Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The lie that killed my friend.

Yesterday felt really wrong.

See, I left the house at 3:30 to attend a friend's memorial service.

A friend. My age. 15 years old. I went to school with her in 2nd grade.

And I was going to her memorial service. 

..... will someone please explain why I have to say such a sentence?


What had happened was, my dear friend had committed suicide just a couple weeks ago. From what I heard at the time, partly due to bullying.

I hadn't seen her in two or three years, but when I found out, I sat on the couch and cried for I don't know how long. It's an incredibly indescribable feeling... I'd never experienced facing the death of someone I knew before.

It broke my heart that she had come to such a place of hopelessness that seemingly, the only escape was death.

I knew this girl. I talked with her, played on the playground at recess, laughed at her jokes. Everything.

It's crazy.

It made me mad that I was there at that service. That she was dead. That so many people's lives were torn by this. That forever, people will wonder, "What if?" That now, there's an aching gap in the lives of a hundred people. That now I'll never be able to give her a hug, and say, "Hi! It's been so long!"

And that it didn't have to happen. That it shouldn't have happened.

How do you go on after someone you cared for is dead? How can you smile again, knowing they left this world without hope? How do you make it make sense?

It doesn't make sense. It's just wrong.

I'm not mad at God. I'm just mad. Mad, and incredibly sad. Bitter? No. Just frustrated.

(The one bright spot: I am 98% sure she is in Heaven. But the fact that her death was something completely preventable.... yeah. It seriously sucked to walk into those church doors yesterday, knowing what I was there for.)

I got all emotional again last night after I came home.

I thought about what the pastor at the church had shared. One of the things she had said in the letter she left, was that she felt unattractive, lonely, and that she wasn't sure anyone would even care if she was gone. She felt like her life was worthless.

And this, my friends, makes me want to cry with anger.

Because she fell for one of Satan's best tricks. To make you think that you aren't precious. And loved. And beautiful. And that where you are, you're stuck, and there's no hope. And that no one cares. 

So many people feel this way.

And I can't even begin to say how much this is NOT true.

Y'all, we get disillusioned real easy. Especially when we're young.

I suppose it would be safe to say that everyone has thought about suicide sometime. Most probably never consider it seriously. But almost everyone's had suicidal thoughts. I have. They were never serious. Just a fleeting, "What if?"

But in a day and age where the suicide rates are getting higher, while the age is getting lower and lower, the enemy cannot be allowed to have a single foothold.

My friend. If you have ever thought that your life is worthless, if you have ever thought that no one would care if you were gone, if you have ever thought that death would be better than life.....


You are falling into a terrible, terrible lie.

Suicide is never the right solution to the problem. My friend Sierra thought that no one would care if she was gone.

What I saw yesterday in the crowd of people in the church was grief. Grief at losing her. Sadness, emptiness. Confusion. Her family didn't understand. They miss her. I miss her.

There was hope, too. But it didn't add up that a young, talented, funny, much-loved girl would want to take her life.

But that's how screwed our culture is. That's what happens when we take our sights off of Jesus. That's what happens when darkness is let in with no light to throw it out.

That's what happens when we are not drawn close to our Heavenly Father. We become hopeless, and blind to the truth. Literally or figuratively, darkness will end in death. 

It can happen to any one of us.

I don't want to burden you with this. But I wanted to share it, because just by looking, you can never tell what someone is going through. How they really feel. Who they are outside of church, or school.

I told a friend in an email, "...it really just makes me want to love on every single person that I come across, whether I know them or not. 'Cause you never know what's going on, you know? A little part of me feels guilty every time I'm sarcastic or tease someone."

Because of Sierra. Because of the things I know I've felt. Because of the fact that lives are precious.

Suicide may sound like a good idea in the moment. But all that it will leave is devastation and heartbreak. 

I saw it. I'm living it. I came home afterwords, started playing the guitar, and completely broke down crying because the emotions of the day finally caught up to me. (It may not have helped that I was trying to play "How To Save A Life" by The Fray....)

But I digress. 

I don't want this to end on a despairing note. Because I will be seeing Sierra in Heaven, and the Lord has been able to minister to people even through the tragedy. He is still good.

And even if life doesn't make sense, He is sovereign. I can live with that. 


Can I just encourage you? 

If you've ever been in that place of hopelessness, it's because you aren't close enough to the light. Pick up a Bible. Start reading. Meet with Jesus. If you don't know Him, get to know Him, because He's the only one that can save your life. 

But also, talk to somebody if you can. I know that sounds cliched, but truly, when you let that kind of stuff build up inside you with no perspective but your own... that's dangerous territory. 

If you're saved, but have drifted or gotten disillusioned by the darkness of this world... remember, you are a child of God and the enemy is out to get you. There's a war going on. And if you truly, truly want things to get better, then remember your first love and get back to walking with Jesus. 

He loves you. He made you for a purpose. He's got an epic, epic ride planned for you, and if you don't get on board His will, you're gonna miss it.  Draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you. He's not playing hard to get; He's being a gentlemen. You have to decide you want to get out of where you are, and follow Him. It's never gonna get better if you don't.

But you're not alone, and you're not a lost cause. I promise. 

Now, for those of you who are doing well..... can I encourage you to keep drawing close to the Lord, and to love on the people you encounter? It may not seem like much, but kindness and gentleness never are given in vain. It may take a lot of dying to self, but hey, it's good for you. 

Because really. Really. Who knows? The world is hurting. The people around you are hurting. Even those that are saved. Being a Christian does not mean that you are perfect! Even believers can get tripped up by the things of this world. 

Maybe that person who is always smiling and laughing, deep down feels like an obnoxious piece of crap. 

Maybe that person who looks like they've got life figured out is in the depths of despair. 

Maybe that person who is rude and snippy really just needs someone to reach out to them. 

Maybe that person who gets on your nerves, is the one that needs the love of Jesus the most. 

Don't get me wrong- I'm not saying that the entire world is on the verge of committing suicide. But it's a dark, dark, hopeless world out there, folks. People are dying, literally and figuratively. And who's going to spread the saving love of Jesus Christ if you don't?

I don't want to see other kids, other people, taking their lives because they have no hope. I don't want people to feel unloved. I don't want people to walk another day without knowing Jesus. I don't want to walk into another memorial service, wondering "Why did they do it?"

How to save a life? 

Nothing and no one but Jesus can do that. Let Him fill your life. 

It's almost odd, the way this post went, considering it's Valentine's Day. I'm sorry if it wasn't as concise as I meant it to be... my thoughts and emotions are still a wee bit jumbled. 

But all that said: Happy Valentine's Day. Live your life. And don't fall for the lie. 

You are loved. You are precious. You're here for a purpose.

You are worth the blood that Jesus spilled for you. 

Never forget that. 


Nairam said...

Amen, girl.

Praying for you.

Storyteller said...

Perfect message for Valentine's Day. I'm sorry about your friend. Thank you for sharing the hope that Jesus has given you.

Charley R said...

An absolutely beautiful post, Abby. You're one golden-hearted girl. RIP for your friend - nobody should feel so bad as to feel the need to take their own life. Nobody.

Beautiful post ... I need to go and find my tissues now ...

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend!

It's horrible that people can feel so bad that the only way they know how to escape is by taking their own life. And when you consider it, it really makes you think about the impact that your words and actions can have on others.

I'm so sorry that you have to go through this, but I'm glad you know that your friend is in a better place. I'm sending you a HUGE hug! <3

Farjag said...

My favorite thing about being part of a Christian community of fellow writer-bloggers is that you can always find a post that will cut you to the heart, challenge you, and make you think deep and hard about *why* you believe *what* you believe. Thanks, D, for the poignant post. Your point about reaching out to those around us make me reconsider how I live when I'm out in the world. Do I keep to myself, striving to remain pure in an ungodly world? Or do I reach out to be in the world, but not of it?

Well written, friend.

Amaranthine said...

I'm sorry about your friend, Abby. I wish I could give you a real hug. Your post is really touching. I wish every girl could read it.

-Amaranthine <33

Hannah Joy said...

Started crying when you said you were playing the Fray's "How To Save a Life". Was holding it back the whole time, but that just did it for me. I'm so sorry. I know that can never mean as much as I want it to. Words never do. And I'm glad too. Glad that you are one of the bravest girls I know--you can come out of something that hard, that bad, that awful, and you can write something inspiring. You can write about God knowing that He still cares. Because it's true. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for making me cry in wonder and in humility and in grief. I wish I could tell you how much this means to me, and how much I am sorry, but I just don't know how.

Jess said...

Hey Abby, I'm sorry about your friend and sorry you ever had to write this post. But thank you for writing it all the same. I really, really needed it. Because half the time I'm the one who isn't loving as much as I should and half the time I'm the one who feels like the obnoxious piece of crap. So thanks for this love-letter and reminder that is, honestly, straight from God. Love you. Happy Valentines Day. And Amen a million times over.

The Musical Dancer said...

I've been through so many deaths the past year, and they were all relatives. What really comforted me was that they are now forever happy with our Lord in Heaven. Many of us just take life for granted. Death is a real eye opener...and suicide. That is incredibly sad. :'(

Lauren said...

Oh, Abby...I'm so, so sorry.
It's so easy to get caught up in this world, and caught up in the lies that are thrown at us; and when I hear of someone giving in to the lies, it breaks my heart. But I'm so thankful to hear that your friend knew the Lord. Death in any form is so hard, nearly impossible to deal with...but when you learn that the person knew Him, it gives you hope. Hope that you WILL see her again, someday.
This was a beautiful post, and you've given us all some things to think about.
You're absolutely in my prayers, friend.
Love you :)

Abby said...

Sometimes I have felt worthless (not to the point of suicidal thoughts) but I think it's not what other people are saying and doing but because of what I'm not saying or doing.

I'm so, so sorry about your friend.

Pathfinder said...

I'm really, really sorry to hear that. *sends ginormous box of hugs and peppermints*

That really is a great reminder of what God wants us to do: love No, not the mushy type of love that society put out there. The kind of love you feel in the deepest part of your chest, where it almost aches, and you just want to run over and give a random person a hug, even if you don't know them. It's that sort of love that you feel when you're really letting the Holy Spirit live, shine, and work through you.
It's crazy love.
And it sure as pie makes a difference.

Squeaks said...

This post nearly made me cry. It's very touching...I almost lost a friend to suicide...and I almost lost someone I know far better than a friend to that wretched lie. God is amazing, and I trust that everything will work out for His glory. I'm praying that you are comforted and that Sierra's family is comforted during this time. God bless you darling!

<3 with lots of hugs (and Happy Valentines!) <3


Miriam Forster said...


*understanding silence*

*more hugs*

Miriam Joy said...

This is a beautiful post. I've never known anyone who committed suicide, but I have known people who considered it, and I've also known people who have self-harmed. I also recently lost my grandma, the last of my grandparents, which was tough.

But this post was really moving, and I just wanted to say *hugs*.

I found your post via Charley's blog, Leaning Tower of Plot, although I think I saw you commenting on Miriam Forster's blog too and was going to read it then, but forgot. Luckily, Charley's got you on her blog roll.

Laura Josephsen said...

*HUGS HUGS HUGS* I'm so, so sorry. This is never, ever an easy thing to deal with, but thank you for sharing all of this. Beauty can rise out of the ashes--and I pray that it rises out of the ashes of the grief your friend's family is dealing with.