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Day 14 of 26 :: I’ve been there before.



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In November 2014, my life was forever altered by a dark and severe depression I didn’t understand at the time.

I remember that time in my life being so confusing. I didn’t know what God was doing or where he was. I felt so alone. I felt crazy and unsure of where to turn for answers.  

A friend of mine told me to listen to a message series from Louie Giglio. At the time, I was new to living in Atlanta and actually attending Louie’s church but I had no idea that a few years earlier Louie had gone through his own storm. She thought listening to his message series would help me and maybe give me a little peace.  

Peace is an understatement. 

As I listened to his series, I felt overwhelmed with hope. I was nodding my head and exclaiming out loud because someone had been in my dark woods before. They knew what I was going through. They understood. And it was the most powerful thing for my faith to have encountered someone, even if just through a series of online messages, who’d gone through what I was going through and lived to testify on the other side of it. 

When we walk through something messy and obscure, the most comforting thing to discover is that other people have stood in the same shoes. 

They get it. 

They understand. 

They don’t try to “mom” us or give us the world’s best advice, they simply tell us, “I know where you are. I see where you are on the map. I’ve been there, too, and I can promise you, you will come out of these woods.”  

This simple knowing that someone can describe to you the very place you’re standing in is a life-altering, even life-saving, comfort. 

But do you want to know something beautiful about God? I think he understood this. I think he knew humanity was a messy journey, one that is certainly not for the weak of heart, and he made a plan to be in it with us. 

In every other religion, we hear stories of a divine being who is just that: a divine being you cannot reach and you can never add up for. People spend their whole lives trying to rack up enough good deeds and do enough right things and sin as little as possible to enter into some sort of afterlife. 

Every other religion hinges on what you and I need to do in order to be saved. But not God. Not Jesus. 

He flips that requirement on its head and says, “This isn’t about what you can do for me. It’s about what I do for you.”  

At the beginning of time, God could have easily made a plan to stay at a distance. To judge us from up above. To be like any other religious deity and place barriers between him and us. But he did the opposite. 

He didn’t just choose to save us, he chose to come down to earth and live a completely human life so he could empathize with us. So he could look us in the eyes of our struggles and say, “I know where you are. I see where you are on the map. I’ve been there too and I can promise you, you will come out of these woods.”  

Our God is not a distant being in the sky. 

He is not the gamekeeper of the Hunger Games. 

He is a God who can identify with every time we’ve been kicked down and rejected, abandoned and lied to. 

He knows that people are difficult. He knows that friendships fall apart. He knows that choosing the right thing is hard. He knows, he knows, he knows because he walked it out. 

He’s God– he did not have to do it this way. 

He did not have to choose the manger, the lowly beginning, the virgin birth, or the simple upbringing but, because he did, he’s a God who can say, “I get it. I absolutely get it. Being human is hard. It’s tough. I’ve been there before.” 

This is good news. 

No, scratch that. 

This is the best news: that our God would come down from heavenly places and humble himself in order to say he walked where we walk and he knows the way better than anyone else. 

When someone knows the path out of the woods, and they’re extending a hand to lead you out, there’s really only one reasonable response: follow.  

Drop whatever is holding you back and follow with everything you have.


Luke 2:6-7


Dear God, you know the path better than I do. You feel my pain and you understand my heartbreak. You see me on the mountaintops and in the deep, deep woods. I want to follow you with everything I have. Thank you for going first so I can follow with the best example laid out in front of me.




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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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