Out of the depths of her despair, Mara Measor started talking to God.
The singer-songwriter first started keeping a prayer journal during a year-long service trip to Ethiopia. She felt lonely at first, since she didn’t speak the language, so she turned to God for companionship.
Then, her prayers turned into doodles. Measor, now 26, said she found it comforting to draw herself in such a childlike way. She'd look at the tiny figure scrawled onto the pages of her journal and think, “She’s going to be okay.”
The discipline of documenting and drawing out her prayers became crucial when Measor, a Hong Kong native, moved to New York City. In her new and unfamiliar environment, a number of challenges hit her at the same time. She struggled to survive as an artist and wondered whether her dreams were sustainable -- all while trying to cope with her dad’s illness.
Before she knew it, she began slipping into depression. Having grown up in a Christian community, she didn’t know how to address her mental health at first.
“I think for Christians, it’s easy to have a lot of guilt piled on to you when you’re not doing great,” Measor said. “If you’re trusting in God, then things should be fine and if you’re not happy, you must be doing something wrong.”
She began seeing a counselor and slowly began process of finding herself -- and renewing her relationship with God.
Measor’s upcoming book, “Naked Prayers,” is a documentation of all the prayers and doodles she wrote to God from 2012 to 2013, during the period of great turmoil and restoration in her life.
She’s raising funds for her project and an accompanying album at Kickstarter.
The book is aimed at people of all faiths who are going through hard times, Measor said.
“You don’t have to pretend that everything’s okay -- not to others and especially not to God,” Measor said. “It’s so sad when you speak to him as anything but exactly who you are.”