“Lord, why do you want me to write Stacy’s memorial?” He replied, “Peter, I don’t want Stacy’s pain and shame and heroic battle with depression and addiction to drugs go down the drain.”
Stacy died on April 25, 2011. She had been prescribed the antidepressant drug CYMBALTA. According to her Mother, the drug caused her head to swell and five days after being admitted to the hospital, she died.
I was first introduced to this beautiful lady in December of 2004. She was 38 at the time. She was a gifted teacher and taught literature at a high school. English was her strong suit. She had a flawless command of the language. She was truly a word smith. She was beautiful inside and out. With the exception of a few people she trusted, no one suspected that she was living a double life. She was falling apart on the inside while she looked immaculate and in perfect health on the outside. She continued to teach until the day she fell apart and lost her job. She struggled heroically against the use of drugs, both legally and illegally obtained before we met. Both hell and heaven were a personal reality for her.
We received the below letter from Stacy’s mother prior to getting acquainted with Stacy.
Dearest Peter and Rebekah,
Thank you so much for sending me the pictures and the card. Most of all thanks for your prayers for Stacy, my daughter.
She had a very hard weekend, but she made it through the de-tox. I’m not sure I spelled that right? She had taken a total of 60 pills a day before starting the de-tox. It is a miracle of God that she did not die. Pain pills off the Internet – 120 at a time delivered to her door. Pills on credit cards $3,000 this time, $10,000 the last time. I’m believing God this is the last time. I don’t think she can live through another time. Please continue to pray.
We love you,
Diana & Kelly
On November 24,2004 we received this letter from Stacy:
Dear Peter and Rebekah,
As you already know, I am working my way – shakily – through a very difficult situation in my life. I am addicted to prescription pain killers and have fought this battle for 23 years. Over the past ten I’ve managed to gain some ground only to lose it over and over.
I’ve been to treatment. I’ve been to exorcisms, I’ve attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings and Alcoholic Anonymous, and still I find myself killing myself. I have in the past had a precious relationship with my Lord Jesus, but I feel lost … and angry. I’m not at all sure you would want a person like me there, but I am a teacher and will have some time between Christmas and New Year’s when I might be able to get there.
Because of the nature of what ails me, I’ve asked my dearest friend and sponsor to accompany me, if I pass snuff with the two of you. I know very little about what you do or what I might expect there, but I am desperate.
Please write to me,
Stacy came and spent a few days with us during her Christmas school break. Our hearts connected at a deep level. She said, “If I could only touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, I know I would be healed.” And she did. Hope came alive. The Holy Spirit came upon her and washed her as she wept tears of release. It is written that the anointing breaks the yoke of bondage. And that’s what happened. The Holy Spirit fell upon her, in fact, He fell upon all of us. We gave her the metal sculpture when she left a few days later. After returning home, she sent us this handwritten note. Included with the letter was the paperwork of several purchases of pain pills obtained via the Internet.
May Jesus’ Blood cover this. Some of the pain pills were given to Stephen, some were flushed in a moment of fear. Whatever – It’s a done deal!
* * * * * * * *
Stacy visited us a number of times until she died at the age of 45 on April 25, 2011. We exchanged many letters. We have saved some of the correspondence. I asked Stacy to proofread and edit many of the stories I wrote and posted on our web site. She was always ready and eager to do this. Her biggest task was to proofread the book, “The Stone Table at Maagan”. In this book I chronicled my visit to Israel in 2005. I asked her to write the acknowledgment for the book. It was a labor of love. I include it here because it reveals the beauty of a soul that has walked unnoticed amongst us for only a brief season.
This manuscript is the gift of many saints who offered themselves freely to bring these words and pictures to you. Some are named, but most are invisible to the naked eye. They are engraved on the tablet of God’s heart and a part of a beautiful and eternal tapestry. However, the Holy Spirit prompted the author to include a letter from Stacy, the editor, as a part of the acknowledgement. Stacy is an English teacher and has skills this scribe does not have. She offered to prune and polish the text and promised not to touch its “heart.” The raw text was turned over to her with great joy, gratitude, and confidence. The finished product glows with the Father’s Heart.
There was a lot of correspondence between the scribe and his editor. Each of Stacy’s letters is a treasure. The scribe wants the reader to meet this lovely lady by reading one of them. It will set the stage for the book and inspire hope in those who have lost hope.
Those who are holding a hanging rope, a loaded gun, or suicide pills in their hands or thoughts will be able to place them in God’s Hands. Yes, there is more hope in Stacy’s letter than there is in all the pills and all the booze in the world.
November 12th, 2005
My Dearest Peter,
I've so much I want to express to you. I've begun this message several times, only to begin again. I'm happy that we'll soon have an opportunity to sit together. Perhaps we'll talk a great deal; perhaps we'll spend a good deal of time in silence together. I don't think it really matters, because we know one another's hearts.
One thing I do want to say now is that I don't have a clear idea about my place in God's plan. Since He began to bring the two of us together two years ago with Mom's visit to Pagosa Springs, I've become a different person. While Mom and Kelly were first sitting in your living room, I was in the hospital -- a mental ward similar to what you describe in the manuscript -- under 24-hour suicide watch. I had taken so many pills that I was unable to speak clearly. Everyone I trusted was gone. I had effectively pushed them all away. From that point to this is like the span of a lifetime.
When I went into treatment in May of this year, I kept your words close to my heart. You assured me that I was not going into that place -- yet another mental ward -- alone; Jesus was going AHEAD of me. Not just with me, but AHEAD of me. That reassurance came straight from the Throne of God. I couldn't have gone without it. I couldn't have stayed without it. I hated every second I was there, with the exception of a number of very early morning meetings with Jesus.
The treatment center is actually a sprawling ranch house just north of Lubbock. There are tennis and basketball courts, a swimming pool with a waterfall on the grounds. All of that was lost on me. I hated it. I especially hated being a "patient," being treated as a "case," and a typical one, at that. From the second I entered, everyone there saw me as a "typical addict" in every respect, except that I was perhaps sicker than most. Everything I said was met with quiet condescension, with a patronizing response meant to "calm me down" and bring me to an awareness that I was in a hopeless, helpless state. Every word I spoke was assumed to be an attempt to manipulate and deceive.
I shared a room with a precious lady named Jeanie, a soft-spoken, Christian grandma, who spent hours sitting with me while I wept and who daily invested her own limited energy in convincing me to remain in that facility while I ranted and fought and cursed. My emotions were raw and completely unpredictable. Physically, I was sick and exhausted; spiritually, I despaired.
The first time I left a message on your recorder, I had just had my first early morning meeting with Jesus, one that marked the beginning of a fork in the road. I found a copy of The Message Bible (coincidence?) there, and clung to it as to a life preserver.
I awoke that morning around 3:00AM, and began reading and writing and praying and crying. Just as the sun began to rise, I walked out past the fence line into the pasture, weeping and calling to God. I fell to my knees, and in a heap on the ground, said,
"FINE!! I'M HERE! I'M BROKEN AND THERE'S NOTHING LEFT! I CANNOT DO THIS! WHAT IS IT YOU WANT?!"
For a moment -- just a moment -- I felt Jesus. For just a moment, I felt His presence. No words, just His presence and the knowledge that He would move me, He would speak for me, He would show me the Truth. I could TRUST Him.
Since that morning, every day has been a process of leaving more, and more of the old Stacy behind and coming to know the new Stacy – Resurrection Life Stacy. I've been moving out of fear, like shedding an old, dry, dead layer of skin.
I haven't understood it. I've just turned my eyes to Him and confessed that I TRUST HIM. I TRUST HIM to provide the money we need to live. I TRUST HIM to protect us from those who would attack us. I TRUST HIM to recreate my marriage in the image of Christ with His bride. I TRUST HIM to protect and heal my children. I TRUST HIM to protect me from the obsession and compulsion to use drugs. I just TRUST HIM.
As I was reading the manuscript, all of this came together for me. My spirit bears witness to the truth of God's revelation to you. Those little, “white stones” began to form a pattern when I read,
“This is for My son Peter, who must know My Love for him. Never to be separated again! Never to be disappointed in Him again! No longer dust, no longer clay, but now spirit, one with Him in joyous COMMUNION forever.
My trust is not misplaced. He allowed me to read your revelation first, an undeserved honor and measure of Grace that has not escaped me.
These words really are for His daughter, Stacy, who must KNOW His Love for her, and as you point out, it is a KNOWING. It is CHRIST IN US that is renewed through communion, and it is only through CHRIST IN US that we live.
How sweet, how sweet.
When I wrote that the manuscript is for a "select few,” I was thinking in terms of the moment. Others will hear. Others will KNOW. Others will be drawn out of that wasteland and into His Light and Warmth and Strength.
Yes, we will battle, but we will KNOW that the battle is won, that no further sacrifice is needed; no further sacrifice will EVER be pleasing to the Father.
It is done, and I don't have to have a clear idea about my place in God's plan, because He carries me with Him. I need only bask in His Love.
I love you, Peter Rabbit.
* * * * * * * *
A few days ago one of Stacy’s letters which she penned in 2009, appeared out of seemingly nowhere. I had copied it and saved it in typed format in our files; however the beauty of the letter is majorly diminished in typed format. Here it is in it’s original format. The original format is on 8 ½ by 11” vellum.
Click to enlarge letter pages
* * * * * * * *
As I was penning this letter, I tried to picture Stacy sitting next to me. I said, “Stacy, is there anything on your heart you would like to share with the people who may be reading these words?” She said, “Yes, there most definitely is. Please tell everyone to trust God for their healing and not drugs or doctors. Drugs will be
eternally grateful to that person. And, Peter, be sure to tell everyone that adversity was my university. Jesus helped me to graduate. I clung to him with all my heart. I am safe in His arms.”
a very temporary and expensive fix. The drugs I swallowed not only bankrupted me, they were like a two-edged sword. Some will cure us while others will kill us. Drugs are like chemical bullets that can easily miss their intended mark. CYMBALTA killed me even though a well-intentioned doctor prescribed the drug. Tell everyone to trust God and adopt Jesus as their Primary Physician, Healer, Priest, Psychiatrist, Counselor and Friend.
“The person who introduced me to drugs was knowingly or unknowingly an instrument of evil. I became an addict with the thrill of the first pill I swallowed. I was young, innocent and impressionable when that happened. My life became a rollercoaster ride of emotional highs and lows. The person who introduced me to Jesus, was one of God’s ambassadors. I will be
Stacy paid the ultimate price so that one day her story would be told and retold and that captives would be freed and others would be warned before swallowing their first pill. Thank you Stacy for heroically fighting the battle for your sanity. I love you. I am proud of you. Thank you for the powerful legacy for which you have paid the ultimate price. I thank God for choosing me to write this memorial. You are a gift to my heart – always have been, always will be. Many will thank you for your legacy. I can see you and Jesus walking hand in hand.
* * * * * * * *
In my files I found a real treasure.
Stacy writes about suicide, addiction and God’s love that heals.
The issue of suicide comes up for me again and again, not only because I have pondered it as a solution to my own problems in the past, but because I work with people every day who are slowly committing suicide through the abuse of drugs and alcohol. I am an addict in recovery, clean since May 30, 2005. That is not my first clean date. A life of complete rebellion against all authority, including that of God, led me to a place of hopeless despair in 1994. I entered treatment and was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and poly-substance abuse. In that place, as in most treatment facilities, counselors teach about the 12 steps as a means of recovery from addiction, and doctors prescribe medication for depression. For nearly four years after that experience, I believed that I had found the answer to my problem. I fully believed, also, that I knew this man, Jesus. I had been “saved” and baptized (a couple of times!) as a young child, I prayed in His Name, I studied the Scriptures diligently, and I found a church where I didn't seem to stick out too much. By 1998, after a series of huge life changes, I was depressed again, and again I turned to drugs. Things would get okay for a while; then things would get worse. All the time, I'm praying, “God, if I could only touch your robe! If I could only reach you!''
Try as I might, I could not see God at work in my life. I felt abandoned and forsaken. Because I could not see or hear or feel God, I had no escape from the enemy, the father of lies. Every attempt I made to get better failed, including prayer at the altar, participation in deliverance exercises (twice, and at no small monetary cost), 12-step meetings, psychiatrists, psychologists, and medical doctors. I was at death's door, and I had run through all my options. I can say truthfully that it was not the fear of hell that kept me alive. It was the dim and fading hope that before I died, God might have mercy. Then the miracles began.
My mother and her husband went to Colorado for vacation in 2003 while, coincidentally, I was locked up in the hospital after an “accidental” overdose of prescription meds. Oh, I was angry that my mother had gone off when I obviously needed her so badly. Those few days in the hospital were hellish. I was having trouble speaking clearly, I couldn't sleep, and I labored under the heaviest, darkest depression I had ever known.
When my mother returned, I went to visit her, and there on her bedside table was a book by Frances Roberts titled, Come Away, My Beloved. I was irresistibly drawn to it and wanted my own copy, but Mom said the book was out of print. She had gotten it through a strange (but wonderful) man in Colorado who made sand-blasted signs. She said she would see if he could send a copy, and very shortly thereafter, a package arrived at my house containing the book and a pamphlet about Stretcher-Bearer Ministries. On the blank side of that pamphlet, this little man, Peter Laue, had taken the time to extend an invitation to me, a complete stranger known to him only as a desperate addict, to visit the Upper Room. The whole idea seemed outrageous to me. Drive all the way from Texas to Colorado on the slight possibility that something real might happen? No.
Inexorably, my condition worsened until, in January of 2005, I finally gave up. I was ready to die; however, my mother and Peter were NOT ready for that. My mother took on the responsibility of transporting me to the mountains, and Peter prayed in intercession until he was literally so drained and frustrated that he was forced to relent and let God do the rest. And God did.
As my mother and I neared Peter's property, we began to sense that something was different here. What an understatement! I will never forget entering Peter's house that morning. He came to the door in his signature pajamas and robe, and he hugged me like I had never been hugged, laughing all the while, joy bubbling out of him. For the first time in my life, I FELT Jesus. Through Peter's obedience, I got a hug from the King that day. He invited us into the living room where he began to talk and to hand me various items, like a sword, a key, a huge brass medallion bearing the image of the Lion of Judah. Finally, he said, “I have a gift for you. I was going to wait, but the Lord says I should give it to you now.” He retrieved something from the other side of the room, and handed it to me. It was a small metal statue of the woman with the issue of blood, reaching out to touch the hem of Jesus' robe. It was, in hard, cold metal, evidence that Jesus is so crazy about me that He would spend years weaving a tapestry that would assure me of my salvation. I was dumbfounded.
We stayed in the Upper Room for a few days, but my struggles did not all end in a flash. I would return to Peter’s place in March, and in May - after losing my position as a high school teacher, destroying my and my husband's credit score, and neglecting my family to the extent that I very nearly lost them entirely - I checked into treatment again. It was brutally difficult, and I was angry, grief-stricken, and full of self-loathing. Still, I could not forget that hug. I couldn't explain that gift. And I finally became willing to go the Lord on my knees and ask Him directly what He wanted of me.
Ultimately, what the Lord wanted was forgiveness - my own forgiveness of myself. Patiently, He demonstrated that He is absolutely, positively, unconditionally, and eternally crazy about me. He reassured me that the price has been paid, and I am ransomed. I am free. Now, I spend my days joyfully reveling in His love and learning to walk in the freedom that He has promised us all.
What I know today is that Jesus has this same abiding love for each of His children, individually. He yearns to hold us, help us, heal us so that we never have to fear again. When the Word says that there is no fear in perfect love, that is precisely what it means. I don't know why I am blessed to be sitting here at this keyboard today while countless others of God's children are suffering and even dying, many at their own hands. But I do know that what saved me was the love of Jesus Christ, love that came first through the hug of a mighty spiritual warrior who understood that Love heals. It is through Love that we receive that promised strength to do all things through Christ Jesus. It is through Love that we carry that LIVING message of hope and of freedom into the darkest recesses of a dying world. And it is through Love that we receive the peace that passes all understanding, the peace that made Paul to be content in all circumstances, the peace that allows us to release every individual - mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son - to the loving care of the Creator.
It occurs to me that we are asking the wrong questions about suicide: Is suicide a sin? Are those who commit suicide condemned to hell and an eternity of separation from God? I must have a Special Edition of the Bible because mine says that once we call on the Name of Jesus as our Savior, NOTHING can separate us from His love. It doesn't say only a few things can separate us. It doesn't say nothing can separate us except suicide, homicide, abortion, homosexuality, etc. Nothing is an absolute, and when we cannot trust anything else, we can trust that God says what He means and means what He says.
What I've learned about my own experience with suicide is that condemnation is of no help, whether we condemn the act of suicide, ourselves for our inability to stop it, or the victim of suicide who could not hold on long enough for the miracles to happen. I recognize that family and friends feel angry and powerless in the face of such loss, and that's a natural part of the grief process; nevertheless, if we are ever to get through that process, we have to let the dead bury the dead while we continue to keep our eyes on the King, continue to serve as conduits of His saving Grace.
There is no need for us to decide how God handles such situations as suicide; our need is to rest in the knowledge of God’s love and sovereignty. There is no need to quote Scripture at a person considering suicide or wrestling with the suicide of a loved one. The Word of God comes fully ALIVE when we become willing to allow Jesus to re-form us in His own Image. When we are able to step beyond all the sermons we've attended, all the books we read, all the apologies for Grace that we've heard, then we can expect to meet Him. Jesus lives! The Holy Spirit is vital and active! Risk letting go of the fear that keeps us bound in the enemy's chains, and watch the fireworks!
I place this “forever” bouquet of flowers and words at Stacy’s grave