Hold on to the Cross

We’ve been through a lot…so have you. None of us are exempt from pain in this world. Nobody’s pain is worse than another’s. None of us have any idea of what pain another person goes through.

A person I love once told me faith is a crutch, that it’s just something people turn to when they have nowhere else to turn, when they aren’t strong enough to handle life on their own. Another person told me I’m blind, that no God would allow drug problems and suffering. Yet another told me I’m wasting my time, that believing in something I can’t see is such a waste of my time on this earth…that I should focus on “more important” things.

It’s amazing the armor you can receive to be able to stand your ground for your beliefs even when life just seems to keep trying to beat you down. While I remember these comments, the lack of ability that some have to have a relationship with God at this point in their faith journeys is only fuel for my fire…for my mission.

I once heard a quote, and I’m not sure who to give the credit to. But essentially, this person said, “If I’m wrong about God, then I’ve wasted my life on Earth. But if you’re wrong…you’ve wasted your eternity.”

So when I hear that others don’t believe, when someone wants to stand in my faith path, I pray for them. It’s as simple as that. I hold on to my cross. I stand my ground with my armor of God strong and shiny. I don’t apologize for my beliefs. I won’t be sorry for trying my hardest every single day to live my faith, to share my God, and to be a good example of Christianity. After all, my purpose is to end up in eternity with all of you.

You see, there are a lot of people in my life whom have put their faith in the hands of other Christians as opposed to allowing God to guide their  journeys. And I get it; sometimes it’s hard to find the light through the darkness. Opening our eyes to His grace, especially when we are so confused by the darkness, is the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn. If we believe in good, we also believe in evil. Think about it. Is God the one who causes pain and suffering? Is God the One who gave us cancer, depression, medical issues, financial difficulties, slavery, racism, natural disasters…? I don’t believe He did. God is the One giving us the doctors, the medications, the counselors, the financial advisors, the policemen, the firefighters, the armed forces, the people running toward the disaster instead of away, the people suiting up daily to put on their armor of God and fight in the name of good… God will allow bad things to happen. Yes. But only because He will bring good from them. He will bring us to Him. He will bring us right into His arms – where we belong. God wins my battle every time.

I think of ropes often. I know it’s strange, but hear me out. I once saw a demonstration of beliefs using a rope, and it really sank in.  Again, I’m not sure who to give the credit to, but I sure will as soon as I find out. So I imagine a rope. I’m holding one end of this rope with my fist. I’m hanging on for dear life and I cannot see the end of this rope. There is no end. It goes on forever. I look toward where I believe the end of the rope should be and all I can see is that the rope continues far off into an orange and yellow sunset. It’s breathtaking; it’s a Nebraska sunset (my happy place). The rope continues far beyond my human potential allows me to see; it continues into eternity. Now I slowly begin to loosen my grip and look at this tiny part of the rope I hold in my hand. This part of the rope is my time on this Earth. It is such a tiny, insignificant piece of the rope, yet I allowed it to consume me for so long. I began learning how to loosen my grip and allow Him to control this part of my life, too. He controls my eternity, and He wants control over my time here too, but this is my time to choose Him, to show Him I want Him to have the control. He’s in charge. I only have to choose to look toward my eternity, not today.

I am choosing to consume myself now with the rest of the rope. I am choosing to understand this is my time to fight, but the fight is more than worth the reward. Eternity. The rest of the rope. 

Life can be anything but fair. We haven’t been handed an easy hand in this game. God wants us to work for it, and I get it. He knows we have a strong mission to bring others to Him whom are suffering the way we once did. He knows we are strong enough to handle it because we have Him. Every time we get knocked down, every time we are attacked by the Enemy, God brings us right back up again. Why? Because we believe in Him. We believe in the power of prayer. We ask for help. We do use God as a crutch because that is what He wants us to do. We are NOT strong enough without Him; no truer words have ever been spoken.

So when life seems so hard, seems so unfair and so impossible, I HOLD ON TO MY CROSS. Literally. I have a cross that fits so perfectly in the palm of my hand. I received it as a gift from my husband, the man God gave to me to break me. The man God knew I would love so desperately that the possibility of losing him would be enough for me to fight harder and stronger in the name of Christ than I ever believed possible.

2016-01-29_10.53.22 2016-01-29_10.54.54 It may sound simple and silly. It may sound like it’s not enough. But my God is enough. And the best part? I’m enough for Him. My fight is enough. My faith is enough. My battle is enough. I am enough for Him. Christ died for me so I could live this life, so I could use my limited time on this Earth to teach others about the truth I have learned.

My God has saved my husband time and time again. He has kept my family together time and time again. Jeremy has survived severe depression, five suicide attempts, two mental health inpatient facility stays, multiple medication failures, a near-death car accident that resulted in a leg broken in four places and repaired with metal rods, a fractured pancreas, a brain bleed, a punctured lung, a hospital stay for a month, and complete colon reconstruction that has now left him with possible colon issues for life. This past summer, Jeremy survived a heart attack at the age of 33 when we found a heart defect. Today, we were released from the hospital after a four-night stay because scar tissue left from Jeremy’s colon surgeries after his accident in 2012 built up and caused a complete bowel obstruction and severe pain. Jeremy had a tube shoved up his nose, down his esophagus, and into his stomach to drain the contents and allow his body to heal. But every single time, Jeremy has fought through it. Every single time, his faith has only grown because he has felt the strength being flooded into him from the prayers of so many we love.

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God deserves our praise. He deserves to be thanked for His sacrifice. And if all we have to do is tell our story, be honest, and be a living example of the fact that God is good even when circumstances are not in order to help others come to Him, then every single thing we have been through has been more than worth it. 

I mean, honestly. We have people tell us all the time that we are helping them grow in their faith, that they accepted help in mental illness because they have found hope in Christ because of hearing our story. How much more powerful can you get than that? How can we possibly believe this wasn’t all meant to happen for His good? We heal because we are able to see so much good happening all around us. God is providing for us too while we help others.

Now I’m not sharing our troubles to tell you yours aren’t hard. I’m sharing so you can see we all have to fight. I know your life is not any easier than ours. And it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, even lost and confused. But right now, if you’re reading this, someone is trying to get your attention. I write when God puts it on my heart. He uses me to get to you, and I will allow Him. So please see Him. Please fight in His name. Please reach out for help. You are not alone.

Jeremy has to fight his depression every single day. He has to fight his health issues (and likely will for life). But it is a heck of a lot easier to fight when you are wearing the armor of God, when you learn to hold on to the cross. And if all it takes is a cross in my hand to remind me of my purpose for fighting, then I will carry that cross with me everywhere for the rest of my life on this Earth.

Hold on to the cross. Hold on for dear life. Cling to Him.
He will bring you through this.


Click here to follow our daily journey on Facebook at Jeremy & Bailey Koch.

Click here to learn more about our story and link to our website, www.jeremyandbailey.com, to purchase our book, “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith”, either in eBook format on Amazon or directly from us in paperback.

Click here to learn about our support group for those suffering with mental illness, supporting a loved one, or suffering from the loss of a loved one to suicide. Our support group meets Monday evenings in Cozad, Nebraska.

What Makes a Strong Man?

I see these “relationship goals” all over the Internet. Pictures of men carrying their women or even bench-pressing them. Pictures of “the perfect date” when you come walking in to a room filled with roses and your man is some high-paid financial wonder. Well, nothing against your relationship goals, but after 15 1/2 years together with the love of my life, I can tell you my true prayer for your relationship.

I pray you find a man who loves God first and you second. I pray you find a man who loves you and his purpose so much that he will fight every single day just to be here with you on this earth. That’s it. That’s all. Relationship goals.

I sit here next to my husband in the hospital today; we’ve been here a lot. To be honest, it never gets any easier. But the reality is that we understand God is good, even when circumstances are not. We are so unbelievably blessed; we found our mission in life and we get to fight for our purpose every single day. We are Christian co-authors and motivational speakers, and our mission is to provide hope for mental health anchored in Jesus’ promise of eternal life. Why? Because we know what it feels like to not have any hope and to not understand why God allowed so much hurt.


“Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” was just a first step toward our mission. We began by sharing our story, our reality, struggles, fears, triumphs…truth.

Finding our mission has been far from easy. But to truly understand the truth that by sharing our reality with the world, we are helping many find hope in Christ…does it get any better than that? We don’t think so.

So here we are. Jeremy is stuck in the hospital with an NG (nasogastric) tube shoved up his nose, through his esophagus, and down into his stomach. The tube intermittently empties the contents of the stomach to allow the intestines and stomach to rest and heal. Truth be told, the tube sucks (pun intended). Jeremy’s nose and throat hurt horribly, but his stomach pain has decreased from a pain level 7 down to a 1. So the NG tube is doing its job. And this hospital stay is a direct result of a previous month hospital stay. Like I said, we’ve been here a lot.


Jeremy’s truck after the accident in 2012.

In 2012, Jeremy was in a near-fatal car accident when his truck went head-on into a semi truck at highway speeds. Throughout the healing process, my husband underwent two flight for life helicopter rides on to larger hospitals equipped to handle his injuries, a leg severely broken in four places and repaired with metal rods, a punctured lung, brain bleed, and fractured pancreas. But the surgery causing the issues now was the complete colon reconstruction he endured. Doctors had to take his intestines apart, cut out all the bad, and piece them back together like a jigsaw puzzle. There was a lot of surgical intervention needed there. I never met anyone during that time of our lives who understood how on earth Jeremy could survive that accident…surgeons included.


Jeremy in ICU, February 17, 2012.

We get it now.

Because you know what? This wasn’t the first of our struggles. Jeremy was diagnosed with severe depression in 2009. He has survived five suicide attempts, the near-death car accident, multiple medication failures, and a heart attack the day before he turned 33. Most importantly, Jeremy has survived to understand there is hope even when it feels all is lost, even when you are fighting your hardest against your own body just to stay alive, even when life just seems to keep beating you down to the ground.

You get the freak back up. You fight back. Because this life is worth living. Helping others who suffer to understand there is hope is an enormous push for us to keep sharing, keep healing, keep fighting. Every day.

So this is my husband right now…

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The scar tissue from his previous surgeries has built up and caused a bowel obstruction. He is in a tremendous amount of pain. His NG tube is doing its job (allowing the stomach and intestines to rest), but having a tube shoved up your nose, down your esophagus, and into your stomach is anything but pleasant. It’s especially lovely because the tube is clear and Jeremy can see the junk going out from the suction. Yummy. Perhaps you can’t see our invention in the picture? Jeremy’s tube right by his nose where his eyes can see the crud moving is now covered with a handy-dandy gum wrapper and tape. Problem solved. But no, he’s not enjoying it. No, he’s not super pumped to be going through yet another trial. Yes, he knows it’s temporary. But sometimes life just plain sucks.

The reality is we are likely not done with this fight. We are likely not done with hospital stays and surgeries to remove scar tissue and build-up. Jeremy heals; and he does it really well. He is currently over-healing. The scar tissue in his intestines has created a belt and is not allowing anything through. Over time, it will get to the point where he will need surgery again to remove that portion of his bowel. It may be now…we don’t know yet. Surgeons referred to him as the “patchwork colon man” because of how much surgery was needed to repair the damage from the accident. It’s a part of our life, and it’s not easy. Depression is a part of our life, and it’s not easy. Suicidal thoughts and attempts are a part of our life, and it’s not easy. Knee and ankle surgeries (those are me) are a part of our life, and it’s not easy. Possible complications from previous surgeries (like now) are a part of our life, and it’s not easy. Heart attacks are a part of our life, and it’s not easy.

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Yep. On July 4, 2015, Jeremy had a heart attack at age 32 and 364 days. That challenge revealed a heart spasm now controlled with daily heart medication.

Life is not easy…for anyone. We all have different challenges, different battles we are fighting. The key is to understand it is a heck of a lot easier to get through them when you accept help, accept support and prayers from those who love you, and accept the reality that God is good all the time. He will take what was meant to harm and He will make it work for His good.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20

This, too, shall pass. Jeremy will heal. We are so blessed to understand this is just another bump in the road. We can help so many, ourselves included. God has entrusted us with an incredible gift, with an incredible mission. We know Jesus. We have a relationship with God. We will spend eternity with our King, and we want to help as many as possible understand what we know to be true.

God is real. There is hope. You have a purpose. Life is not easy, but it is worth the fight. Healing happens. While we are here, though, we have to fight. We have to choose to see Him when surrounded by darkness. We have to fight to see the light.

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This is a strong man, ladies. This is a man who loves God so much that he fights every day to continue his mission on this earth before eternity begins. This is a man who works his butt off to provide for his family. This is a man who is allowed to struggle, allowed to need help, allowed to be angry that life isn’t easy all the time. Why? Because this is also a man who is man enough to understand he needs help. He needs God. He needs support and prayers. He needs hope…and hope he has found in Christ. THIS is strong. My relationship goals consist of this and only this. I would not change a thing.

Our struggles are what brought us to the true understanding that we are never alone. Pain and frustration are eased with trials when we learn to give everything to God, ask for prayers, and accept help.

I’ll leave you with this…

I want you to imagine a rope. You are holding one end of this rope with your fist. You are hanging on for dear life and you cannot see the end of this rope. There is no end. It goes on forever. You look toward where you believe the end of the rope should be and all you can see is that the rope continues far off into an orange and yellow sunset. It continues far beyond our human potential allows us to see…eternity. Now slowly loosen your grip and look at this tiny part of the rope you hold in your hand. This part of the rope is your time on earth. It is such a tiny, insignificant piece of the rope, yet it consumes us. Loosen your grip and allow Him to control this part of your life, too.

Choose to consume yourself with the rest of the rope. Choose to understand this is our time to fight, but the fight is more than worth the reward…eternity.

Purchase our book either in eBook format on Amazon or directly from us in paperback at www.jeremyandbailey.com. Follow our daily journey by liking Jeremy & Bailey Koch on Facebook. As always, thank you so much for your never-ending support. God bless.

The Little Town That Could

You know what I mean if you’re from a small town. You’re used to it – the laughs, the snickers from those “city-folk” who seem to think they have it all figured out. But there are just some things that they can’t understand – and won’t unless they become a part of a small community, just another name for a really big family.

I’m from small town Nebraska. And I couldn’t be more proud.

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So where exactly am I from?

I’m from sledding down the overpass with the entire community after a snowfall.

I’m from vegetable soup brought over by friends the minute they hear you’re sick.

I’m from community fundraisers for anyone struggling with anything when the entire town comes out together in support.

I’m from sharing the reality with the world that your husband has attempted suicide five times and being terrified of what people think – except for the 4,000 or so you know will have your back. (read more of our story at www.jeremyandbailey.com)

I’m from a Facebook post about your lost dog that soon goes “Dawson County viral” because nobody wants your little boy to be sad for a minute longer about the fact that he can’t find his puppy.

I’m from quick grocery store trips that turn into hours because you found 40 or so people you just had to catch up with.

I’m from gravel roads and wood-burning stoves.

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I’m from one stoplight (or none…I lost count).

I’m from one of the only video rental stores left in the state.

I’m from small-town businesses that consist of a greenhouse and nursery in the spring and summer and turn into a paint-your-own pottery and canvas art studio in the winter just to give families and friends something else to do.

I’m from sledding behind a four-wheeler.

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I’m from driving around for hours drinking hot chocolate while looking at Christmas lights of your “neighbors” miles around.

I’m from holiday home tours and Mario Kart competitions.

I’m from every weekend at the lake in the summer (and often after work during the week too).

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I’m from where people say “smells like money” when we take a whiff of the nearest feedlot.

I’m from Nebraska beef (enough said).

I’m from husbands and wives working together to run their family businesses.

I’m from gourd and pumpkin launching in cornfields.

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I’m from chili and cinnamon rolls.

I’m from Runza.

I’m from Jesus.

I’m from asking for prayers and feeling the results.

I’m from volunteer fire and rescue teams.


I’m from life flights and town sirens that cause the community to all stop and pray (and I’m from the people who know what it feels like to need those prayers).


Jeremy’s truck after the accident in 2012. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to the Cozad Fire and Rescue team and to all doctors, nurses, ambulance, and flight staff.

I’m from angel trees and selflessness.

I’m from support groups and church families.

I’m from teaching the family business.2015-11-10 11.42.12

I’m from vacations to the big city that result in desperately just wanting to go home.

I’m from following tractors and cattle drives – and strongly preferring it to following bumper-to-bumper traffic.

I’m from high school sweethearts.

Teen Love

Jeremy and I had been dating for a little over a month in this picture…I was 16 (junior in high school) and he was 18 (senior). 🙂

I’m from knowing all the names and families of the custodians, mail persons, mechanics, etc. who take such good care of my family and friends.

I’m from in-home daycare providers who become family because they love your kids as much as you do.

I’m from 8-man football. (Go Eustis-Farnam Knights!)

I’m from Friday night lights and pee-wee flag football.

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I’m from small-town fairs and church lawn gatherings.

I’m from bonfires and booze cruises (Disclaimer – the rule is drivers don’t drink in case you’re not from here.)

I’m from rescuing every pet you have ever found in the lake, on the side of the road, or in the shed.

I’m from community art & music events that bring out the entire town in support.

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I’m from grandma and grandpa just down the road.

I’m from “It takes a village to raise a child.”

I’m from hay bales and highways.

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I’m from a phone call from the neighbor telling you they saw your child act like an asshole and they know you’ll want to “take care of it.”

I’m from climbing the roof to see the storm.

Setting Sun

The sun still beams through storms over Cozad, Nebraska in June of 2014.

I’m from friends in low places.

I’m from hunting and fishing.

I’m from cream cheese pickle rolls.

I’m from family game night.

I’m from small town Nebraska, and I’m me because of it. I would never raise my boys anywhere else.

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I’m from the little town that could…you know, that town nobody understands unless they live here, that town so many believed would “go under” so many times, that town that continues to be the best place in the world to live. Yeah…that town.

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The Myth that is Valentine’s Day

“Beep. Swoosh. Beep. Swoosh. Beep. Swoosh.”

I sat next to my husband as I stared out the window of the ICU on the third floor at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. I listened as the machines breathed for him and closely monitored his heart. He had made it through one surgery, but many more were to come. His abdomen lay open with only a clear plastic covering over it; I was told this was necessary to continue draining his body of the toxins leaking from his fractured pancreas and to allow surgeons “easy access” should my husband code.

Jeremy in ICU, February 17, 2012.

Jeremy in ICU, February 17, 2012.

I asked the same question over and over. “Is he going to live through this?” Nobody would give any answer other than, “We are going to do everything we can.” They gently handed the papers to me to sign; I knew Jeremy would want to donate his organs if anything could be saved. I signed them wondering if Hudson, age 5, and Asher, age 2, would remember their daddy. That’s the hardest memory, the one that makes me look like this today, January 16, 2016, as I write this post for you. I believe in honesty, I believe in being open with our story for the world to hear, but it’s never easy to relive all the details.

2016-01-16 09.24.19It was February 16, 2012, when I got the call that Jeremy had been in a car accident. We had no idea how bad it was at that time. Jeremy was life-flighted from Cozad, Nebraska to Kearney, Nebraska and then on again to Omaha when doctors discovered the severity of his internal injuries.

Truth be told, I immediately began questioning if Jeremy had done it, if he had succeeded in a suicide attempt.

After being diagnosed with depression in 2009, Jeremy’s mental health continued to deteriorate. To this day, Jeremy has survived five suicide attempts and the near-death car accident in 2012 directly after he began a new depression medication that caused him to black out at the wheel. He went straight into a semi-truck at 60 miles per hour. Yes, I said near-death. Jeremy survived. I’ll never forget his surgeon coming to me after the last surgery; he looked me in the eyes and said, “Aren’t you going to ask me the question?”

I couldn’t breathe anymore. Through gasps and uncontrollable tears, I managed to say, “Is he going to live?” one last time. Dr. Forse smiled and winked. “Yes.”

Jeremy's truck after the accident in 2012.

Jeremy’s truck after the accident in 2012.

Our family on Christmas Eve, 2015.

Our family on Christmas Eve, 2015.

At this point, you are likely wondering what this post has to do with the myth that is Valentine’s Day. You may or may not have noticed the date of Jeremy’s accident, February 16, 2012 – two days after Valentine’s Day.

As I sat in the ICU listening to the machines keep my husband alive, I stared at the last picture of Jeremy and I on my phone.


It was Valentine’s Day, and it was a reason to tell each other we still love each other, to have a glass of wine together, and to actually get a babysitter and go out for an hour-long meal…just us, just to talk, just to have an excuse to be husband and wife without other distractions. Why? Because it was Valentine’s Day. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do one time a year?

I can’t tell you how disgusted I was staring at this picture as I sat next to my husband while he fought for his life. I remembered taking it over and over because I wanted my nails to look nice. I remembered Jeremy politely going along with my orders as I struggled to get it just right. I wanted the perfect picture to put on social media. My focus wasn’t on enjoying time with my husband, it wasn’t on truly showing him how much he means to me, it was on the world and how they believed our relationship should be.

I listened to the beeps and swooshes as they mocked me. I had become that wife. I had allowed life’s distractions to come before my marriage. I had used Valentine’s Day, one day a year, to make a big deal about my marriage. And even then, I failed miserably. I still didn’t focus on Jeremy, I focused on the fact that it was Valentine’s Day and society told me I was supposed to act a certain way, do a certain thing, and say certain words.

And two days later, two days after I behaved as Valentine’s Day told me I should, I was about to be a widow. This man. This man who had changed everything about me, loved every part of me, even and especially the parts of me I hated, was fighting for his life. Not only that, he fought every single day before this. I just refused to see it. I refused to see the callus, landscaper hands that worked so hard to plant trees and provide for our family. I refused to see the gentle man he became when he sat next to our boys and said bedtime prayers or held a beautiful baby boy in his arms, one he created with me. I refused to put him first, before our children, before our other family members, before our friends. I refused to show him every single day how much he means to me, that my world would stop turning without him. I refused. I had a choice, and I didn’t do it.

But what hurt the most is the fact that I refused to see how hard he fought his depression. Every day, no matter what, he tried with everything he had to get up when his brain told him to stay in bed. He fought his dark thoughts as best he could and chose to believe there had to be some reason, something good about living with depression and suicidal thoughts. There had to be a reason God continued to keep him here on this earth. Every day he fought his brain to still be here and be the man he knew we needed him to be. I realized I’ve never met anyone stronger, anyone with more love or passion in his heart. And I made a big deal over him on one day of the year.

My thoughts overtook me as my sight shifted from staring out the window to the beeping machines and back to my husband.


Why didn’t I do this every day? Why didn’t I get a babysitter once a week and take time to just be together? Why didn’t I hold him and tell him how proud of him I am, how much I love him for how hard he fights? Why didn’t I hold him and tell him we would get through this hell that is depression together? Why did I let him believe he had to fight this demon alone? He’s human just like me, he needs to know how much I care and that he’s not alone just as much as I do.

I believe Valentine’s Day is a myth. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing to have a day when you celebrate how much you love someone, but to only do it because society tells you to, that’s where the myth comes in. I learned a lesson I was not ready for, I did not want, but I desperately needed. I learned to love my husband. It took me nearly losing him many times to understand, and I pray you will learn from my mistakes. Love each other every day. Take time together. Put your marriage before your children; trust me, it’s the best gift you can give to your children. They will grow to understand love and to know how to love their spouse. Pray together. It is true that we never know when the last “See you later.” on this Earth will be.

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After Jeremy survived five suicide attempts and the accident, we learned we had work to do. We learned the world needed to hear our story. Many need to understand there is hope even in mental illness. Our mission is to provide hope for mental health anchored in Jesus’ promise of eternal life. We will spend our lives thanking God for allowing us the chance to continue being a family. Jeremy continues to fight his depression daily, but we have learned how to take what Satan meant for evil and use it for God’s good. Read our story in “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” by Jeremy and Bailey Koch. Follow us by liking Jeremy and Bailey Koch on Facebook. We share our life because we live a reality so similar to so many. We have found hope and healing, and we pray the same for you. We have learned to live, not just stay alive.

~ Jeremy and Bailey Koch
January 16, 2016

To 911 – “I Can’t Find My Son.”

A parent’s worst nightmare. And today, I believed it had happened to me.

“911. What’s your emergency?”

“Oh God! I can’t find my son. I can’t find him. He’s with another little boy. ASHER!!!”

“Okay, mam. It’s okay. Where are you?”

“I’m in Cozad. They were playing. Oh, please God. They were playing in the back yard and they’re gone. They’re gone! ASHER!!!”

“Okay. It’s okay. We’re going to help. Can you tell me your address?”

“Oh, God. I should have checked on them more. I’m not home. I’m driving around trying to…”

“It’s okay. I’m getting the police…”


“Oh thank God. Okay. It’s okay mam. It’s okay. I’m so glad…”

“ASHER!!! Oh thank God!!! You get your ass in this car right now! You scared…”

I shifted my car and jumped out so fast that my van kept moving backward. Reverse. Not park. Try again. I jumped back in my moving vehicle and shifted up one more. Car stopped. I ran as fast as I could to my little boy and his friend, screaming every curse word that came to my mind, screaming at these beautiful boys covered in ditch water (where they had decided to escape for play time) that they scared us to death.

Truth be told. I did not handle today well.

Yes, we had a happy ending today. Yes, they are okay. But those 15 minutes of running around, driving around, and screaming at the top of our lungs for our six-year-old were undoubtedly the longest of my life.

I didn’t protect him. I should have checked on him more. I should have…

Every part of me truly believed someone had taken him, someone had harmed the innocent hairs on his head. Someone had my son.

The ditch. Am I looking for a body? What if he slipped and hit his head… He’s so little. We’ve talked about strangers. But would he do it? Would he get in a car with someone?

I tried to pray, but I believed so hard that someone had taken him, all I wanted to do was hurt whomever had him.

I’ll kill them. If someone hurts my baby. I’ll do it.

I can’t even believe my mind was capable of thinking this way. For 31 years of life, I have said I will act one way, I will do one thing, I will say these words, all if I were to experience what they experienced. I won’t judge someone. I could never hurt someone. I could never want another person to suffer no matter what they did.

And today, I learned the true reality of the terror of losing a child. I learned I had no control. I learned what my mind is capable, or incapable, of. 

The panic overtook everything in my body. I did not think clearly. I had never had so much energy in my life. It has now been over two hours since our terrifying 15 minutes, and I still can’t calm down. But what is baffling is I can’t believe what my brain thought, what my conversation with the 911 operator consisted of, and especially what I honestly believed to be true. I thought nothing good. Everything in my brain told me the worst case scenario. And now, I sit here trying to process it all.

The fear took over every logical thought in my mind. It dominated my thinking, my prayers, even my words. I was the crazy woman who the 911 operator couldn’t understand. I was the mother who believed I had lost my son.

So now I sit here and wonder, could I forgive someone who may hurt my child? Could I be the Christian I claim to be. Could I put my fears completely on God? Could I find good in losing my child? In that moment when I believed Asher was gone, I failed miserably.

I do not know if my mind is capable of forgiving someone who would hurt my child. I do not know how my world would keep turning if I lost my child. I do not know how I would react if I ever lose my child. I do not know…

None of us know. We do not know how we would feel, how we would react, what we would do, until we experience it ourselves. And even then, it’s not the same. I learned a terrifying lesson today. It was not a wanted lesson, but I understand why it happened. I needed to be humbled again. I needed to realize I am not strong enough without my God, without support.

Most importantly, I am not in control, even of my children’s destiny.

What many of us do have in common is our faith and the fact that many of us are parents. So now I know, all I can do is pray. I can pray for my ability to be a good mother, and to behave and act with grace using His truth. I can pray God will take my parenting anxieties. I can pray God will protect my boys and give me the strength to be everything they need.

So after my lesson today…

Heavenly Father,

I pray for the strength to look to You, to look to the good before ever choosing to first believe the evil. Today, I failed at this, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t give you my fears immediately. I pray I have learned my lesson. I pray I can truly forgive as I say I will. I pray I will not judge another or believe I would know how I would react in any situation. I especially pray for your protection over my children. I pray for the opportunity for my children to outlive me. I pray for those whom have lost children, please give them peace, strength, and grace. Please surround them with people who will love them and fill them with Your truth. Please give us all the strength and peace to think of You first.

I’m not strong enough to be a parent without You. And today, I let my parenting fears overtake me.

In Jesus’ Name.



Cozad, NE Mental Health Support Group “Anchoring Hope” Officially Began

We believe there is a time for everything, and everything has to come in His time, not ours. For years, we have wanted to begin a support group in Central Nebraska for those suffering from mental illness or supporting a loved one. We drove to Kearney on Monday nights for a long time, as Kearney had the closest support group. But we stopped going when the drive and time away from our boys started making advocating for our mental health that much harder.

But we missed it terribly. Being surrounded by others who truly understand your reality is liberating, healing, and needed.

The support group was one of the first times we truly opened up. We said it out loud…

“Hi, my name is Jeremy and I have severe depression. I have been hospitalized inpatient twice and I have attempted suicide five times. I was nearly killed in a car accident we believe was caused by a depression medication failure.”

“Hi, my name is Bailey and I’m Jeremy’s wife. Being the primary support person is hard. It’s hard not to take the symptoms personal. I also have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperativity Disorder).”

It still feels good to say it out loud, to truly own it. We laugh about our reality often. We joke that either Jeremy really sucks at trying to kill himself, or we are still here together on this Earth for a reason. It may be both.

“But finding good in this evil is our way of telling Satan to go to hell and stay there.” – from our “Depression Yesterday. Depression Today.” blog post.

So nearly seven years after the initial depression diagnosis, it’s time to advocate for mental health. It’s time to help others understand you are not alone. It’s time for us to take what we have learned and show those suffering or supporting that there is hope, that life is worth living, and that God is good, even when circumstances aren’t.

The first “Anchoring Hope” support group is officially created. And its home is right here in Central Nebraska, Cozad to be exact.

The brochure pictures below have a lot of information on them about who we are, why we want to help, and what we believe about mental health.

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We hope this is the first support group of many. We hope to expand support groups one day. But a journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step. Thank you for being a part of our first step.

If you would like to join us, please do. If you are struggling with mental illness or trying to support a loved one, please come. Please know you are not alone. Please know we are all in this together and God wants us to fight. We are stronger together.

The “Anchoring Hope” for mental health support group of Cozad will meet every Monday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at United Way (105 East Hwy 30) just south of the 100th Meridian sign.

Be sure to like “Anchoring Hope” on Facebook to stay up to date on support group information (weather and holiday cancellations included) as well as “Jeremy & Bailey Koch: Anchoring Hope for Mental Health Ministry” to follow our personal story and journey.

We are blessed and beyond thrilled to be finally be taking another step toward doing what we know God has planned for our lives. Mental health advocacy is our passion and our purpose. You are the reason we are here and we pray we can help each other.

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We would especially like to thank United Way for providing us a place to meet free of charge; you are such a blessing to us and many. Additionally, we plan to have a middle or high school student there during meetings to provide care for children in a separate room…just another way we would like you to know your priorities are important, but advocating for your mental health keeps you around for your family. If you do bring your children, we suggest a $2.50 donation per child to the person watching kids for the hour, but of course there is absolutely no cost for attending the support group and if you cannot afford a child care donation, your mental health comes first. We understand.

Please share with anyone who you may feel would benefit from attending the “Anchoring Hope” for mental health support group in Cozad, Nebraska on Monday nights from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at United Way (105 East Hwy 30) just south of the 100th Meridian sign. The first meeting will take place Monday, January 11, 2016 and will continue weekly pending no weather or holidays (watch Facebook for any cancellations).

Thank you for support and God bless. We are so excited to be taking this step in our mental health ministry.

Our links:

Anchoring Hope on Facebook

Jeremy & Bailey Koch: Anchoring Hope for Mental Health Ministry on Facebook



“Never Alone” in eBook format on Amazon

Depression Yesterday. Depression Today.

Yesterday, I wanted to kill myself.

You see, I was diagnosed with severe depression in 2009. I’ve tried so many different medications, my wife and I lost count. It wasn’t until 2012, after five failed suicide attempts and a near-death car accident, when I finally told my wife about the reality of my brain.

Each suicidal thought that creeps into my brain makes me want to just end it all. “Anywhere else has got to be better than living in this hell,” my brain tells me. “My family doesn’t deserve this. They will be so much happier if I am just gone.


Each time I tried to kill myself, at the very last minute before I would take my last breath on this earth, I would get a vision. I always saw my boys; I am father to two young sons. Most of the time, they waved goodbye from a window as tears streaked their faces.

And that would do it.

I pressed the button on the garage door to let fresh air flow in and I gasped as the poison I had just put in my lungs began to leave me. I ripped the bag off my head just before I ran out of oxygen. I put the gun down and slammed my fists on the floor so hard my hands bruised.

But I won. In those moments, I won.

I finally told my wife about the true terror of my suicidal thoughts in a suicide note one night as she slept in September of 2012. That night was going to be the end of me on this earth. I planned how I would hang myself in our garage, just behind our back yard where our boys play with our dogs. I told my wife not to come find me, that I didn’t want her to see me that way.

I won again that night. As I typed the suicide note, I felt a demon inside of me release. I learned the power of honesty.


I just passed another year with my family. Welcome to 2016. I still have depression. I take my medication every day. I surround myself with other believers, people who are willing to admit we need each other. We are God’s army; we in all our sinful human nature are here on this earth to support each other, to love each other, to help each other understand God is good all the time no matter our circumstances. I am not strong enough to battle this demon without support.

I learned God has not forgotten me. He has been preparing me for war.

My wife and I can laugh, most days, about the reality of my suicidal thoughts. We understand now that God was beside me every time I wanted to end my life, and He was desperately trying to get my attention. I imagine Him holding my head and placing images of my sons in my mind. I imagine Him telling my grandmother to go check on me just before she knocked on our door and caused me to pull the bag off my head. I imagine Him holding the hands of the pharmacists, scientists, and doctors as they created and prescribed medications to help me with my chemical imbalance.

So the truth we have learned to embrace is the humor even in mental illness. Finding good in this evil is our way of telling Satan to go to hell and stay there.

So either I completely suck at trying to kill myself, or God has a much greater purpose for my pain. It may be both. But either way, I refuse to live my life allowing Satan to win. 

So yesterday. Yesterday, I began having suicidal thoughts. I felt defeated. “Son of a bitch,” I thought. “They’re back. They were gone and now they’re back. Will this ever end? Will this ever go away completely? It had been so long since I felt this defeated. I had hope this would never happen. Now that hope is gone. I need to be gone. I need to end this. My family doesn’t deserve this.”

More lies.

So now came the hard part. For a few hours, I said nothing. I was quiet, empty. I had no hope. And then it happened, the first of God’s attempts to snap me back to His reality. My wife looked at me and said, “You’re quiet today. Are you okay?”

Before I would ignore it. I would have said I’m okay and I would have gone on to fight this beast within myself alone. I’m strong enough, right?


I made a choice. “I’m quiet because I haven’t been feeling well.”

“Suicidal thoughts?” She questioned.

I made another choice. “Yes.”

Did the suicidal thoughts immediately stop? No. But now I didn’t have to fight them alone. We’ve been through this before. Bailey knows what to ask. Did I have a plan for my death? No. Were the thoughts overwhelming or fleeting? Fleeting. Did I feel like there was any hope? No. Did I feel like I had been locked in a battle? Yes.

Who was going to win this battle this time? God.

When we went to bed together last night, we prayed as we always do. But our prayers this time did not center around fix me, make me better. Don’t get me wrong, we pray for that too. But I had just worked my way through a battle between good and evil in my own brain, and I did it with much greater success than I ever have. Now, our prayers center around allowing God to use us to help you. “Use this pain for Your good, Father. Help us reach others through our experiences and give them hope.”

I have information others need to know. I have a plan for defeating this demon of depression that lives inside so many. I can help those suffering from suicidal thoughts to understand there is hope, and you can win. How can I do this? Because I live this reality and I know life is worth living. I know God is here with us.

And this morning, my wife, the talented writer, woke up feeling inspired. Our prayer is being answered as you read. Will this post save lives? Will this post, this positive message of true healing, go viral over the negative posts that so often surround us on social media? Will this post be there to save lives of those who believe there is no hope? We believe in our message, our mission. We share our truth because you are loved.

Yesterday, I wanted to kill myself. Today, I live as an example that life does go on, that life is worth fighting for, and that God did not forget you. He has placed good everywhere in our lives. See Him.

I won again yesterday. I won because I have learned how to ask for help. My God, my wife, my sons, my medication, my family, my friends, my doctors, my church family, my counselor…the list goes on and on. There are so many who are willing to help. I know I am never alone.


Our book, our very personal story, was published in May of 2015. It is there for the world. What do we have to hide? Nothing if it helps save lives. Link to purchase either the paperback or eBook at www.jeremyandbailey.com.

So today depression is there, but it did not win yesterday. Will my suicidal thoughts come back? They very well may. But they will not win. I know how to fight my illness. I know how to ask for help. I know how to live even when my brain tells me there is no hope. There is always hope.

Today, I don’t want to kill myself. Today, I celebrate another triumph. Today, I ask you to take a stand for the reality of depression with me. Today, we win because God has a plan, a mission if you will. I know my mission, and I will take the evil Satan intended to destroy me with and I will allow God to use it for His good.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20

Today, I am alive with my family for another day. Today, depression lost.

~ Jeremy & Bailey Koch

New Year. New Me.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
I’ve lost weight before – 65 pounds to be exact. In case any of you weren’t friends with me in 2009, I was up to 226 pounds on the day I delivered our youngest son. After having Asher, my body quickly lost 25…literally overnight. So…201 was the number. I’m on the right holding our oldest son, Hudson. I was visiting my friend, Angela, holding Asher, our youngest son.


But it wasn’t the number that got me. It was the way I felt. It was the constant back pain, the zero energy, the self-confidence issues. Those are what mattered. It took me a while to find the motivation, but once I found it, the journey started. And I wouldn’t stop. At my best friend’s wedding in 2014, I weighed 140 pounds (actually too thin for me). I had worked my ass off. No sugar-coating that word; it’s true. I maintained a healthy weight at 150 for quite a while.
But it was almost April last year when I realized my weight was creeping up again. I had left my job as a special educator, one in which I walked miles every day around the school, and took up focus on my doctoral degree and working from home. You can imagine how much my exercise level had changed. But I kept pushing it off. I kept saying 160 is okay, I can stay there. But I changed no habits. All of the sudden, I was 170 and could stay there. But I changed no habits. Now here I am. Christmas is over and I weigh 184.6 pounds (well 180.6 since I started a couple days ago). My back hurts so freaking bad, I can’t sit on the floor and play games with my son. I have zero energy to do any physical exercise. And my body is literally falling apart. I now proudly (and embarrassingly) display scars from 5 knee surgeries and 1 ankle surgery. What would this have to do with weight, you ask? Everything. I have extremely weak joints, as do many people. But for those of us who do, muscles hold us together well…unless you’re me and you have no muscle. So I fall apart. I sublux (dislocate and immediately pop back in). It started in middle school with my knees. The ankle began in September and I have since undergone surgery there. And this just in…my shoulder began subluxing while I was in my boot for my ankle and I refused to do anything or tell anyone because it’s freaking embarrassing and ridiculous how damn clumsy I seem. In reality, while I am clumsy, I’m put together horrible. And I’m getting older. I have to do something, and I have to do it better than I ever have before.
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My goal is 145 pounds, but I believe the scale lies. Today, I am 181 so I have 36 pounds to go. I don’t know what my body will be like as this is the first time I will be actively trying to gain muscle. I’m basing this more off of the mirror and how I feel. I’ve started my diet and walking on the treadmill, but I start the 21 day challenge workouts on Monday. And I will do them. And I will hate them. But after a while, the workouts will get easier. I will look at myself in the mirror and smile as I will see progress. I will notice my clothes fitting different…or fitting at all.
I’m very blessed that after 15 years, I still look at my husband and think he’s totally a hottie. I know he feels this way about me too, but I’m ready to believe him when he tells me this. So why am I sharing? Because I know there are so many of you whom have told yourself you will lose weight before. I have been doing it for a long time, but I also have lost a lot of weight before. I know it’s not easy to lose weight. I know it’s easy to put it back on. I’ve done both. Time to lose it and keep it gone. I’m ready to get healthy. Feel free to join me. And no this isn’t just another resolution nobody keeps. This is learning to live healthy. It takes time. I will falter sometimes, but I will get back up and keep going. It’s life.
What do you have to lose? I’m looking forward to losing back pain, losing my lack of energy, losing the possibilities of more surgeries, and losing my fear of full body pictures. 🙂 So it begins…