Title: God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart
Author: Jean Ann Williams
Genre: Memoir; Christian; Suicide Loss
What if your child shot himself while you were in the next room? What if you held him as his heart beat for the last time? What if Satan whispered in your ear, “Now where is your God?” Find out how Jean Ann Williams reached out with her spirit and mind to the one true Father. Discover how the Lord God answered her, and walked alongside her in the most difficult grieving journey of her life.
“The hard place in which you perhaps find yourself, so painful and bewildering, is the very place in which God is giving you opportunity to look only to Him, to travail in prayer, and to learn long-suffering, gentleness, meekness--in short, to learn the depths of love that Christ Himself has poured out on all of us.”
~ Elisabeth Elliot, from Keep a Quiet Heart, p. 233
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
I had a dream the nightmare never happened. Our son, Joshua, never passed on to the hereafter. He married and had children. Then I woke and knew. We live with our reality.
I’ve written these devotions for mothers who have shared the deep heartache of a child’s suicide.
Through my writing, I believe God wants me to share from my heart to yours, by encouraging and giving you ways to cope.
Hope and peace are possible after a suicide. God has helped me, and He wants to help others. The loss is horrific, but God is faithful. He brought me through this dark time, and He wants the same for you.
A yearning to write this book of devotions came five years after my loss of Joshua. I sensed God’s strength within me, but I hadn’t come this far in a blink.
As I wrote this true account, the Lord God’s hand touched me and His Holy Spirit filled me with His peace.
God, when I faltered, You renewed my strength. Through Jesus, I came before You with these words, scriptures, and prayers for Your Glory, Amen.
ONE: March 16, 2004
You will not fear the terror of night, nor for the arrow that flies by day.
I stood in Joshua’s open doorway.
With his hand on the inside of his bedroom doorknob, my twenty-five-year-old son, Joshua, bent down and reached for something on the bed.
For several years he declined emotionally. After trying several antidepressants, nothing worked and he became paranoid. My mother’s heart feared all was not right.
Until this morning, I never understood what Joshua was considering.
Still clutching the knob, my son stood and faced me. His eyes met mine. He swung his arm and handed me his Bible. Our fingertips brushed, his lingering, lingering.
Solemn determination masked his face.
My stomach clenched by an invisible fist, as Joshua shut the door.
Turning the locked doorknob, it resisted. I called out Joshua’s name.
A muffled shot.
Time slowed with the swish-swishing pulse in my ears. Why is Joshua shooting a starter pistol in his bedroom?
But, I understood on a heart level what my son had done.
I rushed in.
falling, to his bed.
Reaching him, I shouted, “No, Joshua, no!”
Pressing my fingers on the wound at the side of his head, with my other hand I felt a pulse at Joshua’s neck.
Half a beat.
The skin of my fingers met the hush of his heart.
My eyes shut, facing upward I wailed, “Oh, God, please, no!”
A Mother’s Memories
God knew I longed to have a third child, and yet I wasn’t blessed to carry another to full term for six years.
At over three months’ gestation with Joshua, I hemorrhaged.
His tiny self was determined to come too soon.
Up from my bed,
down on my knees.
I begged God for one
I rose from kneeling and my flow stopped.
This is the God I knew and loved.
I prayed, “Father, if this child is a daughter, her name will be Joy. In Jesus, I thank You, Amen.”
Father, I’m amazed at how fast You answered my urgent prayer. You knew this child would not make it if I did not request Your powers to heal. You are a God of mercy. Through Jesus’s holiness, Amen.
TWO: Within Two Hours
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
—Psalm 57:1 KJV
This mother’s body trembled. What could I have done better to keep him here? Would Joshua go to heaven?
Emergency workers moved in the background. A few tight-knit family members stood in our living room in shocked silence.
I felt dead, as dead as my son in the next room. My adult daughter Jami knelt before me at the leather sofa. Tears streamed over her flushed face. “Mommy, I’m grateful you and Daddy are safe.”
Her brother, Joshua, lay in the other room. His body rested on the bed. His soul? It had flown to eternity.
The room hummed with a mixture of family and the authorities.
A voice scowled. “Now where is your God?”
Satan. I shuddered with terror. Another shock. A spiritual aftershock.
Similar, yet not, as when my son’s heartbeat stuttered—Good-bye, bye.
My spirit flew into His arms of safety. My whole being chanted, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Father, hold me. Let this daughter sob in Your rest. Your feathers cover me. Through Christ’s precious name, I ask, Amen.
A Mother’s Memories
Born in Lindsay, California, on November 27, 1978, making us a family of five, my son, Joshua, came into the world with coal-black eyes and a shock of dark, feather-hair to match.
The first time the nurse brought him to me, cleaned and bundled, I gripped him around his chest and raised him as an offering to our God.
“He lives because of You, Lord.”
I peered into my little one’s face and began sing-songing, “Hi, Son.”
His head stayed upright above strong baby neck muscles, his eyes zinged straight to mine.