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Publication Date: 17 May 2018
Publisher: IVP
Words: 55000
Page Count: 240
Author: Mark Meynell
ISBN-13: 9781783596508, 9781783596515

When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend

Reflections On Life And Ministry With Depression
By Mark Meynell
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ISBN: 9781783596508
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ISBN: 9781783596515
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Summary
‘I’m looking for the words and writing for those who can’t imagine the words.’

Mark Meynell articulates a heart pain that most of us simply couldn’t express. He connects strongly and immediately with fellow cave-dwellers.

‘All who read this will feel deeply indebted to Mark, and to God.’ Roger Carswell

‘Mark invites fellow cave-dwellers and those who love us to walk (or collapse) with him on the road . . . For the first time in a long while, we rest.’ Zack Eswine

‘Moving and fascinating.’ Sean Fletcher

‘Fine writing, personal honesty, intellectual analysis, theological incisiveness and simple open-endedness . . . A must-buy and a must-read.’ Julian Hardyman

‘Written straight from the heart of pain – yet brimful of hope and courage.’ Rachel Kelly

‘We are pointed to a Saviour who brings us purpose, grace and hope.’ Emma Scrivener

‘Practical wisdom and hope . . . without being trite.’ Derek Tidball

‘Profound, unusual and very personal . . . demonstrates the extraordinary relevance and power of the Bible in helping us to connect our often mysterious and confusing experiences to God’s bigger story. Mark’s creative appendix of music, books, poetry, websites and blogs, which have helped him survive his “cave”, is invaluable.’Richard Winter

Contents
1 The mask
2 The volcano
3 The cave
4 The weight
5 The invisibility cloak
6 The closing
7 The way
8 The fellow-traveller
9 The gift
Appendix 1 Managing the symptoms
Appendix 2 Unexpected friends in the cave
Appendix 3 Some words from inside the cave
About the Author
Mark Meynell is a director for Langham Preaching (part of Langham Partnership) and travels widely. He is a speaker, trainer and blogger. His books include Cross-Examined (IVP) and AWilderness of Mirrors (Zondervan). He lives in Maidenhead, UK.
Press Reviews

A thoughtful and courageous book, which reflects on what it means to live as a Christian with depression. Writing from experience, Mark navigates us through the darkness of despair, and shines gospel light on issues such as shame, guilt and fear. As we journey with him we are reminded that we are not alone - and pointed to a Saviour who brings us purpose, grace and hope.

- Emma Scrivener, author, blogger and speaker

A poignant and powerful description of one man's continuing journey to understand and manage depression. Mark Meynell's eloquent book is written straight from the heart of pain - yet it is brimful of hope and courage and will help anyone whose life has been touched by mental illness. Meynell is defiantly not defined by his afflictions, which are only one part of the life of this exceptional man, minister and writer. In finding the courage to pen this important book, Meynell has illuminated not just his own experience, but will help many others to make sense of their own lives. He has certainly helped me to make more sense of mine.

- Rachel Kelly, author of the Sunday Times top ten bestseller Black Rainbow: How Words Healed Me - my journey through depression and ambassador for SANE and Rethink Mental Illness.

As a fellow sufferer, albeit one who has not suffered quite as severely, I welcome Mark Maynell's courageous book. It is full of raw honesty and powerfully articulates the struggles and confusions which depression throws up, especially to those in Christian ministry who, whatever the pretence, are not insulated from it. At the same time it offers practical wisdom and hope to those who struggle, without being trite. I'd recommend it to all who suffer, for them to read slowly and gently. I'd also recommend it to those seeking to care for someone with depression, or understand its nature and how a sufferer can continue to serve Christ well through weakness.

- Derek Tidball, author, Bible teacher and former Principal of London School of Theology

What makes this book on depression stand out from a crowded field is the mixture of fine writing, personal honesty, intellectual analysis, theological incisiveness and simple open-endedness: Mark does not proffer a cure but he does offer you a walking companion for the dark journey. And anyone who has a friend with depression will find it even more helpful. So all in all, it’s a must-buy and a must-read.

- Julian Hardyman, Senior Pastor, Eden Baptist Church, Cambridge

In this profound, unusual, and very personal book, Mark Meynell reflects on living with the painful thorn in the flesh of a vulnerability to depression and how that has affected his view of himself and the reactions of those around him as he seeks to pastor and teach while openly admitting his struggle. He touches on many difficult subjects - the causes of depression, wrestling with suicidal thoughts, why God allows suffering, shame and guilt, what not to say to people who are depressed… and overall demonstrates the extraordinary relevance and power of the Bible in helping us to connect our often mysterious and confusing experiences to God’s bigger story. But no trite or easy answers here. His creative appendix of music, books, poetry, and websites and blogs that have helped him survive his “cave” of depression is invaluable.

- Richard Winter, Professor Emeritus of Counselling, Covenant Seminary, St Louis, USA

A moving and fascinating description of the life of a preacher battling depression - Mark writes openly and honestly about his 'black dog' and in doing so is able expertly explain the importance of God's grace in breaking the depressive feelings of guilt, abuse, abandonment and betrayal. This book offers a light at the end of the tunnel, whether you're a sufferer or supporter.

- Sean Fletcher, Broadcaster

This book is not the illusive quick fix for the depressed. Nor is it a manual for those wanting to be a Job's comforter. You will search in vain for platitudes, programmes or psychological props. Rather, like C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed, it is a springboard from honest autobiography to (in this case) a realistic analysis of the tangible shadow that depression casts. With understanding and compassion Mark Meynell undergirds the sufferer with a confidence in the Lord, who sometimes appears to work against Himself in our lives. It is compelling yet practical reading, written with integrity, warmth and trust in Christ, who is the High Priest in touch with our reality. All who read this will feel deeply indebted to Mark Meynell, and to God who has taught him so much in the blizzard of suffering.

- Roger Carswell

Mark’s empathy as a friend, his gentle love for Jesus as a pastor, provides us wise guidance and that rarest of care that helps us feel that we are known and accepted. Mark does not write as one who has arrived. The hope he offers is neither trite nor cruel. Instead, He invites us fellow cave dwellers and those who love us to walk (or collapse) with him on the road. Jesus kisses us and holds us there. He fights on our behalf there. Guilt and shame are no match for him. They run in fear and let us alone. For the first time in a long while, we rest.

- Zack Eswine Pastor, Riverside church (St Louis) and Director of Homiletics, Covenant Theological Seminary

As we journey with [Mark Meynell], we are reminded that we are not alone. He points to a Saviour who brings us hope.

- The Tablet

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