My Honest Feelings Concerning Jarrid Wilson’s Death

Feelings? How am I feeling? I don’t know what to feel in this tragic situation. I am in shock. I read a post that Pastor Greg Laurie shared on Facebook while at work and I almost dropped my phone. I guess I have all the feelings that typically follow a suicide. I am confused. I am sad. I am angry. I am in pain.

 

For those of you who do not know Jarrid Wilson, he was a father, an author, a pastor, co-founder of Anthem of Hope, a mental health advocate, and a child of God. Wilson was my biggest inspiration in my darkest moments. I first encountered Wilson when I came across his book Jesus Swagger. I don’t even remember how God put that into my life. I soon started following him on social media and seeing his heart for God and people. He was open about his faith and his battles with Depression. Like Wilson, I also struggle with my mental health. I attempted suicide and was hospitalized in 2017. I can imagine the pain Wilson was dealing with.

 

I am confused how this happened. He was just posting yesterday about God’s love on Twitter saying

“#yourlifematters”

“Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety.

But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.

He ALWAYS does that.”

 

Were there warning signs that everybody missed? Why didn’t he reach out for help when he is the biggest encourager of getting help.

 

I am sad. Like I said, he was my biggest inspiration. It was because of his transparency that lead me to be transparent about my struggles with people. I see how God has used him, and I want God to use me in the same way. I even published a book because of the inspiration he gave me. He constantly encouraged me when I hit a milestone whether in sobriety or in abstinence from self-harm. Yes, we did not have a deep relationship, and I wish we did. He didn’t even know me well and he still wanted the best for me.

 

I am angry. Why didn’t he reach out? He is leaving his wife and two young sons without a father. I can’t image the damage that is going to cause the three of them. He led a young adults ministry at Harvest Church, he has authored books and had more in the works, he co-founded a mental health advocacy organization. He just left that. Think of the damage to his ministries this is going to cause.

 

I am in pain. My heart is absolutely shattered in pieces because of this action. God was using him in amazing ways. He inspired so many people, including myself. “If Jarrid can keep persevering through depression and trusting God, then I can too” I told myself in my darkest times. My first reaction to this news was, “how am I supposed to make it if he couldn’t”

 

My emotions are everywhere at this news. He was a brother in Christ and he was in immense pain that nobody knew about. Enough pain that he would go against the things he encouraged others to do and take matters into his own hands instead of reaching out for help. I know what that pain feels like. I’m praying for his family during this tragic loss. Lift them up as they mourn the loss of their loved one.

 

Look out for your friends, especially the “strong” ones. People face internal battles daily that we know nothing about. Check in on them, even if they are mental health advocates and pastors. Pray for them. Encourage one another daily.

John Fernandes