Written by: Erin Bishop
Tonight while running errands I received a startling text from my daughter:
“Someone I went to school with just killed himself.”
I called her right away. Her voice said it all. Shock. Confusion. Grief.
“Who was it?” I asked. She told me his name. It sounded familiar.
“Was he very involved at school?” I asked, trying to articulate any common warning signs.
“Yes”, she responded, listing off a few activities he was involved in. She added that he was a really funny guy and always seemed happy, and that even his best friend was stunned.
I’m not going to start sharing warning signs, teen suicide statistics, well meaning but thoughtless and cliché bumper sticker statements, or speculate how or why this poor young man ended his life. Anyone can find those statistics online and speculation doesn’t help anything.
This is where I am a mom.
As I drove home, I prayed and grieved for this boy’s mom and dad, his friends and loved ones. I imagined Facebook posts and shocked texts among his peers. As I drove by the high school he and my daughter graduated from just weeks ago I wondered if the principal had been notified yet.
And then I thanked God. “Jesus, thank you that it wasn’t one of my kids. Thank you that every day multiple times a day when this same thing happens across America and the world that this isn’t one of my kids.”
As a mom, I just can’t. I cannot fathom what his poor parents are going through, and I never want to. Oh how my heart breaks for them.
And my heart breaks for this young man. So young. So much potential. So much life ahead of him. Gone.
I sat on the couch next to my kids when I got home and said this, eyeball to eyeball and heart to heart:
“Do you know how much you are loved, and that if you EVER find yourself in what feels like a helpless situation you can ALWAYS come to me and together we will find a solution? There is ALWAYS a way out.” Both my kids nodded.
Will you please do two things?
- Please join me in praying for this young man’s loved ones
- Get eyeball to eyeball and heart to heart with your kids and other young ones in your life and talk to them about suicide? Let’s shine a bright light on this darkness and expose it and get those conversations started.
I think it’s safe to assume we have all been impacted by suicide in some way or another. It is an epidemic and by having intentional discussions with our loved ones, we very well may bring hope to the hopeless.
Written by Kim Chaffin
Looking back over my 26 plus years of marriage, I am filled with so much joy. I am so thankful for all God has done in our lives.
When we were dating, my (future) husband and I thought living together was the best way to make sure we really wanted to be married for the rest of our lives. You test-drive a car before you buy it, so why not live together before marriage? At the time it seemed like a great idea.
That “great idea” would unravel the night of our wedding, and for years I would carry around regret about my wedding night.
A few days before our wedding we decided that we had to be in different rooms. As if a couple of nights apart would make our wedding night feel like it was the first time. Out of the lingerie that I had received for my wedding, I choose something white because to me it meant purity. As my husband waited in the hotel room I slipped into my pretty outfit all the while telling myself this would be a special night.
I remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror wishing that I were seeing the face of a bride who was full of anticipation of what the first time would be like.
We were married so it would have to be special, I told myself as I fought to hold back the tears of regret that filled me. I had just married the man of my dreams, but the butterflies I had dreamed of as a young girl were not there.
It wasn’t until our 25th anniversary trip that I shared with my husband how I wished things had been different. I had the wedding of my dreams, but when we got to the hotel I found myself filled with disappointment and heartache. I didn’t get to feel the butterflies knowing my husband would make love to me for the first time.
Over the years I have told others not to live with someone in a physical relationship. I would tell them if I could do it all over, I would not have lived with my husband before we got married. I have encouraged people to do things God’s way, but the truth is, I was never honest about my pain.
Maybe you have made the same mistake my husband and I made. You don’t need to carry around the regret like I did for so many years. Give it to God and ask Him to forgive you. Ask Him to guide you and to keep you from stepping into more temptation.
God is bigger than our mistakes, and He has blessed my marriage. I am sharing my story because I don’t want other young women to find themselves with the same regret on their wedding night. Yes, God wants us to stay pure for our wedding night, but it is not because He is overbearing, full of rules, and trying to take the fun out of things. It is because He has given us a very special gift and when we wait to open the gift, the gift is even more special.
Truth & Takeaways
Do not awaken love before its time:
“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Song of Songs 8:4
Let God use your story:
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
-Make God the foundation of your relationship
-Pre-decide what physical boundaries you will have for your relationship and ask God to help you stick with them
-Plan your dates out ahead of time and make sure you don’t allow yourselves to get into tempting situations.
-Ask a friend to help keep you accountable
by Brenda Yoder
This year my daughter became a missionary.
It was while proofreading her high school senior scholarship applications that I learned about her heart for orphan ministry. I read how spending Christmas Day in a Mexican orphanage when she was 17 gave her a passion for children without families.
It was seeing her heart, captured by the kids she connected with in Guatemala during her summer there as a college student, which told me, to her, home was just as much on the Mayan mountains as it was in Indiana.
Last month, when she began raising support as a full time missionary with Back2Back, I learned that my place as her mom is on my knees, interceding for her and encouraging her when it feels overwhelming.
Raising a daughter called to full-time ministry is the joy of my heart, but it’s not an easy thing. Here are five lessons I’ve learned about raising a daughter who answers the call of God’s plan for her life.
- Prayer is the foundation. I didn’t pray for my daughter to be a missionary, but I remember praying that she would love God with her whole heart. I prayed in those moments when I picked her up while she was sleeping and felt her breath on my neck, while I sang hymns of prayer and hope. I prayed in the wee hours, when I couldn’t sleep and would pray beside her bed while she slept. There were the prayers her dad and I prayed when we didn’t see God through the stubborn, rebellious spirit. God hears every single prayer.
- Let her be herself. She was in preschool when I realized she wasn’t my clone. It was a wake up call that my only daughter didn’t have the same personality and nature I did. Through elementary and high school, it was a challenge to step back and let her grow into her own skin, but it is essential to allow your daughter to find her unique passion.
- Encourage friendships grounded in Christ. Kate was blessed with a handful of friends who similarly loved God. She expanded those friendships through church camp, going to other youth groups and not being in the most popular clique. These girls went on youth trips and mission trips together, and similarly love God in their own ways. They still encourage and support each other today.
- Give her opportunities to serve. When she first asked to go on short term mission trips, my fears were natural, but allowing her to serve God in these settings placed the burden for the orphans and underprivileged on her heart. When my instinct was to keep her close, I had to surrender my fears to God.
- Support her call. She was five when she first evangelized to our unsaved neighbors after she heard about sharing the gospel at Bible Club. I wanted to tell her she couldn’t because “what would they think?” When she wanted to date God her senior year, I also questioned what others would think, but I saw her develop an intimate relationship with her Savior that changed me. When she wanted to go back to Guatemala again and again, I wanted to question the practicality of it, but I had to support her.
God says we are to raise our children to be arrows (Psalm 127:4), shooting them into the air to go far away, perhaps, where God has called them. There’s beauty and contentment in knowing your daughter has learned to listen to God. That’s a great reward.