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How Do You Cope?

by LaNaye Perkins  
1/12/2008 / Testimonies

I sat alone in the recliner reading his note through my tears. It was filled with sadness, despair, and all the reasons why my 23 year old son had decided to end his life. I wasn't able to go with my husband as he rushed our son to the hospital. I was recuperating from the damage mold had done to my lungs and needed a breathing treatment. There was no time to waste, so I had to stay home and wait for news from the hospital.

Since we live on a farm with family close by, I left most of the lights off in the house. I didn't want to alarm anyone, at least not until I knew something. I just couldn't bring myself to call anyone. Who could I call? What would I say? I couldn't even wrap my mind around what had happened yet, let alone try to explain it to anyone else. The only one I could talk to at that moment was Jesus.

It had all started when the Lord woke me up an hour earlier. He let me know my son was in trouble and I needed to go check on him. Fear gripped my heart as I called up to him and asked him to come downstairs. What I didn't know at the time was that he had taken an overdose of pain killers and muscle relaxers. If I hadn't insisted on him coming downstairs, he would have gone to sleep and slipped from our lives forever. We wouldn't have known anything until the following morning when we found the note he had left us by the coffee pot.

As I sat there, fear tried to overwhelm me. I felt like I would have a complete mental breakdown at times. In my spirit I knew I had to stay focused, and that I couldn't afford to give way to hysterics. I made myself continue in prayer, pleading with the Lord for my son not to die. For nearly three hours, I battled to not give in to this fear and its panic. I found encouragement in the Word during those predawn hours. Two verses that helped me a lot were "Be not afraid of sudden fearFor the Lord shall be thy confidence" (Proverbs 3:25-26 KJV). There were other verses that night, and I thanked the Lord for each and every one as they encouraged my heart to have faith.

It had been close to four hours since my husband and son had left for the hospital. I had been quiet before the Lord for a long while when He spoke softly to my heart. He let me know He wouldn't have woke me up just so I could watch my son die. That is when I knew he would survive. It is also when I felt the peace of the Lord wrap around my soul like a physical embrace. Fear had been defeated and had to flee.

A short time later my husband called to let me know that our son was going to be okay. The battle wasn't over though. We still had several months of struggling to cope in the aftermath of his suicide attempt. I have written down some key questions the Lord answered for us. My prayer is that you, the reader, will find encouragement as I share how we obtained the victory and overcame this trial.

1. How does a parent cope a child's suicide attempt?
- At first, our minds were so overwhelmed we couldn't even think straight. All we could do was cry out to Jesus for help. We were tormented by scenarios of "what if", along with an intense condemnation that we had failed as parents.
- Once the initial shock passed, we began to search the Bible for guidance. Reading the scriptures helped us to start coping. There were many verses that the Lord used to help us during this process. Many times, it was the power of His Word that gave us faith to press on each day.
- In time, the Lord was able to open our eyes to an important fact. We'd done the best we could when rearing our children. Now, we needed to accept that our son had made his own choices that night. After all, he was 23 years old at the time.
2. How do you deal with the fear ?
- After the suicide attempt, fear constantly tried to destroy our faith. As before, we clung to the Lord and the scriptures that brought us such comfort. One of the most helpful verses was "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13KJV). It was only through Him that we were able to overcome this fear. He blessed us with a peace we couldn't understand. We couldn't explain it, we just knew we had it.
3. Why do these things happen?
"Blessed be God, even the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4KJV). Why did it happen? We believe it is so we can reach out to others, and tell them what the Lord did for us. In turn, we can now help others with the same help we received.

Today our son is doing great. He's turned his life around and gives all the credit to the Lord. We admit that there were times we felt as though this trial would kill us. The Lord is faithful though. He had a plan for us, and He has a plan for your life too.

From the beginning the Lord let me know I was to share whatever He inspired me to write. Now, over a decade later, I'm still sharing what He's given.
-LaNaye Perkins

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