I was just about to turn 17 and feeling completely hopeless. My home life growing up had been tumultuous and filled with strife, and my parents had finally divorced a few years earlier. Still, the scars of my past haunted me and I struggled with depression and cutting.
I cried out to God and asked Him a poignant question: What was the reason for my life if it was only to suffer?
On my 17th birthday, I was feeling especially depressed, and my mom wanted to take me out for my birthday. My birthday was in the summer, and I felt pretty lame that I didn’t have any friends to go out with. In the car on the way to the restaurant, I was considering how I was going to end my life. But I thought of my mom and how heartbroken she’d be as she’d already been through so much already.
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Rainbows and Recovery
As a little girl, I had always loved rainbows. They were my favorite thing. I remember getting a Rainbow Brite (an 80s cartoon) birthday cake for my birthday and just loved all the colors. I wasn’t expecting what happened next.
As we drove up to the restaurant, there was a big, beautiful rainbow right above the building! God spoke to my heart in that moment and said, “Charis, I love you. This is my gift to you on your birthday. I do have a purpose and a plan for your life.”
I could not believe it and I immediately burst into tears. How could a rainbow have appeared at the exact moment I needed to hear from Him, and on my birthday, no less?! My mom was wondering what was going on with me, and I tried to explain. A rush of love and hope had filled my heart and it started me on journey of seeking God for myself.
Throughout my life, I have often seen rainbows at important times. They are a reminder to me that God is definitely in the miracle-working business.
Suicide and Gen Z
The recent CDC report about Gen Z suicide is absolutely heartbreaking. Factors cited include social media and lack of real connection, which I absolutely believe is true, but I also think there are some huge pieces missing. The biggest contributors of my road to consider suicide was an unhealthy emotional upbringing and lack of real faith. Everything in the church I had experienced up until that point didn’t seem real to me. It wasn’t until I encountered the Holy Spirit that my life completely changed.
So what are the solutions? For Christians, I believe this means that we need to see the Internet as a mission field, especially for Gen Z. For those needing a solution to depression and thoughts of suicide, we need to seek God for the peace and hope we long for, and realize that suicide is not a way out. Biblically, there is no basis that people who commit suicide will make it to heaven, even after having said a “sinner’s prayer.” Suicide is essentially murdering yourself, and there are strong verses about that. (See Galatians 5:21, Romans 1:29, Revelation 21:8, Matthew 15:18-20, Mark 10:18-19, John 8:44)
I’m not saying I know for sure. What I am saying is each of us needs to take a hard look at the scriptures for ourselves, and realize we should never make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion. Our feelings are fickle and they often lie to us.
Learning How to Fight Spiritual Battles
One of the biggest battles I faced after recommitting my life to Christ was that of spiritual warfare. I had to realize that the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy us (John 10:10). He will do anything to derail us from our destiny. I learned to make it a habit to ask myself, “Who said that?” when it came to my thought life, and to discern whether it was the enemy, myself, or God talking to me. Thoughts and feelings of “you’re worthless,” ‘you’re ugly,” “you have nothing good to offer,” “you’ll never be successful,” and were rooted in early childhood traumas I experienced where the enemy planted lies in my heart based on those experiences.
It was about a 10-year journey of God healing all those traumas, uprooting those lies and replacing them with the truth of what God really said about me. I went to Bible college, received prophetic ministry, went through SOZO and went through a program called Lifeskills that helped me get rid of all those lies and replace them with God’s truth. I feel like a completely different person than I did back then.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” This was definitely true for me.
Praising God in the Midst of Our Battles
Music has always played a big role in my life. Early on in my journey of faith I realized I would feel so much better when I would spend time worshipping God. It was Isaiah 61:3 being lived out in my life, which reads:
“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3 NKJV)
When we decide to praise God in spite of how we’re feeling, something miraculous happens. The yokes of bondage fall off as we get closer to Him. When we worship Him and acknowledge who He is, He reveals more of Himself and who we are in Him.
4 things Gen Z and others facing depression need to find:
- A lifestyle of worship: In Isaiah 61:3 God says He will give the people of Israel a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness. Worshipping God is the anecdote for heaviness!
- Healing from past traumas, whether through counseling, SOZO ministry or a combination. Lifeskills International was a huge part of my healing process.
- A good church that helps people truly connect to God and teaches solid Biblical truth.
- Strong, healthy relationships: For me these were often found in church.
The emotion you’re feeling is temporary, and there is always hope. God has a purpose and a plan for your life!
If you are someone facing suicide, please reach out to the suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-8255.
Charis Brown is the founder of Prism Ministries and lives with her husband and cat in Atlanta, GA.
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