My mascara assures me it won’t budge, its waterproof formula guaranteed to hold strong and not break down, even when I can’t make those same promises about myself.
I tell her my story. She’s the first psychiatrist to really ask for it. Usually, they just ask what meds I’m on, which ones I’ve tried, which ones have left me sobbing into my pillow and gasping like each breath is heaving multitudes and cracking my ribs like bird’s wings where I am a caged girl, trapped from the inside out.
She wants to know which meds have passed my lips faithfully night after night, but still, the darkness comes. The color drains from the days and drags me into a palette of gray tones, muddied and crackling on the canvas. Which meds have I stood in line to pick up, only to feel the fever build until I am frantic thoughts, my manic mind overflowing with colors and meaning, everything so beautiful it physically hurts. Nights when I am undone schemes and my head can’t find my pillow, when my thoughts run rampant through my greasy hair, tangling my ideas into knots with their sticky fingers.
Usually, doctors have my file open, and they read questions on a checklist, never looking up, never really seeing me. Sometimes they don’t even bother to sit but wash their hands, scrubbing off their last patient, and then they stand at the entrance to the exam room like they’re halfway out the door before I’ve even said a word.
I am a woman with bipolar depression, with anxiety, with chronic health problems. I am a name scribbled on a prescription pad.
But this doctor is different. She settles back into her chair like we’re going to be here for a while, her eyes are soft and her hair is down, the salt and pepper waves looking neither fussy nor unkempt. She looks like a woman who is accustomed to hearing people tell her their darkest thoughts and greatest fears. She looks like someone who won’t scare easily when I tell her how the dark comes for me. She looks me in the eyes and her smile is kind, like she’s kneeling before an animal of prey, a broken-winged girl, and she’s coaxing me to come closer, palms open, no sudden moves.
My eyes flick past her and up to a set of art drawings framed on the wall. There are marker drawn animals, reminding me of the art I display under a magnet on the fridge when one of my kids brings me their creation. I need help because I want to see what else my kids create.
My eyes settle on a rhino, and the rest go blurry. I hope my mascara will not fail me with a black stream of tears. Just in case, I dab at my eyes, holding a fistful of wadded up tissues clenched in my palm like I’m crushing all my memories down to something manageable I can toss in the trash and leave behind on my way out.
Sometimes, I cannot imagine good could come of this. I worry my weakness disqualifies me. I wonder if I’ll do anything more than survive my days.
I think of all the ways I fall short as a woman. Other women manage to keep their houses clean and artfully decorated with pristine white walls and glowing granite countertops, their thrift store finds repurposed to look like an Anthropologie catalog. Other women don’t show up to the school bake sale with cut and bake cookies and spit up on their shirts, their buttons wonky from misaligning one on the rush out the door.
Other women run marathons and start nonprofits and have careers and travel and speak languages that roll gently off their tongues. They have passports needing additional pages. Other women have degrees and so many letters dangling off their names from prestigious universities. Other women speak and people listen, they fit in and throw their heads back when they laugh, wide toothy smiles. They don’t hunker down in the sofa and pull the throw pillow over their belly while trying to think of something to say.
Other people minister, other people matter. In these moments, I tell God He made me all wrong.
Because I am in a psychiatrist’s office, so exhausted from my depression that the simple act of throwing on a clean pair of clothes and driving here leaves me depleted. I want to curl up on her couch, curving my spine into a question mark and rock myself back to sleep.
I tell God, I don’t want to have the scars it takes to resemble my Savior. I’m scared of the fissure breaking me open to more of Jesus. I do not want to be a spectacle of brokenness and need. But God promises, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I am that — poor in spirit, lacking and beggarly.
So I come to Jesus empty. I offer all my anguish and fear and despair, my inability to fix myself for him. I offer all the restless beatings of my heart. I howl like a feral animal confessing how often I do not trust, even though God’s shown me again and again He is good.
Faith is living out the belief that God is who He says He is even when circumstances would say otherwise — even when the medications lined up in bottles don’t work, even when the prayers seem unanswered, even when God seems silent.
I’m desperate for Christ’s presence, and I’m beginning to understand more of what it means to be poor in spirit, a longing so tangible it aches for just a touch, a glimpse, a taste. I am an unclean woman grasping at the hem of His garment. I am desperate at the well with lips cracked like the face of the desert and a thirst so strong from choking on dust. I am hungry eyes in search of the kingdom of heaven, ravenous desire and such a keen awareness of all I lack on my own. I am a wide open space, longing to be filled.
Maybe this is how the kingdom comes? We come poor in spirit and realize weakness is a holy invitation to allow grace to do its work. What if we asked ourselves, What if weakness was a spiritual gift? What if it’s the richest place of all? What if it’s glorious?
Throughout her story of brokenness, Alia Joy offers an unfiltered image of her bipolar disorder, chronic illness, and other traumas that brought her to the foot of the cross. In recognizing the role of weakness in God’s divine plan, Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack ventures to create a conversation that acknowledges suffering, poverty, and lack as a place for learning, growth, and ultimately, reliance on God.
We’re excited to celebrate the release of Glorious Weakness (coming out April 2) by giving away FIVE copies of it here! Leave a comment telling us how you have experienced grace do its work through your weakness.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I, too, have experienced God’s bountiful grace in the midst of chronic weakness. I’ve endured numerous surgeries, have OCD anxiety and depression, and have a list of other chronic illnesses that force me to line my medicine cabinet. Why so much weakness? The only thing I can figure out is that unless there are “cracks in the armor”, the grace of God can’t enter in. The more cracks…the more access points He has to infuse me with His love, healing, grace, and mercy. I have an intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior because of all the pain I’ve been through. I have seen that His grace actually IS sufficient and He is faithful to never leave nor forsake me. I wouldn’t have learned this had I not had to lean into him hard and grasp for His righteous right hand. Desperate hunger and thirst for the Lord brings furious love, grace, and mercy. Yes, I believe that weakness is, indeed, a gift. Blessed are the poor in spirit….Amen.
ps. Want to read your book…your words and journey bless others!
Michele Morin says
Alia, every time I read something about your book I’m grateful that you’ve found your way here.
Grace does its work through my weakness every time I open my mouth to teach or click on publish for some words I’ve written. Paul’s words that God’s strength is perfected in my weakness are beginning to feel very true on a daily basis!
You are an author!! Your words written down for others to see and read and take in. That’s a huge thing. That’s a big deal. So proud for you. I think you are doing an amazing job ❤️
Alia, congratulations on your book. I’m very keen to read your story. To enter this competition I need to be vulnerable here but this is probably the best most trusted space I feel safe to be vulnerable. Last year when I was planning to go to Cambodia for my masters internship I was bearing witness to Gods miracles unfolding in quick succession after a period of intense prayer and longing. At the same time seeing my dream about to come true and I was beyond excited, I woke up one day with anxiety and it stayed. It was crippling I was trying to finish an essay and get rid of the anxiety, praying, meditating, walking every single day and it just would not leave me. I remember crying out to God really crying out to help me. I had followed his path how was I going to go away to work by myself without my kids but it was the anxiety… I told God I would not let that stop me but He needed to help me. I went on a small dose of anti anxiety medicine and you know what going on to that stuff is like….it’s horre until then it’s better. God showed me grace, I got rid of the anxiety and I had the most amazing trip working with peacebuilders in Cambodia and Myanmar. It was an incredible experience and I cannot wait to see what else God has in store. He provided the placement, the funding, everything! He made it ok with my husband and mother-in-law it was ALL him. If that is not grace I don’t know what is. God is so so good! I hope your book continues to break the stigma in society and in churches that taking medicine may be a bad thing. 1. Mental illness is actually very common and needs to be spoken about in the open.
2. Creates understanding. 3. God made man who made medicine to help us.
Hang in there, you are brilliant and a very talented writer. Much love, Jas
Jas, I am so thankful that God gave people the brilliant minds to create and discover medicines! I, too, have had a season of needing to be on an anti-depressant. So many believers are taking something, and many of us feel we should be able to “handle life” without it. Thank you for sharing your story! There is no shame in taking advantage of medical advances, and you are right…the church needs to embrace that idea! Blessings to you!
Your story makes me want to be brave and embrace weakness as a gift. Thank you for your vulnerability and willingness to let others see you. I can hear your heart in these words, it sounds so much like mine. So refreshing when you can read something and simply sigh- me too.
Misty Case says
I’m incredibly grateful for Alia sharing her inner most thoughts and struggles. I’ve struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety. I constantly find myself questioning why the one thing that I prayed and wished for 21 years (I’m a first time Mom at 41) brought out what I see as the worst of me. I’m reminded that Grace is mine for the taking if I will only acknowledge it and allow God to do the work while I’m in this place of weakness.
Lynne Molyneaux says
Alia – you are bold & brave! God has given you the gift of writing and I’m so glad you are sharing it with the world. Blessings on the book launch!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Though are weekness God makes us Strong. Proverbs 18 verse 10 says it all The Name of The Lord Is a Strong Tower. The Righteous run to it and are Safe. I say Amen to the that.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Though are weekness God makes us Strong. Proverbs 18 verse 10 says it all The Name of The Lord Is a Strong Tower. The Righteous run to it and are Safe. I say Amen to the that.
Blessing in your book launch. My prayers are with you on it xxx
Ruth Ann Ball says
Thanks for your openness. I have recently had some issues with depression due to my husband being on dialysis and my own health issues. I am looking forward to reading your book. Ruth Ann
I had a 2 week old baby and my mother had just died from breast cancer. It wasn’t pretty. Nothing was. Somehow over the years, I realized a new truth. God didn’t take my mother away from me. A broken world where things shatter and become broken – that is what took my mother away from me. I had so much anger. I have come to realize over the past long event-filled 12 years (2 more children, my sister’s miscarriages and then the birth of her daughter and twin boys, my father in law stolen away also by cancer…to name a few), that He has been there all along. He wasn’t “allowing” these things to happen to teach me some giant lesson. He was with me as they happened though. Because they were going to happen regardless of anything I did. A broken world. Only redeemed daily and moment to moment by little breaths of grace. And grace happens a million little ways. I know that now.
Rachel Bucher says
I just want to say I appreciate your theology. Your view on suffering and how God enters into our lives in the midst of it is completely refreshing. Thank you for sharing!
Christy Partlow says
Alia, I cannot wait to read your story! I cried just reading this post. I can relate to so much of it. I suffer from depression, fibromyalgia, and a list of other conditions as well. I think the weakness makes me reach for God more. I now try to notice Him on my good days as well as my bad. Thank you so much for sharing your story so that I can know that I am not alone.
When I started reading your story above, I thought you were talking directly to me. Your story gives me hope for my teenage niece who is also bipolar can and has several other mental health diagnosis. My niece struggles due to these diagnosis and it is hard to watch her go through it and the challenges of finding that doctor who REALLY listens is real. One would think any doctor can help but we have learned that is not true. Many do just push a new pill trying to fix it instead of listening to my niece and her family as they desperately try to help her. If I was selected for a copy of your book, I would read it and give it to my niece and her family to read as well. It is amazing how God brings the right people into your life at the right moment. Thank you for sharing your story of strength and perseverance!
God Bless You!
Karen van Rooyen says
Alia, I was thinking about you just yesterday! I have missed your writing. Congratulations on your book and thank you for being brave and courageous. I am excited to read it. Your words are true, open, honest and vulnerable and so many of us can relate in some way. Your faith is inspiring. Be abundantly blessed, my sister in Christ!
Meghan Weyerbacher says
Love you and love this.
Brenda Strine says
As I am reading this devotional, it sounds like it was written just for me. I struggle with depression due to so many health issues. Your book sounds amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. I know God is always good and there for me, but some days it is hard to see. I would love to be able to read your book and hear of your insights.
As I was reading this devotion, it sounded like it was written just for me. I struggle with depression due to so many health issues. I know the Lord is good and that He is always with me, but some days I struggle to see and feel it. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I would love to be able to read it. Have a blessed day!
Jessica C says
This story is not unlike my own. I’ve fought anxiety and depression my entire life, always feeling guilty that I couldn’t just get it together. So often I would hear that my faith just wasn’t strong enough because if it was, I wouldn’t be sad. I wouldn’t be worried and afraid all the time. But then one day, I found a doctor who sounds quite similar to the one mentioned here. He finally saw ME – not my diagnosis, not my patient number – ME. He took time to get to know me, to give me control over what path I take towards healing. He looked with compassion and true kindness – not just the kind they pretend to have when seeing patients, but true, genuine kindness. Through his kindness I could see Jesus, could feel him. And for the first time, when it felt like me, my doctor, and God in the room, I had hope. That was some years ago and I still see that doctor and have found peace even in the dark places. And I’ve been blessed to use my experiences to help others through similar situations (including my very own husband who recently developed severe clinical depression). I always wondered why “bad” things happen, why we’re allowed to go through awful things like mental health issues. But now, I realize that maybe God let me go through what I did so I could use my story to help others get through it too, all while pointing them to Him. Thank you Alia Joy for your story and for continuing to fight the good fight!
Michele Tubbs says
Hello Jessica! I completely understand where your coming from. I take medicine for anxiety and within the church circle I often feel ashamed to admit that. I do think any mental illness is often misunderstood by Christians who do not suffer with it. God can use anxiety for His purpose, to demonstrate His presence in our not-so-perfect lives.
Thank you for sharing your story. I will definitely want to read your book. It is nice to know that I am not alone when doctors don’t understand my issues. I finally got diagnosed two years back with chronic Lyme and alpha gal syndrome and other food allergies/intolerances. But the journey to the diagnosis and even now finding the right doctors is still hard. Bless your book sales.
Pearl Allard says
Chelsea, I also have Lyme! I’m sorry it sounds like we’ve struggled in similar ways (food sensitivities, crazy strict diet, etc.).
How have I seen grace work through my weakness? Yesterday a friend shared she has to eliminate several things from her diet for health reasons, and she was searching for recipes. I felt her pain. I texted her pics of every recipe that works for my own strict diet and shared which foods have become my new go-tos and anything else I thought would be helpful. She was very appreciative. It was nice to know that a year and a half of misery could benefit someone else.
So true for me too. I also felt like God slowly prepared me for all my food restrictions before I had my daughter who had tons of food allergies when she was born. Then hers went away and now I have similar ones as her. All a journey that we could never imagine.
Thank you for sharing. This resonated deeply with me. It’s always a balm when someone can articulate, so well, similar feelings.
Peace and Blessings to you.
Alia, thank you for sharing your story. God’s grace working in my puny weakness was especially evident when I began speaking to women’s groups. I was terrified, hanging onto the podium for dear life. But God got me through.
Missy Scudder says
My daughter has suffered from a debilitating chronic illenss (Ehlers-Danlos) for years. But even before that, her depression caused her to try and end her life. She, like Alia, gives me HOPE. Because they know JESUS in ways I don’t. That sometimes , even with people who love you dearly, HE is the constant.
I am grateful for Alia. I have followed you for years. I cannot wait for your book and would love to give one to my daughter…because even tho she isn’t bi-polar, mental illness and chronic illness, is something you both have in common.
Thank you Alia for your vulnerability and honesty. Life isn’t perfect…but oh, heaven will be!
Amanda Geidl says
Wow. This book sounds right up my alley. I forgot about grace recently. Just forgot. In the midst of an international move, culture shock, kid issues, and my own weakness, I forgot that there’s grace for me in this place. That Jesus is for me. That this crucible I’m in is for my transformation and good and for His name’s sake. He won’t give up on me; His reputation is at stake. I would love to win an electronic copy of this book (unless y’all ship to Asia!).
Thankful for these words…courageous or not…right, and helpful to many. Looking forward to reading this book…it seems the type that one could inhale, desperate for more me too moments such as these…♡…
Being the mom of three, one with special needs, another one with learning disabilities, a mom battling breast cancer, and a sister who was brutally attacked last year dealing with all kinds of issues now. I am barely holding on. There are days I don’t think I will make it. Yet I continue to get up everyday to make the Lord first because I know without Him I won’t make it. So I do believe it’s His grace that’s carrying me daily!
Thank you for your willingness to share your story with us… This gives me hope for my 23 year old son dealing with similar issues… Although He does not currently believe in God’s healing grace…. even though he was raised by a loving faithfilled mother… I am trusting and believing God for him…. Again… thank you for your hope filled post
I could use some encouragement. Pick me! 🙂
Cindy Preece says
Dear Alia, like you and so many other women, I also suffer with depression and have chronic low self esteem, always feeling like everyone else has it all figured out. I feel incredibly inadequate in so many ways. Your beautiful transparency resonates so much with those of us who share the same worries, fears, sadness and depression. We want healing but your words here have opened my eyes to a different perspective of my weaknesses! I am so thankful for you and the insight God has given you even in your darkest days. I can’t wait to read your book! I’m absolutely sure God is using your story to reach a multitude of women who share the same story! God loves us, we know that but we often feel like we’re the only ones suffering and we are alone. Bless you my sweet Christian sister for sharing your honesty and insight!
I have been going through and reading your old posts. They have brought me comfort knowing Gods grace can also strengthen me and my family through our struggles with depression and anxiety and other issues… I pray for grace and the peace that surpasses all understanding every day sometimes over and over again. It’s painful to watch your family struggle all while you yourself are struggling… only by the Grace of God do I have hope for us. He is Healer.
Elaine Pool says
Even though I have some significant letters after my name, and even though I HOPE I’m making a difference in the lives of children in my school system, I may never know in my lifetime. And at church, I’m one of those invisible ones, the one nobody sits by; the one nobody misses if she stops attending. So, Alia, remember to stop comparing your inner self to others’ outside selves – we’ve ALL got something we’re struggling with, and it’s only by God’s grace that I’m able to get my foot inside the church doors, sometimes.
MELANIE J AWCOCK says
Wow. The beauty of a similar story, written in words that encourage. I went through depression and let go of all the ministry doing that I thought defined me. I was weak, I couldn’t serve, I couldn’t help, I couldn’t pick up the pieces of life and put them back together. God took all that and showed me I am his just as I am without any of my doing. Now, step by step from my weakness he is showing me how to serve by his strength, in his strength, through his strength. So that each of his women that I meet, know that their weakness is an opportunity for God to show he is faithful and strong and full of love just the way they are.
Janet Combes says
As a person who has traveled the road of anxiety and depression, I am so glad that you are willing to share the most intimate parts of your life. We all need to know that we are “not the only person” struggling with these issues. Thankful that we have all become better in sharing our weaknesses so that we can Show the Power of God at work in our lives.
Nichole Woo says
I have sat on that couch in that office, too. Your bravery and vulnerability show me I am not alone in that room – that Christ is in me, and there are sisters beside me. Thank you.
This is beautifully written! Thank you so much for sharing from your heart so transparently!
Carol Burris says
As a mother and caregiver of my 35 year old son there are days that it takes God’s grace to get me out of bed in the morning.
Jenny K says
Praying for you Carol as you take care of your son each day.
Amanda Rogers says
I so needed to read these words today. Thankful for your ministry and your words to my heart today – thank you.
Thank you for the words that whisper in my mind but cannot say. As women we are taught to keep it all inside and not let anyone see our brokenness. Now, late in life I am starting to be able to talk about the darkness, try medications and accept it’s okay to be broken. I know that God has always been there even when I couldn’t see or feel him. And I know that He will always be there for me during all the good and bad times. Thanks to people like you sharing their stories and writing books that allow others, people like me, to be able to stretch our wings and breathe.
Clarice Atiga says
Hi, it was worth a read. ♡ I can relate at the moment, i feel so in inadequate in so many areas right now but i thank God because i am assured that He is greater than all of this and all that i am feeling.
Jennifer Forrest says
“I wonder if I’ll do anything more than survive my days. ” Me too. In the dark days.
You are my favorite. Thank you for sharing your heart.
I, too, have suffered seasons of depression & anxiety and only those who have walked this journey can truly understand…..the mist that gradually becomes a fog so thick & dark that you cannot “see”, and what you do see is skued (sp?) and in my mind, unreal. I have had to just hang on tightly hoping that He is holding onto me because I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. But I do and He does….always! I’ve often thought that if I ever wrote a book it would be titled “Trusting in the Dark”. Because for me that was all I could do, and He is always faithful to bring us through the storm to the other side. Like Bev, I have learned & experienced that His grace truly is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in weakness…..not spiritual platitudes, but reality, His word, the Truth! God bless you Alia for sharing your heart, your life!
i have struggled through both anxiety and depression, but am commenting because I would love to be able to give a friend of mine a copy of your book. She also has bipolar disorder and multiple other health issues that leave her reeling and also wondering where God is in all of this. Thank you for the courage to tell your story and for encouraging all of us to be more transparent and understanding of ourselves and our foibles as well as our God.
Melissa R says
I have felt exactly like this with my anxiety and depression! It took me a long time to realize I am not in control, God is and He will provide for me. He will guide me and watch over me even when I can’t do it myself.
Beth Williams says
Congratulations on the book! It takes a lot to write a book much less go through all the medical issues you have. God has & will continue to bless you! I’ve heard psych residents say they are taught to ask what meds patient is on, what works & what doesn’t- then simply write a script. That is not treating the person. The psych patient needs to tell their story. They need to be heard & understood. Then you can give the right meds to help them. We are living in the messy middle between two Edens & life down here is hard. We will face trials, medical issues, etc. God is with us. He expects us to hand over all that to Him & trust Him to get us through. There is no shame in having psych issues. It could be a simple chemical imbalance, food intolerance, or a number of other reasons. God gave us doctors & meds to help us out. This needs to be talked about more in churches. We need to take off our masks & be real with each other.
Don’t worry about what other women are doing. Sure some have fancy degrees, high paying jobs, etc. who cares? God loves us-you & me- just as we are warts & all. He made us in His likeness. Nothing in this world surprises Him. He knew our journey from the get go. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. We just need to be the best version of ourselves we can be. Do your best & leave the rest to God.
I could not agree much more with Beth’s comments. We all are perfectly imperfect and broken in THIS world. Am so glad that you finally wrote a book that perhaps will eliminate the shame/stigma about depression/anxiety. Thank you for your bravery and transparency! May your book be a blessing to others and may peace travel with you as your promote your book. Do your best and let Jesus do the rest.
Mary Geisen says
Congratulations on your book, Alia! Your story is needed even by people who don’t know it yet. Your words never fail to hit all the open wounds I carry in my own life.
Grace is the only thing that keeps me going. It is the gift that shows me I’m loved even though I’m broken. I’m enough when I feel unworthy. I’m chosen even when I might be the last one on the team.
Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough.
Susan Bricker says
Alia, your words touch my spirit in such beautiful ways. You are an amazing writer!! I love that you open your soul to speak the words that desperately need to be heard. Your book is going to bless countless souls for the glory of God.
Grace has delicately wrapped around my soul as I walk this season of my life. God showers me with His merciful grace on the days I feel depleted and hollowed out. He reminds me of who I am and whose I am. He is sustaining me along this difficult road. Praise the Lord for His unrelenting grace!
Alia Joy! I was going to say forget “the other woman” but YOU are “the other woman” too! YOU ARE AN AUTHOR, A SURVIVOR, AN ENCOURAGER, A WOMAN FILLED WITH GRACE & COMPASSION to help all of us out here who doubt ourselves – our minds, our beings, our illnesses and situations.
I am “the other woman” also – one who is blessed enough to be able to care for a new grand baby, deal with late onset T1 diabetes (well, lets just face it – I’m an autoimmune magnet) and finally learned to accept a small pill a day that helps more than I ever thought possible…
Thank you, God Bless You and Congratulations on your book!
God Bless You for this post.
Thank you Alia, I love the glimpse of your reality day to day that you share in your posts and am so excited about your book. I love the truth that God’s grace is made perfect in our weakness. One of my weaknesses is getting caught up in feeling sad about the lack of connection with someone so important in my life who experiences mental health problems. God’s grace to me has been learning to put away my disappointment in not getting to feel like I am loving them well and part of their life, but to instead look to Christ to satisfy my needs, since He promises to love me faithfully (Psalm 143:8 Let me experience your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in you), and He promises He wants what is best for me even if I can’t see how His plans are unfolding right now (Matthew 7:11 If you though you are evil know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more then will the Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him). That lifts me out of a place of hurt and into a place where I instead am filled with love for them. So then I can pray for God’s blessings in their life, and instead of pursing, simply wait to hear when and how they want to be cared for, and if not in this season of life or the next, to forgive them for any hurt I might feel since we all are broken and we all are made in the image of Christ deserving to be loved, so that my heart is ready with an open door to love them at whatever moment God orchestrates.
Chris Barratt says
Alia, thank you for sharing your heart with your words. Congratulations on your book. I pray it blesses the hearts of many! There are lots of others that will benefit greatly by your story!
Chris Barratt says
Alia, thank you for sharing your story with everyone. And thank you for writing a book that will bless so many people! May the Lord bless your ministry as you devote your life in service to Him!
Martha Troxel says
I appreciate your candor.
Your book excerpt pulls me in and leaves me wanting to know more. I would love the chance to win a copy. I, too, have struggled with depression, anxiety, two heart attacks, etc.,etc., etc. I have agreed to give my five-minute testimony in May, at our Real Women’s Ministry. I’ve wrestled about what to share and still am. There are so many things women-well…the world-needs to hear about mental illnesses and the effects on each person and their families. Thankfully, most days, I’m better, now; after two rounds of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy (6Each time was a 6-9 week commitment, M-F, for an hour a day.) I experienced Serotonin Syndrome, allergic reactions to a prescribed supplement, & a medical misdiagnosis and three year build up of wrongful prescription medications all at the same time in 2016. (My mother-in-law died in between my many ER visits…it was a horrible time.) God did allow me to live. I have come far from where I used to be. I still have many health problems. I struggle daily. I know God has kept me alive for a purpose. I’m thankful for His Grace, Love, and Mercy. I pray you continue to write. I pray I have the courage to begin. I do serve on an Auxiliary Board for the largest mental hospital in my state, now. I do hope I can help others with my efforts, as I cannot work a full-time job.
Brandy Barger says
Oh my word! It feels like you are telling my story. How I felt forsaken by God because I didn’t deserve this! 3 years and lots of tears, medication, hospitalization, surgeries, chronic pain, severe depression, severe anxiety, agoraphobia, and attempts on my life.. I am finally able to see God was suffering with me. Just as He suffered with his son on the cross. Finally the good days outweigh the bad. I’m not perfect with the burdens I carry, but knowing other Christians also are fighting daily helps. God bless you for sharing your weaknesses. You have no idea what a difference it makes to know you aren’t alone. I believe God hears every plea, but he has something more in store.
Francee Strain says
Beautiful words of honesty and truth.
God has come to me to be strength in my weakness. I lost my health at the age of 27. And then I lost it more and more and more. Nineteen years of chronic illness after chronic illness after chronic illness have come and gone and are still coming. Five chronic illnesses and a plethora of other symptoms often bind me to my home and to my bed. God has had to give me a new identity and repurpose my life. Though outwardly I am wasting away, day by day, inwardly, I am being renewed by Him. I cling to the words that His grace is sufficient and that His power is made perfect in my weakness. God truly is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect (2 Sam. 22:33). I will go in the strength of the Lord God (Ps. 71:16).
Wow what a tremendous understanding that God will meet us at our lack. This post is right where I am lacking all but looking to him. Thank you
I love the idea that my weakness is a gift. I’ve never thought about it that way. I’ve felt like an outsider at times, I’ve felt like I would be the ONE person who never grasps the LOVE of Jesus Christ. I’ve felt like I’ve let Jesus down time after time. But, through GRACE, I’ve also known in my heart that I shine Jesus best when I am aware of my weakness. When my fear won’t leave me. My weakness allows my eyes to see the woman sitting quietly in the corner. It allows my eyes to see the hurt behind the anger in my grown son. Because I know that any good in me is there DESPITE my weakness and anxiety. This surely must be true for those around me as well. Thank you Jesus for teaching me, for growing me, for testing me, for LOVING me.
Denise Lilly says
I love your writing and relate to some of your struggles. Chronic Lyme induced depression has left me much weaker than I wanted to be, too. Thank you for writing so honestly – I cannot wait to get my hands on your book!
Margo Stretch says
What a poignant expression of yourself you’ve shared here. I’m deeply touched by it; thank you for sharing! I have struggled with anxiety, as does my daughter who is a young adult, but in experiencing weakness and suffering in these ways, we learn and grow, also growing in our compassion for others who are poor in spirit. I trust that the writing of this book has been cathartic for you; and I’m very grateful for the compassionate people, like this psychiatrist you’ve described, who have honoured your story and held it gently for you… a gift of grace, a demonstration of God’s love for you!
Margo Stretch says
What a poignant expression of yourself you’ve shared here. I’m deeply touched by it; thank you for sharing! I have struggled with anxiety, as does my daughter who is a young adult; but in experiencing weakness and suffering in these ways, we learn and grow, also growing in our compassion for others who are poor in spirit. I trust that the writing of this book has been cathartic for you; and I’m very grateful for the compassionate people, like this psychiatrist you’ve described, who have honoured your story and held it gently for you… a gift of grace, a demonstration of God’s love for you!
Thank you for sharing Alia! ❤️❤️
Jill Olson says
Your authenticity and creativity are a gift, Alia… If I knew bake sales included women with spit-up on unevenly buttoned shirts, I would have been involved in more of them. Thank you for showing up. You are my hero.
Kimberly Reed says
Alia, thank you so much for this article. I too have bipolar disorder. I’ve struggled with it being unstable for the past couple of months. Swinging from the mania to the depression. I’ve had to be out of work because of it. Unfortunately, in my corner of the world, I sometimes find that Christian people here are still kind of in the dark to this illness and some lacking in compassion. That being said, I have a solid family support system, and most importantly, my faith. I have met online friends I consider family. They have comforted me throughout this. I can so identify with all you said here. In the chaos, I cling to Jesus. Cling so hard. Sometimes, I feel His presence, and other times, I do not. Yet, in my heart, I know He is always with me. And…this too shall pass. I cling to the promises in Scripture. I art journal. And yes, sometimes, I cry and scream, wishing this could just evaporate. But again, I know just as you do, God is with us. It is rare to find a Christian woman who speaks so candidly about this illness, and I want to thank you for your transparency because I believe there’s great power in that. Keep writing! This was a real blessing to my heart. Thank you so much and God bless you.
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
Oh how my heart goes out to you, not in pity but in solidarity. I’ve been that person clutching a wad of tissues, wondering if it is really worth it to start the day and get out of bed. I’ve had some rough spots in my past and with newer chronic health issues, I have been using many tissues lately. Thank you for writing and sharing your experiences. You are an inspiration to me, as well as many others, I am sure. Just to know we are not alone, we always have Jesus with us, but to also know we are not the only human being out there feeling this way. Sending you a gentle hug <3
Joanna L. Kearns says
Alia, still experiencing God’s grace working in my life years later to help me care for my aging precious father with shingles and cancer multiple myeloma also my underserved unemployment situation.
Marinalva Sickler says
I always admire your honesty. You are in my prayers. I’m a mother of two children suffering with BP. My daughter doesn’t take medication and I raise her two boys. She dislikes me because she can’t understand why she is away from my home and away from her boys. Many things occurred for her to be away. The other takes meds and goes regularly to his doctors.
I can relate more or less to your pain.
I am so tired of limping through each day with nothing gained except the sense of wasting another day of my life in a fractured state. I know God, I believe God is Good. I have hope in God but waiting on His time seems so futile at times. Thank you God for not giving up on me. I BELIEVE!!
Rachel Bucher says
Wow, this was so good and encouraging! I would LOVE to read your book!! After a series of HARD in life (moves, getting burned out overseas, bumpy re-entry…) we had a late-term miscarriage [almost] 2 years ago, and I went on an Rx sleeping drug and benzo for anxiety. A few months ago I was able to stop taking the sleeping med but that doesn’t mean insomnia has said a final “Goodbye.” 🙁 And this benzo is crazy hard to wean from. Anyone else out there trying to wean?!?
And in the midst of it all, I’m wife and mom of 2 and I can feel like “too much” or “not enough” when symptoms want to suck the life out of me. So often I feel discouraged and like I’m getting nowhere in life, just spinning my wheels. Thank you for the refreshing thought that weakness might possibly be a spiritual gift. And those who are poor in spirit are BLESSED. Thank you, Alia. I hope I can get my hands on your book at some point! God bless you for speaking up and out on an issue that still carries a lot of stigma with it. We need these voices out here!