Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

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Imperfect People - Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

Kristen Anderson Suicide Interrupted

Kristen Anderson is writer of “Life in Spite of me” and founder of Reaching you Ministries. Her story has touched millions, she is a sought after speaker against  depression and suicide.  Here is her story:

She grew up with a very ideal childhood.  Her parents stayed married, they were very loving, they grew up in church and life was care-free.  In Junior high she started to become aware and burdened by the suffering in the world.  She wanted to do something to make a difference.

Every Friday she started volunteering at the local homeless shelter.  After a while, it became discouraging.  She felt like she was not making any difference so she stopped with that effort.  She then focused her energy on making those around her happy.  Her friends all knew she was reliable, her boyfriend was the prom king and things were looking happy and care free again as they did when she was a child.

Then, her world started falling apart. she lost four friends—one had a brain tumor, two died in a car accident, and one hanged himself in a cemetery. Later, her grandmother died.  She was stalked by two men and one of them raped her.

Although she didn’t realize it at the time she feel into a deep depression.

One cold January night at age 17 she was grounded in her room.  Telling her parents she was going for a walk she made a few stops then found herself sitting on a parked train car thinking about her life.  She kept thinking about her friend Brandon who had recently committed suicide.  His death really shook her and she couldn’t imagine how or why he chose to do it that way.  She then began to think how she would commit suicide.  It was really just a hypothetical thought.  How would it make people feel? How would she do it? She had this same thought process about 3 months earlier. She wondered if there was a reason she was here.

She didn’t want to go home because she knew she was in even more trouble at that point for being gone so long.  She just didn’t want to deal with any of it!  Then she saw a train coming.  She knew she needed to decide something.  On IMPULSE, she laid over the tracks.

“The police report says that 33 freight train cars went over me at 55 miles per hour. I remember at first feeling myself being sucked into the force of the train which is what I’m told should have happened but a few seconds after the initial pull I then felt a heavy push holding me down to the ground which I believe now to be the hand of God that saved my life. 

When the train first stopped I didn’t know if I was dead or alive.  I looked behind me on my right about ten feet away, I saw my legs. And I knew they were my legs because I had these new bright, white tennis shoes on them that I had just gotten for Christmas, and it just seemed unreal to me. It seemed like it was a horrible nightmare.”

She started to cry like she had never cried before.  The only way she could describe it is like a child weeps for their mom. And then felt an amazing peace come over her.

“The song Amazing Grace kept playing in my head over and over.  God was showing me how he is so REAL, so FAITHFUL, and so BIG.  I was so at peace.  I laid down ready to die.  But God had other plans.”

Next thing she knew a firefighter was brushing the hair away from her face.  She looked up at him which he didn’t expect.  He thought she was dead. She was rushed to the hospital which is normally a 45 minute drive took 8 minutes.  Every doctor and nurse stared at her like they were seeing a miracle. She had lost 8 pints of blood.  Medically speaking you should be dead at 5 pints lost, yet she was completely conscious answering questions about phone numbers, names and addresses.  After hours of surgery and an unsuccessful attempt to reattach her legs she woke up.  Her family was all around her holding hands praying.  She woke up thinking, something must be wrong!  Am I dead?  Her mom then rushed to her side and she realized she was alive and this was not all a bad dream.

Talking on the phone with a friend at the hospital she said, “I’m okay but my legs are cut off”  Saying it for the first time was so hard.  It made it real.  Her family and friends kept telling her she doesn’t need her legs and she is supposed to be here.  She later found out they were right.

 

After 3 months in the hospital a woman came up to her at church, who she didn’t know, who had heard about what happened to her.  The lady told her that if  she would have died that night she would have gone to hell.

This sent her searching for for the truth. She had grown up in the church, but God always seemed far-off. The concept of a “personal relationship with Jesus” and a loving God was totally foreign.

A family friend came over to dinner one night who was in seminary.  She thought, “he knows the Bible and maybe he would know the truth of what would have happened to me had I died that night”. He told her we are all created to be in a relationship with God it is our choices of sin that separate us from him.  He showed her John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

“In my parents dining room that night I prayed.  I told God that i knew something was missing from my life.  I know my sin had separated us and I didn’t want that any longer.  I apologized, telling him I now realized my life wasn’t mine to take.  That he is the giver and taker of life.  That night i went to bed knowing that I was a child of God.”

One of the first verses she remembers reading after becoming a Christian is Romans 8:1  “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ” Reminding her that she is a whole person with or without her legs.

The more she sought after Christ the more she came out of depression.

“I learned that I really needed to let him be my best friend.  To turn to him when I was hurting instead of turning to others.  He cared about all the struggles in my life, large and small.  The closer I got to Him the more in love I became with my Savior.”

She was able to get off all the anti-depressant medicines which she was told she would have to take the rest of her life. 

 

At this point she was helping out with our church youth group.  The youth pastor asked her to share her story for the first time.

“I was very nervous sharing such vulnerable things but I was overwhelmed at the people who came up to me afterwards saying they had struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression and my story encouraged them.  That was the beginning of the ministry God was starting through my life.”

In 2004 she started Reaching you Ministries to help people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.   As she realized she couldn’t possibly go to all the places she was requested to speak, she wrote her story in a book. “Life in Spite of me”  was published in May 2010.

Having the privilege of speaking to Kristen over the phone I can tell you she is truly in love with Jesus and is such an encouragement to everyone she meets.   I love how she wanted to make a difference in the world while she was young trying to volunteer at the homeless shelter and now she is making a HUGE impact on the world sharing her story.  God works in amazing ways!  The book has so many more details about her amazing story that would not fit on a simple blog post. 

 

Thank you Kristen!  You have blessed me!  You can learn more about Kristen at her website and her facebook page

Christmas simplified (things I am NOT doing this year)

I have talked a little about being crafty with gifts and decorating but to avoid the TOTALLY wrong notion that I am Susie Homemaker let me tell you about all I am NOT doing this Christmas season. 

 

  • I AM NOT putting up a Christmas tree.  SCROOGE I know.  It is not because I think it is sacrilegious or anything weird like that is just because I have a 15 month old who I’m quite confident would try to climb to the top on an hourly basis.  Maybe the tree will come out again next year.
  • I AM NOT sending out Christmas cards.  Friends and Family, I love you, I really do but trying to get just the right picture, have it ordered on time, track down everyone’s address, Oh i can feel my blood pressure rising at the thought of it.  To all of you much more organized people who do send cards.  THANK YOU AND I LOVE THEM!!
  • I AM NOT putting up lights.  I like them and I appreciate others who do so we can ride around town for free entertainment but so far it just hasn’t happened at our house this year.
  • I AM NOT buying my kids Christmas gifts.  GASP.  I know I can see the hate mail coming now…let me explain.  First our kids are very young (3 and 1).  The youngest would much rather play with a box than an actual present.  We do have a gift for the oldest that was a hand-me-down gift in perfect condition and she will never know if it was brand new or not.  But we did not buy anything because they have so many toys as it is and they are the first grandchildren on both sides of the family, need I say more?  They will be showered with PLENTY and never miss anything extra from us. 

 With less to do it gives more time to focus on the reason for the season!  Join in the conversation.  What are you NOT doing this year?

 

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Instead of spending money we don’t have, buying something I’m not even real sure they will like,  I decided to get a little creative this year…

Conversations Starters Booklet.  I thought of 45 different random questions that don’t normally come up in everyday conversation (Ok I had a little help from this site) and made it into a little booklet. 

This is a very easy, craft to make for Christmas.  Great idea for married couples!  I printed the questions below on some cardstock, punched a hole in the top and tied it all together with a cute ribbon. 

Homeade gifts

I made one for my husband and I and we enjoyed going through some of the random questions on a date.  We only made it past the first page so the book should last for several dates.  Feel free to add more questions!  Here are the questions I used if you want to make your own booklet:

 

  1. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?
  2. What’s your favorite song?
  3. What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
  4. What was your favorite cartoon or character as a kid?
  5. What’s the habit you’re proudest of breaking?
  6. What’s your favorite Web site?
  7. What was your most recent trip of more than 50 miles?
  8. What’s the best bargain you’ve ever found at a garage sale or thrift store?
  9. Where were you on September 11, 2001?
  10. Have you ever met a famous person?
  11. Tell me about interesting (non famous) person you have met?
  12. What do you order when you eat Chinese food?
  13. What’s the best costume you’ve ever worn?
  14. Marinara or Alfredo sauce?
  15. If you were a color what would you be?
  16. If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?
  17. Have you ever experience a miracle?
  18. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
  19. What did you have for lunch yesterday?
  20. Who do you go for advice?
  21. Have you ever been snorkeling? Scuba diving?
  22. Have you ever been stung by a bee?
  23. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  24. What’s the sickest you’ve ever been?
  25. What is your most and least favorite household chore?
  26. What did you do for your 13th birthday?
  27. Are you afraid of heights?
  28. Have you ever taken dance lessons?
  29. What’s is a book you have read that had a huge impact on you?
  30. Have you ever been to New York City?
  31. What’s the most memorable class you’ve ever taken?
  32. If you could go to Disney World with any celebrity alive today, who would it be?
  33. Do you prefer baths or showers?
  34. Sugarless gum or bubble gum?
  35. Do you have an scars?
  36. What’s your favorite breakfast food?
  37. If you had to eat the same thing everyday for a week what would it be?
  38. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
  39. Do you like guacamole?
  40. Tell me about your childhood crush?
  41. Name  the first song that comes to mind to which you know all the lyrics. (Better yet, sing it)
  42. What’s the longest you’ve ever waited in traffic?
  43. Have you ever taken a picture in one of those little booths?
  44. How many states have you been to?
  45. If you could live in any home on a television series, what would it be?

 

Kids Phrase Picture

And my next homemade Christmas gift is ideal for grandparents.  Especially those that live far away and don’t always know all the details of the child’s day to day life.  I got a cute picture of one of our girls and with a little Photoshop knowledge (can be done in a number of programs) I posted little phrases that describe her…

 

Are you getting crafty this year?  Share with us something you are making for Christmas!

 

linking to Sorta Crunchy, the Greenbacks girl, Life renewed, and a Delightful home

 

 

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