Mike speaking at Freedom Church, Acworth, GA on the acronyms of life ... edited version.
Imagine growing up in a home feeling unloved and ridiculed by your own family. Imagine the feeling that no matter how you lived your life, it was never good enough. Imagine that no matter how significant your successes, they could never outshine the darkness of your failures. Imagine that in the midst of living a life considered blessed by most standards, overwhelming depression crippled your ability to enjoy it or even fully appreciate it. Imagine trying to take your own life… and almost succeeding.
If you can identify with any of these statements, know that you are not alone. Acworth resident, Mike Morrison’s life experiences have run the gamut as described above. “I’m living proof that God truly is in the restoration business,” Morrison says. “In August of 2011, I decided that I could no longer endure living my life as I had for the last 40-plus years. I couldn’t take it any more. After suffering from depression for most of my adult life, I truly felt that my life was one long, dark, endless tunnel.”
Early in the morning on August 17, 2011, Morrison again awoke feeling the crushing burden of unrelenting depression. Taking several different medications prescribed for depression, Morrison felt no relief – in fact, he felt as though his life was on a continuing downward spiral. “For the better part of a week, I spent most of every day, sleeping, crying, or contemplating suicide. Frankly, I had felt that way many times before… I just didn’t think I could go on.”
On this day, Morrison decided that indeed, he couldn’t endure it any longer. He came to the conclusion that he wanted to end his life. Although he was finally convinced he wanted to act, he called out to God in a final desperate plea for help, “God, if You don’t want me to die, You’d better talk to me right now. You’d better say something.”
The only response was total silence.
Grief and despair overcame Morrison, and before he could lose his nerve, he swallowed a bottle of pills of his pain relief prescription and guzzled a full bottle of water. It was now too late; all that was left was to wait for the inevitable end.
“Obviously what happens next is I didn’t die,” Morrison wryly notes. “But what happened next is what famed radio commentator Paul Harvey called ‘The Rest of the Story.’”
Morrison adds, ‘What happened next can only be attributed to God’s plan for my life taking precedence over MY plan to end my life.”
Found by his son and rushed to a local hospital, Morrison recovered and began the long and difficult process of restoration. “Restoring my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health became the focus for life at that point,” Morrison says. “I had to get my life in order to examine my relationship with my family, my friends and most of all, God, who had obviously seen fit to spare me for a reason”
What Morrison discovered in the weeks and months that followed was, what he believed, a clear calling to share with others about his experiences. “Anti-depressants are the third most widely prescribed drug in the United States today, their use more than doubling in the last 12 years. Couple that with the fact that over one million people attempt to commit suicide annually, and you have a real recipe for heartbreak.” Morrison adds, “What I discovered is that God can restore every aspect of your life more fully than any medication could ever hope to.”
As Morrison has discovered in his conversations with others, there is a great deal of misery in our society today. With the stresses created by everyday pressures exacerbated by the current economic and social woes present in our society, chronic unemployment, etc., many individuals experience great feelings of hopelessness and despair. “What I’ve discovered however, is that God can take the darkest times in your life and use them to create a light that can shine for others and give them encouragement and a sense of renewed purpose.”
The message that Morrison is sharing with others is one of renewal and restoration; the ability to redirect your life in way that serves others. “If I can help others to understand that they don’t have to just ‘accept’ depression, live in perpetual mental, physical and spiritual turmoil, and sacrifice their relationships with their families and others, then I can achieve at least part of what I feel that God has called me to do. The statistics are just too frightening for me to do anything less.”
The process Morrison has undergone thus far has included the writing of a short book entitled, “Suffering To Surrender – A Father Shares His Life With His Son.” Morrison has also established a lay ministry entitled “Suffering To Surrender.” It is so named to demonstrate that his sufferings have resulted in his complete surrender to God’s calling for his life. “If by suffering, I can achieve complete surrender to God’s plan for my life, then the endurance of that suffering will be worth it.
“Far too often those who contemplate ending their life don’t think beyond the moment,” Morrison notes. “Young people especially can’t see beyond the immediate, and feel that there is no other alternative. But suffering is temporary, and after a season, recovery and restoration is possible with the right help. By all rights, I shouldn’t be here today to share this story, but through the grace of God, and with His help, I am.”