About the Author

Emily is a 20-something from Southern Illinois. Grace is her lifeline; baking and childcare her trade; and farm life her dream.

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  1. I’m so thankful for this account of God meeting you in the cave. We forget sometimes that He’s there with us in the dark, that He hears us and His love does not change.

  2. Thank you, Emily, for being so open and mentioning these verses from Gods Word, explaining and giving hope. How I needed this!

    • I’m so glad that my words were able to offer a bit of encouragement! Being so open can feel so scary, but knowing that sharing my hard times can offer hope to others make it so worth it. It’s good to be reminded of that. Thank you!

  3. It seems like a lot of us have had a visit from the black dog (depression)as they term it here and it manifests in many different ways for different people and their different situations. Mine first with postnatal and reoccurrences with anxiety here and there. I’m glad you have had healing, God and Jesus are their for us always right in the midst of it, even when sometimes God is quiet, He is still there right with us. Trusting in Him gives me hope and I am so grateful to have him in my life☺️. Thank you for bravely sharing your story here. God bless you x

    • Jas, thanks for the encouragement. Even with healing there still seems to be times where things get hard again. It’s helpful to know that I’m not alone. It’s wonderful to have people to remind us of God’s faithfulness when we can sometimes forget on our own.

  4. I appreciate your honest- I too with I am sure many others have struggled with depression- it truly is a dark time- but with the Lord by my side & all my loving friends & family that the Lord sent to me I too got through my depressions. The Lord says we will have tribulations in one form & another-Depression is a debilitating illness. It has made me stronger & I know the Lord has brought me to others with depression to show them love & compassion during their difficult times.

    • Someone else shared Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Isn’t it crazy awesome how God can take the hardest things and work them for good?! I’m thankful that I’m not alone. Thanks for sharing.

  5. It warms my heart to know that we can finally talk openly about depression and anxiety – and not fear the shame of that darkness. It wasn’t that long ago that some Believers were still counseling those in rough places with “All you need to do is pray more.” God has blessed us with wise people and effective medications – just like He’s done for diabetes and broken legs. Blessings all day…xoxox

  6. I needed this encouragement today. I struggle, battle and fight depression. It’s so easy to get discouraged. Thankful for others who are willing to be honest and share their stories. I have renewed hope. I know God loves me but I still struggle with really knowing and feeling that He does truly love me. I feel like I have to earn His love. I know it’s a lie but it’s something I fight often. Thankful for my church who supports me, a counselor who challenges me to think differently and a Christian psychiatrist who has me on meds that help.
    So to anyone else out there who is struggling – you are not alone – don’t give up and get help.
    It was hard for me to go on meds and go to counseling but I am very glad I did.

    • Joetta, thank you so much for sharing! I’m praying for you today. I still feel like I get so easily discouraged as well. I want to be “all better”. I worry about how I’m affecting the people around me who I love. I also struggle with knowing God loves me and that usually comes out as not even being able to love myself. It’s just so hard. I’m so glad you have people to support you. It’s so wonderful to know that we aren’t alone! We just have to keep fighting! And fight FOR one another on the days we can’t fight for ourselves.

      • I too worry how my anxiety and depression affects those around me. My mother suffered with depression also but didn’t think she needed meds or counseling – too much of a stigma. It was hard to watch her struggle and frustrating when she refused help. I’ve promised I won’t do that to my family. Thankful my husband loves me unconditionally and never gives up on me. I refuse to give up! Praying for all of us that struggle – may we all encourage each other and not judge.

  7. Thank you for sharing about your time of depression and for being honest. I too have suffered a lot of depression and anxiety over the years. I won’t go into detail just now, but I gave my life to Christ when I was a teenager and am now in my 60s. God has been very very gentle and consistently caring of me. He has been the ‘perfect gentleman.’ God never barged His way into my life. He has gently waited until I was ready to come in and change me. And change me He has done, but a bit at a time. I do not recognise myself compared to what I used to be like! God has been preparing me for His great plans for my life, nothing grand, just giving me grace to help and support others over a long time and helping me to teach English as a foreign language to foreigners in Nottingham. I am also seeking God’s glory through my artistic talents, which I so much enjoy! That’s a little about me.

    • Oh Janet, you offer ME encouragement as well! I love how you describe God as the “perfect gentleman”. At times the enemy can trick me into giving into fear. Into thinking that healing is too much and even cruel at times. But as I continue to grow closer to God I’m learning how sweet He is to love us in the way that way need. It’s encouraging to hear from someone who has endured so much longer than I have! It gives me hope! It really warmed my heart to read a bit of your story. Thank you!

      • Dear Emily,
        Sorry for the delay in replying to you.I’m so glad my words have encouraged you.
        If you would like to know more about my story let me know. I am willing to share more with you, if it would be helpful.
        Your sister in Christ,
        Janet

  8. wow, your honesty! wow, how brave you are. you have touched my heart and soul by your sharing. May God continue to be very real to you and bless you for sharing.

    • I too thank you for your open honesty. I too have suffered depression and anxiety for many years but as the Lord continues to reveal more about Himself and His great love for me, I find that evil spirit losing its hold. Getting down deep into areas only God know is hard but what a blessing. May His grace continue to do its amazing work in you and all the rest of you who have suffered this darkness. His love is so amazing.

    • Thanks to both of you for the kind words. It’s always wonderful to be reminded I’m not alone as I fight. I’m so thankful for grace. And so thankful for His amazing love.

  9. Thank you. I was asking the Lord for help and encouragement this morning and He used your devotional. My beloved daughter Dawn just celebrated her 41st birthday in heaven; surely it was her best one ever now that she’s perfectly healed and in Jesus’ presence. He took her home last Thanksgiving; ovarian cancer didn’t beat her, she beat it by the way she trusted the Lord, lived a beautiful life and touched so many lives. Please pray for her young children and their daddy.

  10. I thank you for bravely sharing your story! God is good all the time – He loves us and is there for us in the happy times, but best of all, He is there for us in our time of need…“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). You are a very brave and strong young lady to know you could not go it alone and reached out to a friend who loves you, to help you. But most importantly, you reached out to the God who loves you, who wants to help you. If we will allow Him, God uses our brokenness to make us whole, to give our life meaning, purpose and joy. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). My daughter is a twenty something as well, college grad with 2 degrees, beautiful, smart, funny, lots of friends, a family who loves her and she loves us, and most importantly loves the Lord. But 2 years ago, she suffered several major setbacks – unable to find a “career” job in her field, still working retail after all the schooling she had, betrayal by what she thought was a “best friend”, her boyfriend of 3 years (and who talked of getting engaged all the time) suddenly broke up with her, telling her he didn’t know if he loved her, etc, etc……My beautiful, smart, strong daughter just was broken. I couldn’t seem to help her. She would call me at work, crying uncontrollably, saying she could not stop crying, she just wished she could go to heaven and be with Jesus so this pain would stop……I have never been so afraid, so helpless, in my life! And of course I prayed and prayed and prayed! And she did, too! She was just so sad…..she quit her job (one she hated, but was working there because she thought she was going to get married and the money and benefits were there), had to change some friends (betrayal by a friend, friends shared with ex-boyfriend), changed gyms (because ex & friends were there), changed churches, started P31 devotions, and began seeing a Christian counselor. It will be 2 years next month since all this happened with my daughter. Even though she still struggles, I give God the Praise and Glory for her healing and happiness! She is in a much better place these days, with a fantastic new job that she loves (still not in her field, but – oh, well!), she’s made a few new friends that are very special to her, she’s gone on a couple of “girl trips” that she wouldn’t have missed for anything, enjoys her new church and is hoping to one day meet someone special to share her life with. Until then, she is determined to enjoy the journey! Emily, I am so happy you are in a much better place – God uses our brokenness to draw us closer to Him. And when we walk “through” the valley and turn and look back to where we have come from, we can see where the hand of God helped us along the way.
    I pray you will have Joy and Peace with you always! Be blessed!

    • Shirl, I so appreciate what you shared. I am praying for both you and your daughter, for a continual increase of joy! It seems as through the more hard times we endure, the more we are able to appreciate the good times. It makes me so happy to hear about the amazing things happening for your daughter. In the midst of the brokenness time seems to go by so slow, but when we look back it seemed to happen so fast!

  11. Dear Emily. I know it’s the movement of The Spirit when another’s words can describe your own journey. Thank you for sharing your heart and the depths of your struggle. Your story is a reaffirmation that dying to our old selves ushers in the new creation we are in Christ.
    “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” (2 Cor4:17)

    • I hear the Holy Spirit pressing me to ad to my reply. In 1989, I did suffer a breakdown, a transgressional breakdown. The world has one opinion, God has another and His counts. As the Holy Spirit helped me get down to the bottom or the root of it, I discovered I was holding extreme anger at God. I was angry at Him for causing me to be born to abusive parents. I was so ignorant, as I did not know this was God’s plan to bring salvation to all of my family. It has been a long, hard but journey filled with light, Truth and very difficult tests. What I needed was to know my Heavenly Father for who He really is. I needed this for myself, not someone else’s experience. He has been so faithful and revealing Himself. I know this is an ongoing journey into eternity and that is so exciting. Jesus finished work on the cross is totally finished, He left nothing outj!!! It’s about relationship! Thank you Jesus!!!!!

    • I’m so proud of you Gail for having the courage to listen to the Holy Spirit! I pray that God would continue to reveal more and more of Himself to you. I have also had times of realizing I was angry with my Father. That can be so hard. Thank you for sharing, and offering words of encouragement.

  12. Emily, you are so brave! You go girl! Thank you for being so honest. I pray complete healing over you dear child of the King.

  13. Wow I feel like this was written about my life right now the only thing different is I’m a single Momma of 5 children ages 18 to 7 weeks old, facing eviction and homelessness and my car being repossessed and have no family or close friends where I live. I too had decided to go back to school to better our financial future and it has set us back exponentially. Now the depression and worry of losing everything and wondering why I decided to go back to school has literally taken over.
    diezpack@gmail.com

    • Robyn, I hear you!!! I am praying for you!!! The Lord Jesus hears you and He knows right where you are and He will come to you! I know that all this is so totally overwhelming to you. I have suffered so with depression/anxiety/downright fear for years….seasons, cycles of it. I, too, have felt my whole world crashing in on me to the point that I didn’t even know how I could take another breath, let alone face another day, but I did, moment by moment, day by day. I cling to God’s word and His promises to me and He sees me through these dark seasons and He will see you through also. Psalm 139 has been a life-saver for me as well as Jeremiah 29:11. I know you must feel so totally alone, so do I much of the time, BUT, the TRUTH is we are not alone, no matter what our feelings tell us….our feelings lie to us, the enemy lies to us. Jesus promised never to leave us nor forsake us. Believe it no matter what your feelings tell you. WE CAN TRUST THE ONE WHO DIED FOR US!!! I will continue praying for you Robyn!!!

    • Robyn, I am so sorry that things are so hard. I am praying for you and your family. I’m praying for God’s provision even when it feels impossible. I’m praying for peace and comfort too. I’m thankful that the Bible isn’t silent about the hard times. We do have a hope even in the darkness.

  14. Thank you, thank you Emily! A sweet brave sister in Jesus you are. ❤️
    Just putting it out there like it really is for those of us who suffer in such a way as this. Depression the bully. Depression the liar. But through it all so, so many of us who are being shaped and molded into His likeness.
    He takes the fire of our sufferings and refines it into pure and precious gold.
    Our Lord Jesus has already won the war over the Enemy of our souls. But he knows our daily battles and gently asks us to take His yoke upon us and rest IN HIM! What an invitation – God over ALL, who came here in the Person of Jesus lovingly pleads “I will give you rest”. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? And yet I often resist. As Paul says “..O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of this body of death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:24,25
    (I seem to have written myself into a worshipping heart) Praise Him!

  15. Thank you for saying what so many of us feel at times. It’s a trick from the enemy to make us feel like we are alone in our struggles. I too am a southern Illinois girl! Nice to find another one on (in)courage!

  16. Emily, what a beautiful reminder that Jesus isn’t afraid of the mess we are. We don’t need to do anything to be worthy. He simply places His love on us. Thankful He met you in the middle and continues to walk you through.

  17. Thank you for this today, I needed a timely reminder to cling to the hope that He has given me, and that He is with me thru it all. So I cling to that hope, and remember all He has done for me, where He lifted me from and how He has been carrying me thus far, and also the beautiful things He has shown me. And in those moments when I feel weary and tired His strength is found!..thank you Lord.

  18. Thank you Emily for your honest post. Please bear with me as I share openly about my struggle. Its going to be maybe hard to read. Please pray….
    I fight depression every single day. Diagnosed with complex ptsd, I have really lost a lot in my life. Years ago I had been able to help others through their struggles; but the past few years have been rough. I used to be a Worship leader for a church of over 5,000 families, composed songs, discipled others. But then 3 years ago I hit a low so bad, despite counseling, meds, God and His Word, Jesus, I tried to take my life. At that moment, I was praying the entire time, “God I’m sorry but I just want to come home. I just want to come home.” At the point of death, a loved one found me and called an ambulance. Six very long weeks in a state mental hospital followed. Yet even there, God used me; the chapel on grounds had a piano and the pastor had me play and sing for services every week. I made a cross necklace to wear and held my bible tight. I’m now officially on state disability and its hard to sometimes remember God is still healing me. To not view myself as hopeless. Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.14 Wait for the Lord;Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” Yes, there is goodness around me. A devoted husband of 32 years who also loves the Lord greatly.
    This year has been fraught with illness and in 2 days I am having surgery. Neck fusion. I’m assured it will relieve my pain by 50%. I am grateful to have access for such a helpful operation. But you see, my ptsd stems from childhood trauma of having a father who was a serial killer and I witnessed his atrocities. Near the end of his life, I was able to witness to him; what a grace that was! But this surgery in two days is on my neck, on the front, and I fight to remain present to not associate it with memories of my dad cutting a woman’s throat with his knife. Whew.
    People think those who take to take their life are selfish cowards: well honestly I thought I would be doing everyone a favor, my self worth was so very low. Now I see differently. I realized afterward how very much I hurt my loved ones and have sworn never to do that again. I’m working with a biblical counselor and this has been a tremendous help. No more suicidal feelings.
    So with God’s help, I have wonderful plans for my future. I am going back to college to get my degree in theology. My hope is eventually to have a part time job in music ministry. I miss it so very much. I don’t know at this point how I’m going to have enough $ to pay for school, but I’m stepping out with just one class to start. I used to love school and always did well.
    Sometimes when I’ve shared what I’ve been through, folks think I’m helpless and just broken. Like I have nothing to offer anyone. So I try to just let the’fruit’ of my life bear witness to His work rather than tell what I’ve been through (lol and here I am just telling you all of it anyhow). Small ways, like volunteer work, listening to others who are hurting, praying for them.
    Hope is God’s word for me for this year. Thank you for reading this, I know its really heavy.

    • Toni, thank you for sharing. You courage in transparency is inspiring. I am so, so sorry that life is so tough. I am praying for you today. I’m praying for Jesus to be near. For a glimmer of hope and peace today. It doesn’t seem fair that some people have to go through so much. I’m glad you are fighting for your future. I’m glad that you are able to listen and pray for those around you. That’s huge. The seemingly small things are usually HUGE for the people around us. God sees the strength and sacrifices that you make. He knows. Thank you again for sharing your story.

    • Oh Toni, my dear, I read it twice. I don’t know if you will read my reply. I am finding it so hard to write this as the right words fail me. All I can say right now is….. My heart to your heart! I may try to write more tomorrow, but in the meantime, I will be praying for you, as I, too, have suffered from depression for many years with devastating circumstances, though different from your’s. You mentioned hope as being God’s word for you this year. It is also mine. I can certainly see how God has His hand on your life and I can also “see” that He will bring honor and glory to His name through you. That is a prayer I have prayed everyday for years….that my life would bring honor and glory to His name. I thank the Lord for saving your life and I know much fruit will abound.

      Toni, there is treasure in these “earthen vessels”!!!

      Much love & prayers,
      Donna

  19. The Lord is patient, He doesn’t look at time like we do, He lives in eternity and wants us to live with Him so He can be when we are not. Being 20 something or fifty something doesn’t matter to Him, we have any enemy who would have us bound, and uses any means, so getting help and steeping back is a good idea. I believe aslo that grief enters into it as well, losing a job or fiancee, we can grieve things we don’t even realize. Thank you Jesus that you love gives us life, and that you counquered death. I pray for Him to bless you all, favor and peace to you, through His grace.

    • Rebecca, you brought up an interesting point. Grief also has had a pretty significant role in the hard times. I’m so thankful that Jesus brings us freedom. Thank you for sharing and for your prayers.

  20. Emily, I praise the Lord for His grace, His mercies, His love in your honest and vulnerable words. So grateful and blessed to read the beautiful replies. I understand these places too well, yet am grateful for each time the Lord has shown me who He is in depression and anxiety. It breaks my heart each time I see it, know it, feel its edges in ways I can’t explain. Yet our Lord knows these pains for He was broken and poured out for us in these ways in the Garden, in the agony. How amazing that He used these experiences of healing for His glory and the lifting up of others into His tender arms of love where tears are poured out and comforted in the pressing into Him. May Jesus our Wonderful Counselor and the Holy Spirit our Consoler lavish their tender loves and mercies on each of us today.

  21. Yes, life can be messy. And one of my favourite songs is by Amy Grant and it says “beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a Hallelujah.” The song is called Better than a Hallelujah. I am going through a messy time. Thank you for sharing from your struggles. I am also clinging to those verses from Lamentations. His mercies are new every morning. I also love how David modelled for us how to be honest before the Lord and I find the Psalms are a great comfort. I also want to recommend an album called “Psalms” by Sandra McCracken. Those songs are really carrying me through this rough season. Blessings as you minister to others.. and “comfort others with the comfort (you) have received..” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

    • I also found so much comfort in Lamentations. Psalm 40 is also one of my go-to’s. I’ll definitely have to check out the album you recommended. Thank you for sharing. I’m praying for you today, Ashley 🙂

  22. I spent way too many years battling out of depression and all the effects of that hard war. For me it was a couple of decades with therapy, medication and at its worst, hospitalizations. My children grew up during this time and also had to deal with my crazy thinking. Thankfully, I survived the worst times and have started embracing that part of me, scars and all. I have found talking to others about it and how God has healed me, has helped quite a few people battling their own wars. My honesty has shown them they don’t have to feel the shame and guilt I put on myself. I am stronger and know my weaknesses and will get help if and when I feel the darkness descending. I pray it never happens again but won’t panic if it does.

    • Isn’t it amazing when we are able to share our hard stuff and then see Jesus working in others through that?! It’s a big deal that we get to help our friends break out of guilt and shame. Bobbi, thank you for sharing. I’ll be praying that God continues to use you in PROFOUND ways!

  23. Ive told the Lord many times over the past year that “I don’t want to do this anymore” (exact words!). Made me feel not so alone and crazy to hear you said the same thing. I’m trying so hard to learn and lean on Him, but it’s the waiting for a break through that is so hard. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lee, I’m so glad! I’m praying for you this afternoon! I remember the first time I read 2 Corinthians 1:8 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.” It encouraged me so much to read that I wasn’t alone. Even Paul was done with this life and wanted to give up. It helped me feel a little less crazy. We are certainly not alone!

  24. Love your words, “We aren’t promised perfect lives without suffering. But we are promised a love that never ceases. A love that offers mercy and grace every single day.” How so very true. If we can only keep this in mind. Suffering can be is so isolating, lonely, and shaming if we don’t share it with others. So glad you are sharing it. Thanks for the honesty.

  25. Emily,

    Bless you for opening up and telling your story! Talking about serious mental illnesses helps bring about healing! “‘We aren’t promised lives without suffering. But we’re promised a love that never ceases.” I recently told my husband “God didn’t promise us rose gardens life, but He did promise to be there and help us through it! Remember He didn’t have it rosy down here.” I believe many Christians have had bouts with depression/or anxiety at various times in their lives. Recently I was working a full-time good job, married to a wonderful man and life was good. Then my aging dad had some health/ mental health issues. Add to that my husband started having troubles at work-possible lay off. My life seemed to spiral downward. I felt miserable for a month. God was there the whole time. He got me through that time and has worked miracles in my life since then. My dad is doing much better. My healing came from reciting scripture to my husband. “God won’t leave you or forsake you”. He will make provisions for us now as He has in past.

    Praying for continued healing!!

    Blessings 🙂

  26. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I am another who has gone through dark times. Several times. Once, I had to learn my best friend doesn’t need to have skin! HE is my best friend. I had gone to a girlfriend with the hurts of my heart instead of my husband and more importantly, instead of my Lord. He stripped away everyone around me until I finally crashed at His feet. Another time I was feeling as a failure, going off my antidepressants for months, feeling the darkness closing in. My husband took me on his lap and said, “I have to take meds for my cholesterol, and my diabetes – your meds are no different. Depression is a physical illness and the medication is necessary to treat your condition.” This was coming from a person who used to say – Shake it off! 🙂

    We go through things in life to learn from and to help others who are facing those same struggles. If we can help others, then it’s all worth every step we’ve taken.

    • Thanks for sharing Lynda. Sometimes healing seems to be so painful. But I’m so thankful that we have a wonderful Heavenly Father who is always there for us. I’m praying for you this morning! And I certainly agree that being able to help others really does make everything worth it.

  27. I have been in the trenches with the black dog for more than 40 years, and even taking 2 separate anti depressants daily hardly makes a difference.

    I have nothing to offer except to say I know what you felt like and wish you healing and wholeness.

    • I’m praying for you this morning! I’m so sorry that life is a struggle. Depression can be so isolating and lonely. It can feel so hopeless. I hate that we can’t just “fix” it ourselves. I’m praying for healing. I’m praying for a bit of comfort this morning. I’m praying that you would have friends to surround you and love you no matter what. And I’m praying for a greater intimacy with Jesus. I’m praying remembrance that no matter how awful this life is, we still have an inheritance in heaven. A perfect eternal life. No pain or suffering or fog of depression. Just a perfect life of wholeness. Thanks so much for commenting and I really do wish you the best.

      • You will be richly blessed. I believe that when one reaches out to a total stranger with empathy, kindness and prayer, the eyes of the Lord, who sees and knows everything, will make sure one day when you need help or kindness, it will pop up for you as well.

        Blessings !

  28. Emily, I am so sorry for the losses you have had to endure through your trial with depression, but I’m thankful for the story you have shared. May this desert time becoming a blessing to others as well as yourself as the fount within you pours forth the wellspring of life that points to God as the glory.