By Rodetta Cook

Rodetta Cook has been a pastor’s wife for over 40 years. She and her husband, Ron, have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. She understands the expectations, loneliness and how hard it is to find balance in ministry as a pastor’s wife. Rodetta also leads the pastor’s wives initiative at Care for Pastors called The Confidante and ministers to hundreds of wives each week. She strives to share blogs with other pastors’ wives that will help them in their ministry walk.

    The Missing Piece

    Monday, July 08, 2019

    I had shared some blogs from a pastor’s wife sharing her husband’s struggle with depression and the heartbreaking end of him taking his life. I know those blogs were a blessing to many and now I want to share another one from her on “The Missing Piece.”

    My husband Eric had a tattoo that covered most of his right forearm. It said זמן לחפש את הלורד which means “Time to seek the Lord” in Hebrew. The tattoo was an intricate drawing of an hourglass with beautiful details throughout it. It was a tool to share the gospel with others. At the bottom of the hourglass was an obvious shape of a missing puzzle piece. About an inch down was the missing piece. The puzzle piece represented that Christ would make your life whole. The funny thing about that missing piece was that it wasn’t the same shape as the puzzle. No matter how long we stared at it and tried to figure out how it could fit, it just didn’t. There was an error somewhere, but Eric would just laugh and say “it doesn’t fit, but you get the point.”

    That’s how I tend to view suicide. It doesn’t make sense, and it probably never will on this side of Heaven. Suicide will be the unsolved mystery that so many of us will continue to replay in our minds. It will be that missing puzzle piece to a puzzle that I so desperately want to complete. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, that piece of the puzzle doesn’t fit. It’s frustrating and I keep trying to make sense of it, but it just won’t and never will–because it doesn’t belong there.

    Suicide is not God’s plan for anyone. I have talked to many people who, years later, still question “why?” They still question “what if?” and they continue to comment “if only I had done this differently.” These are questions that circle in my mind daily, though I continue to fight it. My husband and I passed each other while driving on the road that day and I thought he had seen me and would follow me home. What if I had stopped and turned around? What if I would have only called him right at that moment and didn’t wait 30 minutes when I realized he wasn’t home yet? If only I would have, then things would be different. I cannot make sense out of suicide. You cannot make sense out of suicide. We cannot force it to make sense.

    There is a mystery in it all that no one can solve or figure out. I am learning that I have to be ok with that. I have to remind myself of my sweet husband’s words, “The piece doesn’t fit, but you get the point.” The point is that even when it doesn’t fit, the message stays the same. We follow the Lord. We serve Him, trust Him and believe in Him. When we don’t understand, we daily discipline ourselves to stand on truth. We choose to walk in faith and in the knowledge that God can and will make everything right in His time.

    2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

    Since the passing of my husband, I have tried to set goals for each day. I get out of bed, love on and take care of our twins, speak truth, pray and remind myself to eat. My spiritual goal is to have an eternal perspective. I am so thankful that Eric can have the full picture now. He now knows why he experienced so much pain, why God allowed some things to happen and how God protected him from other things. He also can see how God was with him every step of the way. He sees the end. He sees how God will redeem all that is His. I am jealous of that thought. And though I long to be with him, I am meant to be here. So, our daily discipline should be to have an eternal perspective while God has us walking on this earth. Life is hard and will continue to be hard. We will experience things that are unimaginable. We will question God, cry, scream, have days of doubt and days of joy. Yet, as Christians we should get the point- we are not meant for this world. We are meant for so much more.

    While we are here, let us continue to run the race marked out for us– the hard, messy, confusing yet rewarding race (Hebrews 12:1-3). Let us fight against the lies Satan tells us. Let us love each other like Christ loves us– love without shame, guilt, agenda or judgment. Let us stand on the truth that God will redeem all of us who trust in Jesus. Because, though things do not fit and often don’t make sense, “we get the point.”

    If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE reach out to someone and continue reaching out. I can guarantee you that you are not alone. We are all broken, and it’s ok. It’s what we do with our brokenness. Stand on truth. “You ARE a person of worth because of what Jesus says, not because of what society labels you.” Share your story, keep fighting and do not give up.

    I pray Eric’s story will continue to reach many people and for those who are having struggles of suicidal thoughts they would reach out for help. As Krissie shared, stop believing the lies!

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