Depression: Loving the God Who Breaks Me

She sits crisscrossed on the bed next to me. Tears have trailed down, dampening my pajama top, and it’s her tiny hands with the chipped sparkly polish that push back my greasy hair and grasp at my cheeks. She turns my head to face her, still clutching softly with her fingers. “I’m sorry you’re hurting so much, mommy.”

And my heart breaks anew.

Tears keep flowing and I murmur thanks for her prayers over me, even as I curse the need for them.

She is seven.

This is not the first time she has seen me sink low, disappear, lose myself. Wrap down into blankets piled heavy and sob into my pillow like some abandoned child or gaze at the wall blankly.

Only my three-year old is immune to mommy’s depression. He demands waffles from me and I drag my body from bed and walk dazed down the stairs to pull them from the freezer and pop them in. My kids have fended for themselves this morning and the sink is piled with dirty dishes, crusted with dried cereal and pancake syrup.

And I am just waiting for a moment to break into pieces.

I have to schedule it for next week because this one has to be finished. I have commitments and even as I say no to more and more, life goes on. I have lesson plans to pull together, cookies to bake and bring for my daughter’s American Heritage Girls meeting, when I will try to smile and slip my unwashed hair under a hat and navigate my way through the day. And right now that is a small grace, that I can still pull together long enough to make it through the day, waiting for a time when I can break again.

I don’t always love this God who seems to continually strip me bare. Who drags me down to this pit and seems to abandon me to  faulty ground, ever sinking.

But  if I’m completely honest, I will say that I still believe. I do. That in this place both familiar and fearful, I praise with both hands lifted. What else can I do but surrender? My own frailty strips me down to my barest parts and all I can offer is my worship believing that mercy will come.

There is no fight left in me.

This is where I mourn and cry out, my life soiled by invisible sackcloth and ashes. I wonder what it would be like to tear at my clothes, collapse into a heap and allow my heart to wail unrestrained by the confines of social norms and the need for continuity and containment.

I would be a madwoman, beating at my breast and lamenting the suffering of my first world problems, even as I sit comfortable in my American made luxury.

Instead, I sit in my counselors office. It’s the second time I’ve seen her and I can’t remember her name. Something that starts with an M. Melissa? Melanie? She has a calendar on her wall of a Schnauzer. I think that’s what they’re called. I wonder if she owns a Schnauzer or if it’s one of those dog of the month calendars and next month could be Huskies or a Weimaraner. I’ll probably never know since this is December and the calendar is probably on its last month.  Other than that, the office is sterile and devoid of any personality.

On our first appointment, she went over the questionnaire. Do I have a drug or alcohol problem? Am I homeless? Am I in a situation where I fear for my safety? Am I being abused? No, to all of the above.

I am safe and loved. I say it out loud. She writes it down.

I know they see a lot of hard cases but I am not one of them. I talk about my faith and its importance to me, even as I feel it failing. Everything could be so much worse and in a way that makes me despair all the more.

I have counted gifts, blessings from God, small things and big things. I have searched them out like treasures on my path.  I have staked my heart in joy. Do I count this too? 

She makes quick notes on her clipboard. She asks more questions and I want to prove to her that I am ok, that there isn’t any crazy in me. That I am whole.

I hate my own weakness.

This is not the woman I can be. This is not my full God potential with my gifts and talents and passion.

This is a shell of that woman now shattered and broken. How can this be what God wants for me?

How can I bring glory to Him when I can’t even mother my own children well? When I am not depressed, I can do so much. Why won’t God let me stay there? 

And yet, I believe it is His hand that brings me to this place again and again. My thorn piercing flesh, drawing out my pain, lodged deep.

And I ask myself, is depression a curse or a conduit?

Because in my most desperate moments, my heart untethered by my will or my work, I am wide open to God. Tears that never come, flow freely and often. And maybe, in all of this, that is the grace of it.

Maybe when I worship with both hands lifted open and the tears flowing down, it is not the praise of a madwoman  but one utterly desperate for Him. And maybe that is the gift of suffering.

The Hollie Rogue


Comments

  1. Barbie says

    Oh Alia, I want to hug you tight. I’ve been dealing with waves of depression lately, over our financial situation. Things are very hard right now. I’ve never not been able to get out of bed, but I do neglect certain aspects of caring for my children from time to time. I do believe that when we come to the end of ourselves and have nothing left to give, that that is when we are most open to receive Him. I am praying for you, my friend. He is with you in this storm. It is messy, feels ugly, and at times hopeless, but cling to hope. He will bring you through. It’s a promise!

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you for your support, Barbie. I am sorry you are going through a hard time. I know how finances can cause such a tremendous stress and burden. Yes, I have come to realize that God teaches some lessons only in pain and suffering, not in spite of them. Thank you for your prayers. I cling to those promises.

  2. Pam says

    I know your path well.
    Years of having traveled it.
    I got to a point where I could not see my desperation for God and His touch as any kind of praise, but only more of my failure; only more confirmation that I could never ‘measure up’. I knew not the depths of His Grace, just the edges.
    I withdrew into ‘self’ and the black hole because it sucked me in and I was tired of fighting it. Too tired TO fight it anymore.
    I KNEW God Could help, but it didn’t seem that He WOULD.
    I was hospitalized, put on medications… and a 15+ year nightmare/journey/learning curve! commenced.
    There were many hospitalizations, loss of a marriage and basically my children, too; friends, and ‘church family’ who prayed for me for YEARS and finally just didn’t know what to DO. A faithful FEW. Thank God.
    A number of suicide attempts, with sincere but misled apologies to God…
    So many HORRIBLE experiences that I have journals written of, and a book started that I don’t know if it’s ever worth finishing because I don’t know how to hear God and find the thread of the miracle through the whole thing that will GLORIFY HIM and not just make someone reading it want to die, too!
    Sometimes, I still have cycles that I go through of NOT ‘black-hole’ depression, anxiety that does NOT show up as full-blown panic attacks…
    Believe me– I THANK GOD for the healing place He has brought me TO!
    He is SO GOOD!! It IS POSSIBLE!!
    Over time, He has shown me that His love and acceptance of me are real, and that He won’t ever leave me. I know, DEEP inside that He sees me, and KNOWS me– and at my WORST, He loves me and says I am enough. I am acceptable. I am Worthy, because I have finally accepted that HE accepts ME, and MADE me worthy. HE loved Me, FIRST. HE forgave Me. HE made me loveable.
    So I can go inside at those times when I hurt, and climb up in His lap without shame…knowing that He is wrapping His strong and gentle arms around me, rocking me, holding me while I cry— and Not condemning me while I condemn myself! He forgives me for “being all about ME”, and falling in again…
    and then He somehow warms a cold place inside my heart, takes my hand and helps me up, and I see the Light of His love shine from His Word, giving me comfort, guidance, reassurance, and Strength.
    I KNOW He is with me, in ways I never used to.
    I cannot take back the years, the disappointments, the falls, the times I wasn’t ‘there’ for my kids– but He has made NEW paths in the wilderness!! He has begun a NEW thing, and SPRINGS of Living Water have sprung up in what was once desert!!
    He has restored what the worm had eaten!!
    There is LIFE where there was once death, and healing where all was sickness and brokenness.
    He gave reconciliation to me and my family, though not in ways people would like to think.
    Peace. Love. Acceptance. Joy and celebration together, yes!!
    Wounded warriors… some.
    Still have some healing to do, Yes.
    GOD is Faithful. HE who Began this Good work in me will be faithful to complete it!!
    Because Jesus died for us, and LIVES for us, and we live IN Him… I can walk each day with Him.
    Occasionally I have to physically push my legs over the side of the bed to make myself get UP.
    That’s a CHOICE.
    God ALWAYS meets me at my point of need.
    Praise Him! ♥

    If I can survive where I have been, I know that you can…
    Others can.
    I can encourage and support you! In fact, it helps me when someone else’s need is greater than my own!! :)
    There were times when I couldn’t reach that place, and I cried, wanting to die, because I couldn’t even take care of my children that I LOVED so much!! But NO MORE!
    God saved me from death and mind-emotion-Hell!
    I have hope to offer someone because Jesus gave ME hope. He gave ME love. He accepted ME when I was lower than dirt. When I hated every breath…He nurtured me and sent people into my life, created situations to keep me alive, so that He could use me to help others and support them.
    And I DO.
    Not because I go around looking for them, for SURE Not! Only when He brings them into my path, and I am instantly available, because I’ve Been there. I KNOW.
    The Bible says that “We are able to comfort others with the comfort that WE have been comforted with.”!!
    THAT’s TRUTH!!
    Love, in Jesus, and gentle, tender ((hugs)),
    Pam

    • Alia Joy says

      Pam, thank you so much for your encouragement. This has been a very big struggle off and on for years and some periods are worse than others. I agree that giving voice to the reality of depression and to be an encouragement is one of the things that God brings out of the ashes. So glad that you are walking in that healing and that God has met you in such a tangible way. Blessings to you as you continue to share your trials and bring glory to Him.

  3. Tanya Marlow says

    This – this is genius. I hate your pain, I ache for you, but man – I love the wisdom that comes through. You have such a way of seeing. Depression not as a curse but a conduit – that could breathe life into so many. I have wondered that in broken thoughts before – this post has given life to it. I am praising God for you. I ache for the journey that you are on, but I praise Him for the gold in your life; it is a gift to others. It is a gift to me.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you, dear one. I praise God for your friendship and words of grace spoken so often. You are a gift to be counted as joy.

  4. Bri says

    Every woman in my family suffers from depression except me. My sisters started struggling with it in high school. My Mom struggled with it a few years after having us. My grandmother and aunt, their whole lives. And I wonder as the years go by, is it my turn next? This post was such a gift to me in trying to understand how deeply it breaks someone yet can be seen as the very thing that draws you in desperation to our creator. Thank you for this piece to the puzzle of depression I have been trying to put together over the years watching my family struggle through it. I find myself wondering/worrying/waiting for it to take me over too. As if it’s bound to because of my DNA. xoxo

    • Alia Joy says

      Bri, I’m sorry to hear about the connection your family has had to depression and I pray it never comes your way, but if it does, I know God is mighty to deliver even as I am in the midst of it. I wonder about my children and whether or not they will struggle with these same issues when they grow up. We have a strong family history as well. It’s not something I want my kids to ever have to deal with but trials come in one form or another for everyone who wants to be fashioned in His image.
      I used to think it was something so very wrong and deficient in me, and honestly when I’m in it, I often still do , but I’ve come to see that my deepest growth has always happened when I’m suffering the most. Stripped of my own resources and strength. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story here.

  5. Penelope Swithinbank says

    You have given voice to where I have been for the past two years and so you have been a blessing – a conduit of God’s mercy and grace. Thank you for your faithfulness in expressing so much.
    I am blessed too that I am coming out of that black pit, due only to GOd’s mercy and grace, and the prayers of faithful friends; so I pray that you too will know His mercy and grace. I have hung on to God not by my fingertips but by just one fingernail sometimes … hang on, Alia, hang on. Thank God that you have loving children. They need you.
    - Penelope xx
    http://www.ministriesbydesign.org/category/grief-2/

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you Penelope. I have been blessed with amazing children which is a beautiful grace in itself. I am glad you can see God’s mercy and grace even though you have been in the pit. I know this too shall pass, it’s just hard to see sometimes.

  6. Kati Woronka says

    curse or conduit… that’s a fabulous way of looking at it! I’ve often wondered about our mental state and our ability to create and our inability in other areas, and wondered if we don’t oversimplify it. I like conduit…

    • Alia Joy says

      I used to see it as a curse. I know a lot of people who suffer from depression, especially in Christian circles can view it as a deficiency in our faith or something wrong with us that we should just snap out of . And I carried that burden and guilt wondering why my faith wasn’t big enough but I’ve realized that it’s not a curse, though it feels that way. It is a conduit, if I choose to leave my heart open, with which God speaks to my deepest places.

  7. Debi @ FunkiPlanet.com says

    Thanks for sharing. I now know how to pray more specifically. I’d say “let me know if you need anything” but if you don’t, that’s ok. Just know I feel your pain. I’ve walked through the valley of the shadow too. It’s lame. Sitting in the counselor’s office is lame. But it helps. Trying to prove you’re not crazy is lame too. But it keeps the blood pumping and that’s good. Keep reaching up. He always shows up. Oh, and in my eyes – You ROCK!

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you Debi, I would never turn down prayers plus you make me laugh. I don’t think I’ve ever been told I rock when I’m super depressed, so that’s a first. ;)

  8. Connie says

    I am also in the middle of a difficult season. God has placed me in a place of waiting, and many days that includes depression and sadness. Some days all I can do is muster up enough energy to get my husband off to work then sit in my recliner for the remainder of the day until I have to make dinner (which sometimes is take out, even when the menu is planned and the food purchased).

    You wisely stated the truth above when you said these things can be conduits. I believe they truly are. Sometimes God needs us in these dark places to teach us something.

    Praying this time is useful to your faith and that you are bound up tightly with love and peace.

    • Alia Joy says

      Yes Connie, so true. Praying that for you as well. Sorry you are in it but know you are not alone. It helps to know that, for me at least.

  9. Nicole says

    The first paragraph of your post hit me. Hard. I think, perhaps, that my own anxiety is one of the [subconscious] reasons we haven’t had kids yet. Because I am so ashamed of the panic that comes out of nowhere, and I am-just now- starting to get okay with my husband of 5 years seeing me that way.

    Underneath the life that seems so charmed from the outside, I live in that shame.

    And most of all, I am ashamed for him. He’s pretty awesome, and he shouldn’t have to deal with this crap. They grace and unconditional acceptance he shows me is….unnerving at times.

    But lately God is teaching me something about failure. I have lived much of my life motivated by a fear of failure. I have stepped out in “faith,” but only when He has given me so many confirmations as to almost make it a guarantee. Because I know that when God speaks directly to me, that He is to be trusted.

    And yet, I think He is teaching me that He wants me to trust Him all the time. That as long as I am following His word, He will give me guidance and wisdom to make decisions. That He doesn’t have to give me some sort of revelation to go on. And that fear is not a godly motivator. He is teaching me that He loves me in spite of my failures. Graciously. Unconditionally. And that He even uses those failures for my good and His glory.

    • Alia Joy says

      It’s the hardest part, I suppose. To be a mom who loves her children and to feel so helpless at it all when the depression hits. I just feel like the wind is knocked out of me. But I also know that they see the gospel when I am too weak to do anything but cry out to God. When I read the Psalms, I see that God sometimes takes us to these places and those cries make us seek after His own heart. He does use it all. I do believe. I know where you are coming from because I’ve had those kinds of anxiety issues as well. I’m just a whole bundle of fun. ;)

      But we face trials whether we’re brave, fearful, or trusting. When I think of the house built on the sand and the house built on the firm foundation, only one stood. But they both were hit by the same storm. We don’t avoid that part.

      Thank you Nicole, for sharing some of your story and being open with your walk. Blessings to you as you walk in that trust.

  10. Kate says

    I’m sending prayers and well wishes as I fight my own hard season. Three years of counseling, a sun lamp, my new “life” prescription and I am finally learning how to ride these waves without sinking into them. Thank you for sharing your honest heart and showing that even these hard seasons come with blessings and grace.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you Kate. I’m a newbie to counseling and at this point I can’t imagine it will help but I know that’s largely due to where I’m at in the depression. And I’m wondering if a sun lamp might help too. It’s usually pretty sunny here during the winter but I look out today and the sky is grey and the sun sinks so early that I always have the hardest time during the end of November through March-ish. That’s my hope too, that these periods will be shorter, less deep, and more manageable. Thanks for the prayers, you bless me with your care and your sharing here.

  11. Annie Barnett says

    Oh, Alia. Your honest words speak deep to my heart tonight. Thank you for sharing from the brokenness, not just after. You’re teaching me friend, in this way of vulnerability. So much grace to you, sister.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks Annie, for your gracious spirit and your lovely art. It sits in my window and says, Be Free. God knows.

  12. Dea Moore says

    Girl, thank you so much for the link on your book club comment. I so get this and I want to tell you that I am so proud of you for putting the waffles in the toaster and sitting with the M person. I know what that takes and I hate to say it but I waited until I was far too sick to admit that the way life was going and how I was going to control it wasn’t working for me. Of course, it is a huge story and it took me years of processing and learning to live in the fullness of the grace of God and to live in the light of the knowledge of his love. This past year, eleven years later, God gave me a word for the year — “Restored.” God has moved me past “tending my freedom” to living out of it!!! He is so good and he understands just where you are. Stay as close to Him as you know how. He is gonna show up in big and little ways and you will find yourself on the healing path. He wants you to want it and I believe you do. You have made a great big step of faith in the direction of your healing. I am not writing on my blog right now, but if you would like to read a tiny bit of my story I will give you this link—and I will pray for you. So thankful you can write and process these things. Keep it up. So important and you will have this to look back on and see how far God has brought you when you get to the year of “restored.” http://meetyouinthemorning.blogspot.com/2011/11/from-deepest-well-way-up-is-up.html

    • Alia Joy says

      I know I already commented in the bookclub and on your blog, but I was just reading through these comments again, and I was hit again by your story. Thank you again for sharing it here and on your blog. I realize by the sheer amount of comments and emails and tweets I’ve gotten over this, how common this pain is and how alone we can feel in the process. Thank you for writing it out and shedding some light on the journey to healing.

  13. Paula Barnett says

    I remember my son saying the same thing to me, Alia Joy. Such compassion at such an early age. What changed my life. What lifted me out of depression {for Good} was when I became consciously aware of who I really Am.
    I do not believe God wants us to be sad to bring us to Him. I believe it is race consciousness that says this. What I believe. What I know. What I live, is being One with God every moment of the day and in this Oneness, there is only Peace. There is only Joy. There is only Grace.
    This Peace. This Joy. This Grace is who you are, dear Alia Joy! Once you truly realize that the divine Presence is with you, nearer than hands & feet, your life changes. There is no more tunnel of despair. There is unlimited freedom to BE what you are here to be!
    This awareness is right there where you are, dear One. There truly is no-thing other than this. You are Perfect. Whole. Complete. Just as God originally designed! Embrace this glory. I am for you. And as always, I am sending you love. Paula.

    • Alia Joy says

      Paula, thank you so much for your constant friendship and encouragement. I don’t know if I agree about where God wants us at times. I think maybe there are some lessons only learned in trials and that peace doesn’t mean an absence of trials but an understanding of His goodness in the midst of it all. It’s a journey I’m on and I know I learn more as I walk this road.

      I am glad you have found freedom from your depression and have had your identity firmly rooted in God. I definitely don’t have all the answers but I do wonder about the roots of depression and the total person. We are holistic beings and Jesus was as well. The physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. I think to overcome things like depression, it is often a holistic approach so I totally agree that the spiritual component is huge. I just don’t believe that it is the only contributor. I truly believe that many suffer from it who are very strong in their faith and their understanding of God. Charles Spurgeon suffered from life-long depression and I think it was that burden that drew him to the cross when nothing else would suffice.
      Thank you so much for your love and prayers. It gives me things to ponder and thank God for.
      Love to you, friend.

  14. Shelly Miller says

    Alia, thanks for your courage here, to share what many can’t put into words or won’t because of fear of rejection. I’m so glad you shared this at the book club, now I know how to pray for you. And what beautiful redemption in your words, is depression a curse or conduit. Only God can do that.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you for your prayers, Shelly. I haven’t posted much there but I’ve been following along in the book and comments and I love the community and encouragement that is happening there. And yes, only God.

  15. r.elliott says

    Maybe when I worship with both hands lifted open and the tears flowing down, it is not the praise of a madwoman but one utterly desperate for Him. And maybe that is the gift of suffering. hang on to this truth…this to me is the key….Thanks for sharing honest here…I will say a prayer right now for you~

  16. Mandy says

    Thank you for your honesty and courage Alia. It is so refreshing to hear someone tell it like it is. I have my own battles with depression, and even in church have at times been made to feel like I somehow caused it through lack of faith. I am so glad that God in His wisdom chooses to bless us with children, thus bringing some joy and degree of structure when we just want to submit to the brokeness. You will be in my prayers.

    • Alia Joy says

      Yes, it is so easy to feel that it is a huge deficiency in our faith when we can’t seem to instantly overcome depression by reading the bible more, or praying harder, or believing more. I know I had a lot of shame involved thinking that if I were a stronger Christian, this wouldn’t be an issue. But in the years since then I’ve had a lot of freedom in those areas, although there is a lot I’m still working through and some of that is the understanding of people who have never suffered from depression and can’t understand it. Our love for our children is such a blessing because it does force me to go through the motions when I’d rather curl up and shut down. Thank you for including me in your prayer time. I am honored to be lifted up by so many.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you Amy, I started blogging to give voice to some of these struggles and at the time I didn’t realize how hard some of these posts would be to write but it does give release to some of these thoughts, processes, and seasons. And I am glad that others can relate and know they are not alone in any of this.

  17. Mary says

    Dear Alia,

    What courage you show by sharing your story!! You are brave…very brave. I’ve been in the dark hole where I feel like I cannot climb out. The one where I need rescued. I haven’t been there in a long time, but I do know that counseling helped. I’ll be praying for you…every day my friend.

  18. Holly says

    This is one of the most honest pieces that I have ever read.
    You’ve put words to some of my desperate places and with such beauty and clarity that I feel cloaked in a holy silence.
    I am praying across the void that the Spirit of the Lord would stir deep, mingling tears with holy dust, and that peace would be yours, just for today.
    Oh this aches.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you Holly, everything you write is poetry and beauty, so I am very honored by your encouragement. I really questioned hitting publish on this because I wondered if this blog was just constantly morbid and depressing in itself, but after posting it, I have been blessed by God’s love for me demonstrated in the understanding, prayers, and support of both strangers and friends alike. Thank you for being a part of that.

  19. Nancy @ Pilgrim Wanderings says

    Praying over you, Alia. As someone who has experienced how untreated, unacknowledged depression can rip families apart – first with my mom’s depression growing up, and then with depression in my ex-husband and his entire family – I applaud you for being brave enough and humble enough to seek help for it. So many people refuse to admit there is an issue or are just too prideful to seek help from someone. I still remember cooking dinner for my family almost every night as a middle schooler because my mom would come home and lock herself in her room. I remember not being a priority. Feeling like I was just in the way. A burden. It took years to get over it. Even now our relationship is strained, but not as badly as it once was. Your children will remember that, even in the middle of your worst times, you WERE THERE for them. And you did everything you could to get better. I promise.

    • Alia Joy says

      Oh Nancy, I ache for that middle school girl standing at the stove feeling like a burden. I am so so sorry for that pain. I hope you have continued healing and feel God’s love for you in those scars from your youth.
      Yes, my kids are one of the strongest anchors that keeps me grounded and moving when I would just want to close the door and shut it all out. Thank you for the reminder that it’s worth it to seek out help and to not let pride get in the way. I’ll admit, it was hard for me to admit how bad it’s gotten, but your words remind me what’s at stake.

  20. Kris says

    Alia, my friend, praying for you today, thank you for your honesty, and your willingness to walk bare before us. he is doing a great work in you, even amid the pain–His love is deep and wide, sister-friend. Just keep pressing in. Love you.

  21. Andi says

    wow, such an honest post. not always understanding what He is working in us is severely tough to bare. thank you for sharing your heart and your story for others who are dealing with things so similar. you are heard and you are loved, friend.
    HUGS

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you for hearing me, Andi. I’ve enjoyed your blog and what you’re doing to foster community and sisterhood. So many just need to be heard and loved. Thanks.

  22. Kelly says

    I’ve been in that pit…ive been laying on the floor crying to my husband who had no idea what to do. I am hugging you right now my friend.

    • Alia Joy says

      Oh Kelly, I have been in tears as I reply to these comments. Thank you for sharing that little snippet from your story. Knowing I’m not alone and feeling the solidarity of all of you sister-friends, just so blessed. Hugging you right back.

  23. emily wierenga says

    oh friend. so hard, this depression. i struggle with it too. i think the most sensitive, creative ones do, the ones who feel most the tension between heaven and earth and long desperately to see God’s face. praying for you.

  24. Jen says

    I love, love, love this post! I love that it gives permission to those who struggle to give their pain a voice. I love that in your darkest moments you can stand before me (us), in your pajamas, with your hair greasy (gasp), and tears in your eyes and lay it down…all of it…without reservation. There are many people that talk about depression and tell of their heartache and disappointments but few show the gritty, the greasy, the negligent, and the raw, ugliness of depression and that my friend is what sets you apart. This is how I know that you are gifted…truly, profoundly and wonderfully gifted!

    • Alia Joy says

      Jen, thank you so much for everything you do. You are such a precious dear friend and I am so blessed to have you in my life. You just shine God’s love in all you do for others and your heart of absolute mercy and encouragement. Just know that I love you and you are one of the gifts I count.

  25. amanda says

    this is a beautifully written post. thank you so much for having the courage to write it. i will certainly tell you that you are not alone, and since having a child 2 years ago, i have experienced some of the same struggles. mine tend to come more with anxiety, but it is crippling just the same. i too do not understand what He has in mind to come from all of this, but i know that i have grown immensely from the experience. do i still have bad days? absolutely. but i’m more compassionate, more reliant on God, more self-aware, and more intentional about how i live my daily life. i wish i had magical words of wisdom, but i don’t. one step at a time. one prayer at a time.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey here, Amanda. Knowing I’m not alone is a huge component in depression because often we feel so very isolated. I struggle with anxiety too. It does have the ability to transform our understanding of other’s suffering and make us more compassionate and aware of God, if we let it. Praying that He uses this season for His ultimate glory even as I take it one day at at time. Blessings to you for sharing in that.

  26. Jacqui says

    Oh, Alia, I just want you to know that I’m praying for you and sending you my love. I understand this. Thank you for your courage in sharing. Blessings.

  27. Sarah Caldwell says

    Alia – I have so felt your pain…I have walked the road you are walking now, I’m so sorry for your the hurt it causes. I praise God you are still lifting your head to the One who loves you deeper than anyone…Praying for you – thank you so much for your honest and true words! (Was so glad to meet you at Allume- and oh my goodness-what Godscidence-the comment before me was left by my Allume roommate! Praise God for community!)

    • Alia Joy says

      Yes, thank God for community. My last very major depressive episode, I was very isolated and it was an extremely hard time. This has been similar in depth but I am surrounded by loved ones, friends, and this online community. It stinks that you know this road, but God uses all of it, doesn’t He? So that during it or down the road you can say, I understand and really mean it. Thank you for your prayers and how cool is it that you both stopped by? Love the tiny things God does to show He’s at work. Thanks for being a part of that, friend.

  28. Kimberl says

    Aliajoyaliajoyaliajoy–You sketch a picture so clear, so true, dimensional…You are such a gift, Alia Joy.
    We were created with balanced chemistry. I pray for that again for you. Soon. Meanwhile, words of truth flow from your heart.
    Love
    Kimberley

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you so much, Kimberley. You are such a blessing to me and my mom and in the time I’ve known you, I have been so encouraged by your honesty and courage. You are truly a wonderful woman and I’m so glad our paths have crossed.

  29. Tammy Perlmutter says

    Alia Joy!! I love this post. Unfortunately, you know I can relate only too well. I’m so glad you are writing it out, letting us in. We really probably should start an online community group, you think? We need to talk soon!!

    • Alia Joy says

      Yes, thank you Tammy. I know right? I always feel so isolated and alone and then I write a post like this and you realize just how common it really is. Haven’t been in too much of a talking mood lately but yes, we do need to try to talk soon.

  30. Paula says

    Alia, Not only do I love your honesty and transparency, I love that through it all, look at how many people you’re able to impact, speak wisdom to, and share in life’s burdens with by your beautiful writing and openness. Thank you for your vulnerability and allowing God to work deeply in you and through you. You are SO loved and cherished.

    • Alia Joy says

      Oh, love you too, Paula. I’ve been loving the beautiful pictures and the recent post on your blog. They are gorgeous. Prayers are with you as you guys settle in there.

  31. Louise says

    I comment from england via prodigal magazine. Ive suffered with depression so I clicked your story. One word WOW! You are a gifted beautiful writer. Keep looking to him and his promises. God bless xx

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you for visiting here Louise. I love what prodigal magazine is doing with Broken Hallelujah and the stories shared there. I’m overwhelmed by the solidarity I’ve found with those who know this place. Blessings to you.

  32. Ruth Hagenbach says

    Alia, you have shared such pain in a clear way. I am glad you were willing to share. I remember seeing a saying one time that I have never forgotten…
    I say I am depressesd….. the Lord says…. I am deep rest.
    I believe he wants us to enter his rest… the circle of His arms and sometimes like the little lambs that had broken legs… just needed to be carried near to His heart. The song that says I’m Running to His
    Arms….
    Every single one of us has times when we feel overwhelmed by life, people or things… God wants to bring us into His rest. Praying the Lord will give you a new and wonderful rest and peace and that He will continue to use your writing to help others find Him too.
    Love you so.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you Ruth. I agree that rest and peace are where He’s leading even in the midst of all of this. Thank you for your prayers, love you too.

  33. Janice says

    Like I said on your next post, I missed this one last week, but I just wanted to say that I find you such an encouragement in proclaiming the fact that God is redeeming this broken world all while somehow letting it continue broken for a while longer. In the midst of all the sadness I feel for how you must be feeling, I’m drawn to the vein of beauty and life and glory that you find in it all. The divinity that has wormed its way down into all the mess that we have here and the mess that we make here and the mess that we hate so much. And the sheer beauty that is glimpsed in the redeeming work that happens in the midst of darkness just makes me wonder at how blindingly glorious the final redemption of us all will be. SO thank you, as always, for bearing your heart to us to show us both the struggles and the glimpses of God’s hand.

  34. Tsh Oxenreider says

    Alia, I’m so glad I read this tonight. Glad, because I am blessed by your words and encouraged to find something I can share with others. You know I’ve been through it, too… And you are a gifted writer. Thank you for sharing it, for your vulnerability, and for your friendship. It means a lot.

    Now, it’s been far too long since we’ve hung out. Seriously. It’s ridiculous. I’m in town now for awhile… Let’s do it.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks Tsh. I know you have and that you can relate. It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I was trying to keep everything going for a bit but I’ve needed to step back from some things just to get through the days. We do need to get together, though. Text me and we can make a date.

      • Janice says

        Hey, I put a link into a post I did on Christmas Eve to this post of yours. Hope that’s ok! It is just one of the things that had set me to thinking about the way we see God in our world.

        Hope you had a lovely Christmas!

    • Alia Joy says

      thank you Julie. Sorry I am so late with the replies. I took a bit of a sabbatical from the blog over Christmas. Still trying to find solid ground. Thank you for your sweet words. I visited your blog and was encouraged by several of your posts and the honesty that I saw in your words. I am looking forward to getting to know you more.

  35. Danelle says

    Oh friend. I came over here today and somehow found my way to this post, from December, but exactly what I needed to read in May. Oh goodness. Tears. I am suffering through this time of tears that flow freely, of sons who watch their momma stare blankly, cry almost everyday and this feeling of why? Why can’t I go back to being productive, happy, normal? I have no reason for all of this darkness. Why?
    And this post. It was truly a healing moment. A moment of knowing that I am not alone, of seeing for the first time how beautifully open I am to God. A conduit in a storm.
    I cannot say this enough. Thank you. Much love to you for speaking to my heart here today.

    • Alia Joy says

      I was replying to a new comment on this post today and saw yours. I must have missed it when you wrote in May. I don’t know how you are doing today but I hope you are are seeing God in those open hurting places. I hope you are finding respite from those hard times, but even if you aren’t know that you are not alone! Not ever. So glad God used this to speak to you back in May. It has been cathartic for me to talk about those seasons and to know that it’s not for nothing that God brought me through and if I go through it again, I’ll have that to hold onto. Thank you so much for your vulnerability and honesty here.

  36. Janna says

    Dear Alia – This is an old post, so I don’t know if you will even notice this. I feel like we are sisters. Well, I’m your older sister, lol. I was always a melancholy, solitary child. I think my introverted behavior was a real problem for my mom, like a personality flaw she needed to fix. I’m almost 44 now, and the sadness is so all encompassing at times. I’ve gone through seasons where it hasn’t been so bad. I love the Lord and I’ve come to lean so heavy in the times when I am so deep in pain and feel alone. I think it has drawn me closer to Him. I don’t know how I ran across your blog, but I’m glad I did.

    • Alia Joy says

      Janna, I’m so glad I saw your comment. I do sometimes miss comments on old posts but this one came up. I am glad you found this post and that it spoke to you. I know all about being an introvert and the issues that can arise when others don’t understand it. Have you ever read the book Quiet: by Susan Cain? It’s about being introverted and all the qualities introverts have just by their nature. It helped me to understand a bit more about how I’m made and learn to not make excuses for when I just need solitude.

      I also know the sad that takes over and I am so sorry you know it too. I go through seasons as well. I am in a good/better place now than I was when I wrote this post but when I am in the midst of it, I feel so hopeless and broken and even when I can’t feel God, I know He’s there because He has brought me through it before. Hoping you are feeling that too and I’m looking forward to getting to know you more. I could always use a big sister. ;)

      • Janna says

        I do have Susan Cain’s book. I haven’t read it. Sometimes I have plans but don’t have any “around to-its”. ;) I shall make a real effort to read it.

        We’ve had some difficult times the past 3 years. I spiral and forget at first to call out to the Lord. I know He’s always there, the despair just clouds my thinking for a time. All I would need to do is to look back at how He’s gotten me through other really rough patches. God truly orchestrated it all.

        Have a wonderful Sunday. I will pray that both of us will find fellowship and true worship today. Janna

    • Alia Joy says

      I’m so sorry to hear that you understand. That you live this day in and day out. I am in a good season right now and I live my life in a strange sort of limbo waiting for the next time everything will come crashing down. It happens so often that I just expect it and I hate that but I also know that I’ve survived it before. It is so very hard, especially when it seems it will never end. I’m here, should you ever need to vent or ugly cry. I won’t judge. I’ve been there too.

  37. Jonathan says

    It’s so hard to believe all this pain and down times come from God. People who believe in God or don’t will have good and down times. How do we even know his will in it? It must be the persona attitude, you are in charge and have a choice to be happy I’ve learned. Knowing it’s Gods will isn’t the least comforting, knowing the things that go on in this world. I choose to believe in a loving good God, and I choose to believe I am going to be happy and strong, try my hardest and better myself. Life’s too short to be depressed, especially when we see others happy and getting things they want, let alone happiness and being normal.

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