There is no disgrace in allowing yourself to hope for something different. ~Alise Wright
Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, abuse, they all do the same thing. They play their sick little game until the person who is struggling resigns to what they believe is a hopeless existence. Isolation, guilt, condemnation, anger, helplessness, hopelessness play in the mind over and over again. All this serves to make a person feel alone. When any one of these struggles is present in a Christian's life, a person who knows they are blessed beyond measure and have no valid reason to feel this way (or so they've been told), the sense of being alone only increases.
The words at the top of this page really speak to me. Hope! I need it, you need it, we all need it. Without hope there really is no joy, peace or contentment in life. Sometimes though, hope seems elusive and just out of grasp. Others may experience hope and "normalcy" but it alludes the life of the person who is struggling. This is when stories like the ones I just read in the book Not Alone: Stories Of Living With Depression come in.
I had the opportunity this week to read this book and was blown away by the stories these brave contributors shared. Throughout the book you can read the stories of how depression and anxiety came into peoples lives to steal hope and increase isolation. Many of the stories include the recognition and admittance of depression, some include the devastating effects that depression had/has on their life and some share of how living on the other side of depression feels. Not every story shares about the wonderful "other side". Some of the stories share about the struggle of survival and managing the best they can while depression is still at work. I like that. I like that because I know that not every struggle we encounter will see its end this side of heaven and no one is alone in that.
I needed this book right now in my own life. I am feeling overwhelmed, ashamed and guilty about the depth of my need. Lies. All lies. I am not alone in my struggles and there is hope. Glorious, amazing, freeing hope. I want it. I suspect that many of you want it too. I cannot give you the answers as to how your journey will look or where your path will take you. I can tell you that my hope comes from the lavish and unashamed love that my creator has for me. I am not worthy of it yet He suffered and sacrificed His life all with me in mind. I have hope in His love and in His plan for my life. The only way for me to know this is to silence the lies that make it impossible to believe it.
There’s nothing like writing down a book full of truth to stick it to a liar. ~ Tamara Lunardo
If you are looking for hope, looking to "stick it to a liar" then this book may be very helpful to you. You can buy it at Amazon or you can find out more information about the Not Alone project at Alise Wright's (the editor) personal blog. I wrote an entry about my depression on her Not Alone blog series.
Hope. Let us all search for and cling to hope. I take comfort in knowing this truth: "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33b (NLT)