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Jesus is the Semicolon; Let Your Story Continue…

mental health suicide Mar 26, 2022
semicolon and a cross

During the month of March 2022, the Rocks Before Sand blog will be focused on mental health. The topics discussed will include: anxiety, stress, mental health disorders, and suicide. Our goal in discussing these difficult topics is to make sure that our readers know that they are not alone in their struggles with mental health.  There is a GREAT GOD and loving community that knows and feels your hurt and we are here to support you through it. If you or your family members are suffering with any mental health issues please reach out to us, our partners, or professionals for support. 


National Alliance on Mental Illness - 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or [email protected] 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 

Rocks Before Sand contact - [email protected] 

Revealed Image - [email protected] 

Mental Health Topic #4: Suicide

Jesus is the Semicolon; Let Your Story Continue…


6 minute read

By Joseph Mize (Guest writer from Revealed Image Ministries)


On Mother's Day, 2017 my cousin ended his pain by tying it to a tree.

He hung in the tree for 3 hours after my aunt found him as the authorities proceeded to perform their duties. My dad, grandpa, and brother all saw him as did my mom, not to mention the first responders, law enforcement and other authorities.

As with all who make this decision, there is a story of brokenness. One can only imagine the pain a person feels in reaching this decision, that to die is better than life and there is no reason to breathe another breath. There was a time when I wished for death.

I’ve kept the events described below to myself and a very small circle for years, but as I’ve learned to walk with God, he has spurred me now by my cousin’s passing to finally put some words down about the events of my past to serve as an example the kind of healing available in the pain of death. I share this in hopes that hurting hearts will turn to him…to share his glory.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time, or even the second time we've received news like this. When I was 24 (about the same age as my brother), we received similar news about Lori's cousin. He ended his pain with a bullet. Hiring a cleanup crew was not an option, so to keep Lori's family from seeing the scene, I volunteered to clean up.  Images of cleaning the blood-stained bathroom from his suicide tormented me for years. Guilt and shame for not reaching out to him eroded my soul. A couple years later, his sister reached the same life-ending decision, but ended her pain by tying it to a tree as well. So much pain.

There have been many times in my life that death felt easier than facing the next day. Since losing my best friend and blood brother in a traffic accident at age 12 and having seen the trauma to his body, I had wished a thousand times through the years that it had been me instead of him but there was always something that stayed my hand. Still, the vows I had made with being the "Lone Wolf" after his death shaped me into a loner and affected the way I learned everything in life. I had shut everyone out…for over 20 years (except my wife).

As time went on, the nightmares from Lori’s cousin’s death scene subsided and the pain of losing my best friend had numbed. I had thought time healed the wounds. However, I couldn’t mention either story without crying. Then one day, years later, as I worked at a residential rehabilitation center, a young man fell down the stairs and cut his head. He required stitches, but healed well. As I began helping a couple of teammates scrub the blood from the carpet, images I thought were forgotten came rushing back and I had to quickly withdraw, almost vomiting and curling up in the fetal position on the inside.  

I was undone. With the weight of my world bearing down on me, I had begun to wish again it had been me that died instead of Brandon.  Little did I know how much healing God had in store for me.

Not long after these memories resurfaced, I attended a men’s event in Colorado. My heart was focused on those hurting back home around the suffering of a loved one with cancer, but God reminded me that the weekend was meant for my healing and told me that I thought I was the “Lone Wolf”. It felt true, but I didn't know why I felt so alone. After being reminded of this, I went back to my room to pray and journal. That's when I noticed the name of the room I had been placed in at this event. Lone Wolf. I punched the sign, entered the room and went to my bunk. My intent was to journal. I opened my notebook. What I had with me in that notebook was a letter I had written when I was twelve entitled, "A Sad Year". I found it a few weeks earlier in a box in the attic and had placed it in the notebook thinking it was a safer place. The only time in my life I had ever journaled prior to this point was after the death of Brandon. I read it and cried. I could see how I lost my identity more and more with each paragraph. Jesus told me to go back through it and break every agreement I had made with the enemy. I did. I felt better, and couldn't really believe that I was in that room and had that letter with me at that very moment. Not to mention that I was hearing the voice of God. All a little too weird for this Church of Christ kid. Still, this was truth beyond anything I had ever been taught or experienced. I knew God was bigger than the box I was in and I was thirsty for more.

What wound up happening that weekend was an encounter with God that changed my life forever. During a time of soaking worship, a mindfulness exercise where we just sat and soaked in the presence of God during the playing of worship songs, I immediately went to prayer. The posture of my heart was full surrender. What happened next is indescribable…

Jesus immediately brought me into a vision. Though I was sitting in a chair during that soaking worship, Jesus was showing me a different picture. My vision began with me on my knees, handing something to God and saying, "I can't take this anymore."

I didn't realize it at first, but what I was holding up were the broken pieces of my heart. The things in my life that shattered me to the core and changed my identity and had me wishing for death. At that precise moment, Jesus ushered me deeper into the vision of healing that brought me peace which is unfathomable. 

He sat me in his lap as a twelve-year old boy and said, "It wasn't meant for you. The glory in Brandon's death is that his parents came to me.” Then Brandon showed up looking at me with a half-cocked grin and asked, "Are you ready to live now?"  "Yes!" was my response. In wishing “it” had been me instead of him, I had been choosing death and therefore I was not truly living. The impact this alone had on my wife and kids was leading to devastation. 

Jesus proceeded to take me through other shattered pieces of my heart, healing them each with dignity and grace.

Time stood still.

Another piece of my broken heart was Lori’s cousin who had committed suicide. He walked up to us, smiling with raised eyebrows and wrinkled forehead. What he said, amazed me yet again. "Please forgive me for what you had to do," he continued, "Please ask Lori to forgive me for what I did." Forgiving someone who had died had never been a thought of mine. I never wanted to go there, because I had been taught that suicide sends you straight to hell. Yet, here he was, standing right beside Jesus and with my best friend and others whom I loved. Then we were all a part of a big group hug; Jesus was in the middle but His arms also wrapped around us all.

While we embraced, Jesus pulled me aside. I was a twelve-year old boy again and still in tears. He placed his hands on my face and with his thumbs wiped away my tears and asked me to feel his hands. I held them, looked at them and felt his scars. He said, "These wounds have taken the place of all your wounds." He then said, "Here," as he handed back my heart. "You're not the Lone Wolf, you're the leader of the pack." That’s when I realized it was my shattered heart that I handed Him at the beginning of the vision.

At that moment, I came back to the presence of the room and could tell that the last song was winding down and my tears were drying up. I sat there in complete awe of what I had just experienced. Jesus, the Son of the Living God, who transcends all time and space just took me into my past and into each broken place of my shattered heart that I had offered up to Him. I had to get to that place of, "I'm done." Not only mentally, but physically, spiritually, emotionally done.  Had I not been in a place covered in prayer, the temptation to hang all that pain on a tree might have been physical. What happened instead, was the guilt and shame of the pain I carried was hung on another tree…the cross, by the wounds of Jesus. By experiencing these things, I had shared in his sufferings, but for the purpose of receiving his comfort and healing. To become an oak of righteousness and to be the planting of the Lord.

My pain had to surface so I could truly submit it to Him. Jesus had comforted me in my mourning. He had given me a garland instead of ashes, and a mantel of praise to stand on instead of a spirit of fainting. I had been given a gift far greater than coping mechanisms; I had healing.

Like you, there is much more to my story than a few events and much more to this vision than can be written here. These were the BIG traumas that shattered my heart. Often more sinister are the little traumas that happen to us as well. They often get swept under the rug or dismissed or condemned. We say, "Oh well, shit happens," or "Well it's all going to be okay," or "Time heals all wounds." Then there are the shame laden comments, "You get what you pay for." "If you lie with dogs, you get fleas." "You made your bed, now you have to lie in it." "Life's a bitch and then you die."

Many organizations seek to help those with mental illness and depression. Project Semicolon is one such organization. It is a nonprofit founded in the United States with the goal of offering hope and love to those struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. The intent of Project Semicolon is honorable and exhibits the truth that when we come together in love, there can be life, however, life of our own power is not sustainable. They state that an author chooses to use a semicolon instead of ending a sentence and that you are the author of your own story. I walked with that very same authority for years, but always found myself back at the same place; wishing for death. Unfortunately, Project Semicolon’s founder, Amy Bleuel, chose to end her life a couple of months ago. I was inspired at that point to write this post. I’m sorry now that it took the death of my cousin to force my heart to write these things.

I know now what I didn't know then; you don't just get over it and time doesn't heal it. Jesus is the true semicolon. Literally handing that broken-shattered piece of your heart to Jesus is the only way. It's exactly what He mentions in Isaiah 61:2b-3: 

“He comforts all who mourn, but those in Zion (that is the children of God) he gives a garland instead of ashes, gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” 

THEN, they are known as oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. For His Glory!!! (Read Isaiah 61:1-4)

The loss of my cousin hurts. It hurts like hell. My heart aches for my family. For my aunt, mom, dad, brother and grandpa who saw his body hanging and for the rest of the family who love him and them. I know that pain and torment. The hurt is not okay, however, it can be a gift...if we share in Jesus' suffering, we get him.

My cousin suffered with depression and bipolar disorder, however, I also know full well that his heart had been reconciled to God and it has been granted to him to paint masterpieces in paradise.

My prayer for my family and for all who are hurting through the loss of a loved one is they are able to be still and know God as he wants to be known and receive the peace and healing that he has to offer. That they are surrounded by the fire love of God and the dignity to grieve gracefully is protected from guilt, shame, busyness, and condemnation.

If the pain in your life is too much to bear, please don’t try to be your own strength and write your own story. Project Semicolon is powerful and based in truth. However, the true semicolon is Jesus; let God be your author. God could have put a period on the story of humanity, but he chose to continue that story through Jesus. Please, please, please, reach out to someone, anyone, but above all else, submit your pain to Jesus and let your story continue.

With Love,



National Alliance on Mental Illness - 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or [email protected] 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 


Know Better. Do Better. Live Better. Let Your Story Continue

Rocks before Sand!



“...To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”


~Isaiah 61:2b-3 

Theme Song: 

Third Day - Cry Out to Jesus (with lyrics)

References Used:

  • The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. 

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