggle to keep my head about the proverbial water. A move from my hometown, small town isolation, no friends, my son becoming a teen and pulling away from all of us, my father committing suicide, dislike, distrust and detachment from my husband.
I know it’s not of God. I just put one foot in front of the other and try to rely on Jesus and not look for spiritual consolations or emotional comforts. Your book The Peaceful Wife, and this site, has helped me a lot in the last couple of years learn to drop my expectations, work on not taking things personally, and look to getting my needs met through my Faith and not through other people or things. I wish all of you who’ve struggled with this well and tell you that the struggle is real and so is our Lord and Savior!
Thank you for sharing some of your story. You have had a LOT of difficult situations, my precious sister! I know the enemy wants to try to use all of that to discourage you. But I am excited to hear that you are looking to Jesus. He is the Greatest Treasure there is. He can sustain us in very difficult circumstances, I’m so thankful He never leaves us and never forsakes us and that He shares all of His spiritual riches and blessings with us. I’m so thankful for all of His rock solid promises and for the fellowship we can have with Him as we abide in Him and His Word.
I thank and praise God for all that He has done in your life and for all that He is going to do for your greatest good and His glory.
Much love and a huge hug to you!
Thank you so much for your sharing
Be encouraged all of you!
I had suicial thoughts since my teens.
Since two years this has diminished a lot but i still can have moments.
First time i was 17 and felt worthless and hopeless.
I wanted to jump off a bridge, but something amazing happened
While considering to jump in front of a large riverboat I looked at the boat and suddenly a film started in my head showing me everthing that would happen if i jumped
The shock of the captain of that ship, the impact it had on people that found me, on the policeman who went to tell my mom and the devestating grief it would cause, and than a guy on a bycicle came by and shouted hé what are you doing are you gonna jump.
It starteled me out of the vision.
No no I muttered and grabbed my bycicle.
I cycled home and thre my bycicle in the shed and went out in the forest.
Walking there it started to snow.
Suddenly all around me I began to see beauty and felt a soft touching and comforting
Then I prayed: God please help me, I can not live, I do not know how.
i went home and found my mom deeply worried.
I said I was ok and never told her.
Two months later I met my husband who was very religious and now am married to for 37 years.
He actually helped me to be able to live.
Many times I kept struggling with depression.
But that vision kept me from harming myself because it ingrained in me a deep understanding what the impact would be on all people it would have touched and how terrible damaging it would have been even to yet unborn cousins.
I believe this vision of all the consequences reaching info the future was from God.
And it showed me clearly why suïcide is so terribly wrong and although an act of despair it is really extremely selfish.
Than and there I learned I had to live.
If not for my sake than at least for all people that I connect with.
How I praise God that He gave you that understanding about all that would happen if you carried out your thoughts of suicide – that the enemy was trying to entice you with. How amazing!!!
I really appreciate you sharing your experience and what you learned. And I am extremely thankful that you stopped and didn’t carry out that desire. What an encouragement!
Much love, precious sister,
Thank you for this. I suffer from mental illness and have suicidal thoughts a lot and have attempted and almost attempted before. In fact it was just after my last almost attempt that I finally heard God calling to me and it was because of his saving me that I became Christian. Since then when the suicidal thoughts come I have tried to figure out what God thinks of suicide but I have never thought about in this way. I’m so grateful for this post.
I’m so thankful that you listened to God’s voice and that you are a new creation in Jesus now! That is AWESOME! God is all about you living a spiritually abundant life, precious sister. Satan is the one who wants to try to get you to listen to words of death. I’m SO glad God has used this post to bless you.
If you need more resources or prayer, please let me know.
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