PREVIEW | When Hope Speaks

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Introduction

Dear friend,

Some years ago, I was described as the girl who was ‘afraid of everything’. I wouldn’t answer the phone, avoided seeing family members, and was terrified of going outside.

I have lived with an anxiety disorder and depression since I was 12. In the years since, I have struggled to find God amidst my pain. I have questioned his existence and wondered whether it’s worth the fight to stay alive. Yet God has met me in these dark places, and with the support of family, friends and professionals, he has enabled me to live a life I once dreamed of.

In the years since my diagnosis, I have befriended people radically different from me, travelled to countries alone, and found that every person has a story to tell—if we give them a chance to share it. The adventures I have taken have shown me that depression doesn’t define my identity, even if it is a significant part of my life.

From the streets of Nashville, Tennessee to my hometown in Geelong, Australia, this is a collection of thoughts, essays, letters and poetry created in different time zones. It is the story of who I have been, who I am, and the woman I want to become. Most of all, it’s the story of how God found me in the middle of it all.

I’ll try to be as honest as I can without suffocating my heart, and I promise that even though some of the names and places mentioned are different to their counterparts—they are all real too.

These are the moments that have changed me; some of them I treasure, and others I’d rather throw away. But I think even the lowest moments have a way of making us who we were meant to be. Here are mine: my beautiful, terrifying, mundane, adventurous and exhilarating life, in your hands. I hope you will be brave enough to share your story with someone else too.

Thank you for believing that my words matter. Please know that yours matter too.

All my love,

Jessica

When Hope Speaks is available through Salvo Publishing on October 10.
Preorder your limited edition signed copy here.