Taking a little break from our Adoption Series…
It’s National Suicide Prevention Week and I’m partnering with To Write Love on Her Arms’ Street Team to get the word out.
Recent numbers show that, within the developed world, suicide is the leading cause of death among people ages 15- 49, greater even than cancer or heart disease. It claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. Butâ€”and there is a â€œbut,â€ because there is always hopeâ€”we know suicide can be prevented. Depression can be treated, help is available, and people can rally around truth and around each other to conquer the shame and secrecy upon which mental health stigma feeds. Never has it been more important to spread this message: â€œYou cannot be replaced.â€
Here are some ways you can help:
1. Spread the Word on your Social Media networks that it’s National Suicide Prevention Week.
2. Share your story, or the stories of those you’ve lost. I’d love to post them here for you.
3. Donate to To Write Love on Her Arms by purchasing any of their very cool products, donating towards free counseling sessions, and more.
5. Last, but not least — Pray for those who are struggling. If you’re looking for a place to start, Ephesians 3:14-19 is rich with hope and love:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that being rooted and established in love, you may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
This is a repeat, but in honor of the precious young women in my life who have felt pain, shame, depression, and hopelessness, this is for you.
To My More Than Enough Girl; Some Thoughts on Psalm 139
You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, Oh Lord.
You are loved. God knows youâ€”knows your waysâ€”knows what you like and donâ€™t likeâ€”knows what you feel. This does not mean you are in trouble for the words you have spoken so bravely, or the actions you have taken in such desperation. It means that you are MORE than those words. You are MORE than those actions. It means you arenâ€™t defined by your pain. You are defined by a God who longs to be with you. Who sees you. Who loves every little thing about you from your talents and passions to this hurt.
You hem me inâ€”behind and before, you have laid your hand on me.
Do you know what a hem is, sweet girl? Itâ€™s a like a small pocket. I know it doesnâ€™t feel like you are in Godâ€™s little pocket, safe from the bullying and the heartache of this world. But, you DO have a God who surrounds you. He is in front of and behind you, He encircles you with his love. His love for you is louder than all the negative voices you hear throughout your day. His word and his love are the strongest thing that exists.
If I say,â€œSurely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,â€ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Read that again. The darkness feels heavy, and it is. The aloneness feels dark, and it is. I know that you have unanswered questions. I know you donâ€™t feel like you are enough. That IS darkness. And it IS painful. But, listen! Listen! Listen, my more than enough girlâ€”even the darkest cave in the middle of the night is not dark to God. He is so light and so bright that your deepest secrets, your hidden-away hurts are not a secret to him. He doesnâ€™t invade your private life in a pushy kind of way. He invades the darkness to bring light into it. Your Heavenly Daddy sees your broken parts and he isnâ€™t the kind of dad who says, â€œGet over it. Itâ€™s not valid for you to feel this way.â€ No, he is the kind of daddy who sits with you in your darkness, wraps his arms around you, and heals you with tender patience. He can handle all of your painâ€”so share it with him. Tell him. Journal it, pray it, talk about it with him.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my motherâ€™s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that fully.
If you ever hear anything, hear this: You are Godâ€™s perfume. You are his sculpture. You are his work of art. God MADE you. He didnâ€™t have to. But, he chose to put your hair and your eyes and your heart together because he knew the world would look more like Him with you in it. Did you catch that? The world is more beautiful and glorious because you are in it.
He also knew that your life would need Him. You have been dealt blows, my girl. You have handled things that not many of us could handle. And I know that some of those blows hit you in the deep places, and are still hitting you in ways you probably donâ€™t even understand. You donâ€™t have to have all the answers now, but I want you have this truth (If you canâ€™t, I will carry it for you): You are wonderful. God made you full of wonder.
You were made with care by the same hands that made the planets, the stars, and the crazy fish in the sea. And when you are dealing with this pain: this cutting, this burning, I know you are only trying to make sense of what you feel. But, please remember that God, who thought about you before your mom ever did; God who took time to put the exact color of your brown eyes onto his palette and then paint them into your beautiful face; He can help you make sense of all of this.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, Oh God! How vast is the sum of them. Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand.
Today is not a surprise to God. Thatâ€™s how intimately he knows you. Godâ€™s thoughts about you outnumber the sand on a beach. Can you even imagine that? How often God must think about you if itâ€™s more than the grains of sand? Itâ€™s the same way you think about someone you have a crush on. But, itâ€™s better, because His is a perfect love. God thinks about you like thatâ€”He loves you. He likes you. He adores you. He wants to spend time with you. His love is not a love that leaves, my sweet girl.
His is a love that stays, forever. He will carry you through this because He has enough days planned for you to experience the breadth of his love for you. Please let all of those days unfold. You wonâ€™t regret it.
I know you donâ€™t feel like you are enough.
God is, and He says that you cannot be replaced.