Episode #08 God’s Goodness in the Heartache of Suicide

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From Today's Episode

Beth shares how God’s goodness comforted and sustained her family through the loss of her beautiful teenage son to suicide. She hands us hope in the tender descriptions of God’s nearness and the selfless ways others cared for them in the first few years following Jason’s passing.


Today's Verses
  • 1 Thess. 4:11
  • Lamentations 3:20-23
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
  • 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
  • Psalm 31:15
Additional Resources

Beth and her family received comfort from these books:

  • A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser
  • A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

This is a good resource for Counselors:

  • Preventing Suicide:A Handbook, for Pastors, Chaplains, and Pastoral Counselors by Karen Mason.

God’s Goodness in the Heartache of Suicide. Beth Wahl

Welcome to the Unshakable Hope Podcast, where real life intersects redeeming love. I’m Kelly Hall and this is where we wrestle through faith questions such as, how do I trust God’s heart when his ways and delays are breaking mine? How can I believe God is good when life doesn’t seem good? My prayer is that God would renew our hope in these conversations and that each of us would experience the very real power of his presence and love.

I am so thankful today to have my dear friend Beth Wahl join us for this podcast. She is the women’s ministry director at a church in Colorado Springs Beth has counseled many women. She teaches bible studies. She’s gone overseas and counseled women. She has her M. Div.. I mean, you’re, just so educated Beth.

Beth: So educated. (laughter)

Kelly: So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Beth: Well, Dave and I have been married for 41 years, and, oh, little trivia we met in a potato shed. I know. Just the, just the place, the romantic place. You wanna, meet your husband, right?

We have two children. Our daughter Sarah, is married to Manish, who is from India, and we call him our son by grace. And we have two grandchildren, Aida, who is seven, and Emith, who is two, almost three. His birthday will be in April. And so, we have just this whole life of being with them, they moved from New York to here so that I could help with help with watching them.

I watch them three days a week. So Sarah can work and and then as you said, I lead women’s ministries and I meet with women, it’s a full life.

Kelly: That’s wonderful. Well, I’m wondering if there’s a verse that God is using currently to encourage your heart.

Beth: Mm-hmm. Right now in Bible study , we’re studying in First Thessalonians and this verse I have noticed it many times through the years, but this one I’ve just stopped on for a little bit. And it’s first Thessalonians 4: 11, and it says, and make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and tend to your own business and work with your hands

and I don’t know, I think in our culture of 30 seconds of fame when everybody’s screaming for attention, it’s a comfort to me that the Lord delights in a quiet life. And so much of what I do now is quiet. I’ll be watching Emeth and it’s just the two of two of us. Or I’ll be meeting with one woman and it’s just the two of us.

It’s quiet and so I love that we don’t have to strive and contrive. We can just rest. in what he has set before us and what he has put in our lane, and it’s enough and it’s good. , that verse is really, it’s like, thank you, Lord. Thank you that you added that verse.

Kelly: Yes, yes. It’s so encouraging to know that what may be hidden or small in the world’s eyes is seen and significant in God’s viewpoint.

Beth, you and your family have walked through a deep valley of loss and heartache that’s really incomprehensible. You lost your beautiful 17 year old son, Jason, to suicide 18 years ago. I can’t thank you enough for being willing to go through those deep waters with us and talk to us about how God led you through that season and what you learned about God’s heart that brought hope and comfort to you and others. You have so much wisdom to offer. I just wanna thank you for being here I’m gonna let you start, Beth, wherever you want to with Jason’s story.

Beth: Mm-hmm. Well, first I want to tell you, Just about him, yes, he was a sweet kid, you know? Yeah. He’s one like his daddy that just loves to make people laugh. They take real joy and pleasure in that. And Jason was like that.

He did make us laugh a lot. He was actually quite hilarious. He loved music and he was very artistic. In fact, after he died, we received his whole portfolio from school and we were amazed, cuz he was doing a lot of it on the computer, so we hadn’t even seen it. So just to see his talent,

Kelly: yeah.

Beth: , but the, the thing that Jason struggled with from the time he was young, he had a, he had two things going. He had a lot of stomach pain and when he was about 8, he was diagnosed with stomach migraines and so he didn’t get migraines in his head, but but actually in his stomach, and so it was terrible actually, and it caused him so [00:05:00] much pain, and now I think, looking back, I think food was part of the issue.

Everybody has gut health issues now and we all know how important it is, but at the time, nobody was talking about that. So I think, things that he ate really made it worse. The other thing he had going was that in his in his field of vision, he had what are the migraine auras? But they were there all the time, 24 /7.

One time we were in Cave of the Winds here in Colorado Springs, pitch Black. I could see nothing. And I said, what is it like for you in here? And he said, it is shooting lights, color, just shooting all over the place. So that was what was happening in his brain all the time.

Kelly: So all the time.

Beth: Yep, yep, so, we didn’t really even understand actually until just a few months before he died, that what was happening is a genetic thing. They were just figuring it out. But we have migraines on both sides of our family, but Dave and I don’t have them. And so Jason just he got that genetically and so it really, really impacted him.

Kelly: You also mentioned that he had insomnia. Mm-hmm. And he had a lot of friends, and so he would go away to camp with his friends, but he wouldn’t be able to sleep. And really a big struggle too.

Beth: Dave would say to him, look, if you can’t sleep in the night, you can get up. So he would actually go out, his his room was in the basement. He would just go out his window and he would walk our neighborhood, or he would walk down to the school until he got sleepy and then he would come back and go to bed. So actually right before he passed away On a, on a Thursday evening, he ended up with a migraine, and then on Friday he went to school and he was having hallucinations.

He told me that, but the truth is he had  hallucinations all the time and so my response, it should have been, we should go to the hospital, but my response was, wow, that’s really a weird one, because It was just a little different, but it was still kind of in the realm of what he typically had.

That weekend he had, retreat with our church. It was a youth retreat. And so he went and we found out after he passed away that he had not slept that whole weekend and he had been having really severe hallucinations. But we didn’t know. So when he came home, he just said, man, I’m just exhausted and I haven’t slept.

So I, said, okay, lay down, try to sleep.

Kelly: So can you tell us a little bit more about the hallucinations he would experience?

Beth: Sure. Well, his regular ones were like Starfall, like stars falling in his field of visions. When he was little, he would say to us, I see skeletons, and we were probably like, Okay, buddy.

You know, cause like you saw skeletons? Ok. And then as he got older, he would draw us pictures of what it looked like. The, hallucination that he expressed to me before he went on retreat, he said to me: I saw Shadow our dog. He said, I saw shadow laying on the floor. But I knew Shadow wasn’t there because Shadow would sleep in our bedroom, so we’d gone to the bed. It was different, but it was just like, oh, that’s really odd. And then when he went on the retreat, one of his friends told us, That he was seeing like big balls of light kind of swirling in his field of vision.  so it was more like light noise stars and flares and that kind of thing. I’ve never had a migraine, but,  I’ve had others tell me, it’s a lot of light, light noise like that.

That was, what he experienced regularly, but then that kind of unique experience he had.

Kelly: Okay, thanks for explaining that.

Beth: Mm-hmm.

Kelly: And then I think he was pretty excited about Valentine’s Day, right? He had a date

Beth: Mm-hmm. He did. Before he left on the retreat, he said to me, , I need to get something for Susanna.

He had a sweet girlfriend named Susanna. And he wanted to get something for her. He wanted to get I think it was a hundred Hershey’s kisses. And he said, mom, can you please go get everything for me? So I said, sure, buddy. I’ll go take care of that. And so I did. Then The night after he got back, he got back from retreat on Sunday afternoon.

And that evening before he went to bed, he said, mom, I didn’t get anything for Sarah. I said, no, don’t worry about it. We’ll go in the morning. And it was that evening, sometime late at [00:10:00] night. Middle of the morning that he passed away, so it was on Valentine’s Day, but he had plans, he was looking forward to this date with Susanna and wanted to get something for, Sarah.

We really had no inkling, that there were any suicidal thoughts at that point, because he had all these plans.

Kelly: Yes. Right, . Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And then it was the next morning. It was Valentine’s Day morning. And when you saw him? Mm-hmm. Can you tell us about that, do you mind?

Beth: No. No. So that morning Sarah wasn’t up yet. She was in her room. I got up with Dave. He got out the door and I was standing in my kitchen talking to him. We always talk on the phone when he is on his way to work. I just said to him, oh, there’s a fire truck down at the school.

And I like to watch birds and so I have a. Pair of binoculars that I have around all the time, little birding binoculars. I pulled them out  and I looked down there and I saw Jason, but I couldn’t really comprehend that it was him. So I, and I had Dave in my ear and I said, oh no.

And I, I ran downstairs and when I got downstairs, his bed was empty. I ran back upstairs and I just yelled at Sarah Jason’s hurt and I just ran out the door. I ran down to the school and Dave flipped around and Sarah drove down there and we all just converged on the school. And when I ran down there, this precious fireman just came out and he met me and he just gave me a big bear hug. He, he wouldn’t even let me go over there. And so we met there and we just kind of stood there and huddled we immediately, you know, we’re, you’re in shock. So that’s where we were. So , and the word went out really fast.

It’s so interesting. I’ve, I’ve often thanked the Lord, and this may seem weird to some, but I’ve often thanked the Lord that he died in a public place. Because, when somebody dies by suicide, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s shameful. You almost wanna hide it because what it screams is what did you miss?

Weren’t you paying attention? So I’ve been thankful for two reasons. It was in a public place and so it went out quickly and people began to pray quickly. I’m grateful for that. And the other thing that I’m grateful for is that well, interestingly, he was.

You know, he, the way he died, we could see he was looking up at our house and I don’t know if that means anything, but I hope that that was a comfort that he could see, he could see where we were. And the other, and the fact that he wasn’t in our home.  All of our memories in our home. Are sweet with him.

Mm-hmm. You know, they’re just sweet. They’re, they’re the good memories of everyday life together. We had some people say to us, how can you stay in your home? And it’s like, well, I, it’s the sweetest place because, it’s where we lived life together.

Kelly: Mm. Yes. Yes. I’m so thankful too you were on the phone with your husband and you were able to have Sarah there and just immediately, y’all were across the street and you were able to embrace each other. Mm-hmm. At that moment where you realized that Jason was gone.

Beth: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And it, and it was amazing. We started hearing the Moms-In-Touch group immediately came over and started walking through our neighborhood and praying and we heard that focus on the family stopped for a moment and prayed for us. And and churches did that, youth pastors that heard about it. Cause it went through the youth pastor circle pretty fast. And so, I just think, Lord, thank you that you cared for us so immediately as we were facing, this terrible thing. Mm.

Kelly: So immediately you were being surrounded by prayers. Mm-hmm. From all kinds of places. Wow. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. I didn’t even know that. That’s amazing. Mm-hmm. So can you just take us through that first day, what you were dealing with, how you processed this?

Beth: Mm-hmm. Well, it’s interesting because shock really takes over and the only way to describe, you just sort of feel like you’re going in slow motion. Just going through , our associate [00:15:00] pastor came over immediately and some friends came over immediately, and then throughout the day people were just coming in and out and , So we were surrounded by people all day.

Kelly: Was that helpful?

Beth: Yes, it was. It was helpful to me. It, I think for Dave it was a little hard, but we’re different. , so that was sort of that balancing , somebody started just taking phone calls, so we quit, answering the phone.

Somebody was doing it for us, and bless Sarah. You know what she did that first day? She got on the phone and made all the funeral arrangements. Hmm. We weren’t even thinking that way. And she did it. And this, wow, this mortuary was so taken aback by it. They were just so kind to us. They, blessed us in a lot of different ways because they couldn’t believe that Sarah did that.

Kelly: How old was Sarah at that time?

Beth: She was 20.

Kelly: And how old was Jason?

Beth: He was 17. His birthday was in just three weeks and he would’ve been 18. . So that day. The thing I remember, the thing I think, sort of set the pattern for us in grieving.

Everybody left and my family was all flying in, but by the time the planes were coming, it was gonna be late. So we were staying up, waiting for them and we sat on the couch together. And I remember, the room was kind of dark and the sun was setting and we were just sitting there together and we said out loud to each other, we said, okay, we’re just going to let each other grieve however we need to grieve.

Mm. Gave that permission to each other and And I’m so thankful because Sarah was angry at Jason. She was just mad. She would’ve punched him if he’d come back. She was so mad. And she was, and and she felt abandoned by him. You know? You know, so, yeah. So that was how she felt. And Dave, he’s, you know him, he’s a funny guy and he’s very smiley.

He was profoundly sad. I didn’t see him smile for three years. Mm. So his demeanor was just, it was heartbreaking to look at really. And I, I don’t know. In my mind, I, I just said before the Lord, I’m just gonna feel however I feel. So, if I was gonna cry, I cried. And if somebody made me laugh, then I laughed and I was just whatever I was.

Mm-hmm. But I didn’t cry at the beginning so, the first week is like crisis mode. So everybody, a whole group went with me to. Buy  clothes for the funeral. And that was so hard, I just hardly could do it. So they just picked things out for me, honestly.

And then, people put pictures together and , you have to, you just have to do all these things. My dad wrote the obituary, everybody just pitched in. My mom picked the music with the pastors, Everybody helped and we’re just so grateful for that,

Then, when we had the funeral and, and it’s so surreal. It doesn’t feel real. The day when we did the, the graveside, it was so strange. It was very short. And then they escorted us and. We got in the car and started to drive away and we all said, this is weird. We don’t like this.

And so they turned the car around and we went back and we just got out and we just started hugging people and talking and telling stories. And it was such a relief. It was a relief to, to talk to people cuz it felt like we were isolated, you know? After, after everybody left my daughter was dating a young man and he lived in Missouri and so she wanted to see him we just hopped in the car and drove, , we felt like that would be a comfort to her and, and it was just good to be in the car with the three of us.

We read Job together and we talked, and so it, it was really important, I think.

Kelly: Y’all read the book of Job together, so y’all were able to grieve more deeply in the car.

Beth:Mm-hmm. We did.

Kelly: Gosh, I, I just love the way y’all walked through this and I know I get emotional, so, but I love that Y’all gave each other permission to grieve however you needed to grieve.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. I love that. Nobody put restraints, nobody put walls, nobody put limitations. We’re just gonna [00:20:00] grieve how we grieve. Mm-hmm. And I love how you didn’t let the funeral home tell you y’all need to leave now. You turned around and went back to Yes. To hug people and to share stories. And I know that was very healing for y’all.

Beth: It was huge. It was just huge for us. Yes, it really was. Yeah, so when we got to Missouri, it was so interesting. The second morning we went to breakfast and we sat down and the waitress handed us the menus, and I opened the menu and I started crying and I couldn’t quit. , I was just, it was, the floodgates were open.

Wow and Sarah and Dave just sat there helplessly because they know , those grief tears, they just, gosh, you just can’t stop them, and so we sat there in this moment, they were, and you had not cried until that point. Yeah. And it just, it just flooded.

Well, this a couple, I don’t know who they are, but they saw our distress. They saw our grief, and they paid for our breakfast. And it began this idea that the Lord was sending me love notes through people. You know that he saw us, he knew what was happening. Yeah. But that’s how he, that’s how he showed his love.

And that’s so sweet. Yeah. One thing, I don’t think I mentioned this, and this was, also important in in how I, the way I grieved the day after when my parents arrived, my mom and I were sitting and having a, a quiet conversation and, she said to me okay, Beth, we’re gonna look for his goodness.

And the whole previous year. In women’s ministry, I had taken it over, so I had just begun women’s ministry the whole previous year. I had studied God’s goodness and so spent a lot of time in Isaiah 61, and so that’s where it was coming from. And she just said, we’re gonna look for his garlands instead of his ashes, for his goodness.

It says: God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted, and he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted.

I thought, oh, he is doing that and to grant those who mourn in my translation, that says to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland. Instead of ashes. But I know some translation said to give them beauty instead of ashes.

Kelly: That’s beautiful.

So your mom was saying, we’re gonna look for God’s goodness, even here, even in this dark place, even in this heartache, we’re gonna look for his goodness.

Beth: Yes, yes.

And the Lord prompted me to say that to people. What was so amazing was I would hear goodness stories, people would tell me and they were always connected to what happened with Jason. It felt like you and I have said this to each other. It felt like his death wasn’t wasted, that God was not wasting the pain. He was working good through it and out of it.

Kelly: Yes, yes. Mm-hmm. That I, I love that God prepared your heart because of that entire year before he passed away. You had been studying his goodness. Mm-hmm. And that’s just, just such a, a remarkable thing that God does, that he always goes before us and prepares us in some way.

When we look back, we can see mm-hmm. His kindness and his goodness and preparation. Mm-hmm. I know you’ve shared with me some of the stories, some of the ways that God showed his goodness during this time. Can you share some of those now?


Beth: I would love to. The first one is related to what you just said, how he goes before us and prepares us , and he did that through scripture. Our theme actually at that time for women’s ministry was: Our times are in His hands.

Kelly: Oh, wow.

Beth: Right.

Okay, Lord. Jason’s time was in your hands. And so in that way, his sovereignty over our time and his goodness, those two truths, those twin truths, held me fast. But interestingly, three weeks before Jay died, he and Sarah both were out that evening and Dave and I were at home and we had an early dinner and it’s that time of year where the sun set early and I had a candle burning and we were just sitting there and sitting in the light, that soft light and talking, and I don’t know why we said this to each other.

Because there was nothing, there was no reason for us to, but we said to each other, you know, no matter what happens in this [00:25:00] life, no matter what our kids do, no matter what comes our way, we are gonna follow Jesus no matter what. We love Jesus and we’re gonna follow him no matter what.

At the time, it didn’t feel weighty. It didn’t feel like it was like if it were in a novel, you would think, oh, there’s foreshadowing, right. It didn’t feel that way at all. We were just saying truth to each other, yes. But I look back and I think, immediately we thought of that and we thought how good it was of the Lord to prompt us to make our declarations early.

Yeah. So that we were reminded of our declarations when it was hard. That’s one way. He was so good.

Another way he was so good amazingly. After, Jay died my brother was a drug addict and he really, spiraled and he left his wife and kind of blamed us, said, well, if this could happen to you, why would I follow God, why would I? I’m just gonna do what I want in life. We were like, please don’t do that. But what we didn’t understand is that our family was watching us. Our family was watching us endure. Our family was watching us still follow God, still love Jesus, and we just didn’t understand the extent that was the Lord’s grace.

He was just doing that in us and we were just enduring right. , wasn’t anything we were planning or trying to do,

but in that process, the Lord used my father to pass a message to him from me, which was, nothing will change unless you give your life to the Lord. And in that week, my brother and my sister-in-law came to faith and then, Not long after that, my my sister came to faith.

So all three, my brother, sister-in-law and sister all came to Christ because they saw Christ was real in the worst moments. And then with my dad we could not talk about spiritual things before Jason passed away and after that, you know what I thought? Who gives a rip? I’m gonna say whatever. I’m gonna, I, I need to say what is important to say because we don’t know what’s what’s gonna happen in life.

And so I just started and, but it opened the door with my dad and he is now, he is now a Christ follower. And it’s sweet. And it’s so sweet. So, that was the Lord’s goodness out of something. So, So terrible. Really. Yes. Yes. Just so terrible.

But the story I think that is so amazing. I’ve, told you this before and I love this story. A year after Jay died Dave was invited to come to a, conference in Hawaii. It was our 25th anniversary, so we decided, okay, we’re gonna go., it was kind of a hard choice because when you lose somebody, there’s just this weird sense, , the tentativeness of life and, Sarah, Dave and I really clung to each other, , so it was gonna be the first time we actually left her.

She was 21 by this time. But, there’s still just a sense of vulnerableness that happens. That comes with that. But she was like, no, you guys need to go. So we went and when we were taking off in the plane to go, it was the Lord just nudged me.

Ask me to show you my goodness. And honestly I argued with him cause it’s like, Lord, we’re going to Hawaii. Nobody knows us. Nobody knows our story. Why? How could this even be? But I said, okay, Lord, would you please show me your goodness? it was such a funny thing, well, funny that I was arguing with him. Oh my goodness. What was I thinking?

So, anyway, we land and we go to our hotel, and then they invite everybody who’s participating in the conference. Well, there were two other couples that came from Colorado Springs and Dave really hadn’t mentioned them he knew one of the guys, he didn’t know the other guy, and I didn’t know any of them at all.

Everybody met up, and one of the couples. Really intentionally came over to us and said, Hey, would you guys like to go to dinner with us? Well, sure. Sure, we would love to. He was a native Hawaiian, and so we said, I’ll show you around, show you how the native see things.

We were like, that would be great. We get in the car and we go to this. We go to this little Hawaiian fast food, but it was great. We sat down and he said, so, I wanna share something with you. And when he said those words, I thought, here it comes, I’m gonna see the Lord’s goodness right now.

Mm. And sure enough, he said, I just want you guys to know that. I’ve been [00:30:00] praying for you, and I also want you to know that when Jason died, my coworker had a son who was struggling, and when he heard about Jason’s death, he immediately took him and he got him help. He had not done it before, and that just really instigated him going to get help and, and this young man is okay.

Wow. And I just sat there dumbfounded. Lord, why am I ever even surprised? You are so good. You are so kind to show us all the good ways that you are working. Mm-hmm.

Kelly: Wow. That is an amazing story. They’re in Hawaii. I know. He showed you his goodness. And even after you argued with Him.,

Beth: even after I argued when I should not have,

Kelly: I love that story. One of the things you mentioned was, the three years. For three years there was a wait in your family, and especially on Dave and, and maybe all of you, but there was something about that three year mark that something shifted. Mm-hmm. Can you talk about that?

Beth: Mm-hmm. So one of the good things the Lord did was two of my closest friends, my high school friends, one of one of them, Kelly, we grew up together. Julie was just a dear friend. They came two months after Jason died just to be with us, and they waited intentionally. Julie came to encourage us because Julie had lost her daughter Maggie. When Maggie was 13 it wasn’t suicide, but it was a, genetic issue that they had no idea about and they lost her just quickly.

Julie and Tony had gone through lots of grief and she came and just shared her story with us and storytelling is so helpful she said, The first year I hardly could get out of bed. The second year I could function a little bit better, and the third year there was a lifting and I held that close.

I didn’t count on it, but I held that close in my heart, and she was right that first year. You’re so in shock. You just, you kind of sludge through. Honestly. I would say it sometimes felt like I had flippers in the bottom of my, of my feet and they would flip open and the energy would just drain out of me.

It, grief is so exhausting and so yes, that first year, we just. We just did the minimum that, Dave went to work, Sarah did school, and I did women’s ministry, but we all had help and , we honestly just did what we minimally had to do. And we were careful what we watched. It’s weird.

People joke about suicide a lot. I never noticed it until it was so fresh. So anyway, we just were very small in our lives for that first year. And the second year we began to do a bit more. Two precious couples that would meet every week for dinner with us. And we would just talk and we could just be ourselves.  That was so important and. My one friend, Debbie, she walked with me every day and we kept that up and I said the same things over and over for two years, basically. She listened.

Kelly: But that, that’s helpful though, right? It’s helpful.

Beth: Yes. It was so, it was so helpful. I just said it over and over and she would just listen and listen. But that third year there was a lifting and I remember Sarah’s so dramatically because part of her anger, she didn’t want to talk about Jason. So we pressed on with life. As if nothing had changed. We still celebrated all the holidays. We just, we lived life, but minimally,

She wouldn’t talk about him. And so Dave and I would talk about, we missed him so desperately, and so we would talk about him, just when we were together., but we were standing in the kitchen, Sarah and I. And it was before Christmas.

And Jason loved to celebrate. He was my kid that, he would help me decorate. And he, now, Sarah does, but at that time, not as much. Jason was the one. And so, anyway, she and I were standing in the kitchen and we were cooking, and she just said, oh, I miss him. Wow. Thank you Lord. Thank you.

It was such a huge moment , she just said he would love this and he would’ve, we were cooking for Christmas and that was That’s so sweet. Yeah. So that was her lifting

Kelly: you mentioned something about Dave. Dave had a friend that would call him the moment he walked through [00:35:00] the door from work, because that was always when he and Jason would have some special times together. Is that right?

Beth: Yes. Yes. Good memory. Every day Jason would wait for Dave to come home and he would fling the door open and just throw himself. He would just give Dave this big bear hug, every day.

, it was just so sweet. And so, of course, Dave. Coming home was just really terrible. It was so hard for him. So, our friend, would pray, he set his timer on his phone and he would pray every day At the time Dave was coming home. Aw. especially that first year. But really those first three years, it was prayer. It was the Lord prompting people to pray that got us through. It really was.

Kelly: That’s so important that you mentioned that because so many times we feel like as we pray for people, we’re not doing very much.

But for you to highlight. How powerfully you felt the Lord’s care covering and protection because of people’s prayers. That’s really helpful for us.

Beth: Oh. We knew we couldn’t do it and sometimes people would say, do you need me to still pray? Yes, . Please don’t quit. Please don’t quit. We need you to pray.

We just passed Valentine’s Day. We still get sweet phone calls and texts. We get texts from his friends saying, we’ll never forget him and we’re praying for you. And I can’t tell you how much that means to us that they are still praying for us. Yeah, 18 years later. I’m just so grateful.

Kelly: Yes. That is so sweet that just. Makes me emotional again. Mm-hmm. I know that you have counseled many, many people over the years. Have you helped or talked to other people who have lost a child to suicide?

Beth: I have through the years. I have it’s kind of an odd thing that People think when you’ve lost somebody to suicide, that you’re automatically an expert.

I often thought, okay, if we’ve been so expert, maybe we wouldn’t be here. We weren’t experts. What we did try to do is just share just some of the things that I’ve shared, the hope that God will walk with you. If somebody has lost somebody to suicide, I always take them to Lamentations three.

We know that his mercies are new every morning, but I say it this way, his mercies are new every hour when you need them. Because when you face death, grief just comes in waves and it’s not predictable and it’s not just, start up in the morning. It’s throughout the day at odd times.

And so you need his mercy constantly. I always take them there Just to know that they can cry out to God and ask him. I also, love Hebrews 4, we can go to the throne room of grace where there’s mercy and help whenever we need it. I always take them there because we just need it.

I don’t know how people walk through this without Christ, without the Holy Spirit comforting. I don’t know. I just do not know. The other thing is second Corinthians I don’t think I told you this story, but The Sunday after Jason died we went to church on Sunday and

Kelly: you, I’m sorry you went to church that day right after he died.

I don’t know how you found the strength.

Beth: I don’t know either. I honestly don’t know except that we had people here and we wanted them to be there. . And most of my family weren’t believers. We were so mindful, that

they need Jesus. You know? Yes. So we knew that. The funny thing was back in the [00:39:00] fall, in October before Valentine’s Day I’d had this conversation with our pastor and he said, you know, I’m thinking about my next sermon series and I’m thinking about these two books. He told them, and I said, well, I think I would do Second Corinthians, because I’ve never studied it, and I think it would just be great,

I didn’t know everything that’s in there really well. And so the Sunday after Jason died, He was to start that series and, second Corinthians chapter one. . He started reading Grace to you. In peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort. Mm. OK God, you are our comforter. And then verse four is just amazing who comforts us in all our affliction. So that, and it was the, [00:40:00] so that, that jumped, I don’t remember that sermon at all, but I remember this.

So that. We will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. I thought, okay, Lord, this is not wasted. I need to be mindful of the ways that you are comforting me so that when it is the right time, and I knew that wasn’t the right time then, but at some point that I would turn and be able to comfort and that would be another good that he would work.


That is so powerful. I have this quote here by Elizabeth Elliot, from suffering is never for nothing, she says, ” I’ve come to see that it’s through the deepest suffering that God has taught me the deepest lessons, and if will trust him for it, we can come through to the unshakable assurance that he’s in charge.

He has a loving purpose, and he can transform something terrible into something wonderful. Suffering is never for nothing.”

Beth: Mm. I didn’t know that before, before Jason died. I didn’t know that, but the Lord wrote that on my heart. He really did with his call to look for his goodness and to trust in his sovereignty, and then seeing him act in goodness over and over again.

This will seem odd, but I never felt more loved than I did in that time because of all those love notes, all the ways that he kept ministering to us.

Kelly: So that is profound. It’s a profound truth that there can be hope. Mm-hmm. And love and comfort, even in the deepest, darkest heartache.

Beth: It’s true. And we experienced it. Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing all of that. That just fills me with so much hope and also in anticipation for heaven and getting to see Jason face to face. Yes, yes. I’m wondering if we could just close this session with you praying for those who might have a family member who’s struggling with suicidal thoughts or.

People who have lost someone to suicide. Mm-hmm.

Let me pray. Lord Jesus. I’ve had people ask me after they’ve lost a loved one, will they feel this way forever? And I can say, no. You will not feel the heaviest weight of sorrow and grief forever and ever. Our Lord will walk with you and will.

Lift that in his right time. But Lord, so many people worry that if they stop grieving in the heaviest way, that they will forget their loved one, and that is not true either. Lord, what I have come to know is that grief is an [00:43:00] expression of love. And when you grieve, even though grief takes different shapes and forms over time,

it reminds us of the person and though we miss them and how much we miss them. But though we miss them, you are with us and you are doing a transforming work. Lord, I pray for any person right now who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Lord, would you? Would you help them know that you are, are God who loves life?

You created life. You gave life, and you do not delight in death at all. And you say that in Ezekiel. And so, Lord, I’m thankful we have an enemy that wants to make us think that we are not loved or important or will be missed for those who are tempted in that way. But that is not true. And so thank you Lord, thank you that you see us, that you know us, that you love us, that you care for us.

And so, Lord, I just pray for those who have lost someone to suicide, that you will comfort them in all the ways that you do. Lord, you are amazing. All the ways that you comfort. And so I pray today that you will comfort them individually and uniquely so that they know how you are seeing them and that you are with them.

Thank you for this conversation. I thank you for Jason’s life. Lord, I thank you it. He blessed us in life and you have used his story and death to help many people, and I praise you for that. So, Lord, thank you. In Jesus name. Amen. Amen. Thank you so much, Beth. Thank you for sharing Jason’s story.

Thank you for giving us hope today.

Beth: You are so welcome, Kelly. It was my pleasure [00:45:00] to be with you dear, dear friend.

Thanks for listening to the Unshakable Hope podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe and leave a review. To continue the conversation and for free resources, be sure to visit me@kellyhall.org. Thanks so much.

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