Happy Birthday, Unworthy (And Why Did I Write about Depression and Suicide in Christian Fiction?)

Can you believe it’s already been a year – give or take a day – since I released Unworthy? (I kinda can, but it seems weird to think about it.) Of the three full-length novels I’ve written, Unworthy probably suffered the most from my over-enthusiastic editing. The original version of the book doesn’t look even halfway close to its published version.

However, the overall plot stayed somewhat similar—dealing with Evgeny’s struggles with depression and suicidal tendencies as well as Sasha’s guilt over her past. And looking back on that plot, it truly contained very heavy themes. Now I see this book a bit differently after going through another year of life and witnessing how scary, dark, and sorrowful this world can be.

I still don’t really know why God had me write about a character who struggled with depression and suicide. When I first wrote Unworthy, I was a naïve, new author who was still experimenting with all kinds of plots and characters—kind of like a toddler who’d gotten into a set of paints. But I never really had a choice whether I wanted to write about this topic or not, given I plotted myself into a corner, and the events in this book are integral to the following books (aka Untold and Unforgiven.)

Yet maybe part of this reason is this: the Lord put this story in my heart to show the reality of life-sucking pain and struggle and heartache … and that His strength is greater than it all.

I’ve never struggled with severe depression as Evgeny did. Yet depression and suicide can touch anyone—this world has been marred with sin. Depression and suicide are heartbreaking realities of this broken world.

And Christian fiction must show reality. No, our books should never glorify evil or suffering nor stay in that bleak, hopeless place for too long. But we must show the struggles that real people in a real world face—and the truth that the God Who is so very real is a present help in time of trouble.

As authors, we must show God’s grace in spite of the night of suffering—whether that’s depression and suicide or any other trial. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t write happy, light books – those are much-needed, too. But the world needs Christian fiction that confronts the darkness head-on and shows the strength and light of Jesus in spite of the world’s darkness.

That is what I strove to do with Unworthy: to show grace that is sufficient for us in spite of our unworthiness and grace that holds us fast even when we falter and stumble and fall in the darkest of nights.

If you suffer from depression and/or suicidal thoughts, I pray you see the Light of the World. Jesus is far greater than any horrible feeling or thought or experience or anything else in this world. He is greater than the whole world, and despite your hideously real and dark feelings, there is hope. He’s already won the battle, Christian, and He is a certain Hope that will hold you through the darkest of storms.

For no matter the darkness, He is the Light of the world.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12 KJV)

13 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Unworthy (And Why Did I Write about Depression and Suicide in Christian Fiction?)

  1. Wowww, I can’t believe it’s been a year!!! (It kinds feels like it’s been longer than that to me… XD) Happy birthday, Unworthy!!! 😁❤️🎉

    “But the world needs Christian fiction that confronts the darkness head-on and shows the strength and light of Jesus in spite of the world’s darkness.” AMEN. My WIP has caught me off guard with how heavy some of it has gotten, but it’s for this very reason that I just can’t delete those parts. The Light of the World can reach even the (seemingly) most hopeless place. He’s that powerful. So thank you for sharing that message in Unworthy – and this post! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Right?? Where has time gone? (And my babies are so old now!)

      And absolutely – we have to show the Light of Jesus even against the darkness of this world in the stories that God gives us. And that makes me even more excited to get to read Gillory. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautiful, Vanessa! Honestly, my favorite part of Unworthy was the portrayal of depression/suicidal thoughts. It was done so well, so heartbreaking and yet so full of hope, and I deeply appreciated that. It definitely touched my heart, so thank you for writing it so prayerfully and with so much compassion. 💙

    Liked by 4 people

  3. EEEEEEEEEE, one year already? 😶
    We gettin’ old. 😭😭😭😭 😂😂😂
    But HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UNWORTHY!! (Okay, I just snorted. My head made that sound like a name of some girl. Worthy could totally be a name … and then there was Unworthy. 😭😭🤣🤣🤣)
    Well, hey, I mean, this reminds me of William Faulkner’s speech when he received the Nobel Peace Prize. We’re supposed to write about the heart. And hence, depression and suicidal thoughts are part of some hearts.
    So thank you for being brave enough to write about it. 😊 I am appreciative. ❤ (Even if I haven’t read the book. 🙈 *runs away*)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Right??? I am so old, sister. Old … But thank you for the birthday wishes to my Evgeny + Sasha. 😉

      Ahh, very true, writing about the heart is some of what we’re supposed to write about. But you’re welcome – and thou must never feel as if you have to read it. 🙂


  4. Wow, it’s so crazy to think that a year ago I was getting all excited for the release and reading this book!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS on the one year anniversary!!!!!! And can I just say how much I LOVED this post. <33333 I so agree with you on writing books that cover hard topics but in the light of God's grace. I think it's such a beautiful way to phrase that. <33333 Unworthy is one of my favorite books. (Okay, let's be honest. All the books in this entire series are some of my favorite books. XD) I just especially loved the themes presented in this book!!! You're such an amazing author, Vanessa, and I love what you're doing in your books!!! Cheering you on all the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right? It feels like ages ago. 🙂 My babies grow up so quickly …

      But thank you so much for the encouragement, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I’m so thankful for all your cheering me along over the years, sister! 🙂 Let’s keep on writing those books that show God’s infinite grace.

      Liked by 1 person

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