Out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death

1-TreeI debated whether to share this story, but I have no choice. I have run into so many people who are struggling and wonder if there is any hope.

This is exhibit “A” that there is hope!

In this post is the unbelievable entry I wrote in my journal over ten years ago and the story of how God’s amazing grace brought me out of the valley of the shadow of death.

Reading this entry drove me to my knees thanking God for the full life I am living today. 

Friday

I am paralyzed. Going through the motions without life. A zombie. The glimmer of hope seems so small compared to the weight of my sin and pain. Am I Judas? Am I Peter? I don’t know which one I will emulate in the end.   

I pray for joy. I pray for the cleansing of grace.  

I can’t see tomorrow from here. Yet I must plan for it. I feel like I am trying to build a house with the almost certain knowledge it will be destroyed. It is difficult to find the strength to drive the smallest nail. It is impossible to carry a heavy load of lumber. Any moment of joy at seeing the house take shape is quickly torn to shreds by the vision of it’s destruction. The blueprints are covered with blood. Not just the blood of (me) the builder but all those who labored with him. And those who saw the hope of shelter within the walls.  

My bones are weary. My strength is gone. I can do nothing to dispel the darkness that slowly envelops me. I will not curse God. It is myself that I curse. That I cannot feel his presence is my fault. I have built walls that are impenetrable. Not impenetrable by God but by me.

I long to see his face, to hear his voice. I long for his comfort. I am undone.

I have smelled the stench of death. It does not attract me. I am repelled by it. But wherever I turn the stench is there. My only prayer is for but a glimpse of his face. A ray of hope. Please God. Please.

Very few people knew of the depth of my struggle during that time. Those who did would later ask what I did to find my way out of such a pit.

The ONLY thing I did was lean toward God.

It was God that did something. I cried out to Him like a seaweed covered prophet in the belly of a fish. And as with Jonah, God heard my cry. I felt like I couldn’t get to God but He got to me. He was my only hope. When I wrote that entry, no medication, or counseling had been able to stop the emotional spiral that kept me from sleeping or getting out of bed.

What a conundrum. What good is it to be trapped in bed if you can’t sleep? During those horrible days the deceiver reminded me of every sin I had ever committed and hissed, “You will never amount to anything! You are worthless. Follow the path of Judas.  End it”

His deceptive lie was the exact opposite of the hope I live and write about today. His call was a call to death but God intervened.

In my anguish I begged, God where are you?

My sister flew across the country and sat by my side for days, held my hand and prayed. She reminded me of God’s promises and pointed to things like a shaft of sunlight streaming through the skylight and a blooming flower as evidence of God’s existence and love.

Her honest but unshakable faith and her love for me fanned the smoldering desire within me to live. I had asked God, where are you? He had never left. As proof He sent my sister. One of his angels.

I prayed Lord give me a sign!

I was introduced to a counselor who looked like a cross between Burl Ives and Santa Claus and had the heart of a saint. No Sigmund Freud frown on that face. This face radiated a passion to show people the grace of God and restore hope to their lives. He exposed chains of oppression and cans of shame I had dragged with me for years.  I must have looked like the back end of the car driven by a newly wed couple.

He gently coaxed me to loosen my grip on all the crap (yes! that is the right word) I had lugged around for years and encouraged me to run, to press on, to live. Would this gentle Giant be a sign?

My journals revealed sign after sign that identified God’s guidance back to the land of the living.

One day I wrote:

“I can see colors again. The world is no longer shades of gray. Storm clouds threaten but they are gilded with Light, evidence that above them the Son still shines.” 

On another day I wrote:

“I was drowning. My strength was gone. The harder I tried to make it to shore the harder the tide fought me. Today I felt my toe touch the sand. Praise God. A foot hold! I’m not out of the water yet but I am going to make it to shore.” 

“Thank God for Chemistry!”

I still share that little prayer of thanks with men and women who have been discouraged by cruel people who criticize them for taking medication to aid their battle with depression.

Be encouraged.  This road to life is punctuated with potholes and setbacks.  And some of you walk through deep dark valleys that seem without hope. If you haven’t been through a valley, chances are good you will find yourself there someday.

Jesus said, “In this world we will have trouble.” Then he told us to be encouraged because he as overcome the world. If you have experienced the bumps and valleys of life it is evidence that you are alive.

There will be days when you can’t see the sun. I still occasionally have those days. But, I challenge you to trust the One who loves you most. The one who walked through the deepest valley of all and lives to give you hope.

He rescued me.

“I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.” Psalm 118:21

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What’s your story?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

——————————————————————

This post is adapted from a chapter in my book Fully Alive and inspired by the hundreds of letters and messages from people who have walked from darkness to light.

I also recommend Michele Cushatt’s book Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life

Photo taken by my talented cousin and friend, Jim Christensen.

 

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

56 thoughts on “Out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death

  1. Been there brother in Christ! I love Corrie Ten Boom’s saying, ” there is no pit you can fall into that God’s love is not deeper still”! Loved hearing her say that in her beautiful Dutch accent!

  2. Medication has changed everything for me. Being in the depths makes it almost impossible to see Him. It’s only by His grace that I am here. No matter the valleys I find myself in, there is always hope.

  3. Thank you Ken, for sharing this part of your journey. I have loved you and your work since we met you in Gatlinburg with Bill Gaither. I have family members who have struggled similarly and am going to share this. Blessings on your continuing journey.

  4. Ken thank you for sharing. It always amazed me how years ago people hide so much in the closet especially Christians. Pretending they were so righteous. People’s heart is touched when as yourself can share and admit…yes! I know how you feel, I’ve been there and how Only God brought me through. People dent realize pastors and ministries etc are put a side as I call it to Grow. Believe me Ken I know that DESERT OF TESTING the Lord allow us to go through to get to the place He wants us to be.
    Thanks again for sharing and your ways to give us All so much laughter .

  5. I was born into some version of hell to a psychopath father, I believe God forgave him because just like the soldiers who crucified Jesus, he does not know what he does, and was abused, and neglected by both my parents. My mother could never tell me that she loved me but I still love both of them.

    I went through nervous breakdowns, PTSD, manic depression, the whole gamut starting at the age of seven up to the day my mother died at my age 54.

    I got to where I am today at age 64 without taking one bit of medication or therapeutic session, just by the grace of God and a loving grandmother who taught me about Him, and who taught me to read the Bible at age four.

    I went through the valley of death quite a few time, mind you not at my own hand but by accident, only to be miraculously snatched from death when I called His name. So I can relate to your struggle only to say, stay the path true to His plan for you because that is the only way if we truly love Him.

    God bless and thank you for all your messages and humor.

  6. Thank you for sharing a story….that a lot of us in God’s Ministry keep quiet about….whether it be depression or other things that we feel might make people shy away….but when we DO share….we reach more people “where they are” and give them hope. HOPE….where God resides…HOPE where Jesus says “come” and HOPE where the Holy Spirit dwells and gives us peace in our hearts. You are right…we will never be free of “those days” as they come and go…but we never… never lose HOPE in the one who never leaves us or forsakes us…when we have given our hearts to HIM. Thank you again Ken. I surely do need to get your book!

    • That story is a lot of what I have struggled with all my life. I want off my depression medication n other medicines that I have to take. God is so good, I hate myself when I decide to do things without turning n trusting in god first. Then god says finally you got the message. God had the answer all the time. We are so blessed.

  7. Thank you for posting. This is my story also with the exception that death looked like the best alternative. I was so tired and disgusted with myself for being “me”, the worst mom-daughter-sibling-person so down and less than any other regardless. Rejection and condemnation came from all. Multiple counselors, medications, and even a voluntary hospitalization didn’t help. Methods of death were in my thoughts all the time. BUT there was a something like hope at the bottom of the deep, dark well that kept me alive. This was my life until in my mid 60s my daughter had me make an appointment with a Psychiatrist that she worked with and thought highly of. After several trials and failures she came up with the correct medications to relieve my brain’s chemical imbalance. My inner life is so different now. I am able to accept the blessings and to know that He is with me both on the mountaintop and in the deepest, darkest valley. Please don’t tell a depressed person to “get over ‘it’ or themselves. Those words reinforce all the negatives that are already running rampant in their brain. Thank God for being that “something” at the bottom of my well and for directing me to a very knowledgeable doctor to put me on the correct medications. Thankful for each moment knowing He is in control.

  8. Thank you fro sharing this post. I have been slipping into that place, and though I can not change the circumstance of my life I can allow God to change how I respond to them. I have been trying to seek God with my whole heart but Satan continually tells me there is no hope. the Scripture “resist the devil and he will flee” pops in my head a lot. I needed this reminder, this testimony of hope today to strengthen my resistance. Thank you

  9. Thanks for sharing this. I too had a long battle with oppression/depression many years ago….and some later smaller ones. But for the Grace of GOD and loving Family and Friends I probably would not be here. GOD IS GOOD, and Always there! BLESS YOU my friend! 🙂

  10. Thank you for articulating this pain so well. Have been where you were. And, by the grace of God, I am alive today as a testimony of His Grace freely poured over me. The black hole is always nearby reminding me how much I need my Father’s guidance and care today.

  11. After 13 years of living in the pits of depression with no medicines, no counseling, I was sure that I needed to rid this world of someone like me: “an inefficient worthless waste who would never amount to anything.” I yelled at God one night in September of 1995, WHY? WHY? I CAN’T BEAR THIS ANYMORE. ARE YOU THERE? DO YOU CARE! Very simply He spoke and told me to count my blessings. I yelled I DON’T HAVE… but I couldn’t finish that lie. I began to count blessings I had forgotten I had…then I began to forgive anyone who had ever abused me –physically, sexually, mentally, emotionally– from childhood to adulthood. I asked God to forgive me for not trusting Him. He forgave instantly and healing tears fell. I still have moments of “sinking”, but God has never left me nor forsaken me. Never. And He never will. Thank you, Ken, for sharing that time in your life. God bless!!!

  12. Ken thank you for your story of struggle, faith and healing touch of Christ our Savior’s on your life. It means so much to me as I have been dealing with a health issue of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder for 2 years. The CPAP machine I’ve been using for a year brought my oxygen level back up from 68 to 95 where it should be. However, no help on extreme fatigue and loss of mental alertness. Each day is a challenge to get through not only for me but my family. An appointment this next week to go over the 2nd sleep study with a neourologist to determine if its parkinsons or something else that can be treated. I too asked GOD, where are you in this? He is with me and my family all the way. At a healthy 63 years old otherwise, it frustrating. Ken your humor keeps me laughing and helps me to Lighten Up and Live in Christ our Lord!
    Be Blessed, Doug Malcom

  13. I thank God, Mr. Davis, for the courage He gave you to share your story! I praise Him for His Presence in your life and for His Plans to use you for His Glory!! My 15 year old son is struggling mightily with depression, anxiety, and some other issues that we haven’t been able to pinpoint yet. He doesn’t believe that God cares for him. I do not know how to encourage him – how do you lift up someone without pointing them to God?! He is the only source of Hope! So, I pray for my son to know God as Truth and to be set free! I will show him your blog. I will also pray for you to be ever aware of the Good Shepherd Who brought you out of the valley of the shadow of death and will lead you home 🙂

    • Our kids are bombarded with all kinds of wrong messages that create anxiety and depression today. May the Lord bless and comfort your son. It’s terrible how young people struggle nowadays. The pressures of the 21st century are intense because everything is hyper-performance driven, so they therefore do not know how to handle what comes their way. And then they have all this political correctness insanity. May God help us know what to say and how to make them realize how precious they are in His sight without any particular performance.

  14. Thank you for writing this, opening up to those who need hone. I am sending this link to a dear brother in law named Carlos who has been struggling greatly for quite a while. He has a wife and children and grandchildren who love him so much – as do the rest of us.
    Please pray he will lean toward and live in the Light that is Jesus, so that he can know FULNESS OF JOY! ❤️

  15. Good morning, afternoon or evening Mr. Davis. I hope this message finds you well! I first heard one of your messages back in April of 2015 and sent you a private Facebook message on May 1, 2015 and shared some of the struggles I was going through as you seemed to have similar experiences. One of the items I did not discuss in that private message (due to feeling ashamed) was my battle with depression and my past struggle with addiction. My message to you back in May 2015 ended with my long time employer laying off me and 700 others. What I did not go into was when that happened it was like someone pulled the plug to go on. I looked for employment but did not do it willfully. I leaned on alcohol as my pain reliever and would often drink until I could drink no more. During this time I took on a home project of updating our bathroom. A friend of mine was helping on that infamous Sunday May 6, 2012 and my wife and I got into an argument over something small BUT that is all it took to send me over the edge. I think it was around 9 in the morning and I was so mad and felt so bad about myself that I began to drink and told my friend to leave as I was not doing any further work on the bathroom. I continued to drink throughout the day and was cutting the grass when my wife came out to talk to me. Unknown to me at the time she was coming out to apologize but instead of listening to her I told her to pack her bags, take the dogs and leave. After she left I walked into the house with one last job to complete. I closed as many shades in the house as possible, where there was no shade I put up some form of barrier and then I went into my bed room and got out my rifle and bullets. I used to run with an ambulance corps so I knew I needed to see if I could position the rifle and still hit my target. This was important because I did not want to hurt myself, I wanted to die! I loaded several bullets into the rifle and took the safety off. I then decided I did not want to go out on an empty stomach so I made something to eat. Why I decided to stop to eat still baffles me. My wife knew I was not in a good mindset and tried to get a friend of mine to check on me but he could not (for his own reasons) so she ended up calling the police. In the meantime, I passed out, fell asleep or God knocked me out in the living room bu the big Bay window (we only have a sheer curtain on that window). I came to hearing the police calling my name and banging on the door. I then realized my loaded rifle was next to me and would not be good if they found it so I tried to sneak it into another room. That is when the one officer at the bay window saw it and yelled “GUN” (this still sends chills down my spine) and all the officers took cover. I emptied the bullets out of the gun and put it back in my room. I then went outside looking for the officers with a beer in one hand and the other in my pocket. They kept telling me to get down on the ground and I did not know why they wanted me to do that as I did nothing wrong. There were 3 officers tgat i saw and 2 had 9 mm while the other had an automatic rifle with a scope on it (they meant business). I continued to disobey until they got about 8 to 10 feet away from me and then I decided to obey, put down my beer, take my hand out of my pocket and get down. I almost died several times that day but God intervened and kept me safe. I still suffer from bouts of depression and still wonder what I want to be when I grow up. I thank you for your ministry, your honesty and for being open.

  16. Oh Ken, thank you for letting us in to your dark time in your life. I’m so grateful that God hounds us back to Himself. I too have gone through a couple of times like this, but praise God for His unconditional love that draws us to Himself! So grateful!

  17. Thanks, Ken from another Ken. So many of those words sounds only too familiar. I was nearing mid-life, had a great job, working with great people, with a retirement plan, and a future…I thought. I was in a ministry field helping others doing what I went to school for and with an organization I was hoping to retire. Then for the first time in their history…a reduction in force. Loss of job, discouragement. But then friends acted like I was contagious. Then betrayal from a long-time friend. Long story, short, a new friend recognized that I was more than “down” and said “you are in a pit, and I promise I will come alongside and stay with you until we walk up and out on the other side”. Psalm 23 had a new meaning for me. I still don’t have a job with retirement, but I have hope and still, thank God, my sense of humor. Ken, thanks for taking that risk and sharing your story!

    • Oops, I incorrectly posted this response under the wrong person (Kim). But it is hopefully helpful to her as well…

      I know the feeling well. I have been unemployed since 2011 due to a terrible injustice. Here’s my story: http://www.worldmag.com/2014/02/pink_slip_speech

      God bless you, and please remember, “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24. I think it is our tragic tendency in modernity to put our faith in our job and its benefit package. But then God shows us that He is our provider by removing that idol.

    • Ken, I can especially relate to this sentence in your comment: Loss of job, discouragement. But then friends acted like I was contagious. Then betrayal from a long-time friend.

      Someone I’ve been best friends with since we were FIVE years old acted like I had the plague after I lost my job in 2011. Mainly because she works at Penn State and apparently I was now the “enemy” if she associated with me. Very odd. It was unreal! I never dreamed that would happen to our friendship and it left me reeling. But God is faithful. His Word tells us that we will lose friends and family members for following Him.

      Even my close friend,
      someone I trusted,
      one who shared my bread,
      has turned against me.
      – Psalm 41:9

  18. I lost my husband after a long struggle. After the years of grieving, I was blind-sided by the emotion I felt when he left me for Heaven. All the cliches made sense; I could feel the waves of sadness overwhelming me, the weariness of leaving the house, of showering was impossible most days. I was watching ‘Touched by an Angel’ and upon a character’s death they talked about the peace of God and I yearned for it; leaving this earth to be my Father- I didn’t want to hurt anymore. God never let go and I relied on the knowledge that I knew from childhood, not on the feelings that crushed me. I did the things I knew I was supposed to; medication, prayer, bible reading. I purposefully avoided the emotional and focused on things that made me laugh. I tried to eat better when I realized my comfort foods weren’t comforting me.
    It’s only been a few months and this month is so hard, it’s our birthdays and anniversary. I know what struggle feels like when I have push thoughts away, sometimes even using my hands to help. I know there will be a tomorrow and God is with me even when I don’t feel him. I understand why Jesus told us to love with all our heart, head, and soul because we fail ourselves and need back up. I am grateful my husband is well and in God’s glory but I wish for the same peace.

    • I know the feeling well. I have been unemployed since 2011 due to a terrible injustice. Here’s my story: http://www.worldmag.com/2014/02/pink_slip_speech

      God bless you, and please remember, “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24. I think it is our tragic tendency in modernity to put our faith in our job and its benefit package. But then God shows us that He is our provider by removing that idol.

      • Sorry, Kim, my comment was meant for Ken who posted right above yours. But may God bless and comfort you in your loss and struggles. I know the feeling…comfort foods do not really comfort. They only end up making us more miserable.

    • Kim, Thank you so much for sharing your story. We live in a society that encourages us to “get over it” move on. However grief is one of the prices we pay for true love. It is okay for you to grieve. Someone said, “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” I promise that over time there will be healing, but I am grateful that God gave you someone to love so intensely. My prayers are with you today.

  19. I’ve been in the pits of despair more times than I can count in my life. Thank you for this post which reminds me that I’m not alone, and that there is indeed hope in the One who is the only Hope of mankind.

    One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. What an awesome prayer and admonition! Also, the Psalms are replete with expressions of deep despair, so we should not be made to feel “less than” a true Christian for having them. Here’s another great passage: Psalm 42:9-11:

    I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
    Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
    My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
    saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
    Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
    Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

    Therefore, we are in great company since King David shared our deep despair. It is not a moral failing. We must remember that and reject anything to the contrary. God bless you!

  20. You have put into words what I lived for most of my life. But like you God sent angels to show me He loves me and never leaves. There were times I wanted to run far away but like Peter all I could say was where can I go but to the Lord. He along has the words of Life. Though it was so dark and I could not see. God is faithful and He was there with me the whole time. I am on the other side and how wonderful and joyfilled it is!! God is so very amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing your story, it is so incredibly encouraging to know we are not alone, not the only one with this struggle. And the wonderful reminders that God is faithful and true and loving and kind!! So very thankful for your ministry shared through laughter!!!

  21. As you know I’ve been there. I spent years fighting debilitating pain, I would take two tablets of whatever meds I could get every 3 hours and wash them down with whiskey or brandy. When the doctors would ask, ” on a scale of 1-10 how bad is the pain?” My answer was always 8.” I’d then be told “so I guess it’s not as bad as you said on the phone.” No the pain was bad, but, I knew that it would be worse the next day. I feared sleep because I knew what was coming when I woke up. that was before I was assigned a doctor that threw away all the other treatments and said let’s try this surgery. the surgery controlled the pain immediately and after 6years 51 weeks on opiates I was pain free and drug free without withdrawal symptoms. You better believe I thank God for teaching this doctor how to use the gift the she was given by God. I understand completely what you went through.

    • Roger, can I ask what the surgery was? I am dealing with terrible chronic pain and have had back surgery already and it is back in spades. Some days, I wish I could die and be done with it. If you don’t mind sharing, it might help me. Thanks!

  22. Thank you so much for sharing. I am sure that every single human being on earth has gone through something similar. PTL for your sister and your spark of faith that encouraged you to keep on going. Your humor lifts me often when I am slightly depressed. It has been years since a full-blown depression, but I know that God is with me and as long as I don’t let it get too deep, I can rest in the knowledge of His love.

  23. Today it was enough for me to go from suffocating, debilitating, paralyzing despair to a more normal level of “I really hate this” that allowed me to get a few things done. 🙂 That was my first sign. This was my second.

  24. Thank you! I knew not about Jesus until I was 24. I truly know what it is like to have no hope. I became a Christian February 18, 1982. I continue to fall but I always know Jesus is with me in the deep valleys and there is always hope in those times when I am at the deepest valley. Every time I have a bad attitude, which is frequent in living, I say I have a “Baditude”. I quickly turn it into “Beatitude”. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Thanks for that testimony Ken. I am reading a book called “Food and Behavior” by Barbara Reed Stitt, a woman who helped many probationers dealing with mental issues get their lives together through nutrition.
    I am wondering, what was your diet like during this time? Some doctors say that depression is a nutritional deficiency, could that have been your problem? The Standard American Diet (SAD) is void of nutrition and full of fat, chemicals, empty calories, is it destroying the mental health of our people? Just curious if you might see a connection. God bless!

  26. Thanks Ken for a glimpse into your private pain. I too suffered from depression to the point I didn’t care what happened to me. I’d walk into the woods around my house and hope to become so lost no one would find me till I was nothing but bones. Thankfully I finally got the help I needed. I’m glad you’ve shared your story because those of us who suffer the same affliction can see how God delivered you. From the greatest celebrity to the lowliest beggar, God loves us all!

  27. Dear Mr. Davis. Greetings in Jesus Name. I just read your story about being in the valley of death. I’m sitting in the bathroom crying. I there, in that valley, yes, right now. I’m tired. I hope God comes to help me.

    Sincerely,

    Ms Merl.

    • Hang on to hope my friend. Look around you. You may be surprised at the hope you see where you never expected to see it. Don’t give up. Hang on to hope.

  28. I read this while thinking of my daughter trying to finish her last semester at TNU. I am in WY taking care of daughter who is recovering very slowly from a horrific accident over a year ago. I cannot go to her or send her sister, whom she misses so much.
    She is in that valley, doesn’t see a light at the end of the school tunnel. Doesn’t see a job coming, doesn’t see life as she would like it to blossom to. Wanting to end her life to take away it all, was the last thing she left me with last week. All I could do is listen as she said God isn’t there anymore, doesn’t know what she’s done wrong, because she is so determined to do everything right. The world seems to take care of the ones who do everything wrong, and the ones who take the right steps (the narrow way) get the shaft, have so many struggles. I try to encourage her, but I’m afraid it falls on deaf ears. I also try to tell her we all go through something that makes us feel that way.
    She is a remarkable young lady, who wants a good job doing something she loves. To have a family and live a Christian life, which I tell her is not always glorious.
    I am hoping to see her at graduation, but at this point that will not happen. Which again, will be very discouraging. I pray for her daily, all day.
    I will share this page with her, and hope she sees… we have to go thru the valleys to reach the mountain top.

    • Karen, I prayed for your daughter today. For those of us who are perfectionists our own imperfections and the imperfect circumstances of life sometimes seem unbearable. I can only lean on the truth. If God truly loves me and if he is still in control, then I can survive any circumstance. His Grace saved me and is plenty big enough to save your daughter. Please tell her I am praying for her. I you e-mail our office with your address and a reminder of this blog post, I would love to send you a copy of my book and DVD. for your daughter.

  29. SO very AMEN. Thank you for sharing with all of us. I am in the process of re compassing after death dealt my heart such a severe blow, rendering it almost shattered beyond repair. God has been good as
    grief has wrapped itself tightly around me and life itself. Leaning in to Him and being Blessed indeed.

    Roberta

  30. Thank you for sharing your story! My passion is to bring awareness of mental illness to the Church, and to equip pastors and leaders with necessary resources and tools to effectively minister to individuals living with depression and other forms of mental illness. Shame is a HUGE factor that often prevents those suffering from seeking help. Speaking up about mental illness and being vulnerable enough to share our story is key to breaking down the stigma so that those suffering can begin to come out of isolation and seek help. Thank you so much!

  31. I’m not clear in the valley, but I’m heading there. I know it. I pray it away almost every day but it remains. Most people run to the Lord and his word for healing. The word is the problem for me. All I want to do and have EVER wanted to do was read and study the Bible – learn as much about God as I can in this life. Great, right? Well, when footnotes and cross-references and commentaries fail to answer my questions but give me more, what am I to do? I find it hard to trust every single translation! Why does the reading of God’s word HINDER my faith?? The doubts are rising and I don’t hide them from God. He knows, and I tell him over and over that it’s his job to keep me – I can’t do it.

    • So sorry to hear what you are going through Molly. I have no pat answers because there really are none. I do know that seeking help was an important first step. Although I haven’t been on medication for years, I would go back in a second if I headed for the valley again. The meds didn’t change me they helped make me capable of thinking clearly. I hope it helps to know that someone cares. I hope that you will not give up. Although there are no easy answers that apply to everyone there is hope. I pray you will hang on to that and rest in the assurance of Christs love. My prayers are with you.

  32. Thank you for sharing your story. We heard you speak at Oak Hills 75th ann and been reading your stories ever since. Just an interesting side line. My husband’s sister was married to Len Peterson Sr. So we knew your connection to the Peterson at Oak Hills.
    In 1997 our twin son took his own life. He left behind a wife and two children 11 and7 and his 4 siblings. For so long it seemed like such a stigma among Christians and Pastors to have deep depression. After all, all the answers are in the Word aren’t they? Well we know sometimes even Christians need the help of medication. Unfortunately our son didn’t get the help he needed soon enough. For a long time I had why God.? and I took it to Him. But I learned to trust His loving heart. Why not us.? Just because my husband was a Principal of a large Christian SCHOOL and had been a counselor didn’t make us exempt from tremendous sorrow. We have learned and read some good Christian material since then and have experienced so much empathy for others going through tremendous sorrow since then. The pain is still there but have learned to live with it. I don’t think someone contemplating suicide are capable of thinking of the pain of their loved ones they leave behind. We had all the guilt of being bad parents too and where did we go wrong. I finally came to grips with that after reading Carol Kents book, ” Laying my Issac Down.”
    Keep us laughing and stay strong for those grandkids of yours. We all need you!

  33. I am currently reading “Fully Alive” and am going g through a very rough time with my self. Seeking God is very hard right now, growing up in a wonderful church, walking away, coming back. Horrible employers save one and my current one have made me feel useless and abandoned. At 56 my strength fails me for the job I have but I need to press on. Please pray for me. I just can’t seem to get it right. Thanks.

  34. Needed to read this. Not depressed, but in severe pain with a tumor on my neck causing nerve pain so severe, I cry and beg God for a miracle every day. Been getting me mentally fatigued, but I work out at gym, read my Bible, and pray for others. Just get tired of pain. I’ve confessed and asked forgiveness of every sin I can possibly think of. I sometimes feel that I’ve done something to make God mad at me. Maybe I deserve all this pain. God reminds me that if I’m patient, my trials will soon be a testimony to help someone else. God’s miracles can be medicine, treatment, and mostly faith to know that God will not give us more than we can handle.