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gillian marchenko

Author and Speaker

Meet Gillian

Gillian Marchenko is an author, national speaker, wife, mother, and an advocate for individuals with mental illness and special needs. She has written for many publications including Chicago Parent, Thriving Family, and Today’s Christian Woman. Gillian and her husband Sergei spent four years as church planters with the Evangelical Free Church of America in Kyiv, Ukraine and now live with their four daughters near St. Louis, Missouri. Gillian says that the world is full of people who seem to have their lives together. She speaks up for the rest of us.

Still Life

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“I stand on the edge of a cliff in my own bedroom.”
Gillian Marchenko continues her description of depression: “I must keep still. Otherwise I will plunge to my death. ‘Please God, take this away,’ I pray when I can.”

For Gillian, “dealing with depression” means learning to accept and treat it as a physical illness. In these pages she describes her journey through various therapies and medications to find a way to live with depression. She faces down the guilt of a wife and mother of four, two with special needs. How can she care for her family when she can’t even get out of bed?

Her story is real and raw, not one of quick fixes. But hope remains as she discovers that living with depression is STILL LIFE.

Sun Shine Down

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What if? What if you dreamed of having a beautiful child and in your mind you saw the life you’d share with that child. First steps, little league (or ballet). Maybe the child would play piano or make you proud on the Honor Roll. There’d be eventual graduations, college, even marriage and grandchildren. You might dream it out that far. Or not. Every parent has hopes.

Then you had a premature delivery in a foreign country. And the words swirling around you said a different kind of “what if.” What if something was wrong? The dream was at risk—or so it seemed. Would you be ready for that? Could you make peace? Or would it take you down? These are the questions author Gillian Marchenko faced as she woke up after an emergency C-section in Ukraine. Only her newborn child could answer them, in time. But first she had to find a way to hear more than the words “Down syndrome.”

Praise for Gillian’s Books

Still Life Review

“Gillian Marchenko generously lets us know her and walk her journey, and in the process we grow to love her. You won’t find pat answers or bland reassurances here; you’ll find a real and courageous woman, a serious fight with mental illness and faith-fueled hope. If you live with depression or care about someone who does, you must read this book.”

– Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds and Anxious

Sun Shine Down Review

“From the very first page, Marchenko tugs the heartstrings of anyone who has ever experienced—or wanted to experience—parenthood, leaving us with a broadened view of the universe and a deeper understanding of what it really means to love one another.”

– Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free

Still Life Review

“In this intimate memoir, Gillian Marchenko exposes her deepest, most painful struggles with humor and grace. More than a story of acceptance, compassion and hope; this book is a celebration of life.”

– Kelley Clink, author of A Different Kind of Same

Sun Shine Down Review

“Gillian Marchenko’s Sun Shine Down is a moving account of the birth of her third daughter, Polina. She describes her depression after Polly’s birth and her own difficulty in loving her child. Beautifully written, this memoir is hopeful without being glib.”

– Susan Olasky, World magazine