When Heaven Isn’t Comfort | Sojourners

When Heaven Isn’t Comfort

In “Devout: A Memoir of Doubt,” Anna Gazmarian explains how poetry helped her find a real sense of belonging.
The picture shows the cover of the book "Devout" by Anna Gazmarian, which is a blue book with a gray graphic that looks like two arms holding hands except the tops of the arms are churches.
Simon and Schuster

AT 16, WHEN I finally named that I had an eating disorder, I stood in the doorway of my bedroom and Googled “patron saint for people with eating disorders.” Knowing I needed help, I first looked for guidance in my faith tradition. It began a lonely and shaky journey of figuring out what faith means in the context of my yearslong struggle, why this was happening, and what to do when answers weren’t there.

Anna Gazmarian’s Devout: A Memoir of Doubt traces her evangelical upbringing and bipolar diagnosis as she searches “for a faith that can exist alongside doubt, a faith that is built on trust rather than fear.” Growing up, Gazmarian was taught in church that depression signals a lack of faith, recalling a time a pastor told the congregation that his bipolar diagnosis was caused by his own sin. As she seeks treatment, Gazmarian engages with scripture through her experiences of mania and depression, doubt and despair, looking for validation and comfort between the lines of Bible verses.

Gazmarian’s prose is clear, engaging, accessible, and alive. With gentleness and compassion — toward herself and all who struggle with mental health — she writes about how she learns to believe that God is with her.

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The image shows the cover of the June 2024 issue of Sojourners magazine, which shows a hand holding St. Basil the Blessed church in Russia
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