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Wife of Pastor Shares Heartbreaking Truth About Depression After Husband Takes Own Life

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A church community in California is still processing grief and confusion after their pastor died after attempting to take his own life on Friday morning.

On Saturday morning, Inland Hills Church in Chino, California, posted a heart-wrenching message asking the congregation to pray for their lead pastor, Andrew Stoecklein, who had been battling both depression and anxiety.

“IHC Family and friends, please pray for our lead pastor, Andrew Stoecklein,” the post began. “He tried to take his own life Friday morning, and is now in the hospital on life support. We love and serve a God of miracles, and we ask you to press in and respond in prayer and in faith.”

The post was ended with the hashtag “#godsgotthis” which Andrew’s wife, Kayla, explained was a phrase that Andrew and his family used while his dad was battling leukemia. It was a phrase that she said he was “incredibly passionate” about.



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Tragically, the 30-year-old pastor passed away the following day.

The church posted an update expressing their grief on Sunday evening. “It’s not the outcome we hoped and prayed for, and today we grieve as a church family,” they wrote.

“In his time leading Inland Hills, Andrew reached so many with his warm wit, passionate heart for God, and teaching that always, always pointed others to Jesus. The loving husband, father, son, and friend that he was will continue to inspire us in leading others into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.”

At the end of the post, they shared their hope to be a place of rest for those struggling in ways similar to Andrew.

“May we be a beacon of hope for the community, to rescue the hurting and honor the God that Andrew served so well. Andrew, we love you. And we always will.”



Kayla shared an Instagram post of her own that is incredibly heartbreaking.

“Last night, the love of my life, the father of my children and the pastor of our incredible church took his last breath,” she wrote. “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,” she continued. “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.”

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She also encouraged anyone battling suicidal thoughts to reach out to someone.

“You are loved and valued more than you know,” she pleaded.

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 post shared by Kayla Stoecklein (@kaylasteck) on

Paul Valo, pastor of Christ Church of Orlando, expressed his condolences to Andrew’s family and church community and highlighted the immense amount of pressure pastors go through.

“Depression is real and pastors are not exempt or defective who experience it,” he wrote. “In this generation, pastors are expected to be business savvy, Instagram quotable preaching celebrities, fully accessible, deeply spiritual, not too young, not too old, and if a pastor doesn’t quite measure up to someone’s expectation at any given moment, they are given a two out of five star rating on Google.”

He then suggested that church members pay attention and actively seek out ways to pray for their pastor.

“Let me recommend that you pray for your pastor and support your church faithfully! You’ll probably never realize what they walk through privately,” Valo said.



The Stoecklein family along with his church community, both in Chino and all over the world, will be grieving Andrew’s sudden death for some time. Thankfully, they will be able to find hope and comfort in the God that he so passionately pointed them all toward.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Andrew’s family and friends as they navigate such incredibly difficult emotions.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
Birthplace
Tennessee
Honors/Awards
Lifetime Member of the Girl Scouts
Location
Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
News, Crime, Lifestyle & Human Interest




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