Finding, working toward life’s purpose

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2023

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Editor’s note: This article discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, don’t hesitate to contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A little over six months ago I learned of a local student who attempted to take their own life. Heartbroken for this youth who felt suicide was the only solution to their problems, I wrote a series around teen suicide, what families and communities can do to help, and the need to have open conversations about mental health and create safe spaces for people battling thoughts of self-harm to get the support they need to choose life over death. 

Along the way, I learned about an initiative called Love Like Lexi, a program aimed at helping teens win the battle over suicide and commit to choosing life. 

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Launched by Andrea Miller in 2019 after her daughter Lexi Webb committed suicide, the program is delivered in schools across Alabama and Georgia to educate parents about the need to talk with their children about suicide, to help youths realize suicide is not the answer to life’s problems and to encourage teens to support one another in their commitment to choosing life. 

Inspired by Miller and Webb’s stories, I wrote articles featuring the effort and its implementation in area schools. One version of that story ran in a statewide publication and was read by youth leaders of a south Alabama church, who invited Miller to present Love Like Lexi to its youth group. Over 160 teens committed to choose life after participating in the program. 

Hundreds of teens have participated in Love Like Lexi and committed to choose life, not death, as the answer to life’s problems. Hundreds of parents have also learned about the need to have open conversations with their teens, even the ones who seem happy, popular and successful as Webb had. 

Before joining the staff of Boone Newsmedia, I thought journalism would culminate in me writing only for Christian publications, thinking that faith focused writing was surely my purpose in life. But God had a much better plan, as He always does. 

If just one life is changed for the better by something I have written, I know I am living up to my life’s greatest potential. 

Each person has a gift or skill they can use to impact others for the better. I encourage our readers to explore their gifts looking at their purpose with fresh eyes, and to be open to using their skills in ways as yet unimaginable to impact their community. v