When Light Breaks Through

This post contains affiliate links.


I’ve shared with you before that I struggle with depression. The thing is that no matter how many times I say it, most people, they don’t get it. They hear the words, but they don’t know what it really means. When I wrote that first post last year, confessing my struggle, I was in the midst of a very, very tough time. It would get worse before it got better, and it would be the deepest, darkest valley I have gone through.

I have what they call dysthymia, which basically means that the depression (and all it’s symptoms) is always there. In addition to this chronic depression, I also suffer from bouts of severe depression.

I can’t really put to words all of the challenges, but it is a debilitating disease, as much as any physical illness is. It affects every area of my life. And one of my biggest regrets regarding depression is the effect it has on my family, particularly my children.

For an extended period of time last fall, winter, and spring, there was no break. No moments of lucidity. Just a long string of very, very bad days.

I want to tell you today about a bright spot that happened in the midst of all those bad days.

You’ve probably noticed that I talk a lot about Kiwi Crate. I mention them every chance I get because I think it’s such a great company. You can see all my reasons why here, but in a nutshell– the kits are affordable, you can get add-on materials for additional children, the activities are interactive and educational, etc. The list goes on.

However, as I mentioned in my review, with a budget as tight as ours, even $19.99/month is a splurge. And, I’m a big DIY crafter, so pre-made craft kits might not be what you’d expect me to be all about.

But, there was something I didn’t share in that first post about Kiwi Crate back in the spring.

We received our crate in the midst of that very deep, dark time. When my depression was worse than ever and I could barely motivate myself to do the essential things. When I lived in survival mode.

And when laughter and organized fun was in short supply at our house.

My boys begged to do the project, and I kept putting them off, because even as simple as it was, it was just too much energy. More than I had at that time. Finally, I got up one morning and told them we’d do it that day.

That afternoon, light broke through the darkness for us. 

In the midst of some of the worst days I have ever experienced, we had this one. good. day.

And that’s why I love Kiwi Crate. Because right in the middle of the horrible thing that is depression–the sadness, the despair, the lack of energy and motivation, the absence of any good feeling. We had that one good day.

In the middle of all the bad, Kiwi Crate gave me a day that looked like this:

Kiwi Crate

If you’re struggling in the midst of this pinterest-driven holiday season, full of perfect projects that you’d love to do with your kids but just don’t have the energy or time for any of it, don’t try to do it all–just do what you can.

Maybe you suffer from depression, like me. Maybe you suffer from another chronic illness. Maybe you’re suffering from burnout and stress from too many things on your to-do list or too few dollars in your bank account.

Maybe you’re like me and have seen too few of those good days lately.

These crates are a simple way to add some light and laughter back in.  Every single thing you need is provided for you. All you have to do is open up the box and be present with your children while they play. That’s it.  And, there are many great options. You can get a subscription which comes with free shipping, or you can choose from a variety of single crates as well.

Whatever it is, if you’re in a dark place for any reason, I pray that you can find some light in the midst of it.

If you are in a dark place today, I invite you to contact me. I would love to pray with you. That verse way up top is a source of encouragement to me in the darkest days as well. A reminder that His glory transcends every thing this world can bring me, including depression. I pray you have that same assurance.


  1. says

    Crystal, know that you are not alone! I was thinking about some of the hilarious things your boys say, and remembered how much I would try to make my mom laugh when I was that age. When you find that thing that makes you truly laugh, hang on to it! Love you, girl!

  2. says

    What a lovely post….This company sounds wonderful….I will def be looking into their offerings. Thank you for sharing!
    Your post is so honest and real. I always leave your blog richer, Crystal….. Will pray for you, friend…

    Be well:)

  3. says

    Oh..Crystal, this made me teary..as I too walked the depression path some years back and by God’s mercy, I am now over that. And yes, my son was the most effected one ..all through that mess.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Thank you for sharing your story, Sunu! It is always encouraging to hear someone’s testimony of overcoming depression.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Monica, my younger son was 3 when we did it and that’s exactly what it was–a wind-powered car (you can see more details in the original post about it), and as you can see, they absolutely loved it.

  4. says

    What a wonderful post, Crystal. You had me all teary eyed. I’ve never heard of this company before, but it sounds really good. I’ll be looking into them shortly. I’m sorry that you have to suffer through those periods and I know you feel terrible about your boys, but just know that kids are more resilient than we give them credit for. Your love for them is enough to cover a multitude of bad days. When they look back on their childhood, they won’t see a mom who was always sad. no. They’ll see a mom who fought hard and loved even harder. You’re a great mom, Crystal!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Jillian, your sweet comment had me all teary eyed. You are truly one of the sweetest, most encouraging people that I “know.” Your last little bit about what they will remember is definitely my prayer.

  5. Trixie Grohman Ferguson says

    Oh Crystal, I am so, so, so very saddened to hear that you fight this abyss called depression also. I know and feel your pain every day as well………..some days even a shower is a monumental undertaking. I will be praying for you that God will show us both the way out of this seemingly ceaseless malaise.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Trixie, I am saddened for you as well. Abyss is a fitting word. I know all too well about those days when even a simple shower is a monumental undertaking. It really robs us of so much. I will be praying for you as well for a LIGHT to lead you out of it. My constant prayer is to bring Him glory in the midst of it, and to experience full deliverance eventually.

  6. says

    I have rheumatoid arthritis (it’s NOT your grandma’s arthritis) and have occasional pain and constant fatigue. I know what you mean about days when you struggle to have energy for basic stuff, never mind crafts with your children. When I had 4 kids under 6, the thought of crafts was overwhelming. But, I might have done them if I had used one of these kits. My kids would LOVE the pirate or robot ones! They’d make a great gift for a busy/exhausted mom!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Definitely great gifts, Stephanie, and a nice way to ease into crafts for those who don’t enjoy them. Yes, I’ve got my eye on the pirate one…my boys have started watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates on Disney, Jr.

      Yes, I can imagine that having 4 kids under 6 and a chronic illness on top of that would be difficult to add too many extras on top. You are always an inspiration to me, Stephanie! I have greatly enjoyed getting to know you through our blogs.

  7. says

    Hi Crystal,

    I feel like depression is a constant discussion in my life, either I am experiencing it, my husband, or one of my children. It is horrible – simply put, no better way to say it. I love those days when the light hit and everyone is happy.. at the same time! It is a wonderful experience and I am happy Kiwi Crate was able to provide you some assistance with having one of those great days.

    Blessings to you and your family.

    Merry Christmas,

    Mommy’s Playbook

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes, depression is horrible, you’re absolutely right. So sorry that you have so much experience with it as well :( And yes, it is a great thing when a good day breaks through. Thanks for commenting :)

  8. says

    I could not find your email, so I will post a reply here. So, I am sitting here in my bathroom with tears streaming down my face. Your post is so encouraging, and honest. Just yesterday I committed to doing the fun stuff first, instead of trying so hard to get ANYTHING (and everything) done. I am so tired of trying to do the everyday stuff and not measuring up at all, and then, the “fun” is infrequent. When I was at a youth event recently at church, I remember so clearly one of my kids saying to one of the youth leaders (a female friend of mine)…”she USED to be fun.” I don’t remember what started that comment, but it wasn’t meant to be mean. Just honest. I want my fun back! I depend on Jesus with everything I have, every day. Even so, some days are just overwhelming. I know that His strength is made perfect in my weakness…and I try to let go of my imperfections. There are days when light shows through, but in general, I just want my kids to feel loved, and have joy…not crabby or sad mom. And lots of people, even Christians, do not know what to do with someone suffering such despair or lonliness, or any mental health issues at all, so there is lack of support, and a feeling like I and my family cannot be understood. Some days I feel like I am trapped inside myself, and somewhere inside is the person I was created to be…the one who can make people laugh until they cry, and bakes delicious, comforting food, and gives help to anyone in need, and LOVES. My oldest will be 15 in January, and my second son will be 13 in January also. My daughter is 10 and my youngest is 8. I feel like every day I give up to this oppressive spirit is so much loss. I don’t have much time left to show them. My oldest and my youngest suffer from depression (well, actually my youngest is Bipolar, and it can be miserable, like a living hell, excuse me for saying that, but its true), and there are sooo many things in my life thay are difficult…it just makes it hard to even want to keep living another day. And yet, I know that God has a purpose and a plan for my life, and even though I often WANT to give up, His Word somehow drives me forward, and He doesn’t LET me give up. The one lady that commented on how our kids are resilient, and they will remember our love…I could just hug her…because it was like a balm to my heart. It reminded me that though I grew up in an alcoholic home and was submitted to all kinds of abuse by others because of neglect, Ialways, ALWAYS knew that my mother loved me. With everything she had, with the best she could offer at the time. I pray fiercly, that my children, that your children, that our husbands and all of our signifigant others, and every life we touch, will be blessed beyond measure to the full of what God has for them. And that they will always, ALWAYS remember our love. God bless you, Crystal, for your ministry to your family, and to all those who read your blog. Thank you for your faithfulness.

  9. Pam says

    Thank youfor your honest post about depression and finding one bright thing in the midst of it. I have been so blessed with Jim Berg’s Quieting a Noisy Soul study as I also deal with depression and anxiety. God bless your day!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Pam, thank you for the kind words and recommendation. I’ll have to look into that one, I don’t believe I’ve heard of it.

  10. Lisa Mac says

    Thank you for posting such a clear description of the challenges in chronic illnesses. And for describing a journey much like my own, through depression. And I agree with Jillian Dicosimo! Your boys will remember your love of them and your love for their dad and your love for your heavenly Father. <3

  11. says

    I love your honesty, Crystal. What a hard thing to share, but so needed. The hardest part is when we feel completely alone, and I think that’s what the enemy wants. It’s a tough battle to fight, but you fight it beautifully. I’m glad you could find some light in the middle of the darkness.

  12. Tamara Leigh Karasek says

    Very well said, Crystal. Most people do not understand the sometimes debilitating effect depression has. When you are a young mom expecting to care for little ones during the day, you need to do the best you can to keep going moment by moment. I think these Kiwi Crates sound wonderful. Not a bad thing to have on hand when you can't do the DIY things that you prefer to do. It's just like have that one "quick dinner" kit in the cupboard on nights that making a full meal is the most overwhelming thing and running through the drive-thru for fast food is just not what you or your budget wants! Good for you for having a back up plan and for sharing this item with others. Some days just "come at you fast" as the commercial says! Thanks for your post.

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