Friday, November 6, 2015

You Are Loved: A Campaign to Bring Awareness for Suicide and Depression

Today I attended the funeral of a dear High School friend.  A friend whose bright light, smile and positive attitude would encourage and uplift everyone who would ever have the pleasure of knowing her. She was a friend whose love for Jesus was evident in the way that she lived and loved others, even when it wasn't the "popular" thing to do!  I so admired her for that! I regret that I never took the time to tell her how much her faith meant to me all those years ago.

Sadly, this wasn't the first funeral that I had been to where Suicide was the cause of death.  It isn't the first time that suicide has affected my life and it is definitely not the first time that depression has had a hold on someone that I love.  Every time something like this happens, it's heartbreaking.  It is so hard to make sense of and there are always so many questions that may never be answered on this side of eternity.  What I do know is that God is able to use anything for good.  We want to love those close to us a little harder. Hug our babies a little tighter.  Pay closer attention to those around us that seem a little "off".

Years ago I read an article, one that I wish I had kept because it has been so impactful on my life. You know, those words that jumped right off of the page as if it were written just for you to read at that very moment.  While I don't remember the magazine or all of the details in that article, this is what still resounds with me years later.  It was an interview with a woman that lived in a third-world country and she said this {I'm paraphrasing} "In the west {that's us!}, you pray that God would take away your painful situation.  Here in the East, we pray that God would give us the strength to deal with the situation.  We pray that the pain would not be wasted"


I can't tell you how much these words have changed my life!

God, please do NOT let this pain be wasted!,

This resonated LOUD when I learned about my dear friend's passing.
I am not going to allow this to be "just another sad story"  "just another tragedy"
This is someone's daughter, best friend, mother, wife, teacher, encourager...  
This could be anyone's everything. 
The world now looks different to those who are grieving. It's no longer whole.  Songs no longer have the same meaning.  Even the grass and the trees seem different. Just breathing in and out is a task that takes intention.
I want to do something.  I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!

When someone is diagnosed with Cancer or MS or any other debilitating disease, the whole community rallies around them to plan fundraisers and bring awareness about that disease.
When someone is diagnosed with depression, they hide it in shame.  It's a lonely place.  

I know that I alone can't do everything... but I can do something!

How I could use the gifts that I've been given to be a blessing in this situation?

{All items can be purchased HERE}

I had been working on some "you are loved" pieces for my holiday collection and I knew that those words were meant for this cause.  These pieces will be released early and 50% of the sales will be donated in this way: 25% of each sale will go to a memorial set up in Larinda's honor and 25% will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.   This site has amazing resources to educate yourself on depression, warning signs of suicide, risk factors, statistics and help in your area.

If you are struggling, please don't keep it to yourself.  Share your feelings with someone! You are so loved and your life matters.  If you suspect that someone else may be struggling, don't ignore it.  If you're not sure what to do, find someone that can help.

Big Hugs and blessings to you!
You are loved!