I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.
Isaiah 43:2 (CSB)
I’m standing on a stage in front of a crowd of women. I see teenagers with side ponytails, sweet mamas in skinny jeans, and lovely silver-haired seniors. I wish for the chance to have coffee with them all, to hear their stories one by one. So I do what I consider to be second-best — I tell mine.
I come to the part about how we all have bullies in our lives. Mine hassled my elementary friends and me after school, until one day he called me a word none of us were supposed to utter under any circumstances. At this point I decided to take matters into my own hands. Although the quiet and gentle type, I promptly pushed him down — without causing injury or serious concern from any adult authorities — and sat on his back until he promised to repent of his bully ways. The audience laughs at this, and I tell them I wish this was my only encounter with a bully. But I still fight them every day.
My grown-up bullies are anxiety and depression, two words we can be hesitant to say at church. Yet the psalmist freely confesses, “I am deeply depressed” (Psalm 42:6 CSB). Struggling with depression or anxiety doesn’t mean we are spiritual failures, we’ve disappointed God, or we’re not strong enough. This is what I have come to believe: we live in a fallen, broken world, and if we are in a battle, it simply means we are warriors.
I declare this to the women in the room, and after the session, one of the leaders says to me, “When you said those words, I could hear a collective sigh of relief.” After I finish speaking, a line of women that stretches almost out the door forms in front of me, and one after another says either “Me too” or “My daughter struggles with depression and anxiety.” If you’re reading this and you or someone you love is in this battle, know you’re not alone.
The hope in all this is that Jesus has promised us victory. I believe I will likely have to fight this battle as long as I’m on this spinning earth. But through a plan that includes every part of who I am — spiritual, emotional, social, physical, and mental — these days I’m winning more than I’m losing. I also have partners in the fight, including a counselor, a doctor, and good friends who speak truth to me on the days I can’t remember it. (When people ask me what to do next about their depression and anxiety, I always recommend starting with a trustworthy biblical counselor.)
What we don’t talk about, what we keep secret, where we let shame and guilt take hold are the places in our lives where we remain defeated and unhealed. So I’m speaking publicly about this struggle with you too.
Depression and anxiety are part of my life, but they’re not the boss of me. They’re also not my identity. I’m strong, brave, and loved. I’m a daughter of God who has been promised victory. So are you. There is no shame in being a warrior. Fight on.
Lord, like the psalmist, I long to freely confess my truth. I am deeply depressed. Yet even as I speak those words, the next to fly out of my mouth is the truth that as I fight, I am a warrior, and in that there is no shame. Thank You, Lord, for the victory of speaking up, of not keeping secrets, of healing and identity. Help me live into mine. Amen.
This devotion was written by Holley Gerth and appears in our devotional Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay. This collection of courageous stories from forty-four different authors is where you can find your story reflected — from struggling with weight, anxiety, and depression to suffering through miscarriage and grieving the death of a husband; from experiencing injustice and questioning our purpose to walking through church disappointments, loneliness, and infertility. The Take Heart writers share from the depth of their hearts and experience so that you will know beyond a doubt that you are not alone and that you are (and always have been) loved.
Get 5 devotions from Take Heart for FREE — just sign up below and we’ll send them right to you (via a downloadable PDF). Also, we’re giving away a Take Heart prize pack!* One winner will receive:
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Ellen Worster says
I have struggled with depression my whole life. Just this morning I wrote Psalm 43:5 in my journal. Crying out to God. Thank you for sharing. I do think as Christians we feel we should have it all together!
Thank you so much for pointing us to the truth! I love the verse you began with, Isaiah 43:2!
Not only did this encourage my own heart this morning, but I was able to share this with my dear friend who is struggling and so is her oldest daughter. May the Lord bless you and encourage your servant’s hearts in a very special way!
I love that people are talking about the most difficult things and bringing them into the light of God’s glory.
My daughter in love has suffered/is suffering so much loss in the past. She is constantly anxious and losing great family moments in worry. Please Lord show me the MIL how to build her up as you build her within to a happy place.
I was raised to believe that no matter what I did or achieved it was never good enough. Those words have echoed in my mind all my life.
I am struggling in a marriage that is falling apart and I am fighting every day to keep it together. I have not lost hope and I know this book would help me see that it is still worth fighting for.
Powerful truth, affirming words eqipping warriors with srength in the battle and hope to encourage fallen, broken, bullied and battered lives.
Thank you so much. I feel such guilt when I having one of those moments, hours, days. I feel like I am not trusting the LORD like I should or believing what the scriptures tell us about God’s love and care. Your message today validates me and my feelings and understands.
Anxiety is a daily battle for me… having a book like this with daily reminders of where to keep my focus would be greatly appreciated.
Rhonda Briggs says
This devotional by Holley Gerth is so encouraging! We are not alone in our struggles:) This book and journal are a great giveaway. I am going through a series of transitions and would be encouraged by these. With transitions come feelings of grief and loss. I love reading the encouragement from women who have experienced these things:)
Betsy Wisler says
I needed that today. I’ve had anxiety problems off and on since my last child was born in 1969. I’ll be 81 on July 9. I often feel unworthy to be a ruling elder in our church but I know God called me to do this. Will forward to my granddaughter who is a strong Christian but struggles more than I do.
God bless you
I have struggled with depression most of my life that has been made worse in recent years because of chronic pain. But God is good, and has helped me learn to deal with it, most importantly that if I feel like crying, do it; know and claim His promises because He never changes; and SING!
Brenda Rodriguez de Meneses says
I am an elementary Spanish teacher and I am a pastor’s wife who loves to encourage others as they struggle every day. My desire is for them to live life to the fullest. I see anxiety and depression as the #1 problem is the world and churches today.
I am always looking for good resources that can be a tool of encouragement and build up resilience and trust in the One who will never let us down.
I really enjoy DaySprings, In-courage devotionals and resources to have something fresh, biblical and practical to share with those around me.
I would love to be a channel of blessing, a beam of light that leads others to Jesus.
Courtney Kirkland says
I have battled depression and anxiety since I was a teen. It’s hereditary in my family and I worry daily that my daughter and sons will battle it as well. Now in my mid-30s I’m learning (as mental health isn’t as faux pas as it used to be), that this is just another part of my testimony and a way to demonstrate Gods power in my life.
Ann Woleben says
There are days when I feel as if I may splinter into pieces with anxiety. If not for God’s love and his Holy Spirit beside me, I can’t imagine what my life would be. I know that not only would I benefit from the Take Heart devotions, but I would be able to share my feelings and these devotions with other women in my church and community. Your post today was so inspiring and comforting. Thank you.
Suleen Nortjé says
Your daily messages are SO INSPIRING! ( I am from South Africa & my home language is Afrikaans…. Só glad I am bilingual! )
This devotional and journal has helped me walk through one of the darkest seasons of my life. In 2020 I lost my mother, father and my husband walked out today our marriage all in less than 90 days. I know restoration, redemption and reconciliation are coming in my marriage. I’m a stronger and braver because of the uplifting encouragement in this devotional. I am not my depression or anxiety and I know God holds me in the palm of His hand. I continue to buy and gift it to women God places in my life and I share my story.
Jodi Kinasewitz says
Thank you for sharing your story. I too battle with anxiety and depression. And, like you, I have started sharing my story with others. I know God holds me through all storms, and believe He uses us to help others walk through their own struggles. Hearing “ me too” can be such a comfort.
Ginny Schoenwald says
3 of us just finished a year long mental health coaching certificate our pastor asked us to write a bible study on anxiety and depression, this book would be great resource for our class and great to show our participants as a possible tool for their journey.
SARA PENNING says
I suffer from depression and anxiety. They come in waves. This book will be a great tool for my journey.
This devotional would be a blessing in my life. I am currently walking through a journey of healing from childhood trauma as well as issues caused from being in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage. I am trying to learn to love myself and see me the way that God sees me. It has been a very long battle that has included anxiety, depression and self-harm. As I learn to trust in the Lord and His goodness, I have a hope that one day I will have victory over these issues.
with covid and so many ‘life’ moments… this would truly help me let go of my anxious thoughts and daily let go and let God
Rebekah Bailey says
Thank you so much for sharing your story. It encourages me as I battle depression and loneliness which are the result childhood sex trafficking.
God is so good to keep providing encouragement as I work toward greater wholeness and healing.
Terri J. says
I have recently lost my husband of thirty- five years and as I walk through the grief I know that this book would be a blessing to me.
Julie Ward says
I hope to find strength in my anxiety and hurt. Our daughter is struggling in having a child. It saddens me that the two transitions haven’t worked and to see her so sad makes me helpless. I breaks my heart in that there is nothing that I can’t do for her and the joy in my heart is no longer there. I will not lie in that this circumstance has questioned my faith and I trying with all my heart to stay hopeful and trust God in His mercy that one day He will answer our prayers.
Dottie Cardoza says
I have had depression all my life and even with medication and counseling I can’t seem to get past it. I believe this book will be a great encouragement for me. Thank you for the opportunity to possibility of winning a free one as I can’t afford to buy one on my limited income.
Thank you, Holley! I struggle with these things, too. Most days I win. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve sunk down deep. But I know it’s lurking there. Always. But I am winning the battle most of the time. Prayer, good friends, counseling at times, sinking into the Bible. These are my weapons!
Please reach out and let someone at your church know you are hurting. Reach out and someone will reach back for you. Call or reach out during fellowship. Please.
Diane Lodge says
Thank you for addressing the topics of anxiety and depression. I have battled both, but with God’s help I am victorious. This week my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer and my son was diagnosed with coronavirus. Needless to say, this caused me to be anxious. I fell to my knees praying for God to see us through this difficult time. I trust Him.
J. H. Lee says
i hope this devotional will encourage me to learn how to honestly express to God the reality of how I struggle at times, and to understand his response to me is not one of condemnation leading to shame. Rather, it is of kind and tender love in the middle of my brokenness.
Jen Vortriede says
I have struggled with anxiety my entire life, and I’m always looking for ways to cope with it. I am also a big fan of Holley Gerth as I feel like she “gets” me. I appreciate the opportunity to be entered into this drawing.
Barbra Boland says
Encouragement is so needed, especially in these turbulent times. And where is the church? His body? Put on your best smile and say “ I’m fine”, when asked. Always drawn to Holly’s writing because if her honestly to reveal the deeper inside. I would love to have this devotion.. to read and to share ♥️
On the outside, our family looks like we’ve got it all together. But we don’t. We struggle with a lot of hidden fears and conflicts. It’s liberating to know that God doesn’t expect us to have all the answers, but I have to remind myself of that every day.
P. Kertai says
Good for one’s heart and soul.
Mary Tullila says
One thing I Ioathe is “Christians ” who literally tell suffering warriors that they’re demon possessed or their faith is fake or weak. This post is biblically refreshing and hope filled.
Carry on warrior sistahs!
Vicki Taylor says
I’ve struggled with anxiety for years, but when we found out our youngest son was an alcoholic, my anxiety exploded. I have panic attacks at night, anxiety all through the day. The Lord is what keeps me sane.
Carol Brown says
My husband struggles with depression and I with anxiety. We make a delightful mess, but use the tools that you talk about, so there are far fewer days in the “valley of the shadows:. Thank you for sharing. May someone hold Christ’s light always.
I’m at a fork in the road not knowing which way to go. I put so much pressure on myself to do the right thing for everyone and leaving myself behind. Not wanting to repeat the last two years I have found myself frozen. Praying is all I have right now. Holley has such great insight I just love how God works through her.
Lillian Clow says
I have been struggling and these devotionals look very encouraging.
Vestrand Kim says
I’ve been a warrior my entire life, fighting the same battle. It encourages me immensely to be reminded I’m not alone. The book would be helpful reminders
Though I struggle with things, I think this book would be perfect for my mom who has been struggling with depression and aging. She’s from a generation that is stoic and I fear she doesn’t know where to turn.
I think it would help me keep going on. It’s hard not to compare myself with others around me, although I know I’m not supposed to. Others are more outspoken and seem to have the personalities that people gravitate towards. Remaining faithful to what God has called me to do seems like it shouldn’t be hard but people constantly try to talk me out of it.
Brenda CARTA says
THANK YOUfor your words of wisdom, sharing whats going on, that many don’t understand, except God, of course! I appreciate someone putting on paper my feelings, not so alone and scripturecto go to to emphasize my hurt, feelings, situation, circumstances…to help turn me to the Onee who is who I should lean on His understanding.
I so appreciate your putting this in print, out of my ruminating head. Praise God. Wishing you many blessings, grace, mercy, faith, joy. Love in Christs namme,, Brenda Carta❣
Brenda CARTA says
I thank you for all you have done, appreciate you putting my life on paper, know God sees it. Helps to see in writing how one handled it…leaning on His understanding, scripture, not my own. May grace, mercy, faith, joy, blessings be upon you for sharing what is buried in many heads & hearts.
Praises tomthe Lord.
Thank you in name of Savior, Jesus Chhr I st our Lord, AMEN.
IN HIS NAME, BRENDA CARTA ❣❣
Brenda CARTA says
I thank you for putting on paper for us to read what God knows. Get out of our heads, into our heearts…lean on His understanding, love, faith,, scripture.
Again, your generosity has helped many to Praise God and reach to Him.
Thanks again with all my heart, sharing. Love in God and His Son, oly Spirit!
May His Blessings, Grace, Mercy, Love, Comfort, Peace be with you always. Than I s for sharing with all of us in need.
In Christs Name, Brenda Carta ❣❣
Janet Williams says
Thank you \0/
Cynthia Lyons says
I have 4 adult daughters, each successful in their own right, who struggle with anxiety and depression. I often feel like I may not have provided an adequate role model for them as they were growing up as I struggled with self-confidence and insecurity. I would love for them to know who they are in the Lord and how to deal with their struggles in a realistic way.
Karen Knowles says
Thank you for the encouraging post, Holly. Many of us have struggled with depression at some time or another and some even chronically. We all need to be sensitive to those struggling and offer encouragement to them.
Amen, Holley! We are not alone in our struggles. Thank you so much for sharing this piece of your heart ❤️
Brenda M. Russell says
Thank you, thank you, and thank you!
I am taking a sigh of relief because I am a person who longs to feel joy within my inner woman I do wear joyfulness on my face.
When I look in the mirror nowadays I make certain to smile. I have a very pleasant smile. When I was very young, I thought everyone liked to smile because I liked to smile. I was wrong. I found out about sadness, disappointments, and flaws in myself and others. I was taught the love of Christ at an early age and I thank the Lord for watching over me when I couldn’t speak without stuttering.
I don’t stutter now and I am so thankful about that. But I do have compassion when others are still in this battle. It can take the wind out of one’s sail and reduce your oxygen levels. Maybe this is when I started to feel uncomfortable around people who didn’t already know my limitations with speech. Anxiety and Depression are very tricky. I didn’t know that I was in need of counseling but I am so fortunate because I can finally say that I am God’s beloved daughter no matter my limitations ! ! !
I hope that others will relate to the feelings of I don’t like being in a crowd, I like to be first in any line so I won’t have to anticipate what happens next, I like for everyone to be happy so I won’t have to confront any other emotions. This is how I feel quite often but that is alright.
I can confront my emotions now because God created emotions and we all have to learn how to channel the energy involving our emotions.
It takes courage and a determined attitude. Counseling with a Christian Counselor can help you start on your journey to healthy emotions.
Don’t be afraid and if you are afraid, that’s alright, get help any way. Community is so liberating. Find a safe person to talk with so you can express your feelings without fear of being judged.
Thank you for listening.
Kelley D Jones says
HI! Thank you for sharing about depression and anxiety. My not okay area is grief after the loss of my son. God is good.
Sherry Chatham says
I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa & depression as a young child, living in a dysfunctional abusive family. I am now almost 67 years & still weigh only 60 lbs. But I eat healthy meals 3 xbox a day & exercise daily. Though I have a severe heart problem & other medical problems I am fully alive on the Lord! Maybe God used all the physical & emotional pain to draw me to Him, as I truly know only the Lord can fill our empty soul hole & make us whole & complete. Praise the Lord! He has made me whole & complete in Jesus. I think the “Take Heart” book would be an inspiration to me, to stay focused on Jesus & keep on keeping on & sharing Jesus with every one I meet! All God’s Blessings in your ministry! Gratefully in the Lord, Sherry Chatham
This devotional would meet me exactly where I am. I’m struggling so bad with depression. It’s this horrible ongoing battle. I have lupus and seizures and many other autoimmune diseases. My husband has Multiple Sclerosis. We have three beautiful children. Life just gets so hard with all this sickness. The depression and seizures make it hard to focus on my Bible reading at times and that’s when I feel so alone . Could really use the encouragement. thanks for all you do!!
Melissa Spencer says
I am so mentally, physically and spiritually weary from struggling with illness for over 31 years. At the beginning of this year, I started working through devotional books with a friend who was going through a hard time too. It was exactly what we both needed. We have now made a commitment to be accountability partners and do devotionals together every day for the whole year. We just started our 4th devotional book. I would love to receive this book so my accountability partner and I could work through it in the future.
Thank you for this post! It is so helpful to have a community of sisters to walk through tough seasons with, and of course to rely on God!
I’m struggling with the shame of the failure of multiple long term relationships. I’m hoping that by putting God first and focusing on him he will help me to have faith and heal
Mearla VanDenBerg says
I’m just out of rehab from a bicycle accident with 3 fractures & shredded ligament in an ankle. I’m a widow with no family to help. I fight depression, stress & being alone, especially during this time. People who I have trusted have broken that trust during this time, also, so I feel under attack from all sides. God alone is my source, strength & trusted advocate!
Karen Thomley says
I’m so glad I’m came across this today. I was scrolling through my email and stopped in my tracks. I read this and immediately was inspired by it. Thank you.
Anxiety and Depression are real and i struggle with it. Especially this past year which has been incredibly stressful and no not due to Covid either. Just alot of seasons unfolding one after another….
I am dealing with anxiety and this book seems real and honest. As Christian’s we need to hear biblical truths, about this matter, and would love to grab hold of some meaningful and practical tools to overcome.
I am in this fight now
Holley, thank you for your sharing.
Honesty is always the best policy, what more we are children of God. Be open and honest to our Master. Surely He cares for us forever…
Submit and surrender all our anxieties, doubts even depressions mind & thought unto Him. Surely He reads our thoughts, He Knows us inside and outside….
Truly, He is forever our Jehovah Rapha, healing grace falls and heals. In Exodus 15:26 “…. I will not bring on you any of the diseases…. for I am the LORD who heals you” Hallelujah
May God opens our spiritual eyes so that we may see the invisible and keep fighting spirit in this invisible battle. Thru His help, we can become courageous women, powerful and influencing WARRIORs.
Forever victory belongs to our God. Amen
I have struggled with depression & anxiety for years. Though no body knew or did anything about it…it was just my behavior or a personality quirk. I have read many of your books, including the “Introvert” book & have learned so many tricks “to come out of my shell” and I learn something new from you each article I read. I’m so, so glad that you speak out about this without fear. I’m learning everyday. Thanks for being you and not being afraid of it!
Helen Gullett says
This article is very encouraging for me today. The Bible verses speak loud to me personally today as I go through the “battle” every day. Thanks for sharing it.
I really needed this right now. As Christians we are hesitant to admit when we are struggling emotionally. Thank you for these encouraging words.
This devotional would be great for me with Chronic untreatable Major Depression – it never goes away! I would share it with my friend who is very anxious. Between the two of us and God’ s mercy and love , we make it through each day. I never realized until I read your note that there was a bully in my past too.
Having depression and anxiety ever since I was a child, I thought it was all my fault. It wasn’t until I talked to our new pastor and found she suffered from them too. I realized I wasn’t a bad person and I Was a child of Gods’. I had been taught that I couldn’t be one of Gods’ if I had mental health problems. I’m so very thankful now to know how wrong I was.
Debbie Smith says
“What we don’t talk about, what we keep secret, where we let shame and guilt take hold are the places in our lives where we remain defeated and unhealed. So I’m speaking publicly about this struggle with you too.”
What I need, right now, where I am…is hope from the Father, and to listen to the voices of my fellow warrioresses. Reading this blog post made me want to read the entire book.
I hope that I win, as I am raising two precious daughters of the King, and I want them to see the triumph in my story, that shines with His glory!
Beth Williams says
Thank you for speaking out about this subject. Far to often we don’t say anything in church for fear of condescension. You hear things like “just have more faith” or “get over it”. There are many causes of depression & anxiety like chemical imbalance. You hit the nail on the head when you talked about getting a Biblical counselor & talking to your doctor. Sometimes taking medication is what you need to bring you out of the fog. We need to act more like Jesus when dealing with this & other diseases. We can hug & pray for them to have more good days. Thanks again for talking about this sensitive but much needed topic.
“In this world we have struggles “
So very true…. As always I’m thankful for the encouragement you hold out daily…
Going through an extremely rough time…anxiety and depression are exhausting.
My depression stems from watching my lovely daughter choose a homosexual lifestyle. It’s killing me on the inside.
Carolyn Snow says
Thank you for your encouragement. I had some trauma at a job I worked at 3 years ago and suffer anxiety etc. I really appreciated your boldness and encouragement.
Allison Wixted says
As I rise each day battling COVID long-haul health issues and caring for our two teens with special needs, I seek Christ and thank Him for the daily “manna strength” He provides. TAKE HEART would definitely help keep me focused on Him on my hardest days.
Alisa Hinson says
Thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony…it’s like fresh spring water to a dry parched land. Seems these days we all have our bullies to disarm. Putting on the armor of God to protect us is so needful. God bless you.
I suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD and bipolar II disorder. Disabled Veteran. Survivor of 2 suicide attempts. After 10 years. I finally found a counselor who gets me. God gets me too. Thank you for Incourage. I received the Bible as a gift 3 years ago. Such a Blessing. Kimberly
Kimberly – thank you for your service. I’m so sorry that you’ve suffered so much. Sending you so much love. XO
I have been thru many struggles thru life as many have. I have felt alone along the way. It is such a blessing to have it spoken and written our struggles and to share. Most of all for the encouragement and support. To hear that God is still in control, I can have joy in my life and he loves me everlasting. To remind myself this is a continuous process. The need to read, pray, connect with other women. Something I have always struggled with. Thank you for sharing.
I immediately downloaded the free devotions. This spoke to me so much. In the last few years, I’ve lost my parents and the rest of my extended family (I’m an only child), experienced the loss of my primary income, lost my savings and nearly lost my oldest to depression and anxiety and multiple suicide attempts. Through it all, God has been with me and continues to be with me. But, it’s hard. It’s hard to remain positive, to trust, to not let the PTSD take over, extinguish the light and ruin any hope for the future.
Maria-Celeste Brock says
I think just daily remembering that I’m not alone and that God does have a purpose for pain will help me tremendously. I look forward to reading the devotionals and resting in Him.
I have been told if I still struggle with depression and anxiety something was wrong, it was not biblical and God didn’t want that to His children. Thank you for putting it in this perspective for me. I will keep fighting
Michelle Fisher says
I have been on medication since my daughter was a toddler born with lifetime delays after birth trauma. This resource would be great. I love to read and I thirst for the word of God and the grace of Jesus Christ.