January 18, 2016 – I'm back full-circle to the place where God gently scraped the scales of religion off my blind eyes… a high plains desert in Wyoming.
In April 2011, when I first landed in this small town, I knew no one here. So God sent Secret Heroes to my rescue. My truck was hopelessly broken, just like I was. After four years of itinerant ministry with my husband, a healing minister, he had moved on to a new woman and because most of our ministry network said, "On with the show," which included his new girlfriend, the betrayal hit me like a giant tsunami, wave upon wave crashing over my head.
In "I Will Follow You, Part 1" I wrote:
My enemy's human host had told me, "I don't want to divorce you; I just want to watch you suffer." Toxic words like that, repeated over and over, poison your brain and kill your soul.
It was my soul this enemy wanted – my hopes, dreams, talents, and destiny. He wanted to extinguish my light, close the lid on my coffin, with me exhaling my final breath.
Like Job who testified, "What I feared most has come upon me," I became homeless. I lost everything, including my identity as a wife, mom, and person everyone thought had it all together.
Just as danger and opportunity are two sides to the same coin, so my time of homelessness was one of the greatest adventures of my life, leading me home, to freedom and fullness, to my true self…"
That is true. I escaped from the giant betrayer – my lifetime spiritual enemy – which had grown larger every life season in which I did not face it head-on and slay. You see, I don't slay. I am good at escaping! I'm a survivor! But God wants more of me than mere survival.
Remember Alice, in The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland? The Mad Hatter commented that Alice had lost her "muchiness". The effects of her religious society had tamed her wild and free nature, causing her to conform to the world's standards. Her life had to be literally turned upside down and inside out before she remembered her true identity. The Mad Hatter expected her to slay the Jabber-walker, for if she didn't, all of Wonderland would be enslaved to its evil. Alice was appalled – she replied, "I don't slay."
Nice people don't slay, you know? Nice people are normally not Champions. Champions thrive on adversity and run to the battle! Champions slay the enemy wtihout thinking twice.
So here I am again, full-circle. Facing the same giant, but bigger now. I can choose to escape or I can choose to engage.
Survive or overcome? That is the question.
I'm going to change the way I talk, which means I need to change the way I think. What I focus on is what I become. What I speak is what I get.
Using "I AM" words, I'm rewriting my future, because being a survivor is a good thing, but being a Champion is a better thing. God's been training me to RISE UP. But I got lazy. I quit doing the exercises. I thought I had "made it". I am repenting here, in front of you, and repent means to move in the opposite direction.
We create our own reality, whether by conscious choice, blind obedience, or somewhere in the middle. Just as we can't blame God for the bad conditions we see in this world, so we can't blame God or fate or anyone else for our personal circumstances.
God's master plan includes empowering us and giving us the authority to rule, even in the midst of our enemies.
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Papa God and I had a chat in my diary, back in September 2006: He taught me: You become what you behold and He gave me a practical lesson on how to recreate my circumstances, beginning with how I perceive myself.
On my mental movie screen I saw a looking glass, and reflected in the glass was "the REAL me". I must confess I've had trouble believing in this vision! So I wrote it down and I printed it out.
I began speaking it into existence. It became my new identity statement, with each line beginning with "I AM". When I began to apply "The Looking Glass" lesson by creating and speaking out loud the "I AM" statements, my inadequate false identity began to morph into my authentic Christ-self.
I am One with God.
I am His beloved daughter.
I am the King's Bride!
It's time to remember who I am again, to re-experience Oneness in Christ, to re-establish His reign in my thought life. As it is in Heaven, let it be so here and now on earth – right here in my little life story.
So that's my little update of this journey I call "On the Way Home". The journey itself is Champion training, and it's got multiple levels, I'm seeing. You graduate one phase and next thing you know you're back full-circle to school again. I also call this "HeartScribes Restoration House" because I'm creating a school for Champions. Some of us need a physical community where can eat together, play together, learn and grow together!
"Sue, you're a victim and you'll always be a victim," said my enemy in the voice of its current human host. That's what I call a wake up call. It's the voice of an abuser who uses good deeds and religious armor to taunt his prey. But in God's hands, it's simply a wake up call, to RISE UP!
Incidentally, even though I believe God can use our enemies, you can discern the enemy's voice by how he speaks – with tones of condemnation and shame, judgment and despair. He exploits your weaknesses. God, on the other hand, is happy to lend you His strength and delights in confounding the wise by using plain old fools, misfits, and ragamuffins like me.
Sometimes God uses our enemies because otherwise we'd just keep growing complacent and not rise up to the next level! He's raising Champions of True Religion. The first thing a Champion does upon getting out of bed in the morning is to do an act of justice.
This is what the LORD says to you, house of David: "'Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done– burn with no one to quench it. – Jeremiah 21:12
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. – Isaiah 1:17
True religion is to care for the widows and orphans and to keep oneself from getting polluted by the world's system, even the world system inside the church. That's what the HeartScribes Restoration House is all about. It's my act of revolution. It's an act of passive resistance.
My war is rest.
My war is art and beauty.
My war is prayer and passive resistance… establishing a school of Champions, this HeartScribes Restoration House.
It's a good place to be… wild and free. There are a lot of us in this place, I'm discovering. If you are one, you are blessed! Just know, you're not alone. 🙂
With all my love,
PS Whenever I find myself in a major place of life reinvention I like to snap a selfie. This purplish picture was taken yesterday. It was Sunday afternoon and I was in my pajamas, no makeup or jewelry, as usual. Sometimes we need a reference point – one that we'll look back to even years from now, to remember the day we broke our own chains of injustice and slew our enemy!
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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