Six Steps to Climbing Out of the Pits

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Written by Natalie, Editress of Visionary Womanhood

When we are in the deepest pits of pain, writhing inside, trying to get away from it – all the while knowing that there is no escape…

…it is almost impossible to do anything for ourselves.

In the initial shock of a life-shaking event, our adrenaline kicks in, and we do what needs doing in a state of numbness.  But that wears off.  It is common for a grieving person to lose all enjoyment of life.  The small things that used to bring pleasure mean nothing now.

It is hard to get motivated to DO anything; and yet, there are some things that we CAN do, with God’s help, that will eventually bring us, step by step, out of the pit.

1. LEARN – the Secret to Peace in Pain

“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

We can do some things through Him?  Easy things through Him?  He strengthens us in good things?  No.  We can do ALL things through Him Who strengthens us.  Regardless of whether or not we believe that…it is true.  Regardless of the seemings, God has promised to strengthen us for this moment.  Not for tomorrow.  Not for tonight.  His grace is found in the present. 

THE LORD IS AT HAND; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5-7)

I never noticed those first five words before this week.  They explain WHY we don’t need to be anxious.  Our Father is at hand!  We may have lost a parent, a child, a friend, a husband, a job, or a dream.  But we can never lose Him. He is at hand.  And He will sit with us in the pit and then eventually take us by the hand and walk with us, step by slow step, up and out.

You’ll be tempted to push Him away.  Don’t.  He is your one Hope.

2. LISTEN – to God’s Voice

Once you have taken that step of laying your head on His shoulder in acceptance, you are ready to hear what He has to say.  He is not silent.  His Word is a healing balm of truth; always ready to speak comfort, hope, and truth to your heart.

When we are suffering we are vulnerable to lies.  We tell ourselves lies about what has happened.  Our culture tells us lies about God.  We can’t see the spiritual side of what is going on when we are immersed in lies.  The way out of that confusing maze is truth. 

That truth is found in God’s Word.  You’ll be tempted to avoid reading it.  Pain can be blinding.  Ask mature Christians you know to pray daily – hourly for you.  And then TAKE the strength that God provides to reach for the Word.  The more you marinate in His Truth, the stronger you will become.  Stronger to take the next step.

3. LISTEN – to Music

Music is a powerful tool for healing.  Music is spiritual.  There are so many wonderful worship albums to play throughout the day.  There are also many songs written by godly, talented music artists that are all about suffering and trusting.  Music can have an uplifting affect on your spirit that can make the difference between staying in the pit – and climbing out.  God will use it to help you take the next step.

4. LISTEN – to Sermons on Suffering

In the car, while you wash the dishes, when you are laying in bed and can’t get out.  Hook up an IV of truth into your spirit and let the healing pour in.  Some excellent ones can be found HERE  and HERE.

5. READ – Good Books

When you are in the pits, you really want to share the experience with another Wemmick.  There are some excellent books written by men and women who have experienced all kinds of hellish pits and have written of their journey from pain to healing through trust in God.

Some books to start with:

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper and Justin Taylor

Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges

A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Jerry Sittser

Making Sense of Life by Seeing the World From Heaven’s View: God Bringing His Children to Glory by T.W. Hunt and MelanaHunt Monroe.

When God Weeps by  Joni Eareckson Tada

Affliction by Edith Schaeffer

A Grief Observed and The Problem of Pain both by C.S. Lewis

Disappointment with God and Where is God When it Hurts both by Phillip Yancy

If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

And here’s some good fiction that has comforted and boosted me out of many a pit (I’ve read these several times over at different points in my life):

Stepping Heavenward and The Home at Greylock both by Elizabeth Prentiss

(Incidentally, I love anything written by Elizabeth Prentiss.  One of the most life changing books I’ve ever read is her biography: More Love to Thee: The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss by George Lewis Prentiss)

Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

6. Talk – to God – and even Wemmicks

“Let your requests be made known to God.”  You want your children to tell you everything, right?  God is like that, only more so.  He is always watching.  Always listening.

Do unburden yourself to Wemmicks.  We are to “bear one another’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2)  We are to “weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)  Just keep in mind that they will not always “get it.”  God always does.  They will not always be there.  God is.  Their wisdom will fail.  God’s Word never fails.

You are safe with Him.  He loves you.  He is at the end of your life even now.  He knows how your story goes.  He wrote it, and these plot twists and turns are the very reason you were created!  

  Trust the Author.

There is light at the top of the stairs.

And the story ends well.

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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15 thoughts on “Six Steps to Climbing Out of the Pits

    • Molly, you will LOVE them. They are treasures. I can’t tell you how many times, when reading those books, I felt the presence of Jesus so near. It is a precious thing to experience that, especially in the middle of an “alone” season of life.

  1. Thank you for sharing this post. I have been going through the pain of infertility and can’t seem to climb out. Most days I feel helpless and other days I feel angry. I needed to hear this post this morning.

    • Heavenly Father, reveal Your heart to Emily as she walks a lonely, disappointing road. I am asking that she would come to a place of surrender to You. That You would be her all-consuming joy and desire. That Your beauty would captivate her. That she would not see You as a Father Who withholds good things, but as a Father Who is giving her Your very best Today. May she not push You away, but cling to You and hope in You. Let her catch glimpses of Your good plans for her so she will not despair. Pour out Your grace on her, enabling her to embrace this season and grow in depth of love for You and those around her. And Father, we ask that it might be Your will to give her and her husband a child one day. You are the Giver of life. We look to You for this gift. I pray these things in the Name and for the glory of Jesus Christ, Amen.

  2. Thank you for praying for me that was a beautiful prayer. I’m sorry to say that i’m tired of praying and I need others to pray for me becuase I don’t know what more to say. I’m all prayed out if that makes sense? The constant prayers seem to only hit the celing and go unanswered. I wish I could pray

    • I understand what you are saying. Have others pray…and then start taking baby steps in the other areas. Read His Word. You CAN do that. Start in the Psalms. You can read a Psalm out loud. You will be surprised at what happens in your heart. I’ve been in the pits…these are the things I force myself to do. And I promise, they work because they give the Holy Spirit a chance to feed you. You are in starvation mode right now. You need to eat. One day at a time. Focus only on today. I’ll be praying.

  3. Natalie, Thanks for this post. Your words, “laying your head on His shoulder in acceptance, you are ready to hear what He has to say” is so very true. My husband and I were just talking about this today. This posture is the only one in which He can truly work. Amen and amen!
    **really like the video, too! Have shared it already.

  4. I just wanted to add that this is an EXCELLENT post…. I have done many of these things during a long trial in my life that I have been going through. Thank you so much for the sermon links and the book links. We need the Lord first and foremost, but having others speak into our lives also helps tremendously when we are weak.

    As a side note… I know that the Lord can and does use our trials to help others who go through similar experiences. I think it can be a helpful tool to journal what we are experiencing, and to write down the verses that God is giving us. This is a way of connecting more with the truths that God is trying to communicate to us. We can take our struggles and contrast them with the truth of scripture. This is also a way to document our journey in case we need a reference to help others in the future… Our trials can be intense, but sometimes we forget what we felt and what God spoke to us during that time. I think that journaling can help us through the trial, and help others down the road. Perhaps the verses God gave us will be the same verses to help a friend in their own time of need.

  5. Natalie, another excellent book is Grace Grows Best in Winter by Margaret Clarkson. This is the book that a friend read to Joni Eareckson Tada, and God used it to bring her from deep despair (wanting to commit suicide) to beginning to taste and see the grace of God.