The Other Side of Normal

The Other Side of Normal

By: Laura —   in the category, "Write to Freedom"

Previous Chapter: Laura's Story, Part One

Long ago, I met a great woman. Right from the start, I was so impressed by her resilience through pain, her faith, her delicate soul.
Her thinking was so profound, that we talked about everything under the sun – from God to people to life in general. I was amazed by her deep insight and the way she saw everything through God's eyes.
I never suspected there was a horrible reason for her delicate nature: schizophrenia.
One day, I saw her on the street, and she was totally different. For the first time, I witnessed one of her seizures. She was delirious and her words had no logic. She was dressed in about three blouses at the same time. She held a t-shirt in her hand and she wanted to sell it to people on the street.
When she saw me, she recognized me. I took her to a nearby park, hoping nature would help her come to her senses. But her behavior continued. She told me she had written a love letter and she put it in a tree. When we got to that tree, she wanted to climb it to look for the letter.
Shivers of fear went down my spine that day. Later, I found out that her seizures were very different from epilepsy. Only medication could calm her down. Unless she received medical help immediately, her brain would lose dopamine and she'd eventually die. Or at least, that's the information I got.
I called an ambulance and she was taken to a psychiatric ward. Several days later, she was allowed to receive visits, so I went to see her. When I found her, her hands were tied to the bed, and she was covered in her own urine. The nurses would not accompany her to the bathroom when she had to pee. I talked to the nurses, and they refused to change her soiled sheets.
One of the nurses brought her food but did not untie her hands, so I fed my friend with a spoon, like a little child. One of the other patients crawled on her belly until she got near me, trying to bite my leg. The nurses took her away.
When I left the hospital, my friend cried: "Laura, don't leave me here." I still hear her cry every night, in my heart.  I did not have the courage to visit her again.
When she got out of the hospital, I tried to convince her to take her medication, but she felt betrayed and accused me of labeling her as crazy. We had a huge fight.
I told her she didn't deserve anything I did for her. Now I wish I could take my words back.
I got home and I shut down my phone. I wanted no contact with her. After two days, I reopened my phone, only to find out that she had been raped. Guilt has haunted me ever since, as the rape happened after our fight. Who knows what she did that night due to MY harsh words?
She has forgiven me and we talk again. We are from different towns, and my friend has some unfinished problems she has to solve in my town. My friend's toxic mother forces her to come here. Her mother doesn't care that her own daughter was raped here, and my town is full of bad memories triggering her.
I can't handle my friend's pain anymore. There's nothing I can do to help her. She told me there would come a time when she'll no longer have access to her phone or the internet due to financial reasons.
I asked: "How will we communicate?" Her answer: "We'll eternally meet in our prayers."
Editor's Note: Laura is a young woman who has not yet escaped from her abusers, and is daily faced with seeing and hearing them, without protection. Other predators are lurking, waiting to make a move. They know who is vulnerable. The devil prowls like a hungry lion, looking who he may devour. 
I publish Laura's story, at her request and with her permission, in the hope that you will pray for her and this friend she fiercely loves but cannot help. Do you, too, hear the faith, the hope, and the love in this story? The final sentence, "We'll eternally meet in our prayers" is a God-word. Her voice comes to us from a place of horror – sex trafficking – and she knows she's not strong enough to escape. But her faith hasn't quit. Like the legend of the thorn bird, whose love was purest in the throes of agony, she shines. 
Laura speaks to us from a house of horror, a place where she can never be at rest. And yet her own faith, hope, and love shine like a beacon of light in the stormy seas of sociopathic abuse. She offers us a window into the other side of Normal.
We need more Light to shine in these hellish nightmares, and so we write.
"Why don't they just get up and leave?" I have been asked. After all, there are women's shelters, churches, and ministries on every corner, it seems. I don't have all the answers, but the more I listen and the more I experience, for many of these women there is no safety anywhere. It's a spiritual reality and no matter where they go, even in a safe person's home, they will be pursued by darkness. In fact, some of the worst predators are Christian ministers.
In Laura's case, she lives in a country where there are no ministries near by. She has already tried. Her ray of hope has come from the Internet, where she has learned the truth about her precarious situation. She is not begging us for help, but rather opening a window into her world so that Light will flow into the darkness. She knows she may not survive.
Threats to kill family members, threats to kill them, are effective bars on their invisible prisons.
What I do know, is that these hidden captives of hell on earth need a voice – they need to speak – they need to be heard. I can tell a little of Laura's heart by how she describes her friend. For you see, we see ourselves in each other. That is why sociopaths see us as monsters!
Please join me below, in the comments, as I begin with a prayer for Laura and her friend… please pray with me and add your own words!
Previous Chapter: Laura's Story, Part One

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn Hughes August 24, 2014 at 11:51 am

What a ministry you have Susan to rescue those in the darkest depths and guide them into the light. You're such a special woman. Thank goodness Laura and her friend have been able to share their story with them. It's the first step to freedom. You understand the challenges they face physically and emotionally Susan, but you also know the power of God can set them free.

I pray for Laura, her friend and all those who are in physical and pschological bondage. God Bless You Laura. x


Susan Schiller August 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for your kinds words and prayers, Carolyn!


marvia August 23, 2014 at 10:22 pm

God have mercy and protect your daughter.  Make a way for her God.  Be her Defender and Restorer!


Susan Schiller August 24, 2014 at 9:37 am

Thank you for praying, Marvia 🙂


Linda August 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Always know that you are not alone.  We are with you.  We stand with you.  We pray with you.  We weep with you.  And we hope with you.

The hope that comes from the Lord will not disappoint. 

May the Lord give you the strength and courage to walk through the valley you are in right now.
Love never fails.  We love you!   ~Linda


laura August 12, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Hi Linda,

May the Lord repay you for all the love you're giving me.Such a supportive community here!


Susan Schiller August 13, 2014 at 7:48 am

Linda is truly one of the finest women I’ve ever met – I can’t begin to say how much she means to me!


Susan Schiller August 13, 2014 at 7:49 am

Amen, Linda – Love never fails, ever!!


Joyce Lagana August 12, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Precious Laura, my heart breaks for you and my instinct is to grab a weapon and rush to your side to rescue you both and find you a safe place to live and grow.  My sweet child, you cannot carry your friend's pain for her — you can only pray for God to take care of it.  It would be easy for me to tell you not to feel guilty, but that isn't going to help you because I know how the enemy uses memories to drag us into hell with him.  Instead, I ask you to forgive yourself for being human and for letting a human weakness control you.  You can't go back and change what has happened but you can be free of the guilt and pain associated with it.

Sometimes our compassion for others can be excrutiatingly painful, particularly when it is reflecting the pain we experience in our own lives.  In those hours, words of faith coming from well-meaning people can sound hollow and hopeless when we are in the midst of hell.  I know — I've been there.  We shake our heads and turn away because we know they don't get it — they can't possibly understand and the glib words "I'll pray for you" mean absolutely nothing and offer us no hope.  I believe that everyone who reads this post will be praying for you and for your friend.  Even more than that, I know that God answers prayer and that there is hope and deliverance for His children.  In the darkest night HE is the light and only HE can send the help you both so desparately need.  I am agreeing with Sue in her prayers for you and to those words I add:

"Dear Heavenly Father, King of the Universe, I lift Laura and her friend to you this moment and I ask that you send them each a warrior to rescue them from their situations and give them a safe place — hide them in the cleft of the rock and shield them under the shadow of your wings.  Bless them, Lord with the protection and nurturing you desire for your daughters.  Let you love light shine upon them.  Lord Jesus, be their healer, deliverer and liberator."

Please keep writing for us Laura, so that we can keep up to date.  I will be waiting for the post that tells me Jesus has shown up on the scene!

With heartfelt love and prayers — Joyce


laura August 13, 2014 at 2:09 am

Everytime i try to forgive myself,i imagine the details of the rape.In my mind,i hear my friend screaming and begging for mercy.I'll carry my guilt for the rest of my life.I wonder what type of memories come to her mind when she goes to sleep.When god decides,i'll talk to a priest about it.

Joyce,you are like a candel shining in the dark.Your prayer does not sound hollow,on the contrary.They are full of hope.God sends people like you and Susan to help me.


Susan Schiller August 13, 2014 at 7:46 am

Hi Laura,

Sometimes we feel we need to be punished, or that we can’t let ourselves be forgiven because we care about justice. But justice and mercy, in God’s heart, go hand in hand together. 

If the situation were reversed, and your friend was grieving every single day for what happened to you, blaming herself, what would you say to her, if she was looking into your eyes, feeling just horrible? Try to imagine that scene and how you would feel for your friend. And just know that God is looking at you with the same mercy. No condemnation.

It’s hardest to forgive ourselves, but when we do, it empowers even the person we feel we have wronged, as well as ourselves. Our imagination is powerful, and with it, we can create a new path for our lives. I wonder if you can use your imagination to create a loving reunion with your friend, to create a pathway of escape for both of you. Imagination builds faith, whether in something good or bad.

I wonder if you might consider this possibility, because I know it’s not enough for me to say, “We forgive you, Laura” – but maybe you can try on the words, “I forgive myself for being so angry with my friend the night she was raped.” Just try the words on and see how it feels. It may feel awful, at first. But keep trying a little every day, and see if your words are lining up with God’s heart of mercy.

He hates those wicked people that raped your friend and are hounding you. He hates what is evil, and I know you do, too. Sometimes we have to hate the hater inside of us, the one who feels we deserve punishment, our own self – the one held in bondage inside our own mind.

I’ve had to do this so many times. It isn’t easy. And sometimes we even need to forgive God, not that He did wrong… but that deep inside we are angry He didn’t stop or prevent the wrong from happening. This world is so wicked and only a few of us are willing to do the hard work of forgiving. I know you will go directly to God and ask Him about these things yourself, Laura. I know you know the Way to His heart!


laura August 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm

You're offering me a fresh perspective,Susan.I never looked at things that way.I feel "The other side of normal" is not only my story.It's our story.Abuse comes in many forms:toxic parents or husbands,spiritual abuse,rape etc.Our circumstances are different,but we share the same tears.


Susan Schiller August 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm

“We share the same story… our circumstances are different, but we share the same tears….” < -- What a profound thing to say, Laura! It's true. When we share our stories, we realize we are all connected and the sense of divisions, differences, and distance disappears. 

I love how you think, by the way 🙂


Susan Schiller August 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Amen, Joyce!

I'm praying right alongside you – thank you!

You are right, so very right… when you are in hell, the words, "I'm praying for you" don't cut it. We all hear and say those same words with hardly a thought. 

I can hear your mercy and compassion shining through, as one who know the pain of a life lived in hell. Thank you for being with us here!


Beth August 12, 2014 at 9:49 am

This is horrific and tragic.  I'm glad you're keeping on fighting for hope, Laura.  Cheering you on, and aching for the far too many hard things you've been forced to deal with.  <3


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 9:52 am

Thank you for your love, dear Beth, I know it comes from a heart that truly cares!


laura August 12, 2014 at 11:46 am


I find myself by getting lost.(quote)


Glory Lafrance August 12, 2014 at 9:36 am

Susan thanks so much for posting this story. I am involved in my new church with a team to help sex trafficking. There is a number Laura can call to report what is going on and they will find a way to stop this. 888 373-7888 It's the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. I am involved raising money for another chirstian organization called Love 146. http// Any little bit helps. I need to talk to you Susan, When you get a chance I have stuff I want to share about my blog. Thanks so much. 


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 9:51 am

Let’s email, Glory, and set up a time to talk – I look forward to it!


laura August 12, 2014 at 11:19 am

I see your helping hand,Glory.Unfortunately,i'm afraid i don't have access to it,as my country is far away from yours.As i can see,this center is national,not international.My situation is complicated due to my geographical location.Susan could explain more to you in your private talks.

Susan,you may give Glory my email address,if you wish.The only way i can receive help is by sharing,but there are so many things i can't reveal publicly.I am in danger.Some things happened to me that show me the wolves are close.


Tami Principe August 12, 2014 at 8:35 am

My prayers are with both for better understanding and that faith and prayer lead her to peacefulness.  Medication may help, but she has to be willing to take it.  I pray that her nightmares end and calmness and love is restored.  Our yesterdays have such a profound effect on who we are and I pray for healing.  In the darkness I pray for the light to shine.  May love replace all the bad.


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 8:46 am

May it be so, as you have prayed, Tami – thank you!


laura August 12, 2014 at 11:43 am

Tami,my friend is in denial.She wants to prove she's ok without medication.If i remind her of everything she did in the past,she immediately finds reasons such as lack of sleep,or she was tired and that's why she wasn't thinking straight and so on.


Carol Cassara August 12, 2014 at 8:23 am

The world can be a horrific place. I believe in the power of prayer and have one on my site today for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. God bless Laura.


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 8:28 am

Thanks for praying, Carol… I will join in your prayer, too.


laura August 12, 2014 at 11:24 am


If the world was a great place,we'd admire more the creation than the creator.That's human nature.I myself confess that i come closer to god in times of hurt,while in times of joy i tend to forget him.


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 7:13 am

Monica Benton writes, for Laura: 

The pain of isolation and living on guard and finding no safe place to be, is so weary to the soul. Know this sister I hear your pain and fear don't let go of Hope, don't give up the fight. Praying for strength as you fight this battle. Remember to see the beauty that is still around even in the dark. The bird soaring in the air, the small acts of kindness, the light thru the shadows. 

You can get thru this.


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 7:14 am

Monica's words speak of the very things – beauty and truth – that have helped to save me from despair. These are good and true words, and thank you, Monica. 🙂


laura August 12, 2014 at 8:27 am


Abuse amplified me senses and my perception of the world.It made me more open to beauty and truth.One day,as i was walking on the street,i suddenly saw this amazing rainbow,while other people didn't see it.They had no time for rainbows.Beauty and truth are all around us,if only we choose to see them.Like Susan says,these are good and true words.


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 8:48 am

True words, Monica and Laura… you cause me to renew my commitment to the daily practice of seeing beauty in the world today. Thank you!


Sally August 12, 2014 at 6:47 am

Be strong, give your guilt and fears to Jesus…He is able to heal those hurts in the midst of them.


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 6:57 am

Thanks for hearing her words, Sally, and yes, I wanted to say the same – to let go of the guilt, for it's not her fault. Thank you, Sally, for speaking life!


laura August 13, 2014 at 12:08 am

I never thought that my fury could cause such harm to my friend.Only god can forgive me now,Sally.


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 6:19 am


Today is a day of atrocities happening to your children everywhere around the globe, even right in front of our eyes. We feel helpless when evil gains control of our countries, cities, and communities. It dismays me to know that women I care about are prisoners in their own bedrooms.

I am just one person, and if I could I would get in my truck or fly in the air to rescue them. It's been on my heart to buy a ranch and to have a beautiful, safe place for women and children to be safe and to rest. I know what it's like to need a safe and loving place to rest until the toxic horror passes out of my mind, heart, and body. 

I wish I could do more than pray, but even as I say that I recall some friends and I praying for a young man, last week, who escaped a horrible predator and is now safe. I know prayer brings Light into the darkness and that angels are fighting, at the sound of our voices.

I know that when I stand up and praise You, my Creator, that the atmosphere changes. You've taught me how "silent, sustained praise" changes the world, from the inside to the outside, beginning in my own little life.

Father, you see Laura inside the prison she has known since a baby. She's never known safety or freedom, and yet in her heart she is reaching out for that ray of Light. She's not expecting anything of anyone, except to hope that some of us see and hear her, through these words she's released. She's trusting You for the results, even if they are invisible to her, even if they don't result in physical freedom from the relentless pain.

Jesus, how precious this bride of yours is. Her love is blazing hot and stronger than the sun! She is a star in the universe, holding out the word of life. She is shining with love. She is honest, even in her faults. She keeps thinking positive thoughts, even though surrounded by danger and negativity.

This woman from a far away country has learned Love. She is learning to trust. And I am calling on You, standing on Your Word, to shield Laura, to open up the way of escape. She has heard of Your glory and how You rule from sea to sea. The whole world belongs to You.

How is it that darkness is gaining strength? I believe it's because Your children are asleep, not letting Your Light shine in their lives, but not Laura. Laura is radiating the intensity of your Love. She is shining. And I ask for Your children to come alongside her, to pray for her escape and for this friend who is held captive by enemy forces. These enemy forces are now lurking to take Laura, and I ask for Light to come. I ask for warrior angels to release this captive and to open the way of escape for Laura.

Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. 

Holy Spirit, release this bride, all these women in such incredible pain, wrinkled and spotted and stained by the violence of predators in their lives. Jesus, be their all in all. Deliver them from evil, Lead them not into temptation.

Give them the resources they need today. Help all of us to rise up, to release the captives, and to set whole cities free. This is my prayer, Abba…. I am believing the Word you spoke to me that I would see a whole city and a whole tribe saved, even in a day.

Father, you are planning a Homecoming for us – for all of us. The last will be first, and the first will be last. One day, whether now or later, I will wrap my arms around Laura and we will laugh together, for what we endured here on earth will fade away, even as You dry our tears.

Oh yes, we want to see the great victories in store here on earth. As the elite controllers of this world use their puppeteer strings to shuffle the money and power their way, so there are many more on Your side, dear God. And You have the last say.

Love always wins. Love overcomes ALL evil. 

I lift up my eyes to the Heavens, for there is Laura's help. Father, help me to believe Psalm 37, and to not even have a thought of the wicked, for they are grass, here today and gone tomorrow. But for Laura, you will never leave her. You will be with every day and night.

“I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age”  – Matthew 28:20

Let your glory fill Laura and shine on her friend.

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. "For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you.… — Isaiah 60

Holy Spirit, let Your glory appear upon Laura. May she feel your Love and Light and help her to see her way Home. Please bless her above and beyond anything I can say today, and help her to open her heart to receive these great blessings.


laura August 12, 2014 at 8:04 am

I can't put my gratitude into words.Susan,you are a warm,embracing heart.In my religion,god helps a person more if he sees other people praying for him/her.This increases that person's value.In Judgement Day,if god decides a soul goes to hell,prayers have the power to save that soul and change god's decision.That's how powerful prayers are.

I asked my friend what can i do to help her.She wanted me to pray for her.That's all.She didn't ask for money or food,although she needed it.Prayer,the most precious gift!


Susan Schiller August 12, 2014 at 8:09 am

I believe when we pray, Love increases. Love is like Light, and it overcomes the oppression of darkness. I have treasured my friend’s prayers for me more than anything else in this world. I have printed out their prayers and prayed them myself, over and over. Ultimately, that was my escape route. It was like Moses at the Red Sea, and prayer parted the sea.

It’s amazing the power our words have, to change this world. I look forward to hearing more of your story, Laura, and how you view your world. I am learning from you – thank you for the love and light you share with us!


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