The wife of late California pastor Jarrid Wilson, who took his life over a week ago after a long battle with depression, celebrated his first “birthday in heaven” Wednesday.
“Happy 1st birthday in heaven, baby. Today, you would’ve been 31. You lived more in those years than most could in 100. I’m blown away by all God did in and through your life!” Wilson’s wife, Juli, who is also the mother of his two young sons, wrote in a post on Instagram.
She then shared how they planned to celebrate the birthday he missed by nine days after he took his life on the night of Sept. 9.
“We planned to go to a cabin with friends this weekend. We planned on burritos and your favorite funfetti cake. And of course, we planned on lots and lots of fishing. When I asked what you wanted for a gift you’d say, ‘nothing’ and finally go on to shut me up by saying that ‘fishing line or some tackle would be just fine’. You were simple like that. I loved it,” she wrote.
Juli also imagined what they would have been doing on his birthday but she expressed comfort knowing that he is now with God.
“I can’t help but think of everything we could be doing together today, how we should be celebrating all the wonderful things that made you, you...but I am so thankful that through Christ, I am not limited to an earthly perspective. Today, you are doing what you were CREATED to do. You are worshiping the king of kings face-to-face. You are complete and whole, not lacking a thing. How could I not find peace in that?” she said of her late husband, who served as an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside.
“Our hearts are broken here. We miss you beyond what words can convey. The pain is so deep, raw and surreal, but we hold on to hope as an anchor for our souls. It is firm and secure. We WILL see you again. I love you, jare,” she ended.
In addition to his family, many others, such as "Little People, Big World" star Audrey Roloff, 28, continue grieving the beloved pastor after his suicide.
She told her more than one million followers on Instagram Tuesday that she heard about her friend’s passing on the second birthday of her daughter, Ember, who demonstrated much compassion toward her as she grieved.
“It was shocking and absolutely heart-breaking news. I couldn’t breathe when I found out and sobbed for hours. Ember saw my tears, ‘Sad mama?’ We sat on the couch together and she kept giving me pats on my shoulder and saying, ‘It’s ok mama, no more crying, happy mama?’ When I kept crying she would wipe away my tears and say, ‘blow mama, blow’ and she would show me how to blow just like I do with her when she’s upset. Cue more tears,” Roloff wrote.
She then urged prayers for Wilson’s family as well as for those who struggle with mental illness.
“Jarrid and his wife Juli have been such faithful encouragers and good friends since before we were married. As we’ve been crying, processing, and praying, we’ve felt all the emotions that come with loss - anger, confusion, hurt, shock, etc. This past week I just keep thinking about @itsjuliwilson and her two boys and praying in desperation,” she wrote.
“Praying that Lord would give those boys peace that surpasses understanding. That Juli would be flooded with prayer, love, encouraging truth, practical help, and compassion. That Jarrid’s life would be honored well. That people who struggle with anxiety, depression, and mental illness would not lose hope. And ultimately, that people who don’t struggle with mental illness would be compassionate."
She then urged the church community to be more compassionate while noting that her daughter showed more compassion than most adults.
“Mental illnesss has a lot of stigma around it, unfortunately especially in the church. I think we can be better, especially in times of mourning, to be less critical and more compassionate. To be quicker to love than to judge. To be more like a two-year old comforting her mama. To be ‘compassionate and gracious, slow to anger; and abounding in love and faithfulness’ (Psalm 86:15). While I was sitting on the couch with Ember mourning the loss of our friend, I realized how much more COMPASSIONATE my 2 year old is than most adults...,” she continued. “Sometimes people just need you to sit with them, wipe their tears, and blow.”