Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: June 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flyleaf singer, Lacey Sturm, shares her story

Someone recently shared this link with me and I was so moved, that I wanted to share it with you. Lacey Sturm, a singer in the band Flyleaf, talks candidly about her past as an atheist and her plan to complete suicide. There are times when we have no idea that someone we love is contemplating suicide, and there are times when warnings ring out so that you can reach out to help. Then, there are those supernatural times when God intervenes in ways that only he can. Listen as Lacey shares her story below.

We serve a God who cares...let us never forget!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Surviving a Murder/Suicide

Recently, our small town was recently devastated by a murder/suicide. Having grieved numerous deaths by suicide personally, my heart goes out to the family and friends left behind. While I did not know the families involved, my heart hurts for them; I can only imagine the consuming agony they must feel. Surviving Michael’s suicide was gut-wrenching at times, but I cannot begin to fathom the pain of knowing that someone I love not only took his own life, but someone else’s as well.

How can you minister to family and friends whose loved one has committed such a travesty? This is someone’s son, someone’s niece, someone’s sister, someone’s friend… What do you say when there are no words?

Family and friends need to know that you love them unconditionally and that you hurt with them. Being there for them, crying with them, offering to do small tasks such as housecleaning or laundry shows them you care. Don’t judge family members based on current circumstances; they need support now more than ever. They do not want you to judge their loved one’s entire life but their final actions. Just as you would listen and share stories with those who died by natural causes, be willing to listen to favorite memories.

Many family and friends may feel guilt over what happened. Lovingly assure them that they are not to blame for someone else’s actions…there may have been warning signs that were missed, and friends and family will be tempted to beat themselves up over these. “If only I’d …” The thought is that someone I could have prevented this from happening and yet I didn’t. In most cases, the opposite is true:  you could not have prevented this from happening no matter what you had done. Statistics show that people who have lost someone to suicide often struggle with suicidal tendencies in the aftermath of their loved one’s death. If you or your friend are struggling to process what has happened, find a trusted pastor or counselor to talk where you can wrestle through the complicated grief.

I encourage you to click here and read the story of a woman who survived her son’s murder/suicide. She offers suggestions for survivors to help them in the immediate aftermath.

Lastly, find a SOS (survivors of suicide) support group where you can meet with others who have faced similar loss. You can find a local chapter by visiting here.

If you have been touched by a murder/suicide know that my prayers are with you.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Suicide Rates in Military Personnel on Rise

Recent reports say that nearly one military personnel dies by suicide daily, marking more suicides than deaths in the war in Afghanistan. Both those who have been deployed and those who serve stateside are at risk. They face tremendous stressors; they often return home unable to find employment or to find relationships severed. Many soldiers refuse to admit their struggles for fear of being dubbed weak. Many do not understand that the threat of suicide affects people of all walks of life. Stigma prevents people from getting help.

I was disturbed to read that Major General Dana Pittard, commander of the 1st Armored Division, had written in his Army blog, "I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act." He also wrote, "I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us." While I’m sure he thought this “pep talk” would prevent future suicides, instead it further promulgates the stigma that prevents people from getting help. People do not take their lives because of childish ways, but because they have lost hope. (The Major General did later retract his statements.)

Thankfully, there are people like Major General Mark Graham and his wife Carol who are advocates in the fight against suicide, particularly in the military. You can hear their story by clicking here.

If you know someone who serves in the Armed Forces, I encourage you to have candid discussions with them regarding suicide. Covenant with them to seek help if they get to the point of desperation. There is a National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK) where you can call and talk one-on-one with a counselor. 

Join me in praying for our military personnel – sometimes the wars fought are the wars within.

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