‘Happy birthday in Heaven’: Kay Warren posts message to son who died by suicide

Kay Warren (L) and her late son Matthew Warren (R).
Kay Warren (L) and her late son Matthew Warren (R). | (Photos: Facebook; Saddleback Church)

Kay Warren recently took to social media to send a happy birthday message to her youngest son Matthew, who committed suicide back in 2013 following a lifelong battle with mental illness.

Warren posted the message to her Facebook page on July 18, which would have been his 35th birthday, wishing him a “Happy Birthday in Heaven” and adding that “I’ll see you in a little while.”

“Not all of those days were good; many were filled with pain and suffering - yours and ours. Yet your birthday reminds me of the goodness of God in this life,” she wrote.

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“It was good that I was chosen to conceive you, carry you, birth you, nourish you, and nurture you. It was good that you had a daddy, sister and brother who embraced you and were willing to be fierce and loving bulwarks against the darkness of mental illness.”

Warren stressed that it was “so very good” that Matthew had “a Father in heaven who received you into a place where single days blend seamlessly into the next billion days.”

“Where mental illness and sorrow of every kind are banished. Where scars are merely records of suffering finally overcome by the Victorious One.

“Where the trials and crushing weight of this broken world’s woes are now viewed through the lens of a sovereign God’s eternal plan. Where all your anguished questions and searchings have their answers.”

On April 5, 2013, 27-year-old Matthew Warren, son of California megachurch Pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren, committed suicide via a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In a message written after learning about his son’s death, Pastor Warren explained that while Matthew had had a lifelong battle with mental illness, he also had “a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room.”

“He'd then make a bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them,” stated Pastor Warren at the time. “But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts.”

“In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.”

This is not the first year that Kay Warren has taken to remembering her late son on his birthday. Last year, her birthday message to Matthew focused on the theme of the rose.

“Your rose is blooming today. With all the faith I have, I believe that the roses that surround you are brighter, smell sweeter and are tended by their Creator,” she wrote in 2019.

“Whatever you’re doing, Jesus’ words reassure me it’s good. So I will linger over your rose, absorbing the colors, textures and scent, and let it be a 'seen' reminder of the unseen Reality where you live. I miss you so much; just a little while longer! Love you forever, Buddy.”

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