Read this verse in a sermon from Justin from Grace Church in Montrose, CO about the passing of a young soul. For my friends and family who aren't a part of this community - a lovely, wonderful 17 year old girl took her life and has left everyone in such shock and sadness. She suffered from depression which was antagonized by extreme bullying. I did not know her personally but knew of her and had the pleasure of catering an event for her family a few years ago. She was lovely, beautiful, involved in the church, had a loving supportive family. She was not the person who you would picture to end her life. She is your daughter, your sister, your best friend, your girlfriend. She could be you. And yet, it happened.
There have been so many tragedies lately in our community especially of those taken too soon. The circumstances of this awful passing has left me so sad and concerned. The entire Montrose community has been affected and are wanting to make a difference. There are so many issues surrounding bullying and mental health. And questions like Why is the suicide rate so high here? I think it is pretty amazing that there is going to be a public forum for the community to address these issues and try to intervene in the future to help save others.
It makes me think about my three daughters with one almost in middle school and all the other children who I come into contact with.
How to prevent this? How to help someone? When should you step in?
What signs to look for?
It's super scary! It's scares the hell out of me to even consider my child dying before me. I have witnessed so many brave friends who have travelled this journey. The pain transfers over to the ones left behind. Some are able to use their experiences to counsel or make a difference but that is not a calling for everyone. Others just try to focus on each day at a time. I have learned that at some point in time we all experience a loss or pain that we learn to carry. Their courage inspires me and increases my faith.
The verse from Romans above really touched me. I don't remember this one from Sunday School. Being under the power of Grace feels so freeing and so loving. My God is a loving and fair one who gives himself freely to everyone. He is not a fire and brimstone God who governs with a strict law and iron fist. I know that he welcomed her home. I don't think that this was his plan for her but how can we use this for good under His Grace? How can this tragedy teach us all? How can her life and her experiences change us?
I know that for me the first thing I did was talk to my two older daughters and my mother. To open the dialogue about suicide and bullying with my children. To ask the tough questions. To encourage their self-confidence as well as their support for other kids that they witness who are being picked on. To ask my children's school what kind of programs and policies that they have in bullying.
It also gave me the courage to approach one of my daughter's teachers who she told me was not stepping in when bullying was happening in their class. It gave me the courage to do something and to speak up. I hope this will also inspire you to do the same. Her death has left a big mark and she will always be remembered. I pray for all the losses that our community and my friends have endured.
Under love and grace,