(Excerpt from “Beyond the Siege”)
I lay there, curled up in a ball on the floor of our bedroom closet–shoes beneath me, clothes dangling above–completely unaware of the physical discomfort. Despair entrenched me. I cried in agony; my whole body ached, and my imagination took center stage. Thoughts and images flashed through my mind in a continuous loop. Here are ways you can kill yourself, they whispered. The feelings of hopelessness felt familiar, like a heavy weight on my mind, and an urgency to end it all began to torment me.
Months of loss culminated in that one day: a friend I thought I had connected with in meaningful ways called to let me know she was dropping me from her life. My marriage continued to struggle from years of financial strain and associated stress, Our family moved, once again, from one city to another for work. I could not seem to propel myself forward with the pain I felt.
There seemed to be no end in sight.
Looking back, I don’t recall what happened that particular day to trigger suicidal thoughts. I only know the cumulative incidents of untended pain came crashing down on me, and I felt myself being pulled under by a despair that threatened no escape.
It began in childhood. An abusive father and the painful family dynamic he created fostered a sense of hopelessness. Despite temporary reprieves, I saw hope as futile. I couldn’t escape–ultimate help was out of reach. Just like that, the enemy began his siege of my mind. Seeds planted in those childhood beliefs grew into choking weeds in my adult years. I learned to survive the wars of my adolescent years, yet I never grew dull to the enemy’s voices and threats. They became part of me in ways I didn’t understand,
There I was, a mother of four, with more blessings than I could count, allowing misery and suicide to cloud my view of the present and future. I desperately needed to escape their grip on my mind.
“Stop, Cate. Reflect for a minute. Don’t go down this path,”
Then it happened. A flash of memory: I sat in a church sanctuary, listening to Daren Lindley preach on the siege of Samaria from 2 Kings 2; as he spoke, the Holy Spirit’s voice took over, calling out my suicidal battles and the thoughts that led me into them.
That memory jolted me and gave me the strength needed to change my direction. The journey that followed is what this book is about. It’s a story of rising and falling, of letting go of lies, and clinging tenaciously to hope. It’s how I learned to question my thoughts before they became actions–because actions cannot be reversed, and the consequences of those actions fall on others as well.
It’s the story of how I learned that even when I feel hopeless, I have decisions to make, and those decisions will either lead me to mercy or death. It’s how I learned that when I am most tempted to throw precious things away, I need a bold courage to change my course of action. And it’s how these lessons became the catalyst for developing a team I can call on when I am afraid–a team who will pray for me and encourage my steps towards help.
While I’ve learned a lot along the way regarding how to cope with life’s disappointments, my story continues to unfold. I hope to take you with me on this journey,
As I write, I picture you: Maybe you’re battling hopelessness and despair or know someone who is. Maybe you don’t know what to do and are being tempted with a quick fix that will ultimately destroy you or something precious to you.
In the pages of this book, I want you to see the direction despair will take you. I want you to hear your enemy’s voice and begin to distinguish it from your own.
More than that, I want you to hear your Maker, your Father God who speaks hope, healing, deliverance, and restoration. His voice is calling you out of your depression and despair and beckoning you His direction. I want you to look confidently into the eyes of the One who knows what to do and knows how to deliver you. Repentance is a turning–turning away from the voice of the enemy, turning to the voice of God, to hear it clearer and clearer and believe what He says.
I pray the Holy Spirit might use 2 Kings 6 and 7 as a catalyst for your healing, as well–that you might believe in a life worth living, one that goes beyond our current battles and outlives our adversary.