Growing up a mile from the beach meant that my childhood was spent escaping death on a regular basis. Waves used to have their way with me all the time. One minute I would be frolicking on my boggie board without a care in the world, and the next minute I could be found turning involuntarily somersaults below what felt like HUNDREDS of feet of water above my head. Every time it happened, I was sure I would be buried at sea. I had no idea that the water’s surface was actually only inches above my ponytail.

When Ryan was diagnosed with depression on November 6, 2012, the water swelled deeper than he was tall. The news submerged him, muddling his view in every direction. Watching him move through that day was like watching him walk on the bottom of a swimming pool. He was there, but he couldn’t quite hear me. He was moving, but not pulled by the same gravity. Outwardly,
everything about him was slower and quieter. Inwardly, though, I could tell he felt like he was being bashed against the bottom of the ocean floor where nothing made sense and the surface appeared depressionhundreds of feet away.

He couldn’t see what I saw from the shore – that his next breath was actually only a couple of inches above his head.

I treaded lightly that day, letting it be what it was—beautifully brutal. “There is no shame in this,” I reminded him, “God is going to give you–and us–more to say through this, so let’s rejoice in that
and be confident that today is the day things start to get better.”

In the days and weeks that followed, things did get better. He met with his doctor and counselor, modified his diet and exercise routine, and threw himself into books and Bible stories and sermons that helped him see he was not alone.

He resurfaced and, nearly a year later, God gave him this to say:

Shame and sinking are not part and parcel of our stories, friends—not with Jesus on the water. The wind and waves obey him, and he promises that we will not be buried at sea. May Ryan’s story show you that, and more, today.

To rising,