Heaven is Near Earth

Heaven is Near Earth

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and a host of other diseases plague victims of abuse, like flies on a carcass. Church members who had watched me slipping away into the fog of PTSD symptoms told me, "You need intensive care. Why don't you go lay on a beach and listen to the waves!"

By the end of the smear campaigns, gaslighting, death threats, and plain old torture, you feel like a broken piece of discarded pottery. Psalm 31 was my go-to Psalm for that period of time, lasting 3 decades:

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; 
     an object of dread to my closest friends— 
    those who see me on the street flee from me. 
I am forgotten as though I were dead; 
    I have become like broken pottery… 

Most victims have no resources left after such a long siege. I, too, had nothing. So when my church friends – those that were left – began to tell me to travel, to visit a beach, to get "intensive care," I agreed with them. My favorite thing to do is to lie on a beach and read or sleep and listen to the waves. Yet it felt like a slap in the face to hear their so called "compassionate" response, because I knew they were telling, 'go help yourself'. 

How could a homeless woman afford an expensive vacation, let alone any kind of therapy or counseling. I am glad I did not choose to be state-supported, for that, in my observation, is slow death. I wanted to see what God had for me, and many times the path to finding the one true God and your own truest self is out in the wilderness, outside the camp.

Who is God when it hurts? Where is He when you have lost everything? Most people are scared to consider the consequences to asking such a question.

My church friends were still friendly and welcoming, as nice people pretend to be, but if I didn't have transportation or money to drive to their church, then they forgot about me. Most of them were pastors or elders, by the way, who I had invested much time and resources into, to build their ministries.

Once in awhile one of them would call and check on me. "Are you in a good church?" they asked. "No, not right now," I replied. The spiritual temperature would immediately drop, and pretty soon they said good-bye. I never heard from them again.

I was not bitter, just shaken. I never once asked anyone for help, but I left them know I was in bad shape. Not because I wasn't in church – no, that was the best part of it, really. But I was lonely. Really lonely.

If you're not in church, church people are often programmed to be wary of you. If you are a long-standing church leader and you're homeless and outside of a local church, you must have done something wrong. Like Job's friends, they tell you must have sinned against God. You're being punished.

In Ezekiel 34 we hear God's heart for the victims who have been chased off by bullies, and His heart cry doesn't include blaming the victims. No, just the opposite. Instead, He had some sharp words for church leaders who refused to go after the broken and dying ones. 

Across denominations I hear the current advice given to church members and leaders alike, "Beware of the broken ones; many of them have become bitter. They are toxic to the Body of Christ. Stay away or you'll get hurt." 

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. – MLK

Another common saying is, "Hurt people hurt people." It is true, but what would Jesus do? Wouldn't he heal them anyway? Wounded healers are the most compassionate people of all, whether they are completely healed themselves or not. Why not see their potential? Why not love them extravagantly?

1 Corinthians 13:13Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly…

You may ask me, "Aren't you bitter?" No, I have never been bitter. I have asked counselors to judge me on that specific issue, even as I have searched my own heart.

But I am "better" than I used to be, these days. I see Heaven is very near earth. And God is on the move to rescue the victims of abuse – abuse that is sponsored and fostered by the church itself.

"Don't speak against the bride of Christ!" is the most common response to what I just said. There's a rule that's put up in my face that says, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Niceness is not the remedy for the cancer of systemic abuse running rampant among us. Being nice is a deadly game. 

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke

God was often "not nice" as in Ezekiel 34 as we learn of God's heart when victims have been abused. 

You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill.They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.

“‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. 

11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheepand look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. – Ezekiel 34

This is a love revolution, I speak of. No one can be free and live at peace if even one of us is left alone, hurting and abandoned.

Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice. – Arnold Toynbee

Let's change public opinion about victims of abuse! I challenge you to rise up, to not be silent, and to share your story!

Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much. – Abraham Lincoln

We are in more danger than you may realize, due to our suffering in silence! It is time to speak time, time to rise up! 

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. – MLK

Write your story. Why? I could name a thousand benefits to you, yourself, but for simplicity, we need your voice. You may feel afraid of their threats of violence against you. You may still be recovering from the shame they've heaped on your head. I still say, "Rise up!"

Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning. – Mahatma Ghandi

I'll help you. I have writing prompts and examples. We'll write to freedom together. Join my email list and we'll get this done together. We need your voice. Let's get your life back!

My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

With all my love,

Sue

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.

Copyright © 2010 to 2016 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria November 1, 2016 at 7:51 am

Please help me.

Reply

Susan Schiller November 1, 2016 at 9:56 pm

You're not alone, Maria. One of the most powerful prayers is simply "HELP ME!"

God hears you. I hear you. All of heaven is moving on your behalf. Help is very near, nearer than you can imagine.

I'm sorry you're going through this valley of the shadow of death…. you're not alone….

Reply

Joyce February 19, 2015 at 10:50 pm

The loneliness is the worst part. Without another human to reach out to for support or to simply talk to, the isolation and silence become deafening.   With all that I have suffered, and am suffering, it is that compassion at the other end of an email, text or telephone call that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. Thanks for being there for me, Sue. Hugs..

Reply

Susan Schiller February 20, 2015 at 7:42 am

Yes, we are created for relationship, for intimacy with God and each other. The loneliness is excruciating pain, the worst part about abuse.

I wish we were closer and that I could somehow lift this load for you, but in prayer I know that we are doing that for each other.

Thank you for being here for me, too, Joyce! Big hug right back!

Reply

Rebekah Hope February 18, 2015 at 10:13 am

Sue, your transparency and vulnerability continue to bless me. I thank the Lord for your courage. 

This is so timely for me. Just this week I have had family and friends express to me their "concern" over my lack of church involvement and oversight. When I tell them that I have only grown closer to Jesus in my time away, it makes it even worse. There's no one to scrutinize what Jesus is saying to me, so they worry that I will fall into delusion and be led astray… They assume that because I am still recovering, something must be wrong. 

Your words provide some perspective that is desperately needed. I need not give heed to every word of caution or advice that comes my way. I must only trust Jesus, and ask that my friends and family do the same. 

Love to you! <3

 

Reply

Susan Schiller February 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm

You are choosing Love, Rebekah. In Love we can never be lost or go astray no matter how hard we try. We may get lost and off track sometimes, but Love always draws us to the True path. Love and Truth can never be far from each other, for they are one.

Some many of our loved ones are tied to false authority due to fear. I was one of the most fearful, and therefore, one of the most submissive. I have been on both sides, and I still find freedom hard to grasp. Fear is never far away but yet every day the gap widens when I choose Love.

You and I are two of the same kind of people – ones that continually choose love and truth. We are ruined for conformity and the path that took us deeper into darkness (fear). One day our friends will know this, too. I believe in some ways we are charting a path as they watch us seemingly careen out of control. I am blessed to know you, Rebekah, and I love your spirit. You have a true heart and so much courage for one so young.

Your generation has much to teach my generation. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Susan Schiller February 18, 2015 at 7:41 am

It has never been easy for me to share as vulnerably and transparently as I have on this site as it may seem. For me, it's obedience and a prayer I call "Write Through Me". 

Reply

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