Strength Found in Faith

Mike and I have a blended family. I had two boys; he had two boys; we had our daughter together. We raised our children in church, but I can honestly say I did not live out my faith. Our children grew up; some went to college; some did not. Jeffrey (my oldest son) attended Richland for two years and then moved to Denton to attend UNT. He said he wanted to become a teacher and live overseas to teach American children in foreign countries. Being a college student, we didn’t see a lot of Jeffrey except on holidays and birthdays. Hindsight is 20/20 and unfortunately we didn’t pick up on some important clues regarding his mental health.

Jeffrey got heavily involved in drugs. We are not sure he was self-medicating because of his poor mental health or whether the drugs caused his mental illness. We will never know. Jeffrey spent several stints in Green Oaks Mental Hospital and two different rehab programs. He attempted suicide on several occasions. Unfortunately, mental illness caused him to take his life on April 4, 2005, at the age of 26. As his mother, I turned to God for the strength to get through this horrific event. Almost exactly 26 months later, Jeffrey’s brother Michael went to be with the Lord at the age of 26. His brain forgot to tell his heart to pump. Basically, he laid down and died. He and his wife had two little boys and were expecting their third son when he died on May 22, 2007.

Having been through these amazing and horrific events has strengthened my faith in our Lord and Savior. I would not be able to get up every day unless I knew without a doubt that I would see my boys again when the Lord calls me home. My focus has become helping others, especially those who have buried children. I have been called upon to minister to these folks in their times of despair. I desire to become even more involved in ministering to people in pain, whether through illness, grief or old age. The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. Ps 23:1

None of us knows how long we are going to live on this earth and none of us knows God’s purpose for our lives. Jeffrey left this world at the young age of 26. I believe with my whole heart that God’s purpose for him was to bring me closer to the Living God. In this time of tragedy, the only thing that got me through was our Lord and Savior. After Michael died, it was further cemented in my heart and mind that my Lord had again gotten me through.

Sue Freshwater
May 28, 2017

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