I have a heavy heart today. I started my day as I normally do, woke up, got ready for work, drove to work..
And I got on Facebook. On the right side of the screen, there are trending news stories. Some are fake, and I wish what I saw today was.
“Cedarwood, Georgia,” it read. I thought maybe it’d be a flood, something about peaches.. but no, it wasn’t.
“Twelve year old streams suicide on Facebook live.”
“Girl kills herself in live online video and police cannot stop footage being viewed by millions.”
“12-Year-Old Girl Live-Streams Her Suicide After Alleging Sexual Abuse.”
My heart stopped. My heart has been stopped for the past 20 minutes as I read about how hurt this girl was, how many signs of abuse and depression there were, I even watched a clip of the video as I scrolled.
I can’t even begin to talk about how devastated this news makes me, how breathless it left me, how broken my heart is for her, Katelyn’s, family.
Imagine how sad God is in this moment; think how heartbroken he is that one of his most masterful, perfect, precious treasures decided to take her life, to exhume her soul from the masterpiece of her human form.
God knows everything- every move you make, every thought you will ever have.. he gives you the free will to feel and do as you please, even though he knows what you will do. That’s how much our God cares for us. The brokenness of ourselves can come from a variety of sources; for some, it’s genetic, others, it is a symptom of live events, and some- devoid of defining the source.
With Katelyn, there were signs of distress. She had reached out to online friends, begging for help; she had spoken to members of her friend group about her horrid living conditions, her immense loneliness, and the abuse that she encountered from her stepfather. The hardest thing about suicide is that we, as humans, are not very observant. We get so caught up in our lives that we can miss these vital signs of depression and of suicide; we miss the things that could save someone’s life.
I know how it feels to be abused. Coming from a verbally, mentally, and physically abusive home, I understand the feeling of dread when you walk in the door, the fear that accompanies any rise in voice, the loneliness of being in a place where you are told how worthless, ugly, broken, and unwanted you are. The place that you begin to take solace in is your mind, however, your mind can turn on you.
This is hard for me to talk about, it’s hard for me to re-read this after I type it out; this subject is always hard.
I came home from school. It was a good day at school, I made an A on a trig test. I was ready to brag about it. I came home to my mother, strung out on whatever drug she deemed appropriate that day. As I opened the door, my mood changed. I became the smallest I could be, I was not worthy to take up space.
She began to yell at me, telling me that I was fat and useless and that I might as well just die, since I wouldn’t ever amount to anything. I didn’t have the energy to say anything in response, which was the wrong move; I was slapped, punched, and kicked for my inability to say anything in rebuttal. I went to walk to the bathroom and was yanked down to the floor by my hair, and kicked once more.
My grandma finally told her to leave and “cool off.”
There was nothing left for me there. No comfort, no peace, no heart. My mind, once my solace, was now my worst enemy.
I walked to the kitchen in a fog and grabbed a butcher knife. I didn’t try to hide it; no one was interested in paying attention to me anyway. I walked into the bathroom and locked the door, took a deep breath, and moved to look at myself in the mirror. “This will be the last thing I see before I won’t feel this way anymore,” I thought. The last thing- blue eyes, swollen from crying, a red face, flushed from being slapped. An empty stare, the only thing I had left to give.
I sat on the edge of the bathtub and looked down at my left wrist. I would have chosen my right, but I always liked the color of those veins a little better. I looked at the blade- it shined, I remembered sunshine in my childhood. I placed it on my skin- it was cold, I remembered a Christmas I had spent with a friend after being locked outside in the snow. I took a deep breath- it was slow, like the calculated breathing I used to jog every day.
I looked down at my veins and decided that the blood in them was not worth anything, that I was doing the world a favor by leaving.
I took another breath, pressed the blade to my skin-
And I was still.
Just like God calls us to be- still.
I was still and God whispered into my ear, “you are not finished here.”
I had never heard the voice of God, I haven’t since. I’ve felt God in the sunshine, in the waves of the ocean, in the shape of the Andes.. but I have not heard God like I heard him that day.
God does not yell at me, God whispers to me. He whispered the exact words I needed to hear in that moment:
You Are Not Finished Here.
Katelyn, I wish that the world had not decided to be so cruel to you. I wish that someone showed you the love that you, and every person, deserves; the love that our God has placed in and on us to protect us. There are so many things I wish for you, sweet girl. People love to say “those who wander are not always lost,” I hope you are not lost now. I pray that the light of the Father welcomed you home and he wrapped you in his arms and told you how loved and missed you are. I hope that you are warm in the wings of your newfound freedom.
If you or anyone you know is in need of someone to talk to, if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, if you feel lost.. please don’t hesitate to call me, 806- 654-3457 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255.
When we wilt, the light of God will bring our eyes upward and his truth will water our souls. You are now a beautiful rose, and you have been comforted.