Blog Carnival: (Hope)less

This week’s blog carnival (hosted by my friend Bridget Chumbley) is on the topic of hope and I welcome the chance to get to talk about hope. In my life, it has been a key to survival. But I can’t talk about hope without talking about hopeless.

I was fourteen the first time I remember wanting to die.  Lying in bed one night I just had an almost overwhelming desire to die.  I couldn’t explain it or make it go away, so I tried to ignore it.  I never told anyone.  But by the time I was seventeen, wanting to die was a normal emotion for me. 

When I was a little girl, my older brother told me that killing yourself is a sin and that God won’t forgive you for it.  For years, that fear was the only thing that kept me from killing myself.  I never told anyone.  Not my parents, my brother, my friends, or my doctor. 

In my quest to be the perfect pastor’s daughter, I learned how to wear a mask at all times so that nobody—even my family—would know that anything was wrong.  And when the mask would slip and someone would see my weakness or my pain, I’d explain it away and then put my mask back on.

I thought that when I accepted Christ, my life would be filled with joy and that I would somehow live above the pain, but that didn’t happen.  In fact, some of the most painful things that have happened to me have happened since I accepted Christ.  I came to realize that if Satan couldn’t kill me (which the Bible says he can’t) then he was going to do everything possible to steal my joy and to make me ineffective in the Kingdom.

God gave me an incredible support system to surround me in the first few years that I was a Christian.  They encouraged me, exhorted me, and constantly challenged me to grow closer to Christ.  During my senior year of college, I went to school full time, wrote a feature-length screenplay, and worked full time.  And the closer I got to Christ, the more people began to depend on me for their emotional support.  Most nights when I came back to the dorm from work at 1 am, I’d find people or messages or emails.  “Sarah, I need…”  “Sarah, can you…”  “Sarah, do you have…”  “Sister, I have this problem…” 

And so, one night, sitting at my desk, I decided that I couldn’t keep up the charade anymore.  I grabbed a white Kleenex, laid it on the desk, and then began to scout the suite for whatever pills I could find.  As I found pills of various kinds, I brought them and piled them neatly in the center of the Kleenex.  White pills, red pills, green pills, yellow pills.  A veritable buffet of death.  I made one last trip to the bathroom to hunt for pills and as I passed the mirror, I saw myself out of the corner of my eye.

NO! 

Without stopping to think about it, I ran to the bedroom, grabbed the Kleenex off my desk, and flushed the whole mess down the toilet.

The late Rev. Tommy Tyson once said, “If you smile enough and you’re friendly enough, no one will think you’re afraid.”  And that’s been my life: one smile after another, trying to convince the world and myself that I’m not afraid or weak or inferior.  And while I’d been somewhat successful at convincing the world, I hadn’t managed to convince myself.  I hadn’t realized that Christ is my faith, my strength, and my worth.  Facing the pressures of the world by myself, I lost my hope.  Even when I flushed the pills, I somehow couldn’t find my hope.

Life—even life as a Christian—has been a rollercoaster for me. One step forward, two steps back. Three steps forward, five steps back. Almost like a perverse dance that I just can’t stop. Many times, I’ve fought through the darkness and found hope on the other side, only to lose it again just as quickly. What I’m learning is that every day is going to be a battle. Our only choice is whether we choose to fight it alone or whether we choose to let Jesus fight at our side.

Today, I’m in the battle for my life. And today, I choose to fight with Him instead of against Him. Today, I’m going to lean on Psalm 33:20 and 2 Corinthians 4:8-10.

“We wait in hope for the LORD; for he is our help and our shield.”

 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken.  We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit.  We are hunted down, but God never abandons us.  We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.  These bodies of ours are constantly facing death just as Jesus did; so it is clear to all that it is only the living Christ within [who keeps us safe].”

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. And because you didn’t do what you contemplated doing, look at how the rest of us have been blessed.

  2. So glad you chose to “flush” …

  3. You are most compassionate and empathetic precisely because of this pain. Isn’t it a bizarre and ironic thing? You matter. You make a difference. You do.

  4. In total agreement with the others……

    Your life is precious…….you have been wondrously made by God. You are here for a reason and a purpose. So happy to call you “friend”.

  5. I echo Glynn’s comments on the blessings we’ve benefitted from because of you. A good friend of mine is very similar- he is everybody’s best friend, but he doesn’t feel close to anyone so he always finds himself drained. He used to rely on Christ instead of himself, but now he is his only strength and his life has been a series of questionable choices since. He says he’s happier, but I don’t believe him. Anyway, I’ve been blessed to know him, just as I’ve been blessed to know you. Grateful you are choosing to fight by Christ’s side and that you are finding hope and joy through it.

  6. Love you, sweet friend! So thankful God broke through to you in that desperate time…

    My “hope” scripture of late:

    Psalm 62:5-8 (New Living Translation)
    Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.

  7. In Him and through Him you find your strength. May others who read your words learn the same truth — we can do nothing on our own.

    I echo the words of others above – we are better because of who you are Sarah!

  8. What a blessing that you have shared such a hopeless (and now very hopeful) part of your life with us. You have posted things that others would never dare to even utter, but that they feel and share nonetheless. Thank you for being so brave.

  9. I’m glad you flushed too… trying to teach my daughter that art. :)

    Seriously, I have been there before. But God is greater. He is greater than all our pain, greater than all our struggles…He is greater.

    Keep on keeping on girl. Lives are being blessed by Christi within you.

  10. Amen. You said something about thinking being a Christian would put you above the pain, while I know that’s not true, He’s always faithful to lead us through the pain. I’m so glad it doesn’t win and we come out the other side stronger for having trusted Him.

    Thanks, Sarah.

  11. Thanks Sarah, that was a honest look at hopelessness…and a courageous look at hope. Bless you for blessing us with your spirit and love for the Father.

  12. I’m glad you are here with us. You are such a blessing to us. There is hope. You just wrote about it here. I’m a person who loves easy. That doesn’t mean it’s cheap love, it’s genuine love. And I love my brothers and sisters of Christ. So I want you to know Sarah: I love you. Thank God He found you worthy to not take your life so He may be glorified.

  13. I read your “About” Sarah and you said one rule: to be real. You were very real here and although I have never been in your situation nor ever contemplated it, I am so glad that you found hope and a reason to go on. I pray your message and the others involved in this carnival today, will ring loud and clear.

  14. Oh, Sarah! Fighting with you and for you. What a blessing you are! Thank goodness for flush toilets. Hugs.

  15. Sarah Salter says:

    Goodness gracious, y’all, what a response! Thank you all for your visits and your comments and your encouragement and your support. Y’all bless my socks off!

  16. You are such a generous soul. You share the hope you have with us all, and as Jesus did with the loaves and the fish, He multiplies it exponentially. God bless you, hon.

  17. I love how Helen said it… so I’m saying ‘ditto.’

    Sarah, you constantly bless me and many others… thanks for your honesty and friendship. Lots of love to you!

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