Stories i_have_depression

Published on August 29th, 2014 | by Rachel Kramer

I Have Depression





The word depression has many stereotypes, so permit me to disband a few for you. I am not sad all the time. I do not cry all the time. Something tragic never happened to me, I lead a very normal life. Contrary to popular belief, I am not depressed all the time.

The best way to explain it is like this: Depression is like asthma for your brain. Sometimes your brain has an “asthma attack” and you become depressed. Just because you have asthma doesn’t mean you are always having trouble breathing, and just because I have depression doesn’t mean I’m always feeling bad.

Now you know what depression is not, let me explain to you what depression is.

Scientifically, depression is when your brain does not produce enough chemicals and hormones to process things as positive. It doesn’t have to be related to outlook, personality or life history. Something in your brain is broken, and doesn’t always produce the chemicals needed to register stimuli as positive or good. This can happen as a result of a traumatic event, or — as in my case — it can be genetic.

If I were to try and explain what depression is like, I would say it like this:

When you are in the midst of a depressive episode, all you can think about is the negative. Nothing registers as positive, even though you think it should. Everything, even seeing friends, takes so much energy, that you don’t want to do it at all.

You also feel as though you are doing everything wrong and become frustrated with yourself. It is hard to make yourself do things and you are very tired and frustrated on top of feeling like everything is hopeless, even though you know you shouldn’t feel that way.

So why does this matter to you? Allow me to explain:

As far as I could see, depression was awful. It affected my performance in school, caused difficulty in forging relationships and destroyed my drive for life. I didn’t see how I could serve God when I felt so broken. I didn’t understand how this type of mental illness could be of benefit to anyone.

It so happened that I was driving to church one day after a bad episode of depression and I was wondering why on earth God would let me have depression. I was wondering how, if he really loved me, God could let me feel so much pain. How could he justify letting life seem so hard for me sometimes?

And right then song “Keep Making Me” by Sidewalk Prophets came on over the radio. The lyrics where like a slap in the face. I suddenly realized, I am not unfortunate, in fact, having depression is such a huge blessing. The words of the song spoke directly to me at that moment.

“Make me empty, so I can be filled….” Depression makes you empty. It makes everything loose its worth to you. Your body doesn’t register anything as a good, and all you can realize is the energy involved in completing the task. I wanted to be angry at how empty I felt. I wanted to complain to God about how hard it was for me to have to put so much energy into doing things that other people were able to genuinely enjoy… yet others were praying to be made empty so they could let the Lord into their heart.

“Make me lonely, so I can be whole…” Depression makes you feel lonely. You are experiencing things you cannot even verbalize, a kind of psychological pain that most people can’t even imagine. Sometimes you feel very alone. How many times have I cried about not having someone to talk to, not being able to explain how I feel, or not getting to see the people I like? Yet others were praying for God to let them feel lonely so they could learn to find consolation in, and develop a relationship with, Christ.

“Because in the darkness, I know you will hold me…” Isn’t that the beauty of God? He lets us be hurt, so he can heal us. He lets us be lonely so he can befriend us. He lets me experience darkness so I can learn how to let him hold me.

Till you are my one desire,
Till you are my one true love,
Till you are my breath, my everything,
Lord please keep making me.

My depression is not an impediment. It is like a superpower. It keeps me from getting bogged down by trivial worldly things, and helps me realize that God is what is most important. I can skip right past the distracting pleasures of this life and fasten my eyes on the real goal of my life… to get to heaven.

So the next time you think your weakness or trial is dragging you down, do something hard. Try viewing it from a different perspective. And maybe you might realize you have been praying for God to take it away when really you should have been praying “Lord, please keep making me…”


Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently 5 Comment(s)


Note from Brett: We’re excited to share Rachel’s story because depression is often misjudged as a spiritual problem. While the spiritual and physical do intertwine, it is important to seek medical help along with spiritual growth when dealing with mental illness.

You should also know that tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease can trigger mental illness as the bacteria impacts the brain. Depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, and other conditions can all be symptomatic of a bacterial infection in the brain, absent any trauma or established genetic disposition.







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About the Author

is a 17-year-old girl who is totally in love with Christ. She has always been inspired by God's great creations to do great things for him. Her passion is finding new ways to know, love and serve him, and she loves finding ways to share his glory with others.



  • Sadie Clements

    My immediate reaction was to say I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. Then, I wonder, is that really the right thing to say?
    I love that they shared your story on the blog because it embodies the very message that Alex and Brett have been encouraging us to embrace since the start of the movement. We often take some things that we do for granted because for us they’re so easy, and you struggle to do these things we take so for granted everyday. The fact that you still cling to God and strive to make Him the center of your life is to be admired.
    Thank you for sharing your story, Rachel. I will be praying that God will be with and give you the strength to carry on in Him. I know He will be with you.
    God bless, Rachel.

  • alana

    Wow, this hits home for me. Earlier this year, I got over depression as well. It was the result of some traumatic experiences at home and school a few years ago. God also helped me through music, that I should have a brighter outlook. I knew it was help from Him because yesterday proved it. I had to let go of a friend that didn’t want to change. I felt the depression come back, but I was ready. I prayed that God would be with me through this and for my friend. Right after that I felt healed. The point of this long story is that even you’re at your worst, God’s always at His best. So I’ll just leave with a short but simple prayer:
    God, I need You today.
    I need You tomorrow.
    I need You everyday,
    So please don’t leave me.

  • Madison W

    What an incredible story, Rachel. :) God is truly amazing and it is often mind blowing how He chooses to bless us the most or bring about the most Christ-like change in our lives. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • Mykah

    As one who struggles with depression I can’t explain to you how awesome this article was! You explain so well what depression is and feels like. Thank you. Thank you a million times over. I have several friends that really just don’t understand and get angry at me for having depression and now I have a way to explain it to them. Thank you.

  • Steph K

    I feel like I just read my own story – right down to the song by the sidewalk prophets – their songs got me through some of darker times! There were times depression made absolutely no sense to me, but in the darkness I got to know a deeper sense of God’s love for us. I learned that anything can be for a reason if we look for something to learn from it. I started to understand that while depression stinks, that it’s something you can’t even really begin to understand, never mind explain at times, if you ride the waves, if you latch onto that lifeline that is God’s love, you can come out the other end having grown in ways we might not have if we hadn’t gone all the way, believing in the ultimate goal, our ultimate vision of hope – the Kingdom of God. Sometimes we just have to fight and bear through it, because if we didn’t, everything we’ve gone through up until then would be wasted. And the way I see it – I want nothing to be for a waste, because if we make it mean something, it’s not. Depression is not a waste – it’s a struggle that brings great growth for God if we let it.

    Let us be strong and of a good courage! God’s not finished with us yet! :) Psalm 27:13,14

    • mimeforJESUS

      Songs get me through so much, too! Have you heard Matthew West’s songs? They see much more “real” than what most Christian artists put out. My favorite is “Strong Enough.”

  • Jøe

    I too am struggling with depression, and have been doing so for years. And there are indeed positive side effects, such as being able to emphatise with other sufferers and being more dependent on God, but I don’t fully agree with you when you say it’s a blessing, a superpower even.
    When I experience an episode of depression, all I see is a black nothing. I can, at times, lose all positive outlook and just become apathetic. Now sometimes, I turn to God immediately because I know I have no other hopes. But most of the time, my episodes of depression takes everything, including faith. In such moments, It’s really hard to stay realistic about things, and often I simply care too little to ask God for help, because I feel like nothing could possible help.
    I respect that you try to see the up side of depression, and I think you’re really brave for doing so, but I do want to make clear there’s a whole other side of depression too; for a lot of us it is and always be a terrible curse that wrecks lives.

    • Rachel Krueger

      That’s very true, Joe. Trust me, I know.
      I’m not saying that isn’t a huge part of it. The few people I have spoken to who also struggle with depression have also said that is hard to think of God. It can be very hard to pray or find their faith in the darkness. But that’s the thing: Faith is not a feeling. It’s that little voice you force out when there is nothing there, that voice that says “There is something here even though I don’t see, feel, or hear it, and because I know it is there, I will act accordingly.”

      I know it’s frustrating to pray and feel like there is no one there. I find writing in a journal, saying known prayers repeatedly , or listening to Christian music can be the best way to find God in the middle of it. And sometimes you just can’t. That’s when it’s important to have friends or family members who can pray for you, because sometimes you won’t be able to pray for yourself.

      I used to be where you are right now. For a long time I was that way. But then one day, I was crying in my room asking God “WHY?” I was upset. “I can’t live my life.” I prayed. His response was incredibly simple and yet mind-blowing at the same time: “Then stop living it for yourself.”

      Depression is absolutely curse -if you are thinking of yourself. People with depression can’t live for themselves. There is too much pain. That is when you have to stop living for yourself and start living for God.

      God Bless, Joe!

      • Jøe

        You’re absolutely right of course. I’m sorry if I came on a little strong. Your post just slightly upset me because I’m not really seeing the positive side of this thing quite yet.
        Thanks so much for your reply & advice, and once more my apologies if I was a bit too harsh.
        God bless you too.

      • Rachel, if you read my response to Joe and Mary Anne, please don’t get the impression that you’ve erred in your responses here. I think you are spot on. I especially appreciate that you acknowledge the long period of time where you couldn’t see depression as a blessing and felt very distant from God.

        It is important to encourage people that God can redeem their suffering, without unintentionally creating the impression this can happen (or usually happens) without intense struggle and long periods of darkness. Weeping tarries for the night — and the night is LONG! Tarry actually means, “stay longer than intended, delay leaving.” We must not skip over this reality on the way to telling people that joy comes in the morning (and YES it DOES come — and it is glorious).

        Also, I have wanted to let you know that your post has truly blessed many people (as you may have noticed from the comments here). Well over 50,000 people have been reached and that number is growing. I pray this is an encouragement to you.

    • Mary Anne Harper Joyce

      Thank you for saying that, Joe. I was thinking the same thing. When I am depressed there is nothing left of me. I don’t feel like I can pray and I don’t feel like God is anywhere close to me let alone hearing my prayers.

      • Jøe

        It’s hard eh. I emphatise completely with all that.
        To me, depression is a test rather than a blessing.. Rachel wrote her depression helps her to focus on God instead of on wordly pleasures, but with me my depression distracts me from God and focuses all of me on wordly misery..
        I’d love be able to cope the way Rachel does though.. Maybe it’s something we can both learn, if we try hard enough.

        • Hello Joe and Mary Anne. I just want to affirm what you’ve written here. My wife, Ana, has dealt with depression caused by Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses in her brain.

          For her the depression also seemed to “cut her off” from God — at least in the way she felt. She has been comforted by the many Psalms that say things like, “How long, O Lord, will you hide your face from me? How long will you be silent?” These passages have convinced us that seasons of intense suffering do not always result in intense intimacy with God — and that’s okay. God is teaching a different lesson.

          We’ve also found that many of the people who report increased intimacy with God through suffering are forgetting to mention the days, weeks, months, or even years of emptiness that preceded those spiritual breakthroughs. They are trying to focus on the encouragement that God can meet us in our suffering, but end up creating the expectation that we should expect constant intimacy and spiritual vibrancy in our weakness — and that is not usually the case.

          You may both enjoy this sermon by Tim Keller. It’s not about depression, per se, but it has greatly encouraged Ana these past two years:

          Heman’s Cry of Darkness (Psalm 88):
          http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/hemans-cry-darkness

          • Huldah

            Brett makes a valid point. I look back on my struggles and marvel at the growth and the joy in God the past couple of years have brought. But it was and still is a difficult, difficult struggle.

            But one day you’ll look back and realize you wouldn’t trade those struggles for anything. Those days when you want to crawl into bed and cry and never get up, those days will pass slowly. Learn to find God in those moments. That’s the hardest part. I go outside and look at the stars, or run with my dog, and it doesn’t take long before I want to laugh for joy because I am so full to the brim of happiness and peace. And those moments of perfect joy and contentment? I don’t remember a lot of those before my struggles. Depression will drive you closer to God, no matter how separated from Him you feel in those horrible moments. Trust me. There is no avoiding it. And you will be crying out in thanks and forgetting just how long it took, and how difficult it was, to get there.

            It won’t happen overnight. Trust me. But always, always remember that God never forgets His people.

          • Jøe

            Thank you so much for your reply. I think that might have been exactly what (wrongfully) upset me while writing my first comment on this, the fact that sometimes people seem to expect me to only grow in intimacy during times of hardship, and the fact that some people do indeed seem to forget what they went through before having a breakthrough, which then makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong in feeling the way I do.
            Now that I’ve read the original post through a couple of times more, I see Rachel did neither of those things, but some people do, at times.
            Anyway, thanks again for your words, and as soon as I have the time I will check out the sermon you sent me, and let you know what I think.

  • Trent Blake

    One of my closest friends has clinical depression. Reading this article has really given me a different perspective. It shows how strong my friend has to be to get through these attacks. I am wondering, is there anything that triggers these attacks?

    • Rachel Krueger

      Hi Trent.
      I imagine it is different for everyone, but there is nothing in particular for me, as far as I can tell.
      Sometimes it can be something as simple as dropping something on the floor, or getting an event canceled. A lot of times it happens if I just spend a lot of time by myself.
      I have friends who say it works differently. One friend always gets depressed when a certain song plays, another person says that certain times of the are more likely to result in episodes, such as back-to-school time or certain holidays.

      It’s different for everybody, and it’s hard to track. I have no idea if there is a scientific method for predicting them, but either way, when they happen they are always unexpected for my part at least.

      I’m glad this article helped you understand your friend. Sometimes we who have depression cannot really articulate what we are going through, or we are afraid of what people will think. Your understanding and acceptance is very helpful.

      Thank you!

      • Trent Blake

        Thank you, Rachel,
        Is there any way I, personally can help my friend! Like, for you, if a friend is talking with you (with words of encouragement) does it make it less likely to be attacked?
        If my friend is getting an attack while I’m there, is there anything I can do?
        And also, how would I recognize if my friend is getting an attack, so I would know what to look for, not to embarrass my friend, but to help in any way possible?

        Sorry about all these questions, but I really want to do everything I possibly can to help.

        God bless,
        – Trent

        • Rachel Krueger

          Those are good questions. Again, it’s different for everyone, and I can only speak for myself. But here’s what I would say:

          First PRAY for your friend. It helps more than you can ever know.
          I
          can’t tell you how many times I have had a really nasty day and asked
          someone to pray for me and almost immediately felt better.

          Second:
          understand that your friend may be in pain a lot and may not wish to
          share their experience with you. Be sure to give them their space and be
          respectful of their privacy.

          The best way to help your friend avoid an attack is to

          1) Keep them involved in community activities, even if they frequently decline.

          2) Keep potentially stressful situations positive and light.

          3) Don’t make a big deal about their depression

          4) Tactfully find ways to compliment and point out how important your friend is in the community, without going overboard.

          People who are experience depression are incredibly good at hiding it. Some, like me, want to hide it, so we don’t have to consider our situation.

          It’s
          hard to tell when someone is depressed. It depends on their
          personality, I think, and everyone handles their struggle differently.

          Look
          for an unusual change in behavior. A usually quiet person might become
          loud and talkative, or an outgoing person might become very quiet and withdrawn.

          When you seriously ask them how they are they’ll say they’re tired.

          They might exhibit nervous behaviors
          They will seek out ways to be alone more…they might dodge out of groups quickly or give weak excuses to avoid going to things.

          They’ll be disinterested in things that might normally excite them.

          They’ll have a harder time processing things, and might appear to be slower than usual.

          But again, they may be careful to hide how they feel. My friends can almost never tell if I’m depressed, because I keep it hidden. There’s not a really good way to tell.

          You can help your friend by:

          1) Surprising them with a random act of kindness (this actually really helps sometimes)

          2) Make yourself available to them, in case they want to tell you anything

          3) Check in with them occasionally to see how they are doing. Ask if they are better or worse and give them an opportunity to elaborate if they want.

          4) Don’t gush about how wonderful something is or be super peppy around them. This is really annoying and frustrating for us.

          5) Don’t focus on the negative or how bad they are feeling.

          6)
          If they choose to talk to you, don’t focus on the bad. Listen,
          understand, and ask them to clarify if they can. Talking about what we
          are experience can sometimes help us figure out what’s going on inside
          us. Don’t press it, and if they do share, don’t focus on how horrible
          everything is. Remind the individual that episodes are only temporary
          and eventually it will pass. Remind them they are important to lots of people, and make sure they know they are strong.

          7) Don’t make them do anything. If they don’t want to go to an event, or talk to you, let them be.

          8) PRAY. That’s really the best you can do

          Hope that helps!

          • Trent Blake

            Wow!
            I can’t thank you enough for this advice. God bless Rachel!
            – Trent

  • Lily

    WOW! That’s incredible! I love how God has everything happen at the perfect time!
    Thank you Rachel!

  • Caleb Norman

    This has brought tears to my eyes… People need to know what depression really is and how God can help us out of it. Thank you Rachel for pouring your heart into this-it was not for nothing.

  • Constance

    I’ve had depression for half of my life- I was eight when I first got it, and I’m sixteen now. It wasn’t really until a few years ago that I really understood what was going on inside me (well, as much as you can understand depression) because there were just so many stereotypes. I thought things like “real Christians don’t get depression,” “I haven’t gone through anything traumatic, so I must just be overdramatic,” “I’ll grow out of this eventually,” etc. Throughout this journey I have been suicidal (prior to getting saved five years ago- only by the power of God can I say that I have not struggled with that in the least since then), I’ve had eating disorders, and I’ve added anxiety to the list of mental problems.
    A couple months ago I told my sister about my depression, and she thought I was confused, because I’m not sad all the time, so how could I have depression? Trying to explain it to her made everything finally click for me. Depression is not a disease, and it’s not a sin. It just is. At this point in my life, I don’t think I’m going to “get over” depression, and I’m okay with that, because it lets me be a blessing to people in so many ways I never dreamed of. Because people didn’t notice when something was bothering me, when I was nine I decided to notice things about other people that everyone else looks over, and, by the grace of God, I have. When I was eleven, I decided that I was never going to let anybody feel as sad or lonely as I felt at that time, and that has motivated me to make amazing friendships that I never would have before that. I’m constantly thinking about everything I’m going through and how I can turn that around and utilize it to be a blessing to others, and, in turn, a blessing to myself.
    Thank you for the beautiful post that has reminded me that God is using this for a purpose in my life, Rachel! It was extremely timely. You’ll be in my prayers <3
    P.S. My song was "By Your Side" from Tenth Avenue North 😉

    • mimeforJESUS

      I love “By Your Side”!

  • Unwritten Hope

    Hey Rachel,

    I know that so many people have said as much already, but thus touched me so much that I don’t care and I’m saying it again: you’ve really hit home with me. You’ve made my musings about my depression concrete and I really understand now.

  • Hana

    Very eye opening. I’ve never really understood depression but this has helped. Very interesting. Thank you!

  • Abby M.

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Like Hana, I’ve never understood depression fully. I’ll be praying for you!
    God bless you!

  • Jess jesse

    Yeah, Rachel thanks so much. I usually tend to be that guy who is always bouncing around and wearing annoying shirts with big smiley faces on them, but i do struggle with depression as well. i dont really let on to the people i know and i tend to come out of it quickly(more so now than before) but it can be really tough. Like there is a time of year that it can come on a lot more and that bc of something that happened at that time, but it can also be random. kind of like an advanced sadness… but you have some really great stuff there, i have found life is always a battle, so im glad Im fighting on the right side1

    • Jess,

      When i first read what you wrote, something has been nagging in my heart that i fell like i have to tell you.

      You are amazing and loved. In fact, you are so loved that God sent down his son to die for you. I don’t know what kinds of bad stuff has happened to you, but never forget that you can have hope to face tomorrow and that no matter what happens and what happened in your life, God has a plan and he loves you.

      God has a plan for your current life and for your future, and he will use you in ways that you never thought could happen.

      yes, life is a battle, but we know who will win.

      I don’t know if this is relevant to you, or if this is just a random “Awesome Sauce” thing that I’m having. (Hey, it’s happened before) but that’s just what i felt like i had to say.

      Awesome Sauce

  • Connor P. Leet

    That is amazingly well put. I am 20 now, but in my second year of college, when things were getting complicated I started to develop exactly what you had described, struggled with it in the same way as you did. Why did I always feel so hopeless? Why is it that nothing made me happy? Why didn’t it seem like God was doing anything about it. It nearly came to the point of suicide on several occasions, but something always kept me from that road. I now realize it was God It is funny to hear people say that God saved their lives because I know that he saved mine in every sense of the word. My family has had a long history of depression and it still affects me now a bit, but I came to the same realization as you did. I saw it as a way for God to use me in a way that others could not. It’s hard to understand depression unless you have it. I was able to be there for one girl on a mission trip who had severe depression and thought that no one cared, that no one would miss her if she just stepped out in front of the next subway car (we were in New York). I told her what God had done for me and comforted her in the fact that God knew what he was doing and each and every Christian on the trip loved her like a sister. She was better for the rest of the trip. That is why I have depression, to make a difference and I’m glad you’ve realized that and shared your story. No one will know your story unless you share it, and no one will get anything from it unless it points them back to God.

  • I have a question. How do you stop being depressed? Like, how do you get rid of it? It’s not as simple as deciding you’re not going to feel that way; I have NO control over my feelings. So what do I do? I hate feeling this way, and I want to be able to live my life properly for God, but I feel like I can’t…

    • Abby M.

      Selah, that is a really good question. And honestly, I can’t give you a really great answer. Someone else might though. All I can give you is: Lamentations 3:17-18 and then Psalm 126 : 5-6. Lastly, John 16:22. I know that these don’t really answer your question, but I hope they encourage you. I’ll be praying for you. God bless!

    • Hey Selah, depression can often have a physical/medical cause. In those cases you can’t just “get rid of it” without addressing the underlying medical issue. Of course, God can heal people of depression, just like He can heal them of any other illness — but oftentimes He does so through medical intervention.

      For my wife Ana, her depression was caused by a Lyme Disease infection in her brain that no one realized was there. Only after a long period of treatment for Lyme Disease did her depression start getting better.

      Just to be clear though: saying that depression is a medical issue doesn’t mean that there isn’t a profound spiritual dimension (the spiritual and physical are often intertwined in ways that we can’t fully grasp). Many of the strongest Christian men and women throughout history struggled with depression and dealt with it on a spiritual level. This didn’t fix their depression, but it allowed God to use their depression and suffering to refine and purify them for His purposes.

      I don’t know anything about your situation, but I would encourage you to approach getting rid of your depression from both the medical and spiritual directions at once.

      Medically, realize that there is probably a physical cause for your depression and a medical solution. It’s not your fault or something about your personality or some problem you have handling stress.

      Spiritually, realize that your feelings are fickle and don’t have to control you. You may feel a million miles away from God, but you can still choose to go to Him and look to Him for help. You may find encouragement in this sermon by Tim Keller called Heman’s Cry of Darkness. It’s not about depression exactly, but it’s about staying close to God even when our feelings and circumstances make us feel distant and closed off from Him. It has really encouraged my wife as she’s struggled with her illness:

      http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/hemans-cry-darkness

    • Steph K

      Hey Selah,

      To be honest, I’m not sure I’m totally qualified to answer this. However, as someone who was depressed for the majority of my life to the point of feeling suicidal, I think I might be able to lend a few helpful ideas :)

      Like Brett said in his answer, there are two main factors to depression: the spiritual/mental and the physical. You can’t really have one without the other – your mind and body act as one unit, each affecting and responding to the other. With this in mind, here’s some realizations and changes I’ve made in my life…or should I say, GOD made in my life, because at the time I wasn’t a totally willing or energetic participant in His rescue mission for me:

      1. I have no idea what your lifestyle is, but a huge contributor to my depression was the food I ate. We live in a world where we consume crazy stuff without realizing it. This crazy stuff can sometimes have scary results. Finding out if you have a hidden allergy/sensitivity to something you’ve been consuming might be a massive trigger to how you’re feeling. Your whole body is made up of chemical reactions, and how our bodies react to certain foods is chemistry – depression can be an imbalance of chemicals in your body/mind trying to tell you something is not right…For me, gluten was one (among many!) of those chemicals that sent me to some really dark places that didn’t make sense. I had no idea it was doing that to me, and no doctor helped me find the answer – you might have to figure it out yourself through the process of elimination. It can be challenging, but it’s totally worth it!

      2. Do things that scare you (in a good, healthy way! No jumping off cliffs or horror moves!) and force you to a place where you know you have nothing but God to rely on. How fitting is it that my introduction to “Do Hard Things” was also the introduction of pushing past depression and suicide for me! I’m so thankful God found a way to put that book in my hands all those years ago! Sometimes the things we love to do or dream of doing are also the things that scare us most. My advice? Depression tells you to hide and stop trying…I say get out there at every opportunity you have and find something that you really love to do – and then pour yourself into it. It might get you out of your head and as a result further from the darkness. For me, this came in the form of volunteering – whether it was at a horse/children’s therapy centre, at a soup kitchen, or preaching in South America…they were all intimidating things to do, but I loved every minute of it, and it helped me see past all the crazy in my head.

      3. Last, and maybe most importantly: Pray. Keep God in the middle of all that is going on – make a conscious effort to include Him. He already knows all that you’re going through, knows you more than you know yourself. He knows the intricate pattern of chemistry that might be going a little haywire in your brain right now causing depression. He’s not going to abandon you in the middle of this. I think, also, one of the most damaging things you can do to your faith is to let guilt take over. I know how self-blame and guilt and helplessness can take over, but a key to moving on to the light is to MOVE ON. Ask for God’s help and forgiveness, and then MOVE ON in faith that you will try harder next time and that His love and forgiveness is greater than your sin (depression is NOT a sin, by the way…) or your struggles. YOU might not be able to get through depression on your own, but GOD can certainly bring you through the storm.

      Hope that helped in some way! I know how complicated it all is, and how hard it can be to see straight in all of that. But I have faith that you will make it, and that God will hear your earnest prayers! Afterall, He heard and continues to hear mine! :)

      May God bless you with peace and hope. Stay strong. Always look for Him, no matter how dark it gets!

  • Grace Muncey

    i have a song too… its called “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North, I heard it by accident during one of my toughest times and the lyrics just made me cry even more…. it describes exactly how I feel:

    My prayers are wearing thin
    Yeah, I’m worn
    Even before the day begins
    Yeah, I’m worn
    I’ve lost my will to fight
    I’m worn
    So, heaven come and flood my eyes

    Let me see redemption win
    Let me know the struggle ends
    That you can mend a heart
    That’s frail and torn
    I wanna know a song can rise
    From the ashes of a broken life
    And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
    Cause all that’s dead inside will be reborn

    • Awesome sauce

      I love that song!!!!!! <3

      Mine is "stand in the rain" by Superchick

      "She never slows down.
      She doesn't know why but she knows that when she's all alone, feels like its all coming down
      She won't turn around
      The shadows are long and she fears if she cries that first tear, the tears will not stop raining down
      So stand in the rain
      Stand your ground
      Stand up when it's all crashing down
      You stand through the pain
      You won't drown
      And one day, whats lost can be found
      You stand in the rain
      She won't make a sound
      Alone in this fight with herself and the fears whispering if she stands she'll fall down
      She wants to be found
      The only way out is through everything she's running from wants to give up and lie down.
      So stand in the rain
      Stand your ground
      Stand up when it's all crashing down
      You stand through the pain
      You won't drown
      And one day, whats lost can be found
      You stand in the rain"

      • Abby M.

        I love that song too!

      • Grace Muncey

        Wow. Thats Powerful.

        • Awesome sauce

          I know right????

          And it’s so true!!!!!

      • mimeforJESUS

        I love that one, too!

    • Jess jesse

      Ya my song is Shadows from David crowder band and Lecrae. O and Stellar Kart me and Jesus. O and Me in Montion eye of the hurricane. And a lot more. Music is really a gift

      • Awesome sauce

        Wow!! i had no clue DCB and Lecrae did music together!! *open up Youtube* Pretty cool!!!!!

        Do not get me started with music. Have you heard “VIP” by manic drive yet??? A new fav!!! How about Colton Dixons “Dare to believe??” *swoon.*

  • David Barnes

    The funny thing about depression is that it can be either physical or spiritual. I think the easiest way to tell the difference is to check your outlook. As you said, your depression causes you to see positive things as negative, even if it doesn’t make sense for them to be negative. I would think that is the result of a physical deficiency. But I think a spiritual ailment produces just the opposite: a positive view of the negative. The Enemy is alwasy trying to corrupt our perceptions of God, so this would make sense. I suffer from a list of mental and emotional impariments (at least the seem to be impairments), depression included. I often wonder if they are a physical issue that can be solved with chemicals or counselling or something like that. But God’s reveleaed to me that this isn’t something man can fix. Only an all-knowing, all-loving God can sooth a downcast spirit, be it directly, through other people, or even through music like He did for you and even me in a number of occasions. I’m glad you’ve come to such an uplifting realization about your condition, and I pray that God continues to reveal His grace and mercy everyday of your life.

  • This is super encouraging. Thanks for writing about this. Praying that you keep this joy in the Lord :)

  • Hiddlesbatch

    Wow this is amazing. ive struggled with depression for 3 years now but it wasn’t until my brother told me about a week ago that i was depressed and i needed help that i really finally realized that its not just overdramatic or whatever else my Christian family has said to me. But reading this article has helped me to accept the fact that there IS actually something wrong with my brain. So thanks to you i have finally decided to get some help.

    • mimeforJESUS

      I’ll be praying for you! How you doing?

  • Grossed out

    This nonsense misunderstands and trivializes serious mental illness.
    http://i.imgur.com/9B0fda4.png

    • Offly arrogant of you, considering this is not someone’s reflections on what they believe depression looks like, but is a first hand testimony of how someone who has depression, views depression.

      • Grossed out

        First hand accounts are not above criticism. My account is first and second hand, does that make it better? Not really. I am mostly “Grossed out” at this because of my family members that committed suicide from depression and this account would trivialize them oh so arrogantly and ignorantly. There are serious consequences of considering real depression a gift from God.

        • I respect your opinion.

          • Rachel K.

            Hello. I am the author of this article. I had not seen your comment until recently.

            I understand your frustration, and I am so sorry for your losses and struggle.

            As Grace pointed out, depression can range from unpleasant but tolerable to mortal and devastating. I am fortunate to have a more tolerable form of it, and do not mean to pretend that your depression is any less real.

            Just like you can’t compare one person with another, I have no intention of comparing my illness to yours. We are two different people, and we suffer from depression in two very different ways. Yours is undoubtedly more intense, and I am sorry for that.

            When I describe my experience, that is precisely what I am describing: MY experience. I have no intention of suggesting that ANYONE should handle their experience with mental illness based off of my article.

            Mental illness is serious and unique, and deserves to be treated as such. I am not a professional, I am a witness… a witness to my story. Everyone’s story is different, and must be treated as such.

            Finally, please understand that pain is never a gift from God. I feel the need to state that though I can write positively in an article meant for the average demographic, when I speak about depression with other sufferers, it is far less positive. It is painful and it is hard and it’s ugly. But if you choose to only look at the ugly and painful, that’s what your life will become. No one deserves a hard and ugly life, and each life is beautiful, even if it is sometimes hard to see. (believe me, I know it can be impossible to see sometimes)

            So I choose not to let my pain define me. I intend to try and find the positive. And I thank God there is some positive to find.

            Once again, Grossed Out, I am so sorry for your losses and pain, and pray that you may find healing and peace. You have been through a lot, and I respect that.

            Thank you all for your inputs and perspective.

            We do not take away pain my projecting our own pain or frustration on others, and treating those who are in pain with understanding and kindness is very important. Thank you for respecting that important fact.

        • Hey, man, I sincerely apologize. I was way out of line and I was stupid to insult you. I wasn’t reflecting Christ, but rather, stupidity. Will you forgive me? (I do understand if you cannot)

          • Grossed out

            Thank you. I feel guilty for coming out swinging. This is just a place for someone to feel free to open up and even help others. I do not want to be someone who acts the way I just did. I just ran across this at a bad time.

          • Hey, man, as you saw before, I also came out swinging. I do seriously regret how I addressed you.

    • That is sick.

      • Grossed out

        I am sorry.

        • I forgive you! And i’m sorry that are hurting so deeply. Do you mind if i pray for you?

          • Grossed out

            Do what you would like to do.

          • Grossed out,
            I prayer Journal-which is when you write out your prayers, and when i was done with this, i thought that you might want to know what exactly i was praying over your life. Let me know if there is anything i need to add.
            Dear Jesus,
            I would like to pray for a new found friend of mine, He goes my “grossed out, but i’m pretty sure that his parents didn’t name him that, but you know his real name, and that is what counts.

            Thank you for leading him to this website, and for letting Trent David and i talk to him.

            I pray that you would cover him with your peace. I pray that you would give him your peace in your name! I pray that you would let him know that you are a sovereign Lord and that you truly love him-even thought all the horrid stuff that happens in life.

            I pray all this in your name. Amen
            That is what i prayed over you this morning, Grossed.

            RJS

          • Rachel, thank you for being kind where I was not. It is encouraging.

          • Trent,
            Believe it or not, it’s not easy for me to be kind. I would have much rather come out… what was that word? “swinging.” But i choose not to because i knew that what i saw wasn’t the whole story.

            I have other random thoughts pertaining to this floating around in my head that i think i just think about them some more. 😀
            RJS

          • Grossed out

            Thank you for your kind words.

          • Your welcome!

    • David Barnes

      You have a right to your opinion, but there is no reason to slander someone else who has the same right. You can state what you believe calmly and respectfully. Since you brought up the subject, would you mind expounding upon what you believe to be a proper understanding and explanation of serious mental illnesses?

      • Grossed out

        I am sorry for my reaction. I was sincerely offended and hurt by the characterization of depression here. I have lost family to depression. I have lost much of my life to it. I have been on medications, in therapy, and I have had to undergo ECT (electro-convulsive therapy) just so I can struggle to be alive. To consider depression a gift from God hurts me deeply. It hurts the treatment of those that seriously suffer in ways that are not mere soul building, but soul crushing. I do not mean to belittle the author’s suffering at all here. I apologize if I come off that way, but I do mean to criticize the author’s minimization of others’ suffering that ruins lives. If people see clinical depression as a gift instead of a disease, the treatment and help for those individuals would change for the worse.

        I am happy that the author here has found a way to help herself through her own suffering, but it is wrong to assume that this is how other’s should handle it.

        Depression is a complex spectrum of an illness that can range from possibly helpful reflection to near comatose inability to function.

        I apologize for my overreaction. It just hurt me, but that is no excuse. I hope the best for everyone here.

        • David Barnes

          I’m sure everyone forgives the reaction, and I personally understand how you could be hurt by such a representation of a circumstance that has caused so much pain for you. I have not lost any loved ones to depression and have yet to be clinically treated, but my bout with depression has resulted in an interest in seeking out therapy and testing for psychoactive disorder. I can’t count how many times thoughts suicide, homocide, and self-harm have crept into my conscious. The later having been implemented on a number of occassions. I agree that depression is debilitating, and I don’t believe that it is a gift from God because God does not wish for us to be downcast. I do however believe that because of the sin of the world, developing a relationship with God can result in some rather depressing outcomes and reactions from the world. Jesus repeatedly made reference to the trials and tribulations his followers would have to face through time. God does give us hope through these hard times though, so we don’t have to be hopeless. We may be upset and indeed depressed. Even Jesus wept and God is pained by our refusal of His love. But we have hope in Jesus for something better in the end.

          Agreed. One comment I left on this article describes two different types of depression: one physical, and one spiritual. Each type has it’s own subtypes and intricacies that must be taken into account. There is no formula for fixing depression.

          True.

          No worries. I pray God blesses you in your life and helps in through your trying times.

          • Grossed out

            Thank you for the kind and reasoned response.

          • Guest

            Hello. I am the author of this article. I had not seen your comment until recently.

            I understand your frustration, and I am so sorry for your losses and struggle.

            As Grace pointed out, depression can range from unpleasant but tolerable to mortal and devastating. I am fortunate to have a more tolerable form of it, and do not mean to pretend that your depression is any less real.

            Just like you can’t compare one person with another, I have no intention of comparing my illness to yours. We are two different people, and we suffer from depression in two very different ways. Yours is undoubtedly more intense, and I am sorry for that.

            When I describe my experience, that is precisely what I am describing: MY experience. I have no intention of suggesting that ANYONE should handle their experience with mental illness based off of my article.

            Mental illness is serious and unique, and deserves to be treated as such. I am not a professional, I am a witness… a witness to my story. Everyone’s story is different, and must be treated as such.

            Finally, please understand that pain is never a gift from God. I feel the need to state that though I can write positively in an article meant for the average demographic, when I speak about depression with other sufferers, it is far less positive. It is painful and it is hard and it’s ugly. But if you choose to only look at the ugly and painful, that’s what your life will become. No one deserves a hard and ugly life, and each life is beautiful, even if it is sometimes hard to see. (believe me, I know it can be impossible to see sometimes)

            So I choose not to let my pain define me. I intend to try and find the positive. And I thank God there is some positive to find.

            Once again, I am so sorry for your losses and pain, and pray that you may find healing and peace. You have been through a lot, and I respect that.

            Thank you for your inputs and perspective.

        • Grace Muncey

          To Grossed Out:

          I have not read the original comment. I can pull things from
          other comments to tell me what it was about. I am not here to criticize you, only to state my opinion. Please tell me if I am assuming something wrong (I very well might be). Many people have depression. I would go as far to say that
          every case of depression is different. People react in different ways, see it different ways, have different severities, yet it is all under one name: depression. I say this from personal experience. Your case, your family’s
          cases, my case, Rachael case, they are all very, very different. Rachael has opened up her heart on how she deals with, and sees, her depression. I’m sure you understand from experience that that is not the easiest thing to do. I know that. Rachael’s case might be less severe than your family’s. And even yours. But that doesn’t stop it from being depression. And that doesn’t stop it from being true. This might help others a lot, even though it doesn’t help you.
          Maybe others who feel alone now feel that they can open up about their depression and get help where they couldn’t before. I myself have a hard time seeing it as a blessing and a superpower. It affects me too much and too severely to see it that way. I try, but I often can’t. It’s amazing that
          Rachael can. That is a gift from God. Basically, I just wanted to say that we are not all against you. Or at least not seeing what you are saying. Although I don’t agree to be judgmental of the Rachael just because she likes to look at depression in a positive way, I do understand your pain and how it could be offensive. God loves you. He loves Rachael too. Her article helped someone else although it didn’t help you. Perhaps something else will help you that someone else found offensive. I don’t know. But I just have one piece of advice: Just. Keep. Moving. I often dread waking up in the morning, just because I have to do it all over again. But think of it this way instead: no matter how terrible and torturous today might have been, tomorrow has the possibility of being better. And today will end. I will be praying for you.

          XOXO,
          Grace

  • Heidi Erickson

    Hey Rachel,

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing. This has been so encouraging to me to read along with all the other resulting comments – so many more people deal with this than I thought. I don’t have serious depression, but what my mom calls “the blues.” I have spells of it. Often it really kicks in in the winter, when everything is dark and rainy (almost) all the time where I live. Or when life is just really full of stress and added worry (like the last couple years have been, off and on) – I have a tendency to be a worrywart anyway so that doesn’t help. 😉 When I was little (around 8 or so) it was pretty bad.

    Anyway, I have felt it nagging at the back of me all this morning and so reading this has encouraged me. Thank you…so much. :) God bless.

    • Rachel K.

      Hi Heidi.
      You might want to consider looking up SAD (seasonal Affective disorder) which is a form of depression that is caused by changes in sunlight. I’m glad to be of help. :)

      • Heidi Erickson

        Thank you so much, Rachel! :)

  • A S

    Someone should write about ways to overcome or deal with depression

    • AS,
      have written something similar to what you are asking for on my blog. It’s called A Recipe for Disaster.

      (http://foreversoldiersofgod.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-recipe-for-disaster.html?m=1)

      It talks about the things that add up to cause me to become depressed and ways to avoid these things. Now, it won’t stop depression if you avoid these things, but it will make it considerablely harder for a depression attack to set in. Let me know what you think. (°•
      God bless!
      – Trent

      • A S

        thats great :) thanks

  • Kim

    Thanks for sharing your story, Rachel! It’s made me rethink my attitude when I have “low” times of feeling depressed. While I wouldn’t pray for God to empty me of the
    fruits of the Spirit (joy, peace, etc.), I’ll pray for God to empty me of things that pretend to fill me and replace God, but don’t actually do so. Your attitude is great, Rachel! It reminds me that God can work out anything and everything for good.

    God bless!

  • Hope Dan

    I myself have struggld with depresssion. My mom refused to have me believe in the doctor’s diagnoses saying that this is normal for teens. I wasn’t going to be a stereotype.Instead she had me read scripture and figure out where all this started…..and it really helped. Depression can turn into something really nasty if you don’t begin to search for Jesus first. I’m glad my parents stepped in.And so did Jesus.

  • WF

    Thank you to Rachel & all the commentators for your openness in talking about depression. When I first started dealing with depression I had no idea what was going on since it wasn’t something discussed at home or church and spent far too long thinking it would just go away if I ignore it. As you guys state–it was & is much more complex than that!

    For me a big physical component was vitamin B deficiency combined with lifestyle/habits plus spiritual issues … Remember depression is diagnosed based on a group of symptoms — different root causes can result in the same types of noticeable symptoms. It took years to start understanding mine and my prayers are with you all as you are on this journey.

  • Steelers Fan

    Thanks so much for this article. Last year I was in a deep depression that many times nearly ended in suicide. It is very hard to explain but very real nonetheless. Although there were a lot of factors involved in my depression I had always thought that depression was always spiritual (with very rare exceptions). I had also been sold the idea that being in depression meant that you somehow weren’t a Christian or that you were in a bad place with God. That idea was sure false – looking back I see how much God helped me through and eventually out of my depression. However, I STILL haven’t told anyone what I went through – mostly from a sort of twisted shame. (Pardon me for posting with a false name, but that shame just won’t go away.) Hopefully this article will encourage people to speak up and get help.
    By the way my song is “Stay Close” by Fireflight, their music is amazing!

    • Riley H.

      Hey Steelers Fan,

      I just read this article (I know, I’m a little out of it :)), and looking through the comments I saw what you said. I’ve been through some really dark times of depression (among other things), especially about a year ago, so I get where you’re coming from. I felt the same way, that there was some kind of deep shame involved with depression. I didn’t let anyone know that anything was going on, and if I found out that someone did know, I was mortified. But very recently my perspective was totally turned around. I can’t really share details, because they involve the privacy of someone close, but let me just say that knowing and being known is SO important. I didn’t realize just how much hiding behind a false front can be damaging to yourself and to others. Sometimes it feels like everyone else in the world is doing just fine but you – but I can say from personal experience that you might be shocked at just how many others are struggling just as much as you, but you would never know. Why? Because we’re all so good at hiding. So all of us are living and even dying with secret shame, because we’re too afraid – or is it our pride that’s holding us back?

      Someone once shared with me the story of Jesus healing a man with a shriveled hand (Mark 3). Jesus told the man to stand up in front of the crowd, and then to stretch out his hand. This man was probably ashamed of his hand and embarrassed by it, and stretching it out for everyone to see probably wasn’t his idea of fun. But Jesus required the man to expose his hand before He healed it. Exposure is sometimes the first step towards healing. Check out the song, “Any Other Way” by Tenth Avenue North. It really opened my eyes.

      Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying go shout out your life story to the world! That’s not necessary. But being transparent when the time is right, can bring so much healing. And maybe, one day, someone might need to hear, because they’re going through a similar struggle themselves – and I can say from personal experience that just knowing someone has gone through the same struggle and survived means the world.

      Remember, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1)

      “Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.” (Josh. 5:9)

      That turned into a lot :). Praying for you!
      Bought with a Price,
      -Riley H.

      • Steelers Fan

        Hey Riley thanks so much for your post. First off I’m really glad that you’ve been able to overcome that shame through Christ! My shame is a little different than most – I’m afraid that I really didn’t make that clear in the original post and for that I apologize. I really can’t provide details but some bizarre circumstances that surrounded my depression also put a rift in my relationship with my parents and that disconnect still exists. Also, they were the ones who sold me the idea that depression is shameful and I would be mortified if they somehow found out about it. So while I’d be OK sharing my story with others, I would be ashamed if somehow it circled back to them.

        That being said, your post really encouraged me to be open when the time comes. I really don’t know anyone right now who would benifit from my story but I’m keeping my eyes open – and when the moment is right I really do need to share my story (and if it somehow circles around to my parents to let that fall where it falls). No it won’t be easy, but hey, we do hard things! Thanks for the challenge to be more open and I won’t forget it.

        By the way I loved the song by Tenth Avenue North :-)

        • Riley H.

          Thanks for listening to my super long comment :)…I don’t know it’s just something I felt led to say in the moment, I’ve been thinking about shame a lot. I hope you didn’t feel like I was preaching at you, that was so not my intention, because in no way have I mastered this area either! Plus I know it’s different in every situation. I’m so sorry about your parents, I can’t imagine how hard that would be. I’ll be praying! By the way, I really liked what you said in your first comment about depression not defining who you are or whether or not your a Christian. So true!!

          Glad you liked the song :), one of my favorites!

          Bought with a Price,
          -Riley

          • Steelers Fan

            No problem I enjoyed your comment. Actually me and my parents get along most of the time…it’s just in the deep stuff that the rift shows up. Regardless thanks so much for your prayers and I’ll be praying that you’ll keep putting that shame to death where it belongs :-)
            God bless and merry Christmas!

        • GodsThespian

          Whoa, I feel for ya. Well, not really, I’ve never had depression like this — but I’ve had some really tough times myself and not felt that I could tell anybody what was going on, and my parents weren’t in on it.
          I know this is three months after your conversation, but I’ll be praying for you, and if you ever want to talk just reply to one of my comments…

          • Ethan H.

            Me too!! Wow.

          • Thanks! I just might take you up on your offer sometime :-)

          • GodsThespian

            That’s what my offer is for! :-)

        • Ethan H.

          I didn’t realise all of what people with depression went through. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ethan H.

      Did you write this article?

      • Nope.

        • Ethan H.

          Okay. I didn’t think so, but not sure!

  • Pinkrose

    Thank u so much! This is so inspirational it actually made me smile and that is a lot from me considering the fact that I have depression too. Thanks for letting me know that I’m not alone. 😊

  • Wow! This is really inspiring.

  • Jordan

    Thank you, this article really encouraged me. I have always felt bad for struggling with depression because I thought Christians were supposed to be happy all the time. In fact, I’ve even doubted my own salvation before, thinking I’m too far gone for God’s love. Now I’m beginning to see that maybe my loneliness is a good thing, something that reminds me that the things of this world can only leave me feeling empty but, if I depend on God, He will fill me up. Again, thank you so much for this article.

  • Manda Rue

    Well this is a positive article for me. I actually went to my doctor today because I believed to be experiencing symptoms of depression. I left with the diagnosis that I do have depression. So if anybody has any advice on how to deal with this new step in my life it would be much appreciated. :) Prayers would be great too!

    • Rachel K.

      I will happily add you, and everyone who is struggling with depression in the Rebelution to my prayer list!

      • Manda Rue

        Thank you very much Rachel.

    • Faith B

      I would say don’t make a label say who you are. Because God never made you for depression that is just what the devil wants you to believe. So look in the word and find out what he says about you to take the report of God over the Report of man. 2 Corinthians 2:4, 1:4, Romans 8:37-39, Philippians 4:13, Colossians 2:6-10, 2 Peter 1:3,

  • Jolie Simmonds

    Wow, your article brought tears to my eyes. I too struggle with depression and lately it has been getting worse. I’ll try to take your advice and see if I can use this for GOD, because right now I don’t really know what else to do. Thank you so much.

  • Jolie Simmonds

    Just remembered, one song that has really helped me is “Hope in Front of Me “-by Danny Gokey

  • Soph

    Thanks. Although I don’t struggle with depression your explanation really helped. I do have times though when I feel sad for no reason, or lonely, or just fed up with the world… and wonder the same thing as you, so thanks for the reference especially to that song. It’s an amazing article.

  • Megan Y.

    This made me cry, not only because it is so true, but because I feel hopelessly worthless because of my depression, anxiety and other mental disorders or illnesses. There have been so many times I have wished that my family and friends would notice that I skip meals or sleep too much or don’t always smile during a conversation, just because I want someone to help. Everyone tells me that no one but God can help, but it’s so frustrating when all you can focus on is that feeling of anxiety like what you get right before falling down the stairs, except it doesn’t end. I want help, I don’t want to have to talk to people about it though, I always feel selfish and like I’m just complaining about my life which really isn’t that bad. I’m not trying to draw attention to myself, I just can’t be alone anymore.

    • Hey Megan,

      I know how you feel, and that feeling of longing for someone to just notice that something is not right.

      That feeling like you are lost and sinking, and that no one can see behind your mask. Like you are the only one who could possibly feel like that in the world.

      Let me tell you this, You aren’t alone. Jesus is your strong and mighty tower and will hold you tight in his arms, even when you feel like all else is failing. He says to “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

      All you have to do is come to him, and he will give you rest for your weariness. He will bring light to the darkest moments of your life.

      He longs to gather you up and hold you close, and to let you just cry on his shoulders and to call you the treasure that you are.

      I’m praying for you Megan,
      Your sister in Christ, Rachel

    • Rachel K.

      Hi Megan,
      I’m the author of this article.
      Feeling worthless was, and continues to be, one of the hardest parts of having Depression.
      The real problem, as I discovered, is not that you feel worthless, but that it’s just so hard to be loved. And it hurts, because you know you should be loved, you just don’t know how to do that. Every time someone loves you your brokenness gets in the way. Surley someone can’t love you. So you invent reasons why the don’t, and you believe yourself to be truly worthless.
      I can tell you Jesus loves you until I’m blue in the face. I can tell you to look at a Cross to see what I mean, and you would glance at this image dubiously because you’ve seen it a thousand times.
      So I won’t. That doesn’t help.
      I’ll just tell you how God helped me.
      I was struggling with this one day and I was sitting in my backyard half-heartedly praying about it. And all of a sudden a huge, giant swallowtail butterfly landed just a foot or so away from me. It was beautiful. The light shimmered off of its wings, and it’s delicate legs gripped the tiny flower it was holding. It’s wings softly beat up and down, and I suddenly realized how intricate and gorgeous a butterfly could be. I thought, “Wow. That’s amazing.”
      And suddenly I felt God saying “Do you like it? I made that butterfly for you, because I want you to know how much I care about you.” It was like another world was opened up. Suddenly I realized that maybe God does things like paint spectacular sunsets, make beautiful flowers or adorable animals, because he wants to “show off” like a boy who has a crush. Because he loves us. Because he loves YOU.
      It’s hard to be loved, but all things are possible with God. And I know that he loves you so much he can barely contain it. I hope you discover God’s way of “showing off” to you soon, and I will keep you in my prayers, Megan.

      • Megan Y.

        I have been in a very dark place lately, and I’m sorry I didn’t see this until now. I recently made a very bad decision, and I just…I can’t…

        What you said about looking for love feels so true for me, I hate feeling like an attention seeker but I can’t get it out of my head that, don’t I deserve a little love as well? I just have to keep asking for it, and I don’t know why no one seems to think of just giving it to me without prompting, maybe I’m just not worth the time.

        I know I have fallen away from Christ, because I can feel it every time anxiety sends chills through my body and my thoughts are nothing but negativity. It’s just, I’ve asked him, over and over to fix me, to make me new again and it still hasn’t happened, I’m still struggling just to get up and make myself eat daily and avoid my siblings. People say he never leaves, and that you can’t walk away from him, but then where is he? Why do I have to ‘learn’ things by going through such pain? I’m sorry I just really would like some answers…

        • Rachel K.

          Hello Megan,
          I am so sorry you are going through so much.
          Firstly, you DO deserve love. You have love, even though you can’t see it. And it is absolutely not your fault that you don’t see it.
          Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to let someone hurt for a little while. That may not make much sense, but I think a baby feels much the same way when its parents refuse to pick it up in order to teach it how to walk.
          It is not that the baby has done something wrong, or that it’s parents do not love it very much. The baby just has to learn something new. For the baby, it’s hard. And it is scary.
          But you are NEVER alone. It’s hard to see things clearly through tears, but God is there. Otherwise I wouldn’t have written this.
          It’s not your fault that you don’t see Him. It’s the devil’s fault. So don’t give him the satisfaction of winning in the fight over you.
          I am praying for you!

        • Hi Megan! You haven’t been around for a while and it really doesn’t sound like you’re okay. Wanna talk?
          -Sam

        • Amanda

          Aww:'( praying for you right now!

  • Miky

    Oh. This gave me another point of view. I was sure i’m not depressed and i just have a bad mood sometimes. But this made me think about it. I am depressed. And finally i know that’s not bad as i thought and i can see it as a gift from God for me. Thank you Rachel for your article. God bless you.

  • “Depression is like asthma for your brain.” What a very accurate description! I wish my family would understand that now!

  • christine lhermite

    this point of view is so well inspired and said . the only detail is that it works only if we believe , trust and rely on God. otherwise, when you are at the bottom of the empty phase and don’t know God to rely on to feel you up, this is edge where the non christian turn to suicide or other bad issue. Thank God for having put that song on your way at the right moment so HE could reveal Himself to you. that is why i always try to have with me christian song with specific encouraging words like the one you shared as boosters ( they are my asthma pumps and my pills ). God bless you.

  • Thank you for this article. It’s something I’ve struggled with, too, that I am trying to overcome, and this helps a lot.

  • newbbrn

    I love this article! I shared it on FB to let my friends into how I feel. And thanks, Brett for the comment on Spirituality. It certainly isn’t a spiritual problem, as I heard one pastor preach. However, it can severely impact your spiritual walk. I remember in a particularly bad time (post-partum) telling God that I loved him but I didn’t care what he said, I was going to do what I wanted. I still believed and loved God, but the depression made me not care. Suicide was an option… even for this Christian. So love on those who are depressed!! Even if they can’t be nice right now.

  • Madeleine Grace

    Wow! This is exactly what I needed to hear today I also suffer from depresssion and have only just resently been able to overcome it!!!! This article detailed everything I felt dealing with depression and I’ve always know God you’ve got a reason for puttin me through this but have never really understood that reason untill know!!!!!! Thank you so much for posting this!!!! It’s helped and encouraged me greatly!!!!!

    In Christ Alone,
    Madeleine

  • Julia

    Rachel,
    I needed to hear this so badly today. Lately my life has been a mess. I don’t know why, but I’ve been struggling with doubt. (like that God even exists, why I can’t feel Him etc) It’s morphed into a type of depression, I think. Not that i’m always negative and crying, but it just comes in waves. And people don’t seem to understand. And with my past of doubting God, I don’t even know how to see Him most of the time. But I’ve found that praise songs seems to chase some of the darkness away. And im okay for awhile, but then I fall again. Does anyone have any recommendations for what to do? About overcoming doubt and depression? I don’t know what to do anymore.

    • Haylie

      Hey Julia :) I’m praying for you right now. I’ve been there, and i want you to know you are not alone! I know how hard it is when we don’t feel God, but our relationship with Him is so much more than feelings. I found a lot of encouragement from reading 2 Corinthians, if you want to try reading it. It a good book :) Don’t forget how much He loves you, Julia.

      Your sister in Him,
      Haylie

      • Julia

        Haylie,
        Thank you so much. I need all the prayer I can get, honestly. It’s so, so hard and it’s difficult when you just want SO badly to see Him and for it to all be okay..

        Thanks!! I’ll definitely go read it, thanks for the prayers & if you wouldn’t mind continuing praying, that would be fantastic.

        Your sister in Christ,

        Julia

        • Haylie

          I will most certainly continue to pray <3

        • Haylie

          Praying for you tonight, Julia :) How are you doing?

          • Julia Grace

            Thank you! I’m alright, feelings and struggles a bit all over the place but i’m making baby steps. Really what i’m trying to do as of late is really set a foundation for my faith and actually trust/want God…and that’s been difficult. But I’m not where I used to be and i’m beyond grateful for that. If you wouldn’t mind keeping me in your prayers that would be great :) Keeping you in mine!
            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • Haylie

            Absolutely, I will continue to pray for you. Thank you for praying for me, I really appreciate it, and need it. I have been a little scattered and stretched spiritually, lately. But, God is good! He is so very good.

            Your Sister in Christ,
            Haylie

          • Julia Grace

            Thank you :) And aw, I’m sorry to hear it- I hope God uses it to teach you something! And if you ever need anyone to talk to about it, I’m here to listen 😉

            Your sister in Christ,

            Julia

          • Haylie

            Thank you, Julia. :) I’m here for you too <3

          • Haylie

            Hey there, miss Julia. I’m still praying for you. :) Are you doing okay?

          • Julia Grace

            Hey Haylie! I’m alright, still struggling with a lot of doubt and fear, but I’m doing okay I suppose :) thanks for the prayers, I really appreciate them!!

            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • Haylie

            Hey Julia. :)

            I’m praying for you today. I hope you’re doing well. How’s life?

            Your sister in Christ,
            Haylie

    • Hey Juila, I’ve delt with depression before as well (not clinical or any medically diagnosed condition), and sometimes it’s a little bit like what you’re describing.

      For me, the cause was usually either trials from Satan that God was allowing, to make me stronger; or excess Stress and Anxiety.

      The second kind has happened to me recently, to the point where I had to discontinue leading my website and leave a few others. That’s actually helping really well! Maybe there’s too much on your shoulders too?

      As far as doubting, don’t be ashamed of it! So many people tell us to push past pur doubts and just “have faith”. That’s actually not the best way to do it. I like to advocate the opposite: “embrace your doubts until they are no more.”

      In other words, if you’re doubting something, look into it! If you’re having trouble believing in anything… say “the deity of Christ”, than research the evidence for the diety of Christ, while praying that God will show you the truth, no matter if you already believe it or not. After all, if what you believe is true, you have nothing to worry about – because evidence points to the truth. If it’s wrong, however, than wouldn’t you like to know it and believe instead in what’s right? So really, as long as you’re careful and critical to spot poor logic or baseless (but convincing) lies, research can’t hurt!

      I hope this helps. 😀
      – trent

      • Julia

        Trent,
        Thank you…this helped more than you know. It seems like the people I’ve opened up to about it WANT to help, but they don’t know how to. I mean yes, I know I have to pray but that’s hard when you’re doubting and basically just confused.

        Yeah, I’ve got a lot going on now, I guess. School is crazy stressful because I for some reason thought 2 college classes sophmore year was a great idea (it’s kind of not) and I don’t feel like I can keep up a lot. So that’s rough & I’m one of those people that like MEGA-stresses…

        As for doubting, I’ll start looking into answers…thank you for not just saying “have faith” because that honestly sounds easy but it isn’t. If you wouldn’t mind keeping me in your prayers, that would be great. Thanks again!

        Your sister in Christ,
        Julia

    • AnnaGrace

      Hey Julia, I’ve struggled with doubt and depression a lot in the past too and I totally get the part about it coming in waves. Like there are times when it boils over but mostly an undercurrent running beneath everything else. With the doubts…knowing what and why you believe can really help, or if you have a friend you absolutely trust who can speak truth to you/be available to be there for you. If you’re into reading, two books (besides the Word of God) that have really helped me are Doubting by Alister McGrath and Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness by Edward T. Welch.

      Like Trent said, stress can really do a number on you and make this come on or get worse. One thing that ya might want to watch is how well you’re eating. In my case, I found out that a lot of it was due to a food allergy I had no idea I had. This probably isn’t the case for most people. But no matter who you are, eating a lot of sugar/caffeine or not getting enough sleep can be part of what is affecting you. ~AnnaGrace

      • Julia

        AnnaGrace,

        Thank you! My problem with doubt and that sort of stuff is it tends to overshadow my moments- good and bad. Like when I’m trying to believe, doubt overshadows that and it’s just REALLY hard. You know? Like i want so badly to believe but it’s so hard sometimes. Thank you! I will look into the books, I’ve found quite a few Max Lucado, josh McDowell books and such that I’m going to try and read through- with God’s word & much prayer.

        Thank you for the encouragement- sending prayers your way as well!!

        Your sister in Christ,

        Julia

        • AnnaGrace

          Julia, Thanks for your prayers as well :) Sorry about the delayed response–I have been thinking and praying a lot about this and this is something I think I’m supposed to share with you from my own struggle. You said, “…when I’m trying to believe, doubt overshadows that and it’s just REALLY hard. You know? Like I want so badly to believe but it’s so hard sometimes.” Just wanted to let you know, Jesus understood that. In Mark 9 a father brought his demon-possessed, epileptic son to Him. He said to Jesus in desperation, “If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us!” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” And the father cried out with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Talk to Jesus–tell Him about your struggle with doubt, tell Him how much you want to believe but that you can’t do it on your own. Ask Him to help your unbelief, to help you believe. Jesus answered that father’s desperate prayer. He helped that father believe and He healed his son. And sometimes, God chooses to let us struggle because He knows that at the end of that struggle you will have drawn closer to Him and you will know Him in a way you never did before. Your sister in Christ, Anna Grace

          “The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of the pain, thanking God during the trials, trusting Him when we’re tempted to lose hope, and LOVING HIM when He seems so distant and far away. At my lowest, God is my hope. At my darkest, God is my light. At my weakest, God is my strength. At my saddest, God is my comforter.” ~Anonymous

          • Julia

            AnnaGrace,
            Thank you…I’ve been trying though! I’ve been on my knees, begging Him to help me overcome my doubts, but nothing seems to be getting better. I’m just getting more exhausted fighting them. I don’t know how to keep going and believe anymore and I’m so scared, honestly. Sorry for dumping this on you…

          • AnnaGrace

            You’re not dumping it on me! We want to be here for you, honest. I felt the same way when I was there–like I was presuming on people. But I want you to know, we care.

            You said you have a past of doubting God. Where do you think this started? Did something that happened or your family influence your view of God that started you in this direction? Why do you doubt His existence? Your background can affect your faith–how does your past affect your present? Sometimes figuring that out can be a good starting point in sorting this all out. Like, you said your life has been a mess lately. Do you think your doubt could be rooted in anything that’s going on?

            When I was really struggling, I would call my best friend and “borrow” her faith. I trusted her, I knew that she had a deep faith in God and in the times that I felt I had no faith, I leaned on that. Your salvation or who God is doesn’t depend on the strength of your faith, but on the power of the God in whom you believe. It would probably really help if you can find someone who can help you that way. We can talk to you here but can’t be there in person.

            What are you scared of? (re: “I’m so scared, honestly.”) And how are you fighting them (your doubts)?

            You’re not alone. Don’t ever believe you are. You’re not the only one who has struggled with this, even though it feels like it sometimes. I have. Other Christians historically have. Other people on this blog have. And there is light at the end of the tunnel, even though you can’t see it right now! We’ve found it–we’ve come through it. And even when you can’t feel Him, God is there. Our enemy wants to isolate you and take you down; don’t let him! You reached out to us; please reach out to people around you too.

            In your first comment you said, “I don’t even know how to see Him [God] most of the time.” Can I tell you something, sometimes I don’t either! I feel like I barely know Him sometimes, even though I grew up in the church. But I do want to know Him more. Don’t give up! It may seem like you’ll never find Him, but He promises, “You will seek for Me and you will find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

            Riley’s praying for you, Trent’s praying for you, Haylie’s praying for you, I’m praying for you, and I have about a dozen other people praying for you over here. You are not alone. Your sister in Christ, AnnaGrace

          • Julia

            AnnaGrace,

            That’s the funny thing, I don’t know. For most of my life my faith has kind of just been “inherited” so to speak. I’ve kind of mindlessly believed it because my family and friends do. I started trying to make it my own and it went well for a few months, but then BAM doubt crept in. I cant even remember the exact day, but it just showed up and won’t go away.

            I’m scared that it’s not real. I’m scared that God isn’t real, that I’m just trying to believe because the people I love believe. I mean, how are intelligent scientists atheists if God is so logically real? Do they just not want to believe it? I’m reading books with scientific evidence on Christianity, but there are still people that protest against that seemingly solid evidence.

            I’m trying to pray, like REALLY pray. I’m trying to read books that offer good, solid evidence, I’m trying to read the Bible and open up to people about it…and I feel a little better sometimes, like Im figuring it out, but then doubt crops up again.

            I’m making baby steps forward and then it just seems like I fall back into doubt again. I appreciate the prayers more than you’ll ever know…

          • AnnaGrace

            I can really identify with the feeling like you “inherited” your faith. I believed it because everyone around me believed it, but when I was 15 I started questioning everything I believed in. Did God really exist? Was this all true? I was scared, just like you are, but I didn’t go to anyone because I had been held up by people in my church so long as a picture of a good Christian kid that I felt immensely guilty for doubting and was sure they would condemn me if they knew what I was struggling with. So I kind of played along. I kept on acting like a “Christian”, going to church and youth group, keeping up the face. But in reality, for about two years I became an atheist/agnostic. I stopped believing in God. I couldn’t prove He existed, no matter how much the evidence added up in His favor. No matter how much I wanted to believe, there was always that uncertainty. I remember saying to myself, “There’s no way other religions are real. If anything is real, this Christianity is real, God is real, but I can’t be sure. But if God isn’t real, then my life is not worth living and I might as well end it.” One year when I went to camp I had hit such a low point that I was literally not sure I would make it through the week alive, if I could get up the guts to end it all. It is only by God’s grace that I am here today. This is the Christian kid who had been taught all the evidence, yet I couldn’t believe. The evidence added up for the existence of God, but I couldn’t be certain. Finally, I said to God, “God, I can’t feel You, I can’t see You, I can’t be certain about You, but everything points to You and I can’t live without You.” This is my personal experience. Some would say that this just shows a weakness in me requiring a psychological crutch. I would say, how can you find meaning in this life if this world, this life, is all there is? If that’s true, life is a cruel joke.

            Science is science, not philosophy. Science cannot conclude that there is or is not a God. Every scientist made a philosophical decision when he chose to believe or not to believe in God. Many scientists who reject God did so before they were ever scientists. Certainly some of them don’t want to believe it. Romans 1 says, “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” For a lot of people, it is easy to deny God, to desire to deny God, because if God is real, that means there is something bigger than us that we are accountable to. Other scientists just have not investigated it and are content to live without raising the question. If you look up scientists and other atheists who genuinely investigated the evidence, you will find that many of them became believers through it (if you want more specifics on this just ask). There are always going to be people that protest the evidence.

            Know that when all is said and done, no one can force you to believe. I can’t, your parents can’t, your friends can’t. In the end, that is between you and God alone. You’ve been reading up on the evidence–it points to God, but you have to trust Him.

            Your feelings are going to change. One day you’re fine, the next you’re paralyzed with doubt. Falling is part of learning to walk. You can look at all the failures and give up, or you can look at the baby steps and keep pressing on. I made that decision to believe in God, coming back to Him after two years, but that doesn’t mean I never doubted again. There were a LOT of ups and downs. Faith can’t be based on your feelings, because feelings aren’t a constant.

            I’ve read your article and most of your other comments on here and one line of that stuck out to me: “I am scared that I will push away the urges of the Holy Spirit because they make me uncomfortable and it is simply TOO SCARY for me to be uncomfortable.” Can’t recall who said this, but, Don’t doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light. You have seen God work and you have felt His promptings. Look at how you’ve seen Him work before when you can’t see Him in the here and now. When you’re struggling, often your perspective is flawed or tunnel vision. You said, “nothing seems to be getting better.” We can’t always see at the moment what God is doing–only when we look back on it years down the road.

            This has been a super long comment and I am sorry for the long-windedness. One last thing. You said, “I started trying to make it my own and it went well for a few months, but then BAM doubt crept in. I cant even remember the exact day, but it just showed up and won’t go away.” How did it go well? I know you can’t remember exactly when things changed and you started doubting, but what was different from before when you did?

            Your sister in Christ, Anna Grace

          • Julia

            Anna Grace,
            exactly! I’m glad that I’m not the only one that has felt that way at any rate. In this whole thing with doubt, it’s forced me to open up to some people and let them see that I don’t have it all together- and I’m grateful to them for trying to help, because some of them actually have, but a lot of times I’ve been told to just keep praying. Which I understand is a good Christian response, but is very hard to do when you’re in the middle of it.
            wow…I never would have guessed. What an amazing testimony though, what came from your doubt and confusion. Though I’m still doubting a lot of what I believe…it seems a little too coincidental that you just happened upon this comment I left and that what you explained from your time with doubt seems to mirror how I feel. I’ve got to admit, it seems like a God thing.
            That is one of my biggest problems with any argument concerning having “no God.” if there were no God, why in the world would we be here? And what would be the point of ANYTHING in life, I mean if this is all there is, what would be the point? I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe we could become this random collision of particles, that this world just came out of nowhere. Yet, at the same time I manage to doubt that God is really there. So, I’m not quite sure how that’s actually possible, but there it is….
            At the moment I’m reading a book called The Case for a Creator. And it has good, scientific proof for intelligent design, a creator- pulling apart evolutionary theories and things like that. But it really shook me up, because I searched the author’s name, just looking for his other books and ended up stumbling upon a site “debunking” the book. I didn’t read it, but I don’t understand how you could “debunk” scientific proof, and I can’t get that out of my head. Why it bothers me so much, I’m not quite sure.
            As for my faith “going well” before I started doubting, well I did write the post for this site- which was the first big thing I had really did in terms of being more vocal in my faith, so that was big for me. And my parents and people around me could see a change in my heart- I was more helpful, less quick with an angry/snappy response.
            I actually really appreciate your “long-winded” response, because with all of this, all I’ve wanted so badly is to be able to open up to people and not feel condemned or misunderstood. Who would have guessed it would end up being someone from this corner of the internet? This response is long winded as well, sorry! But I want you to know that I am very, very grateful that you’re taking the time to talk to me and hear out my issues even though there’s no reason you NEED to and you’ve never even seen my face.
            I’m so grateful. Thanks again.
            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            Don’t be sorry; I didn’t think it was that long! 😉 And yeah, God does have a sense of humor sometimes, in the “coincidences”. Re: taking the time to talk to you–you’re welcome. I certainly don’t have it all together either (my family would tell you that in a heartbeat!)–and no matter how well they fake it, no one has it all together. As for me ‘having no reason to talk to you’…well…God gave us brothers and sisters in Christ for a reason. Paul in his epistles uses this Greek word ‘parakaleo’ which means ‘coming alongside to help’. And that’s what we as Christians are supposed to do for each other. Plus, we care about you. Oh and technically…I have seen your face–your bio on the article had a photo 😉

            How we can doubt when there is no way things happened by random chance…personally, I’ve never been able to sort that one out, especially for people like us that actually do want to believe.

            One thing you have to realize about science: everyone has the same pieces, but not everyone tries to put them together the same way. Creationist, evolutionist, naturalist, Christian–no matter what the scientist believes, he’s looking at the same fossils or biology or etc. as any other scientist. The difference comes in the interpretation of those pieces, the conclusions drawn based on those pieces. Everyone’s putting the pieces through their own grid–the atheistic scientist looks at the pieces and thinks, because there is no creator, no designer, this is what must have happened; the Christian scientist looks at the pieces and thinks, because there is a creator, a designer, this must be. No scientist is completely objective, without a bias. To use one example that I think is in The Case for a Creator, consider Archaeopteryx. Honestly, I am not sure it can be proven whether it is a bird or a dinosaur, but I think the evidence points toward it being a bird. A scientist who believes–yes, believes –in evolution will look at Archaeopteryx and say, It has to be a transition between a bird and a dinosaur. Neither of us can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what Archaeopteryx is–at some point, our philosophical (not scientific) presuppositions come into play. You see what I’m saying? Every scientist has a filter he is putting the evidence through. If one is not determined to believe that there is no creator, it is very logical to believe that there is one.

            This article (http://godevidence.com/2010/10/if-the-evidence-for-god-is-so-strong-why-are-so-many-smart-people-unconvinced/) has some good points so if you have time I’d suggest reading it. However, I did NOT click on any of the links within the article so I don’t know anything about those.

            Last thing for this time, I promise!–how were things different once you had started to doubt?

            Your sister in Christ, Anna Grace

          • Julia

            Anna Grace,

            The body of Christ is powerful- that I am starting to see. It crosses over miles and makes you feel like you really know people although maybe you never talk other than through a screen :) (and if I could see you right now, I’d give you a hug)

            Minds are a strange place, that’s all I can say. I’m making some baby steps in the right direction I think, but still it sometimes goes “this is crazy and far-fetched” but I mean, all of this- and us- coming from an explosion of particles and stuff is more insane. Plus, this existence is kind of supernatural and illogical when you think about it anyway. Just the fact that we’re here. That humans exist. Crazy stuff…

            I’m trying to come to terms with that, truth is words shake me too easily sometimes. Especially skeptics, I’m not sure why. I’m trying to work through it, but I guess this takes faith AND some evidence AND some supernatural-God working in your heart stuff. So that’s what I’m praying for lately.

            Thank you for the article! I’ll definitely look into it! Though I believe we are supposed to have a strong faith- some things that are supernatural and therefore cannot be logically be explained- we are supposed to love God with our heart, soul AND mind. And I’m still doubting some right now, but maybe the point of some of this was to bring loving Him with my mind into relevance- not just accepting on blind faith…

            In doubting, it’s felt fake to be at church. As if I don’t belong there anymore, with the people that are tight with God. That and I’ve just been frustrated/in tears easier. And it’s been harder to be motivated with school and things when you’re fighting a battle in your mind.

            But the fog’s been clearing some as of late. Faith is coming out in baby steps, and doubt crops up sometimes but it feels a little less powerful than it’s been in the past. I’ve been happier..I think I still have far to go, but atleast some things are clearing up.

            Thanks for the prayers and if you wouldn’t mind continuing. Prayers for the renewing of my mind and doubt-less faith have been coming up a lot lately.

            Much love. Your sister in Christ,

            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            Wow yeah one thing God has really hit me with lately is the realization that–the church is my brothers and sisters! We are a family! And we have to stand together or we fall apart. We have to have each other’s backs. And “love covers a multitude of sins.” I’ve always know that verse in theory, but now it’s like I know it by experience–our differences kind of fade into the background when we consider that we have Christ in common and that is enough. Even on this site–we definitely don’t all agree on certain points of theology 😉 but that doesn’t drive a wedge between us. And, agreed–if I could have seen you at all during this, I would have given you a hug a dozen times over. :)

            You are so right about the faith+evidence+God-at-work stuff. Faith untested is what we all start out with–the place that we all have to start–but faith grows so much deeper when it has been tried and found to be placed on solid rock. I am praying for you & so are the others–cannot express to you what a burden God has placed on my heart for you & your last comment was sooo encouraging.

            Honestly, we’re all kind of at our best when we are at church–putting our best foot forward. Not everyone’s as tight with God as they appear to be. Not even me. If I could wish one thing it would be that I wish people would be more vulnerable and make other people feel as if it is safe to be vulnerable. And maybe that’s something that even you could start a chain reaction for, in your youth group or Sunday school or just with other people at church. One summer when I worked at a camp, I was assigned to work with a group of girls that I did not really know and during the training week we were supposed to have “bonding time” and share our testimonies. There’s two versions of my testimony–the “cleaned-up”, glossed-over version that is good if you are sharing with little kids (making it age-appropriate) and the absolute, scary truth that lays bare my soul. And I could sense that God wanted me to share the second version with these girls. I argued with Him. Because it is terrifying to let someone see you that vulnerable. (Out of everything I’ve typed to you, the hardest thing was sharing my story.) But I did–and you know what? It drew the seven of us so close together and we were able to be so real with one another and became one of the closest-knit teams working at the camp that summer. It was such a blessing and absolutely amazing. And maybe it’s you that will start that chain reaction in your circle.

            With the tears and frustration…I’ve been there, oh have I been there. In those lowest times it is hard to do but you have to cry out to God and focus on who He is and try to catch His perspective. Or if you can’t, get someone else to say it to you. Not that it’s easy–there have been a lot of times, actually probably most of the time because I still have a ton of growth to do in this area, where I didn’t seek God in my low points. But when you do, it does help so much.

            Definitely will keep on praying for you. You will get through this–this is a season in your life just like the “good” times are. Never give up. Your sister in Christ, Anna Grace

          • Julia

            Definitely! I’ve been learning to open up to some people- starting to see that the people that really care about you won’t condemn you for your imperfections, they’ll pray for you and do their very best to help you. Ah, the one thing I dislike about this site- you meet the coolest people but you cant actually hang out with them…
            Yes…along with the faith/evidence/God working, maybe He’s preparing me for something where my faith would fail had it not been tested. Or maybe He’s preparing me to do great things for Him, I don’t know yet. There are still a few things I have to work through, but I’m working on trust and really I would rather have these sort of struggles now to later be solid in my faith and be there if people who go through the same things I do. I think maybe that’s how God works. He takes us through our seasons of hardship and pain so we can help others through theirs.
            I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story with me. I know its tough to be vulnerable with people- over a screen and face to face. I can honestly tell you it was probably the most helpful thing you said to me. I’m a strong believer that as people we just want to know that we’re not alone- that someone in the world has gone through the same thing we have.
            I’d love to see change in our church. Honestly, craziest timing (yes, yes most likely a God thing) because this morning our youth pastor had us break up into groups with two sr highers & two jr highers and handed us papers- different for each group. Ours was God’s Presence and it talked about trusting Him through rough times. I wasn’t like crazy vulnerable because we didn’t have time, but I talked about struggling with recognizing God and stuff like that and ended up being the “spokesperson” of our group and said something about it in front of our youth group & ended up praying for my little group. So that was kind of cool to just see Him working even in something small like that.
            seeking Him in the hard things is possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, because sometimes you cry out to Him and it just seems like He’s not there…but He holds the bigger story of our lives and I’m really trying to focus on that, because I can see where He’s dropping pieces into place that I couldn’t see in the middle of the circumstances.
            Thank you so much for the continued prayer- I haven’t been praying for others much lately, just because it feels forced and fake, but i’m adding you to my list.
            Your Sister in Christ,
            Julia (hey cool fact my middle name is Grace 😉 )

          • AnnaGrace

            Yes! That is so tough–you “meet” people but you can’t really connect in real life.
            Recently I read this book called Not by Chance and through the book the author tells of several incidents where he had unbelievers ask him, “Why? Why would God allow that to happen?” and trying to gently explain. Then, years later, he saw that God was preparing him thru those encounters for when he and his wife lost their son and they were asking, “Why?” You never know what God is gonna do through it, but it’s all for a reason. Maybe someday you will be the one talking with someone who is in the situation you’re in now.
            That is so cool that you had that opportunity with your youth group. :) His timing is perfect. Yesterday (Sunday) the speaker at my church (we have been without a pastor for about a year) was talking about Moses and how when God called him to go speak to Pharaoh, Moses basically said, “Send someone else, God! You can’t use me! I can’t do this! I have a speech impediment!” And he said that isn’t it crazy that we actually believe God can’t use us for this or that? He’s God! We put limits on what we think He can do, when He is able. With this conversation, sometimes, I really didn’t know what to say, and it was all God. I was like, “God, I’m in over my head here! HELP!” I felt so inadequate. And so that sermon hit me like a brick–who am I to say what God can do with me?
            When you can only see the scattered pieces, trust the One Who holds the puzzle box.
            You’re welcome and thank you so much for your prayers as well. Home life has been a little rough lately, and it’s so encouraging to know that someone’s talking to God for me. Praying for you that He will reveal Himself to you more and more.
            Your sister in Christ, Anna Grace (that’s so neat about the name :))

          • Julia

            Despite the fact that I may never meet you outside of a screen, I’m glad to atleast have the pleasure to “meet” you through this site. It’s powerful to see the community built over a common interest in God.

            Yes…I’m trying to believe that. Along with other prayers, I’ve been asking God to shape my testimony through this into something that helps people see that they are NOT the first people to struggle with what’s going on. That’s what I want my life to be about. Loving God and loving people with every fiber of my being.

            Yes! I love the story of Moses- it’s always been one of my favorites. I think a lot what I need to get my arms around is thinking of the Bible as TRUTH instead of a collection of stories. A lot of times I find myself not really believing that these things happened- that they’re good stories, but too crazy to be true. Maybe that’s something that’s going to take a while for me to unlearn, but I need to realize they’re truth because I think that would make them so much more powerful.

            I’m exceedingly grateful you followed God and have listened to me talk through this stuff and really been a voice of reason/God through a lot of confusion. Thanks for letting Him use you.

            I know you probably have lots of friends over there (wherever you live) to talk to, but I do want you to know that if you need prayer or someone to talk to- I’m up for hearing you out. It’s the least I could do after what you’ve done for me.

            Anything specific you want prayer for? Rest assured that I’m lifting you up to God, even through my confusion some days :)

            Your sister in Christ,

            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            So glad to have “met” you too :) and yeah I think we all want to know we’re not alone.
            My problem a lot of times is knowing the Bible is truth but often not seeing its relevance in the situations of my life–translating its truth to application. Like, “I know that’s true, but how does it actually work out in real life?” God’s still working on me on that one.
            Re: seeing the Bible as truth instead of just a collection of stories…referring back to our earlier discussion, we both said that if there is no God, there is absolutely no meaning to life, no reason to keep on living. Well, God’s existence not only gives us a meaning for life, but He gave us a guidebook for life. He is the source of truth. I think believing in the “craziness” of miracles goes right along with believing in God–I mean, if He’s really God, why would any of that be impossible for Him? Or even hard for Him? If God can’t be trusted to tell the truth about those parts, how can we trust Him to tell the truth about the gospel? And as Paul says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1Cor15:19). The resurrection is the biggest miracle in the Bible–if God cannot bring the dead to life, what does the rest of it matter? If this life is all there is, where is hope?
            Actually, my church has close to zero young adults–I only have one good friend who lives nearby right now. So I communicate with most of my friends thru a screen (except my best friend who isn’t into screens so we write letters). But there are a few older ladies in my church that I talk to about different stuff and they are super encouraging.
            If you could mostly pray for me that I would be Christ to my family, that I would imitate HIM and not allow my circumstances to define me. Sometimes my parents yell at each other or at us (my siblings and I) and that is really difficult. During those times I just want out/to hide until it’s over but in a small house that’s not really possible. It’s not like that all the time but we just don’t have any unity as a family. It’s tough not to be jealous of my one good friend who lives close and has a family that is really close to one another and doesn’t fight. Pray that I’ll remember and believe that “I am here–1) by God’s appointment 2) in His keeping 3) under His training 4) for His time.” Thank you so much. Your sister in Christ, AnnaGrace

          • Julia

            so, I was doing kind of okay, but with the whole “doubts coming in waves” sort of thing, I’m kind of caught in it again. Problem is, I don’t really know WHY I can’t believe. Logically I can look outside and say “okay, that didn’t come from nowhere, people aren’t just particles”, and I understand THAT, but still I manage to doubt. I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t more an issue of being saved and really having God as my foundation. Which I’m not sure how to change that either. I guess its been more of a heart issue than a head issue all along.
            Problem is, that knowledge doesn’t help much. My mom told me it might be a little bit like a yo-yo, some ups, some downs. It seems like it. I feel like I’m making my way back only to fall back down again. I guess i’m learning that I can’t be saved and find my way back to God on my own power. That way I will continue to doubt and fall and fail. I guess it comes down to surrender? I’m trying to let go and say “Okay, God, I’m helpless, I need you and can’t do this on my own” but it is SO hard. Especially for a person who doesn’t really know how to let go.
            So, I know I’m a bit of a disaster, constantly swinging from doubt to belief, even to you on here. But if you wouldn’t mind praying for Him to rescue me from where I am and bring me to Him…
            Oh…it’s cool that you keep in contact with people through the distance though :) I bet it’s cool to have a group of older ladies to talk to, a lot of times they’ve experienced so much that we could learn from.
            I definitely know where you’re coming from! I’ve been blessed with an amazing family, but we have our fair share of fights and sometimes its tough to love each other. I’ll pray for you, definitely. I read something once that said the people closest to us will get the brunt of our frustration or anger because we know they can “handle it” so to speak. (especially family!) Unity is a tough thing and I think it takes a while to build in families- pray for it, talk to your parents and family about it…
            Its difficult, but God has you where He has you for a reason. Praying for you!
            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            I don’t think a lot of people’s doubt comes down to logic. Like you said, it’s really illogical, yet we doubt anyway. Honestly, I never really figured out the “why” behind my not believing–I wanted to, I had every reason to believe.

            Nearly every Christian, whether they admit it or not, has struggled with doubt at some time. I think doubt is part of faith, not the opposite of it. Unbelief–a willful refusal to believe–is the opposite of faith. Doubt is an inner uncertainty; doubt is not unbelief.

            ‘”Tell me,” she said, “do you think a real Christian can feel as I do? For my part I doubt it. I doubt everything.”
            “Doubt everything, but believe in Christ,” I said. “Suppose, for argument’s sake, you are not a Christian. You can become one now.” The color rose in her lovely face; she clasped her hands in a sort of ecstasy.
            “Yes,” she said, “I can.”‘ ~Stepping Heavenward

            From what I’ve seen of you, I would say I believe you truly are saved. But ultimately, that is between you and the Lord. But just remember, if you are not a Christian, you can become one now. John wrote in his first epistle, “If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” (3:20) God knows your heart. He knows your struggle. Your emotions are going to go up and down–actually, I was kind of waiting for this to happen, because it happened to me. But God doesn’t change! You are so right that it is by His power and not our own that we can walk. We walk by the Spirit.

            Perhaps it does come down to surrender. I used to think surrender was about a commitment you made at camp or something and then all the pieces fell into place after that. It’s not. Surrender is a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute decision. And no matter how committed we are, we are going to fail. If you never fall, guess what? You must be in heaven! Because not until then do our struggles truly end. I’m praying for you. There is hope! This part of your spiritual road is bumpy, but the whole road isn’t like that–I promise, as someone who’s been there. And just because I’ve gotten past the crisis doesn’t mean I never struggle with doubt. It does come back sometimes and it’s hard. Keep putting your focus back on God–every moment as those thoughts come. I know that is so much easier than done but that is what you have to learn to do.

            So glad to hear that you can talk to your mom about this stuff :) She’s older and probably way wiser than either of us.

            I found this article ( http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/if-i-believe-why-do-i-doubt/ ) the other day and it says what I’m trying to say a whole lot better than I can.

            Thank you for your prayers. Your sister in Christ, Anna (this double name thing is getting annoying, to me anyway; it sounds too stiff; call me whatever you wish)

          • Julia

            not knowing the “why” is so frustrating! I have no reason to not want to believe. My family believes, my closest friends believe, I seem to act better when I believe. And I WANT to be back to that, but I can’t seem to faith myself back into believing. If I could will myself to, i’d be a Christian right now.

            “Doubt everything, but believe in Christ,” I said. “Suppose, for argument’s sake, you are not a Christian. You can become one now.” This. I love this. I’ve got to admit, I’m trying to still believe in Him but it’s still so hard for me, because I want to be this girl on fire for God, 100% sold out…and that’s hard to do when doubts keep creeping in.
            Surrender is such, such a struggle for Julia the control freak. I want to be in control. I want to be able to say that God and I worked together to pull me out of this. I guess maybe all of this has very little to do with me, maybe it’s all about God. Maybe its not about my doubts, maybe its about the bigger picture and what He can do through my story someday even though i’m struggling to even believe today.
            I just wish I could read the Bible and believe it is 100% truth and completely believe that God is there and he hears me and somehow loves me despite everything. I want to believe it….
            Anyway, thanks for your continued prayers. Thanks for talking to me through all of this, it means a lot to me.
            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia (I gotcha, totally. Half the time I want to sign my name as Julia Grace but it gets annoying to type out two names :P)

          • AnnaGrace

            Sorry I’ve taken longer to respond than usual…I have to say, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. I don’t have all the answers. But I’ve been praying to God for wisdom and for the words to say, so I’ll try.

            Don’t judge your faith by your emotions. Because they change constantly. Struggling with God does not mean you lack faith; faith cannot grow without struggle. Paul said to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Belief may be easy for some, but for others of us it is hard work. Being 100% on fire and sold out is the goal, but it is not always the daily reality. And as much as we admire the people who seem to always be passionate about God, we don’t see their struggles, their hearts, who they are when they are alone.

            It truly is all about God. Hebrews 11 is often called the “Hall of Faith” and one of the names listed in it is that of Barak. In the book of Judges, Israel repeatedly fell into sin, experienced God’s judgment, and cried out to Him for deliverance. One time, God looked down and saw that there was not a single man in Israel who would do it. So He sent a woman to light a fire under a man to do it–Deborah. She went to Barak and told him that God wanted him to muster an army, fight Sisera’s formidable forces, and deliver Israel. Barak wouldn’t believe her. Finally he agreed, but only if Deborah would come with him. And God did deliver Israel. If anyone struggled with believing, it was Barak. Yet because he did obey God, in spite of his doubts, he is listed as a man of great faith. Because even though he had his doubts, he acted on his faith. I can’t see the future and what He will do through your story. But your struggle does not mean He doesn’t want to use you, that He can’t use you.

            Like I said earlier, I can’t make you believe. But I am confident that the word of God is truth, that God is there and He hears and He loves you in spite of your doubts and everything else. “Borrow” my faith. “Borrow” your mom’s faith, your best friend’s faith. If that makes sense.
            Let me ask you a question. Do you believe Christ loved His disciples when they argued about who was the greatest right before He was to die, and deserted Him in His hour of greatest need? Do you believe He loved the soldiers who nailed Him to that cross, the Jews who exchanged His life for that of a criminal? And that is the God who loves you.

            When John the Baptist was thrown in prison by Herod, after a time he sent messengers to Jesus to ask, “Are you Messiah, or should we look for someone else?” This is John the Baptist! The one who said of Jesus, “I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God”! But Jesus does not rebuke John. He tells the messengers, basically, “Go and tell John that in My name the hurting people of this world are being transformed.” And even as the messengers are leaving, Jesus turns to the crowd and tells them that John is a prophet, yes, more than a prophet–the messenger sent to prepare the way before Him. Now, where was John? Still in prison. Still wrestling with doubt and uncertainty. Still unsure about Jesus. Yet Jesus affirms His faith in John–while John is still doubting. Jesus knew that beneath those doubts was genuine faith. “John is still My man, doubts and all.” (adapted from http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/if-i-believe-why-do-i-doubt/ )

            You’re welcome and all I can say is, prayer doesn’t mean anything if not for the One we are praying to. He’s the one who makes the difference. We’re just the ones asking the One who can do something about it. :)
            One of my friends that I asked to pray for you specifically asked me about you the other day and she wanted you to know that you are in her thoughts and prayers too.
            Your sister in Christ, Anna (if you set ‘Julia Grace’ as your disqus name you can have the satisfaction of seeing it without having to type it every time 😉 like I did with mine)
            P.S. That quote from Stepping Heavenward has meant a lot to me and I’m so glad it could encourage you. :)

          • Julia Grace

            That’s what a lot of people have been telling me. I guess I get very caught up in my emotions and don’t let reason have a big enough role sometimes. I think maybe more of it is that I haven’t really built a solid foundation for my faith. It’s been more of an “inherited, accepted as true” sort of thing more than a personal for me sort of thing. If that makes sense. So i’m still trying to work out making that real.

            “But your struggle does not mean He doesn’t want to use you, that He can’t use you.” really, really trying to believe that He has a bigger purpose for this even though I can’t see it now, but when you’re stuck in the middle of it, that’s harder to see.

            Some of what has been a struggle for me lately is just feeling caught up in the darkness. Like I can’t see God and I’m afraid of falling into the darkness because its easier and I don’t have enough faith. Sometimes it seems like Satan is throwing his very best at me and I’m totally unprepared to fight against it. I’ve been trying, really trying to not get caught up in it and actually see God through it, but that’s really difficult. So…I guess that’s what I need prayer for now. One thing gets better and another pops up. So yay for that…
            Yes…John the Baptist….that’s been a big thing for me going through this.
            I love the story of Jacob wrestling with God. At the end, God gives Jacob a new name. I want that. SO bad.
            Tell her I said thank you. It really means a lot to me. I’m finding that I’m so dependent on God and other people through this. I guess it’s humbling to see that I can’t do this on my own. Like at all.
            Keeping you in my prayer as well :)
            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            It makes a lot of sense. :) I think most Christian kids have experienced that feeling at one time or another–that their faith is more inherited and personal. There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way. It’s what you do about it that matters. A solid foundation doesn’t just happen–it’s something you build into your life. Glad you have found Lee Strobel’s books and if you care to check it out, Answers in Genesis has a TON of stuff too…( https://answersingenesis.org/god/ https://answersingenesis.org/worldview/ https://answersingenesis.org/bible/ ).
            Emotions and reason are two sides of the same coin and both of them are important. I read somewhere recently that worship “has its mystical side in subjective experience and its practical side in objective obedience to God’s revealed will.” It’s great when we feel it–but we aren’t going to always feel it, and that’s where the foundation to stand on comes in. It gives you a rock to stand on when your emotions are all over the place.
            “…really, really trying to believe that He has a bigger purpose for this even though I can’t see it now, but when you’re stuck in the middle of it, that’s hard to see.” Agreed. It’s so hard to see the big picture when you are struggling just to make it through today. “From the end of the earth will I cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2) Recently a besetting sin of mine in my thought life hit me really hard again and I found myself constantly confessing to the Lord and asking Him, Lord guard my mind! I can’t do this on my own! Those are the times when crying out to God becomes an hourly, minute-by-minute thing.

            This is truly a spiritual battle. You know what? Satan doesn’t go after the people who are lukewarm and anemic. He doesn’t go after the people who are headed straight away from God. Because he’s already got them. Satan goes after the people who are seeking God and the people who he knows God wants to do big things with. I’m praying for you. I’ve faced that same sense of darkness–like standing on the edge of a cliff and looking out on an endless void without God. My friend said it this way: “It’s not trying to see the light through overwhelming darkness. It’s removing the blinder Satan has placed over your eyes to try and keep you from seeing the all encompassing light around you.
            God is there. He is bigger. The scars on my wrist say so.” The darkness is not the reality. God is the ultimate reality, and He is Light itself.
            About Jacob…amen!

            My friend says you’re welcome! :) And same here–I am finding that I have to be totally dependent on God and counsel from others thru this. And you’re right–it is so humbling. Honestly, this is all God–anything I say to you. It’s not me. I have nothing to say that does not come from Him and Him alone. To God be the glory!
            Your sister in Christ, Anna

          • Julia Grace

            I have to say, I’ve never understood calling it a “spiritual battle” more than I do now. Thing is, it’s so hard to keep fighting it. I don’t want to give in to Satan and darkness but it is so difficult to keep fighting- especially when God feels so far away. I mean…I feel bad even thinking this but why wouldn’t God lift me out of this? Its not like I want to be Satan’s and be dark and evil and things like that. Why doesn’t it feel like he cares? l feel like an awful person even admitting that, but I don’t really know what to do at all anymore…

            I’m trying to pray, I am…but it’s been really difficult for me lately because I think my view of God is kind of tainted by this, I just don’t understand why he would let me be where I am…I just want to be free from the darkness and doubts. I don’t even need a perfect life….I guess I just want to know he’s there and he cares.

            Satan goes after the people who are seeking God and the people who he knows God wants to do big things with.” This was super encouraging, thank you so much. It’s hard to fight against Satan though and kind of hard to trust the God you have been doubting and have a little bit of trust issues with to save you. If that makes sense at all….
            “Removing the blinder” I like that.
            Thanks for continued prayers…and thanks for listening to me talk (I know I say that a lot but I appreciate it more than you’ll probably ever know). I don’t know why I feel like I can completely trust you because I’ve never actually met you…but I feel like we “met” for a reason……thanks again
            Your sister in Christ,

            Julia

          • Hey Julia,

            If it helps, I’ve also been dealing with depression lately. So have some of my very good friends. It turns out, many great leaders and famous people suffer from depression. That tells a little about who Satan is targeting.

            But it doesn’t last forever! And the trials don’t go back to back! For me, it lasted for about a month. It modivated me to do something about the physical causes – like busyness and procrastination. Now it’s gone. And while I am expecting more challenges in the future, God’s given me a break in between. Maybe that will help for you – knowing that tough times and trials don’t run continually for too long. Thanks!

            Trent

          • Julia Grace

            Trent,
            That’s encouraging…thank you! If you don’t mind me asking…how did you “get out” of depression so to speak? It’s been around 2 months with me and its just getting increasingly harder to fight…
            Thanks!
            Julia

          • Well, it did require redical change in my life, but practically and spiritually.

            It started right before I got my new job. And it got worse when I started it. I was stressed almost all the time, except for a few minutes right after I was done with the work day, and than I would soon become worried about having to write next article on my website. And than in school, my grades started dropping. It got to the point where I was always stressed about responsibilities. That gave birth to guilt when I took a break, which gave birth to depression, whuch gave birth to dread of every day, even Sunday becuase I knew I would be thinking about Monday the whole day.

            It lasted a while. Two-Three weeks seemed like 2-3 years. I felt like it would last forever. I knew something had to change.

            So i began to slowly let people in on my true feelings, than my mom (that was tough). I also cut back many responsibilities, including my website, one social media site, and the excess time I spend here.

            That helped some. But it still came in flashes. It was just about half as often.

            Than I went on a youth event about a week ago and verbally surrendered my life, choices, and responsibilities to Him. I do that every so often now.

            Now, I feel peace as I do work and as I rest. I don’t have anxiety as often any more. I have it about as often as I had happiness in the depression – in other words, it’s almost nonexistent.

            So if you keep things the same, things may stay thr same indefinitely. But if you are active in changing things, than thay sure does help. :)

            when

          • Julia Grace

            Thanks for this! I’m trying to surrender and things like that but you know for someone who has always been a control freak that is kind of difficult. But i’m working on it and trying to trust God more. Trying to find change and strengthen my faith. If you wouldn’t mind keeping me in your prayers that would be great- i’ll be praying for you

          • AnnaGrace

            I can’t tell you why. I don’t know why He doesn’t just lift us out of these things. Job asked God why and God didn’t tell him either, just reminded Job of Who He is. All I can do is point you back to HIM.

            You’re not the only one who hasn’t been able to see the light at the end of then tunnel. Psalm 88 ends with the writer still despairing. He didn’t receive an answer right away. But he went to God, and he was honest about his struggle. He cried out to a God who seemed angry and distant: “Where are You? I know you’re there and I know there’s light, but I can’t see it!” Why can everyone around me see the light but I can’t? http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-bleakest-psalm-is-really-a-night-light I know it’s hard to trust Him. I know it’s hard to keep going. And “If you ever come to the place where you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. If you can’t even crawl and you are on the ‘ground,’ and all you can do is look at Christ, then look with all your heart, soul, and mind! That is OKAY to be there. Just never take your eyes away from Christ!” ~ http://therebelution.com/blog/2013/08/im-angry-at-god/

            “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10. He will. That’s a promise.

            “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor 4:8-9 God has not abandoned you. Nothing–not even your doubts–can separate you from the love of God. Rom 8:38-39
            He is the God of hope. (Rom 15:13) He is the God of peace. (Rom 16:20) He is the God of all comfort. (2 Cor 1:3)

            “…it’s so hard to keep fighting…” God has already won. We know the end of the story. The enemy of your soul LOSES. That is reality. That is TRUTH. That is what the God who is truth itself has told us.

            Your sister in Christ,
            Anna

          • Julia Grace

            Thanks for pointing me back to Him, really, thank you. It’s hard for me to hear sometimes because it’s not the immediate answer I want…but I’m trying to have faith and LET Him come through for me instead of just believing He can’t. I think I’ve been putting Him in a box all my life and maybe that’s the issue. I’ve made Him entirely too small- in fact I still am. But I’m trying not to.

            Irony of ironies, our youth pastor preached on faith and trust last night. I’m trying to fix my eyes on Him. Baby steps. Baby steps. I’m just praying that I don’t fall…and if I do that I’ll trust Him enough to catch me.

            Strong and steadfast…yes. Maybe this is the process of refinement and it doesn’t feel good but I can see glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s difficult but I’m trying. And I’m trusting, even if it’s just a tiny, tiny bit. I’ve been praying for purification a lot the last couple days. Purification from everything dark and ugly and from Satan, every lie and anything else I’ve believed that is not from God. Every thought and desire that is not from Him. It’s tough, and maybe it’s slow but I’m working on it. And trying to believe that He is faithful.

            Thank you!

            Your sister in Christ,

            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            Julia…you have no idea how much of an answer to prayer this is! Praise God. One of the hardest things about this conversation for me has been not being able to be there in “real life”–but it’s so good to hear you can talk to your mom and that your youth pastor spoke on this. He puts all the pieces together, even when we can’t see them.

            Falling is part of learning to walk–but we have this promise, “The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deut. 33:27)

            I’ll be praying that for you too–that God will replace the darkness, the lies from Satan, with the light of His truth. ya know, something that can be super helpful is to make a list with two columns when you are struggling with thoughts that are not the truth. Label them “What I Feel” and “What is Real”. Put your thoughts–what is from the enemy–under “what I feel”, and the promises of God and the truth under “what is real”.

            You’re so welcome! God is faithful!
            Your sister in Christ,
            Anna

          • Julia Grace

            Thanks for praying for me! Not going to lie, I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions again. Like 20 times. Today. So yeah, that’s still happening. But I’m trying harder and trusting more (atleast trying to…) so yes, it’s still rough, but atleast I have my glimpses of light. Plus, I found max Lucado books and theology things that are SO great.

            That’s a good idea! I’ve been wanting to get into more prayer journaling- I’ll do that :)

            Thanks for the continued prayer and being here (not physically, but yes still here) for me- much love from me to you.

            Your sister in Christ,

            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            I’ve been on that same roller coaster for most of my life…
            Max Lucado’s writing is so good! I’d say he’s one of my favorite authors, but…anyone whose book I read more than a few pages of is usually on my “favorite authors” list. :) And when you have so many favorites it doesn’t mean a whole lot to call someone your favorite. I hope that makes sense. :)
            I hope the prayer journaling will help you. :) Prayer is honestly one of the hardest spiritual disciplines for me…I get distracted easily and I’m not good at expressing myself verbally-writing is a LOT easier. So writing my prayers has been so helpful. And the dates give me some accountability. But when I say I’ll pray for someone, that’s a promise, no matter how hard it is to keep it.
            You’re welcome. It stinks not being able to be there physically. So thankful for your mom and your youth pastor who can be. And if I can ask one thing…pour out that thankfulness by pouring into other people. Everyone has scars. Everyone, no matter how hard they seem, has that soft spot that hurts, even if they’ve buried it well. Pass on the gift. Be there for them. On one of the very worst nights when I was struggling and looking off that cliff into the darkness, my friend S. came alongside me and was just…there for me, and even though she doesn’t remember it now, that night made a huge impact in my life. I can’t ever repay her. Except by doing this.
            Your sister in Christ,
            Anna

          • Julia Grace

            The roller coaster is insanely frustrating. One thing I can’t figure out is why I don’t want God more. I should want Him! But still, darkness creeps in and is admittedly more enticing than He seems most times. I don’t know if that made sense at all, I don’t even really know how to explain it. It just seems like the darkness even though it scares me, is more appealing. It honestly is the biggest issue for me because I don’t understand WHY I don’t hate it as much as I should. And why I don’t love God as much as I should. I’m praying about it but progress. is. so. slow. It is very, very frustrating. Not to mention scary and like the hardest thing to put into words!
            Haha I gotcha. I cant really classify favorites of anything because I love a LOT of things, especially authors :)
            Yes…praying is a struggle for me. My mind is always wandering…especially lately. I’m trying to push through it, but coupled with all my other issues…it’s difficult, you know? Well…i’ll try to pray for your praying…yeah. Praying for praying…huh.
            Yeah, I want to get there. To where this is a messy story, but one that can help others and show them they’re not alone in the way they’re feeling. I’m thankful for the group of people in my life that even if we’re not talking about my issues specifically, just having them there for me means a LOT.
            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            “One thing I can’t figure out is why I don’t want God more. I should want Him!…why I don’t love God as much as I should.” Agreed. Completely. I’ve been there–still am from time to time–and it’s a place of immeasurable guilt. You want to love God, but you cannot love God as you should. You know you should but you cannot. Don’t get stuck there. Don’t pursue loving God or finding joy in God–pursue God and the love for Him and joy in Him will come. Then you will love what He loves and hate what He hates. Stop asking the question, “Do I love God?” and look at “He who has my commandments and keeps them is he who loves me.” (Jn14:21a) That is surrender. Do not look at the past when you think that but look at today, how I can obey Him today. Do you know what the Lord Jesus says to the one who keeps His commandments? “I…will reveal myself to him [or her, in this case].” (Jn14:21c) Choose God over the darkness. “You can will…to obey the will of God when no comfortable glow of emotion accompanies your obedience.” (Stepping Heavenward, p.89) I know it’s hard. That’s why it’s one step at a time. What is the next thing, in this moment, that the Lord would have you do? Maybe it’s making your mom’s life easier by doing the dishes instead of what you wanted to do with that time. Maybe it’s being faithful and getting your homework (schoolwork if you’re homeschooled) done. Maybe it’s reaching out to that girl at youth group that nobody talks to. Your mom may not be a huge fan of doing laundry, and maybe she’s not the best at cooking, but she does it anyway, every day. Why? Because she loves you. If she didn’t love you, after a while she would give up. She would have no motivation to do it. She might not always feel like she loves her children–when the baby’s screaming, it’s been a frustrating day, and her teenager is talking back to her–but she does love them. How do you know that? Because she works for their benefit anyway.

            Why is the darkness enticing, for you?

            Praying for praying…haha :) that one made me crack up. A lot of my prayers go something like this: “Dear God, I pray that if it be Your will you would heal my friend E…I wonder what’s for dinner. We haven’t had macaroni and cheese in a while…oh no, I did it again! God, forgive me for my lack of focus. Please keep my thoughts fixed on You…” *repeat indefinitely* It’s embarrassing how often I get sidetracked. Sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom or sit in the back room of our basement so nothing around me can distract me! Keeping a list and persisting till you get through it helps too. Corrie ten Boom said, “Make an appointment with God, and keep it! Pray when you feel like it, pray when you don’t feel like it, and pray until you feel like it.” The struggle is real. But don’t give up. Spiritual progress is not made when you are thinking about it or obsessing about it and bemoaning how far you have to go. It’s made when you devote yourself to pursuing God.

            Your sister in Christ, Anna

          • Julia Grace

            Ah! So frustrating, because as I’m trying to figure out God somewhat (i’m trying to be okay with the fact that i’m NEVER going to have all the answers and that’s a difficult realization for me) I’m realizing 1. I have Constantly made Him way too small. 2. If He in fact is 100% true and 100% reliable my view and love toward Him has been supremely lacking. So that’s tough, especially with all the last few months have held.

            I’m trying to get to the point where I love Him enough to REALLY trust Him and hate the darkness. To love Him so much that nothing else is tempting- or atleast that the darkness is not. Its weird because I hate being in the darkness yet I’m a little curious about it at the same time, if that makes sense. Its weird. I just wish I hated it as much as I probably should. And that’s the weird thing- I don’t know why i’m enticed by it, curious about it. I really don’t have a reason to be, I just am. That probably makes absolutely no sense but it’s so bizarre, I don’t like it.

            “What is the next thing, in this moment, that the Lord would have you do?” I like this- focusing on the moment instead of the huge picture all the time. I need to work on that. I’m working on surrender though- I’ve been watching/reading a lot of Francis Chan lately and it’s seriously messing with my mind and heart. I guess He is SO much bigger than me- and my circumstances. Which is really hard for me to wrap my arms around but…I think I need to stop trying to make Him into a little pocket sized God instead of one bigger than me.
            Yes! Amen on the prayer thing. My mind seems to go from prayer to food to books etc. waay too fast. It’s insane! I’ve found that it helps when I’m home alone and can pray out loud and do some spontaneous worship and crying in the middle of it 😉
            Alright, sounds good…Happy Early Thanksgiving!!
            Thanks! & I literally just saw that this afternoon- for some reason disqus decided to not give me a notification for it (and then glitch up on posting my comment).
            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you! :( Usually I’m better about this…
            Those are some hard realizations. Echoes my thoughts about my own life most of the time. If I truly believed everything I know about God (by believe, I mean live accordingly), I’d be a lot different.
            About the darkness thing…have to be honest, I don’t really get it. And I don’t know what to say…except, what you dwell on, think about, is a big deal. Thoughts become words, words become actions. If you dwell on it, you’ll start to believe it, and view things differently because of it. Think on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and praiseworthy. God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. Darkness is not of God.
            Your sister in Christ,
            Anna
            p.s. Happy late Thanksgiving! and I’m really sorry I can’t be more helpful on this. :(

          • Julia Grace

            You’re totally fine! And I can’t thank you enough for being there for me through this- it’s been one of the toughest things I’ve gone through and even though we might never meet face to face…having you to talk to helped more than you’ll probably ever know. You’re a Godsend. Anyway, yeah I’m still struggling through that, but I think God is breaking me down some. And maybe its more about me resisting Him than anything else-because I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet but I’m a bit of a control freak.
            So that’s been my issue as of late- trying to find out who God really is and what that means for me. Letting go of control is tough- and I still haven’t quite figured out how to. One thing this is doing, it’s bringing me more to terms with who I am and my perceptions of God. I think they’ve been more than a little off for awhile. I’m still trying to want Him more- and really know who He is and that He really is real. So if you could pray for me on that :) I’ll keep you in my prayers!
            Your Sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            I’ll definitely keep praying for you! And praise God, is all I can say, that anything in this conversation has helped you. yeah with the control thing I often have the same type of struggle, and I don’t have this all figured out either. Paul said so too–“I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing that I hate.” (Romans 7:15) As long as you live on this earth, you will struggle between the flesh and the spirit. Your spirit wants to love God, to obey Him, but your sin nature doesn’t. It’s a tug-of-war. but with Christ in you, victory is possible.
            One thing in Scripture that has really encouraged me in all of this is in John 21. After Christ rose from the dead, and after He had shown Himself to His disciples, Peter got up one morning and said to the others, “I am going fishing.” And a few of the disciples who had also been fishermen before said, “We will also come with you.” Seems harmless. But you know what Peter was saying? “I am going back to my fishing business. I am not going to be a preacher for Jesus anymore.” And, as often happens when we say no to God, they couldn’t catch any fish. Jesus came along and miraculously brought the fish–one of the biggest catches these fishermen had probably ever seen. So they brought the boat to shore and over breakfast Jesus has a word with Peter.
            Jesus: “Peter, do you love (agapao) me?”
            Peter: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.”
            (quick explanation here. Jesus used the Greek word ‘agapao’–unconditional, sold-out love–for ‘love’. Peter used ‘phileo’–brotherly love–for ‘love’. Jesus was asking, ‘Do you love with me with all that you are? Will you follow me anywhere because you love me?’ and Peter answered, basically, ‘I love you like a brother, Lord–but not that much.’)
            Jesus: “Peter, do you love (agapao) me?”
            Peter: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.”
            Same words as before. But then Jesus asks a third time–and He uses ‘phileo’.
            Jesus: “Peter, do you love (phileo) me?
            Peter: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.” Peter was grieved because Jesus switched from agapao to phileo in the question. But then Jesus gives him this incredible promise and hope: “‘When you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.’ Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death [crucifixion] Peter would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to Peter, ‘Follow Me!'” (John 21:15-19) Jesus basically said to Peter, “Peter, right now you do not have this agapao love for Me. You think yourself incapable of it. But someday, you will have that kind of love for Me–and you will be willing to follow Me even to the same kind of death I endured. Have hope!” Peter went on to become the leader of the early church.

            If you are truly seeking the Lord, you will reach that point that you can say, “Yes, Lord, I love (agapao) you.” Right now you find yourself incapable of it. You love (phileo) Him. Pray that He will give you this agapao love for Him. If you seek Him, you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart.

            Your sister in Christ,
            Anna :)

          • Julia Grace

            Sorry for the late response! Life is crazy with finals and upcoming Christmas! But yeah, I’m still riding my insane emotional roller coaster, which really stinks because the lows aren’t fun and the highs are good-but still the lows keep coming. Anyhow, thanks for your comments- insight on scripture is SO appreciated as i don’t understand it much. I don’t know how to trust God enough to let Him in to fight my battles for me- and that’s hard for sure because I can’t fight them myself. So yeah, that’s a struggle lately…but I guess if life was perfect we wouldn’t have to look forward to heaven too much. Still trying to make sense of all that & heaven and God & all those questions.

            Huh. With the passage with Peter- I never thought of it that way. That Jesus was telling bette- HERE IS HOW YOURE GOING TO LOVE ME. You don’t now, but you will love me that way later. I’m still having trouble truly seeking God, but he’s kind of bringing me to the point where I HAVE to even if I don’t know how he’s real or even if he is for certain. The darkness still is so tough…

            I was reading John earlier and stumbled across this verse- “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them By the truth; your word is truth.” And there was a note about the original word Jesus used- I don’t have my Bible in front of me right now so I can’t remember exactly, but it meant to set apart, to make holy. So that’s my prayer now, to be sanctified by the truth. If you wouldn’t mind praying for me in that aspect 😉

            Thanks again!

            Much love- your sister in Christ,

            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            That’s totally ok! Life gets crazy, I know, especially around Christmas (and I”m really sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to YOU).

            Set apart by the truth. Hmmm. I’ve never really thought about that passage before. Set us apart and make us holy by Your truth. And Jesus prayed that for us! Wow. Thanks. you’ve given me something to think about. :) And yes, I’ll def be praying for you.

            Do you have any regular Bible reading plan? It sounds like you’ve been reading thru John and that is a really great place to start. :) If you want to know and trust God better, you have to know His word. And it keeps you grounded in the truth when your emotions are all over the place. God is the Truth, and the Bible is the truth about the Truth. How does God set us apart, make us holy? By His truth-by His word. If you’re having trouble understanding, commentaries can be helpful, but start with the word of God. Intervarsity Press has free NT commentary online here https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/toc And a good devotional is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers ( utmost.org/ ). Or just try reading a chapter a day and asking two questions: “What is the writer saying?” and “How can I apply this to my life?” (If you want a more in-depth study method, I’ve put one at the end of this comment.)

            If life was perfect we wouldn’t think we needed God. If every path was light we wouldn’t need His lamp for the darkness. If our faith was never tested it would never grow deep. Don’t doubt in the dark what God has told you in the light. And even when you can’t always see what God is doing, remember this: “These (Abraham, Jacob, Noah, Abel, and the rest of the OT saints) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Heb. 11:13) We have received the promise of Christ’s coming for sins, and we wait for the promise of His return, that day when He will wipe every tear from our eyes and we shall see Him face to face. Until then we walk by faith and not by sight. Psalm 119:11 says the word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Do you know what that means? It’s just enough light not to see the entire path but for the next step in front of us. Don’t look forward and say, “All I can see is darkness.” God only asks you to live one day at a time. The darkness has an end! Ask God to give you faith when you feel like you can’t believe-faith for today.

            I hope some of this will help & I’ll be praying for you!
            Your sister in Christ,
            Anna

            The Navigators’ Bible Study Method

            1. Background. Ask who, what, when, where, why, how. Who was the author? Why was it written? Learn the historical background, dates, key people, etc.

            2. Personal Paraphrase. Sometimes it helps to write it out in your own words when you’re having trouble understanding.

            3. Questions and Answers. Write down questions you have about the passage and unfamilar/confusing terms you come across. Once you’ve done all you can with it on your own, use commentaries/Bible dictionaries/etc. to look up answers.

            4. Cross References. Write down any similar or related passages that come to mind. Concordances and footnotes can be handy.

            5. Insights. If an observation occurs to you relating to any part of the passage or its background, write it down! (for example, “set apart, holy” = sanctify) After you’ve done this on your own, consult a Bible commentary for additional insight. Seeking out other believers’ insights can provide a broader, more solid understanding than you might be able to come to on your own. Remember, don’t go to commentaries first; start by making your own observations.

            6. Personal Application.

            7. Title and Summarize. Give the chapter a title and identify a key verse or verses. This will help solidify the message of the chapter in your mind. Write a short summary of the chapter. Repeat the process for each chapter and when the book is complete, give the book a title.

            Adapted from https://www.navigators.org/Tools/Bible%20Study%20Resources/Tools/How%20to%20Study%20The%20Bible

          • Julia Grace

            Yes! It’s so hard to believe that it’s Christmas– we’re planning like crazy over here. Anyway, hope your Christmas season is going well.

            John is probably my favorite book lately- and I don’t yet have a reading plan, but I have a read through the Bible in a year one for 2016 that I’m excited about :) I’m still having some issues doubting-wise but I found some good apologetics books. It’s tough, but I’m trying to trust that God is up there and it’s going to take awhile, but it’s going to be worth it!

            “God only asks you to live one day at a time. The darkness has an end! Ask God to give you faith when you feel like you can’t believe-faith for today.” Ah, I really like this! And the Bible study methods–thank you so much, will definitely be using them!

            Hope you are doing well- is there anything you need prayer for? Merry Christmas!!

            Your sister in Christ,

            Julia

          • AnnaGrace

            Merry Christmas to you too! (albeit a few days late…and happy new year too :) ). My Christmas went pretty well…we stay at home instead of traveling. How was your Christmas?
            My best friend is using one of those (one-year Bible) and she’s really enjoying it. One caution though, sometimes it works better to set goals for each month, like to resolve to read it every day for the month of January and then renew the resolution in February. If it’s shorter term, sometimes you’re more likely to keep it. 😉
            Honestly, I am so glad you are reading apologetics stuff for yourself. Because I definitely don’t have all the answers & even with the stuff I know can’t say it as well as them. And can I tell you–I still struggle with this stuff sometimes. Or at least with my view of God.
            Prayer…well, mostly that I would have a deeper relationship with God and be more sensitive to Him moment by moment. It is far too easy still to ignore His promptings or to choose not to do what I know He would do.
            Your sister in Christ, Anna

          • Julia Grace

            So sorry that I’m getting back to you incredibly late on this. I’ve been super busy lately getting back into the swing of things. Glad to hear your Christmas went well- ours did as well, we got to see a bunch of family, so that’s always nice. Yes…short term goals might be simpler because following a year plan is harder than I anticipated–I’m caught up at the moment though!!

            I’ve been trying to read more and more apologetics lately–but I still have doubts. If you don’t mind me asking, when you were doubting how did you really start believing in God again? Was it sudden or gradual?

            Definitely keeping you in my prayers–that’s a difficult thing, especially when there are people around you that it is much easier to listen to!

          • AnnaGrace

            That’s alright I know things can get crazy after Christmas because you’re trying to settle back into routine and it can be super hard!

            Both–sudden and gradual. It was at one of my lowest points where it started. It was like I was standing on the edge looking out into an absolute void–like an eternal blackness that was life without God, and it hit me: If this is life without God, life is not worth living. Life is pointless. It came down to a choice–live with God or die without Him. And I chose life. I said to God, “God, I can’t feel You, I can’t see You, I can’t be certain about You,
            but everything points to You and I can’t live without You.” It was a conscious choice to believe God no matter how my feelings changed. I guess that was the turning point. So in that way it was sudden. But it was also gradual because there were so many times I still struggled with it after that. So many days where I cried out to God, “I know You’re there, but I can’t see You and it feels like You’re not!” I guess the doubt kind of shifted a little bit–after that one moment it was more doubting that He was really a personal God who really cared about me. I had to believe He was there or succumb to utter despair–suicide. But He still felt so distant–a God who was far off and so much higher than me, why would He bother reaching down to someone so small as me? Yet I knew people that had a deep relationship with Him, and I read psalms like Psalm 63 where the writer expresses a deep desire for God. Sometimes the thought would come back: What if there is no God? then despairing again and days of walking around looking OK on the outside but feeling like I was dying on the inside. Then grabbing again at that hope–that He was there, He had to be there. It wasn’t really about evidence, except to the extent that I intellectually knew existence of anything was impossible about God; it was more about not being able to discount the lives of other people who knew God deeply.

            About two years after that moment–at least, as far as I can pin down a moment of choosing to believe Him again–I found out that I am gluten intolerant. It’s hereditary in my family. I know a lot of people just “go gluten-free” to diet but that’s not the case here–right before I stopped eating gluten I was throwing up almost every time I ate and wondering what on earth was the matter with me. Not eating gluten definitely helped with that. But what a lot of people don’t know is that gluten intolerance can also show up as a learning disorder, depression, or even a mental illness. In my case–this is probably not true for you–I was dealing with a lot of depression that came from what I was eating–gluten. Over a few months of getting that out of my system, a lot of the depression cleared up. I wouldn’t mention all this except that it made a HUGE difference–I still struggled, but I didn’t have the intense emotional ups and downs (weeks on end of serious depression) that made it so much harder. Occasionally it will resurface if I accidentally eat something I shouldn’t–but it is so much better than it used to be.

            It’s been another two years since finding that out. And like I said, the struggle shifted somewhat–it’s more of feeling that God is distant and/or doesn’t care personally. And choosing to believe what He says–that He does care. Psalms is one of my favorite OT books because of that. So many times the writers would come to God, totally a mess, crying out to God, and then end the psalm remembering who He is and trusting Him.

            So that’s my story. I hope all my rambling has made some sense and explained–put together the puzzle pieces a little. If you have any questions just ask. I don’t mind. ~Anna

            P.S. One last thing–while it’s highly unlikely you have some sort of allergy as was the case with me, remember we are both young women and we have hormonal ups and downs. There’s a spiritual side and a physical side, as I think Brett said in one of his comments on this thread. On certain days every month I know not to trust anything I am feeling because I’m more emotionally unstable than usual.

          • Julia Grace

            See, to be honest…that’s EXACTLY where I am now. Basically, I would say I’m more of an agnostic at this point. I don’t NOT believe in God, but I don’t necessarily believe in him either. I don’t really know how you can prove either. But really, there is no point to life if there’s not a God. We’re all living our lives trying to be good people, but none of it matters if atheism is true. I don’t know where to go from here though, I don’t feel like I can say I believe in God and commit to him if I don’t know if he’s there or not.
            I Have been trying to get answers, unfortunately I seem to have this desire to seek out people that will disagree. I guess I just feel like Christianity isn’t true and I just need to search for those that disagree with whats presented in the books…and then I get more and more confused. Atheists like to argue about Christianity, it seems…and make you feel foolish for even considering believing it. I want to be open minded, but I am honestly so terrified that atheism might be true no matter how badly I want to believe in Christianity. There are so many prominent atheists, it seems. And no matter what is presented there’s always a counterargument.
            I don’t think I have any allergies, although I may want to look at the physical side of this as well as the emotional side. Honestly, all I want in the end of the day is truth. And I very badly want Christianity to be the truth, but I don’t know how to know in the sea of people shouting that their views are the truth.

          • AnnaGrace

            If you want evidence for intelligent design–for a creator–I can give you that. But what are you really looking for? You said, “Atheists like to argue about Christianity, it seems…and make you feel foolish for even considering believing it…. There are so many prominent atheists, it seems. And no matter what is presented there’s always a counterargument.” Regardless of what the truth actually is, a mind that does not want to believe it will find a way to believe the lie it is looking for. Many atheists do not want to believe in God. I have a friend who decided that she didn’t believe in God so that she could live how she wanted to, without accountability. That’s not the reason she gives but it is true that she wanted to live promiscuously etc, then felt tremendous guilt about it, then ‘fixed the problem’ by becoming an atheist.

            Atheism is not scientific. Science cannot prove the existence of God or not. We both have same evidence–how we choose to interpret it is not science. It is filtered through our worldview. However, I think there is a lot to support the conclusion that there is a God. You said, “I don’t feel like I can say I believe in God and commit to him if I don’t know if he’s there or not.” Understand this one thing: belief in God takes faith. And belief that God does not exist takes faith. Either way you are committing to something. You cannot prove either. But if you came across writing in the sand on a beach, wouldn’t you logically conclude that someone intelligent had to have done it? Or would you say that the waves did it? If an Iphone washed up on the beach, would you say that the sea made it?

            “But really, there is no point to life if there’s not a God. We’re all
            living our lives trying to be good people, but none of it matters if
            atheism is true.”
            It doesn’t matter if Christianity is true, either. Because the word of God says that none of us are good, no matter how hard we try. You may be able to throw a rock farther than I can, but neither of us could hit the North Pole, from where we are standing. We can compare ourselves to other people all we want but when God is the standard we are all miserable failures. “Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by His mercy He saved us”!

            If you accept atheism, you decide that you determine truth. If you accept Christianity, you decide that God determines truth. If you accept another religion, you decide that its founder determines truth. If you accept atheism, you have decided you are God. If you accept another religion, you decide to follow a leader whose claims cannot be proven because they all died and they cannot tell you whether their claims about the afterlife are true. Christianity is the only one where we do have a leader (Jesus Christ) who came back from the dead. Disprove the resurrection and you disprove Christianity. Jesus is the only one who can tell us what happens after death, because He is the only one that has come back from death.

            Can I ask you a question: Why do you think that Christianity isn’t true? And how do you test an idea to verify its truth? ~Anna

          • Julia Grace

            Sorry in advance about the short response, I’ll respond fully to this later! But real quick, I just wanted to ask you to pray for me because I need my faith to be strengthened and I’m struggling with a lot of fear and darkness :-/. Thanks!!

            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • Anna G.

            Sure I’ll pray for you! and already have been :) & take your time–I don’t mind. Whenever you’re ready. Your sister in Christ, Anna

          • Julia Grace

            Alright hi again!

            That’s what I’m starting to see/wonder about. Bc science itself can’t prove if there is or is not a God. God is not measurable by science, right? Because if there is a God, the clues would logically point toward God, but there would be people that would use them to point toward their ideas too. I guess your bias/worldview affects the way you perceive them?

            I’m trying to kinda “step out in faith” but I’m kind of rubbish at that. I most of the time want an airtight case before I can genuinely believe in something. I guess I need faith first though? I need faith to really see if God is there or not.

            A question, though- how can we know that Christianity is the real religion? The true one? I mean, each religion believes their view is the truth. How can we know for sure if ours is the truth?

            I don’t really have a reason for believing Christianity is false I guess it just 1) seems too good to be true. 2) it’s hard for me to believe there’s actually a God up there sometimes. Okay a lot of the time.

            I guess to verify a truth you would see if it lines up with reality? I don’t really know to be honest :-/

            Prayers appreciated as I’m still struggling a lot with a lot of things :-/ thanks again!

            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • Anna G.

            Hi again! so sorry it has been so long :( life’s been crazy but I really don’t have a good excuse for not having replied before now.
            You are so right about that–science cannot prove anything! It can only give us evidence that we interpret. And yes, your worldview does influence that.
            I’d say…you have to be willing to have faith. Be willing to accept the conclusion that there is a God. But there’s nothing wrong with looking at evidence. Faith untested, faith not struggled with, faith without a solid foundation, is weak. You can believe all you want that a broken chair will hold you, but that’s quickly disproven when you sit on it and it collapses! :)
            Re: verifying if something is true…see if it lines up with reality/test its claims. When it comes to religions, they all try to tell us something (make claims) about the afterlife, i.e. what happens when you die? Atheism can’t be verified like that because they believe that when you’re dead, you’re dead. How can anyone prove it’s true? You can’t. As for other religions, Christianity’s the only one that has someone (Jesus) who came back from the dead and can truly verify what happens after death. That’s the simplest way I can explain why I think Christianity has more credibility.
            Why does Christianity seem to good to be true?
            I know the feeling–about it being hard to believe God is actually out there. I’ve been there before. Can I ask you a question, what’s holding you back? Just that you can’t seem to feel Him right now? Or something else? I’m praying for you and so are a few other people over here. And of course the other people you’ve been talking to on here. :) ~Anna

          • Julia Grace

            Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you!! I guess christianity DOES make sense, really. I guess I’m just scared that it’s not true and I’m making the wrong decision by believing in it. I don’t know if that makes sense or not? I guess I just don’t know for 100% sure that God is there, and I don’t really know WHO he is, so it’s kind of hard for me to trust him that way, I guess. I want to believe in him, it’s just so hard for me to believe. I appreciate the prayers more than you know!!

            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • Anna G.

            Yeah, it does. I don’t know what to tell you, except if you want to know God better, read the book He wrote you. It’s tough getting to know someone when you can’t see their face or ‘hear’ their voice, but He promises that if you seek Him, you will find Him, if you are truly seeking Him with all your heart. He doesn’t want to hide from you. I’m praying for you. ~Anna

            God is…
            He is good, He is gracious, He is slow to anger and abounding in mercy, He is your everlasting Father, He is the Prince of peace, He is your shepherd, your hiding place and refuge, He is your helper. When you were a baby learning to walk, your parents encouraged you to take a step towards them. They knew you were going to fall eventually but that didn’t dim their delight in you. When you did they just picked you up, brushed you off, set you on your feet again, and encouraged you to walk toward them again. That is the kind of Father that God is.

          • Anna G.

            (this is later than the one below it) Psalm 77. Lately some of the darkness in my own heart has come back and it has been really tough. I’ve wanted to be strong for you Julia but all I can give you right now is weakness and tell you to look to Jesus. I thought a lot of this was past but the darkness and feeling like God is distant is back for me and the question that keeps popping up in my head is, “Will I never cease to have these times of darkness?” My heart is so spiritually cold right now. God, I’m trying to remember what you have done and been to me in the past, but right now that’s not my reality. I remember days of being joyful in You and days when my prayers came easily and every word of Your word seemed fresh. Why do You seem silent? Why am I so spiritually cold right now? But I know my life isn’t worth living without You, even if this darkness crushes me. To whom else shall I go? You are light and life even when I cannot see it for the darkness. Jesus, I can’t do this. Most of the time I can’t even remember to turn to You. I need You but I don’t desire You.
            This is where I am right now and like you Julia I am still struggling to believe sometimes that He cares and this will end. I’m sorry I can’t give you very good answers right now and I haven’t been responding very quickly because my heart toward God is so cold right now. Read Psalm 77 it’s my cry right now. I’ll write back when I can. ~Anna

          • Julia Grace

            Anna,
            I feel like I need to apologize. It was probably over a month ago that you sent this and I really have no excuse as to why I didn’t respond. Honestly, though, I wish I could give you advice. I wish I could help you out, but I can’t. So I didn’t respond and kind of left you hanging. I hope you’re doing better…and I’ll pray for you. If you do need/want to talk, please let me know. After all you’ve helped me through, its the least I could do. Sorry again :(
            Love,
            Julia

          • Anna G.

            Dear Julia,
            It’s ok. I didn’t expect you to give me anything…just wanted to let you know so if I didn’t write back for a little while you’d know what was going on…I probably put a little too much information out there in writing that comment. Sometimes when I’m struggling I just open up a word document and type and type to God etc. and that kind of spilled over onto here. :( I am doing somewhat better–it’s up and down–and please, on your end, if you need to talk also feel free to. It wasn’t really fair of me to dump it on you, at least not that way. God has been convicting my heart lately about a few different things and I think this was His way of getting my attention. “In my prosperity I said, ‘I shall never be moved.’ Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong: You hid your face, and I was troubled. I cried to You, O Lord…” (Psalm 30:6-8a) That verse kind of summarizes it. I had been not as close to God as I should be and He let me feel as if He was absent. And it made me realize again how I cannot live without Him. Thank you for your prayers and it’s so good to hear from you :)
            Love, Anna

    • Riley H.

      Hey Julia,

      It’s been forever since I’ve been on the Reb, but my email still follows this discussion and I saw your comment. First, let me just say that I’VE BEEN THERE! I know what it’s like to doubt, to wonder if God really exists, I can say that it’s definitely the scariest feeling ever! But I’ve found answers to my doubts. The number one book I would recommend, literally one of THE BEST books I’ve ever read, is “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist” by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. There is good, solid evidence out there. Don’t settle for the “I don’t know”, search for answers! “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13) Also, I would recommend looking up the resources for the apologetics class called Anchorsaway. My family started up an Anchorsaway class in our home to help teens find the answers behind why they believe what they believe. It’s an incredible class. Try going to their website and looking at some of their books: http://anchorsaway.org/.

      Praying for you! Know that you’re not alone in your doubts, and that answers CAN BE FOUND.
      -Riley

      • Julia

        Riley,

        Can I just say THANK YOU SO MUCH for this. It is terrifying, honestly. I want to believe and I just feel trapped a lot…I hate it & I hate not knowing…

        I’ve heard of that book! I’ll definitely look into it, because I’m ready for some answers, I want to stop doubting. Thank you again, and if you wouldn’t mind keeping me in your prayers. So thankful for the support/love coming from the people from this site. I don’t feel so alone anymore…

        Your sister in Christ,

        Julia

    • Faith B

      Hey Julia,
      This is Faith, I have been praying for you and I do believe I know some songs that could cheer you up. Flawless by Mercyme and overcome by Mandisa these have encouraged me and I hope they encourage you. I would say also to get into the word of God and find verses to believe and to stand on those those dark days of depression. Here are a few 2 Corinthians 5:7, Isaiah 40:29,John 16:22-24.

      • Julia Grace

        Hey Faith :)

        Sorry for just now getting back to you–I’ll definitely look up those songs and verses (I love overcomer.) thanks!!

        Your sister in Christ,
        Julia

        • Faith B

          Yea, no problem. You are amazing and Jesus sees you as that not as what you think you are. He wants you to overcome!:)

          • Julia Grace

            Aw you’re sweet :) thank you!!

          • Faith B

            Yea, your welcome. I have been good. I never really had depression; have you?

          • Julia Grace

            That’s good! And I have…not like I’ve actually been diagnosed or anything, but I’ve had it in spurts.

            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • Faith B

            Well I know that is not God’s plan for your life so. Tell me if it comes and I will pray for you.

          • Julia Grace

            Thank you faith :) 😍❤️

            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • Faith B

            Always 😉

  • Rachel K.

    Hi Julia,
    Thank you for your comments on the article! You have very good thoughts and I enjoyed reading your posts. I will not repeat ideas that have already been discussed, but I did want to share with you a favorite quote of mine, by St. John of the Cross.

    St. John of the Cross was a brilliant christian who deeply pondered some of the same issues your discussions have been exploring. He encountered a great deal of suffering himself and he wrote an enlightening book about the journey of the soul towards God called “Dark Night of the Soul”
    One of his most wonderful quotes that seems especially applicable to your concerns is this:
    “If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on,
    he must close his eyes and walk in the dark”

    I will keep you in my prayers, and I hope you keep me in yours. :)

    • Julia Grace

      Rachel,
      thank you! the same to you 😉 I’ve heard of him- considering trying to read his book when I get a chance. Yes…that’s one thing I’ve seen about the darkness…it forces you to confront your perceptions of God (and yourself.) I’m not quite out of the woods yet but I’m trying. Trying to trust God and let go and really find out who He is…
      Thank you!! Definitely will keep you in my prayers.
      Your sister in Christ,
      Julia

  • Hey, Julia! I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling with this; know that you’re not the only one. All those people walking around you that appear happy – they often just cover up pain. So don’t feel alone in this struggle.
    Yes, you can control your dark struggle, but look at it this way: what/who are you struggling against? You struggle against yourself. Whatever the reason is that you’re struggling in your darkness, you’re fighting yourself.
    That said, look at what can happen if you give God the reign:
    1. You’re not fighting yourself by yourself – you have an ally in your struggle.
    2. You’re not dependent upon yourself – you have somebody else to take over when you’re worn.
    3. You have a plan for your darkness – and that is to stay there. God has a plan for your darkness, and that is to get out of it. God gave you the light so that you could see His amazing love for you evident in everything He does.
    4. Victory is inevitable – your dark side will fall, but that is because it is not the real you.
    There is some truth in what you said that He was saying, but know that it’s not because you’re a failure that God can work through you. Know that God makes you with what the world labels as “flaws”, “quirks”, “impediments”. They are how God plans to work through you.

    • Julia Grace

      Sorry, I’ll reply fully to this later. But I was wondering if you could pray for me, basically with all the darkness and fear and stuff…it’s tough :-/
      Thanks! Your sister in Christ,

      Julia

      • Absolutely! I know somebody who’s close to me who is dealing with the same thing, relatively, and I know distantly how much of a challenge that can be. While I don’t know exactly what your case is, know that you must pass through the night to get to the day, meaning you must pass through the dark, hurt, and fear to get to the light, rejuvenating, peace that God grants.
        Joshua 1:9b says: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” This means even the dark places that you may stray, He will be there always, offering His hand for you to accept to pull you from the darkness and fear ensnaring you.
        Psalm 23:4 says: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” This verse can very well apply to depression, being that it refers to darkness and a valley.
        First, darkness often symbolized fear, evil, or sadness. Secondly, a valley is a low place – a low place in your life, where you look up at the steep hill you have to climb to get back to your high place, or joy. Is the trek worth it? Or would you rather stay in the dark valley and live in fear?
        The trek is so worth it! At the top of the mountain, Joy, Peace, and Safety all wait you, calling your name and holding out their hands to you. Jesus is next to you in the dark valley, His hand in yours and His staff firmly planted. He will not leave you. He will leave with you to join Joy, Peace and Safety at the peak of the mountain, where you can look down and laugh at your sorrow, fear, and darkness which you have overcome!

        • Julia Grace

          Thank you for this. It’s so encouraging :) The fear and darkness are really exhausting, but so is fighting to get out of them but I guess that’s where I am now. I guess I just need to resolve to keep fighting even when it gets hard? Please pray for me to find my way back to the light & have the strength to fight. Thanks!!

          Your sister in Christ,
          julia

          • You’re welcome! The darkness can ensnare you, but if you know somebody who has faced this before and conquered – by all means, find out how they did it! It can really help. A few tips I’ve learned over the past few months:
            1. Don’t associate yourself with dark pictures, movies, sayings, or people – it greatly encourages the darkness that you yourself face.
            2. Acknowledge the light ahead – though it may be dim, and sometimes may seem like an illusion, know that God’s Light is ahead, leading you to peace and joy.
            3. Recognize the obstacles between you and the Light, and also recognize what tools to use to get around/over them – or even through them if need be.
            4. Pray.
            5. Pray.
            6. Seek guidance from parents or older people you trust. Their wisdom is priceless and so helpful!
            7. Never give up – remember it is God who wants you, and God who will get what He wants – all plans work together for Good.
            8. (This step is incredibly simple, and sometimes irritatingly so – yet it helps me sometimes, even though I don’t struggle with depression): figure out why you’re sad, and what made that turn into depression. Often it is something small and irritating – sometimes it can be very big, I’m not trying to mock your problem(s). Remember our friends the oysters: they get a grain of sand in their mouth, and it irritates and probably hurts. They rub it, trying to get rid of it – and over time, it turns into a beautiful, valuable pearl.
            Turn your problems into pearls. Find out what good you can bring out of them. If somebody hurt you, wronged you, or anything else – get right with that person.
            Yes, you need to resolve to keep fighting even when it gets hard, but you have to know *why* you’re fighting. You are fighting to conquer this problem that is getting you down, wearing you out – so that why? What are you going to do with it? Conquer it, and use it to serve the LORD and draw you closer to Him.
            I’ll be praying for you.

          • Julia Grace

            Wow. Thank you for this, to be honest sometimes I need someone to just lay out “here’s stuff you need to do instead of just sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself.” I’m honestly kind of a pessimistic person by nature- atleast for myself and my problems. I see my problems and make them 100x worse. So I think the whole “turn your problems into pearls” thing could actually be very helpful, even if I’m not quite sure how to do it. I’m trying something (not super successfully so far) I dubbed a “detox” for February, and I’m trying to spend my free time in the Bible and praying and watching sermons and stuff instead of TV or listening to secular music. So yeah, that’s going…okay so far. Not perfect, but okay. I guess maybe this is a journey and I’ve got to keep the faith through it even if it’s tough.

            THANK YOU again :)

            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia


          • Well I don’t want to be insensitive to your issues; I understand that they can get people down easily. But the important thing is that we don’t stay down. TobyMac, a Christian harder-rock styled artist I used to listen to, wrote a song called “Get Back Up”, and part of the chorus is:

            “We lose our way,
            We get back up again
            Never too late to get back up again,
            One day, you gonna shine again,
            You may be knocked down but not out forever.”

            If we have that attitude, that mentality, that mindset, then literally nothing can keep us down – because we know that God will lift us from the dark pit that we’ve fallen into.

            Sometimes you can’t get out of that pit by yourself, which is why God is there. But there is incredible truth in his (TobyMac’s) words, “never too late to get back up again”. There is no time that is too early or late to get up; God will never leave you nor forsake you, and He will definitely always be welcoming you back to Joy.

            When I’m sad, I typically think of why I’m sad, and (if it’s a legitimate reason), typically exaggerate my sorrows or pain, much like you said. So we are similar there. But let me tell you, the thing that has helped me most is talking to my mom about what is hurting me.

            Your detox sounds neat! I’ve used several detoxes for minor things for myself, usually the detox being eating, but they’ve worked so far. :) I hope yours works out.

            You said you don’t know how to turn problems into pearls…

            First off, some of the comments on the DQ “How can I glorify God through my injury?” might help (http://therebelution.com/blog/2016/02/how-can-i-glorify-god-through-my-injury/). Secondly, think of why you’re struggling with your problems, and then figure out how you can bring good out of them.

            Look at Romans 8:28a, which says: “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God”.
            1. All things work together for Good – pray! and ask God why He gave you this depression. Was it to draw you closer to Him in your quest to reach the Light again? Think about it. Think about why God might want you to suffer. Is He training or preparing you for something?
            2. For those who love God – This is another reason to pray! Pray that His Divine plan might be carried out through you, and that He will show you what you need to do.
            But let me remind you that sometimes God’s answers can be no. Start Here says somewhere (I can never find quotes when I need them! Like a Corrie Ten Boom quote would have gone well in this message) that God’s answers are sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes not now, and sometimes not in this way. So you have to be able to discern the difference and accept the answer.
            What kind of music helps you feel better?

          • Julia Grace

            “It’s never too late to get back up again” wow, yeah I love that. I guess somewhat the problem with me & getting out of the darkness & issues is I’m also struggling with doubt. Like that God is there, that he’s real etc. so that I think is what’s made is especially hard. I guess that’s what STILL makes it hard, because I’m still looking for answers & don’t have them.

            “Ask God why he gave you this depression.” Honestly, never thought about it that way before. I guess maybe I’m supposed to learn something from it, even though it seems like nothing more than a mess. Ah I love Corrie Ten Boom! She’s great.

            I’ve been trying to listen to a lot more Christian music lately, tobyMac and HILLSONG and stuff like that :)

            Thanks! Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • Doubt…quite an enemy, is it not? If you could answer a question, it might be able to help me help you. That is, if you want my help.
            Do you question His reality, or do you know He’s real but not see His presence?
            I haven’t listened to much of HILLSONG; I listen to instrumental most of the time. But my recommendation is to find a particular artist or kind of song who appeals to you and helps you see the Light and Joy, and listen to him/her and their song(s). Apply the truths of the song, and know them as truths.

          • Julia Grace

            To be honest, it’s a little bit of both. I guess I just don’t really know how to know what the truth is? And how to know that the Bible is truth and trust it?

            I’ll try that–listening to Christian music and focusing on the lyrics :)

            Thanks!
            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • I’m not sure what kind of proof you’re looking for, but I do know that there is lots of it out there. http://www.accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/353prophecies.html has a list of 355 (despite it saying 353 :P) prophecies that are named, described, and fulfilled in detail in the Old and New Testaments. F.F. Bruce says “There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament.” , and everystudent.com says “In fact, we are more sure the New Testament remains as it was originally written by its writers, than we are sure of writings we attribute to Plato, or Aristotle, or Homer’s Iliad”.

            I can’t provide evidence for every single thing in the entire Bible; if there were evidence, faith would be unneeded.

            You don’t know how to know what the truth is…Well, I think a key thing to get done is get past the truth barrier of the Bible. Once you can prove the Bible’s inerrancy and infallibility, you should be able to accept the truths of the Bible.

            Theopedia.com says “Inerrancy does not come without criticism.” In fact, criticism is what proves the inerrancy. You can’t have something be inerrant without being proven inerrant, and criticism is the #1 way to do that. Now, I know this will be long, but I had a short paper written on the inerrancy of the New Testament, though I may refer to it as the NT throughout the speech.

            Many scholars today question the validity of Biblical accounts, supposedly based on the findings of archaeology. When the “discrepancies” are examined in detail, however it is found that the problems lie with the archaeology (i.e. misinterpretation of evidence, lack of evidence, or poor scholarship) and not with the Bible.

            The Old Testament is a book, about half-filled with a history and law mixture. It’s historic evidence has been called into question countless times, and it just happens that the Old Testament has enough archaeological evidence to keep it validated. God seems to reveal these findings and proofs just when they’re needed (for example, the Great Flood being called into question and the possible finding of the Ark): which is a testimony of truth in and of itself. And, not only does the Old Testament externally support itself, but the New Testament, which has been validated, supports it as well, even mentioning the Great Flood.

            But I’d like to prove the inerrancy of the New Testament, by looking first at archaeological proof for the Old Testament, talking about the Dead Sea Scrolls a little bit, and then concluding with a few quotes regarding the archaeological evidence.

            First off, christiananswers.net says “The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s has shown the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs to be viable. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. The name “Canaan” was in use in Ebla, a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible.” The Ebla Archive, as stated in the quote, has verified the usage of the name “Canaan” around 2300 B.C., which Bible critics once said was not used then. If Canaan was not called Canaan or was not established until later, then that would prove that the Bible was made after Canaan was renamed, and thus it would prove that the Bible was recording past history, not present at the time it was written. Instead, since Canaan was used on the Ebla Archive, that proves that “Canaan” really was called “Canaan” when the Bible was written, thus proving that it is present, not past, history when it was written.

            Secondly, christiananswers.net also says: “It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon’s palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Isaiah 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded on the palace walls.” First response, how amazing that it had the Biblical history drawn on the walls! What an amazing find. Secondly, this is an amazing proof that cannot be ignored that the Bible is accurate, both historically and archaeologically.

            John 17:17 says “Your word is truth”, speaking of God’s word. The New Testament, which has been proven accurate, says that His Word is truth. Now, God’s Word isn’t limited to the New Testament; not at all. He establishes so much in the Old Testament that, to disregard the Old Testament is to 1. Say that Jesus’ words in Matthew 4, when He was tempted by the devil, meant nothing. His quoting from Deuteronomy constantly meant nothing. He was quoting untrue Scriptures. The second thing that disregarding the Old Testament would do is it would nullify John 17:17, Matthew 24:37-38 and Matthew 12:40, which in the first verse says that His Word is pure, and in the other two recognizes the Flood and Jonah’s encounter with the Whale. So you cannot have the New Testament without the Old Testament; you cna’t have one without the other.

            Secondly, let’s take a look at the Dead Sea Scrolls. If you don’t know what those are, like I didn’t, I’ll quote the story from deadseascrolls.org: “As the story goes, a shepherd of the Ta’amireh tribe left his flock of sheep and goats to search for a stray. Amid the crumbling limestone cliffs that line the northwestern rim of the Dead Sea, around the site of Qumran, he found a cave in the crevice of a steep rocky hillside. Intrigued, he cast a stone into the dark interior, only to be startled by the sound of breaking pots. This sound echoed around the world. For he had stumbled on the greatest find of the century, the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

            The Dead Sea Scrolls were damaged and some completely unsalvagable, but they were an amazing find that took the world back to the ancient days, when David hid from Saul in those caves, and Jesus resisted the temptation of the devil. I quote again from deadseascrolls.org: “Among the Scrolls are partial or complete copies of every book in the Hebrew Bible (except the book of Esther). About a dozen copies of some of these holy books were written in ancient paleo-Hebrew (the script of the First Temple era, not the standard script of the time).” This proves also that the documents are valid Biblical documents, written back in those days when shepherds, kings, and others roamed those hills and cliffs, hiding the scrolls in the cave.

            For my last point, I’d like to quote theopedia.com, regarding Old Testament historicy and reliability: “The authors of the OT present real history, about real people, and in real locations. Much of this has been proven through the finds of biblical archaeology. World-renowned archaeologist William F. Albright states, “There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament tradition (Albright, Archaeology and Religion of Israel, p. 176). Nelson Glueck adds that, “As a matter of fact… it may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail statements in the Bible.”

          • Julia Grace

            Sorry for taking so long to get back to you on this! I really appreciate all of this, I guess I just kind of need FAITH to really become a Christian. I know the evidence, I’m just too easily swayed but atheists counter-arguments I suppose, if that makes sense. So it’s hard for me to trust, especially when there are voices shouting that the Bible is wrong (and quite convincing voices since there’s so many prominent athiests). I’m working on it though. I guess I’d just still ask for prayers because I need all the help I can get from God :-/ :)

            Thanks!!
            Your sister in Christ,
            Julia

          • Hello. I know I haven’t been here recently…how’s it going?

  • Haley

    Rachel, I cannot tell you what a wonderful article this is. It is the best description of depression I have ever come across. Although I don’t personally suffer from depression, I have lived with someone with depression. The journey of healing is long and dark. Praise the Lord that there is hope that overcomes!

  • Amanda

    I have Mono, and with Mono, you can get depression, this article helped me so much, I cant explain how much this is impacting me. Thank you. Thank you.

  • Kamchatkaqueen

    The first thing to do when experiencing depression is to get a medical checkup; there are thousands of conditions which can trigger depression. Also, there are a lot of medications which can help, but you have to keep trying with them to find the right one. My son worked at this for over five years before they found the right one. I believe all depression is man-made, due to The Fall and also what we have done to ourselves and our environment over the centuries. God is a great support to lean on; He loves you and He never changes; but He has also helped remedy what humans have done by making it so that doctors can help you. Know that you have a place in the Kingdom and it would be diminished without you!

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