Prayers for Peace

My heart broke this week when I learned that Pastor Rick Warren’s son had committed suicide. I, of course, don’t know the Warren family personally. I only know Pastor Rick as somewhat of a celebrity and as an author. I follow him on Twitter and had read several of his books, his most famous being “The Purpose Driven Life”. 
The Warren’s had never talked about their son’s mental illness before publicly, wanting to allow their son to tell his own story in his own time. Pastor Rick has said in recent days that, “We always knew that God would use us to fight mental illness but we were protecting Matthew’s right to share his own story.” Now his story is their story.
That’s how it is for those of us who are survivors of suicide. Choices that someone else made become our path, our story. The friends and family members who are left behind have to pick up the pages, turn them, and start anew. We walk through the pain that they could no longer carry and pray against the demons that would not let them rest.
This Monday, April 15th, will be fifteen years since my own mother committed suicide. My kids, age 7 and 9, have started asking very pointed questions lately about her death. I have never wanted to lie to them but the words have never come easily and I never wanted to bombard them with more truth than their little hearts and minds could process. My explanation has always been that her heart was so sad that her mind became ill and she died. That truly is the most elementary explanation for now and I will continue to pray for God’s Spirit to speak through me as they seek a deeper explanation.
There is such a shameful stigma around mental illness and suicide in our society. I pray often that I will have words to speak to others when they ask about my mom. I pray that God will work through the Warren Family, and also through me, to bring light to the reality of what it is. It is a sickness. It is an illness. Sometimes it is brought on through tragedy or circumstances and sometimes it’s brought through no apparent reason but it deserves to be talked about and treated just like any other illness.
So today I pray for peace. I pray for the Warren Family that they may experience God’s peace like a blanket wrapped around them in soft comfort. I also pray that peace for myself and for all the friends and family who miss my mom, even still after 15 years. May we never forget the love she shared with all of us and may we continue to honor her by loving and giving to others.

One Reply to “Prayers for Peace”

  1. Very well said. I will pray with you also. I believe God brings us through situations sometimes so we can then in turn help others. Your mom was such a wonderful,loving, Christian woman! She will never be forgotten, and always brings a smile to my face when I think of her! Sending hugs your way today!

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