EPDS Question #10 : Self-harming thoughts

First off, if you are having thoughts about harming yourself or anyone around you, then you need to stop reading now and call a medical professional and/or 9-1-1. Call your spouse. Call your pastor. Call a support line. No excuses, no second thoughts, no justifications. Do it NOW. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that someone will surely notice and reach out to you. Put away your pride which is sometimes disguised as “I don’t want bother anyone” or fear of man disguised as “They’ll be so mad at me!” With that being said, if this first paragraph doesn’t apply to you, let’s move on.

This is such a difficult topic to talk about, but one that needs to be addressed. The last question on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale asks how often the mother has had any self-harming thoughts with answers ranging from Never to Often. At the time I took the survey, I hadn’t had any thoughts like that. However, I did start to have darker thoughts a few weeks later. Foolishly, I dismissed them because I had already taken the test at the doctor’s office and felt silly about changing my answer. It began with daydreams about escaping my current situation: wouldn’t it be nicer if I wasn’t alive any more? Then it morphed into thinking about certain scenarios: could I harm myself in this fashion? Then it grew into plans about how I would do it: when could I pull this off? I was foolish with each of these thoughts by not sharing with anyone and allowing them to take root and grow.

If you have ever struggled with hurting yourself or wanting to take your own life, somewhere along the line you’ve probably given into the lie that you are not loved or are not valued by anyone. Or maybe, you’ve fought the nagging and persistent schemes of the devil for so long that you became so exhausted and finally gave in to the idea that there was nothing left to live for. Can you identify with me in either (or both) of these scenarios? If you do, then you and I need to actively work to remember that our feelings are not absolute truth, God’s Word is. He is the one who has the final say on everything, including how much value your life has in His eyes. His word says that He created you and are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and that He has the authority over your life “...since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him” (John 17:2). His Word says that He loves His children (John 14:21). Lets take a deeper look into God’s love for you by going to Scripture and finally focusing on Isaiah 43:1-7.

The Bible says that you were formed, intricately woven together by God himself (Isaiah 43:1 & 7). You have a divine Creator who made you with incredible attention to detail and with the utmost of care. To think you are worth less than God values you is to call God a liar and has, at its heart, a root of pride. Repent and rejoice in this truth: the King of Kings created you, calls you wonderful, and sings over you (Psalm 139:13-14).

God calls you by your name and gives you His own name (Isaiah 43: 1 & 7). Here is a scenario that I sometimes like to think about to try and understand the weight of this truth. If you could meet any famous person, who would it be? Now imagine being in a massive crowd with paparazzi, fans, etc. just trying to catch a glimpse of that celebrity. And then, as that person walks by, he/she turns and looks you in the eye and calls you by name. That would be astonishing to say the least. Ok, now think of the LORD of the universe, whom all existence owes allegiance to, calling you by name. Not only does He know you by your name, He gives you HIS name. That means you are His and belong to Him. You are part of His family.

God is always with you even in the toughest of trials (Isaiah 43:2). Through flood or fire, God never leaves your side and He protects you from being destroyed. The Bible does not say that when you go through trials you won’t be harmed in any way. But the Bible DOES promise that though we are afflicted, we are never crushed or forsaken (2 Corinthians 4:8).

God loves you with agape love. You may feel alone and that you are not loved, however, Isaiah 43:4 spells it out very clearly, “...you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.” If God calls you precious, than you are precious indeed, worth more to Him than what you could ever imagine. When God says that He loves you than there is nothing in the world that can come between you and Him and that includes sins, mistakes, other people, bad circumstances, good circumstances. Romans says that no height, or depth, or anything in this world can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).

God goes to incredible lengths to rescue you and me by exchanging other men for your freedom (Isaiah 43:4). The Bible explicitly describes us as slaves to sin For when you were slaves of sin (Romans 6:20) and God paid our ransom to rescue us from our pitiful state. What was the ransom He paid to save you? What did He give in return for you? What did it cost Him? It cost Him the very blood of His precious, Holy, perfect Son, Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:9). What love! THAT is how much He loves you and values you! So, fight any dark thoughts or any lies that the devil might be shooting at you with these amazing truths straight from Scripture that say how precious and loved you are by our Lord and Savior.

May His word be the rock you cling to, the light to direct your path, and the basis of all your Hope. As you continue to think about this amazing love here is a resource that you can quickly reference to remind you of who you are in Christ.

Scripture Verse from Isaiah 43What Isaiah specifically says about you
“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel…” (verse 1)You were created and formed by God himself
“…Fear not, I have redeemed you…” (verse 1)You are redeemed by God
“…I have called you by name…” (verse 1)God calls you by your name
“…you are mine…” (verse 1)You are God’s very own
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…” (verse 2)God walks with you at all times, including during the toughest trials
“…and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame will not consume you” (verse 2)God preserves you through each trial
“For I am the LORD your God…” (verse 3)You have an awesome yet personal God
“…your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom…” (verse 3)You have a Savior who has bought you
“Because you are precious in my eyes…” (verse 4)You are precious to Him
“…and honored…” (verse 4)You are honored by Him
“…and I love you…”You are loved by Him
“I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.” (verse 4)God paid a ransom for your salvation
“…everyone who is called by my name…” (verse 7)You are given God’s name; you are part of his family
“…whom I created for my glory…” (verse 7)You are created for God’s glory

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