Partnering with Others in the Hell Well

cryContinued from here.

One reason I stayed mired in the hell well for so long was that I chose friends who were also deepening their own hell wells. We would dig a tunnel connecting our two hell wells so we could take turns encouraging one another to keep digging. When I would despair that I could not continue digging, the friend would assure me that I was strong enough, smart enough, etc. to dig myself out of the well. And then I would return the favor. I would listen to all of the friend’s reasons for digging the well deeper, tell her she was right, and encourage her to continue digging with all of her heart. If she would simply not give up, she would find her way out of the well.

Some of these friendships lasted longer than others, but they ultimately ended – generally when the other person got tired of spending time in my hell well because it was very deep and dark. The friend had enough work to do in her own well, and her hell well was unpleasant enough. She did not want to indefinitely spend her breaks from her own digging in the darkness of my well. She would eventually seal off the tunnel that joined our wells, and I would find myself alone in the darkness, wondering why my friendships always seemed to eventually end.

I was in a season of back-to-back tunnel sealings when I saw the Lord. To quote Beth Moore, I did not realize that God was all I needed until He was all I had. He was the only one left to join me in my hell well, and His advice was very different from my friends. He told me to stop digging, look up, and invite the dirt in. I finally obeyed, and He got me out of the hell well.

God gave me a season of enjoying His presence in the hell well before asking anything of me other than to spend time with Him. I enjoyed His presence so thoroughly that I stopped digging. After a few months of soaking in His love, I trusted him enough to obey His leading to forgive … first to forgive the last friend to seal the tunnel and then to forgive my child abusers. This was extremely difficult to do as each prayer of forgiveness and each choice to refrain from complaining about the past inviting in another shovelful of dirt.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace crying alongside a crying emoticon. Courtesy Bitmoji.]