My heart was as shattered as the broken glass I was sitting in. Oh, the ache inside. The emotional pain was persistent and unyielding. At times, it was simply deafening. Sleepless nights filled with anxiety left me in a fetal position as I lay in the floor and would rock back and forward, back and forward hour after hour. I mustered the last bit of energy I had, and faintly whispered, “Jesus, Jesus” as I rocked. I had no other words. Just raw pain and open wounds of multiple losses and rejection. I did not know how to make the pain stop. I was angry. I was hurt. I was sad. I was depressed.
Consequently, chronic pain began in my neck. I could not turn my head from side to side. The physical and emotional pain overwhelmed me to the point of absolute hopelessness and despair.
Soon, I was bombarded with thoughts of suicide day and night. I did not really want to die. But, I did want the pain to end. I wanted those who treated me unjustly to suffer the pain of loss and rejection I had experienced. I wanted them to feel indescribable anguish and guilt for conditional love. I wanted them to forever grieve the day they rejected me. I wanted them to pay for the pain and emotional distress they caused me. I wanted justice and suicide was the way I chose to seek it.
At 26 years of age, an unsuccessful suicide attempt landed me in a hospital psychiatric ward for seven dreadfully long days. What a scary place! These people are really crazy, I thought. I don’t belong here. I called my therapist and psychiatrist and pleaded to be released immediately – to no avail.
The collective pain and shared stories of the patients in the psychiatric ward overwhelmed me My pain and problems seemed to pale in comparison. With support, I made a commitment to stay alive and to learn healthy ways to reconcile my painful crisis of loss, rejection, and conditional love.
I wish I could say, “We lived happily ever after”. But, that would not be true. Two years later my daddy, 57, died by suicide. The horror and emotional wreckage was endless and affected and continues to affect so many people – wife, children, grand-children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, church family, community, co-workers, friends, and generations to come.
A year after my daddy died I was sexually abused. I did not find justice in the judicial system. Consequently, I was tormented with anger, despair, disillusionment, depression, and thoughts of suicide. The pain was unbearable, the grief inconsolable, and the torment unrelenting.
During this time, I was counseled by a psychotherapist, a sexual abuse expert, and a psychiatrist who had me on antidepressants. I was in the blackest hole of my life with almost no hope of coming out. I wanted justice, but there was none to be found. I didn’t think I could face five more minutes of this pain. My daddy didn’t, why should I?
Wisely, a counselor insisted that I sign a letter that said “I will not commit suicide. If I feel like I want to die I must call my counselor and tell someone immediately”.
I remembered when my dad died by suicide. It was a nightmare! Investigators treated the situation like a crime scene – homicide until proven suicide. Nightmare’s followed with profound and gut-wrenching pain. The question “why” remained unanswered. Feelings of abandonment, and rejection nearly pushed several of my family members over the edge. How could I do this to my family again?
Questions screamed in my head. Where is the one who will fight for me? Where is the one who will protect me? Who will make the wrong things right? Where is the hope to go on living? In my mind, I lived in a hopeless prison.
Then, I began to hear about a righteous Judge who would fight on my behalf and on behalf of all the afflicted, the abused, the weak, the sick, the widow, the orphan, the abandoned, the rejected, the outcast, the poor, and the needy. And when I asked Him, He said He would take my case! Why? I asked. Because, you’re worth it, He responded. I have come with good news, He said. I have come to heal your broken heart! I have come to free you from your hopeless prison! I have come to give you beauty in exchange for the ash heap of your life! I have come to give you joy in exchange for your grief! He said I have come to put a song in your mouth in exchange for your tired spirit. Instead of your shame you will have double for your trouble. Instead of humiliation, you will have joy. Why? Because, I love justice! (Isaiah 61)
He cried with me! In fact, He bottled every tear I ever cried. He listened to my stories! He believed me! He gave me back my dignity and worth. I have heard your cry, He said. I heard your distress call. He took me from the raging waters of life that threatened to drown me. He rescued me, He said, because He delights in me. Then He said, take courage! Do not be afraid. I will go after your enemies with vengeance. I will save you. I will deliver you. (Psalm 18)
I believed Him! Jesus, the righteous Judge, gave me renewed strength. I got my life back seven years ago. I laugh again. I smile again. I no longer swing back and forth on the pendulum of suicidal despair. I’m not depressed. I’m fully alive on the inside. Do I still have painful circumstances in my life? Yes! But, now I have enduring HOPE. And you can too!
The righteous Judge loves you and wants you to know He sees everything! Vengeance is mine, I will repay declares the Lord. Believe again. Trust again. Live again. Hope again.