Andrew Stoecklein's Widow Says Husband Suffered 'Really Thick Spiritual Warfare' Before His Suicide

4:30PM 7/12/2019 Jenny Rose Spaudo

If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You are not alone.

Kayla Stoecklein, the widow of California pastor Andrew Stoecklein, recently opened up about the spiritual warfare her husband faced before his suicide last year.

"He was experiencing some really thick spiritual warfare too," Kayla tells VOUS Church Pastor DawnCheré Wilkerson. "That added fuel to the flame that was already blazing inside him. Andrew, though, was running to God. I mean, he was running to God."

Kayla says she and her husband did everything they knew to do to combat his mental illness. Andrew took a break from active ministry, he regularly went to therapy, and he cried out to God and listened to worship music incessantly.

Yet on Aug. 24, 2018, Andrew attempted suicide in his Inland Hills Church in Chino, California. The next day, he died in the hospital. In the end, Kayla says, it was the mental illness that took his life.

"Andrew suffered immensely from both [spiritual warfare and mental illness]," she says. "They're both real. Spiritual warfare is very real. There's a real enemy who wants to steal, kill and destroy. And Andrew was experiencing that in a very real way. He had a gift where he could see things, sense things and feel things differently than most of us do. ... And mental illness is real too, so I think the best thing we can do is address them separately."

Things like prayer, fasting, community and spending time in the Word are all great spiritual tools to combat spiritual warfare, Kayla says. But there are also real things Christians can do to fight for their mental health, such as seeing doctors, taking medication and going to therapy.

"I believe in miracles," she says. "But I will say I think it would be ignorant to say we can pray someone's mental illness away."

Wilkerson later praised Kayla's openness in an Instagram post, saying, "Through any trial we may face, God's got this."

Watch the video and go to the 19-minute marker to hear Kayla talk about the difference between spiritual warfare and mental illness.

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