The Only Way Out

On a Sunday morning in our country church, we all sat facing the wooden cross nailed to the wall. Wicks flickered. A mama shushed her boys. An old farmer creased his bulletin in half.

All of us leaned in for the story the pastor was about to tell.

“A man was walking down a street when he fell into a hole,” our pastor began. “The walls were so steep he couldn’t get out. So the man in the hole began to cry out for help.”

Soon, a doctor walked by, and he heard the man’s cries for help. The doctor wrote a prescription, tossed it down the hole, and walked away.

Before long, a priest walked by and heard the man calling out. “Father, can you help me?” the man asked. The priest wrote a prayer, threw it in the hole, and walked away.

Finally, a friend came along. And the man asked the friend for help.

The friend then made a brave, bold move: He jumped into the hole.

The man who had been trapped was aghast. “Are you stupid? Now we’re both stuck down here!”

But the friend said, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”

moon

This story — a modern-day parable — was first told 15 years ago on the TV drama The West Wing.

But today, this story is for all of us. The parable is for every person in my church and every person whose eyes are crossing this screen today. The story is for every pastor, every mama, every wife struggling through a divorce, and every grandma battling depression. It’s for every breast cancer survivor, and every woman who just received the diagnosis. It’s for every recovering alcoholic, and for anyone still looking for hope at the bottom of a bottle.

Right now, all of us are in one of two places: We are either stuck in a hole. Or we’re walking along the street, seeing holes all around and hearing only voices.

As I sat in my wooden pew on Sunday morning, tears filled my eyes. I thought about the people I know who are stuck in holes. And I thought about the people who helped me out of mine.

I was stuck in a hole for 15 years. My hole was the shape of doubt. I didn’t believe the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I was afraid that the whole Bible was a sham. But I was too ashamed to cry out for help. The walls were too steep for me to climb out on my own. And if there was a God, well, He didn’t seem to care. I was so terribly angry at an invisible diety who was supposedly all-knowing, yet didn’t bother dropping me a rope.

I thought I might die there, in the dark.

God never sent a rope. But He sent a friend. He sent someone who knew the terrain of the hole I was in. And that friendship built a ladder so I could climb out.

"God never sent a rope. But He sent a friend." Jennifer Dukes Lee // incourage.me

When I finally stood on the rim of the hole, I could see with startling clarity that God had done more than send a friend during that season. He’d done the unthinkable: Long ago, He sent Himself.

This is the gospel. God stood at the edge of a hole, and He heard people crying for help. But God didn’t write us a prescription and throw it down the hole. He didn’t pray then walk away. He made the boldest, bravest move in human history: He jumped into the hole. Jesus forfeited heaven, put skin on, and lived on the inside of every hole, every mess, every valley you could imagine.

Scriptures tell us that Jesus “experienced it all himself — all the pain, all the testing — and would be able to help where help was needed” (Hebrews 2:18, The Message).

Jesus gets you. He knows the steepness of all the walls in all the holes. He is uniquely equipped to hear your cry, to jump into the most treacherous holes, and to help you find the way out. Jesus is the ladder.

One of the ways Jesus helps us out of those holes is through His modern-day disciples — ordinary people like you and me. If we are on the street, then we are called to do more than offer a few clichéd prescriptions. Because this is who we are: We are the Hole Hunters. We are the Cry Hearers. We are the Noticers and the Jumper-In-ers.

If you’ve ever been in a hole, and are standing on the street, it means you know the way out. 

friends

I don’t know where you’re at today. I don’t know if you’re inside the hole, ashamed to cry out like I was. Or maybe your voice is hoarse from crying out so long. And all you’ve got is a pile of prescriptions and prayers at your feet. Friend, Jesus is right there with you, building you a ladder.

Or maybe you’ve been rescued, and you’re living in freedom, up on the street. But you recognize the holes, because you dwelled in them. Friend, Jesus is calling you to do the brave, bold, ridiculous thing:

Jump.

We don’t have to jump into every hole. That would be foolish, because we don’t know the way out of every hole. But you’ll know which ones are familiar, and which ones aren’t. Pick the ones you know.

Someone is waiting for you.

friends, sunset

Where are you? Are you stuck in a hole? Or did you find a way out? Tell us your story.

Share on Twitter:

Jesus helps us out of our holes through His modern-day disciples — ordinary people like you and me. {Tweet this!}

All photos by Mary Anne Morgan of Mary Anne Morgan Photography. Used with permission.
comments:
share:
  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jennifer,
    Wow…how powerful. I have been in and out of many holes in my lifetime. Throughout my life I have found myself in the hole of ocd/depression. It’s an awful, dark hole, but Jesus has been faithful each episode to jump in, comfort me and help me crawl back out. I know the agonizing hole of divorce as well…thanking God that He sent his Son and friends to jump in with me to show me the way out. Right now, my son is in the same hole of spiritual doubt that you were in. I have jumped in so many times, but I believe that God may be intending to send someone else…a friend, a trustworthy Christian, I don’t know…but someone whose voice will resonate with my son and be able to show him the way out. As you pointed out, not every hole is ours to jump into. I do feel like my calling now, and has been to be a jumper-iner…there’s so many crying out. Thanks, Jennifer, for such a moving and motivating post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Bev,

      Thank you for sharing here about the holes in which you’ve become familiar. I know well the pain of the hole in which your son resides. Some people might say I was an unbeliever. But I was a “wanna-believer.” I wanted to believe, but could not understand how any of it could be true. I deeply connect with people like your son, who doubts. Deeply. Praying today, Bev, that someone close to him who understands the terrain can jump on and help build a ladder out.

    • Sadiezoe23

      I too understand the deep hole of depression. Thank you for sharing.

  • Donna

    I was in a “hole” of depression a few years ago, but the Lord gave me an opportunity to help someone out of a deeper hole, so I reached down to my friend in a deeper hole and by doing so we were both pulled out! Glory to Jesus, my Saviour & Lord!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      What a powerful story of community, Donna!

  • http://CrystalTwaddell.com/ Crystal

    So very true Jennifer…God just recently connected me with a new friend, and I have come to expect that He has done so for a reason. Sometimes it is because of our own need, sometimes because of someone else’s need, and sometimes because of a shared hurt and need to walk the road together as sisters. So, I waited, and by our second meet-up, God revealed why He intersected our paths – He is just so crazy good to care about every piece of our hearts to not let any slip away untouched by His healing hand! Thank you for this!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      I appreciate your third relationship set mentioned here: how two people can have a shared heart, and walk the road together. Beautiful.

  • Mindy Mason von Gunten

    Holy Smokes what a great illustration!! Thanks for this…I hope I never forget this insight, wisdom and call to action you’ve challenged us with.

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Hi Mindy. Yeah. It was pretty powerful. Thanks for reading along. xo

  • http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/ ro elliott

    your post makes me think of a couple of passages.. “if a brother or sister is in need and you say…go in peace and be well feed… and do not give them what they need… what good is that…James2:15 …1Peter 3:15… Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…. I have known darkness… and it is so powerful when even one timely word is spoken…. a bright shard of light shines like a laser into the darkness. And for me… being on the receiving end of people being Jesus hands and feet to me… just makes me want to return the grace and mercy shown to me.
    and oh my… West Wing… my all time favorite show!!!!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Do you remember this story from West Wing, Ro? I’ve never watched the show before, so the story was new to me, until our pastor told it.

      Thanks for the verses. Just perfect for this post.

      • http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/ ro elliott

        Yes… They had some powerful shows… If you ever want to get into a series…it is a really good one…our whole family fav

    • Lynn D. Morrissey

      Yay, Ro!!! I LOVE West Wing. We bought the series, and my daughter is really enjoying it. A Christian friend once told me she never watched it and didn’t know how I could watch anything so liberal. First, I don’t like labels, but were I to use one on myself, I would be more conservative. Does that mean I have to agree with every, single thing I watch, read, etc?! I don’t agree w/ all the politics of WW, but I think Aaron Sorkin makes his characters believable, and as a result, they wrestle. And that’s not a bad thing. Plus, the acting, the sets, the dialogue are excellent. Someone told me (I’m not sure if this is true) that WW became a prototype for Julian Fellowes as he writes Downton Abbey. One can certainly see similarities–fabulous acting and character development, authentic life-wrestling, great cinematography and beautiful sets, careful attention to detail and on and on. That my daughter enjoys it underscores to me its relevance. Anyway, fun to find a WW fan. I had to get past the pilot (parts of that I like and parts I don’t). But I’m glad I stuck w/ it, and it’s been fun to start watching episodes again. Gosh, they ended a # of yrs ago.

      • http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/ ro elliott

        Yes…West wing definitely has a liberal bent to it… But the story line and depth of characters are rich… And for me as the series goes on each year it gets richer! I did not realized the same guy does Downton… I have not seen any this new show! I think you will like WW the deeper you get into it… Keep me posted

        • Lynn

          Oh I totally agree! It is rich. And I don’t believe it is totally liberal. It shows all sides. Actually I saw it all when it aired several years back, but I just wanted to watch it, unrushed, w/ no commercials. Sheridan loves it, so we watch together. No, Aaron Sorkin doesn’t write Downton–Julian Fellowes does, but it seems like he models the style from WW, and I had heard that. Not sure if ti’s true.

  • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy Robinson

    My goodness, this comparison makes it so real how much we need to be wiling to walk into the ‘holes’ and lead others to freedom! What a powerful allegory. Thank you!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Yes… a powerful story. And I think, too, that we can remember that we can’t jump into every hole. We don’t know the way out of every hole! But as a community, we can help each other find the places where we’re called to be.

  • http://www.simplyoneinmarriage.com/ Sabra Penley

    So thankful that Jesus–our truest Friend–leads others to help us out of that dark hole. When my husband was barely hanging to life, it was the support and prayers and encouragement of friends that pulled me up and kept me from falling back into a dark place. Oh, that I would be faithful to jump into the holes all around me and be a loving friend. Thank you, Jennifer. So beautiful. So inspiring.

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      I’m so glad you had friends to help you build a ladder out, Sabra. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    I love your post Jennifer. Funny you should mention West Wing. My daughter and I just watched that very episode a couple of nights ago, and that is a neat episode, which makes a powerful point (especially to me, as an alcoholic). Jesus certainly has lifted me from that hole (as of July 15, 1985), and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Him. He did not rescue me in a traditional way, but solely by His power. I am indebted to Him, but far more for the new life in Him that He has bestowed. And you are so right: Jesus Himself is the ladder. I am reminded of the passage in Scripture about Jacob’s ladder, and we learn that Jesus Himself is the ladder. We can’t extricate ourselves from life’s holes–in fact, we get buried in them, and ultimately we’ll be buried in one from which we can’t escape without Him. He’s the ladder, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no other ladder and no other way. And what a joy to tell others there is a WAY out. We ultimately cannot lift them from their holes, but we can tell them Who can. It’s a sobering and yet glorious and wonderful reminder. Oh to be a partner with Him in showing others the way out of man-holes. Love you, Jennifer.
    Lynn

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Lynn,

      I don’t think that I knew that your own personal pit involved alcoholism. Thank you for sharing that here.

      Yes, I thought of the Jacob’s ladder verses while writing this. The ladder imagery in Scripture captures my heart. In this world of “climbing higher,” of corporate ladders and more, there’s really only one ladder that matters at all.

      I so appreciate you, Lynn, and your heart for the gospel, and The Way.

      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        Bless you sweet, Jennifer. Yes, God’s answer for my alcoholism is another testimony to His grace–amazing, lavish grace. Yes, you’re so right–just one ladder that matters. Bless you dear, dear one.

  • Sadiezoe23

    LOVE this post. This is an answer to prayer and one of my favorite posts ever posted on the site…and they are all AWESOME!! ;)

  • Sarah S

    I admit to being a jumper-in-er. I love this analogy. It helped me remember something about my purpose that being in a hole, helping someone through, and out, well….sometimes it’s easy to forget that you’re there for a reason. Sometimes the muck at the bottom holds fast to your boots and you feel like your stuck again…unable to climb out…unable to help that friend you jumped in after…Thanks for the reminder. I know the way out. I’ve been here before. I don’t have to panic. I can be still and Know God. Blessings

  • Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Such a powerful illustration Jennifer, of sharing with others what has been entrusted to us through our own experiences~ the way out of dark, deep holes through Jesus!

  • Debby Justice

    For the past several months my husband and I have been helping my mom settle into a dementia unit. It has been horribly hard. My husband sometimes says it feels like he is “down in a dark pit”. Your article resonated with me and I am excited to share it with him. There are friends who climb down into that pit with us and show us the ways to get out. These are the ones who have walked this way before and understand…When I see emails or FB messages from these friends, my heart is warmed. I want to use what I am learning to help others in the future.

  • Inspired Life

    Jennifer,
    May blessings to you for today’s word. God must be stirring something in the atmosphere because today I’m sharing something so very similar about those burden bearing friends and Jesus taking away the load. Mmm, I am in awe at how masterfully He weaves together our experiences to cement a point. The photography in the post is so touching, makes me want to go hug a friend right now.

  • Devon

    My voice is hoarse from calling for help. I feel completely abandoned. I desperately need help. I’m afraid and so broken.

    • Laura

      You are not alone and it is a step that you posted here. What can we pray for or do to help? I’m guessing there’s someone here who can relate to the hole you’re in and point to the way out.

    • Liv

      God hears your cries. Wait for The Lord. Never Give Up. The Lord is Very near to the broken hearted ( those are promises from Him in the scriptures ) Give God some time to work behind the scenes for you. Take one day at a time. Maybe try to share/reach out to a Christian friend or counselor/pastor/church. Christian music can often be encouraging. Elizabeth George has a good book on depression “Loving God with all your mind”. Claire Weeks has a good book about anxiety, “Hope and Help for your nerves”. I still get stuck in pits of despair sometimes but these help sometimes.
      Imagine Jesus Holding you like the Footprints poem and catching your tears.
      I dont believe it sometimes. But I have heard its true so why not…ok believe.
      Also Renee Swope has a good book ” A confident heart”

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Praying for you this morning, Devon. I’m joining Laura and Liv here. We hear you. Is there any one you trust whom you can reach out to today?

    • Beth Williams

      Prayers for you Devon. You are not alone!! God is there with you always and willing to listen!! I pray God sends a friend your way to help you see your way out of this pit!!
      You must learn to be a little patient. God’s timing is perfect!! Reach out to someone as you did here and see how God works miracles!!
      Blessing and ((((hugs))))

  • Eunice

    Such a beautiful, POWERFUL, inspiring story. Jumping in. . .and building ladders of faith, love and hope:-) Thanks!!!!

  • Mary-Ann

    In A Hole

    Thank You for this Blog post Jennifer! I am in a very deep
    hole and do not know my way out and have asked many people for help that threw
    me a prescription also. I have begged God to deliver me for a very long time.
    At various points in my journey I have thought I knew what God was saying, only
    to be disappointed or confused.

    I have suffered with PTSD, I have chronic depression, Lupus,
    deteriorating disc disease and fibromyalgia. However, the hole I’m in is the
    hole of addiction. I am addicted to prescription medication for pain and
    depression and I’m addicted to alcohol. I have read many books on addiction,
    try to find counselling, and even looked for medical detox centers where I can
    get help but have been very discouraged by my findings. The programs are either
    too expensive or government funded, scary places.

    I live on a lake in a very isolated that is steeped in
    legalism and religion. Most of the community support and family connections I
    have are either struggling with addiction themselves or so religious and
    judgemental they are not safe people to share your heart with.

    I know God is working in my circumstances and see evidence
    of his presence in many ways but I am afraid I am slowly destroying myself and
    don’t know where to turn or who to trust.

    Please pray for me and if you have any suggestions I would gratefully
    hear them?

    Thanks,

    MaryAnn

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      This is a hole that I have not been in, but I am going to see if I can find someone who can, MaryAnn. For starters, do you have:

      1 – even one close friend/spouse/significant other whom you trust and whom you can acknowledge this addiction, so that you can admit your struggle, but not feel abandoned?

      2 – Do you have any faith community there at all, i.e. a church or study group, where a spiritual leader can assist?

      3 – Are there any AA groups or counselors that you can call today?

      I am praying, MaryAnn!

      • Mary-Ann

        Hi Jennifer, Thanks for responding. I have told my husband and my family that I am struggling and that I need to go to rehab. They have responded with saying if your Disability claim comes through you will be able to pay for a decent rehab place to go to. I tell everyone I talk to that I’m struggling with addiction but because of the prescription medication I take for depression and pain (Dexedrine class II Narcotic) I don’t fit the typical staggering, dishevelled, stereotype Alcoholic. I am reading the book by Bonnie Grey called “Finding Spiritual Whitespace” Which is about Bonnie struggling with PTSD. We have VERY similar stories. I am also reading a book by Dr. James Richards called “Breaking the Cycle” the ultimate solution to breaking destructive patterns. Other then my self help books I don’t have any faith community. There are AA groups available in my area but from talking to people who have been apart of these groups it seems they are either very religious or secular in nature. I spoke with a social worker from our community and when I told her about my church experience she became confrontational and said perhaps she could not help me. I did talk to a psychiatrist about my struggle with alcohol and my prescription medication several months ago and she said when I felt ready she could prescribe some medication that is suppose to work against addiction but she also said it would be very hard to get off of the medication I am taking. I went to a support group that was sponsored through Mental health but the people attending monopolized the conversation time with their specific issues. There was very little time given to the Social Worker leading the group to provide information that would be helpful. So after several meeting; including one where I asked my husband to attend because I did not want to make up excuses not to attend if it was helpful; I stopped attending. At certain times in my Journey I have felt like God was saying that He and He Alone would be the one to bring my healing and deliverance but then I have second guessed my spiritual ears and thought perhaps I am deceiving myself so I begin my self help cycle again. I am just really at a loss to know so when I read your blog I thought maybe there is something I am missing in my understanding of what to do.

        • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

          Mary-Ann, I talked with several people who have gotten out of your particular “hole,” and they unanimously recommended some kind of recovery system — even if there are flaws with the people in them. All community has flaws, and there will be no perfect way. But community is vitally important. They also mentioned Celebrate Recovery as a great option. … So glad you’re reading Bonnie’s book, too. It’s beautiful.

        • Lynn D. Morrissey

          Dear Mary Ann,

          I wanted you to know how very touched I am by your transparency and willingness to share a piece of your heart in such an intimate way with Jennifer and her readers. I am also touched, because, I , too, am an alcoholic. I anguished over this addiction, and didn’t think that there was any way out of this hellish hole. That was 30 years ago this year: July 15, 2015 (I stopped drinking in 1985). I just wanted to reach out to you and assure you that there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS hope in Christ. I pray I am not overstepping my bounds, but I wanted to share what changed for me. In no way am I telling you personally what to do or suggesting that you not receive professional help in counseling or rehab or even help in a hospital treatment setting. You have some other difficulties (like drug addiction and physical conditions that I have never faced). Your situation may be one where you need to be carefully monitored and physically weaned from these drugs so that your body does not react aversely. So please hear me on that. I can only share with you my personal story and pray that in some way God will use it to encourage you about His faithfulness. It’s really not my story, but His! I was a new Christian at the time with a very demanding job, and I began to socialize on Friday nights by joining friends at restaurants and/or bars as a way to unwind, chat, and just leave the work pressures behind. We’d often sip wine into the late hours. Drinking, for me, was an insidious thing, because by the time I realized that I might have a problem, I couldn’t stop. First, for me, there was denial. I didn’t think that I had a problem, though my husband had started noticing. And when I started hiding my wine bottles or purposely avoided eating until dinner time and made food containing wine (like sauces) so I could get buzzed, I began to realize I might be in trouble. Also, at this time, as a new Christian I attended a Bible study. And amazingly, whenever I read the Word, Ephesians 5:18 would crop up. It reads: “Do not be drunk on wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” Wine was my beverage of choice (so God really convicted me with it), and I was also certainly dissipated when I drank it, because I drank to excess. I also did things that I would not normally have done while sober, including driving. I was in an accident, and could have been killed. I was broadsided by a pick-up truck, because I ran a stop-sign. A cop even came to the scene and amazingly did not test my breath; he just made sure that everyone was okay. That too was a real wake-up call to me and evidence of God’s mercy. At this time, I also spoke with my husband’s boss, a reformed alcoholic, who suggested one way for me to know if I had a drinking problem would simply to be to stop drinking. If it were no problem, I would have no difficulty. If it were, then I would. He told me I had nothing to lose. So I decided to stop, and I couldn’t. I prayed and I kept telling God I would stop, but I couldn’t–and all the while still encountering Eph. 5:18, so I knew this to be His will and constant prodding to abandon wine. So I told my husband and close friends that I needed to stop. I admitted that I was an alcoholic, and before God, I confessed this as sin. That would be considered controversial in some circles, because many say that alcoholism is a disease. I *personally* believe that it becomes such when it wreaks havoc on the body and brain, and when the addiction needs professional help, but I do not personally believe it is a disease like cancer. And I do believe one has the power, by God’s help, to stop drinking. And I do believe that the Bible calls drunkenness a sin (though I don’t think it says one can never have a drink). But the point is that in MY case, it was sin (God was showing me that), and I needed to confess it. I also needed to ask His forgiveness and help. My husband’s boss suggested that I attend AA, as he had, and I strongly sensed God’s leading to do so. I attended for 3 months, and it helped me to be around people who had stopped drinking and who were similarly addicted like me. But for me, at least in the particular AA group that I attended, I was criticized for mentioning Christ. And so as I prayed again, I believe that God was leading me to leave the group. I spoke to my doctor, and he recommended psychiatric care. But first I went to God’s Word to seek guidance about this, and over and over again, He led me to verses that showed me that He alone would be my Counselor (there are a number of verses where God is identified as such). So, with great trepidation, I left AA, and every morning, I would meet the Lord, my wonderful Counselor, on my front porch, with my Bible and a journal. I started reading the Psalms (and I was also in a Bible study, so I read Scripture passages for my lessons). God was feeding me with truth and strength from His Word, and I was pouring out my soul to Him in my journal, where I expressed my angst, my fears, my pain, my doubts . . . and ultimately over the months (and now many years) my joy and peace. I have no question in my mind that the Lord became my Counselor and my comfort. He used not just the Bible, but the process of reflective prayer-journaling to heal my soul. There is something amazingly cathartic about the process of writing, itself, when, coupled with actual prayer, becomes God’s powerful catalyst for healing. I am convinced had I not journaled, I would not have been healed. Now I teach journaling classes, and sometimes, I see women’s lives literally transformed before my eyes as they write . . . and as they have been healed from alcoholism, depression, unforgiveness, abuse, abortion pain, and grief. Writing is an amazing tool in God’s hand, when we direct what we pen to Him. I have written a book about my journaling journey, which I would be pleased to send to you if you tell me to. It’s called Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer. It happens to be a gorgeous gift book, but it’s substantively written about my pain in a number of situations. Yet, the book is not depressing, but filled with joy, healing, hope, and redemption. God has used His gift of journaling to transform my life. I think His Word and journaling could be key to your healing. This sentence of yours thunderstruck me: “At certain times in my Journey I have felt like God was saying that He and He Alone would be the one to bring my healing and deliverance but then I have second guessed my spiritual ears and thought perhaps I am deceiving myself so I begin my self help cycle again.” Mary Ann, this is EXACTLY what He had told me nearly 30 years ago, and my ears heard it right. He was telling me to let go of any counsel but His, and He would heal and deliver me. And He has!!!! I do not doubt that He could do this for you. Still, as I said at the outset, I can not give you professional counseling or medical advice, and you have to make the decision as to whether you need this. God could lead you to these resources to help you launch your journey in a prudent way that is monitored. But He truly IS our Jehovah Rapha, our divine healer, so even if He uses these means, it’s still ultimately He who WILL. HEAL. YOU. And also it may be that He is calling you to set aside your fears, and make any confessions to which He is leading you, and make the commitment to come to Him as your counselor, in His Word, and in your journal, as powerful means as well to SET. YOU. FREE!!!! I have prayed for you and will continue. All my love and God’s richest blessings for a life of health and wholeness. And again, if you want my book, let me know, and I will make arrangements to mail it to you! Love, Lynn

    • Sadiezoe23

      Praying for you!!! Depression is a deep hole but there are people who will jump in the hole and help you out!

      • Mary-Ann

        Thank You for your encouragement. I am so afraid of sinking deeper into this hole. I’m afraid it will swallow me up! I really don’t know how to surrender or get help?!

        • Sadiezoe23

          I know how hard it is! It’s a lonely and hopeless place to be in. I’ve been there in the deepest hole of depression one can be in. It won’t swallow you up if you are trusting and relying on the Lord. This is just a season and the hopelessness and despair will pass…there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just don’t give up. Keep pressing on and fighting it. Do you have a Christian councelor you can go to or a church minister? It seems like a councelor would be a good start for you to help you in your recovery journey.

          • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

            Thanks for stepping in to help out our sister, Mary-Ann, Sadie!

          • MaryAnn

            Thank You Jennifer & Sadie for the advice. I will do a search for recovery groups in my area. Please pray that God directs my steps.<3

          • Beth Williams

            Father,
            Please help Mary Ann find a recovery group in her area. Help her to receive the kind of treatment she needs to beat these addictions. Allow her to live a normal life! Shower her with your peace and contentment!!
            AMEN!

    • Beth Williams

      Mary Ann,
      Prayers that God will deliver a friend who can help you out of that hole! Asking God to bring someone whom you feel comfortable talking with.
      God will deliver you, but it is always in His perfect timing.
      ((((Hugs)))) from E. TN

  • http://freedtofly.me Trudy Den Hoed

    I love this post and the modern-day parable, Jennifer. I have been in many holes along the way, especially because of the trauma of past abuse, depression, and chronic illness, but I thank God He helped me out each time, sometimes also through other people. I love how you describe the depths of the hole Jesus went into for our sake. What amazing love!

  • Laura Blakeman

    Jennifer, You jumped in my hole on August 9, 2013 when you wrote about the ladder collapsing from underneath your favorite farmer. “…envisioning pallbearers for a funeral that wasn’t even happening…” I was living my life in an imaginary world that was dark and full of worry. That blog started me on the road back to a healthy life, thank you!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Oh Laura. Wow. Thank you for sharing this. My heart is encouraged. So glad to be journeying with you.

  • Doubting Karen.

    I’m in that hole right now. Waiting for an answer to a prayer I’ve been praying for almost two years now. Praying God sends someone who jumps in and builds that ladder to get out of this pit. Wondering if he ever will. I want to believe, I really do. Its just been so long that I’m not sure I can muster up the faith anymore. Thank you for sending that glimmer of hope that reminds me God knows this hole and he knows I’m there. He is with me.

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      How are things looking today, Karen? How can I pray for you today? I hope that the glimmer of hope that you saw yesterday, is building ever-brighter for you today. Praying that God sends someone. And that He reminds you that you aren’t in that pit alone. Jesus knows the way out. He jumped in there with you.

      • Doubting Karen

        Today , still waiting. Still Praying. Trying to trust. There was a small step in the right direction today, an email. Could it be a light at the end of the tunnel? I’m kind of scared to admit that it may be that light for fear that I might be disappointed yet again if something doesn’t happen. Do you ever feel that way? You could pray for favor for our daughter, and that God would give us some encouraging news in this situation. You could pray for this child of mine to be able to handle one more disappointment if God says no again. She’s fragile. Her faith is holding on by a thread. They say you’re as happy as your most hurting child. I believe that because I have felt that in my heart. Thank you for your ministry. For your beautiful heart. For reminding me God is near, and for praying. That is a gift.

  • Dawn Hill Shipman

    I’ve never heard anyone confess to having been in the same hole I’ve been in most of my life, Jennifer. I feel like the man in the gospels who said to Jesus–“I believe–Help my unbelief!” I’ve prayed; I’ve read and memorized scripture, I have an M.A. in Biblical studies, yet the doubts remain. I’ve ‘lived the life’ for more than 40 years, but there’s been so little joy. And now my oldest son, who was the light of my life, calls himself an atheist and is so attacking in his anger. And the thing that upsets me most, is I understand where he’s coming from. How can I give him answers that I don’t believe (completely)? I wish I could find a friend who would listen to me, not judge, and help me find the ladder out. I know the ‘answers,’ in my head, but my heart is not convinced…

  • Elizabeth

    Hi Jennifer, very grateful for your blog today, it is good to know that we are all can get in a hole & we all need someone to help us out. Really appreciate your openness about “being stuck” I feel very much “stuck” spiritually, I feel I’ve gone back to my default mode of living instead really grasping the living breathing truth of Jesus. I can believe it for almost anybody & am passionate about people knowing the love & tenderness of the Lord’s love & grace but I wrestle to believe I am seen & known & the Lord’s desires intimacy with me,( I find it difficult to sit still with Him)..self pity raises it’s ugly head but I do have genuine longing to know & fully live in Christ. I don’t know how to see this outworked in my everyday.. So your blog in general means a lot..I sigh a sigh of relieve I am not the only with questions & owning those questions are important too. I am finally learning to own my questions. Anyway so pleased to know it is alright to need someone jump into the hole with me. I give thanks for you taking time to share authentically & showing the outworking your salvation with us. Rich Blessing to you Jennifer.

  • James Longwood

    I am in a dark hole right now – going through a divorce and I feel so alone. I need a friend to help find my way. Maybe, I need to listen to Jesus – haven’t done that before. Thank you for this post-in its own way, it is a ladder.

  • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

    Dawn, Your cry for help here strikes a particular chord with me, as you know, because of my deep struggle with deep doubt. I remember once reading in the application notes of my Bible … “silent doubts rarely find answers.” That was so freeing for me. I tended to hide or shield my doubt because I was ashamed. I ignored it. But because I never asked the questions out loud, I wasn’t getting the answers that my heart desperately needed. Take heart, Dawn, that you are not alone. And even when we can’t see this invisible God, he sees us. I wish I could see you face to face, to pray with you, to spend time talking about what it means to believe, and what it means that God believes is us. Know that I am praying.

  • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

    Hi MaryAnn … Popping in here again to tell you that several others have commented back to you, including a woman named Lynn Morrissey who has faced a similar struggle. If you can come back, we’d love to encourage you in the comments. And do send a follow up if you have time, and if you want to share.

    • Lynn D. Morrissey

      Jennifer thank you for letting Mary Ann know about my post to her.
      Love
      Lynn

  • http://martysmoosetracks.blogspot.com/ Marty

    Such a powerful post. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    This? “We don’t have to jump into every hole. That would be foolish, because we don’t know the way out of every hole. But you’ll know which ones are familiar, and which ones aren’t. Pick the ones you know. Someone is waiting for you.”

    TRUTH.

  • Dawn Hill Shipman

    Thank you, Anna. I appreciate your concern and encouragement. I’m reading the Scriptures you sent now. :)

  • Megan Willome

    One of my favorite scenes from probably my favorite episode ever: “Noel.” Because of that episode, my ring tone is the Bach G Major.

  • Munny

    What I want to share may be tough for many. The story sounds abit like that of THE GOOD SAMARITAN except that the good guy was not a stranger but a friend. And yes,this Friend knew about the hole earlier and knows that others are liable to fall into it and yet he did not do anything to prevent it. Am I stretching the parable beyond its intended lesson? I am just pleading that we be not to simplistic and sentimental or we find God a big letdown. The holes are all there in the narrow way that leads to Life and we will fall into some of them, but His grace will be sufficient in each hole and He will take us out when His purpose is done,for our good. Have Faith. Be patient. I found that all ‘falling into holes’ are not really accidents of life and quite necessary to know God better. Tough God of Love of God of Tough Love?

  • Star 35

    Jennifer – for your son – I knew I wasn’t saved, but had difficulty ‘believing’. Then one night I just realized that Jesus had died FOR ME. It was there all the time, but I just didn’t see it – I think I overlooked the simplicity of simple faith – it was like a curtain was pulled back for the first time and revealed to me. Hope this helps. Esther

  • Anna

    Thanks for this story. I have been in and out of a few holes…2 years separated from my husband who was abusive….depression and now lonliness…my son suffers from schizophrenia and isn’t on medication…where we once had a good relationship, it’s deteriorating…I have no close friends here or family. Living in Rhode Island where my husband’s family is from…

  • Lisanne

    Minutes before reading this, I’m standing in my kitchen having just finished journaling a prayer asking God to take my shame over regrets from me. Asking God to help me stop allowing fear of the future and regrets over the past overshadow the blessings he has given and has in store. I was literally, moments before seeing your post, thinking I’ll just hide away until this season of adjustment, changes, transitions and disappointment over unfulfilled dreams has faded, passed on. Feeling a surrendered peace and then another, Oh, must not be God’s will for me thing happens. This past year has been filled with unmet expectations and efforts feeling for naught. Lots of stuff that logic says, “If this, then this” not resulting in expected outcomes. I had submitted an entry to incourage and just now received my “thanks, but not right for us” email so again thinking “why write?” Thousands of women like me write, blog. Do my words matter? Is it just for my good, my growth, or does my story even matter? Does my message resonate? So, maybe just a break is what I need, a break to strengthen my resolve and persistence and to allow God to show me His purpose for and in this season of major change. Again, thank you for your words to help me through.