The wife of California megachurch pastor Andrew Stoecklein, who committed suicide over the weekend after a years-long struggle with depression and anxiety, is now speaking out, admitting she “didn’t understand” the depths of her husband’s suffering.
In a blog post published Tuesday, Kayla Stoecklein said she’s experienced “suffocating pain” since he died, noting she has rehashed “that fateful day” — the moment her 30-year-old husband took his own life — countless times, wishing she “could have done things differently.”
“You were right all along. I truly didn’t understand the depths of your depression and anxiety,” she wrote. “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.”
Kayla Stoecklein went on to write her husband was tormented by “the enemy” because Satan “knew what an amazing man you were.”
“The enemy knew God had huge plans for your life,” she continued. “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.”
While Andrew’s dad was battling leukemia we clinged to the phrase “God’s Got This.” . . It was Andrew’s idea to create a blog so that people could follow along the journey. Andrew was incredibly passionate about the phrase “God’s Got This.” . . We have sent hundreds of thousands of wristbands all over the world with those precious words embedded on it. . . Our family is still holding tight to that phrase even now. We are choosing to believe that “God’s Got This.” We don’t understand it, we hate it, it makes us angry, we can’t even breathe, but we are trusting God. . . This morning I wrote a post to my husband, if he was here these are the words I would say to him. . . Andrew, we will keep “God’s Got This” alive in your name. . . (Link in Bio)
The young pastor’s wife — now the single mother of three little boys — went on to explain how much she wishes things could have ended in a different way.
“I wish you could hold your boys one more time and tell them goodbye,” she wrote. “I wish we could go on one more trip together, just the two of us. I am not ready to say goodbye. I am so madly and deeply in love with you.”
She admitted she “can’t function” without her husband by her side.
Moving forward, Kayla Stoecklein vowed Andrew Stoecklein, who pastored Inland Hills Church in Chino after his father died of leukemia in 2015 at the age of 55, “will be honored and you will be remembered as a hero.”
“I can only imagine how much joy you must feel now that you are truly free,” she added. “I wish I could be there with you, celebrating on the streets of gold. But for now, I will continue to live for you. I will raise our boys to be men of God, just like you were.”
Andrew Stoecklein was in the middle of a sermon series called “Hot Mess,” in which he was preaching about the importance of being honest and transparent when it comes to depression, when he committed suicide.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, contemplating suicide, or you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you need counseling services in your area, consult the Christian Counselors Network.