you are not alone in your darkness. there IS hope.

A few months ago I wrote the entry below. At the time it seemed like the most important thing in the world to share. the most valuable thing. I wrote this one night after I couldn’t sleep because all I could feel was darkness, anxiety, depression. The first thing I did was open my Bible and pray. I had never fully understood the strength in God’s promises until I had experienced them first hand in that moment. A dark cloud had been swiped away from my sky, and the world became less narrow and small. It was then that I began to believe in Christ’s sovereignty over my life. I got out a notebook and pen and I wrote this at 2 in the morning. The funny thing was I couldn’t wait to share this vulnerable, but powerful piece of myself… But I woke up in the morning, and instead, I chose not to because I was scared. But today I found what I had written and knew that other people needed to hear what I had to say because I know why God allows periods of suffering. We suffer to grow steadfast. We suffer to grow in our spiritual gifts. We suffer in order to support others who go through the same things. And that was the purpose assigned to me out of it all. At the time I felt as though no one in the entire world could understand or begin to grasp the kind of darkness that I was feeling, but that was far from the truth. We do not suffer alone. I am no longer afraid of the valleys I will walk through or the trials or tests. I welcome them because I know what will come of them. I know that soon after will follow strength in character, maturity, and wisdom. ———

Today I was a little hesitant to share this.. because I was afraid of what people would think about me, maybe the negative things someone might say, or maybe because it wouldn’t be something that anyone really cares about. But I decided to anyways because this is relevant and it is important, because I NEED to share this hope that I have. Because I know I am not the only one who goes through this. Everyone deals with this is some form of another. And i want to share this with those people, because i am forever grateful for the ones who poured truth into me when I was at my lowest of lows — that gave me some hope, lifting up in prayer, advice, community, conversation, friendship etc. I want to share some of the things that help me when I am feeling overcome and taken over by the negativity of anxiety, depression, darkness. I can always count on God during these times. I can always look to him & he is answering my prayers before I even called them out. He is faithful in his promises, and that is something to be thankful for!! Depression, Anxiety, darkness... whatever you want to call it — these are things I have only most recently been faced with, and more recently have learned to banish from my life because they are not something I was about to let become a consistent occurrence. I have found rest & peace in these actions, maybe someone else can as well. 

Reach out to family and friends to pray for you, or really anyone you know  

  • there’s something about knowing you have an army of believers rooting for you, praying for you, lifting you up; visualizing this force field around you at all times is empowering & comforting. There is strength is numbers!! And prayer is powerful.

  • I find peace and rest knowing I don’t have to fight my battles alone. I am not alone.

  • Although some may look at asking for help as defeat, it is quite the opposite. There is power and rest when you lay your battles down and say “I can’t do this by myself”. There is community and fellowship in uplifting one another. 

Volunteer- do things to help others 

  • Volunteering and helping others. Helps you take your mind off of yourself & your problems. 

  • Helps you to realize not only are you the only one fighting battles, but others maybe fighting harder battles. 

Take moments to recognize your blessings and be grateful for them 

  • To remember that this is only a season, and the best is yet to come. God promises us this. There will always be something to be grateful for. 

  • Take some time to write down 5 things you are grateful for.

Writing down, accepting, and recognizing the darkness 

  • Writing down what I felt made me feel some what empowered. I was able to find closure, recognize and grasp the negative thoughts and feelings.

  • I was able to have them all down on paper and it felt as though I could better understand and explain it, helping me to find closure for lack of a better word

Holding tight to worship music 

  • Worship music — One of the biggest things that got me through. Playing it all the time, 24/7 before bed, in the car, laying in bed, during the day. Having truth sung into me constantly. And some how, I found truth that directly applied to me in every song that played. 

  • Worshipping & finding joy during the times where you feel like if it keeps going on like this for one more minute you don’t think you could keep going. That’s what gets me through. Steadfastness. Holding on. And finding thankfulness and joy knowing that the harvest is EVEN greater than the winter. that these trials and times of darkness are only making me more resilient, deepening my faith, growing me in my spiritual gifts. 

  • “Though the winter is long, even richer the harvest it brings. Though my waiting prolongs even greater, your promise to me like a seed. I BELIEVE that my season WILL come. I can see the promise, I can see the future, your the God of seasons.. and I’m just in the winter. If all I know of harvest, is that it’s worth my patience. Then if your not done working, God I’m not done waiting.”  (Seasons, Hillsong Worship)

  • I’ve always loved this song, but I never really understood the lyrics. But now it’s like the lyrics are all I can hear in my times of darkness. These lyrics give me such a strong hope. They never get old. I can never get tired of hearing that truth. I write these lyrics down everywhere all the time and it’s still like it was the first time I truly heard them.

Taking control of my own health 

  • not only mental health but more specifically physical health — diet, exercise, wellness 

  • Having something to work toward and better, really helped me feel a sense of control over my life, knowing that I am bettering myself and helping my body.

  • I felt empowered and at peace when I was able to find something in my life that I could work towards and control. Something that would influence my thoughts and feelings about myself in a positive way. 

  • I truly believe that changing your diet has a HUGE impact on mental health. I rarely feel stuck in a negative mindset anymore. I honestly believe that how you think and the negative thoughts that run through us directly correlate with what we are feeding our body and brain.

I hope that those who are going through similar struggles find value in this. Maybe it even lifted a little off your shoulders, reminded you that you are not alone and you don’t have to fight your battles alone. Maybe this can help give you a little hope, something to push forward. And those who are not going through anything like this, maybe you won’t feel as helpless in the future when faced with similar trials. I know that darkness & struggles will never stop coming my way, but I have hope because Jesus is always with me, giving me strength and endurance to carry on!! Such good news.