Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
We were on a walk when she told me.
How, in prior years, the darkness blanketed her. How, for months at a time, she was convinced it was swallowing her whole. My stoic, wise, and strong friend spent more than a year feeling trapped, stuck. One thing was certain to her. She could find no way out.
The self she used to know was distant—far from her now. The darkness was too thick, too heavy. She could not explain to her family, her friends, what she was thinking, feeling. She was sinking now, surely drowning in the heaviness of it all.
“Depression,” is how the counselor described it when she eventually sought help. But yet how can a word, a diagnosis, explain the dark covering of her mind, the despair of her heart?
Are you depressed, dear one?
In Breathing Eden, there are women who share their stories of depression. None of these women have I ever met personally. The stories in Breathing Eden are fictional stories inspired by prayer. Yet the women are in a sense, real—the stories representing what, I hope, is true. As writers do when they study the characters they write, I listened to these women’s stories. I wrote down what I saw, what I heard. Oh, how God loves them.
I wonder if one of these women is you.
There is Charlotte, or My Charlie—as God affectionately calls her, who is shut in. She lacks hope and asks God the question, “Where is the girl you loved?” She fears she is alone, in a forgotten place.
There is Diane. She is older than Charlotte. She is a single mom, with a poor self-image. She is an empty-nester, filled with sadness and regret over her parenting. She asks God, “Am I beautiful? Am I alone?” She fears she is not lovable, that she is all alone.”
There is Melissa. Her husband struggles with depression after the recent loss of their home. Melissa asks God, “Why is life so hard?” She fears she is stuck and that God can’t be anywhere near.
If we stopped here, if we just listened to the stories of these women without hearing God’s response to their situation, yes, we would be surely stuck too. We, the reader, can’t stay here.
There is value and beauty to hearing one another’s stories—and I pray you find yourself in the pages of Breathing Eden. But new life begins when we surrender our stories and ask God what His view is of them.
It is God’s perspective on our story that we need to hear most.
This is how life—Jesus—is breathed in.
Once a week, I’m going to send out more snapshots of women you will meet in the book. But I’d love to know if these tiny glimpses at Charlotte, Diane, and Melissa resonate with you.
How does your heart respond to the cry, “I am depressed, God”?
I want to breathe Eden together.
Do you want to breathe Eden with me? Do you want light, fresh air, and new things? Does your friend, or sister, or mother need this too? When you pre-order Breathing Eden—for yourself, or for a friend, email me the image of your Amazon receipt(firstname.lastname@example.org). I’ll send you the first five chapters right away. And if you want to order multiple copies, there are even more treats for you. Click right here to check them out.
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com