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Day 16 of 28: I’ve Been There Before



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I've Been There Before

In November 2014, a dark and severe depression altered my life forever.

I remember that time in my life was 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 told me to listen to a message series from Louie Giglio. At the time, I was new to living in Atlanta and attending Louie’s church, but I had no idea that Louie had gone through his own storm a few years earlier. 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 and exclaiming because someone had been in my dark woods before. They knew what I was going through. They understood. It was the most powerful thing for my faith to encounter 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 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 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 planned 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 can never add up for. People spend their whole lives trying to rack up enough good deeds, do enough right things, and sin as little as possible to enter an afterlife.

Every other religion hinges on what you and I must do for salvation. But not this story.

God flips that expectation 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 efficiently planned to stay at a distance. To be like any other religious deity and place barriers between him and us. But He wanted a relationship with us.

He didn’t just choose to save us; he decided 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 us whenever we’re kicked down, rejected, abandoned, and lied to.

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

God didn’t have to do it this way.

He did not have to choose the small town, 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: our God came down from heavenly places and humbled himself as he walked where we walk now. 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 only one reasonable response: follow. 

Pack up camp and follow with everything you have.


Luke 2:6-7

Steal This Prayer

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 you with the best example laid out in front of me.

I Love Hearing from You!

In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.


  1. Fiona says:

    Please approve my comment….

    My boyfriend is back after he broke up with me 3 months ago ____

    Thanks to this relationship doctor for restoring my relationship,

    He made everything possible…

    I am the happiest lady on earth,

    Stop Infidelity.

    Stop Cheating.

    Stop Betrayal.

    Stop Mistrust.

    Stop Divorce.

    Stop Poor communication.

    Stop Long-distance woes.

    Stop No emotional connection.

    Stop Lover from breaking-up

    Stop Toxic or abusive behavior.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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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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