You may look at this picture and see joy - I can too, but I also cringe at how it was during this time in Istanbul that I began planning my end. I didn’t know that while I could not control what thoughts popped in my mind, I could decide if I would dwell on them.
I wish I had known, but I didn’t.
For years, my mind would not entertain the thought of sin being involved with my suffering. I was the victim of inner, debilitating depression. I thought I was powerless. Yielding to suicidal thoughts was not only my constant thought, but a certain destiny I simultaneously longed for and feared with great expectation.
It was after great loss - time, experiences, dreams, plans, relationships - that I woke up to the necessary repentance I was missing. It took locusts eating everything for my heart to turn toward Jesus. I’m thankful God sent the locusts. The loss not only saved my life, but has given me a quality of life I never thought was possible.
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.” (Joel 2:25)
In spite of my mind’s bent toward suicidal thoughts, I learned I did not have to dwell on them and allow them to poison my purpose. This gave me sensitivity to the Spirit who reveals when my thoughts have crossed the threshold of sin.
I didn’t have to miss moments with my children I’ll never regain. I didn’t have to allow my sickness to grieve my husband, leaving dreams unfulfilled. But it’s what happened....so now what?
In Joel 2, locusts had invaded God’s people, stripping them of everything. Our continuous sin will do to us, what those locusts did to them. But there’s hope. God’s invitation: "Turn to Me with all your heart" (Joel 2:12), still stands today.
Let’s not throw away our lives by giving sin power. It doesn’t matter how dark your past is, Jesus can give you a future that shines with purpose, hope, and joy. Maybe much of your life has been eaten by swarming locusts. Turn to God, repent, and ask for His help. Mental illness may remain, but God will restore what was taken by giving us His grace today and hope for a future with Him.