Seasons of Fire

Seasons of Fire

By: Susan Deborah Schiller   aka Tender Lily

A monster-fire broke out in eastern Montana last summer, destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land, grazing land, and burning down homesteads, too. Devastating!

This Spring, the ground is already blanketed with brand new, fresh growth. In the shade of the burnt Ponderosas grow baby Ponderosas, planted by those who care about renewing our forests. In the black, parched places sprigs of green are popping through the ground everywhere!

This morning I basked in the sun in my rocking chair on the back porch, surveying the massive dark patches of ground where the forest service had carefully burned the old, dry grass to protect against the possibilty of new fires. Breathing in the light, pine-scented air I turned my thoughts to Heaven, just letting the music of the birds lull me into a tranquil place – a secret place where God and I get to chat.

As I listened, this one thought leaped to my conscious mind: A planned, controlled burn protects against the devastating Monster Fires!

Planned, controlled burns are a natural way of life in the mountains. Protecting our property against fire means burning off the old growth… the very stuff that fuels the destructive monster fires. With another drought worse than last year predicted for this region, you can imagine everyone is busy trying to protect their land. Thinning trees, clearing land near buildings, and burning off the old, dead brush is one way to protect yourself from fires.

Rocking back and forth in my mom's old rocking chair, I sensed God's voice tell me that the burning in my own life was for a reason… even a preparation to safeguard my future. Although my years of suffering through abuse are now over, I'm at a point in my life where I am surveying the blackened parts of the homestead in my heart, and I'm witnessing the power of a new season of growth!

Even when all seemed lost, God had a purpose and a plan for that season of burning.

Like the forest renewing all around me, my soul is healthier now than if the burning had never taken place. Nothing of real value has been lost. I'm getting my life back, and in many ways it's my "real" life now. It makes me think of what Peter said…

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. — 1 Peter 1:7

Don't be discouraged if the Fire appears in your life in some form: maybe it's sickness or disease, divorce or loss of work. The test serves to expose what is really hidden in your heart…that deep, secret place that only God sees. These trials refine us, making us like gold – but not the soft gold of this world – it's the tough gold that is so plentiful in Heaven that the streets are paved with it!

My view while lying on the ground, sky-gazing, in a part of the forest that escaped the fire.

It's time to SHINE!

Guard your heart, my friend… and the devouring fire cannot destroy you. Let what needs to burn, be burned.

The daily practice of life story writing is like a controlled burn. As you write, listening for Papa God's voice – that still small voice in your heart when your mind is finally quiet – has solutions to every problem.

That's a real burn, you know. Memories want to be remembered, but it's how we perceive those memories that makes them either a dried out weed or a flowering, green bush. Choose life, my friend. Enjoy the burn. Let the memories resurface and allow Papa God to give you a healthy perception of what you remember. Create your world beautiful! Live your BEST LIFE!

With all my love,


PS  Try this today: Find a quiet place where you don't have to think. Slow w-a-y down. Ask Papa God to speak to you, as you would your best friend. Maybe start like this… "I'm feeling ____, Papa… How are you feeling today?"

Susan Deborah 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 her way out of hell to a rich and satisfying life. In her lifetime, Susan has served in duties ranging from home school mom – to pastor –  to full-time deliverance minister – and to Midwest regional prayer coordinator for a large international ministry. These days you can usually find Susan soaking in her favorite hot springs pool, reading a book (or several), blogging, baking bread, or hanging out with her family and friends. You can get a free copy of Susan's upcoming book, "On the Way Home" by registering here.

Copyright 2012, Susan Schiller, Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline and bio, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon O'Day May 30, 2013 at 8:26 pm

As my friend Carly said to me recently,

I have lost everything and nothing.  All things LOST served their purpose. If we all looked at loss like this, we would realize what we have gained – we actually haven’t lost anything – for without those experiences we wouldn’t be who we are NOW…


Susan Schiller May 31, 2013 at 7:25 am

Hi Sharon – your friend Carly says it just like is – profoundly true! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


Gertraud Walters May 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Great Story Susan, and I didn't know about burning fires. It reminds me in a way of Nehemiah. There was too much rubbish (garbage as you call it) . Is God taking us through a season of clearing out, as you were also talking about clearing the Land. I'm constantly amazed at what Papa God is showing us every day if we just let him.

Yes, let the fire burn us so that God can raise us again from Ashes to Beauty.



Susan Schiller May 30, 2013 at 3:27 pm

I, too, am fascinated by Nehemiah’s story, Gertraud – one of the most powerful stories in the Old Testament. All of those stories are meant for us today, I believe. A shovel in one hand and a sword in the other hand; each family defending and repairing the wall in front of their own home.

Yes, I have often thought of Nehemiah in the last few years – I believe it’s certainly what the Lord is doing today! Great thoughts, Gertraud – thanks for sharing!


Marvia May 30, 2013 at 10:16 am


Love that analogy of the "controlled burn."  Never really thought about that in relation to God, but how fitting and how true and how comforting to know He is with us.  You remind me of the verse in Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.

I'm so grateful that God knows full well what He's doing, and though I may be struggling now, He is paving a way for me to be refined so I can carry less baggage and pick up more of His goodness.

Thanks for this post.  I really needed it.  Blessings and cheers to you <3 🙂




Susan Schiller May 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

I love that Scripture verse, Marvia – pure beauty, pure joy!

Thank you so much for sharing!


Jessica Stone May 30, 2013 at 8:51 am

Great article, as usual, Sue!  I love this description of the "burning off" that happens during growth as much as the refiner's fire description.  This is all so true – and a place I have found myself in more and more.  I can also relate to your "real" life comment – it's like stepping into who you were actually made to be and what you are supposed to be doing – not just living life for others or in the way you think they need you to.  You are free to just BE.  Love it!


Susan Schiller May 30, 2013 at 8:58 am

You’re one of the rare people who “get it” Jessica – because you live it, yourself. I’m having one of those “tired” days, facing fibromyalsia head on, and your words are inspiring – thanks!


Carolyn Hughes May 30, 2013 at 7:35 am

Every post you write Susan is a message of hope. Who hasn't been through a time of trial and felt like there was never going to be an end? But you show that God can bring us through the refiner's fire and that it is all part of His plan for greater things in our lives. You shine like gold!


Susan Schiller May 30, 2013 at 8:36 am

Hi Carolyn… I’m so glad the hope shines through!

Life is beautiful – all of it 🙂

Thanks so much for your beautiful words!


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