Hope in the Darkness

Depression is a real struggle for many people. For some it may be a season, and for others it may be a lifelong battle. I’m so thankful to have received emails from so many of you, sharing your heart in this area. Reading parts of your stories, I’ve felt burdened to do a blog series on this very topic. However, to be honest with you, I don’t feel adequate- there is so much I have yet to learn. So when I was thinking through how to put this series together, I asked my dear friend Morgann Burres to share her story and the truth that has given her joy and helped her to keep on keeping on. I’m so excited to have her join us this week. May you be encouraged~

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To be honest, I don’t even know where to begin. I have typed, deleted and re-typed a hundred different ways to begin talking about this topic and none of them seem to suffice. I want to offer hope and I want to be real. I want to point you to Jesus and I want to cry with you in your pain. The conclusion I’ve come to is that we can do both. So here it is:

Depression is ugly and Jesus is beautiful.

To use the word depression and Jesus in the same sentence seems ridiculous. Some would say that they can’t coexist: If you love Jesus, you can’t be depressed. But that’s simply not true. The fact that they can and they do coexist is the hope that I hold onto every single day.

I grew up in a family that surrounded me with more love than I could have ever asked for. My mom tucked me into bed every night until I graduated high school. My dad was a huge support when it came to major life decisions. My brothers could make me laugh louder than anyone else. I was “the church girl”.  On the outside, I had it all together.

And on the inside I was falling apart.

It all came to a head one week in the Fall of 2003. I was done. Done with life. I had it all planned. The pills were in their place, the letter written. I would slip away peacefully. I was ready but God wasn’t.

Instead, He surprised me with my mom forcing me to go to a junior high retreat with our new church. And on that Saturday night when I had planned to take my life, God breathed new life into my broken body. He revealed to me that my motives to take my life were only selfish, leaving everyone else to pick up the pieces. He reminded me that he promises to walk with me no matter what.But God wasn’t.

Depression didn’t go away. It didn’t really get better either. But it was that weekend that the Lord began to work on my heart and teach me what it means to live a life worthy of the Gospel in the midst of great darkness.

At the ripe age of 22, I can say that I’ve dealt with depression my whole life. For me, depression is not just feeling “down” and it’s not just being sad. Depression is feeling like all hope is lost. It’s not being able to pry myself out of bed in the morning. It’s crying. A lot. It’s not thinking rationally. It’s forgetting to take care of my basic needs – eating, sleeping, exercising. It’s not being able to communicate well. It’s the feeling that God is absent, that he has forgotten me and that life will never be “normal.” It’s thinking about death more than I think about life. It’s debilitating, ugly and messy. And there is no “easy” solution.

There may never be an easy solution.

I don’t know where you’re at. I don’t know the condition of your heart and mind. But I want to encourage you wherever you are, that God is there. With you. In you. For you. I want to remind you that I really do “get it”.

Mostly, I want you to know that there is great Hope found in the person of Jesus Christ. I’m inviting you on this journey with me this week. Let’s see what God’s word and God’s people have to say about this. Let’s learn to see Jesus among the brokenness.  Because one thing I can promise you is that He is here. 

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Morgann Burres is a 22 year old newly married who currently lives in Salem, OR. She graduated from Azusa Pacific University, works for Youth Missions International, and has a huge heart for mentoring younger girls. 

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45 comments

  1. For someone who has dealt with depression and self image, all I can say is Jesus got me through that dark part and now I’m walking in victory with him. Not everyday is perfect and I have some really bad days. But it’s comforting to know that I can go to Jesus at any time and every single moment of my life is held in his hands.
    Thank You for this. So many people are dealing with depression and we need to let them know that they are not alone!

  2. This is just what I needed to hear, especially in this season of life. Depression is something I’ve struggled with most of my 22 years of life. It’s refreshing to hear from someone I can relate to exactly. Thank you ladies for sharing God’s love!

  3. Thank you such much for posting this 🙂 I have dealt with depression since I was 14 and will be turning 24 this month. Along with that I dealt with major health issues and almost died, at that time none of my friends were really talking to me, one of my sisters left home and church which is what started me into depression and all that stuff. So it was a lot all at once. Since then I have been doing a lot better but it has been off and on- though I will sometimes have a couple good days then a bad week or two. I truly believe God is walking through this with me even when it seems like He isn’t.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. This is what I needed to hear right now.

  5. This is a great story and one that I personally needed. As a young adult at the age of 19 I lost my mom and at 20 I lost my aunt. It was only 5 months apart. I am called to be a missionary I have tried to give up on God and just go with world. When my aunt passed away I didnt understand what God was doing with my life and so I kept on blaming Him and I feel depressed and so much of what you talked about is the way I feel. I dont know how to look to Him.

  6. I have struggled with my depression and since getting closer to God, it’s been an especially difficult pill to swallow in realizing that despite my love for Him, and knowing His provision, that my depression does not go away. It remains and it pulls me down to places I didn’t think I would go again.

    Thanks for reminding me that the solution is not easy, but it’s there… and He will lead me in his way.

  7. Wow!!!! Tears just pouring out. After I had my son I felt like I lost myself. Thank you for sharing a light and make me feel not alone or out of place. God Bless you!!!

  8. Hi, I’m Cristiane and I’m from Brazil . I’ve struggled with depression for almost 6 years now … and Depression for me it’s not about not having something but it’s more about who I’m not . Knowing that I am so far away of Who God made me to be just make me feel really tired ! I considered suicide many times in my life … but during all this darkness I can tell you the Lord is here … and this has been my only confort . I know I’m deeply loved by him … but still some days it’s really hard to get up from bed .. He is the only hope to keep going !!

  9. This is awesome! There’s a Ted Talk from a guy that talks about dealing with a tremor in his hand that made conventional art impossible. Because of that, he found many more ways to creatively engage with the world around him. Having carried a depression diagnosis for the last 10 years as a 24 year old, what if we were able to press into Jesus and see what he was wanting us to do with our depression? Jesus is wherever we are, more present and real than we could ever dream of and wants to do something special with each life, depressed people included.

  10. Amen! Such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing because I too also went through a slight depression phase . Do keep sharing this story, your story because God will definitely use them to help others see the light. “You are the salt of the earth…”Mathew 5:13. God bless!

  11. Hi,
    I follow your husband on twitter, and that’s how I stumbled upon this post. Depression is something that I’ve struggled with on and off for some time in my life, and I just want to say how much of an encouragement it is for me to read this. & I know it’s a blessing to anyone else struggling with this. Thank you for sharing.

  12. I feel broken beyond repair, nothing not even God feels real to me anymore. I feel scared.

  13. Morgann, I have balled my eyes out as I read this. I won’t say much, but I will thank you. Thank you for deciding to open your heart, your mind, your thoughts, and most importantly — thank you for sharing your burden in which many struggle with. I appreciate transparency and cannot wait to pray, read, and be still this coming week as I continue to learn about you and how Christ works in you, daily.

    May the Lord Bless You,
    Ruth.

  14. Your beautiful blue eyes are so giving and sweet, thank you, May God richly bless you! I don’t think anyone is totally exempt from depression or at least once in life. It happened to me suddenly and unexpectedly all due to a court order. I was depressed over losing my three children to a mistress/husband of 15 yrs, my home, vehicle, and that same day I became homeless. This made me angry, sick , depressed for a long time or until god healed me. It’s been twenty five years ago and I’m now living for Christ return, loving my children and three grandchildren. Life is good. Happy Days Ahead……….

  15. I realy likes what unread depression hurts so much my younger year I felt with it by not firing in with other because of the way I look. Then when I accepted Christ I did not fit in with the friends I did have. Now today i dealing with the break up nod my family my husband living with his who he was seeing nehind my back and not admiring it , now iAm dealing with divorse and moving my family and my mum with me since she has none cancer it been taking a role on me and I have a hard time with going to The Lord even thow I know he is not a regular man and would turn his back but it been hard tonturn to jesis what I read realy tucked me

  16. I too struggle with depression and it has altered my life and my future plans. I feel like my own body has betrayed me and i have real bad days sometimes weeks.
    I asked God recently why I have to food through this. I hope I get better. I pray I get better. I also hope for awareness and to get rid of stigma attached, as it is so undeserving and underestimating.
    Thank you

  17. Hi Alyssa and and Morgan,

    I just want to say thank you for this article. I love it! I’ve never really suffered depression before until when my Dad passed away in April of 2013. It’s almost going to be a year in two months and I still have days where I really miss him and cry myself to sleep. I’ve been sad and then happy, but this type of sadness was nothing compared to any others that i’ve had. It affected the way I was thinking, I was messing up at work, and I was irritable and just ugly to my Mom. I’ve had suicidal thoughts, but never had the guts to do it. Even through it all, I’ve always felt God’s presence in my life.

    This article helped me understand who God really is and He is with me and is for me. If God is for me? who can be against me right? lol. Anyways thank you again. You guys are amazing and just all around wonderful women of God. I pray we can meet someday in person for coffee or something. I live on the other side of the county in this little town in Hinesville, GA, but anything is possible!!!!

    I pray you both will always be encouraged and that God will use you to reach to a lot more young girls like me! Love you!!!

  18. I’m only 17 but I have struggled with depression on and off for 5 years now. I’m recently coming out of one of my darkest periods. People don’t take it as seriously when you’re young…and I wish they would. I’m not being dramatic or sad or a stupid teenage girl. If that’s all it was I wouldn’t have self harmed, thought of suicide. I wish this article was longer… can’t remember the last time I felt like someone else really did get it…thank you. thank you for sharing. I know its hard. I’ve only ever mentioned to my boyfriend. It’s so hard to explain and make sense of in my own head…

    I think I just wrote a bunch of gibberish but thank you for this. It spoke to me. God bless.

  19. This was very encouraging, thank you. To know that in not alone is a huge thing, it means I can rely on a God who is far bigger than . How is a very important thing, without it, I think, I think I wouldn’t even be here as we speak. Thank God I met Him when I did, I might be dead by more without Him coming and finding me with perfect timing.

  20. Most people, even kind ones, don’t care if you are depressed. They just want you to snap out of it or blame you that you watch too much reality tv or you don’t go out enough that’s why you’re depressed. If they try to cheer you up and you seem unresponsive, they get mad which only makes you creep deeper into depression and isolation.

  21. Thank you Jefferson and Morgann for sharing this blog site with us all. I too SUFFER with Major Depressive Disorder. Being brought on after the lose of my first son in 2000 at 26 weeks gestation and my second son in 2002 at 30 weeks gestation. Post Postpartum Depression turned into a depression that wouldn’t go away. I would cry from morning to night and have panic attacks anytime I was left alone. I was so lost I had no idea what was going on with me and doctors would tell me that meds would take weeks to take weeks to take effect. I turned to God feeling broken and torn apart. Not having the answers or how to put my life back together. I could write forever because the last 14 years I have lived my illness I have been through so much. Morgann as you described your plan on taking your life I can recall the same thing. I would sit in my car day after day while I was to be working (I did outside sale) a write suicide notes to everyone in my family while crying uncontrollably. However, my relationship with Christ wasn’t what yours was. I took the pills. I attempted suicide twice with my last attempt being in November 2009. This is when after I got out of treatment I got on my knees in complete hopelessness begging God to save me. I Surrendered to Christ. We live our live with Christ and our home has Christ in it. By this time I had a 4 year old little boy that was my world. I wanted to live. I saw how selfish taking my life was. I was told the fact that children that have a parent that commit suicide are 65% more likely to commit suicide themselves. That made me sick the very thought still horrifies me. This world is hard but living it with “Unseen” Illnesses make it even harder. There are many days I can’t get out of bed my depression is crippling, even 14 years later, medicated and STILL seeing a therapist on a weekly basis. Mental Health Awareness NEEDS to be recognized and discussed more. The facts are I am a 32 year old woman that has taken the proper steps for my care yet still suffer. There are so many people out there that that don’t have medication, doctors or God and is so sad by itself.

  22. You are courageous and I love you Morgann. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Thank you for your words. But how do you deal with depression? I’m dealing with all the things you said – “not being able to pry myself out of bed in the morning. It’s crying…It’s not thinking rationally. It’s forgetting to take care of my basic needs – eating, sleeping, exercising.” I go through this every year for about 6 months.

  24. Great article!

  25. This touched me. I have had depression my whole life I always felt like I lived in everyone else’s background. I’m always looking for a sign that I matter to someone.

  26. My name is Sarah & I am so happy to hear a story completely ralated to my life as of right now. I’m 16, battling depression but don’t even understand how this could’ve happened to me considering I’ve grown up with such a loving gentle family, i was always that church girl who was happy & now I can’t even think about returning to my church because I feel so disconnected and left behind, neglected by God. Sometimes I question if he’s even real. I’m hoping that one day I can find my way back to who I used to be and find myself in the arms of Jesus once again. This story has really inspired me to keep going & to seek God.

  27. I hope that there is hope at the end of the tunnel. I was injured at work 2 1/2 years ago. I have been dealing w depression for a long time. Due to my injury the state is saying that I will not be able to work again. I have recently re-accepted god into my life and also dealing w a divorce. I often get confused and wondering what The Lord has for me. Why am I here and what is the plan. Since I have accepted Christ into my life I have started seeing improvements in my life. Depression is a real thing and I have/am dealing w this I hope and pray that I can get through this and need positive Christians in my life to help me deal w the struggles.

  28. Dear Morgann and Alyssa,

    Thank you so much for caring and being so bold to touch on this subject. This has been very encouraging and a blessing to read. It has helped by giving me hope and by helping me understand that I’m not alone in this struggle that has seemed to be life-long so far in my 22 years as well. God is using your story in big ways. So thank you.

    Peace,
    Taylor

  29. thank you so much!

  30. Morgan’s story is touching and she got a long road ahead of her. I’m glad she didn’t end it all, I’d like to have read more about, what she’s doing in all aspects of her life. For example what scripture verses are especially dear to her, strategies to exercise more, since that is well known to improve ours mood, also any counseling she has undertaking, and getting a thorough physical to rule out any medical issues.

    David certainly had some down times, the psalms are full if him crying out to God for help and relief, Job, and many others ofer a good look into the dark and despairing parts of our hearts and souls.

    Lest you think I’m sitting on some high horse, yes by nature I’m pretty insouciant, but I’m going through chemo, had a bunch of prior chemo and radiation treatments, my employer is letting me go, since I’ve run out of PTO and I’m still getting treatments, which make it hard for me to perform my responsibilities. Many tears have shed, I’m hanging on to precious promises, ‘what time I’m afraid I will trust in Thee’, ‘tho he slay me yet will I trust in Him’, ‘ I would have fainted had I not believed I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living’, ‘if thou faintest in the day of your adversity, your strength is weak’.

  31. So many of us, sharing our good honest stories. I too suffered from depression (for 25 years) but found freedom and love and purpose in Jesus. And I love reading all the stories and I really believe that this matters to Him. I hope that you share some more some time. It helps people to understand they are not alone and there is help and some answers along the way.

  32. Thank you for this.

    Even though I am a believer I have struggled with depression since 13 (I’m 27 now), and even though the depressive seasons (or episodes) don’t last as long as they used to they still come. I’m kind of going through it right now and this is RIGHT on time, especially since believers in Christ (at least around me) tend to sweep this issue under the rug.

    Thanks again. This really gave me hope to continue on the road God has me on 🙂

  33. Hi Morgann,

    Thank you for sharing. I struggled with depression for a long time and the Lord really met me in it. I have improved so much since becoming a Christian two and a half years ago and I am so grateful for His kindness and mercy in my life. Looking forward to the rest of the series. May God be glorified. He is the light that can break into our darkness<3. God bless you.

    With Love,
    Aimee

  34. I think Jesus has healed us and we got to claim it and stand on it,I have been an addict and have at the moment perhaps Bi/polar for 16 years and I say Jesus is awesome, I have been healed of back problems seizures and my Mother has been healed of Ra that is dissapering as I write this I say to all my brothers and sisters keep pressing in and standing on the word and promis of the Word even if you are healed, healed slowly the father knows are heart, are minds and are tears, he has a plane for each of us!! Glory to GOD!!! 🙂 PS I love you all if you feel like your drowning reach up and ask for help!

  35. Hi , I’m from Costa Rica , this reading is just great.

    I’m very far from that place, but let me tell you that this article touched me deeply, the words you’ve put here are very necessary and important. You can not imagine how many times I’ve needed someone who can understand how I feel, even in church is difficult.
    you have described myself better than me, there are days when I find it hard to accept that I’m feeling down and I have to pretend that I have everything under control. Reading this has been a breath of fresh air and it is comforting to feel so identified with the situation of someone else. Thanks, really appreciate it. All glory, honor and reverence for our Lord will.
    I will read the whole series of articles. Thank you again. 🙂

  36. Morgann,

    While going through depression did you still go along with life? Meaning did you do your daily routine of going to work/school and laugh and talk even though you really didn’t feel like you were there?
    I’m currently going through depression and it’s been a couple of years. Sometimes I feel like it gets worse as I get older and get nothing accomplished. I talk to God but haven’t gone to church, I read verses here and there but at the end of the day I still feel the same.
    I’m 22, married and wish I could get over this depression to enjoy my marriage.

    I may have it all outside but I know that it is not who I truly am.

    Valerie

  37. I am sorry to hear that Morgan, I am glad you did not take your life and hope you keep spreading the word of God.

    As for myself, I am currently 22 years old and for the past 5-6 months I have been feeling what you have defined as depressed: Losing hope.

    I am Losing hope in humanity. I am Losing hope in our American leaders. When have we ever been together as a country, as The United States of America? My heart feels crushed. Is it called the American Dream because you only see it when you sleep? When are we going to actually bring a CHANGE to this country? Here’s my story.

    All throughout high school I was this very simple, quiet, well mannered person. I didn’t question anything and I didn’t think. I TRUSTED the people who have the power to make ” the people’s” decisions. Thankfully, God has put something in my brain that is now enabling me to rationalize and understand what is going on in the United States of America when the doors are closed.. Education is extremely important and it is KILLING me to see it become a business. Where being creative and helping others has diminished. In a systematic process where people shove questions down our throats to find “an answer”. And more importantly in a competitive world of being #1. And the worst feeling is seeing how corrupt our politician leaders are. They might know how to run a business, but are they even well-hearted human beings.

    My point is.. We are teaching that the purpose to life is to be successful in which we attain money to survive by having a job. Is that our true purpose in life? I beg to differ. The media is fake. Our politicians are fake. What if there was no “edit” button. What I am saying is that media is scripted by corporations run through the government. We are being taught to go to college and get a “degree”. Yet we are being taught by greedy and immoral people. It is illogical for the majority if not everyone to go to college because it is simply too expensive. When will we notice that college isn’t what high school teachers prep us for? Tuition is making a Freshman @ Duke University recently do “porn” to pay for the student loans. You know its bad when someone has to result to “porn” to pay for a college education. To conclude, I feel as being human we aren’t taught the true meaning of life. People just assume we will find that part by ourselves.

  38. Dearest Morgan,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can completely relate, and you are not alone. This discribes EXACTLY what I went through almost a year ago today for 6 months, and depression I struggled with when I was little and scared. You are such a light and I’m so greatful that I could here your story.
    Check out mine on my website listed above.
    <3
    Emma

  39. Hi Morgann,
    I became a Christian at 19, and am 50 years old….I have struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression since I can remember…..when I first became a Christian I went to a church that believed taking medicine for depression was of satan, and that if I believed enough I wouldn’t need any medicine. I was not able to take care of my children, it was awful…I finally had a nervous breakdown, admitted myself to a Christian Hospital for Mental Health, and realized I needed to get away from my very abusive husband of 15 years, which didn’t help my depression, and it took quite awhile, but I finally did with much help and prayers. I was remarried in 5 years to a man who was not abusive at all, however, had an affair on me, and that didn’t help, was financially way in debt due to his struggles with money, and it just didn’t kept going until I finally made the decision for my own health to end it. I have been divorced twice, watched numerous things happen to both of my children, witnessed things that I shouldn’t have, have been through things that wives pray they never have to experience….but I have two great kids, and am now working on myself, seeing what all the Lord has brought me through only makes me realize that He is there through everything, and will bring me through everything….is it easy…absolutely not….it is exhausting, debilitating, and at times feelings of hopelessness are overwhelming…but I pick myself up every day, and ask the Lord to continue to pour His grace and mercy on me, and help me get through another day, and hopefully help others who I can empathize with….the weird thing is, I can encourage others, but can’t seem to get myself together at times…people say I’m so strong, but I feel weak….don’t know if you experience that or not….but I have come to the conclusion that this is part of who I am, and if I’m still here after many thoughts of suicide, that I still have a purpose….some days I’m not sure what that is, but even if it is to help someone else, it will be worth it all.
    Thanks for listening, and continue to spread the truth about depression…there are many struggling Christians who listen to preachers telling them how bad they are for feeling the way they do, and I think it is an atrocity. We need to encourage and sympathize and empathize.
    Because of Him,
    Kathy

  40. Okay, the paragraph that starts with “at the ripe age of 22” where you describe what depression is like is everything I go through as well. After every single statement you made I said to myself “oh man this girl gets it. She completely knows what depression is.” Even the way you worded them is exactly how I would word them, but I’ve never been able to write it down so concisely. It’s always been a huge struggle for me to tell my closest friends what depression is like, but I immediately shared this with them because your description is spot on and exactly everything I’ve wanted to say. Thank you so much and I’m praying you will continually learn how to live by God’s strength and grace every day. Remember that Christ has the victory over the Enemy!

  41. My story was very similar! I came from a loving home but deep in my heart, I wasn’t complete. I needed Jesus and the day before I planned to end it all, He changed my life.

    Thank you for being honest and open about the depression you experienced. It truly encouraged my heart.

  42. You have summed up my exact feelings. I’m 25 and still dealing with it. But like you, God has been working in my life constantly reminding me that he is there with me , always. Never leaving my side. Some days are dark, some nights are lonely but something that always comes to mind is “there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning”. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  43. Where do I find the rest of the series? I struggle terrably every day, and everyday think of ending my life, I just cannot stand the pain and anxiety anymore! I am 59 yrs old and have so much to live for. Please help me! Laurie

  44. Depression started for me in 2003 as well I still suffer but been learning a lot of things about it and about myself and mostly about God in this ordeal!

  45. Thank you Morgann for sharing this. I can tell this came from the heart. Depression is a constant struggle but youre right Jesus is there for us through it all. I have attempted suicide three times but Jesus had bigger plans for me. He saved me from the lions den. I know God has better things in store for me now and Im never going back. I made a promise to Jesus and my family to turn for help when i feel this way. There are crisis lines to call, friends to talk to doctors to see, therapists to go to, suicide is not an option. God loves me. Hr wants me to find peace and joy. Thank yo. again.

    Vanessa

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