Thank you for your patience. You have stayed with me on this 4-part journey of how I escaped the pits of depression and despair. There I was in Part 3, feeling like curling up into a ball and hibernating till nice people were created. I didn’t know of many in my life and so I wanted my life to end. Yes, as a Christian I did think about the subject of suicide quite a bit, but the thing that always snapped me out of it was the thought that I didn’t know if people who killed themselves went to Heaven. I knew enough about Hell to know it wasn’t worth the risk.
Owing to being of the negro race and owing to stress, my hair began to thin badly and my already wiry strands became so coarse that you could have turned me upside down to use my head to scourer a grubby cooking pot.
I went to the library and borrowed a book about careers. I could not see how I could continue working in that horrible place with those nasty people and as I mentioned in part three, having no Christian friends or leaders to advise me, I could only follow my own whims. It says in the Book of Proverbs, that people should not make major decisions without seeking wise counsel, but I had none, not even my parents, who knew I was stressed but would have been apathetic and critical.
One day while in my bedroom, I was looking through this library book to see if there was a possibility of getting a different job. One that I liked and was comfortable with, like the one described in Part 2. My mother, ever the one to be ashamed of her kids for making her look mediocre, came into my room and saw the book title. She got mad again. She turned to me and said,
“You are ungrateful. That is why your hair is falling out. It is falling out because God is punishing you. He is punishing you for being ungrateful because you are looking for a new job. Don’t expect your hair to improve because it is God who is making it fall out.”
With that, she shut the door and went back downstairs.
Sadly, there was no, “Be encouraged, I’m praying for you.” No, “I’m sorry things have got that bad.” No, “Do you want to tell me how you are feeling?” No, “Sorry about your hair – how is it doing?” No, “Don’t worry because God loves you and he will help you through the tough times.” No, “I’m not sure how to help, but let me pray for you right now.”
Guys, gals, I am not bitter nor unforgiving over this. I admit that at the time, it crushed my spirit badly. All I know from this is that I do not want to repeat such a pattern. Whenever I am confused about my daughter’s actions, I want to speak out grace and life and patience and understanding and love. May God forgive all parents who crush their children with bitter, evil words.
And of course, God is not like that. My Heavenly Father would not make my hair fall out because he was mad at me. Thankfully I know this. Thankfully I knew that back then. This could have severed my relationship with Christ. I thank God that he loves me and does not punish according to my sins. I thank God that he knows the difference between ungratefulness and desperation, ungratefulness and loneliness ungratefulness and sorrow.
As I said before, there was one particular bible verse that became a source of comfort to me:
But also the following five verses kept me comforted, grounded and gave me the strength to carry on:
My God is faithful and he is faithful to you also. If you have been told things that have crushed your spirit, please don’t blame God for those evil words said against you. They were not from his mouth because they were not from his heart. His heart is for you not against you.
God taught me that forgiveness frees me from becoming enslaved with a mind full of bitterness and a hardened heart. He showed me that forgiveness stops me from re-living things over and over in my head. I also learnt the quote:
‘Forgiveness is giving up my right to despise you for hurting me.’
He also taught me that we are all sinners who are capable of saying and doing the most evil things and that people wound others because they are imperfect. Most of all, that I stand before him guilty of having been born a sinner, but he already forgave me through the death of his son Jesus.
So I stand here today thankful that God has proved to me so many times that he is alive, he is relevant to today, he loves me and he wants the best for my life. I don’t have to have a high-flying job to be accepted. I don’t need a top position to be to feel worthy. I don’t have to have the best possessions or the most popular friends. I don’t even need to have a pity-party. All I need is Jesus and he will sort out the rest.
In your loneliness, depression and despair, may you find a friend in him also. A dependable best-friend whom nobody can take from you. A helper who will show you that suicide is not an option because with him live is worth living.