Suicide isn’t polite conversation. But I guess I’ve never much been interested in polite conversation.

As a Christian the fact that I struggled with the desire to die seemed a double blow. Here I was supposed to be the happiest of all people, and really I just wanted God to take me in my sleep and let me be done with this life and on to eternity.

The shock and affront that some Christians have shown when I’ve even broached the topic of my challenges with “mental illness” has shut me up at different times. Being condemned and put down hasn’t helped me deal with the matter.

The truth is, there’s a lot of me that would still love to be in perfect heaven and done with this life, but I’ve accepted that that is NOT God’s will for my life. He isn’t satisfied merely with my salvation for eternity. The bible says we actually earn eternal rewards for what we do on earth. I kept telling God I didn’t care about eternal rewards. I told him I was happy to clean toilets in heaven if he would just let me done with this painful life here on earth.

And honestly, a lot of days I still have to push through feeling like this gig isn’t so enjoyable. I ask God a lot – “Where’s the joy in this part of my life?” I don’t mean that I ask it sarcastically.  I mean I am legitimately reaching out and asking, and seeking to understand how I can find joy in so many of the mundane and difficult parts of life.

I feel like a lot of the people trying to preach about not committing suicide aren’t people that have personally struggled with it. For me the arguments against suicide only increased my guilt and condemnation, they didn’t help or assist in getting me free. And even when I began to try to tell people what I’d been freed from I was deeply shocked and hurt to find that people didn’t even want to hear how I’d been set free because they didn’t want to hear what I had struggled with.

I used to hear things like suicide is selfish. Suicide is the most selfish sin. Oh great. Not only do I not want to be alive, but now I’m selfish. Great. Thanks. It might be true, but it didn’t help me overcome what I was going through. I tried to think of other people and how it would hurt them for me to end my life and that helped for a while. But finally that didn’t help either because I was the one who has to live my life. I was the one who had to deal with the unending seeming pain.

Then I heard so many times that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Sometimes that did help me, but finally I felt like – Really? This problem is temporary? Because actually I wanted to die more of my life than I have wanted to live. For me suicide was not an every now and then thought, it was a regular, constant, ever-ready desire. I am not saying that is good. I am not saying that makes what I felt right or okay, but it was my reality for a very, very long time. I didn’t come to suicidal thoughts for a season – it was a fight to stay out of them and I cannot describe the amount of effort I put into trying to be free from those thoughts and desires.

I used to memorize a gazillion verses and do endless Christian programs keeping myself busy to keep myself out of trouble really, but it only every relieved the foul, evil appetite for a season. I never felt FREE from the endless appetite of the desire for death til January 2014 when I sat down with two amazing Christian ministers for an afternoon of prayer and deliverance.

The deliverance from that afternoon with the two most LOVING ministers I have ever encountered has left me radically changed I believe forever. I cannot express to you the love and acceptance these women modeled to me as I confessed to all the darkest secrets and sins of my life. NO JUDGMENT. ZERO.

I remember the point where they questioned me on an area and I realized that there was a sin I hadn’t shared, that I felt deeply ashamed about.  I had to choose whether to be honest with them. I trusted them and told them the darkest deed I had done and their expressions didn’t change and their love didn’t waver, not one millimeter.

I’d never experienced love from people like that before, certainly not ministers. It has me sobbing just remembering their amazing steadfast acceptance of me. I absolutely believe they were straight on pouring Jesus love all over me. God has been able to powerfully energize them and other ministers at their church, I believe, because of their LOVE to people.

I struggled with the desire to die from the time I was eight until I was 40 years old. Thirty-two years. I know about the desire to die, I know about resisting those thoughts and emotions, and I know about wallowing in those thoughts and emotions and I know about acting on those desires.

Now, more than three years after being set free from suicide and death, those thoughts still come at times. The devil is alive and well on planet earth. But now I know that I don’t have to accept those thoughts. Now when the thoughts, “I wish I were dead,” or “I hate this life,” come to me, I know that I don’t have to accept those thoughts. I don’t have to get into AGREEMENT with those thoughts. I know now that I can say NO to those thoughts before they get an advantage of me.

I know now I don’t have to simply accept whatever emotion or feeling comes my way. I know that I can resist that and that has made a huge difference for me. I didn’t know that before. I also know now to get plenty of sleep, to eat better food, less sugar. I know I need to get in the sunshine and move my body. I know I need to keep my living space clean. I know I have to watch what I “feed” my soul – how much TV, movies, etc. and what type of TV, movies, music I listen to.

I know myself better to know when I’m more emotional, when I’m more vulnerable. I have learned to remove people that are toxic to me from my life. I have learned to distance myself from people that don’t encourage me or help me. I have found some good friends who I can be honest and real and ME with and they love ME. I prayed for real friends and I still pray for God to bring the right people to me and to keep the wrong ones away from me.

I have still had to push through an enormous amount of pain and tears and grief. And honestly, I’m still pushing forward to demolish more and more wrong strongholds of thought with the help of Jesus Christ who I cling to, the incomparable Holy Spirit and my amazing Father God.

I heard the pastor who led my healing session share that when she comes out of these deliverance sessions she sums it up as “Jesus won.”

How powerful. How beautiful.  Jesus won. I want to keep letting Jesus win in my life and that’s what I’m in this thing for – to keep seeing him beat out the doubt, beat out the darkness, beat out all the things that stand against me, that stand against you, that wherever you struggle, wherever you feel defeated that Jesus can come into those dark places to let light reign, let love, true love reign. Amen. Hallelujah. Praise God. Thank you, Jesus!