About the Author

Alia Joy is an author who believes the darkness is illuminated when we grasp each other's hand and walk into the night together. She writes poignantly about her life with bipolar disorder as well as grief, faith, marriage, poverty, race, embodiment, and keeping fluent in the language of hope in...

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  1. Thank you for sharing this, Alia! So thankful for good friendships. Reminds me of this verse: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov 17:17, ESV)

    I pray and trust that God will continue to send you the help you need just at the right time. I pray and trust that God will be glorified through all of your trials, and that He himself will heal you, restore you, and give you peace.

    I pray and trust that God will help us all to live with Open Eyes, so we can see ways to serve others in true love and friendship. Dear Lord, please help me to not just be wrapped up in my own world and my own issues. Help me to see what others are going through, and to see how I can truly help. And May I not just see the ways I can serve, but also act on them to your glory. Amen.

    Hugs & Blessings to you Alia!
    Bomi 🙂

  2. Alia Joy,
    I can tangibly feel your pain. This week, living with anxiety and depression, has been a hard one for me. To have a friend that really gets you when you’re laid low, surely is a treasure from God. Most people just want you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and think happy thoughts. One of the hardest things is feeling like I have to make excuses for why my thresholds for dealing with life in general are lower than other people’s. Stress, fatigue, busyness all set me off faster than say the average person. But it’s okay to set limits (even Jesus set limits). Trying not to compare yourself to others is often the hardest thing because it seems like everyone else can just do life with ease. Be gentle with yourself, rest, crawl into the lap of God and let Him love you right where you are, just as you are. He will always sit with us in our pain.
    Blessings sweet sister,
    Bev xx

    • Hi Bev, thank you for the kind words of encouragement the other day and once again, your response here represents exactly what I feel as well. I have also thought of Paul and his thorn as I deal with my depression. God may be telling me His grace is sufficient. I feel very blessed to be able to share our life hardships and pain together in this forum. I may not have that “physical” friend in my life yet but I think we all feel loved here and from a distance. We are not alone and God is so good! I’m praying for you too, sweet sister!
      Cindy

  3. I pray that I can be that kind of friend. I have done it once, but only once – when my best friend fought cancer. I was there for every chemo treatment and every hurting time – sometimes in the early hours. But that was like 5 years ago and I have not been a friend like that since. I am the person that takes food and sends notes. I take the easy way out. I am sorry God. Please stretch me, make me uncomfortable in a friends pain and make me remain. To God do I come for strength and stamina and decency and a kind heart and a willing spirit. Lead me Lord into those uncomfortable spaces and help me to do good for you. Thank Alia for your raw sharing and opening my eyes to things I DON’T do.

    • Dear dtut,
      Please be kind to yourself. It is wonderful and amazing that you could be there for your friend in such a way. That must have been such a difficult period for you, especially afterward when your best friend was gone. I don’t think anyone would consider taking food and sending notes the easy way out. Perhaps the Lord is encouraging you to connect more directly with folks, but he would do it in a gentle, not condemning, way. He knows how your heart has grieved (perhaps still grieves) the loss of your friend and sees your desire to bless others. I believe he is pleased with you and will guide you with lovingkindness as to your next steps.
      A big hug to you.

  4. Alia Joy,
    You are such a gift. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable. I pray that He will be like the light of the morning for you, when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth by shining clear after rain.
    Love and blessings,
    Brenda

  5. I have been on the receiving end of this kind of friendship when I, too, sank deep into depression. I have also wondered if I’m doing enough when those around me are hurting deeply. I’m someone who will sit for whatever time you need a shoulder but am horrible at delivering meals and such. Those feel like the right thing to do….something tangible. I never considered the sitting with to be as important. So thank you for this post. It gives me great hope that others could be served just by my presence.

  6. After reading this I HAD to start following you on Instagram. As someone who suffers from depression and some chronic health issues, I often feel like such a failure as a Christian: knowing God promises in my head, but often unable to hang on to them in my heart. Your story is of great encouragement. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Oh Laurie, I totally get that. I wrote a whole book about feeling like a failure, the promises of God, and the hope we have even when we feel like we’re lacking. If you haven’t picked it up, Glorious Weakness: Discovering God In All We Lack is my story of realizing I’m not a failure in God’s eyes, my weakness is holy invitation to allow grace to do its work.

  7. Alia Joy, so glad you have this friend who wraps you in her love! What a blessing! I don’t think I’ve ever sunk quite to the depths of despair you describe. But I have had some dark times in my life. And one friend who came alongside. She wasn’t the nearest (she drove a couple hundred miles to me), but she was the one who came. My “nearer friends” passed by on the road. They were too busy or felt too I’ll equipped. I want to be the one who stops and helps. Thanks for encouraging that response.I pray for peace, joy and grace to you and your precious friend.

    • We comfort with the comfort we’ve been given. I’m sorry you’ve struggled with dark times but how lovely that your heart is tender and your eyes are open to see those hurting on the side of the road.

  8. Dear Alia, oh how I feel your pain and relate to your struggles. So many of us are dealing with depression and anxiety, always looking for ways to fix ourselves, escape from our darkness and we desperately pray for relief. But I never realized how precious a friend who truly understands and doesn’t judge us can be. One who sits quietly with us when we need it most. That beautiful soul hasn’t shown up for me yet. The friends I currently have (although few because I am an introvert), tend to give me well meaning advice that I’m not especially asking for or tell me to push through and get over it. Your precious friend is serving you like Jesus does; quietly listening and loving us in our darkest hours. We all need that kind of friend and I’m thankful you have her. Alia, I read so many of your posts which are always applicable to me and my heart wishes I could reach out and hug you as as sister who shares your continued struggle! I imagine us crying together, getting it all out and knowing we are not alone. Jesus is with us and He’s hugging us too. God bless your sweet heart for your open and honest posts. I will always keep you in my prayers.

    • It’s hard to have friends who don’t understand the pressures, struggles, and shame one can feel when battling depression and anxiety and whose ‘advice’ only heaps on more judgement. But friend or not, we have a God who sits with us through the darkest nights and who gets what it feels like to face the anguish of our flesh. He gets it and that’s enough. I so appreciate your prayers and hope you feel seen and loved in the midst of it all.

  9. I have a friend in fact three I don’t see them that often. One lives 86 milies away from me. She text me say. Dawn how are you. They are saved. Just was thinking of you today. I have one other friend I only get to see her at Church if out or if my other friend takes me as she don’t drive like me. I used to until ill health stopped me 7 years ago. Now I would not go back to it. Don’t miss it to scared. Any way the friend that lives 86 miles away is so caring. If going to be in Enniskillen as used to live where I live now. Would never forget about me even if coming down to meet someone else. My other friend that I see now and then. When we meet up. Dawn tell me all about it. If I was down. She can read me like a book. Come I want you to tell me. I hear to listen. Then pray for you. She said Dawn don’t ever think I never not I would not want to be your friend. You will alway be my friend. Didn’t think I do not want to be my friend because you are older me and have things wrong with you. No you don’t she said. I don’t notice them. You are special to me and to Jesus. I don’t like crowds. Small spaces. I go into a world of my own. If you ask me in shop to get to things in two different places I find that hard. She said no Dawn don’t be silly. That would never stop us being friends. Your way to nice to kind and caring. My other friend who lives 86 miles thinks the world of me. I might most of the time be on my own. But I not I have Jesus. But when I don’t see theses friends I know they are always thinking and praying for me. Like I am for them. They when I am down they seem to sense it. Say Dawn I’ll sit with You. If they can if they can as busy if I could drive to be with you I would. Instead they send me lovely emails or texts. To know they are there for me. But I am thank full on God I don’t get down that often. But I know they are there for me if I need them. I am very thank full on to God for giving me the best Friends ever. Plus today reading and friends like you guys from incourage. As I love you all loads in Christ and do pray for you all Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx

  10. Dear Alia, as one who also suffers seasons of depression/anxiety and all that comes with it, I just want you to know that I am praying for you. You are so very blessed to have that wonderful friend who will just come and take you away from the familiar and just sit with you. I have a couple of friends who are unable to do that, but they pray and I am so very grateful for that. May the glorious peace and joy of our Lord Jesus bathe you in His healing touch and love!

    From one who knows, you are not alone!
    Donna

    • Thanks Donna. I actually wrote this post several years ago and I don’t have that physical presence anymore but I do have those who show up in other ways to reach out and connect and let me know they’re with me.

  11. Alia, thank you for sharing your heart with us always. I think about you every night when I say my prayers. Even though we haven’t met I feel like we are friends! God bless you friend. Lifting you up in prayer now. You are so wanted and you are so loved ❤️

  12. Alia,

    Your friend reminds me of Job’s three friends. They came & sat with him for 7 days & nights not saying a word. They took the time from their lives to come be & mourn with Job. Often times that is all we really need. Just someone to be there for us. We can talk or just sit there quietly. God asks us to be living witnesses. That may just be showing up unexpected & taking you for a drive, giving you a hug, or just sitting there for comfort. Friends like that are truly angels from God. It is God saying “I see you suffering. Here is some help.” Mental illness is something most people don’t understand or want to talk about. As Christians we need to get the word out about it & try to be there for those suffering. God calls us to be His hands & feet. It looks different in each situation. People suffering with pain need to know they are seen & loved. Send a text letting them know you care-better yet go sit with them in McDonald’s parking lot.

    Blessings 🙂

  13. I had a Stephen minister a generation younger than me and a weekly prayer partner who told me at the worst: “You haven’t always felt this way and you won’t always. Until then I’m here.”

  14. I absolutely loved this. Your words so eloquently captured the beauty of a true friend who can stand with us in the darkness. I won’t pretend that I can over know fully how hard your days are but I do know God is using you powerfully in the midst of your brokenness to touch a place in the hearts of the hurting that is needed. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    I pray blessings and that you feel God’s loving, velvet embrace upon your soul my sister no matter if you are standing on the mountaintop or the hill or the valley, whether in the fire or the high waters, I pray God’s Holy Spirit will manifest powerfully so that you never forgot you are NOT ALONE.

  15. Such a beautiful tribute to your friend, Alia. I took note that she didn’t try to offer suggestions. She listened, asked questions, allowed her presence to comfort you, and simply stood with you under the load. THIS is what you needed. Important lessons for me to remember!

  16. Hi Alia, thank you for sharing your soul to me and many others. Please always remember what a blessing you are to your family. I suffer from too many issues that frequently bring me down n make me feel worthless as a wife, mother, and neighbor. Your inspire me to want to be a better friend when others are in need. God bless dear sister.

  17. When I see your name as the author, it feels like I get to see an old, close friend! I remember doing a Bible study of yours on your blog???? many years ago with a younger friend who’d nearly lost her way (maybe in 2011). Thank you for your words and for still showing up. Isn’t that interesting??? In you, writing an article about the good friend who shows up (alongside the Good Friend), you are actually showing up for all the readers, and you are encouraging us to show up for others and/or let them show up for us! Multidimensional 🙂

  18. No one.. I mean not one writer I’m aware.. writes more honestly and poingnantly than you… your journey is so very hard.. yet you are so transparent in your sharing. Thank you Alia for helping me and encouraging me by sharing your hard journey.