Tag Archives: suicide

Don’t Give Up


Right next door to one of the flooded houses I was helping to gut was a house that hadn’t been touched. Every house on the street had big piles of debris and trash out front except that one. I asked the owner of the house where I was helping about it. She said, “He came home after the water receded, took one look at it, locked the door, got an apartment, and walked away.” With every wheelbarrow of trash I dumped, I would look at that house and get upset. How could they walk away? 

I get that there’s a lot of work to be done, but come on. I couldn’t understand them walking away. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that so many of us do the same thing in our lives. We look at the mess and think, “This is too difficult to fix. It’s easier to just walk away and give up.” Life does get complicated, and often the messes we find ourselves in are complex without an easy solution. I’ve learned though, that messes are incubators for miracles. 

In the book of Jeremiah, he had been put in prison for speaking the truth. The Babylonians had seized Jerusalem, and they were threatening to burn the city down and take them away captive. God spoke to Jeremiah and told him that a relative was going to come to the prison to sell him a piece of family property, and he was to buy it. Why? Because God was saying that things would one day return to normal and the mess would be resolved. So he prayed in Jeremiah 32:17, “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” (NLT)

I can let you know that whatever you’re facing today is not too hard for God. While there doesn’t seem to be an end to your mess or a way out of it, God is working things out. Things will one day get back to normal. It won’t happen overnight, and things might get harder still, but what you’re facing isn’t too hard for Him. I’ve lived through messes where I thought there was only one way out, but God found another way. He will do the same for you if you don’t give up and walk away. 

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Keep Fighting


Every one of us fall down in life at some point. Some of us need some help getting back up. There are times when we say, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” None of us are promised an easy life. While some people may appear to have an easy life, the truth is that we all get hit hard enough in life that it knocks the wind out if us. None of us are exempt from that. The question is, who is around to help you back up?

Proverbs 24:16 says, “No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long” (MSG). There’s something God put in us that compels us to get back up. However, I can attest that you can be knocked down so many times that you begin to question whether or not you should get back up. If I’m going to be knocked down again, what’s the point of getting back up? It’s easier to stay down.

There are times in life where we feel like Rocky Balboa. We’re bloodied up from taking so many hits. We’ve been knocked down over and over again, but there’s something in us that drives us to get back up. Our friends may think it’s time to throw in the towel, but God doesn’t want that. He knows that if we will endure, we will grow stronger and that strength will develop character in our lives. When we go through struggles, especially the most difficult ones, God us there with us cheering us on to get back up.

Psalm 145:14 says, “God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.” We’ve got to remember we’ve got God in our corner. He’s there to make sure we don’t give up or stay down. He’s cheering us on to get back up and try again. We are promised victory if we will just get back up and keep going. I’ve had God have to give me a hand more times than I can count. He’s been faithful to give me a fresh start, and I’ll know He’ll do it for you. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Get back up and keep fighting. 

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A Life Giving Well


Several years ago, when I was going through a rough time and was barely hanging on, my Sunday School teacher and his wife spoke life into me. Week after week, I’d show up for class and he would say, “I’ve been praying for you this week. I feel like God wants you to read this verse.” Or he would say, “As I was seeking the Lord for you this week, God spoke this to me for you.” When the voice in my head wanted to end things, I would remember those verses or what God spoke through him and keep going.

His words and prayers were life to me. I looked forward to going to Sunday School each week because I knew that he would have something for me. I needed the life giving words that he would show up with. I’m reminded of Proverbs 18:21 that says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (MSG). I’m thankful that he chose words that give life. He could have easily condemned me, but he didn’t. 

Another proverb I love is Proverbs 10:11. It says, “The mouth of a good person is a deep, life-giving well, but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.” These verses always make me question what words I choose to use. Am I speaking life from a deep well or death from a dark cave? It’s one or the other and we get to choose. Today, find someone and speak words of life to them. You never know if they’re just barely hanging on and need the encouragement like I did. 

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The War Of The Mind

This weekend, I heard the song “Courageous” by Casting Crowns. It had been a while since I heard it. There was one part that resonated in me. The line said, “In the war of the mind I will make my stand.” I forget sometimes that there is a constant war going on in my mind to decide who gets to control my thoughts. I’m the type of person who can get caught up in my thoughts so much that I don’t hear anything going on outside my mind (my wife can attest to this!). I can be looking right at you and not hear anything because of what I’m thinking.

The war of the mind and the battle for your thoughts is important. Your thoughts determine how you feel. When you first wake up, what thoughts go through your mind? That determines how you feel about the day. Then, the way you feel about things determines how you act. If those feelings are negative, you don’t want to get up, so you hit the snooze. If they’re positive, you get up ready to face the day. All of your actions, both positive and negative, begin with your thoughts. That’s why Satan usually attacks there first.

Think of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3, Eve was minding her own business and satan came to her in the firm of a serpent. To create doubt, he asked, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from every tree of the garden?'” When she explained they could eat from all the tress except one or else they would die, he went after her thoughts again. He said, “You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened.” With those attacks on her thought process, she changed how due felt about the tree.

Verse 6 says, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Can you see the pattern? Her thoughts changed how she saw the tree. At first it was untouchable because God said. Thorn it became suitable and pleasant. Her attitude changed toward the tree. Now it became delightful and desired so she acted on those thoughts and ate. What was once off limits and she would have never considered became desired all because she lost the war of the mind.

I think that why Paul wrote in Ephesians 6 about the necessity of the Full Armor of God. In verse 11, he wrote, “Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which
God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and deceits of the devil.” As he listed out the different pieces of armor, salvation was a helmet. The helmet protects your head. It was symbolic of protecting your mind against the thoughts that come from the enemy to get you to do wrong.

If you’re struggling with the war of the mind, go to Ephesians 6:10-18 and read it. Put on the Armor of God so you can withstand the attacks of the enemy. God did not leave you helpless in this battle. He gave you this armor and the Holy Spirit to help you. Don’t buy into your thoughts that give you negative feelings and cause you to do things that you would have never considered before. Be honest with a close friend to have them pray for you and to hold you accountable. You can win this war by protecting your thoughts. You can stand up to the strategies and deceits the enemy brings. You don’t have to repeat Eve’s mistake.

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You Matter

A couple of years ago, I was at the Re:Write Conference and got to met several writers like myself. One of the keynote speakers was Mark Batterson. I had read a few of his books and was excited to meet him in person. At dinner, before his keynote address, I met a guy who went to his church. He is one of several thousand who attend one of the satellite churches in the Washington, D.C. area. After dinner, he and I were talking and as Mark walked by, he stopped and said, “Hey, Nathan! How’s the conference going?” After the brief conversation, Nathan turned to me and exclaimed, “Mark Batterson knows my name!”

It was one of those moments where I was excited for him, but also a little envious. I thought, “Man, it would be cool if Mark knew my name.” It got me to thinking about how God knows my name. In Isaiah 43:1, God says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name.” There isn’t a person alive or who has ever lived who wasn’t known by God. Not only does He know our name, He knows the very number of hairs on our head (see Matthew 10:30)!

In a world of over 7 billion people, it’s easy to think you don’t matter. It easy to think your life is anonymous and unrecognized. When we feel that way, it feels like our efforts and sometimes life are worthless. We think, “What’s the point? No one cares. No one notices. No one knows me. I’m all alone.” That’s kind of how I felt at that conference. I was there by myself and several of the other writers knew each other. I felt like no one would notice if I just disappeared. I was hoping someone would know my name like Mark knew Nathan’s.

We don’t have to feel that way. Even if no one else knows us, the creator of the universe does. Even if no one else cares, you can breathe easy knowing that the King of Kings cares about you. Psalm 139:16 says, “Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” God cares enough about you and your life that He has planned out your life. He has already recorded it from beginning to end. He not only knows your name and the hairs on your head, He knows your daily life.

When you start to feel like your life doesn’t matter, remember that it matters to the one who matters most. When your thoughts stray and tell you that no one cares, remember that God is thinking about you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made you to specifically do what only you can do. When He formed you in your mother’s womb, He knew what your life would be like. He knew the feelings you were going to have. He knew that what you do matters because you matter to Him. He knows your name and everything about you and loves you still. Live today like someone who is known by God.

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Dead Ends

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On September 25, 2003, my life hit a dead end. My now ex-wife had left me for someone else, my house was about to be foreclosed on, I was facing bankruptcy, and I lost my business because of some bad decisions. Everywhere I looked I saw a dead end. There was no way out. My world was closing in fast and I didn’t know what to do. As I thought about the only option I felt I had, God reminded me what He had spoken to me only months earlier. He said, “What seems like an end is only a beginning.”

I was definitely at the end. I felt I had no reason to live. There was too much pain. Too much failure. Too much disappointment. As I laid there on the floor contemplating everything, I prayed, “Lord, I give up. I can’t do this anymore.” He spoke back, “Finally.” I had to come to the end of myself before I realized I truly needed Him. I had to come face to face with my own insufficiencies before I could see His sufficiency. I had to feel my weakness in its full effect before I could experience His perfect strength.

In II Kings 3, Joram had just begin to reign as king of Israel. King Mesha of Moab decided to quit paying tribute to him as he had paid it to his father. Joram became upset and decided to go to war with Mesha. On the way he sent word to two other kings and asked if they would join him. All three kings and their armies decided to take a round about way of getting to Moab to attack. The route went through a desert. After seven days, the armies were thirsty and were facing death before they even got to the battle. They were at a dead end.

When they realized there was no way out, they decided to seek God’s help. Their men were going to die unless God intervened. They sent someone to get the prophet Elisha. He showed up and told them to dig trenches. He said, “You won’t hear the wind, you won’t see the rain, but this valley is going to fill up with water and your army and your animals will drink their fill. This is easy for God to do.” The men in the army were dog tired from walking through the desert. They were dehydrated and without hope, yet God asked them to pick up a shovel.

They dug all night until they couldn’t dig anymore. The next morning, a flash flood filled the valley with water. As it passed through, it filled the trenches with water and the army regained their strength. They went on to face the army of Moab and defeated them. God had done exactly what He said He would do even though they thought there was no way He could. He made a river in the desert.

What seemed like an end for them ended up being a new beginning. When they felt like giving up, they worked hard and then God came through. He is faithful to meet our needs in our times of trouble. Your dead ends are really just an opportunity for God to come through. It’s His way of showing us that He can get us out of the mess we got ourselves into. What seems hard or impossible to us is easy for God. He may ask us to dig trenches in the night when we have no strength and it doesn’t make sense. When we do, we will be ready for the fulfillment of His promise.

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Out Of The Hole

It’s hard for me to believe that next week I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the lowest point of my life. I know it seems odd to celebrate such an event, but for me, it was a turning point in my life. It was the moment when I refused to go any lower than I was and made the decision that I would claw my way out of the hole that I was in no matter how much effort it took and no matter how long it took. I’m still clawing my way out of that hole, but now I’m starting to see daylight.

Ten years ago, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. There was no hope of ever recovering from what I had been through. I was hurt, embarrassed and alone. Sure I had a few friends around me, but no one truly knew the depth of my pain or what I was struggling with. I made a conscious effort to never think about that time in my life. I felt that if I could pretend it was a bad dream, the pain would go away. I thought that if I never spoke of it again, then I could put it behind me.

I moved on with my life pretending that I hadn’t gone through a painful divorce, filed for bankruptcy, lost my business or ran away from those who cared most about me. I figured that the best way out was to start my life over fresh and new as if none of it never happened. The problem was it did happen. Underneath everything I was still a mess inside. I was still hurt to the core. I was mad at God for letting me walk through that. I was mad at others thinking my failures were somehow their fault. It all boiled down to bad decision making by me.

Once I was able to take responsibility for the things that happened, I began to move forward. It’s not easy to look in the mirror when you know the pain inside is caused by the person looking back at you. I know other people played roles in delivering the punches that knocked me down, but I made the decisions that put them there and put myself in that position. I left myself open for the gut shots that took the wind out of my desire to live or move on.

I hid the pain for over seven years as I moved on with life. It was then that God spoke to me through Dave Roever that I needed to expose the wounds and face them head on. Since that time, I have begun to share my story being open and honest about what happened. I have found healing for the wounds that were so deep. I still feel the pain like I did every time I open them up, but I know that through my wounds others can find help, hope and healing for theirs.

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom and feel like there’s no way out. I know what it’s like to think that there’s only one way out of the pain and anger. I can tell you that there is another way out. I found it. It was through forgiving myself and others who hurt me. It was in finding forgiveness through Jesus for the unthinkable wrongs I’d committed. It was over the course of years, hard work, dedication and never giving up. If I can make it out of that hole, you can too.

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