I’m pretty behind in blog entries (and in reading other people’s blog entries as well). In early September, our family headed out 4 hours away to the free iMATTER festival with some of our youth group boys and leaders. We thought it was going to be a Christian festival because most of the bands were Christian in which we knew would be playing such as For Today, August Burns Red, Gethsemane, Blood of the Martyrs, and more, but it was a bit of a mix of various hardcore and metal bands all trying to talk about suicide prevention and show that there is hope to live for. It was so strange to hear such mixed messages being proclaimed to these many teen kids who were there. Some bands said to hope in yourself because you can depend on yourself and no one else, others said to depend on Christ because He gives us purpose and that everyone and everything will fail us. I think if I was unsure of myself as a teenager and didn’t believe in anything really, I would be more mixed up after hearing each message. It was a weird weather day too and was on and off drizzling, but thankfully no downpour or anything.
I do want to encourage those who might have thoughts of suicide to truly see the beauty around you and to know that even if things are hard, there are people who care about you (whether you want to believe it or not). I don’t think anything I say will really matter to you, honestly. Most people I’ve known who have been suicidal have their minds set and feel that the pain is so hard that they don’t want to really think of anything but how sad they are. I had several friends in high school who confided in me or came to me when they were in the process of attempting suicide even, and I saw them suffer a lot. It pained me so much because I wanted to show them that I truly loved them, but that wasn’t enough for them. Some of them were in and out of hospitals. I’ve known people who successfully followed through in their suicides and it brought so much heartache to those who loved those people. It angered me even because I never even knew they were suffering even though I knew them a long time. To be able to overcome the hard times is not easy, but it is worth it. Your life is worth it. You are amazing. You are beautiful. You were created with purpose. I hope you can see the beauty of your life as I see it in you. May you lean on Christ who understands suffering and loneliness more than any other person. He cares so much for you. I hope you will be willing to learn about Him. He will bring you healing just as he did with Legion in the Bible who cut himself with rocks to try to end his life from the great suffering he was enduring.
The boys were really well behaved (and I think pretty tired at times). They adore “the teenagers” in our youth group and call them their friends. Everyone is always so sweet with them and they laugh so much while talking to them. I am really grateful for the encouragement that our sons get in seeing their role models longing to praise Jesus and are fun people. We couldn’t stay for the last band, which bummed out Rob a bunch, but we got to see a couple bands we like and enjoy. 8 hours on the road in one day is quite a lot, but we all survived and managed really well. Our boys have since had haircuts and looking back at these photos makes me wish I never cut their hair at all. 😦