Depression, Self Harm, Thoughts of Ending The Pain {There Is An Answer}

I don't have a tat. (That's hip-speak for "tattoo"...because I am a hip kinda girl. Kind of.)

But if I did have a tat, it would be this one. That's me, up there, drawing on myself with a Sharpie. I am forty-some-odd years old, and still had the feeling that I wanted to look over my shoulder, afraid my momma was going to catch me writing on myself.

That was a big no-no in my house, growing up. I am absolutely certain I got spanked for writing on myself, at some point in my childhood.

(No phone calls, mom, please. I wrote on myself. Get over it.)

Wow. That was better than therapy. That felt good.

(And my mother is reading this and laughing, I promise...)

The message portrayed here is just this - the semicolon represents the writer's decision not to end a sentence, but rather to add to the story.

The cross represents the message of the mighty grace of God. It is your only source of healing. It is the Word that must come after your semicolon. The cross represents the rest of the story. The part of your story where life comes out of death, and He gives you beauty for ashes.

My mother chose a semicolon, over forty years ago, and I am so glad she did. There was so much left of her story to tell, so much beauty waiting to be discovered.

My mother, with a handful of sleeping pills, and a hopeless heart, had an encounter with the Living God one night. Not long after that, she was filled with the Holy Spirit, and set free from her torment.

Ask me again why I am a firm believer in what the old saints called The Second Experience.

Fast forward a few decades, and you will find me...a preacher's wife...fighting for my joy, against the formidable giant of clinical depression.

It was a howling in my soul that would. not. stop. A desert-place is more than just dry. Being dry was the easy part. A desert-place is howling and empty. Desolate.

I don't know how else to describe it. If that sounds like melodrama to you, then you haven't been clinically ill. You've had a bout with the blues, not a pitch black night of the soul.

The Gospel saved me again. It saved me as a six year old girl. And it saved me again, not so many years ago.

The Preacher began to revisit the doctrines of Grace in January of 2009. I will never forget the exact Month and year. Not even he knew the depths of my despair at that time. I have always refused to make him responsible for my well being. I did not want to burden him or frighten him, that is the simple truth.

But he began to preach the scandalous grace of God as though that was all there was in all the world to preach. He preached grace courageously...even though he sensed that lives depended on it.

Little did he know, back then. One of the lives was mine. I was listening, and I was investigating everything he taught.

I was set free from loving and serving the law of God, and I began to simply love God because He first loved me. I discovered for the first time that God no longer blesses those who keep the law...He blesses those who are in Christ Jesus, who depend on a righteousness that is not...not...not one whit...not their own.

The real Jesus took your sin and your sorrows and bore that burden to Calvary. The punishment that paid for your peace and total well-being was placed upon Him. By His stripes, you are healed of all manner...all manner...of sickness and dis-ease.

Don't put an end to your story. Choose the semicolon.

And come to the cross. Lay your heavy burden down.

I would love to pray for you. Simply slip me an email, with your first name, and I promise I will pray for you.

How The Lord loves you!

Written for you with love...

Sheila Atchley

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