Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Melissa: A Father's Lessons from a Daughter's Suicide by Frank Page

Desperately hurting people take their own lives every day throughout the world, yet the church is not on top of the epidemic and often seems ill- equipped to address it biblically and effectively.

Frank Page, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, learned this firsthand when he and his wife Dayle lost their daughter, Melissa, to suicide in 2009. Writing from personal experience, he examines the biblical truths that carried him through such a painful time and that minister to him on dark days still known to come around. Ultimately, Melissa: A Father's Lessons from a Daughter's Suicide is beauty from ashes, a book of wisdom and hope that Page wishes he could have read before going through this valley, and a resource the church can use to directly address an all-too-real problem.

This is a heavy book to read. It's heavy because of the emotions and the pain that can be felt throughout its entirety. It's a father's grief observed. It's painful, sad, honest, raw, loving and gentle. 

Starting from the beginning, this book is dedicated to those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide and to those who survived it -  families of the ones who chose suicide. In the introduction, the author explains his hope for this book to become a tool and an encouragement for people struggling in any way, with suicide or with its consequences. 

It is written from a fathers heart, and as a reader, you can feel that all the way throughout it. The voice of this book is not one of superiority, but of empathy. I really loved the way he tackles the difficult and controversial (especially in Christian circles) problem of suicide. He comes at it with boldness, gentleness and love; not at all with judgement. 

The book is structured into 8 chapters, each focusing on some primary misconceptions people have about suicide and the persons committing it. At the end of each chapter, the author dedicates a special section to those who contemplate committing suicide entitled "A Letter to You" in which he tries to offer a new perspective based on what was discussed in that chapter. 
Being the president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Committee in Nashville, the author offers a biblical perspective on the issue of suicide. Throughout the book he will insert bible passages and stories of people in the bible struggling with depression and other destructive thoughts and emotions.

I think Page offers a real, raw, authentic and painful image of what the consequences of choosing suicide can be. I believe this book is a great resource for people who are thinking about committing suicide and for the families whose loved ones chose suicide and are now living its consequences. 
I'm not part of either of those two categories, but I really liked the book. I believe it offered me a realistic perspective on the problem of suicide. This book showed me the aftermath of a choice, not only the causes and symptoms of a disorder. 

Frank Page, coauthor of The Incredible Shrinking Church, is the president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee in Nashville, Tennessee. He holds Ph.D. and M.Div. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has also served as a seminary professor, Bible reference writer, and international speaker.

>> I have requested this book from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.