I am energized today to have Anita Hunter with us as she shares a deep experience straight from her heart. I am sure it was hard for her write this story, much less share it with the world. I bet there are a lot of people who can resonate with the truth and the pain that she has shared with us. Please make Anita feel your warm welcome and love in the comments below.
My Decision to Live!
By Anita Hunter
I wasn’t going to write about Brittany Maynard’s decision to die because, frankly, I don’t like to discuss hot topics. But when I saw her article, My Decision to Die, prominently displayed on the cover of People magazine, something snapped.
And I knew I had to write about . . . My Decision to Live.
The suicide thoughts started at 16. I was in the backseat, watching something happen in the front seat that disturbed me to my core. And I remember thinking:
You see? The devil is more powerful than God. And I want to serve the one with the most power. So, devil, I give you my soul.
I had no idea what I’d just done. But that’s when the suicide battle began.
Every time I drove my blue LTD across the bridge, my breath stopped and my knuckles turned white as I resisted the command, “Drive this car off the edge!”
And every time I saw that one gnarly tree, I stared at the pavement and shook my head “No” as I tried to refuse the angry, “Slam your car into that tree!”
I don’t remember being suicidal before that fateful day in the backseat. But afterwards, it was game on. Someone was trying to gobble up my life.
He’s called the roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He eats so greedily, he doesn’t even chew. He just gulps you down like the ravenous jerk he is and charges off for the next lost soul dumb enough to make himself available.
But guess what? Even though the devil was stinkin’ lying and conniving to get my soul, there was Someone who wanted it more!
Unbeknownst to me, Jesus was watching. He knew what I had done and He knew what was happening. So He made a way to rescue me.
He sent a stranger into my life. For just one weekend. He was a guest in our home and a guest speaker at our church.
After the morning service, he pulled me aside and said:
Anita, God gave me a message for you. He wants you to know that He loves you. And He has a special plan for your life.
As he went on to detail several parts of that plan, I was mesmerized, but didn’t say a word.
I just kept thinking, You mean I’m going to live to be an adult?
That one message—that one touch—changed the course of my life forever. It set me on the path of following the Lord. And it stopped the frightening impulses to kill myself.
Never underestimate the power of encouragement! Your willingness to speak may save someone’s life.
However, there is a glitch. You see, once we’ve yielded to a sin, it becomes an area of weakness. And we have to fight that weakness for the rest of our lives—especially when we’re at our lowest ebb.
Last year, I hit that ebb. And since my weakness is wanting to escape pain by dying, I was in a bad way.
I began questioning:
- Why am I alive?
- Why did you create me?
- I would’ve rather never been born!
And I began daydreaming. Of a few ways I could do myself in. And how my husband would be better off without me dragging him down with all my issues.
Yeah. Stupid, huh? But you know what?
Jesus is so kind. He didn’t get mad at me. He didn’t say:
Come on, Anita! What’s your problem? Haven’t you overcome that weakness yet?
Instead, over the last year, He’s answered my questions and shown me that:
(1) He wanted me so much, He planned my birth even before He laid out the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)
(2) Life is a gift—the GREATEST gift He has to offer. (Job 10:12)
(3) He wants to give me even more gifts: The gift of taking me to His house. The gift of living with Him forever. And the gift of enjoying the eternal and glorious plans He has for me! (Psalm 23:6, 1 Peter 5:8-11)
In other words, life is worth living. It’s worth the pain. It’s worth the struggle.
I have set before you life and death . . . now choose life that it may be well with you. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Will I thumb my nose at such a priceless possession? Can I not accept God’s gift? Can I not learn to accept the pain, trusting He will help me through it?
As I considered His answers and what He was offering, I made a decision.
I decided to live.
But not half-heartedly. No, God’s most precious gift deserves a whole-hearted, passionate response! Not something lukewarm.
So I resolved:
- To live—with gusto.
- To live—as if I wasn’t afraid.
- To live—believing the Lord will fulfill ALL of His promises to me with a resounding “Yes!” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
And, as fate would have it, I came to that final decision just one day before I saw Brittany’s article.
No, my decision won’t be plastered all over People magazine. It won’t be discussed by dozens of bloggers. But that doesn’t matter.
Because I wrote this post to honor Someone:
- The One who gave me life.
- The One who saved my life.
- And the One who’s living my life with me.
And because maybe, just maybe, it might encourage someone else to live, to go through pain in a healthy way, and treasure life with all their heart.
And that’s my reason for sharing My Decision to Live.
Anita Emerson Hunter is the founder of A Touch of His Love Ministries, a website dedicated to sharing the personal moments with Jesus that fill our lives with all the passion, power, and promises He has to offer.
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