Welcome to HeartScribes with Susan Schiller
Who I Am
I am a girl who grew up in the 60's and 70's, in a bubble of innocence. Girls wore dresses to school and we played outside every day: In rain, snow, or hot humid weather until the street lights winked on. With the neighbor children we played Freeze Tag, Red Rover, and we built stage sets and made up our own plays.
We listened to music on black vinyl disks called records. We never dreamed of a world with wireless phones and computers, let alone Ipads and Ipods. Milk was delivered by the milkman who set glass bottles in plastic crates on our doorstep. Most shops and businesses were run by families and there were very few franchises and "super-stores".
We lived in the land of opportunity and we believed we could do anything. I learned to fly an airplane and I lived in Chile as a foreign exchange student. I returned to America with a bigger worldview and dreams to make a difference.
And then I fell asleep, living the life others told me was more practical.
I remember when color television first came out (one TV per house was a luxury) and cable. We avidly watched the Brady Bunch, the Waltons, Davey and Goliath and Captain Kangaroo. Solid family values were the norm. It's like our whole culture lived in the same bubble of innocence, and yet echoes of violence reverberated on the airways, and we collectively gasped at the assasinations of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.
Television opened our eyes to the first man walking on the moon and to the war in Vietnam. Progress and death seemed to walk hand-in-hand.
The super powers of the world were racing to the top, creating a Cold War that inspired people to build bomb shelters in their backyards. The Church picked up on our panic and created movies about the End Times, and most of the kids my age expected to be raptured any day.
I began to lose hope that our generation would be able to survive what seemed like certain mass destruction.
Our generation began to lose our innocence. In high school our class was warned we should not expect Social Security when we grew up, but our teachers couldn't predict what would take its place. I entered the world with uncertainty and graduated from college in the early 80's, with our country in a deep recession. I married a man I met in college who turned out to be a completely different man after we put our wedding rings on. We had three children and I became a home-school mom.
The bubble broke. The next 20 years were spent trying to hold all the pieces together. Television and radio took backseats to the Internet. And with the Internet I encountered many people who were also trying to put the missing pieces together.
Together, we created a new bubble… a "newer and better" religious system.
Another 10 years went by in which I found myself operating heavy machinery, even co-managing a hazmat site, starting my own business while living in a dream house built on a river in Northwestern Montana, and then becoming a regional prayer leader for a large international ministry. That's when the bubble broke again.
I hit rock bottom, and the rock bottom phase lasted nearly ten years. They were the worst years, but also the best. The best gifts in life come disguised as tests, problems, and injustices. It's a GIFT to be abandoned, and exiled. I didn't think so, at first, but that was before I discovered THE ULTIMATE GIFT!
‘You haven't begun to live until you've lost everything.’ — From the movie, "The Ultimate Gift"
At my lowest point, having been abandoned in the middle of a desert by my husband who left me for another woman, I wasn't sure I had the strength to go on. Stripped of nearly all assets, resources, and reputation, I felt fragile. I had lost my career (ministering with my husband), my business (that I gave up, to minister), and my house (that we sold, to do ministry).
After more than 30 years of being a mom, wife, and minister, when all of that was stripped away, who was I? I was being blackmailed, threatened with my life if I didn't remain silent, and all of it took a toll on my health.
Friends who wanted to help me didn't know how. Others who tried to help were often the wrong sort of person. The abused attract more abusers, like road-kill in sight of vultures.
The truth is that abuse survivors tend to attract repeat offenses simply because they are hurting; and sexual predators, like beasts of prey, think the wounded might be an easier target. – Sanctuary for the Abused
I was merely a shell of the person I used to be. I took on menial jobs, as a result, not realizing how exploitive employers can be when they know you are between a rock and a hard place.
Only one thing of value remained – my faith. Even that slipped through the cracks when nearly all our ministry partners believed the nasty smear campaign launched against me, siding with my charismatic husband who was operating in signs, wonders, and miracles, as he continued to minister while I was falling to pieces.
The crazy lies about me stung, but I no longer cared. It's like something broke – the need to please others, the need to perform to everyone's expectations, and the need to be submissive (i.e. subjugated).
For decades, I had allowed other people to tell me what was right and wrong. It was easy that way. You always knew where you stood. Now, I was beginning to feel shaky, like a filly standing up for the first time, after birth. I was like a newborn!
New people – free people – began appearing in my life, showing me a new Normal. I found it easier to let go of who I was supposed to be and to become the little girl I used to be.
By then I was living in the wilderness, alongside a river, and it made me much more aware of the treasure of freedom. You see, I had no running water, so I bathed, cooked, and used an outdoor toilet. I had to trust God for everything! Every day was full of hidden treasures, disguised as trials, and my only job was to trust in the Goodness and Kindness of my Creator.
I was living a storybook life, as if I were a character in a movie similar to "The Ultimate Gift". As I opened my heart wider and wider, a new story began to be written.
‘No matter what you're going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you'll find the positive side of things. — Demi Lovato
The gift of losing everything led me to receive the ultimate gift. It led me to a place of no fear. It's a happy place, not based on outward circumstances, but a deep knowing in my heart that there is provision in every problem.
Losing everything opened the opportunity for me to experience God's provision at a whole new level. He sent me a Winnebago, when I was homeless. He put me in a place where there were hot mineral springs and public bath houses. When the weather changed, he gave me a house. In time, he restored everything to me, and much more.
God wants us to live in freedom and fullness. His greatest gifts often come disguised as trials and tests. This is my story, of how losing it all led me to the ultimate gift – the gift of abundant life.
I Hope You are Telling your Story
Life is beautiful, the good and the bad together. We treasure our lives by putting pen to paper. Telling your story brings friends, family, and strangers into your shoes as you tread through the muck and mire of your life, fighting your Goliath.
Naked and Unashamed
You can't fully understand your story until it's written. It's in the writing that you come to understand your life story. When you learn to tell your story from the perspective of Redemption, no longer do you have to hide behind a mask that our culture tells you is "proper". You can live naked and unashamed!
Rewrite your Future
Even better, once you understand the patterns in your story, you can write the next chapter. You can create a new story, instead of living by default. I call this "Writing to Freedom".
The family is the backbone of society. God wants us to be healed and whole.
We need to surround ourselves with a team of people who function as a family, whether blood-related or not, who will reinforce our identity as overcomers, not just survivors. That's why this website has been created… to be a safe place to share our stories
My mission at HeartScribes is to take as many hurting women as I can on a journey deep into the Father's/Mother's heart – a place where widows are transformed into brides and orphans receive a family and a home.
Home is a place of inward security so that you have freedom to create outward security in your life. This takes place during a virtual workshop, as together we create a mini-memoir that is published, privately or publicly, in an heirloom-quality book.
God wants to be known in the chaotic, messy places of our lives. He loves the chaos… it's where He does His BEST creative, redemptive work!
Though I manage this site, HeartScribes is not mine. It's yours. It's not so much about my story, as it is about YOUR STORY! Your life experience is a valuable treasure and this is a safe place to share your story.
With all my love,
Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.
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