"At opening this morning we had four families come in, all at the same time. We were able to get them all through the process very quickly; I love the system we have! A man and a woman, who happened to be neighbors, rode in together. We gave him info on Grief Share because he lost his fiancee recently and her on the different services available, prayed with them and they went out the door.
The woman came back about two minutes later and asked if there was anyone at the church she could talk to. I said absolutely and asked her if there was anything specific that she was looking for. She told me that she was planning to kill herself and that she'd like to speak with someone about it.
I am thankful for the Mental Health First Aid Class because it was good training for this situation. We went to the other room for some privacy. I asked her very direct questions about her plans and got her story. We probably talked for about an hour. There were many tears- some of mine as well! She talked about losing hope. We went over so many things, including how loneliness and hopelessness isn't God's plan for her life and how the enemy tricks us into believing that God has left us behind. We went over some Bible verses and one she is holding on to is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." We even highlighted it in the Bible she took home because she really connected with it. A lot of our time together was just talking about things and me telling her that she was loved - not only by me and all of us here, but by Jesus and He will never give up on her. Also, we just happened to have Courtney Hickman's sermon on Hope, from the series we did at the beginning of the year, playing while she was here so we were able to talk about some of what he was saying.
I would have felt more comfortable if she would have gone inpatient today but we talked a lot about why that wasn't an option for her. I truly believe that if I would have called on her it would have broken the trust we just started to build.
We connected her with National Alliance on Mental Illness; they have a support group she is going to try out. I asked her to give me until Tuesday because she is struggling to stay clean and was very interested in Celebrate Recovery. The neighbor she rode with was getting a bit impatient to leave. I followed what I believe are the safe step guidelines: we made a specific plan with a firm timeline, I got her information to follow up with her and I directed her to several resources. I told her what time I was leaving and that she can come back anytime. She promised me she would give me until Tuesday so that we could get her to Celebrate Recovery. I let her know that she is not alone. She was worried about how she would get to Celebrate Recovery, but I told her that we would work together on a way there and that she wasn't going to have to do this alone.
She had taken a teddy bear when she first went shopping and she held it up to me and said, "I took this for myself because I need to know Jesus loves me, like it says on this foot". I told her that He does, more than any of us can even comprehend! I told her she came in today for a reason, to remember that she was now someone special to me and that I would be checking in with her this weekend. I also told her I would be there every service this weekend and that I would keep an eye out for her and I'd love for her to come visit us. I truly hope she does.
When she left I called Laura and told her I really needed her help to get this guest to Celebrate Recovery. Without hesitation Laura called the guest and offered for Mark and herself to give her a ride to Celebrate Recovery. I am always so blessed by Laura and her heart for those who need someone to come love them! Laura talked to her for awhile and affirmed her that she was loved and wanted, and that she had a community here who cares and can help."