My guest for The Happy Hour # 247 is Alia Joy. Alia is an author and speaker who believes the darkness is illuminated when we grasp each other's hand and walk into the night together. Alia writes poignantly about her life with bipolar disorder as well as grief, faith, marriage, poverty, race, embodiment, and keeping fluent in the language of hope. She lives in Oregon with her husband, her mother, her three kids, a dog, a bunny, and a bunch of chickens.

In Alia's book, Glorious Weakness, she puts forth the question, “What if weakness was a spiritual gift?” and you guys, I am so thankful to Alia for coming on the show. Her message is so important and brings great insight into mental illness. Alia shares her story that includes dark places such as abuse, leukemia at age 5, her brother's attempted suicide and her own struggle with suicidal ideation, and her diagnosis with bipolar disorder at age 30. Alia tells us how God made Himself known to her during thoughts of suicide and how He brings hope amidst the struggles she still deals with today. We also talk about when the church treats mental illness as sin and how it can push people to feel as though they must keep it private and alone. I appreciated hearing Alia speak about specific ways we can ask how to best walk alongside those living with mental illness, and that we need to start with having compassion built into mental illness like we have compassion for other illnesses. We also discuss what it's been like parenting her children, and that God loves us in our weakness, meets us in our brokenness, and how that's taught her and her children that “no one is going to meet them the way God can.”

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