Just as God’s words echoed into the edges of my mind, my husband walked into our basement. One look at the gun languishing in my hand threw him into action, and he quickly grabbed it before I realized what he was doing. But I wouldn’t have resisted regardless. I no longer wanted to die. Though I still had much to endure.
I fought hard through those days where I walked a valley clouded by the shadows of death. But I no longer believed the lie that I was alone, abandoned, or forsaken.
Most of us have either walked unwillingly through something we’ll never get over, or soon will, and just don’t know it yet. Whether it’s the loss of income, home, health, relationship, our innocence, or a loved one to death. When this happens we often reach a point of wanting to end the pain, no matter what it takes. But I am a prime example of what we might miss, if we act too soon.
Had I killed myself that day, I would not know the daily privilege of helping others. Of discovering a depth of meaning to life I previously didn’t know existed. Of seeing my forgotten dreams resurrect and transform into reality. Of a purpose wrought through pain I couldn’t have imagined. While cowering in the darkness, life’s simple joys were wasted on me — but one day, I stepped back into the light, and found I could feel them once again.
The return of small pleasures like rich reds, shining yellows, glowing pinks, vivid oranges, and soothing greens nestled in a bouquet of colorful flowers. The scent of fresh brewed coffee tickling you awake after a full night’s sleep. The sweet savor of chocolate on the tip of your tongue. The warmth of a baby’s supple, dimpled skin. The sound of hearty laughter — you surprisingly realize grew in your own belly and echoed from your own throat.
Because I clung to hope, though I often felt like letting go, today I can speak encouragement to others. I know the bitter solitude when you hudldle away from the world, feeling as if things will never get better, believing the darkness will never end — but this is another lie. Hollows are temporary. Life is a series of mountains, plains, and valleys. Even the depths of the ocean have them. Each one strengthens us in different ways. But all offer the same purpose.
I learned many things through my challenges. My emotional muscles were strengthened, fresh habits were developed, I was equipped with new skills, but most important of all, my heart filled to overflow with compassion for others.
There are thousands of walking wounded stumbling across this planet. Most are wearing a mask. Afraid to express the truth of their struggles.
I understand why someone might commit suicide. I hurt for Robin Williams when I think of his final moments as he said goodbye to this world. I hate the haunting sadness of death that tinges all of the good things he did while alive. The ache he couldn’t feed that we now feel empathetically. The fears he couldn’t overcome, though he stripped ours away with laughter.
I don’t know the truth of Mr. Williams’ relationship with Jesus Christ, hopefully he cried out for mercy and forgiveness at the end, and from what I’ve read and seen in interviews, I suspect he did. If so, I trust his soul rests securely in Paradise.
What I do know is this — life on Earth is sometimes a fragile thread. The strongest of us are often surprised at how weak we become when the right circumstances strike. But real power comes from realizing we are not alone.
Today, God and I continue our dialogue each and every day. I read the Bible and meditate on what He says through its love letters, practical advice, and empowering promises. If I don’t understand something, I ask Him what’s truth and what’s illusion. When I feel the tentacles of anxiety or depression wrapping their inky appendages around me, I hurriedly grab the one thing I’ve found to cut them off. God’s Word.
We can’t conjure faith up on our own. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us it is a gift from God. But we can ask for it.
Sometimes faith comes from strange places — a seed planted in a dark valley, covered by the soil of adversity, smothered by scoops of fertilizer and douses of flood, wiggling and writhing, pushing and panting, until one day, a sprout breaks through. It pokes its delicate head cautiously from the deep, and surprises itself as it realizes there is light. Then it tilts its head at its Creator in appreciation — finally able to see the purpose in the unseen battles waged beneath the ground. And then it bravely raises higher, daring to believe there’s more — willing to take the risk.
Do you know a Walking Wounded? Are you one? Do you believe God when He says He can create purpose from your pain?
Anita Fresh Faith
Anita Agers-Brooks is an international speaker, Business and Inspirational Coach, Communications Specialist, Certified Personality Trainer, and Certified Training Facilitator. In addition, Anita is the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Her latest book, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, releases through Barbour Publishing in April, 2015.
Anita also co-hosts a weekly podcast, Engaging Life and Leadership with Darren Dake, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business consulting firm. Member of the National Association of Professional Women, Christian Writer’s Guild, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Toastmasters. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita is passionate about work with integrity, healthy relationships, healing hurts, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
Follow her FreshFaith blog anitabrooks.com. You may contact her via website www.brooksanita.com/contact/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.