Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

Guest Post: The One Thing That Saved Me After My Suicide Attempt

Note: I am so honored to host my new friend Steve Austin as he courageously shares his story of messy grace and redemption. (To read the original post about Steve’s suicide attempt, just click here.) If you’ve known dark days, are tired of a picture of Jesus that only brings condemnation, or are just plain weary, this will do your heart good. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in!

Often, I get asked what the one thing is that saved my life, following my suicide attempt. It’s laughable to think there’s some magic pill, but I understand people looking for something, anything to give them the hope that things will get better.

What saved me? Jesus.

Now before you close this page, thinking “here’s another religious nut, telling me Jesus fixes everything,” just hear me out. I’m not talking about the shirt and tie Jesus, who shudders when someone says the word “crap”. We often hear that Jesus preached at The Fundamental First Church of the Self-Righteous, but that’s not the one who saved me. As a matter of fact, that image of Jesus held me in bondage for twenty-five years.

I’m talking about the real one, who sweats in the heat of the Alabama sun and gives me room to move in and out of my belief system. I met the real Jesus, who thinks most of our man-made rules are ridiculous and longs to hold us in our brokenness. I have been saved from my own living hell by the Jesus who listens to my doubts, and smiles because He knows I am trying so hard to figure this thing out.

What changed me? Finding relationship with a God who is intimately aware of my struggles, pain, failures, and imperfections and loves me without question. He doesn’t love me in spite of my problems–He loves me because of them. He cries with me when I hurt. He tells me my pain matters.

Owning my story changed my life. Getting to the point where I said “okay, this is my thing” allowed me to start learning how to deal with my own depression and anxiety. I know I can’t fix it. I can’t heal my depression or zap my anxiety into oblivion; that’s above my pay grade. But with God’s help (and a strong support system) I can learn how to manage my life in response to the issues I have.

Having people around me who don’t try to fix me is another thing that helped me greatly. People who love me beyond the labels give me hope to try again tomorrow. At the same time, I need people who are willing to call me out when they know I am teetering on the edge of a scary time. It’s ok to get in the face of someone you genuinely love when you fear for their life.

If you struggle with mental illness, know that I feel your pain and my heart breaks for your struggle. Dealing with depression or any other facet of mental illness is not easy.

I am not a professional, but I have walked this long and winding, ruthless road of mental illness. It’s difficult and often unpredictable. Without a Savior, I couldn’t make it another day. With Him, my life isn’t perfect, but I no longer feel like I am always holding my breath.

Have you ever felt that way? Like you’re holding your breath, waiting for the next bad thing to happen? What if you exhaled? What would happen if you let out all the pain and fear, the frustrations and guilt, the shame and sadness with someone you trust? How might that change your whole existence? You think that sounds far too scary to consider, I know, but do you really want to keep living like this? Holding everything inside, wondering if the next bit of pressure will cause the balloon of your entire life to burst?

I got sick of it. Finally, at the end of my rope, I heard the voice of the same Jesus who had been pressed in The Garden of Gethsemane, as the pressures of life caused him to sweat literal blood. I heard him calling out, “Come to me, tired ones. Come to me in your dysfunction. Come to me with your disappointment. Come to me and bring your exhaustion with you. Come to me without production or pretense and rest.”

That Jesus, the Man, invited me in, no strings attached, to experience a life that gives purpose to my pain, rest to my soul, and hope to my heart. He never promised to explain all my struggles or that the world would somehow magically make sense, He just promised to never leave me alone. Jesus took the end of my rope, tied a knot in it, and said, “Hold on. Your story isn’t over.”

Steve Austin is a writer, family man, and photographer. He is passionate about capturing stories that point to God’s purpose and the power of second chances. Check out Steve’s website at www.iamsteveaustin.com or connect with him on Twitter at @iamsteveaustin and Facebook.

 

Feel stuck, broken, or discontent?

I have some hope to share with you. Can I send you a short manifesto for imperfect lives?
It means a lot that you trust me with your email. I won't share it with a soul Powered by ConvertKit

About Sarah

Hi, I'm Sarah. I love coffee, pancakes and street tacos. I'm a learner, a traveler and a creative mess. I've got a thing for redemption and seeing broken people living beautiful lives. That's the story I've lived, and the one I want for you. Let's be friends!

16 Replies

  1. Hey Steve,

    I am not a religious person but I feel your words. And I appreciate the encouragement and how brave you are for talking about all this. I really appreciate it.

    I have depression and I have been pretty close to suicide too. I don’t believe in God, but I think that when you believe on something so strongly that it keeps you alive (literally), it is something good. One has to have a fervent passion and a strong will to not do certain things sometimes when you are at your lowest. But I survived, and I am glad you did too.

    I believe in something very strongly too. I belive in myself.

    1. Hi Alba,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad you’re still here and for your faith in yourself–many of us never find that.

      I’m sorry you’ve faced many of the same struggles I have–mental illness is a living hell at times, but I am thankful to still be alive.

      I’d love to connect with you further. There are lots of stories on my site about my personal experience with mental illness and the practical steps I am taking, three years after my suicide attempt.

      More than anything, know that your life matters and I hope you keep wrestling to find the very best life has to offer.

      Grace and Peace to you,
      Steve

      1. Hey!

        Thanks again for the kind words. I would love to get in touch too. I am a growing author and I love meeting new bloggers. I also write about depression and things related time to time and a few months ago I dedicated the entire month to that.

        I think it is necessary to bring awareness about these topics and we should eliminate the stigma around it. There are a lot of people out there suffering the same problems, and they shouldn’t feel like they are alone. That is why I appreciate so much people like you.

        I will contact you tomorrow if that is okay!

        Have a great day and keep at what you do.

        1. Sounds great…we’re all growing and that’s the best time to connect, eh?

          I’m so glad you’re a stigma fighter, too. I’d love to work with ya and see how we can best support one another.

          I look forward to hearing from you tomorrow.

          Keep showing up,
          Steve

  2. Steve,
    I appreciate your honesty! I struggle with depression and anxiety but with medication and Jesus I live in hope and function very well. I write about hope and depression on my blog. I’d love for you to share your story on my blog. I’m about to become a grandmother in the next 24 -48 hours so it will be a few weeks before I have time to do that. I’m in Tribewriters. Let’s keep in touch. I thank God Jesus has you in His hands!

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m blessed by you! 🙂

      I am so thankful you have found (like me) a balance of Jesus and good meds. It makes quite a difference!!

      I would be honored to write a guest post for you. Feel free to email me at steve@iamsteveaustin.com and we can work out the particulars.

      And enjoy that grandbaby!!! Praying for health, chubby cheeks, and lots of love!!!

      Sincerely,
      Steve Austin

  3. Sarah, thank you for sharing your platform with Steve.

    Steve, thank you for sharing our pain and your redemption. It is said that they only army that shoots its wounded is the Church. I’m sorry for those 25 years of being held hostage by a false Gospel. Your honesty is refreshing and courageous.

    1. Eric,

      Thanks for dropping by. You are absolutely right with your quote in most church scenarios I’ve been in. Thankfully, I am doing my best to become part of the solution instead of further perpetuating the problem.

      I’m glad my story spoke to you.

      Sincerely,
      Steve Austin

  4. I know it was probably scary to be that vulnerable but kudos to you for being so. I had the same struggle and tried suicide also. I can say with delight i have been delivered from such woes, but the road has been very difficult to get throgh. Hang in there. It can happen for you too. I would invite you to read my book “How To Get Near God’s Heart” on kindle at amazon. It may help even more.

    1. Hi Teresa,

      Thanks for stopping by, reading my story, and being an encouragement. The road is long and lonely sometimes, but I’m thankful we’re both still here!

      Look at you, writing a book to help others! I love it. I’m working on my own book at this very moment. Thanks for sharing!

      God bless you,
      Steve

  5. Hello Steve,
    I can identify with the way your life unfolded and brought you to the brink of death through suicide. I had a similar experience and nearly died from trying to end my life. My experience is close to yours and through Christ I have been given a second chance to live. Your testimony will help many. Thanks for sharing about the impact God has made in your life.

    1. Walter,
      Thank you for reading and sharing. There’s so much power in others joining us in our success as well as our struggles. The power of “me too” is one of my favorite things.

      Thank you!

  6. Steve, thank you for sharing your journey. What an amazing grace story that is still being written. I love how Jesus was so radical, and went against the grain to meet needs without condemnation. So many will be encouraged by your calling to share how Jesus pulled you from the pit of despair. So true, we are all broken. It’s cool to see how God works it all together for our good, and uses it to minister to others. Like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, where pottery cracks are repaired with gold, He binds our wounds and makes something beautiful. May God continue to abundantly bless you and your ministry to the hurting. You are also encouraging family members and friends to better relate to loved ones with mental illness. Thanks for opening your blog for the guest post Sarah! Awesome!

    1. Doris,

      I am so thankful that He is writing my story. It’s actually got quite a lot of unexpected twists and turns, but that allows me to keep participating in the mystery of God. He’s a great Author! 🙂

      I love your example of Kintsugi…one of my favorites! Yes, yes, yes!

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. You have blessed me today.

      Sincerely,
      Steve Austin

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.