November 1st, 2011


The first time I laid eyes on Molly, she was curled up on a small folding chair in a large auditorium, with her hat pulled down, head tucked in, and coat wrapped tightly around her body as if she were trying to make herself invisible.  I knew she was in her early twenties, but with her small frame drawn up in a ball, she looked more like a child than an adult.  My heart was troubled over this seemingly lost child of God.  She had come to The Call in Kansas City with some friends we knew, and we spent the afternoon with that group.  Laughter and activity surrounded her, but she remained disconnected, somewhere in her own little world.  As the conference opened and the music began, we all stood up, except for Molly.  Totally disengaged, she spent most of the worship time lying across the folding chairs or under the chairs on the cement floor of the convention hall.  She seemed so all alone in a room full of more than twenty thousand screaming young people on fire for the Lord.  This little soul looked so fragile and so very much out of place, I wondered how she ever found herself in such an environment. 

Molly would later confirm that sleeping was the only way she could escape the unbearable predicament in which she found herself.  She had looked forward to participating in a young people’s Christian conference, but she had to admit that she’d had no idea what she was getting herself into.  The frenzy of the conference attendees:  the raising of hands, the waiving of arms, the jumping and dancing and singing out to Jesus was exactly what she hated about non-traditional religious events.  Now here she was, much to her horror, right in the middle of her worst nightmare.  Molly had come with a friend, so she resigned herself to the fact that her body was hopelessly stuck here.  Her mind, however, checked out at the earliest opportunity.  Not knowing anything at all about Molly, I have to admit that I rolled my eyes over what I judged as her blatant rebellion.  (My heart had not yet been tenderized to the hopelessness of a child in bondage.  Praise God that He has since taught me to not judge a person’s heart by the look of his outward appearance.)

Some months later, after Molly experienced another serious bout of depression brought on by yet another failed relationship, followed by yet another suicide attempt, a mutual friend suggested that she meet with me for prayer.  Molly agreed and I was delighted, so we met every week for about four months.  She described her history of “looking for love in all the wrong places,” searching for someone, anyone, who would love her and validate her.  She had a hard time getting her arms around the possibility that Jesus would desire to fill that emptiness in her soul, so week after week I told her about His hot burning love for her.  I told her about the immeasurable love of her Heavenly Father, but all she could relate to was the lack of attention she received from her earthly father.  (I was not sure if her perception was accurate because I did not know her family.  What I did know was that if he was offering her love and affection, she was not receiving it.)  Progress was slow and I often wondered if we were making any headway at all, but we both pressed on. 

I rejoiced one evening as Molly sank to her knees and confessed Jesus as her Savior.  I will be forever grateful that I took the risk to invite her to make that decision.  Oh how I prayed that her response came from her heart and it was not just an empty gesture.

From the beginning, Molly wanted the blessings of God, but she was not willing to surrender her life to Him.  She continually sought my approval of her poor decisions and, although I loved and accepted her personally, I could not endorse her behavior.  So, we just kept going around the same mountains week after week after week, never seeming to break through the stone wall around her heart.  I pressed harder to get her to make some changes in her life, but she resisted.  Finally I suggested we take a break, and she flew like a caged bird.

I never saw her again.  The following year I received the news that Molly had committed suicide.  Oh, how I cried out to God, asking if I could have said or done something that would have brought about a different outcome.  I wondered if I should have given her a little more time or followed up with her later or this or that or something else.  Molly had told me that her emptiness was the result of an absentee daddy – he was either on the road or hidden behind a newspaper.  Although I encouraged her to approach him, she always backed away from that idea.  She would tell me about the outrageous things she would do, just to get him to notice her.  No doubt she got her daddy’s attention this time.


Over the years, I have replayed this event in my head.  Sometimes I get a catch in my stomach when I pray for someone battling a spirit of suicide, but I know that is only the enemy trying to intimidate me.  When I first heard of Molly’s death, I agonized over the flaws in my own character that might have rendered me ineffective in my desire to make a difference in Molly’s life.  I sought the Lord to speak to me in the midst of my pain and sadness.  He comforted my soul and assured me that I was not responsible for her death.  He reminded me of His great love for her, from the day He first formed her in His thoughts, and He too grieved over her destructive choice.  He reminded me of His great love for each of us, and because of His desire for each of us to freely choose to love Him in return, He gave each one of us an absolute free will.  Molly chose to listen to the lies of the spirit of death, and she chose to end her life.  I chose to be a small part of Molly’s life, even knowing her history, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to love on her, and to speak life into her soul. 

I am crying as I edit this piece, one that has been sitting in my computer folder for several years.  Only now am I led to publish it – I suspect someone out there needs to read Molly’s story in this very season of his or her life.  I know it will pull on the hearts of daddies and daughters, and mothers, and sons, spouses and grandparents, and all those who have experienced the gut-wrenching agony of a similar experience.  I pray it will cause someone to choose life, and to fall in the arms of Jesus, the Maker and Giver of all that is good.