This last story is somewhat different from the rest. Henrietta had tried, and failed, to commit suicide. She was in the process of making another attempt when something happened to prevent a tragedy.
I knew it all, as most young people do. I wanted to get away from my restrictive past and enjoy life. At first I succeeded. A man, we’ll call him Simon, came into my life, swept me off my feet and I became involved in a relationship that at first was wonderful. However, after a time, things began to disintegrate and I told Simon I was going to go round the world for six months to get myself sorted out.
So I sold the house, gave up my job, and went off intending to go to Australia via the United States. When I arrived in California I stopped off to meet up with some friends I had visited six months earlier. They were Christians and on that occasion I had attended one of their Bible Studies. Although I had been brought up in a Christian home, I had begun to find the Christian life very difficult. This was because I did not understand the full truth about God’s love for me.
We were studying a verse in the book of Hebrews 4:6 that says, ‘So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.’ Someone had asked the question as to what you did when the temptation to sin was beyond you. I perked up and listened because I was always sinning and feeling terrible afterwards. One of the ladies there said we need to cry out to God, even as we know we are sinning, even in the very act of sinning and say, ‘Father have mercy on me in this time of need.’
For some reason, during my visit to these friends, I decided I could not go ahead with this six-month trip. I wanted some commitment from Simon, so I rang him in England and said, ‘Look it’s got to be now or never.’ This was not our agreement he told me, and basically wanted to finish our relationship. Despite this I bought a ticket and flew straight back home. By then it was as if I was going to pieces, and I started thinking about killing myself because I could not face life without him. As soon as I got back home, I rang Simon again and he came to see me. He had not changed his mind. Although I did not say so to him, inside I was screaming, ‘If you go out of this door now I’m going to kill myself.’ He left, not knowing of course what I was thinking. I said, ‘Well that’s it. I hate you God, you’re against me.’
No one, apart from Simon, knew I was back home, and I had no intention of telling anyone about what I was going to do. I was so angry with God, or at least that’s Who I blamed, that immediately Simon left I took a huge overdose. My sister, for some reason, had decided to call round to the flat not knowing I was there. She immediately rang for an ambulance that rushed me to hospital, and they managed to save my life.
The next morning when I woke up my sister was sitting by my bed and I thought, ‘Oh God, I’m still alive, I’m still here.’ My first thought was that I must get out of the hospital so I could do it again. When the psychiatrist came to see me he must have been able to read my mind. He told me they would not let me out of the hospital as he believed I would only try again. I tried the best I could to convince him I had no intention of trying again. Meanwhile my sister had been on the telephone to a Christian psychiatrist who dropped everything and came straight to the hospital. He told the hospital staff that he would keep me in his care, and so they released me.
He left me with some very good friends for 24 hours on the undertaking that they would look after me, because he had something very important which had to be done. I found this all very embarrassing, because they did not know anything about my relationship with Simon, or what had happened, and I convinced them that I was perfectly all right. They gave me a lift back to the flat in which I was staying. At about 11 o’clock that evening, the Christian psychiatrist rang me and said he wanted to speak to me, but only when I was among Christians, not on my own. I was angry and decided to kill myself there and then. Unfortunately all my pills had been removed from the flat, and there was no alcohol either. I looked out of the window of this Victorian house. I was on the first floor, but decided not to jump as I may just put myself in a wheelchair, rather than do the job properly. Then I thought about a knife, but decided it might hurt too much. Eventually I had the bright idea of running a bath and placing an electric fire in it.
By now it was about midnight. There was nobody to stop me, so I sat down and wrote the conventional suicide note to explain how I felt. Emotionally, it seemed as if I was in a dark tunnel that I had been going down for the past week, since I had made the call from California. It was like one of those old railway tunnels that I had gone down, only to find it was bricked up. I could not climb up and get out, I could not go ahead, and there was no going back because it was too long, too dark and too far. It was suffocating me, and I was too weak to do to do anything to save myself. There was just this awful blackness and total despair.
Very slowly I collected my thoughts together and decided, because I was a Christian and therefore a child of God, that I would pray before I died. I knew that suicide was a sin, and I was not too sure about whether you still went to Heaven because you would actually be sinning at the moment of death. At that moment, I remembered that verse about God helping us in time of need. I went and got my Bible, got down on my knees, and opened it at Hebrews 4:16. Instead of screaming on the inside as I had been doing for so long, I prayed that verse and told God, ‘Father I come to You in my very hour of need, I come to Your throne of grace. I am sorry I am committing suicide Lord, but I cannot see a way out.’
No sooner had the words come out of my mouth than I found myself in front of God. People have said I must have died, but I am not sure what happened. All I know is that I was there. I did not see Jesus, only God Almighty. I do not know what He looked like because there was just this warmth and light. Then He spoke and greeted me, and I just said, ‘Hi.’ His next words may sound funny, but I did not think so then. ‘You are early’, He said, to which I responded that I knew, and I was sorry. God then asked me what I was doing there, as it was not my time. Such was His love that I poured out my heart and told Him I could not go on any longer because I could not stand the pain. ‘I know you cannot,’ He responded, ‘but you cannot come home yet.’
There was no feeling on my part that I was not welcome. I felt that if I walked over to the left side of God’s throne, I could have walked into Heaven. Again He said, ‘You cannot come home yet, there are people you need to speak to.’
Although it was brightness in front of me, behind was just darkness. I turned and saw a group of people. Actually it was more like two small circles standing in the form of a figure of eight. God showed me that these people were going to Hell if I did not speak to them. There was no argument on my part, I knew He was telling the truth. I turned round to them again and pleaded with God not to send them to Hell, but to send someone else speak to them instead of me. His reply was, ‘I cannot, you are going to have to it.’
I knew there was no arguing over this. I knew that there would be a time when I would speak to these people. Whatever it was I had to say, or whenever it was, or whether I would actually lead them to God, I really did not know. All I knew was that it was my job, and no one else could do this. As I turned saying I agreed to go back, it hit me just what I was going back to, and again I told God that I could not go back because I could not stand the pain. But there was no choice because Heaven is a place of perfection, and you cannot go there bearing guilt. So I had to come back in order to speak to them. As I turned for the last time to leave God’s presence He said, ‘Ring somebody else.’
The next thing I was back in the sitting room, kneeling on the floor where I had started, and the telephone was next to me. I thought of the psychiatrist whose last words had been to ring him up any time of day or night. I phoned him, but there was no answer. The phone just rang and rang. I threw down the receiver and screamed at God, ‘Well, I’m just going to have to die because he is not there.’ It was as if I was saying, ‘Bad luck God, I am coming anyway.’
God’s last words had been to ring someone else, and I knew who He wanted me to ring. Three times I started to dial the number, and three times I put the phone down half way through. It was war going on inside me, but the quiet voice of God kept coming through, ‘Ring him up.’
Eventually, I got through the whole number and the words came out, ‘Oh Dad, I am killing myself, and I don’t want to die.’ This was the first time I had heard myself say those words, and Dad just said, ‘I know, Chloe.’ He began to pray for me, but I wasn’t praying with him. In the end I interrupted him and told him it was useless, because I was going to go through with it. He told me he would ring the hospital for an ambulance, but I told him not to dare do that. I started crying again, but in the end I asked him to pray again. He asked if I would pray with him, and I agreed. This was so important because it was no longer my Dad praying for me. This time I was praying with him, and my will was involved. I knew I had to forgive Simon, and thought that was not too difficult, because I loved him. But as I tried to say it I realised I did not love him, I hated him. This whole suicide thing was actually murder introverted on myself. As this came to me in a flash, I said again that I forgave him, and this time it was like a ton weight of bricks falling off me, as the ropes holding them snapped. I realised I had been lying on the floor, as it were weighed down by all of this, but as I said those words, I jumped up in the air and shouted, ‘It’s gone, it’s gone.’
Later I discovered that I was pregnant at the time of the attempted suicide, and it dawned on me that had I died then of course the baby would have died too. The Lord then showed me that the first of the two groups I saw in Heaven were the ones to whom I would speak, and the group furthest away from me was the group to whom my child would speak.
Although the situation had seemed such a disaster it was wonderful to realise that the Lord had planned this child, and He had people for my child to speak to about His love. My daughter is now just turned 11, and she has brought so many people to know Jesus, it is amazing. Every time she tells me about some else she has spoken to, I jump for joy because I remember that group.