This week I have been struck and actually sickened by how many heartbreaking articles I have read reporting cases of teenage, and younger, suicides in the last few months. I have even seen cases reported of children as young as 9 taking their own lives. As we all know, this past year has been challenging for all of us in some ways. Our older people have had to deal with extreme loneliness and isolation which is not hard to understand and easy to see. Could it be that that same isolation and loneliness is contributing greatly to the uptick in suicide attempts, suicide successes, and extreme depression, but not noticed as readily or understood?
A couple of weeks ago I heard about a young woman (I will call her Lucy) who faced the possibility of a potentially fatal accident. She was driving some back roads and going fairly fast. Coming toward her on the side of the road was an elderly lady walking her dog. Lucy slowed down to safely get around her. Just as she passed her and turned the corner, she saw a girl laying in the middle of the road. If that older woman had not been there, there would have been no way for Lucy to slow down enough to not run over the girl. Of course, she stopped to try and help and found out the girl wanted to commit suicide and was hoping to be run over. I personally feel like the older lady could have been an angel that protected Lucy from running over this girl. Otherwise, why wouldn’t she have stopped to help the young girl in the road? (Just my opinion). Lucy tried to tell her that her life was valuable but felt that her words were no comfort. 911 was called and she was taken to the hospital. Afterward Lucy was pretty shaken up and asked this question: “Why don’t people talk about suicide more and how to handle it if you find yourself in that situation? Statistics show suicide is rising, but most times they just leave it there. Seems to me if it is on the rise, we should be talking about it. Talking or teaching us what to do and not to do when you face a person who wants to die.” Her question is a good one. It is a fact our teenagers today are facing situations and pressures the older generations would never have dreamed of. Our children or grandchildren are navigating their way through a world where words like abortion, addiction, bullying, divorce, pornography, peer pressure, social media, teen pregnancy, and suicide have become household words.
In the case of facing a suicidal person, professionals must be involved, but that does not take away from the trauma and fear of the witnesses. There would be an obvious feeling of helplessness to help this person. As far as the other things I mention above, talking and listening to how they are affected, and education is important. We must get past the old saying, “kids can bounce back from anything in time.” Our children are facing so many changes, potential crisis, and the loss of their everyday normal, that many cannot cope. We are in a war for the mental health of our younger generation. It’s time for action.
How can we as Christian women, mom’s, and grandma’s help? What is our call to action? PRAYER! Tremendous power is unleashed by God when the Body of Christ gathers to pray. When the early church was under persecution, the group of believers came together and prayed for miracles only God could do. Many times, we don’t ask for what we consider a hard request or something that feels too big. There is NOTHING we can’t bring to God in prayer. He is all powerful and able to do and accomplish all things according to His perfect will. We must recognize how quickly things in the culture are changing and waste no time to act or leave it up to others to do the fighting of this battle. Not just with generic prayers….but naming these children specifically and boldly ask for a specific prayer to be answered no matter how impossible it seems.
Ephesians 6: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Stand, therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
THESE ARE OUR MARCHING ORDERS! The Word of God is our sword, and we charge ahead in faith with our requests in a position of kneeling before God, recognizing He is the one who has already beaten the evil one.
This does not need to be done only in a church gathering. How about bringing women together once or twice a month and spend an hour in EARNEST prayer for our children. Pray alone or with a friend. God hears all prayers. He knows our heart and tells us to seek and call upon Him.
I’m speaking to the elderly generation now. What an opportune time for us to step up and come alongside the mom’s who are trying to homeschool, work, keep track of their children, watch over their health, and give them spiritual guidance. Add on top of that, the concern for their children becoming depressed, getting mixed up in something dangerous on social media because they have nothing else to do, or just feeling hopeless. We may not have experienced a pandemic and lock down before, but we have had many experiences in our lives where we can tell them how God was there with us; His mercies were new each day and gave us strength to endure; and how we look back and see how God was working in our lives. They need to be reminded God is still on His throne; the battle has already been won and they can share their burdens and worries with Him. These women need our support and prayers urgently. They are exhausted and need the love of a spiritual mom or grandma. Don’t be afraid to take the first step and reach out to who you see needs to be lifted up or maybe just an ear to hear or shoulder to cry on.
Back to the question from Lucy about suicide? Let’s not sweep this under the rug because we have no answers. Educate ourselves and talk to others in the hope this may become something that is addressed in school, or at the very least in our youth groups. The numbers are climbing and we can be part of the army of warriors who pray for an end to this horrible statistic.
So….I challenge you to become a prayer warrior; stand firm on the Word of God; to start a prayer group with others; to pray boldly and specifically; and come alongside one another with love, compassion, and the light of Jesus. TIME TO GET MARCHING!