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. Alia Joy,
    I, too, have suffered many years with this thorn in my flesh called depression and anxiety. I know how consuming and debilitating it can be. So thank you for the reminder that I need to just go moment to moment in God’s grace and not look too far ahead. His strength has been made perfect in me time and time again so I look to His faithfulness in the past for my hope for the future. Thank you, too, for the reminder that the Lord will fight for me…I need only to be still. You have woven a very encouraging word picture for me this morning!
    Blessings to you,
    Bev

  2. Alia,
    “That another day will be darker than this”… I think it’s so important for women to know and continually hear of the struggle so many of us have faced…are still facing. This is when we find community and hope, hearing the same words muttered out of another mouth, the same frustration welling up within. Thank you for sharing. For being real. For shining a light to your family through love, even on the days you beat yourself up! So many blessings to you in the truth of God’s word as we all push back the dark with His light of truth.

    • Than you, Ginger. Writing in and through my struggles with depression has been both my mourning hymn and my song of praise. I believe we can feel the dark pressed right up against us and still know the light of His truth from His word and the record we have of God’s faithfulness. And when we face it together it feels less ominous. Thank you for shouldering that with me.

  3. I think you and I are soul sisters. I’ve read your blog for awhile and you have this way of using words to unravel the mess that’s in my head. I have also faced some dark days with depression (and anxiety) and it has popped up again recently. I am scared out of my mind to go back there. I’ll be praying for you, and saying a prayer of gratitude that you share your heart with us. Seriously, some days it’s like a lifeline to know someone understands.

    • Connie, I love that. Thanks for reading along with me and for your prayers. That means more to me than you could ever know. At my darkest times I can recall that I am not alone and that in seasons of strength I can pray and speak into it and in seasons of weakness I can rest knowing I’m bolstered by prayer and understanding. I use words to unravel the mess in my mind as well so you’re onto something with the soul sisters thing. 😉

  4. This is so beautiful. You are a GIFTED writer- so gifted. Thank you for your honesty. May the Lord forever be your hiding place.

    I think of 1 Peter 2:9:

    ….God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light….

    Thank you, Jesus!

    • Yes! Erin, that’s one of my life verses I cling to and meditate on when I feel nothing but the dark closing in. I have it written in my journal in the message, it’s one of the verses I go to when I get quiet inside and I’m reminded God’s called me to proclaim His goodness.

      1 Peter 2:9The Message (MSG)

      9-10 But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

  5. Oh, Alia. My comments are stuck in my head and in my heart. So I’ll just say, YES. I understand. I am with you. May the Lord bless your beautiful words to help many who have no words for what they are feeling.

    • Thank you so much, Liz. I read Renee’s post yesterday and Lisa’s the day before and each of us has been writing on our weakness and His strength. I think it’s so beautiful to picture each of us writing in the past few weeks, none of us knowing what the others would write and yet this theme is so present this week. God is weaving words of freedom for his women. Lean in and open up. He is enough for every tear and every broken place and every faltering step. I’m honored to be a part of it.

      • Kinda late getting here; just now sliding up next to you on the couch tonight to read. Shaking my head yes. Yes, in so many ways. Yes.

        I have walked through, and with, anxiety-induced depression a few times. It started when I was about in 5th grade. And I almost let it take me out completely in my early twenties. Then about ten years later, I started to sink again. Every time, Jesus reached down in that pit and pulled me out, but it didn’t come easy. It came slowly and deliberately as I fought hard to hold onto His truths and redemption.

        Four years ago, the oppression felt like an octopus from Hades coming out to take me down in so many ares of my life – while we were adopting Aster, my father was dying, and I was trying to somehow write “A Confident Heart.”

        And today, you described so clearly how I felt every time –> “My nerves frayed and crackling like static interference picking up signals from too many places. Sometimes the litany of needs seems more than the measure of me. I simply cannot do all that is required.”

        Thank you for being willing to bare you heart and soul, letting so many know they are not alone in this silent battle. You are so gifted, Alia Joy. #ForeverGrateful to be weak with you, so He can be made strong in us!

        • Thank you, friend. I love how he speaks so clearly sometimes. I love seeing his women gather and encourage and speak life and I love being a part of it. It is a balm to my broken parts when I see his mercy poured out for each other. Yes, God is our only strength. Glory.

  6. Wow Alia….You have written so beautifully what most of us out here in cyberspace have felt from time to time….We cry out and feel no one is listening….A mother’s job and life are so full of children, laundry, dishes….just life….and you have put it into words. Thank you!

    • Thanks Laura. Summer is the most beautiful wearying time isn’t it? A mother’s job is never done but the summer hours sure stretch long some days.

  7. Alia, this is like a mother’s modern rendering of Lamentations 3. I love it! “Sometimes the litany of needs seems more than the measure of me.” Yeahhhh! “But I’ve seen God in the silent places,” What redemption. “His strength made perfect because I am weak again and again.” Surrender and peace. So beautiful. Thank you!

  8. “I’m learning to dwell in God’s provision moment by moment. The spot at His feet where nothing is required of me but adoration.”

    Awesome reminder. Thank you for sharing this today.

  9. Alia
    Thank you for your honesty and openness. I too struggle with depression and anxiety as well as fibromyalgia. Some days are so hard! I’m learning to live in the moment, and letting go of expectations about what I should be doing, or what others think I should be doing. My babies are grown up but I have grandkids. God is always here with us!

    • I wonder at the freedom we can live in when we only care about being pleasing to God. When we allow His expectations to be the measure of us instead of all the noise the world offers. And in that we find grace enough for each moment if not a second further. We are truly sheltered by the Almighty.

  10. …your words resonated so deeply, I feel both their weight and their beauty. Thank you for sharing this part of your story.

  11. As I read this, I felt like I was reading a script of *my* life from this past week. It is so encouraging to know I’m not alone. Thank you.

  12. This was such a powerful word for me at just the right moment. My husband was diagnosed with stage four cancer six weeks ago. At 40. We are raising three daughters, 2, 5, and 8. This mama has grown so weary in the past few days. I love the reminder that I may not see His face but His glory never ceases. I have been penning gifts for 3 years now and the practice of thanksgiving is the only thing that helps me fight the fear. Thank you.

    • Oh Dorina, stopping right now to lift you up in prayer. Yes, even then, His glory never ceases, you’ve found it faithfully for 3 years and you’ll see it again. Thank you so much for your heart of thanksgiving even when it’s so unfathomably hard. It’s glory right there, nothing but glory.

  13. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Wow, how amazing are the ways that God speaks to us. God Bless You.

  14. Alia Joy,
    Its amazing how well you have expressed what you are suffering and by doing so I’m sure it will be a great deal of help to others.

    Thank-you

    Blessings,
    Penny

  15. Alia Joy, I know. I understand all too well. God bless you, sweet mother of little ones. I do hope and pray that everything around you will seem lighter and brighter; that your heart will fill with interest and enthusiasm. That you will feel the peace of Our Father in all that you do. And I pray that the thick blanket of depression will slip away and stay away during this beautiful season of sunshine and blue skies.

    • Thank you so much, Gretchen. Each day is new and this one was good. All blue skies and light hearts and lots of laughter. I’m taking it one day at a time.

  16. Just wanted you to know how much this reading touched me. I have suffered from depression and anxiety for over 40 years. I appreciate someone who will address this topic. Each day is a struggle and I must constantly try to give my illness to the Lord. I find strength in websites like yours, because they lead me to a reality check, and remind me of His awesome love. Thank you and please keep posting.

    • Yes, His awesome love never fails us. Such a good reminder to cling to when it’s ongoing. Thank you for reading and sharing, Carla.

  17. What I know of the dull unexplainable ache of depression came after my only biological child was born. It was deep and dark and lasted several months. It I pray your relief from the soul tiring claws of that beast. In Jesus name.

    • Yes! Oh postpartum was so hard for me with all my children. It went undiagnosed with my first child and I’m sad to say his first year was one of the hardest of my life. I never felt so lost. I’m praying with you friend. Yes, I am!

  18. Alia, just what I needed to hear. The death and the depression came a year ago. Then the mono hit, and I never bounced back. A year later we now know I have an as-yet-unnamed autoimmune disorder. I await my sentence. Staying in the moment, getting through each bone-wearying day, not borrowing the what if possibilities—all of these bring the culmination of a good hard 17 years of physical and emotional trial. Lord, have mercy. Thank you for sharing your very soul with us. I am blessed.

    • I’m so sorry. Adding physical illness to the heavy burden of mental and emotional illness compounds everything. It’s so hard to tell which is which because we are holistic and our bodies effect our emotions and our emotions effect our bodies and when it’s all broken and hurting where do we find solace? Only in the Lord, that’s the only hope we have for each day. To say you are blessed when the years have been hard is in itself it’s own story of God’s mercy. Thank you for sharing.

  19. THank you, thank you, thank you. For saying ‘yes” to God each day, and yes to sharing this thorn with us. Im there with you, fighting each day to say yes God, your strength is enough. And every time, I re-learn that it really is ENOUGH!

  20. You have captured what only those of us who have known the dark tunnel of depression can understand. There is no “cheer up, look at all you have going for you…” etc….and kindness from loved ones only deepens the darkness. But there is light….at the end of the tunnel, even when you can not see or believe it is there. And there is a hope that builds each time the Lord brings you through. And I know, because I have seen it and experienced it and am holding fast to it – there is deliverance. Do what you are doing! Go through the motions of faithfulness and He will meet you more than half way – He will meet you under those covers and in those tears and in the places where you think you will never know joy and happiness again. And He will bring you a JOY that surpasses the darkest of those moments. I am praying for you, dear one. For a fountain of JOY that can never be extinguished <3

  21. I almost never comment on blogs, but in just wanted to tell you: I’ve been there, I’m praying for you, hang in there and thank you for being brave enough to share. Depression is totally a tool from the devil to defeat and isolate. Do one more brave thing. Reach out. Hugs and prayers!

  22. May God’s joy fall freshly upon you. I have experienced the darkness of depression a couple of times in my life. I pray He lifts it from you, and gives you strength to mount up with wings like eagles. Blessings to you.

  23. While I realize that I am being repetitive, I simply must share my heart. And I pray that in doing so you will know deep in your heart that you have blessed others and that what you are doing is important. Like you, and so many above, I struggle everyday with at least the hint of depression and anxiety. Many days it is the shadow that the haunts me and threatens to overtake me. I too, have prayed that desperate prayer, pleading with God, “not again, not now.” Knowing all the while that He will never leave me, He will always sustain me, and He has a plan. I just despise that place of pain. What you have done is remind me that I am not alone, but my struggle into beautiful, poignant words, and given me hope that we can all overcome this. Your words are ao real and honest and touching. Your children will see that The Lord is your strength. They will learn that you fought a terrible battle to be the best Mom try could have, they will know that they matter and are loved, because you have worked that much harder for them. You are a blessing. Thank you for this.

    • Thank you Kelli. My children have learned a compassion I don’t think they’d know had they not seen the brokenness and devastation depression causes and the dependence on God to pull me through. I know God is at work in the midst of it all and I know that I have many beautiful days ahead as well. Some days go dark and crooked and I know God uses those too. Thank you for sharing here with me and for your empathy. It’s so much easier together than alone.

  24. Dear Alia,
    You took the words right out of my mouth – sweetest girl. And I needed that. Again, and again and again … AND ….. again, He gives us another opportunity to Just. Be. Still…and KNOW.
    And when I am in the depths AGAIN, I find myself saying “But Lord, haven’t I already learned this *Be Still* bit enough?”
    Obviously not.
    It is very hard to accept the discipline of this illness. But when my soul becomes enlarged in my appreciation of the perfect love and light of God as a result of this suffering, I can count it as His mercy and grace.
    And I thank my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ who knows me in the suffering, because of His Perfect Sufferings which fully satisfies the heart of God. Our full satisfaction is found alone in Jesus. The enemy of our soul tries to make this as insufferable as possible. He has already lost the war but continues to battle against our souls. This is a very difficult battle for me and you and so, so many – innumerable Real Lovers of Jesus. I am so glad to count you as my sister in Jesus, Alia. Thank you for writing what you know.
    The Holy Comforter’s work is unceasing, tireless. What a God is ours!

    • Thank you. In writing about depression before on my blog I wondered if depression were a curse or a conduit. And in reflection, in many ways, it’s been the conduit with which I cry out to him the most because I literally have no strength to do anything else. It’s the deepest parts of me needing him and it’s without the pretenses I often have when I’m doing well and seem to be able to pull it together and manage on my own. It’s the crushing that brings about my praise and total dependence. I know Jesus has felt it too and is with me in it. I am not alone. God is good.

  25. Alia,

    Thank you for being so open and honest about a touchy subject that many face. It is hard to admit that we battle depression/anxiety. Our lives may seem “perfect” to others yet we are struggling to do it all and our nerves get the best of us.

    This has been a tough tough year for me. I’ve dealt with moving aging father into assisted living, medication issues landing him in hospital and rehab, then getting med doses straightened out. Many doctor visits all while trying to work a job that I despise an wish I didn’t have. Then comes some more news with hubby. I’ve felt drained & weary. Fortunately I know God is there to give me hope and a brighter future next year!~

    Blessings 🙂

    • I’m so sorry things have been tough, Beth. Those are a lot of life changes and transitions and it can be especially hard to care for your soul and spirit and mind when you have so many demands on you. Yet, God is with you day by day. I’m so glad you know that.

  26. Alia,

    Prayers for you and all the women and men out there battling depression and anxiety.

    May God continue to give you all peace and contentment. I pray you find rest and spiritual whitespace!

  27. Thank you. I read this as the darkness is pressing in again. I needed these words today. That all that is required of me is to sit at his feet in adoration. This was a confirmation of something he spoke to me last week, to be a Mary and sit at his feet, and let him love me. I choose each moment the dark presses in, to picture myself at the feet of Jesus.

    • Yes friend, let him love you. Choose each moment, each breath to see his glory. It’s everywhere and holding you close. Praying for you tonight by name.

  28. You are such a warrior Alia, pushing back the darkness by sharing it vulnerably with the masses. And this I believe, is the way of healing, yes? Praying for you. This is exquisite, the way you’ve penned the realities of depression. Thank you.

    • Thank you Shelly, so much. You bless me, friend. The way of healing, yes, I think it looks just like this. Telling the truth and trusting at the same time.

  29. I am in awe of your courage, friend. I know all too well the all encompassing fog that rolls in and seems to cover all the good in my life. There are days when all I want to do is hide away but there people in my house who insist that I remain present, for some reason. And yet we get to choose every day to believe that God is good, we can decide to trust Him again and again. There is so much to love here. When we shine The Light into the darkness, its power is decimated. That is something to hold onto. Hugs and kisses!

    • Oh thank the Lord for those pesky people that want us present, yes? I cannot imagine what my life would look like if I was only concerned with myself. It forces us a bit doesn’t it? Those other people hold us in and some days it feels stifling, but most days it’s really an embrace, keeping me steady. Love you, friend. Thank for being here with me.

  30. I hear your pain, your fear. I pray for you. Remember Joshua 1:9. Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, God is with you. You are loved, You are God’s beloved. Even as the depression attacks remember Greater is your God than anything you will face. I hope my words offer encouragement for your soul. You touched my heart with your words. thank you

  31. Thank you for this post, and your beautiful transparency. It is so important for women of faith to see that depression happens, even to Christians.

    • Yes, even to Christians. Sometimes I’d say especially to Christians. We are tethered to this world yet meant for another. The tension can be hard when we long for eternity because we are so broken here.

  32. Thank you for sharing your heart. I was blessed and encouraged. I also know of what you write. And I know Jesus more because of it and for that I’m thankful. God bless you Sister. Xx

  33. What precious, concise words you have put to the darkness that is depression. I feel so blessed that, although this is a disease that only those who experience it can relate to, you have brought it to the attention of many. Thank you.