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Thriving Beyond Belief with Cheryl Scruggs

Sep 23, 2020

Today on the Thriving Beyond Belief podcast, Kayla Stocklein!

Widow of Megachurch Pastor Leaves Breadcrumbs of Hope for Those Lost in the Wilderness of Mental Illness in New Book Kayla Stoecklein Shares the Journey that Led to Her Husband’s Suicide, Encourages Others to Be a Safe Space for Those Struggling in ‘Fear Gone Wild.'

“It’s crucial we approach this message as both a love story full of life and a tragedy full of loss at the same time. When we leave room for both/and in another person’s story, we start to leave space in our own life for both sorrow and celebration to coexist.” – Foreword by NYT Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst

NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 23, 2020— On August 25, 2018, Kayla Stoecklein lost her husband Andrew—megachurch pastor of Inland Hills Church in Chino, California—to suicide. In the wake of her overwhelming tragedy, she embarked on a brave journey to better understand Andrew’s harrowing battle with mental illness and, ultimately,
to overcome the stigma of suicide.

She intimately retells all that led to that tragic day, her journey to better understand, and the light she has found in the darkness, all in hopes of better equipping those who find themselves walking a similar path.

“From the very first letter I wrote to him just a few days after he went home to heaven, I knew there would be deep purpose in my pain,” writes Stoecklein. “God was planting a burning message inside of my heart as he intricately used our story as a lifeline of hope for others.” In just 10 short months, what started as occasional panic attacks quickly morphed into frequent, severe attacks, and then into a deep, full-fledged battle with depression. Kayla watched as her strong, lively husband went from a passionate pastor and doting father to an empty, bleak shadow of himself. The battle Andrew faced was a deadly
combination of mental illness and spiritual warfare, and on Aug. 25, 2018, he ended the battle by taking his life.

Because Andrew had planned to be open about his depression, Kayla became an open book about his suicide and has found a renewed purpose in providing hope to others lost in the all-too-familiar wilderness of grief and mental illness. Since Andrew’s death, she has written in real time about her grief on God’s God This, a blog Andrew started as his father was dying, and on her Instagram account.

About the Author:

Kayla Stoecklein is an advocate for those confronting mental illness. When she isn’t busy raising her three young boys, you can find her on the beach, sipping an iced coffee and searching for little glimpses of heaven on earth.