Tag Archives: suicide

A Deafening Silence

13 Aug

Silence can be deafening.

It can fill a whole room, a whole body, a whole heart.

It’s a lonely, depressing ache that goes on and on.  How I wish for the breath to say something, to find words, to hear my voice.

The silence is emptiness and emptiness is deadly, dark and meaningless.

Silence, for me, was a way of coping.  As long as I remained quiet, as long as I pretended I had it all together, then maybe I would be OK.  Or at least people would think I was OK.

But I wasn’t OK.  I was falling apart.

My secrets ripped me apart, caused me to hide in the shadows, and question my existence.  Did I deserve to take up space, resources, air?  The thoughts were loud and angry.  The train whistle cut through the silence several times a day.  There was life somewhere outside of my apartment.

It’s hard to imagine someone like Robin Williams, who has the resources to access the best doctors, best medicines, and best therapy could fall into the deafening silence.  There’s a cruel irony in entertaining the masses, yet dying inside.  Tears of a clown or something like that.

Those of us who have been there or are there or live with constant battle against the darkness know what it’s like.  The silence only makes the illness more pronounced because the angry thoughts swirl around, the clichés become tormenting (“Why don’t you…?” “Someone has it worse.” “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” “Trust in the Lord”), and it’s a sad, lonely place.

If someone like Robin Williams couldn’t make it through the pestilence of mental illness, specifically depression, what hope is there for the rest of us?  We swallow our pills, see our therapists, practice using our coping skills, and hope against hope we’ll make it.

We hope and pray that we won’t end up like Robin Williams all the while wondering if we will.

There’s a choice in suicide.  There’s always a choice.  It’s just hard to make sense of what’s up and what’s down in mental illness, which doesn’t make sense at all.  Yet everyone seems to have an opinion on depression, anxiety, PTSD, and so forth.  Just like week someone told me I couldn’t possibly have PTSD because I’ve never been in combat.  Oh, yes, I’ve seen combat, just not in the military.  The world is its own battlefield.

The reason why I’m alive, the reason why I didn’t tighten the noose around my neck or jump in front of that train was this—hope.  No matter how small, God placed that hope in my heart when I was a little girl.  Though I had run away, battered and bruised from the Church, His hope kept me alive.

It may sound overly simplistic, but maybe it is that simple.  Maybe hope really is an anchor to my soul—an anchor firmly rooted in Christ Himself.  Christ died every possible death so that I could live.  Through the brokenness of my life, He shines forth.  Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks.

Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks the words of hope I desperately need to hear.  His soft whisper drowns out the angry thoughts.  His truth slices through well-intentioned, but ill-timed clichés.

In a world that judges, God accepts me just as I am and uses me despite my weakness.  Because of God, I have meaning and I don’t have to be silent anymore.  I can speak out of my weakness because He has made me a display of splendor.

In the deafening silence, His sure whisper can be heard.  Perhaps it’s in silence, God can be best heard.

Dear Huff Post & AOL, Suicide is NOT painless

7 Jun

In my undergrad journalism classes, the importance of the headline or title of our pieces was always emphasized.  While some slick editor might come in and change a catchy headline to save space or cause sensationalism, often in magazine writing or op-ed pieces, the writer’s title was left intact…unless it was terrible.  After years of study and sometimes less-than-stellar titles for my own work, I try not to judge others too harshly.

For instance, our local paper, The Morning Call, which I think is lacking in various areas including bad headlines, terrible lay-out, inadequate copy-editing, stupid opinion pieces, and lack of newsworthy content (there’s not much else to lack in, is there?), uses the term “obits” on its main news page instead of “obituaries.”  While not the most terrible mistake in the world of news, it is in the very least tacky.  I mean, let’s look up Grandma Ruth’s “obit” online just sounds insensitive.  Some things shouldn’t have catchy little names outside the newspaper office.

This morning while I was munching down on my cereal and reading the morning news, I decided to check my AOL email.  I was aghast at what I found–and no it was not another spammy email from my wanna-be fiance James–it was this news teaser on AOL’s main page, which linking to a Huffington Post news article.

(While the screen shot below is here for effect, you actually have to CLICK HERE to see the picture in its full size to see the teaser.)

Did you see it?  And, no, it’s not the picture of Anthony Weiner and Weiner Gate or the naked man chest or even the Sprint ad (because we all know they have crappy customer service.) In case you didn’t catch it, I’ll post the picture again with a few handy dandy modifications of my own.

The teaser is so small you can’t read it, so you’ll have to view THIS VERSION, which is unreadable, so then you have to go back to the ORIGINAL FULL SIZED VERSION and see it for yourself.  I know that’s a lot of work, but I want you all to see to see picture proof.  Here’s the faulty header (in case your computer shut down looking at all those pictures): Man Finally Kills Self After 10 Tries (emphasis and color added.)

I just about threw up my Rice Krispies.  First of all, why is an article about a clearly disturbed man from California front page or national news at all?  And, more importantly, did the word “finally” really need to be added to this headline?  Then again, the teaser is only pulling from the first sentence of the Huffington Post news article which reads, “After at least 10 documented suicide attempts spanning several years, Francisco Solomon Sanchez finally succeeded in killing himself last Friday, reports the Pasadena Star-News.”  Gee, poor Francisco may have been unlucky in life but at least he finally succeeded in something–suicide!  Perhaps The Huffington Post wanted to cover this story, but did they have to be so thoughtless in the delivery?  The fact that that’s a number for the National Suicide Prevention Life Line at the conclusion of this short article doesn’t soften the blow, not for me.

Even more shocking than the piece itself are the comments left by anonymous morons with cartoon avatars.  Yeah, I’d be afraid to show my face if I uttered some of the statements these people made, which include this from “Huff Post Super User Dr Scott”: “The poor man. Can you imagine the depression this guy experienced over not being able to kill himself 9 times? The last 9 attempts took considerab­le fortitude. I’d never try it again after the first failed attempt. The shame would be too much.”  I truly hope this man isn’t a real doctor.  I can only imagine his bedside manner.

Then there’s “amugsey,” who not only disdains capitalization, but writes, “you can reach your goals if you work hard enough.”  And actually a lot of people echoed this sentiment.  Wow, you all are hilarious.  I hope you feel so proud of yourselves for being disgustingly unoriginal and callous together.

I didn’t read all the comments, but out of the ones I did read, the next comment has to be the winner for the most despicable of all, courtesy of “InsuranceGuy”: “Good to see that this determined man finally got his wish.  It will save the taxpayers money. It is the County that picks up the costs for comminting him to the mental institutions all of this time. More than likely, the county or the state paid for all the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for his previous failed attempts (one of his previous attempts resulted in 2 prosthetic legs).”  Incidentally, I also appreciate his fine grammar and spelling.

Thankfully, there were a few rational comments, but the vast majority were stupid one-liners, like suicide is funny, like Francisco Solomon Sanchez was a joke, like Francisco Solomon Sanchez wasn’t a human being who suffered or had a mother and a father.  I don’t know what demons tormented Francisco; I only know the scant details of his life reported in these articles.  I do know that Francisco Solomon Sanchez lived among us, suffered among us, and died on June 3 after jumping onto the 210 Freeway in LA County.  And I know this is a tragedy that has little finality to it.

*If you stumbled onto this post because you are contemplating suicide, please seek help.  Talk to a friend, a family member, a stranger, anyone!  Call the National Suicide Prevention Hot Line at 1-800-273-8255.  Please do this!  My friend, Matt, suffered from schizophrenia and committed suicide in 2002, just after I graduated from college.  I will never forget that day–the moment I received the phone call about his death–and I don’t want your friends and family to feel the same way.  You are so valuable, even if you don’t see it at all right now.  You matter.  You were created for a reason and a purpose.  Please, please, please get help.*

Book Review + Giveaway:: Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson

18 May

When 17 year-old Kristen Anderson laid on the tracks in front of an oncoming train, she expected to die.  In fact, she wanted to die.  The incident that should very well have taken her life only took Kristen’s legs, which was still a lot.  Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson with Tricia Goyer is Kristen’s story about her suicide attempt, adjusting to her new circumstances, and how God powerfully has worked in Kristen’s life making this tragedy a triumph.

Life, In Spite of Me is a powerful story is an emotional, yet redemptive tale.  This book page turner is saturated humility and honestly.  Kristen shares how several deaths including the suicide of a close friend and rape by another friend started the downward spiral that led to her attempted suicide.  Kristen then takes us through her physical recovery, which led to a spiritual recovery as she commited her life to God.

While this story was beautifully written, it became a bit dull at the “seeker sensitive” parts towards the second half of the book.  I love that Kristen has a heart to God with people and feel that Life, In Spite of Me would be a great read for anyone struggling with his or her faith.  However, it all seemed too simplistic at parts.  The pieces just fell in place for Kristen and it seemed that she didn’t face the doubts or questions so many new believers face.  Though she had difficulty with prosthetics, Kristen was able to overcome every obstacle, including the disuse of medications for depression and pain just by trusting God.  I felt that there should be a disclaimer stating that this wasn’t everyone’s experience as a new Christian.

Other than that, I found Life, In Spite of Me to be inspiration, well-written, and a good, fast read.  It is evident that the hand of God protected Kristen and that He is now using her story to bring people to Him.

Amy’s Grade: B+

Does Life, In Spite of Me this sound like a book you’d like to read?  Well, then today’s your lucky day because Backseat Writer is giving away ONE copy to a lucky reader.  All you have to do is become a follower of the site via the RSS Feed or subscribed by e-mail.  Just leave a message below telling me that you’re a follower and you’re in the running.  By the way, if you’re already a follower simply say, “I’m a follower!” Just leave a comment and you’re entered! Contest ends May 26 at 11:59 PM EST.

*This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.*

Take 10 with To Save A Life’s Randy Wayne

22 Jan

Randy Wayne is definitely crush material.  So don’t be surprised when the teen girls in your life gush about this personable actor after seeing To Save A Life, which releases in theaters nationwide on Jan. 22.  Randy plays Jake Taylor, a popular basketball player with a cheerleader girlfriend, you know, the typical kid that all the guys want to be and all the girls want to date. When Jake’s childhood friend commits suicide, Jake suddenly realizes he’s living in a dream world and desperately searches for answers.  To Save A Life gives  touches on important topics such as cutting, teen pregnancy, marital dysfunction, suicide, peer pressure, and the sometimes high cost of fitting in.

Randy, who affectionately refers to me as “Backseat Writer” and then “B-Dub,” was kind enough to chat with me about To Save A Life.  And I must admit, it was a very fun chat. Listen to our banter below::

For more information on To Save A Life, go to ToSaveALifeMovie.com.  You can also check out the Randy’s soon-to-be-fabulous website at randywayne.com (and friend him on Twitter like I did- twitter.com/randy_wayne.)

To Save A Life–the Movie & the Sonic Kitty

23 Oct

On Thursday evening, I attended a pre-screening of TO SAVE A LIFE, a film that delves into the lives of teenagers in crisis (suicide, pregnancy, divorce, cutting, bullying).  For now, all I will say about the film (which releases in January 2010) is:: it’s pretty good, has the potential to get teens (and adults) talking about crucial issues, and I love the kid who pours bacon bits on his ice cream cone while on a date.  Plus, the promo items, which include recycled pens made from wood and slap bracelets were top-notch.

Also, exciting was the opportunity to meet my pal, Lori Lenz, who I’ve been working with for quite a while, but never met face-to-face, until tonight.  I made her a scarf and she wore it all night!  Lori is ABSOLUTELY adorable, and if you get a chance to catch her at one of the TO SAVE A LIFE pre-screenings, you should give her a big hug from me!  And tell her that you love her scarf.

Lori and me!  Look shes wearing the scarf I made!

Lori and me! Look she's wearing the scarf I made!

Before we headed to Philly, Sarah and I made a pit stop in Levittown.  She had to do a work thing and dropped me off at the Super Wal-Mart.  After people-watching for an hour in the store, I decided to go outside to savor the beautiful fall weather.  I walked and walked and walked until I ended up at a Sonic clear across the parking lot.  As I sat down to read, I noticed a young tabby several yards away.  We eyeballed each other, and deeming me safe, the cat crept closer and closer until it was only two feet away. I beckoned the feline closer, but it maintained its distance.  Finally, I stood up, and it ran away to hang out in Parking Spot #1.

Philly Phever has even taken over Chik-Fil-A

Philly Phever has even taken over Chik-Fil-A

So I asked two Sonic employees about the cat and they told me that it was there unofficial mascot.  Apparently, they called the humane society and other rescue organizations, but no one would come to take away the cats.  Cats?  You mean there’s more than one?  Yup, a whole family of felines lives in the weeds.

An old ship along the water front.

An old ship along the water front.

Over at Parking Spot #1, Miley the Cat (I named it Miley because “Party in the USA” was playing) was looking hopefully at a new family of diners. The poor thing probably survived on scraps thrown her way.  I considered ordering her a hot dog, but decided against it.  I knew I couldn’t take her with me, so I called my mom and asked her to pray for Miley the Cat.  My mom, who knows my love for animals, asked God to care for this sweet cat—that it might know the love of a family.

Be a hero & save Mileys life!

Be a hero & save Miley's life!

I don’t know what else to do, but tell you about Miley, show you his/her picture, and let you know where to go to claim a beautiful kitty that needs a home.  Miley the Cat is located at the Sonic along Route 13 in Levittown, PA at the Levittown Town Center Shopping Center.  If you can’t make Miley yours, please let someone know about  her/him because you can save a life.

Finding Happiness

3 Feb

I cleaned my room on Saturday, which is always a daunting task because I am a pack rat.  Not like the guy who was a hoarder that lived at my old apartment complex, but I do like to save things “just in case”.  There’s a certain point where “just in case” because an overwhelming closet of stuff.  In fact, I’m scared to go into our coat closet because it’s so jammed with coats, cleaning supplies, and storage bins that something usually falls on me.

Though my room wasn’t in such a sorry state, it felt like it was “falling” on me.  My room generally reflects the state of my life.  When it’s cluttered, my life is cluttered.  When it’s cleaner, I feel cleaner.  When there’s dirty laundry strewn about, I feel out of control (and find it difficult to find something to wear).

Lately, I’ve been cleaning up my life.  My recent battles with anxiety and depression have been especially vicious and I felt defeated.  Then I remembered something I read in the introduction of  Brian McLaren’s “A New Kind of Christian.”  The funny part is that I find the introduction to the book so compelling that I count it as one of the most important books I’ve ever read, but I’ve never actually read past the first or second chapter.

Anyway, McLaren talks about coming to a point in his life where he was so unhappy, dissatisfied, and depressed that he was suicidal despite being a successful pastor. As he contemplated suicide, he was struck with this thought–he could kill himself or he could change his life.  He chose the latter, reasoning that both options were radical changes.  If someone could be so radical as to commit suicide, then he could radically change his life.

When I feel myself teetering towards the edge of unhealthy thinking, I grab “A New Kind of Christian” off my shelf and reread this passage again and again.  In some way, this book has saved my life.  It makes me wonder what I would think if I read past chapter two.

After languishing in depression and anxiety for a couple of months, I’ve decided that things have to change.  Like my room, my life had become messy and unmanagable.  So I am in the process of making some radical changes in my social life, for my health, and to get to start doing those things I want to do someday.  Someday has arrived.

I signed up for two Bible studies and an acting class.  I went to the doctor for a check-up and told her about my swollen knees, which are arthritic.  Now I’m going to aquatherapy three times a week (starting next week) to not only help my poor knees, but to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle, too.  Oh, and I got a low-end acoustic guitar that’s smaller and more female-friendly, and I’m learning how to play it.  I’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar.

These experience aren’t just personally beneficial; they’ll give me a ton of writing material.  And we all know how dry the inkwell has been these days, especially with the difficulty of trying to manage my own blog and Backseat Writer at the same time.

When I started cleaning my room, I guess I thought I would uncover happiness underneath a pile of books or in the dark recesses under my bed.  However, what made me happy was the change, though my room got much messier before the job was done.  I suspect that’s how life is going to be; fortunately, I can rely on God’s strength when I tire of life’s dust bunnies and doubt’s piles of junk mail.  And in all this, in following God, I hope to find happiness, too.

Put On A Happy Face :(

13 Jun

The past few months, I try to blog when I feel happy. While there have been some “downer” posts here and there, for the most part I’ve been either upbeat or ranting or humorous (at least I think I’m funny). I’ve mentioned before that there’s a high cost of being real and admitting your struggles, even obvious ones to others. Who wants to be criticized for being vulnerable when already in a vulnerable state? Then again, someone’s got to be real or everyone will continue to masquerade through life never touching on what really matters.

So as I run my fingers across the keyboard this evening, I can admit that I’m melancholy. In fact, the rims of my eyes are still red from crying. I’m hormonal, Father’s Day is on Sunday (always hard), I hate the way I look, I feel lonely, I think I should be doing more with my life at 28, and I’m tired of writing about people who have way better lives than me. There, I said it. At least part of it. I’m sure there’s more crammed down there.

It all hurts and at first, I felt helpless. Then I remembered something from the introduction to A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren, something that brought me comfort in a time of deep sorrow. McLaren was going though a personal crisis of belief and felt suicidal. Finally, it dawned on him–if he could do something as radical as take his own life, then he could do something radical to change it for the better.

Of course, being me, I have a long list of things I should change and I want to do everything right away so I can be perfect and person that God can use. Obviously, I’m much too flawed in my present state to be of use to anyone. I mean, did you ever look in the mirror and take stock of your life and wonder, “Gee, why do people even want to hang out with me”? That’s how low I’m feeling.

Despite how I feel, I know that God views me as more, as someone precious in His image (even though I feel like the farthest thing from the image of God at the moment). Yes, I can make some changes, but let’s face it–I’m not gonna be financially blessed, married (or engaged!), have a job I absolutely love AND pays the bills, and live a fabulous life with amazing details that are in the mind of God right this second! And it’s so easy to see that I do have enough, I am doing something that I love (sometimes), and I have a best friend who is dearer than a sister. Oh, and let’s not forget my adorable dogs and bird.

I know that this, too, will pass. As I write, the rage I feel towards myself is fading because I am reminding myself of God’s truth. But it’s still there, in the pit of my stomach. I’ve heard people “pray” about deliverance and they find immediate recovery from these thoughts. That’s never been my experience though…I’ve wrestled with these things until I’m exhausted and even then wrestled some more. Yet I always arrive at truth…eventually.

There, I’ve done it. The mask is off and I’m letting you in on a bit of what’s rattling through my brain. I hope this helps someone out there realize he or she isn’t alone, that someone else has felt the same way.

Heath Ledger, You’ll Be Sorely Missed

23 Jan


When I first saw Heath Ledger in The Patriot, I realized that Australia’s greatest national treasure was now in the United States. Playing alongside screen legend Mel Gibson, Ledger held his own as Gibson’s patriotic son fighting against the British for American independence. Then there was A Knight’s Tale. I didn’t really care for that movie, but Ledger looked stunningly masculine in his armor. He was brilliant co-starring with Orlando Bloom in the unappreciated Ned Kelly, in which Ledger played the title character.

I couldn’t get into Monster’s Ball and Brokeback Mountain was two hours of my life I won’t get back. I don’t know why people were so up in arms about the flick; it was boring. In fact, I would never have watched it if there wasn’t such controversy surround “the gay cowboy movie.” Like a friend, I was excited to see Ledger as the Joker in the forthcoming Batman movie, The Dark Knight. I always had a soft spot for the Joker (especially after Jack Nicholson portrayed him so fabulously in the first Batman movie).

The news broke earlier today about Heath Ledger’s death (story). According to current reports, Ledger was found facedown, naked in front his bed with a variety of pills in bottles around his room. Overdose? Suicide? Accidental? No one knows, but it seems that foul play has been ruled out. Naturally, it’s another celebrity story that’s going to be splashed all over the news for the weeks to come.

I’ll miss Heath Ledger and the movies he could’ve made. I mourn for his little girl who will never really know her Daddy. And I mourn for his loved ones who will have to hear every excruciating detail of his death repeated thousands of times a day in the media.

On a personal note: Heath Ledger was only one year older than me.  Whenever someone close to my age dies, it makes me shudder.  As I came into adulthood, so did Ledger.  We sort of “grew up” together.  So, even though I didn’t know the guy, I mourn someone from my generation.

Let’s All Laugh at Britney, Part 3

15 Jan

Man, I feel like I have to comment on every Britney Spears event. Am I becoming as bad as the paparazzi? It’s something with which I struggle. By commenting on this media spectacle, am I adding to it? Or is my little voice one of reason? Besides, it’s not like my blog is a major media outlet by any means.

Here’s the low-down on Britney’s major press coverage today–she lost visitation rights with her sons until she complies with court orders (story). My best friend is a social worker, so let me break this down for you. Britney went to court a bunch of times in this custody battle, the judge told her to do certain things, but she didn’t do them. Now her visitation rights have been suspended. If Britney follows the court orders, she will be able to visit with her sons, probably under supervision of a social worker. Let’s hope that Britney gets the help she needs. In the meantime, K-Fed, their daddy will retain all custody rights.

OK, according to an Australian newspaper, Britney has also threatened to commit suicide if she is admitted into psychiatric care (story). Rumors of Brit’s suicide attempts and threats have been circling the Internet for months. Apparently, that’s all crazy people do–commit suicide. Suicide is not news–it’s sad and horrible. My friend, a struggling schizophrenic jumped off a bridge in 2002 and it was tragic, not a media spectacle. Despite the theme song to “M*A*S*H”, suicide is not painless.

It’s like everyone’s just waiting for Britney to overdose on drugs or slit her wrists so we can see this circus come to a tragic end. Then we would say, “Oh, she was just crazy anyway.” Do we want to see someone who is rich and beautiful fall because we are jealous that we are not rich and beautiful? Or are we afraid that we, too, could become “crazy” like her? Perhaps Britney’s behavior confronts one of our deepest fears–that we are all crazy and irrational or at least we could become so if given the right (or wrong) circumstances.

Clearly, we are dealing with a mentally ill woman. I personally think she needs to be involuntarily committed and am surprised that she wasn’t kept longer than the 72 hours she spent in the hospital for evaluation last weekend. The spectacle of Britney’s breakdown just makes all mentally ill people look like crazy lunatics. People who mix their meds (if she’s taking them) with alcohol and enormous amounts of stress act like this, not everyone who deals with mental illness.

Still the question remains–why are we so interested in watching someone lose her mind? Why were the paparazzi dashing to take photos after Britney was put into the an ambulance to receive much-needed care? Sure, the photograph would be worth a lot, but at what price? This is truly sickening behavior.

Another factor is in play–people feel bad about themselves, so they like to gawk at someone who has it worse.  Watching Britney’s downward spiral won’t make your life better.  In fact, by laughing at her irrational actions, you dehumanize yourself, just like you dehumanize her by turning her into a circus freak, instead of seeing her as a person created in the image of God.  Britney is truly suffering, and yes, some of it is her own fault.  It’s like watching a car wreck–you just can’t look away.

Law Limited in Cyberstalking Cases

4 Dec

The problem that prosecutor Jack Banas is running into the case against Lori Drew is a legal one. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read my post “Megan’s MySpace Suicide” and this Fox News article about the case.) There are no laws on which he can bring charges against Drew and her co-conspirators. Missouri state law is too narrow and doesn’t include cases of cyberstalking, which is what we’re talking about here because Megan Meier was the target of this harassment. Banas can’t bring charges against Drew if the specific situation doesn’t fit with the law, and that’s the problem into which he’s up against. He can’t take the case to court without charges and he can’t bring up charges because the law hasn’t yet been adjusted to our changing cyberworld.

According to the Fox News article, only a handful of states have specific laws to address the growing problem of cyberstalking; these states include Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington. A few other states–Florida, Nevada, Delaware, and Virginia–have made changes to their stalking laws to include cyberstalking.

Banas’ hands are tied. In order to allow for prosecution in further cases where teens or others are harassed online, we have to let our state legislatures know that they need to be abreast of the changes in how people communicate in our world and make laws that protect citizens accordingly. It won’t bring back Megan Meier, but it will bring justice to other victims of online harassment. (Speaking of which, online bullying is on the rise. Read about it here.)

I hope I didn’t give anyone the impression that Lori Drew and her accomplices are beyond God’s grace, because they’re not. While I’m not seeing public remorse/apologies for their deplorable actions, I can only hope that Drew and the others can learn of God’s grace, deal with what they did, and move on to leave better lives. I know that Megan Meier will still be dead. This Christmas there will still be one less person at the holiday dinner table.

Yet I live with a different world view–that God’s grace is for anyone who is willing to accept it. And by accept it I mean, passionately pursue a love relationship with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. I have to believe the gospel message can penetrate the hearts of people like Lori Drew. In my darkest moments, I am no better than Drew; I just choose to not act on the evil desires I have in my hearts at times. Naturally, it makes all the difference.

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