A little bit of hope can go a long way. Hope is stronger than fear, depression, brokenness, anxiety, pain, and suicide. Hope is what keeps someone going when they have no plausible reason to continue on. Hope is one of the greatest threats to darkness.

Today is National Suicide Awareness Day. I have known people who have committed suicide and others who have struggled with suicidal ideation. I also have two Masters degrees in Psychology, which gives me an extensive knowledge based background to strengthen my personal experience. I know the severity of its lure, and its destructive outcome.

One year ago, my “little brother” from youth group took his life. A series of events led him to see it as his solution. If only he had let someone know how dark his depression had gotten. If only he had hung on one more day. If only.

When someone takes their life, there is a ripple effect. In its wake are people who have to pick up the pieces and live life without you in it. Whether or not you feel alone or that no one cares, it’s not true. If one person cared, wouldn’t that be enough? Better yet, God does care. That is enough.

Depression is the leading cause of suicide. The enemy loves the spirit of depression because it withdraws a person into isolation and blurs hope.

I recently went through a season where the spirit of depression was consuming. All I could see was darkness. There wasn’t an easy solution for no longer being depressed. Depression doesn’t work like that. As much as I wanted to be myself again, I couldn’t. I wanted to laugh and smile without the heaviness, but it was impossible. If you haven’t experienced depression, than it’s hard to understand.

How did I get from that place to where I am now? Good question. There is no magical formula for breaking a spirit of depression. Yes, God could have intervened at any moment and broke it, but for my good, He did not. Life is about process. To get where He has placed in my heart to go, I had to fight. Nothing worth having should come easily. Process is necessary. So, in my process…

I got up.

It took hours to get out of bed. I would get up, put my contacts in, and go straight back to bed. There were times when I cried the whole day. Others, where I would stare into space for hours. Some days, I cried out to God. Most days, I didn’t say a word. I wanted to give up.

Instead, I got up.

For 6 months… I got up.

As I continued to get up, I got stronger. It didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t think I was getting better. Honestly, there were times I never thought I would. The darkness was so heavy that I couldn’t see a hope for getting out. My dreams kept me up all night to where I slept no more than 2-3 hours for 3 months. I barely ate any food. I did not paint, nor did I sing. All I could see and feel was darkness.

In times of darkness, suicide is the option the enemy offers. It’s a way out from the pain and the hurt. He wraps it up in a nice package and hands it to those who are desperate for something, anything. Often times, people take their life in that moment… but what if they had hung on one more day? Maybe, just maybe, everything would have changed. If it didn’t change the next day, than without a doubt, a day was coming where hope would outweigh darkness. There is no maybe or possibility of that, it is a promise. Hope already won. Jesus already took care of that victory. A day of hope IS coming.

I’m thankful that when the enemy offered me his option, that I was able to walk away. On May 11th, the enemy went as far as to show me a vision of myself hanging from the deck of my parents’ house. Words could never describe what I felt and saw in that moment. It is a level of darkness that most people will never know, because those that do are no longer here. I saw the enemy’s solution, but was it really a solution? Or was it easier than facing the pain I felt? Was it easier than pushing through? In that moment, I did not see a bright light shining that said, “hang in there” or “hope is on its way”. I saw darkness.

Why then did I get up and walk away? Because deep in my spirit was hope. I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time, but for some reason, I got up from the chair and went to my room. I opened my Bible and put on worship music. Not because I necessarily wanted to read my Bible or listen to worship music, but that’s all I knew to do. What I had seen and felt was scarier than anything I had ever known to be possible. My reaction was a result of what I had always been taught. The Bible is truth, and the enemy cannot stay in the atmosphere of truth and worship.

Subconsciously, I called on hope. I had been marked before I was born. I was created in His image; therefore, hope is part of my DNA.

In a moment of darkness, people make a permanent decision to a temporary problem. Countless numbers of people try to stop what they’ve done when in the process of committing suicide. They try to wiggle free from the noose they had set up or they call 911 hoping the pills can be pumped out in time. Why? Because hope is part of their DNA. No matter who you are or what you have done, you were created in His image. Your cells carry purpose. Something deep inside of you knows the truth. The enemy’s goal is to consume you in darkness. To get you to the point where you make a fatal decision based on how you feel in that moment when darkness is all you can see.

Whether you see hope or not, it’s there. Hope is part of who you are.

The enemy loves depression and suicide because he can get people to give up on their calling, purpose, and future. He’s good at what he does; don’t underestimate him. BUT know that he has already lost. The victory is yours. For YOU, Jesus overcame death.

John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

If you OR someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal ideation, don’t assume it will get better. Get up. Talk to someone. Don’t give up. No matter how overwhelming darkness may be, put one foot in front of the other. If you have to start by crawling, do it. Surround yourself with people who care. If you don’t think anyone does, than tell them what you’re going through and see how they feel then…. OR find some new friends at a local church or ministry who will care. I could not have made it through this season without a couple of key people that God gave me. They fought for me when I didn’t know how to fight for myself. He has those people for you too, seek them out. Don’t fight this alone.

Remember, you don’t have to be strong; He is strong. You are precious to God. He doesn’t create anything that is worthless. Your value to Him is far beyond what you could ever imagine. No matter how consuming darkness may be; there is always hope.

Hope is powerful.

Hope threatens darkness.

Hope lives inside of you.