Todd Smith initially wrote a blog about the faithful battling depression.
What followed from the senior pastor of Crossroads Community Church was a book and a path for help.
“It took off by itself,” Smith said. “People would bump into me at Starbucks or emailed me, (about) talking with loved ones with depression, but they were not telling anybody.”
He decided to research the topic of depression, not looking for a solution but to provide people with guidance on pushing forward through Psalm 23.
“I took Psalm 23 and just tore it apart and squeezed out everything that would be helpful and encouraging in the midst of the ‘dark valley,’” Smith said.
Published in January 2018, “Dark Valleys: When You Love Jesus but Hate Life” was not intended as a quick fix, but instead to help people to attain joy over happiness and get out of the darkness of despair, he said.
“There’s no quick easy answer out of the valley,” Smith said. “There’s no helicopter getting you out. The only way out is through it.”
The book provides steps on how to steadily move from one day or one week onto the next. Though not a clinical study, Smith said the book is intended “to offer somebody a tall glass of hope from Psalm 23.”
In the year since “Dark Valleys” was published, Smith continues to help people who struggle. Each week, he receives messages through email and social media from not only within churches but also pastors from across the country. One pastor from the Midwest reached out to Smith and thanked him for the book after struggling with his own depression.
He told Smith he felt refreshed.
“In one weekend, I heard of three pastors who took their lives across the country,” he said. “Not talking about it is not the solution. I hope that the book creates conversation. People’s lives are at stake.”