3 key aspects for managing suicide and depression | Voice
Sometimes the most disappointing moments in life can actually be stepping stones to better days. At 21, I was a single dad with custody of my two-year-old daughter. As its sole supplier, in more ways than one, life hit me with an upside down two-by-four. I spent my weeks stretching – working as a restaurant valet, on the ramp at American Airlines, and had my own multi-level marketing business. On top of that, I was heartbroken and felt lonely.
Have you ever wondered, “How did I get here? During this period of my life, I had placed my hopes of becoming a soldier or even of becoming an entrepreneur. In one case and a mix of different decisions, I watched it all seemingly go away. I remember looking at my life, wondering how I got there and worrying about how I was going to raise my daughter on my own. Nothing in life could have prepared me for this moment or this feeling. I have struggled with depression and anger. I have thought about suicide on more than one occasion. I am so grateful that I did not follow the thoughts.
Now, I am not telling you this to gain sympathy or to paint a picture of “woe to me”. Rather, I’m sharing my experience, because I want you to know that even in your lower lows… there is hope. What a life of joy I would have missed if I had not gone through this difficult chapter of my life. I wish there was a formula on how to stop fighting anxiety or depression, or even ten steps on how to keep moving forward when you feel like you’re breaking point. While I don’t have a quick fix for these feelings, I can tell you what brought me out of the darkest times of my life.
I shudder at the thought of where my oldest daughter, Courtney, and I would be right now without the support and sacrifice of my parents. They loved me during the toughest season of my life and came by my side to help me become the best dad I can be. There really aren’t enough words to express the gratitude I have for the way they brought me through this period of my life.
Not only did my family support me, but I also had friends who didn’t want to give up on me. One friend in particular kept inviting me to come to his church. Day after day at work, “Come to my church,” he said. Then it almost turned into begging. He could see that I was in the wrong place. He resorted to corruption. He said, “If you come to church, I’ll take you to lunch with your daughter. I thought about it and reluctantly said yes. Never underestimate the power of eggs and bacon! That Sunday, dressed in my Sunday clothes, I surrendered my life to Jesus.
When I surrendered my life to Jesus that day, I remember thinking about how broken my life was before I walked through the doors of the church. At the start of worship, I felt God. For the first time, I not only felt purpose, but most of all, I felt hope. This meeting has completely transformed my life. It would take several years of persistence and healing, but at 25 I met the love of my life, Lisa. We now have three daughters together, a son-in-law and two wonderful grandchildren. As hard as I remember this time in my life, I look at the blessings I have now and I can see how Jesus was with me every step of the way.
My hope for you is that whatever season of life you read this you know you are not alone. No matter your struggle, situation, or failure, don’t give up. I promise you; it will get better. Why? Because there is always hope.
Mike Kai is passionate about building the world church. A visionary leader with a heart to advance the kingdom of God, he has guided a small congregation in Hawai’i from his humble beginnings in 2001 to a thriving multi-site congregation called Inspire Church. Author of The Pound for Pound Principle, Plateaus and That Doesn’t Just Happen, Mike speaks at conferences and congregations around the world and hosts roundtables of pastors and leaders. Mike and his wife Lisa reside in Honolulu and are the proud parents of three daughters and two grandchildren.