Christian heartchat: When suicide comes knocking

Between the sleep in my eyes and the stigma on this topic, believe me when I say it’s the last thing I wish to post about. That and typing and editing via phone is cumbersome. How autocomplete thought I wanted to say Cumberland (lol!) is beyond me. I only do so because I realize it’s not about me.

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Before early 2016 I can say my life has been cloudy, but the one that doesn’t make you sweat but does get you depressed as the day progresses. After doing something terrifically foolish, I understood how you can be a Christian and slide into the devil’s “DM.” If you’re ranking sins in your mind then that’s you scrolling looking for his handle. Stop. You’re welcome!

I had an honest conversation with God and asked Him to get me out of the mess because if He didn’t, I was so sure I’d ruin my life. It was actually a guarantee; you don’t need to get two warning dreams to know fam! He didn’t have to but He did, and from that point I said I’d focus on him. After that commitment depression became part and parcel of my life. That and other manifestations of self-hatred. It had been there before, the cloudy day, but it got progressively dark to what began to look like night.

Darkness fell less than a week ago. I’ve mentioned here having suicidal thoughts (or have I?) and there’s nothing as bad as a mind working against you. If you’ve been here it’s something you don’t wish on your worst enemy. Think of the person you strongly dislike. Now think of the one you’d use the word “hate.” You wouldn’t wish those oppressive thoughts on them. Trust me. The fact that I know someone I love with the same issue hurts me to my life’s essence.

Sorry for the detour, I just find context super important.

I’ve been reading a lot about mental health so when for the first time the thought manifested into dialogue in form of a plan, I knew I needed help. And even in that awareness I was aware that God was still with me. I was on the phone with a close friend and after she prayed for me I said “I can see God even in this. But right now I am not okay, and I need to get help.”

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Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

ROMANS 12:1‭-‬2 AMP

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What you’re going through is not normal. It is equally not of God.

Giving yourself up to God is a logical act of worship because He gave His son for you. A life for a life almost. So taking your life is out of question. Also note that it gives no prerequisite as to how you come. It says all of yourself as “holy and well-pleasing” to God. If Paul did anything in his lifetime was let us know that we only achieve that status in Christ. If you’re in him, even as you are, God sees you as worthy. Paul was a murder- what’s you’re excuse for refusing what the word says you are? Being conformed to this world for me was entertaining the thought of going through with the narrative playing in my mind to take my life.

I love an example given to me. It’s like playing Temple Run with suicide. Even when the gorilla catches up and kills you or you fall off a cliff, the screen refreshes and you’re back at it. You “die”, but when morning comes you’re back to running, fighting, coping. Does that sound like life in Christ?

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Which brings me to my second point; get help. There is such a thing as rubbish “help”. It takes the form of alcohol, the friend that’s messed with your self esteem for years, non-responsive parents, a pastor or priest with no counseling experience, that overly religious relative. Amani Counseling Center and KAPC in Kenya are excellent places to start. If you don’t have financial resources, I get that. Reach out to a supportive friend or relative. They might not understand, but they might be willing to help. I don’t have a list, but sort professional counselors.

Again, get help. Those thoughts are NOT normal and shouldn’t be with you for life. Don’t cope, don’t fight alone. Read as much as you can about what you’re going through- it’s hands down affirmed my belief that information is power.

Not your typical festive post. I know. But let your gift to yourself in 2019 be a sober mind, won’t you?

Merry Christmas

Things fall apart and quiet seasons

Joseph and Moses

Somewhere in the corner of my mind, I found it humorous that I can relate to these two characters in the bible. When you have a big mouth and are out here looking like you want to save the world, the Lord will humble you so hard. By the time you’re getting back up, He’s the only person you will give credit to.

I don’t take this platform lightly, that’s why I will take days, weeks and months before I post something. I am of the opinion that if it’s not my life, I have no business writing about it. In the space I am in, things are falling apart (they probably already have, there’s the odd rock sliding down the debris) and there’s now a silence. Joseph in a pit. Moses in the wilderness.

I might need to take issue with my high school (International School of Uganda) for using holocaust, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and an existentialist book as part of our set books. When I think back, there’s a phrase that comes to mind that the atomic bomb survivors talk about- the silence that followed the bombing.

People, these were my set books.

When I was meant to be focusing on who was bulling me, why I was in a rubbish relationship and why I couldn’t get above my average-ness-ness, I had a set book about people’s aches in pages to read, understand and analyze.

But again; the silence that followed.

Before the tears, agony, fear and all expressions of despair, there is a silence. It is almost like you’re listening to see if you’re still alive before you can assess the carnage. If you’ve seen footage of war survivors before the tears come, grieving what they’ve lost, there is a moment of silence; a moment of taking it in.

The mourning for what you’ve lost in your life is eventual but take stock first so that you know what you’re truly crying for.

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I had a moment last evening with friends where I called Christians who plaster scripture over things stupid aka “having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense”. It’s especially for those who throw scripture at you with the aim of conviction, only to bring judgment. Remember Job’s friends? I’ve done it, foolishly so, for a while, but after seeing how the only result it yields is a rift, I’ve come to follow Christ cue. Have you noticed how you feel no judgment over his interactions with sinners?

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If everything has crumbled all around you, take time to make an assessment. You won’t know what to rebuild if you don’t know what’s in rabbles.

Cheers my friends.

Finding peace in midst of the nightmare

I’ve been to Kakuma once, and in my ignorance when talking to a few girls asking their ages, I mentioned that schools would be open at some point. A woman, not sure who her kids were in the group, looked at me as I spoke to the girls, giving me a cold stare.

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If you’ve grown up in comfort, the idea of things getting better when it’s consistently been bad is almost offensive to someone who’s been through the SI unit of hard times: rape, witnessing a murder or having a near-death experience whether through starvation, by someone else, disease, nature or an animal. In Dadaab, some people I spoke to have been there for over 25 years, their going back out of the question.

If you went to the camp as a child, gave birth there, and now you see your kids future taking the same shape, what does “things getting better” look like?

What does “things getting better” look like for people going through a chronic illness? What about those in a cycle of abuse with no way to get out? What about for the person who helplessly watches someone drink their life away? What does it look like when nothing has changed for decades?

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I was having a conversation with a friend, and I realized that telling children life is hard from early on should be something all parents do. Pain doesn’t leave anyone untouched, no matter the level of comfort that you’ve grown up in. I wouldn’t expose my offspring (should I choose to and actually be able to bear them), to Disney movies only. I’d thrown in stories of Jesus disciples being executed despite doing good.

So yes, life is hard.

More of us need to sit in this truth longer. Money and keeping yourself occupied don’t make it any less true, and we need to stop telling our children and those around us that those two are the answers to happily ever after. Don’t let them go through the trauma of experiencing their livelihood burn to the grown, or something of that nature, and they think it’s the end of life because even money and hard work weren’t enough to protect them.

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Next time you’re in a rubbish space, sit in it for longer. Jamie Grace talked about it in the pregnancy context, but we do need to look at rough times differently. We shouldn’t long for better days; what if they don’t come, or not in the expected timeframe, then what happens? As you might tell by now, I’ve been through quite an experience recently, and with a lot of help from God and close friends, it has me looking at my now differently.

My offer to you is this; find peace in God.

Girl, that’s so cliché! Yea, well, it seems your life is either overall fair weather, or your heart grew cold.

Friend, find so much peace that when your rock bottom gives way, and you’re falling again, though scared and angry and frantic and questioning, you’re freaking out in God. That you’re screaming out His name because you know He’s there and no one has “got you” as He does.

Even when they tell you there’s no going back home, that your children might grow up illiterate, the medicine will not work, when you get the call that a loved one died, when you lose your job, a threat of starvation, someone might kill you- whatever your nightmare is, choose to freak out and finding peace in God. The pain might not go away, but at least you know you’ll never be alone.

Don’t let the nightmare you’re in push you away from God. Once you’re in the peace headspace, it becomes easier to get why Jesus was quiet on his way to the cross. He didn’t fuss, curse, and he didn’t cry ‘crew you morons!’ He knew there was something greater up ahead.

For you.

Yes. Your nightmare isn’t about you. It’s so that you can change hearts and save lives, whether you’re around to see it or not. The reward isn’t always tangible. Think of the most peaceful you’ve been. Now think it more profound, and attainable for much longer. And now think that you made the world a better place for one or more people by merely being at peace.

Cheers.

Finding a home for your voice

“That’s all I want… to have a voice” Journal entry: 14th November 2018

This post is to those who wish to share their hearts but haven’t found a home for it because they feel too different or too scared. For those who life has told you feel “too much” and you should “just chill out”. There’s nothing wrong with you. 

Alone and lonely- these are the two words that characterize my life. It’s a mix of loving my time alone and feeling lonely when I do want company. Very few people have waded into my heart and consistently known my whole truth; they are all of two people. These two are aware of and know in great detail my journey as a Christian woman trying to shed her ratchet edges. They are aware of the fight within me; the struggle to break away from the past that molded me, into becoming the amazing woman I intuitively know I can be.

That number is low, and it’s not anyone’s fault really. I can actually say it’s mine but to a lesser degree. I learned and made peace with the fact that it’s my personality. If you’re yet to know yours, click here to take a test. It adds clarity to the person you think you are. That’s a suggestion though because I realize many people won’t reach for resources they don’t think they need, myself included.

As Wambaire, remaining sane requires that I take a few days to recharge. On top of that, I am usually aware I am withholding information especially in contexts that don’t feel like a safe space. With just that to go on, it becomes increasingly clear getting to know me is like tilling a rocky field. In this rocky field, add thorns because of the isolation I grew up feeling and experiencing. Behold, you have a woman that only speaks cream and keeps the milk that you’d like to dip your cookie into to herself.

Before you feel cheated, know that it’s changing so hold on to your cookies!

Keeping the milk for me has been predominantly because I didn’t, as a human being, feel valued. That then extended to what I thought I had to offer, including my thoughts and feelings. But that’s change- you don’t go .com if you think you’ve got nothing of value to say! Even before that, blogging has been the one place I can put my thoughts and feelings out since high school because, unless you hack my account, you couldn’t make me take my words back. That rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because they couldn’t understand why they were learning about a part of me on the blog sphere and not in person.

Er, well, perhaps because I am intense and you’re not? If you’ve read this far then you’re more likely to be the type that’s more interested in the human journey than who did what and went where and why they said and did what they did.

So imagine being surrounded by people who, when you go into your intense mode, grow quiet, and watch you talk. After, they do one of two things: change the topic and for the most part gracelessly or give you advice that has almost nothing to do with the purpose of your sharing in the first place. Ah yes, there’s the third type; they compare their life to yours to show you just how much harder they have it.

In short, they manage to dismiss everything you’ve just said. It’s not because they are bad people, it’s just who they are, albeit it being a weakness. It’s the reason why we have a personality tool that says there are 16 different types. Being surrounded by everyone who thinks like you is almost impossible especially if you have a type that makes up less than one percent of the human population.

I guess where I am going with this is, if you’re like me, your inner circle will be super small. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It will, however, mean learning who to lend your voice to and who to withhold from. Not in a bad way though; not everyone should know about your intimate parts. It’s why in Proverbs 4:23 we are told to guard our hearts because everything we do flows from it. Now imagine what’s flowing out of wrecked hearts!

If you’ve experienced a lot of false starts with friendships and relationships where you reveal too much too soon only for it to fizzle, it means you should be keener and become purposeful about spotting your tribe. There really isn’t another way, you just have to be smarter about the bonds you make.

That will take a while. Until then, there will be times you scroll your phone and come up empty as to whom to call in your moment of distress. In as much as it hurts, I want you to remember this: there’s nothing wrong with you.

From that space, look again. Who do you need to stop opening up to? Who do you need to trust more? Most of all, ask yourself, who accepts my voice in its truest form?

And yes, that process sucks. Something about pain accompanying growth…  But that’s just my experience. What has your journey been like? Let me know in the comments section.

Cheers.

 

Letter to the depressed self: Believing that you’re still loved

I’d open with scripture but even we Christians have to admit that side-eyes all around are sometimes the order of the day when things are rough.

Something I am learning about living with depression is that it’s something you manage, especially when chemical imbalance is at play. When I say manage it means becoming familiar with it to the point that you know how to help yourself or get help when you feel things are getting out of hand. Michelle Williams has a new show Chad loves Michelle where, in the first episode, she talked about checking herself into a facility after a bout of depression and taking meds to manage it.

Full disclosure: I found me a therapist after I saw that I couldn’t handle my internal battles alone. And even after that, I had three episodes of near suicide that thankfully I had another voice urging me to ask for help from friends. If you’ve been here or are going through this, let it be enough to know that you’re not alone and that you can soldier on, despite how crappy things look. 

Just watching how Michelle’s depression is affecting her relationship (and Chad’s frustration), I could see a lot of my life too. Among other things she talked about her room being her safe space because she wasn’t able to feel safe anywhere else, especially to be honest about her feelings. When I was watching I was all around saying “YEP!” because that’s something I can attest to.

If you followed my blog before you can possibly tell that I was, to a degree, censoring certain aspects of my life. It wasn’t intentional. I just didn’t feel safe. And I still don’t. Something that has been a constant in all my relationship is my inability to find a safe space to open up. While I had due reason to be skeptical about the space provided- I have dated some guys with the emotional capacity of a white wall- I still think that even when a fantastic guy is to roll up (like the one in the vicinity), I could still keep my walls up.

And that’s the thing about depression.

Even the most amazing things feel threatening. If you’re in a relationship with someone and they say stuff like “I am not good enough for you” or “I will hurt you, just go find someone else” I am not expecting you to stay and understand. Sometimes it’s not your portion to be a doctor and love someone to health. Leave that to people whose natural disposition has them loving someone back to health. I’m saying that so that you never feel bad about leaving someone who was difficult to love especially if you now have the awareness that depression was the cause.

I guess this post is for the person who’s depressed and has if they dared even hope it was true, love around them. That could be a spouse, friend or family. I’m realizing retreating when you’re super depressed is easy when wondering why you’re alive in the first place. But even when (as a family friend put it) you’re looking at the bottom side of the bottomless pit, choose courage to believe that you’re loved.

That’s my pompom word for you today. Choose to believe that the essence of you is worthy of love. If you’re finding that hard, then consider this; you can’t possibly be surrounded by morons who choose to love you as you are!

Choose courage.

 

Cheers.

Simplifying the Purpose of Romantic Relationships

Matthew 22:36-40 Amplified Bible (AMP)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 And Jesus replied to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ 40 The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Relationships are tricky, or so I thought until an entire sermon took place in the course of a mental discussion I was having with myself on the topic. I keep making jokes I am officially “those Christians” making bible jokes and thoughts randomly get back up by scripture. The reason I roll my eyes is that I know myself. There are days “demonic” is the word for my thought-life.

That aside, I am those people that need a reason for everything. My mother truly hates this because I’m ‘insubordinate’ if I can use that word, because, hierarchy. Don’t tell me “I feel” or “God talked to me and said-“without a logical explanation or scripture. I will challenge you. I am not about to do things, look dumb in the end and when someone asks me, “And why did you do that Maureen?” “Because XYZ told me” is the last reason I want to give.

I’m only a sheep to Jesus; the rest of you better roll up with facts and sound arguments.

As you can tell by now, I like structure, and I am methodical. If something doesn’t have a purpose, it doesn’t have room in my life. That applies to my career and relationships of any nature. If you make me do something I don’t see the point of, I will drop balls so hard, you’ll first fire me in your dreams before you get round to doing it in person. With relationships nowadays, I will disappear from your life. I won’t even blink; the one thing I like about getting older.

Now picture a man telling me “let’s see where this goes” and later “We’ve just started dating, relax, we’ll figure out that out later.”

incredulous excuse me GIF

That silence is their absence from my life.

If you, male or female, have been in such a situation, be like me, exit. Did I take months to move on? Yes, and despite my hesitation, I knew I had to leave eventually.

Now that I am all about the “new woman, new life” vibe, I was about to draft a list of things that should qualify as purposeful before issuing them out to a potential suitor. It’s in this state of foolishness (stay with me) that Matthew 22:36-40 came to mind. If a man or woman doesn’t have the above as their sole purpose, they seeing themselves building a mansion with you don’t matter.

This part is for the ladies: If a man doesn’t speak of his intention to love you as commanded, get out. He doesn’t have to use those exact words, but you will know the source of his love when you see it. Anything less, and girl, those tears you cry after won’t be worth the singlehood you’ve given up.

Same applies to you fellas. Get a woman that loves you commandment style.

Cheers

Mind Your Judgment

Romans 2:3-4

3 But do you think this, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things, and yet do the same yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His verdict? 4 Or do you have no regard for the wealth of His kindness and tolerance and patience [in withholding His wrath]? Are you [actually] unaware or ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness leads you to repentance [that is, to change your inner self, your old way of thinking—seek His purpose for your life]? AMP

Picture a scenario where a friend approaches you with a business plan. Part of it includes selling counterfeited goods but marketing them as the cream of the crop in the industry. Like the save, sanctified and spirit filed person that you are, as Sarah Jakes Roberts would put it, you tell them that it’s a horrible idea and proceed to quote scripture and the law of the land.

Being the hard-headed person, they are your friend doesn’t listen. You, however, continue to be in their life, showing them kindness, offering corrections and just treating them like a decent human being despite their shortcoming.

A few years after their initial prosperity, things fall apart.

Now picture this same friend going onto social media and saying how, when they had everything, they had friends, but now everyone has deserted them. You think they are in pain and you give them space. You come back into their life when you think they are at least in their right mind, only for them to say, “Why didn’t you stop me when I came to you with the plan?”

excuse me what GIF

I don’t know about you, but that right there would leave me speechless. So much so that I’d block this person’s number and forget about them because that’s how many words I don’t have.

But the Good Lord is working in me.

The typical “what would Jesus do?” question applies here. The answer is you wouldn’t say anything back, at least anything that would cause harm. Sure enough, when the pity party is over, they would roll back round, apology filled and ready to make amends. It is your ability to remain loving that would leave the door open for them to come back and restore the friendship.

And that’s what this verse in Romans is about.

We need to stop seeing God as someone who sends out Holy Backhands for every mistake we make. That’s not His job. The only possible backhand He’s done is when He smacked Lucifer so hard that he fell out of the heaven and bowling-balled a third of the angels out as well.

We also tragically walk around with the narrative that God also issues out backhands to your enemies. No… not quite. The wages of sin is death. So anything that comes your “enemy’s” way is simply a harvest of something they sowed. So if I were you, I’d be mindful of how I go round saying “God smite mine enemies!” Because what’s that line in the Lord’s Prayer? “Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?” Child, what wrath is this you’re introducing to yourself though?!

So next time you see that chick who’s been sleeping around or the guy who cons people “prosper,” don’t think God is asleep. He’s extending the same grace to them as He did you while you were still in sin.

Be kind to everyone, won’t you?

Cheers.