Even in the hopelessness and desperation of suicidal thoughts, God reaches down to tell us that He loves us, and that we matter.
“He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts have been broken. He has sent me to announce freedom for those who have been captured. He wants me to set prisoners free from their dark cells. He has sent me to announce the year when he will set his people free . . . Our God has sent me to comfort all those who are sad. . . I will put beautiful crowns on their heads in place of ashes. I will anoint them with olive oil to give them joy instead of sorrow. I will give them a spirit of praise in place of a spirit of sadness. They will be like oak trees that are strong and straight. The LORD himself will plant them in the land. That will show how glorious he is.”
Isaiah 61:1-3 NIrV
Here is Jessica’s story:
That night of my freshman year at Millersville University often enters my mind and plays like a scene from a movie. I remember everything about that moment. I remember that it was 7:09 PM on a Wednesday; October 27, 2010 to be exact. I remember that I was skipping jazz band rehearsal for the third time already that semester and that I didn’t even care. I remember exactly what I was wearing, down to the perfume. I remember how I was shaking uncontrollably and how my heart was beating out of my chest. To this day I can still feel the adrenaline pumping through my body and the sweat on my palms from tightly gripping the knife. I can still see the terror in my friend’s eyes and hear the panic in her voice begging me not to. I remember that awful pain in my chest from the intense anxiety of knowing that every second that passed was bringing me closer to deciding my answer to the question- Am I going to end my life tonight?
* * *
I can’t really explain how what happened next, happened. I was gripping the knife so tightly with no intention of letting go. Then, as I was raising my arm up closer to my face, I heard a voice calling out to me, “Don’t. I love you”. I didn’t even feel my grip loosen or see my hand open. I just remember hearing that voice, watching the knife drop to the floor, and then feeling an unexpected wave of hope come over me.
“…Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow…”
– Isaiah 1:18 NLT
I was afraid. I was so afraid that I had messed up so badly, that I had dug myself into such a deep hole that there was no climbing out. I was afraid that there was no freedom from the pain or regret consuming me. But that wasn’t true. There is freedom in Christ, and as scripture states, anything is possible through Him (Philippians 4:13).
Later that school year, the following March, in my friend’s car, I prayed that prayer that would forever change my life. I accepted Christ into my heart and into my life by admitting that I am a sinner and by believing and confessing that He is my Savior. Then, in May, I was baptized by our campus Pastor in a local pond. It’s amazing- through books I read, classes I took, people I met- God was pursuing me with such intention and persistence. Looking back, it’s undeniable that He was there with me. God was fighting for me, His daughter, to come back to Him. It was truly an incredible year.
Please remember- no matter your circumstances, or what you may have done in your past, God loves you. You are never beyond help, beyond hope, or beyond His love.
“…nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 8: 38-39