Be Strong & Courageous-Hanging on a Ledge

**** Warning may cause triggers with the mention of Suicide in this article.****

If you or someone you love suffers from suicidal thoughts reach out to 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. check your local state for additional resources.

Joshua 1:9 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

The pain was indescribable, from the throbbing headache, chronic fatigue, constant ringing ears and the sharp stabbing pain throughout my entire body. I had been living with this since January. I remember going to see the doctor and being told to increase my water intake and they added another blood pressure medication. I was completely exhausted from being in so much pain. Then, I had another doctor appointment and the same experience as before,  the provider wasn’t listening to my concerns or understanding the immense pain I was enduring. I felt completely defeated; I was done! Yes, I was done! 

March 23, 2022; I will never forget the day; I was just hanging on the ledge by my fingertips. I was anxious and during that time the question, “Why am I even alive if no one was willing to listen to my voice. Since no one was listening to me this created a huge block in my mind. I allowed my mind to go to the darkest of places; I was done;  I was hanging on the ledge ready to let go.

I was emotionally, spiritually and physically drained from all the pain. Throughout the day I was having uncontrollable bouts of tears streaming down my face.  That day, I had talked to both of my sisters. (my sisters are my people.) They both encouraged me to reach out to my resources. They insisted I contact my therapist and get an appointment with her. What they wanted was for me to get help. They demonstrated unconditional love, mercy and grace; they listened to my pain and provided empathy and understanding. 

After I got done speaking to my sisters I called my therapist office and guess what? They had an appointment available for me at 4:00p. I was sitting there with tears still coming down my face wondering what am I going to do until 4:00. Then I remembered I needed to reach our employers’ Employee Assistance Program (EAP). I talked to a lovely person. They heard the pain in my voice, they kept asking what they could do to help. I knew in my mind I would never end my life by my own hand. I experienced what it was like to have someone close to me die by Suicide. I am fully aware of the emotional toll death by suicide can create for loved ones. The person from EAP asked me 1 question, “do you want to die because of the physical pain or because you are done living?” I answered because of the physical pain and also because no one was listening to me.  This person helped me back off the ledge, she explained to me that because of my physical pain was the reason why I didn’t want to live. She reassured me that I was not suicidal. The person from EAP then asked me, “what can I do to help you in this time and in this moment?” I expressed, they had done it already; this person had listened to me; she empathized with me and assisted me in getting therapy sessions set up with my personal therapist. 

I could feel all the emotions lifting off my shoulders. (didn’t realize how heavy the weight of emotions could be until that moment.) I could finally breathe again.  The pain was still there but it was a little bit more tolerable and the anxiety-it was gone. A few days later I received a handwritten letter from the EAP person who assisted me. She thanked me for sharing my story with her and encouraging me to remember,  I was not alone.

Another appointment was coming up and this time I wasn’t alone. I brought my support with me; my husband. This time I was being seen by my pain clinic provider. The nurses in the pain clinic and the provider were very empathetic and understanding. When the nurse was checking me in the question was asked; If I had thoughts of suicide? I answered yes. I was in so much pain I wanted to die. I didn’t see the look on my husband’s face but I can only imagine it was one of shock. I then explained; my reason for answering yes. As a result of the amount of pain I was in I wanted to be done. The follow up question is always about a plan, “do you have a plan?”  I answered no, I do not have a plan. That was when they knew I would be okay and not require psychiatric admission.

The provider listened to me,  she explained to me I didn’t have complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) like 2 previous providers thought I had. I told her I knew I didn’t have CRPS and that I felt one of my problems was the tendon on my ankle was torn. She said I was right and she was going to refer me to the orthopedic surgeon to have my ankle further evaluated. A relief; wow! Again, the weight of the emotions lifted off my shoulders and just to have affirmation that there was something wrong was a relief. Someone was listening to me. She then proceeded to suggest I see an additional pain clinic provider that was going to help evaluate the rest of my physical pain. But I had to have a referral from my primary care provider to see the new pain clinic provider. 

I was still breaking down and crying awaiting the new appointment with my primary care provider and the pain clinic. 

I got my referral to the pain clinic provider and after the appointment I became upset. The nurse had come in to check me out and indicated to me that the pain clinic provider believes I was experiencing a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) episode. Keep in mind, this is  based on my 1st appointment with this provider. So, I had to get an MRI of my brain.  These types of tests are to be used to rule out or to help draw conclusions for a proper diagnosis. Fortunately, this test revealed no lesions on my brain; however, I was still in complete physical pain with no solutions but, I was given reassurance this provider was going to help me get to the bottom of what was going on with me. What we do know, we cannot rule out MS yet. Based on what has happened a full diagnosis of MS could take 2-3 years. We have been assured I definitely have an autoimmune disease. 

I was still hurting, completely emotionally, spiritually & physically drained. I was alone, my husband couldn’t comprehend what was going on with me. No one from the congregation we belonged to was just checking to see how we were doing. I was hurt and disappointed. I finally reached out to my online Facebook group. I just poured it out, I let this group of ladies pray for me. They are from all over the country and I trusted them so much that I asked them to pray for me and with me. They always demonstrated unconditional love, grace and mercy at all times. They have a Christ-like love without judgment.

I knew there was something still missing within.  It was my relationship with Christ. I had lost my faith and trust in people doing the right thing and by doing this, I walked away from Christ and didn’t even realize what I had done. It wasn’t until one day at work; I was asked if my relationship with Christ had changed since I had started working? I was not offended by the question, it actually made me think. I reflected back on the past 18 months and thought to myself Yes, I have been separated from Christ through this whole ordeal.  Again, I walked away. By walking away from Christ this allowed my mind to go to the darkest corner of my mind.

Why do we walk away from Christ when we need to have that relationship the most? There are several reasons: 1) being let down by people. 2) I was ashamed because; I realized we should be walking along with Christ in all times good and bad. 3)Then I behave with such pride and arrogance that I’m going to figure things out for myself. We are going to get the answers we need and we will do it all on our own. 

I sat and looked at myself; the behaviors I  saw were disappointment, being ashamed and full of pride.  Once I had made my post on the online FB group for prayers my dear sister in Christ called me. She talked me through the emotional, spiritual and physical pain I was feeling. She helped me realize, if we don’t ask for help no one will respond or will help.  I needed to use my voice to speak up. She helped me realize, I am not a burden. Then, she prayed with me on the phone. She helped the holy spirit within me to reignite. She demonstrated Christ Love-unconditional love, grace and mercy-helped guide me back to my relationship with Christ.

Who is your 1 in 4 people you can contact when you are in a crisis? The person you can reach out to and realize they are not going to judge you, but they will demonstrate unconditional love, grace and mercy. Who is this person?

I have learned:

  1. Use your voice to advocate for yourself medically or no one will  advocate for you.
  2. Check with your employer to see if they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to assist you in a time of need.
  3. Find the individuals in your tribe you can reach out to for help and support.  (See attached worksheet)
    1. Family-
    2. Friends-
    3. Therapist-
    4. Church Family- If you are not connected to a church, find one. 
    5. Online Family-
  4. Physical pain sucks; it creates a triple threat with a person emotionally, spiritually & Physically. If we don’t manage self care properly each of these areas will suffer.
  5. God’s emergency numbers. What is your go to scripture to give you the best comfort and peace in the meantime. My Scripture is Psalm 23.(See attached list of scriptures you can use incase of an emergency)
  6. Even in the darkest and murkiest of times; I wasn’t alone. All the time Christ was carrying me through these storms and murky moments. He was allowing me to become more aware of him during this time. He was showing me that I had the strength and courage to be the child He has always intended me to be.  Remember what Joshua 1:9, we are to be strong & courageous. Don’t be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will always be with you wherever you go.

I found the other side of the darkness, I had to humble myself and realize I couldn’t go through this alone. I needed someone else to pray for me not just for me but with me to help me see the light of Christ again. To realize the balance comes with being emotionally, spiritually and physically balanced each is tied together. 

This is where I’m at now, I’m still awaiting another appointment, another referral and more tests in addition to all of the different medications I have been placed on. I had surgery to repair my tendon on my ankle and have been on medical leave. This time of reflection and spiritual renewal has given me time to realize my priorities.  I no longer feel defeated, as I wait for a diagnosis. I have been working on “Self-Care” taking care of me, working on a plan for my future and learning how to cope emotionally with my pain. Reminding myself, to never walk away from Christ.  

Who is your 1 in 4? Attached is a link to a google worksheet to help create your list of contacts in case of an urgent situation. Along with that is a referral of scriptures for when you are… Print and add your list of names, phone numbers & emails for your tribe/your circle. Keep it in a safe place that is readily available to be used.

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Find the light; to Make Our Burdens Light

John 8:12 (NIV) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

The darkness consumes my mind; it reminds of those times of feeling worthless. The pictures in my head of the past; the feeling of terror the thought of wanting to yell “STOP” but being paralyzed by the pain nothing comes out.

Then comes the loss of time and the feeling of not wanting to wake up again begging and pleading for the pain, the voices and the suffering to just stop please take it away from me. Nothing.

Happiness eludes me; why me? The idea of peace enters my mind then goes away again in an instant. Peace no more. Then I awaken not knowing how much more of this darkness I am able to take. I just want it to end.

Then in the moment of desperation and wanting to regain control of my life while being exhausted from not sleeping for days. I see where this is coming from. I crawl out of bed; pointing directly straight out of the house. Then I proclaim loudly, “Satan, I rebuke you from this home, from my heart and from my mind! My salvation is with my Savior Jesus Christ! I am saved for His glory; not yours! I rebuke you!”

Sheer exhaustion consumes me however there is still a battle to be fought in my mind; it just won’t shut off I decide to make it my purpose to regain what has been lost.
Time to go back to bed but again the continuation of my mind racing won’t stop. I have been fighting all day and I just want to sleep. I feel a hand on my arm; it is my husband desperately trying to keep me in bed quite aware of my exhaustion he just wants me to sleep. Then all of a sudden the break through moment begins; I am seeing the clouds of darkness shifting and the ray of light peeking through the clouds. Then begins the conversation with Jesus which should have taken place days ago begins;  I begin to pray giving Him the highest glory and honor. I am not worthy of His mercy and grace however I still receive it.

The exhaustion still consumes me in this moment of desperation I give Him praises for all of his blessings He has bestowed on me, both good and bad. Yes, the bad things in life because He continues to show me his redemption time and time again.

Then all of a sudden the feeling of my heart literally breaking in two. I don’t understand completely the circumstances of the situation I was praying for only there would be a new journey for those people I was praying for. I prayed so hard so hard for them and in the end all I could ask for was HIS WILL TO BE DONE. There is the bigger picture. His WILL be done. Then all of a sudden a peace falls upon me. The feeling of the Holy Spirit has me wrapped up and I hear His voice, “I am in control.” “I have you.” “Just sleep” my sobs were so hard it woke my husband; I reassured him I was okay. By this time I am saying aloud, “Thank you Jesus” “Thank you-“ I tell my husband to just lay here, can you feel Him, He is here with us; He is always with us; He is always faithful, He is in control; our Lord and Savior is in control. He is in control….”

Then the sleep finally came upon me finally my burden was light; I could feel the work of the Holy Spirit putting my heart back together making me stronger than I was before. Would this be the last time I encounter the darkness hard telling but, I knew in my heart Jesus had a message for me.

During this period of darkness it was scary, times of begging for peace to come upon me. But the peace came when I was completely exhausted. He allowed the darkness to remind me I need to continue to place my faith and trust in Jesus. Have the relationship with Him to allow him to be in control. This message was so resounding; I woke the next morning so full of the Holy Spirit I didn’t want to miss out on worship service. The message begins, Who is in control? You or Jesus? Wait? What? Is this really happening right now? Everything I had discussed with Jesus his message was being repeated at Sunday morning service. Jesus knows my heart He knows how I need to hear his message so, why not remind her, “She is not in control I am.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
There is a lot of people who face pain, uncertainty, sorrow and those who have great joys to celebrate.
In Matthew Jesus promises there will be rest for the weary. He wants for us to place our burdens on Him and allow him to be in control.
With the pain we feel at times there is no light in the forefront; then I remember the one light I can always count on is the Light of Christ. We must realize through the storm clouds, rain and valleys there is hope with our faith in Christ.
All too often we want to handle the situation on our own. We don’t need help from anyone. But Jesus tells us in verse 29, when we take His yoke upon us and learn from Him our burdens will be light and then we will have rest for our souls. By doing this we will grow spiritually in our relationship with Jesus. He wants that relationship to be at the center of our lives when we do this the burdens, sorrow pain and celebrations in life are shared with Him. Then we praise him in all things good and bad.
Praise Him in the storm; watch the storm clouds clear and see His light; He is always there faithful and true.



Scars which Last a Lifetime: Words

Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV Beautiful Words Bible 2015 Zondervan pg. 1373) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of Malice. 32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

The emptiness has already consumed her; the goal today was o feel good and beautiful about herself; just a little confidence would go a long way. Each day she would try and look at herself in the mirror before school and tell herself, “I am beautiful!” She would believe it for a moment and then it was gone the emptiness was back. She thought what difference would it make, it didn’t matter what she believed; they always found a way to put her back in place. The harrowing feeling of walking into school each day felt like her form of punishment.

What would it be today? Her skin color, the flash of memory appears. She was maybe in 3rd grade trapped in the bathroom by one of the most popular girls in 3rd grade and being told to go home and have her parents paint her white like the rest of them. She never knew any difference in skin color. She just knew her mother was beautiful and her father was he most handsome man she knew. She snaps back to reality; today is about being a bitch and a whore. As time goes by she comes to the realization it didn’t matter how much she would defend herself; she would never measure up in their eyes.

The more and more she tried to ignore the words the worse they would get. Then it was back to being a wetback, spec, Jehobite slut and on and on… The people please in her personality chose to take it, take the abuse and allow it to consume her. With confidence torn apart and making the worst possible decisions through out high school got her in more trouble with her parents. She eventually allowed men to treat her with disrespect to the point of being abused. She allowed those words to control who she became. Graduation would be the happiest day of life. Or so she thought.

Now time for her to face the adult world. A world which brought her further pain and suffering; she thought the words were bad in high school but she was wrong. the words just cut much deeper. Entering the world of being an adult didn’t help when she looked at herself as being completely broken; unable to stand up for herself. She literally did whatever anyone wanted her to do. If it meant working a certain job which she had no desire to she did it. Oh, they have the most eligible bachelor ready for her to date. She did a good job of hiding the pain if she ever showed a sign of weakness it would be hidden from those who were surrounding her. She would put a smile on her face and proceed on.

She was along enduring constant abuse, who would she turn to. She discovers that if there really was a God she wouldn’t have endured so much pain and suffering only to find herself pregnant; this is going to be one of her greatest challenges being a mom and trying to prevent her children from becoming victims.

Wedding are blissful events; you want to feel good about yourself, there she was walking round with her baby girl and a young man on her other arm as her date. A family  member approached her full of confidence; with a comment that would come back to haunt her not once but twice in her lifetime. “You change boyfriends like you do shirts.” at that moment in time She should have been devastated but in this time she had already endured the worse form of abuse and she needed to be focused for her baby girl so she shrugs it off.

Years later she is going through serious life changes. Her baby girl is no longer a baby, she is now an adult and learning her path on raising a family. She can be described as a real Proverbs 31 wife in her momma’s eyes. When her mom thinks of her daughter she is reminded of Proverbs 31: 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Her mom recalls mentioning time and time again if she only had an ounce of her daughter’s strength what life changing effects there would be. 

November 11, 2006 a day which changed her life forever; the day she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. That day she would begin her infancy walk with Christ. Ultimately what she didn’t realize was God would use her past to learn from. Granted He knew her past He was with her along the way carrying her when she didn’t realize she needed to be carried.

One big lesson of life she would learn is forgiveness not only giving forgiveness but praying that those she hurt with her words would forgive her.

The words echoing loudly in her mind… they won’t stop…”You change boyfriends like you do shirts.” Those words hurt so badly and years later they echo through her head. Shaking and crying on her knees asking God why? The out loud she is yelling asking God, “why can’t I let this go?” Then she hears her self again feeling of anxiety coursing through her body then the words being spoke out loud as if the person was in the room. She would question to the point of almost breaking down then practically in tears she called her daughter. Tells her the story of the message God was telling her and keeps bring up this one horrible memory.

Then the reality hit home for this mom. Years earlier when her daughter was growing up through the teen age years. She repeated those same words to her daughter. She said to her daughter the exact same phrase word for word, “You change boyfriends just like you do shirts.” Tears flowing down her face she drops to her knees while on the phone she states to her daughter, “I pray one date in time you will forgive me.” Her daughter appreciated her apologizing then the full reality of what God was trying to teach her was revealed.

  1. She needed to forgive the person who made the statement in the first place. We do not need to wait to be asked to forgive. We need to just forgive. Especially if you are a victim. By forgiving we free ourselves from being the victim of abuse.
  2. She needed to ask for forgiveness. Healing begins between the mother and daughter when an acknowledgement of wrong doing has occurred.

So often words are like a double edge sword; the monumental effect words can have on a person can be overwhelming which can carry greater scars because they cut into the heart and mind.

She Woke Up

Psalms 147: 3 He heals the broken hearted and binds their wounds.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Depression: (Noun) The fear of despondency and dejection

PTSD (Noun) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The feeling was exhilarating and scary at the same time. The fog lifted; she could see again but what was she seeing for the first time?

A mess left in the quake of her depression. Seeing her children again for the first time in years. What did she miss?

Graduations, weddings, celebrations and births but how could this be? She sees a glimpse of her daughter, the last time she saw her daughter she was about 5 graduating from pre-school. She is wearing the same dress, red, white checkered dress, with the letters A B C across the top. A proud moment; her oldest was going onto kindergarten. Now, her daughter has graduated from high school, married a young Marine; moved away and started a family.. This was only one child; they were three affected by this quake before she knew it the precious eight year old already had his future Military career in the works, she remembers the Lego planes in his bedroom; his dream of being in Air Force and before she knew he was gone. Graduated college and now a striking young officer proudly serving his country. Then the youngest was home; he was thinking what in the world did they do; the left me with her! He had a plan, he found his love at a church event but he heard the call to serve. He wanted to be like those others in our family he wanted to serve so, he joined the Marine Corp and short time later married the love of his life. Sure she was there for the picture moments, the smiles, the congratulations and the “oh how proud you must be” comment from those attending the social events of the year.

She also believed during her darkness she was maintained by a special relationship with Christ. She looks back and sees how He carried her. He held her close in His arms and when the smiled needed to be turned on it was there. He was showing her the way out of the darkness.

The day she woke up and the days to follow it was difficult for her to face. HOW?! WHY?! What in the world happened? The anger to follow “How could you allow this to happen?” Everything was a complete mess; what was she going to do next.

Facing each child and her husband who saw her at her worse yet stood solid as an oak frustrated at times but reassuring her they were not going anywhere.

The fear and anger has her running, the anxiety which pulsated through her body gave her the feeling of fight or flight so she decided she needed to stay strong and fight, the only way she would defeat the demon of depression was to face it. She wouldn’t face it alone but, it would be a challenge. She needed to WAKE UP and face the MESS!

Praying on her knees she asked God to please forgive her; asking for his grace and mercy to bring her comfort. She knows He is her redeemer and savior; He is with her at all times. Even knowing this comes the next part of this battle the anxiety she battles with PTSD, the trauma was real and but the memories are even more haunting; the trauma plays over and over in her mind. She finds at times, her mind has so much control she feels like she is walking around with a mark on her forward or more like a statement that says, “I’m Broke” waiting for repairs” Then the people will come around and pick at her, they pick at the broken parts, she feels uncomfortable when someone compliments her because she believes they have an ulterior motive and not a good one either.

The battle is just beginning for her; she won’t miss another moment of those things that are important to her but, the scars are still there. Not just the emotional scars but the physical scars of her trauma.  But she is not alone, she still has her husband; the standing oak in her corner that no matter how hard she tried to push him away he stood still on shaky ground. She has Christ; when she woke up the fire was reignited in her heart and soul.  Her children, the conversations with her children were the beginning of new memories and them reminding her of the ones she missed; the love and forgiveness which followed. The transformation  was so powerful for the first 5 days she was talking non stop; acquainting herself with those important in her life.

She looks for the signs of Christ in her life. She found them He will place on her heart a scripture one that reminders her that HE is with her. He reminds her the path to healing is also forgiving. What does this mean for her next path; going one by one to those closest to her and asking for forgiveness.  Working through hard work with therapy and identifying who she is for the first time. Not being defined by one tragic moment or several moments in history. But, by shedding the anger, bitterness and learning to combat the negative with the good.

She will walk with the diagnosis of Depression, Social Anxiety and PTSD however she will not allow it to define who she is as a person! She takes the courage and face each day with love and joy in her life. Not taking another moment for granted.