Lauren Niederer


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Eulogy for:
Lauren Niederer
10/12/87 - 5/5/04


We are gathered together today around this tragic event.  We want to  share with the family, a friend, someone, our grief, pain, and confusion, over Lauren's death and decision.  What  can we say to her mother and  father and family that we haven't already said, "We are so sorry."  Some of  us are still in shock, some bewildered, some distraught, others stunned, some are  fearful, and still others angry, "Why Lauren, why?"  Our emotions are  flying very high and we need to share together, support, and come together  around this family, our community, and school....

Lauren was special.  She was loved and liked by so many.  It  doesn't make sense that  she'd want to end her life when there was so much  to live for.  But Lauren seemed to have two lives.  One that was  happy-go-lucky, playful, goofy, fun loving, like an outer she made things a lot  ,ore fun.  She made so many feel included, liked, and loved by her.   Then. there was a darker side, a side of distress, depression, even  torment.  She wrote "How can anyone love me when I don't love  myself."  She struggled big time with feelings of dislike, distaste, and  disappointment in her self.  The evidence of her life long struggle could  be seen in her restlessness, constantly engaging in various
activities, moving  on to new relationships and other friends.  Yet, those who knew her liked  her, loved her, and wanted to be around her.   Lauren was a talented,  beautiful young woman whose self image and self worth was distorted by the  struggle of life.

What is the struggle of life?  It is living knowing that there is  something wrong and something missing within us.  We all struggle with  insecurity, self doubt, fear and a love/hate relationship of ourselves.   there are times when we love being alive, love who we are, love doing things,  enjoying life, there are times when we do not.  We have all missed  opportunities, been disappointed with ourselves, even discouraged to the point  of being depressed about who we are and why we are here in the first  place.  And to be real honest, I don't know of very many people who haven't  thought about life being better without them.  In our down and lonely  times, when we feel discouraged, our negative feelings overwhelming us, feeling  like no one cares or understands us, we've all thought it would  be better  to be dead than live.  Everyone struggles with life and everyone wants out  and everyone wants to escape from time to time the pressures we feel from the  outside and those from inside of us as well.  There is no temptation that  comes to us is not common to all.

The struggle of life comes to us because we were born into the world not  knowing important things, spiritual things, issues of life we need answers to...such as Why am I here?  What is the meaning of life?  Is there a  God?  Who made me?  Why is there death and suffering in the  world?  Where do I go when I more to life than what I  know?  What is the truth?

Not knowing  God is the basis for our  struggle.  No one is  born knowing God and the void and spiritual loneliness is common to all.   All of us are sinners, doing things that are wrong,  making mistakes and  often choosing to do things that are not right.  We all know something is  wrong with us and the constant struggle for love, for acceptance, for purpose,  drives us.  There is a restlessness in everyone and it remains until our  souls find rest in the One who made us.

The stresses of life although sometimes overwhelming emotionally have an  answer they point to,  The answer is Jesus.  The answer is finding and  knowing  God.  The answer is pursuing and seeking and being in God's  will.  We suffer so because we were made to know Him, find Him, to  experience God's love for us, and to live our life pleasing Him/  The  struggle of life is the result of missing that mark.  When we don't know  Him, when we can't find Him, we don't know his love, we don't know the purpose  of our life, or that God really loves and forgives us, or that we are not  pleasing Him, the result is pain, emptiness, and worthlessness.  We can try  to live for ourselves, please ourselves,
work for ourselves, but the truth will  eventually catch up to us, that we didn't make ourselves and someone is calling  out to us, trying to make things right for us. wanting to fix what is wrong  within us.  What is wrong that God is not in His proper place in our  lives.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that  whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Why does life have to have a struggle?  Why isn't there peace to begin  with?  Why is there death?  the answers to these questions are sill  found in the Bible.  The Bible tells us that the struggle of life came when  Adam and Eve rebelled against God's place in their life/  The world lose  peace because we lost God.  Death comes to all because we have cut off the  source of our life and have been separated fro god.  We are made to know  Him, in knowing God, we die spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Death is life's greatest wake up call upon humanity.  Death is  forever, death is permanent, and there is no recall.  The Bible teaches us  that man is appointed for death and once dead then the judgment of God, Jesus  said, "I have come that they might have life, and have more abundantly,"   Each of us can't help but examine our own lives when someone we know and love  dies.  Our own mortality faces us, we all know  that some day death  will come to us,  the question that commands our attention is:  Are we  ready for death?  Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one  comes to the Father except by Me.  He said "Unless you repent, you will  perish."

For Lauren there was a time not too long ago when she made a commitment to  Christ.  She began to learn and walk in this faith.  Recently, she  even began to return to Church.  But as you know she lived two lives...her  restlessness led to other things, other pursuits, other involvements...On one  hand she knew the answer...yet she was young, she was listening to many  voices...some of the voices in our world are evil. predatory, seeking to steal,  kill and destroy our lives.  I some very real ways, Lauren's life was  stolen from her by voices of death, a culture that devalues life, that   believes death is just an escape, nothing to fear, so take your life...these  voices are heard in music
, movies, the media, and many are found on the  Internet.

What voices are you listening to?  Jesus said "My sheep hear my voice  they listen and they follow me.  Are you listening to God's voice?   The world will offer you many things, it will claim there are no real answers,  truth is what you make it...HOWEVER,  there is an answer it is Christ  Jesus.

I would like for you to make a spiritual check of yourself.  I believe Lauren with all of her struggle in life, found the answer despite the confusion that took her away from us.  I believe she is in heaven grieving over the  pain se caused so many, especially her parents, her nephew and sister,  relatives, and closest friends...she knows NOW she made a mistake in taking her  own life!  She knows now that her emotional state that drove her to escape  in this way, wasn't nearly as bad as it felt that he voices she was listening to  deceived her.  That is often the  case, when we feel bad, feel lost,  unloved, it  can distort reality.  It can give us a false perspective  that seems so real, yet it will pass - the teenage years will pass, the  depression can be helped, the issue that seems so important is not as important  as it feels at the moment-tomorrow is another day!  It is amazing what a  day passing by can do to change the way we feel about things.

I believe Lauren would want to make a spiritual check of yourself  too.  First, do you know that God loves you and has a plan for your  life?  We struggle most of all with loving ourselves because we don' really  know if God loves us.  Second, do you realize that the struggle of life you  are experiencing is the result of sin and being separated from God  spiritually?  We have all sinned and are born not knowing God.  Third,  God has answered this problem by sending Jesus Christ to die for sin.  The  cross of Christ pays for it, taking away the laws demand against us.  And  finally, we must give God permission to save us, forgive us, and to come into  our lives.  Have you ever invited Christ
to save you?  Have you ever  asked God to forgive you and come into your heart?  Jesus said "You must be  born again."  This means we must be reunited with God in Christ and this  can't happen until we surrender our lives to Him personally.

I have shared with you about Lauren, about death, about life's struggle,  and the answer that comes from knowing God in Christ.  We are here to  mourn, to grieve, and share in the pain, comfort, support, the family and each  other.  We have sung songs, prayed prayers, sat in silence, remembered her  with our thoughts and words.  We do this so that we can bring some closure  to a very tragic event; and event that will live with all of us the rest of our  lives.  An event that will life especially in the lives of this mother and  father.  No parent is perfect, no parent gets is all right, and yet even if  they did, they will still torment themselves feeling that there must have been  something
they could have done different.  Many of you may feel guilt  too.  Yet , no one should blame themselves, Lauren ultimately made this  decision, many tried to help and many did help.  Maybe that help is what  prevented her from taking her life  sooner.  But I also like what one  woman said, "The Lauren we all knew and love is not the Lauren that did  this."  No, she was overtaken by a darker side of life, by confusion, by  the need to escape the pain and torment she lived with.  Her decision was  wrongfully influenced by evil and distorted thinking.

Lauren is looking down and is seeing the pain her decision has brought to  so many.  Suicide may seem like the answer, but look at what is does to  those who are left behind.  Yet, in the midst of this pain, confusion,  bewilderment, and even anger, we celebrate a beautiful young woman.    She left us with a wonderful smile, a love of life despite her death, a fun  loving attitude despite her personal struggle with depression, a love for  people, a goofiness, even silliness, that makes us all laugh.  We love  Lauren, e are very glad to have known her in our life.  She made us feel  better about ourselves, we wish we could have made her feel better about  herself.  We will always carry her with us, we will remember her bright  life, and yes, let's try to remember the positives most.  At  the same  time, lets not let her death be in vain.  We all struggle with life; we all  have times when we need help.  If you are in one of those times, get help,  receive help, and let others help.  Lauren does not want you to follow  in her steps in her  death.  She would want you to follow her good  side, follow her fun loving side, and follow her spiritual side....

Let us pray...

A video was show with this song:

Friends, by Michael W. Smith

Backing up dreams God's planted
In the fertile soil of you
I can't believe the hopes he's granted
A chapter in you life is through.
We'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone.
Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love between us strong.

And friends are friends forever, if the Lord is the Lord of them.
And a friend will not say never, because the welcome will not end.
Though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's sense we know,
That a lifetime's not too long to live as friends.

This song can be heard on Lauren's site at the friends site.