Andrew Stoecklein, the lead pastor of Inland Hills Church in Chino, California, tried to take his own life on Friday, August 25, 2018. Though he was rushed to the hospital and put on life support, he sadly passed away on Saturday.
“Last night, the love of my life, the father of my children and the pastor of our incredible church took his last breath and went to be with Jesus,” his wife Kayla wrote on Instagram. “It wasn’t the miracle I was hoping for but he is now in heaven with his dad, free of pain, free of depression and anxiety.”
Last night, the love of my life, the father of my children and the pastor of our incredible church took his last breath and went to be with Jesus. It wasn’t the miracle I was hoping for but he is now in heaven with his dad, free of pain, free of depression and anxiety. • He was an amazing husband, he truly made me better, made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world, and he loved me so deeply. We fit so well together, we were one. He was an amazing daddy, his three boys are going to miss him so much. He had such a unique and special relationship with each of them. He was an incredibly gifted teacher, communicator, and pastor. He was special, one of a kind and will be missed by thousands of people all around the world. • Please pray for me and the boys. I don’t know how I am going to face this, I am completely heartbroken, lost, and empty. Never in a million years would I have imagined this would be the end of his story. • If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions, please tell someone. Please make sure you’re not alone, and please call a friend or family member before you make that irreversible decision. You are loved and valued more than you know! #godsgotthis
A vicious, hard-fought battle with depression and anxiety was cited by both Kayla and Inland Hills Church as the reason for Andrew’s suicide.
His tragic passing has rocked the nation and ramped up the need for the church to talk about mental health and suicide prevention.
“In this tragedy, we encourage anyone who is hurting emotionally to ask for help,” Inland Hills urged in an update. “If you or anyone else is struggling, the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255) is a potentially life-saving resource. May we be a beacon of hope for the community, to rescue the hurting and honor the God that Andrew served so well.”
Now, only a few days after the tragedy, Andrew’s grieving wife Kayla has come forth to write a letter to her dear Andrew, and it is both moving and heart-shattering beyond words.
“To My Andrew, It’s only been 3 days,” she writes in opening. “Nothing can take away the suffocating pain I feel now you are gone. I miss every part of you, I see you everywhere. I replay the events of that fateful day over and over again in my mind wishing I could have done things differently. Wishing I could have held your hand one more time and prayed over you and told you how much I love you, how much I believe in you, and how God’s got this too.”
You can almost feel Kayla’s heartbreak in your bones as she continues to talk about her husband’s struggles and how regretful she is about not fully understanding the depths of his pain:
“You were right all along, I truly didn’t understand the depths of your depression and anxiety. I didn’t understand how real and how relentless the spiritual attacks were. The pain, the fear, and the turmoil you must have been dealing with every single day is unimaginable.”
She also boldly calls out the enemy for attacking a man of God who Satan KNEW was a threat to his wicked kingdom:
“The enemy knew what an amazing man you were. The enemy knew God had huge plans for your life. The enemy saw how God was using your gifts, abilities, and unique teaching style to reach thousands of lives for Him. The enemy hated it and he pursued you incessantly. Taunting you and torturing you in ways that you were unable to express to anyone.”
Despite his mental health battles, Andrew was on fire for the Lord, and Satan had a plan to destroy him.
Kayla goes on to make a heart-wrenching list of all the reasons she’s so terribly sorry:
“Andrew I want to tell you from the depths of my heart and my pain I am so sorry.
I am so sorry you were so scared,
I am so sorry you felt so alone,
I am so sorry you felt misunderstood,
I am so sorry you felt betrayed and deeply hurt by the words and actions of others,