*** Trigger warning: mental illness and suicide. But also hope after hell. ***
Surrendering to God’s will looks a lot different than you might think.
I never thought this would be possible. You know…watching my husband walk alongside his teen and pre-teen sons. I thought I would be telling these boys stories of how much their father loved them. Of how much he wanted to watch them grow up, but mental illness just wouldn’t let him.
I fought for years to try and be the reason my husband was alive. To control his journey. To force ignorance and fake smiles. To stay awake and vigilant so as to never leave him alone…for fear suicide would claim him once and for all. But I reached a point of loss. Loss of myself. Loss of my marriage as I had known it. Loss of all joy. Loss of all hope.
I remember yelling…screaming at God for giving this mental illness, this hell, to my husband. I cried and fell to my knees in agony. Looking back, I can see it was a moment of complete surrender.
In that moment, I prayed for my husband to die. Suicide had to be the only answer…that’s what my husband’s brain thought. Maybe he was right. So I did it. I prayed to God to take my husband…to release him from the pain, no…the agony, of the hell he lived on this earth. I didn’t want him to suffer. He didn’t deserve this. He didn’t deserve these relentless suicidal thoughts.
I prayed for my “Plan B,” because my Plan A clearly wasn’t happening. I would be okay without my husband. I knew I would be okay. I would raise our boys to know and love their father…the man he was before mental illness took over. For the first time in years, I felt at peace.
I imagined Hudson’s birthday party. Our son was only 4 at that time, but I imagined his 13th birthday. I knelt down next to him as he forced a smile glowing behind 13 burning candles. “I just wish dad could be here, mom.”
“I know, baby.” I would say. “He wanted to be here too.” I would hug him and tell him how proud his father would be of the man he was becoming. I knew how I would handle every conversation. I couldn’t control my husband’s mental illness, but I could control how I would raise our boys after my husband would pass.
I surrendered to His will. All I had been doing was fight Him. All I had been doing was trying to control. So I gave in. God’s will had to be for my husband to die. Why else would we be living this? I let go and allowed God to move us. I was ready. I was exhausted. I was done.
I know now that as I prayed for my husband to die, God rejoiced.
God moved us so far beyond where I thought he was going to move us that it took me years to figure out my prayers for my husband’s death were prayers of surrender. I didn’t want my husband to die; I wanted him to be healed. And in my brain, healing could only take place in death…because mental illness had tricked my brain too.
In my heart, I wanted my husband back…but more, I wanted to be held by my Father.
Thank God, He heard the prayer of my heart and not of my brain. And He blessed us more than we ever could have imagined. He turned our story of tragedy into a story of hope. He worked on our hearts for years…that one day we would be willing to share our journey. From start to finish and everything in between. From avoidance and terror to the acceptance of help and healing.
That’s my husband in the photo. And that boy on the left with his hands in his pockets…he’s 14. And his dad was there for his 13th birthday, in mind and in body.
God can’t move unless we let Him. And when we let Him…oh wow. Just wait for the lights to light up the darkness brighter than you ever imagined.
*** If you are experiencing any of the feelings described in this post…loss of hope or the desire to end life on this earth, please know there is hope. We have been there and it can get better with the acceptance of help. Please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, contact a counselor (we are big believers in talk therapy and continue to this day), contact a doctor (yes, we do take medications daily…not everyone needs to, but that needs to be a conversation between you and your doctor), or even go to the emergency room or nearest mental health facility if you don’t feel safe. Tell someone. You’re not alone and you are so very loved by Him. Why else would these words have made their way to you today? Who do you think may be trying to get your attention? Trust Him. Accept help.