- advertisement -
Posted under: Opinion Race & Identity

The Sinning Saint: What I Learned About Faith After Battling Depression

"You can know God loves you, but still feel depressed."

This piece was submitted from a member of our enthusiastic community of readers. If you’re interested in sharing your opinion on any cultural, political or personal topic, create an account here and check out our how-to post to learn more.

On May 28th, 2019 I published my most recent book entitled The Sinning Saint. 

The Sinning Saint is a collection of poems that takes you on a journey from brokenness to wholeness. Each page has a poem, which represents me speaking to God. Each page also has a bible scripture, which represents God replying to me, making this a conversation between the Creator and I. We discuss everything from depression, anxiety, addiction, love, peace, joy and much more. From my darkest thoughts to my brightest, absolutely nothing was off limits. The beginning half of the book is me questioning God and battling my internal demons. The second half of the book you witness me fall back in love with Jesus, find healing and find the answers to everything I was seeking. 

The journey on how this book came about, is what's really intriguing. My first book Disciple In America was published in 2014. I wrote this book when I was 17, I had just gave my life to Christ one year before that. During this time my desire for God was on fire. You saw this in my book, as I spoke about my love for God with extreme passion. I tackled issues dealing with the Black community and the difficulties of balancing a young person's life while maintaining a relationship with Christ. The book was very powerful and enlightening to my peers. It did well and won two NAACP Literature Awards.

At that time, my young faith had never been tested. I looked at others dealing with depression, drug issues, heartbreaks, etc and thought I'd never be there. I couldn't fathom how people could believe in God yet have strong issues they were battling. I thought if you believed in God, you wouldn't face many issues or you wouldn't stress them when they came about. I was wrong. Little did I know all the issues I judged others for, God would use those things to shape who I am today.

I first started experiencing depression and anxiety in 2015. Up to this point, I literally didn't think Black people could get depression or anxiety. I genuinely mean this. I had never heard a Black person say they were dealing with anxiety. Let alone Black Christians. So I'm 20 years old attending a predominantly white university, which already made me feel misunderstood and was a journey in itself. I go through a bad breakup and all of a sudden I hit this deep, dark depression. I start experiencing anxiety on the daily. It was so foreign to me I didn't even know what it was. Fast forward to my senior year. I go through more life trauma, internal battles, spiritual battles, breakups, etc. I'm well past the initial breakup, but my depression and anxiety stuck with me. It got deeper and deeper.

For three years I am depressed, anxious and losing my mind. I couldn't understand it. What caused this? Why am I feeling this way? Will I ever heal? God, why aren't you helping me? These were the questions I asked God on the daily. Life felt as if I was just going through the motions, while I watch everyone around me live life. What happened to all my faith? I didn't feel like a Christian anymore.

I told myself once I graduate, I'm facing all my issues and I will heal. So graduation comes, but somehow I fall in the deepest and darkest space of my life. It was like the devil wasn't going to let me go without a fight. He wanted to destroy me. At that point, I didn't want to live. I spend days begging God to take my life, I couldn't take the torment I felt inside every day. I'll never find a word to describe the way I felt during this time. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I was dying inside. The hardest part was, nobody knew. I'd spend days fighting depression, yet I was still helping others. Everyone viewed me as the strong friend, but had no idea what I was battling. I'd spend days crying, locked in my room so nobody would know.

I had no answers and I felt like God was punishing me. I felt like God didn't want to help me. I was angry with him. I was angry at the world, I hated myself. I didn't see myself ever recovering. I tried therapy but it didn't help me personally. I was opposed to medicine so that wasn't an option. Suddenly God starts to reveal things to me. He started revealing why I felt certain ways, or how different things affected me. My depression stemmed from childhood issues, family issues, internal insecurities, the devil, etc. I had to fully clean myself out. I had to uproot every piece of me that was unhealthy. Everything I had been through, found a space inside me to call home and torment me. I hadn't healed from anything in my life, ever.  

I spent the next few months facing all my demons, addressing issues and cleansing myself of all hurt and trauma. It took time, but once God revealed all the roots of my issues, I was able to heal. God healed me, he renewed and restored me. I had my rebirth. I wrote a letter to the old me, I addressed everything and how it affected me. But I buried the old me and all those issues. I truly let go of everything. I found healing, peace, freedom, and happiness.

I was misinformed to believe Christians don't battle internal issues. I thought these things were mutually exclusive, meaning if you believed in God then you'd never worry about anything. You can know God has a plan for your life, but also be stressed about what that plan is. You can know God loves you, but still feel depressed. There are two truths, not just one.

I never thought I'd be depressed, suicidal, have anxiety, or question my faith. But these things led me to my rebirth. Without going through those things, I'd still carry around all the old scars today. God used my pain and everything bad in my life, for his good. Somehow he used my weaknesses, to make me strong. He had perfectly crafted my story, but in the midst of it, I couldn't see it. 

I still struggle, it's still difficult to be 23 and torn between living a regular life but trying to live righteously. I don't view God as a principal waiting for me to mess up. If that was the case, I'd be long gone. I'm finding that God has no chains on me. I am free to live life and be happy. He doesn't want me to be sad. I am blessed. I know our formula, I know the things that leave a bad feeling in my spirit. I know the things that bring me happiness as well. So I obey him based upon what the Holy Spirit leads me to do. Everyone has their own formula and relationship with God. 

May 28th, 2018 I tried to take my own life. May 28th, 2019 I released The Sinning Saint. 

And It debuted at #1 on Amazon's Christian Poetry New Releases. I say that to prove, that God hears and he cares. He is on the way.

Don't quit. 

- advertisement -
Award winning and best-selling author.