Posted by: Kara Luker | September 30, 2022

A quick clarification & bonus post

My mom pointed out that there was an ambiguous statement in my post yesterday that could have made it sound that my own dysfunction was the cause of my son’s suicide. I’ve updated the language in the post and wanted to clarify to those who already read it that I believe the reason for his suicide was that Cole saw his “nakedness,” felt the burning shame of it and hid in fear. If he had realized that the problem was the shame rather than the fact of his unclothed weakness, he would never have felt the need to take his own life. To expand on this a little bit, I’m including a post I wrote a handful of months after he died. Please feel free to ask questions about posts or point things out if they hit you weird. (Thanks mom!)

THE LIE OF SELF-DESTRUCTION December 4, 2018

I had just stepped into my bathroom to brush my teeth, thinking of nothing in particular, when a thought came tearing into my head like a flaming meteor and seared its truth on my mind: Cole’s suicide had nothing to do with me. It’s not that I didn’t have failures as a mom. I had plenty. His dad and the Navy had plenty too. But others have experienced far worse and lived. And his death wasn’t because of the difficulties he was facing, as hard as they were. Many have faced far worse and lived. He committed suicide because he believed a lie.

All self-destructive thoughts and actions, from the seemingly trivial to the horrifically significant, can be traced back to a lie. The one I believed was that there was an inherent unworthiness in me; that my very identity was damaged, thus rendering me unfixable. While I never directly attempted to take my life, I lived for years in murderous contempt of it, feeling like it would be no loss if I were erased from the earth.

gavel

My thought life was a courtroom with an unforgiving judge who held a growing stack of evidence against me, using even the smallest failures to shame and devalue me. The message was increasingly strong: “You don’t belong here.” But it didn’t stop there. It stated with persuasive authority, citing tangible proof, that everyone around me did; that they all possessed the value I lacked. It was so freaking convincing. So instead of recognizing it as the strategy of a predator separating his prey from the herd in order to devour it, I came to trust it as truth and isolate myself from any voice bearing a different message.

It is no wonder that self-destruction followed. I starved my body for days at a time, cut myself with knives and used every substance I could get my hands on to separate me from this loathsome person – myself. When I awoke after overdosing on heroin, I didn’t feel joy that I was alive. It was almost a disappointment that I had to rally the weary soul inhabiting my 18 year old frame to live another day.

While I don’t know exactly what lie Cole was up against, I know it must have felt something like that… That he – or maybe just his circumstances – were unfixable. I don’t judge him for it. How could I? But what breaks my heart is that I know his life could have been transformed, just like mine. Because there is no “unfixable” in the Kingdom of God, no “impossible,” no “unworthy,” no “too screwed up” or “too far gone.” That is absolute truth based on the word of the living God and can dissolve the fiercest lie.

If Cole had allowed the light of this truth to shine on his beliefs, self-destruction would not have been an option – no matter how difficult the hardship. His mind would no longer host a courtroom of condemning voices and a guilty verdict, but resound with the echoes of the Highest Court declaring him innocent for now and always, loosed from the weight of his failures and the desperation of his circumstances. That’s why Jesus came and why he died; to bear the penalty of our sin and shame so that every single one of us could be delivered from self-destruction and alienation into love and belonging. No one lies outside of this. No one.

So, if you are struggling with any unkindness toward yourself, please know that your problem is not your flaws, your failures, your sins or your circumstances. Your problem is that you have believed a lie. But there is such good news. Your value and your identity are fixed in His righteousness; untouched by anything you’ve ever thought or done. God’s love for you is unchangeable, no matter how carelessly or hatefully you’ve regarded Him. So bring it all into the light. Let the Lord speak His truth over your life. Let the lies fall away. Be transformed into a vessel of grace and compassion toward yourself and others as you are filled with the abundance of His life and love.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10


Responses

  1. ❤️❤️❤️🙏

  2. Kara, the way you’ve shared both your painful experiences and healing here are so redemptive. Thank you for your courage and grace, dear friend.

    • Thank you so much, my friend! I love how God redeems our sorrows and fills us with every bit of grace we need for the journey. I am forever grateful. And I know you are too because you share these same truths so beautifully in your writing. Guess we are kind of partners in crime… well, redemption 🙂


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