Sharing about my struggle with depression has been something I’ve done hesitantly at best. In part, it’s an intensely personal journey, and one that I’m not sure is best aired here (or anywhere except in my own home, honestly).

In the last two years since my depression became something that had to be addressed, we’ve had a lot of grief in our family.

Quite a cocktail: depression and grief. It has made me really dig inside and become more self-aware, in a way.

There is a certain selfishness to my depression, and there’s also a hopelessness to it. When I’m starting to slip, the first thing I’ll notice (usually in retrospect) is the way everything is negative.

What’s missing, so often, is hope. What’s needed, just as often, is healing.

At first, this didn’t make sense to me. Healing?!? But I’ve never been abused or even really hurt!

But, as I read Sister Kathryn J. Hermes’s latest book, Holding on to Hope: The Journey Beyond Darkness, I found that healing WAS what I needed.

Throughout this book, which I will be rereading (after I share it with two very good friends who, I think, need its message at least as much as I do), Sister Kathryn relates in such a gentle way. I read this book more slowly than I’m usually inclined to–though not as slowly as I should have, I think–and its message is still sinking into me.

Each chapter includes five sections–Imaging, Contemplation, Exploring, Listening, and Inner Healing. Through them, the reader is led down a path. I’m not sure how personal this path is…it felt, to me, like what I needed was to remember that hope is always available, if only I’ll reach out to it–or rather, to Him.

It’s very based on scripture, but it took an approach that, without the gentleness involved, I think I would have rolled my eyes at and walked away from. Sister Kathryn relates to Jesus in such a personal way that I couldn’t help but feel pulled in, desiring to know this man the way she seemed to. She made me want to sit in his presence and even put my book down. (Not even my husband gets that very often!)

Whether you face a struggle with depression or just find yourself feeling rather adrift, I’d recommend this book. I don’t feel that I’m doing it any justice with this summary of it, but I do think it’s a wonderful resource.

Disclaimer: I asked for this book, and received it, as a review copy. I would have enjoyed it just as much if I had forked out my own money for it, though.