Friday, 14 January 2011

God is greater than our hearts

It has been a hard few days. Yesterday I attended the funeral of a friend that had impacted my life many years ago. I spent a lot of time at his house with his beautiful wife and kids. He led a small group and inspired many to develop our own giftings God had put within us. His smile was warm and welcoming, his eyes twinkled with mischief and his laugh was contagious. His enthusiasm for Jesus was infectious and he embraced everyone with grace and acceptance.

Over the past few years he wasn't in my life as closely as he had been all those years ago. Our paths took different directions and I attended a different church, got married and was busy with a house full of babies and toddlers. He still continued to play a huge role in my sister's family. I remember dancing with him 10 years ago, as a bridesmaid at my sister and brother-in-laws wedding where he was the best man. When my nephew chose to leave home at 15 years of age, this man and his family welcomed my nephew into his home for a time.

He died 6 days short of his 46th birthday - 3 days after Christmas. He took his own life. It shocked us all. Nobody saw it coming. But having been through depression, I now suspect that he also suffered from it. But nobody knew it. I suspect that seeds of lies planted somewhere along his life had grown into a forest, suffocating his heart. This is why it is so important not to isolate yourself, and to be transparent with those that you can trust with your heart. If you are feeling like this, please talk to someone. Don't try to fight this battle alone.

Some say suicide is such a selfish act. I disagree. I had moments of being overwhelmed, and feeling like I could not go on one more day during my own depression. I am all too aware that I too could have made the same fatal decision. When the toxic poison of depression invade your thoughts, you are convinced that those that you love, deserve better than what you can give them - and so suicide seems to be in fact, a selfless act. Your heart condemns you so much that you are sure that they would be better off without you.

The good news is that God is greater than our heart.
For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. [1 John 3:20]

He knows our hearts and everything about us and He is greater than our hearts. I am so thankful that I cried out to God to help me out of my depression, and that He answered me. I am now free from depression. It was a hard journey and at times I wanted to give up fighting the depression, and give into it. But being on the other side of depression now, I am so glad that I didn't stop fighting.

I am so glad that in those times when my own heart condemned me, God was greater than my heart, and He gave me strength to keep fighting.The reason God sent His Son was to set us free - not only from our sins, but from whatever else holds us captive. Mose's arms got tired when he was holding up his staff in battle. He had Aaron and Hur help hold up his arms when he grew weary. I am thankful that when I could no longer hold up my arms to Him, my husband, and my sister were there to hold up my arms for me. We can't do  it alone.

It was confronting for me to attend my friend's funeral. This could have been my family and friends at my funeral. I am so thankful it wasn't. He has left behind a wife, 5 children, a grandchild and many many friends who love him. My heart is heavy for his wife and kids, having felt the loss of my own father at 17 years of age, and knowing the pain that they are dealing with in their hearts. There were over 350 people at his funeral, showing the impact he had on every life he touched.

I can only speculate what was going on in my friend's heart. But I know this - I will not remember him for one decision he made in his life which lead to his death. I choose to remember him for all the amazing things he did, and there were so many, throughout his life. I find comfort in the fact that one day I will see him again in Eternity.
Not how he died, but how he lived. Not what he gained, but what he shared. This is the measure and worth of a man, regardless of his birth.
We cannot judge a biography by it's length, nor by the number of pages in it. We must judge it by the richness of it's contents. {these quotes were from the funeral}

Still taking lessons from the King,


  1. Oh, Jo.. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. Depression is such a horribly difficult thing. It has touched many members of my family. Thank you for sharing these words. I will say a prayer for your friend's family. ♥

  2. As I read this through tears, some suicide intervention training came to mind. If a friend seems down, out of character or changed in some way - it will do more good than harm to ask if they have considered suicide. Open the door for your friends to talk about the darkness.

  3. So sorry for you, my friend....

    A beautiful post...


  4. Jo, how very tragic to lose a friend like this. I love the way you are remembering him and his life on earth. You are amazing and I appreciate your attitude. xxx

  5. I felt tears at your memory of dancing with this friend. Will keep his family in my prayers too.
    God is bigger than our hearts.... I love that He feels what we feel ....

    Psalm 56:8
    You've kept track of my every toss and turn
    through the sleepless nights,
    Each tear entered in your ledger,
    each ache written in your book.

    His heart is for us.

  6. oh I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I do understand now why it's not a selfish act coming from someone like you who's suffered from depression before. I also would have thought it was a selfish act but you've changed how I feel about it now!
    ditto to Sarah's comments above too:)

  7. Jo this is such a sad post for your friend and his family and I am very sorry for your loss, but I also felt hope through this post too, that God can heal and that your life is such a testimony of His healing power and grace!! You have had an incredible journey with Jesus. May God bring His comfort to you and to others mourning loss right now!!

  8. This message is so timely and needed! Any of us could have ended up where your friend was, and I definitly have been there. This is good medicine! we all need to pass this along! Where we are dead, dry, and discouraged God is life, water, and Hope!

  9. Well written Jo, depression is such an insidious disease. It is a terrible lie to believe that you are not of value to this world or those around you. Will uphold your friends family in my prayers this week.

  10. swung by to say loving your Facebook updates. The video today - so timely.x

  11. I'm so sorry to hear of your friend's tragic death. My prayers are with his wife and family. And thank you, Jo, for posting more of your story as I know that your words will help someone else who may be facing depression. Praise God that you cried out to Him...

    Living for Him, Joan

  12. So sorry to hear that Jo. May the Lord continue to bring healing to you and friends family. I also have a friend whose brother was my friend as well and who also committed suicide and it was such a trying time yet the Lord continued to speak peace and hope. Its never easy, but the Lord has a way of bring peace. Lets pray for that. Love you

  13. Dearest Jo,
    I've been thinking of you and are hoping (and praying) that your week is going better after such a hard time!
    My husband is/has suffered from Depression and thoughts of suicide and says he'd never do it but..... it's scary to think about being left behind, someone we know recently did the same, a father with 4children and a beautiful wife, it's the Enemy and he needs to be TOLD!!! BUT as you say GOD IS GREATER than all of this pain and hurt!! Look at QLD! OUt of such a terrible circumstance God is bringing good and community and closeness for all people affected! I love that!! There does seem to be so much sadness in the world, even more so that we stand up and shout GOD'S LOVE!!! He is what this world needs!!!!! Listening to BRIT NICOLE - The lost get found
    check it out, it will give you new strength!!!
    Sending warm hugs and God's abundant comfort to you dear Jo!
    Smiles and hugs Sharnee :)

  14. Wow Jo, you have brought such beauty into such a time of pain for yourself and your friends family. I will continue to hold you, and them, in my prayers. Your words are straight from God's heart. Thank you.

  15. Love your approach in this whole post! Gently dealing with things that need to be articulated xx

  16. You said something to me on Twitter and that's how I found your blog. I really love it and I agree with your statement:

    I will not remember him for one decision he made in his life which lead to his death. I choose to remember him for all the amazing things he did, and there were so many, throughout his life.

    That was beautiful. All of us should be so blessed to have a friend like you. My heart still aches for this man's family. I'll put him on my prayer list.

    Hugs fellow warrior,


  17. The title alone hit the spot for me - God IS greater than our thoughts. I am so sorry for your pain, and for that of this man's most dearly loved, but God IS greater and through Him each one who grieves will know peace and see the good that He works even through the most vicious of evil's attacks. This is a timely blog for me as just today I was feeling a lie of physical anxiety in response to the truth of God's Word shining light into one area - it was so good to be able to just turn right to my Father and present my nervous tummy. Thank you for the reminder of the need for some Aarons and Hurs as well.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Jo Princess Warrior xo