Jennifer and Robin: Everyone is fighting a battle

Jennifer Huston’s and Robin William’s recent tragic suicides have created a lot of buzz over the topics of suicide, mental illness, Christians, and heaven/hell. Both apparently hanged themselves. 

Ann Voskamp wrote a beautiful piece at Holy Experience, What the Church and Christians Need To Know About Mental Health. My friend Angie Kay Webb wrote about her family’s suicide/murder and about Robin’s death and about his beloved role in the TV series Mork and Mindy at her blog

Our daughter Heather’s Facebook post on Robin Williams’ suicide caused a little controversy, with comments ranging from no one knowing if Robin was saved to a commenter believing that Heather was being insensitive about people who are depressed -~even Christians can be depressed and/or suicidal.

Our daughter Heather's Facebook post on Robin Williams' suicide caused a little controversy
Our daughter Heather’s Facebook post on Robin Williams’ suicide caused a little controversy

It is true that no one knows if Robin was saved or not. Only God knows his heart. Throughout his successful career, as many celebrities do, he struggled with alcoholism/substance abuse, with 2 rehab stints. He joked that cocaine was God’s way of telling you that you have too much money. At the time of his death, his wife said he was clean and sober.  She said that Robin was in the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease, which may have been a factor in his decision to die by suicide.

It is true that even Christians can become depressed, even suicidal.

It isn’t true that Heather was being insensitive in her Facebook post. She has seen depression first-hand. Heather isn’t ignorant about this topic. For most of her childhood, I was severely depressed from my childhood sexual and physical abuse and other traumatic life events, diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Episode, and Anxiety Disorder. 

Beth Jones, International Speaker
Beth Jones, International Speaker

I share openly about my arduous, long journey to healing through faith in Christ in my new book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love.

I’m a very different woman today from the woman I was when Heather was growing up and I married Ray 22 years ago. God has done amazing, miraculous healing in my life and I give Jesus Christ all the credit and the glory for that. My life is proof that God can and does heal today. 

Jesus is the answer to everything in this life. Including depression. He is the only answer for those who are wanting to commit suicide, believing their life has no purpose and there’s no reason to go on.

Sometimes healing from depression takes time. And/or medication. Sometimes it takes a trial of medications to find the right one to help.  Sometimes people have chemical and/or hormonal imbalances.

 Sometimes it takes intensive counseling or hospital inpatient therapy.

I am not in the camp who believes that using doctors or medication always shows a “lack of faith.” My contributing author Stephanie Buckwalter wrote about facing others’ judgment when she struggled with depression, in my book The Hands of A Woman: Everyday Women in Everyday Battles

Yes, I do believe that many doctors in the U.S. over-medicate their patients and that medications can be dangerous, toxic, and addictive. 

 

Promises In The Dark: One Woman's Search for Authentic Love
Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search
for Authentic Love by Beth Jones

To learn more about the risks of medications, I highly recommend my friend Dana Arcuri’s memoir, Harvest of Hope: Living Victoriously Through Adversity in which she shares her harrowing roller coaster ride with toxic prescription pill interactions), as well as my own book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love.

However, God can and does use medication. He knows exactly what it takes to heal each one. Healing can come in a variety of ways.

Sometimes people who suffer with severe depression need spiritual deliverance because they are being oppressed by the enemy Satan.

 God isn’t boxed in with the way He heals people. In the Scriptures, Jesus didn’t use the same cookie cutter approach for healing different ailments.

And not everyone was healed. But ultimately, He is Jehovah Rophe, the Healer.

Apparently Jennifer and Robin were in such intense pain and felt like they didn’t want to go on any more. Apparently they didn’t believe there was anyone they could turn to for help before they died. 

I wish they had felt like they could come to Jesus for the help, strength and encouragement they needed and would have lived out their days in fullness and in joy.

“For in Him we live and move and have our being.”  ~ Acts 17:28, NIV

We don’t know what demons Jennifer or Robin were facing. We don’t know why they felt so overwhelmed, and that death was a preferred alternative to living any longer. It is so sad. Both their spouses and children said they were devastated. The world has lost 2 precious people. 

Jennifer’s parents’ public statement said, “Our hearts ache today. We have lost our first born child. We have lost a wife and a mother. We don’t know what lead Jennifer to this dark place and to this end and perhaps never will understand this.”

Robin’s wife Susan said, “Yesterday, I lost my father and a best friend and the world got a little grayer. I will carry his heart with me every day.” (http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/robin-williams-dead-63-family-members-issue-heartfelt-remembrances-article-1.1901466)

What we do know is that, like Jennifer and Robin, there’s a lot of hurting people in the world. Sometimes that hurt is hidden behind a smile or a laugh or a seemingly perfect image.  

We never know what pain someone is going through. But today you can truly be Jesus’ heart, arms, ears, and feet to that person who is hurting.

Be kind. Love others. Ask if your family, friend, work peer, or neighbor is okay. Pray for him or her. Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind. 

Be kind for everyone is fighting a battle. Image Resource: Pinterest
Image resource: Pinterest

 

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32

For help: National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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Teleseminar August 8, 1 pm Central: Searching For An Answer: Reach Out with Love to the Jennifers

 

Beautiful Jennifer Huston
Beautiful Jennifer Huston

On July 24, Oregon wife and mom of 2 little boys, Jennifer Huston, went missing after she left home to run errands. Police and her family and friends began a nation-wide search using police detectives, helicopters, boats, and social media to find her.

She was discovered dead on Tuesday, August 5, about 40 yards from her dark green SUV on a rural road in Sheridan, about 24 miles from her home. The medical examiner said she died of asphyxiation by hanging. The box of sleeping pills she bought was also empty.

Her family and this nation are grieving and mourning, and many are bewildered why this very beautiful mom of 2 little children, who seemed to have everything going for her, would commit suicide.

Suicide is a very real problem from all walks of life and the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. So many people are hurting and feel alone, overwhelmed, stressed, and desperate.

Family and friends of those who commit suicide are often left confused and searching for an answer. Maybe you have a family member or friend who has attempted or committed suicide, or you have attempted it yourself.

It’s time to reach out with love to the Jennifers of the world, and give them the hope that only Jesus Christ can offer.

Jennifer and family
Jennifer and family

Join me and other women of God on Friday, August 8, at 1 p.m. Central Time/2 p.m. Eastern Time for my free teleseminar, Searching For An Answer: Reach Out With Love to the Jennifers, to honor Jennifer’s life and give hope and comfort to her family and others. 

You can join us in the chat room at Talkshoe by clicking here.

Here are the call-in details:

Phone Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 98698

Please share with your family and friends. 

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Jennifer Huston’s death ruled a suicide

 

Beautiful Jennifer Huston
Beautiful Jennifer Huston

I just went for a short drive to get out of the house, my heart heavy for beautiful Jennifer Huston and her family. Got a cold Coke at Sonic and a chocolate candy bar, then headed back home. I felt prompted to pull into a parking lot and googled Jennifer Huston again. It was the news I was expecting after I found out yesterday that she had  died, yet didn’t want to hear. My heart is so heavy over this. 

Jennifer Huston died of asphyxiation by hanging, Dr, Karen Gunson the Oregon medical state examiner said Thursday. The box of sleeping pills she had purchased were empty. There is no evidence of a crash or damage to her dark green SUV and the fuel guage registered as full.

 Inside the SUV, detectives found a  suicide note addressed to members of her family. (Koin.com reports) I want to know so bad what it said. What were this precious woman’s last words? What pain was so great that she couldn’t stand to live any more?

Her purse and personal items, which included her cell phone that she apparently turned off after getting gas, were also located inside the SUV. The cell phone was analyzed by NDPD computer forensic detectives who “found no indications of nefarious activities.”  (Koin.com reports)

She died  close to the time she was reported missing, within 24 miles of her home, on a rural logging road off Highway 18 on private property. Her family and authorities had conducted a nation-wide search, including helicopters and searching lakes and rivers, to no avail.

T-shirt to find Jennifer
T-shirt to help find Jennifer

Her SUV was seen by the landowner of the private property, who thought it might belong to illegal trespassers. He called the authorities, reading the plate numbers to them. Authorities quickly came and swept the area, and found her body about 40 yards from the SUV. 

Jennifer, wife of Kallen Huston and planning their 10 year anniversary in August and mom of 2 boys ages 6 and 2 years old, died by suicide after she went to Rite-Aid after withdrawing less than $100 outside her credit union at the ATM, bought Gatorade, Trail Mix, and sleeping pills at Rite-Aid, and then topped off her green SUV gas tank

Jennifer Huston, last video surveillance of her, getting snacks at Rite-Aid
Jennifer Huston, last video surveillance of her, getting snacks at Rite-Aid

When Jennifer disappeared, the news spread all over the nation via social media, TV and radio coverage. Most people have been very compassionate and have written encouraging words on her family’s Find Jennifer Huston Facebook page, but some people have been pretty nasty with comments, which have made me angry. Have they no heart for this woman and her grieving family?

Since I first heard about this situation, I’ve been praying. I’d hoped so much that she would be found alive and safe – even if it meant she had driven to Washington to board the ferry to San Juan Islands without telling her family, as one couple reported possibly seeing her after her disappearance.

I’ve been obsessing about it with my family. Maybe it’s that she seems a symbol of the average American wife and mom with kids ~ a woman who loved others, was devoted to her husband and children, and was involved in the community ~ and yet stressed out and overwhelmed with the day to day responsibilities and demands. I get it. Many women do.

Jennifer Huston and family
Jennifer Huston and family

 Potty training a child. Buying groceries. Paying – and juggling – monthly bills, sometimes with more month than money, and maybe not being able to go on vacation this year to San Juan Islands as she apparently loved to do, or any vacation.

I didn’t have the great privilege of knowing Jennifer as her family and friends did, and of course I don’t know what her life was like. But clues from what her husband and family said, such as her leaving her home the last night stressed out and then taking her life, give me a glimpse of what it may have been like.

Despite her obvious outer beauty and inner beauty described by her family and friends, her solid marriage as her father and her husband Kallen described, and her beautiful little boys, inside something was missing. Empty. Hurting. You can see the pain in her eyes in her pictures in the news. She didn’t understand her great value and her God-ordained purpose. How God and others cherished her. We all need to feel loved, needed, and important…although it seems her family loved her a great deal, somehow that message didn’t get through to her. That breaks my heart!

My heart just cries out for her. I’ve been down that dark road. I describe it in my new book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love  ~ my own suicide attempts, such as my overdose of pills, which thankfully didn’t succeed. I could have winded up like Jennifer. So many do! Thank God He spared my life, and gave me a second and third chance. Jennifer, I so wish I’d known you! I wish I could have somehow reached out to you before this awful tragedy happened!

Jennifer with one of her sons
Jennifer with one of her sons. “A devoted mother”- husband Callan said.

Some people on social media are calling Jennifer’s suicide “totally selfish.” Yes, suicide is a very selfish act. But ultimately, it is the loudest cry of unbearable pain and overwhelm. I only feel great compassion for her, and am grieving with her family.

WHY?! What caused her to take her own life? What pain was so great that she couldn’t bear it another second? I wish I knew…I wish she could have let Jesus taken it from her and given her His rest and abundant life. 

Her parents shared this message in their public statement about her suicide death: 

“Our hearts ache today. We have lost our first born child. We have lost a wife and a mother. We don’t know what lead Jennifer to this dark place and to this end and perhaps never will understand this. We are incredibly thankful to family, friends, community and media for their searching, supporting and getting the information out that lead to locating Jennifer’s car and finding Jennifer.”

I can’t imagine her mom’s, or her other family members’, great pain. God, have mercy. Please comfort and strengthen them. Cover them with Your love and goodness.

 If you know someone who is hurting, please, reach out with God’s love…

The world is now missing someone very precious. Jennifer, I honor your life. I wish we had been close friends. 

Jennifer Huston, I honor your life
Jennifer, I honor your life

The Hillside Fellowship Church has offered to accept any notes, cards and flowers on behalf of the Huston family. Anyone wishing to do so can contact Pastor Zach Elliott at zach@beinghillside.com to make arrangements for gifts or other contributions.

The Family has a GoFundMe account set up for search effort funding as recently allocated, funeral expenses, counseling for their 2 sons and Kallen, and any remaining funds will be donated toward a non-profit organization that supports women’s health, families, and suicide prevention. Just click here to donate

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