A Flower Still Blooms
By: Susan Deborah Schiller
In the deep silence of a rural Wyoming midnight, there was no immediate answer to my questions. Just a whisper, an invitation to see sociopathic abuse through a new lens.
It is a year I'll never forget, a season of walking a solitary path through the dark night of betrayal and abandonment. Sometimes God wants us all to Himself/Herself. We needn't rush to the nearest place of rescue, for our hope is in God alone. In my life, all systems were failing and everywhere I turned I met more abuse. I finally just sat down to deeply listen. I listened, one night, to a moon flower, who taught me to bloom in the dark.
You see, a Moon Flower thrives in the harshest of climates. It's lush, hardy green leaves never need much watering. It's one of those plants that grows and reproduces anywhere and everywhere, even in gravel. It's one tough flower. Although the Moon Flower requires little care it produces some of the most tender, fragile, and beautiful flowers! The trick is, Moon Flowers only open their tender blossoms after the sun sets.
I learned this while homeless, living on the Big Horn River, camping in the driveway of an elderly woman.
One night as I stood alone in the gravel driveway, bathed in the glow of the full moon. I asked, "Does God no longer see me? Does He not care?"
As I absently twisted the wedding band on my ring finger, a mental movie replayed in my mind of my evangelist husband slamming his pickup door and yelling his final word, "I have to obey God, and that means leaving you. We serve different gods. I won't be coming back."
Word upon word sliced through to the core of my identity, dragging me into an undertow of confusion and pain. With most of our ministry partners fully backing him, it felt like an abandonment of multiplied proportions.
Yet God continued to show up with signs, wonders, and miracles. So the show went on, but I had been pushed off the wagon.
No one knew our full history or what was really happening behind closed doors. We showed up at a healing conference back in 2006, desperate for a miracle, and through the combined prayers of about a thousand people, a severe spinal cord injury in my husband's back was healed.
In less than a month, a film crew made its way from Alberta, Canada to our tiny little town in the mountains of Northwestern Montana. Four months later the film debuted in Toronto and was distributed worldwide. One-year later we were in full-time ministry covering 10-states, at the height of our busiest schedule.
There's so much pressure to perform and to conform, in ministry networks. Even in places where love, grace and mercy are the main ingredients of every speech, in stark contrast, the verbal abuse and spiritual terrorism continued unabated, behind the scenes.
I ponder this method of releasing leaders to public ministry. Is it true "grace"?
As I walked under a full moon, along the banks of the Big Horn River I pondered the insanity of it all. Was it really all about the money? The sales of conference tickets, DVD's, books, and more were filling the offering baskets to overflowing, in large part due to "the anointing" and the signs, wonders, and miracles that were progressively growing and getting stronger.
"Dance with Me," said the voice I had come to trust as God's. It was the last thing I expected to hear! Depression and despair were fast becoming unwelcome guests in the home of my heart and dancing was the farthest thing from my mind!
Yet somehow I began to discover that singing and dancing change our internal atmosphere. They govern our emotional tides in the ocean of our subconscious minds, even as the moon governs the physical, external ocean tides.
Long-term psychological abuse damages the frontal lobe of our physical brains. Neuroscience has discovered that the frontal lobe is in charge of balancing our emotions. It's the place that provides us with our sense of identity and much more. We are not created to endure long-term pathological abuse.
A woman who has been exposed to substantial emotional abuse is at great risk for losing everything – career, health, relationships, and even her faith. And so it was for me, that first year of aloneness, abandoned in the high desert, with no people of my own and no place to call home, either in dwelling or church.
I could have gone to relatives in faraway states, but I chose to remain in that place of solitude. I needed God more than a house, job, and food. I needed Him/Her to show up and in my desperation I wanted to know God in that deepest place of desolation.
Over and over, I heard the whisper – that invitation to intimacy – "Dance with Me". I didn't realize, at first, God was offering me a cure for a broken heart and a damaged mind.
All I knew is that the voice of God was inviting me to dance, to sing, and to create.
The Moon Flower taught me that it's okay to open my heart, even in the dark. Even when I don't understand my circumstances, it's okay to risk love again. It's intimacy with God that opens our eyes and ears to hear what is really happening in the world.
God is raising up a body of artists today, and they are coming out of the desert, leaning on their Beloved! Through their tears, they bleed onto pages, canvases, and into camera lenses and microphones. Their tears and blood-stained words are transformed by their Redeemer into shining, shimmering, and glowing works of art that nourish hungry and thirsty souls.
Song of Solomon 8:5
Who is this young woman coming from the wilderness with her arm around her beloved?
May it be me…. shalom, my soul!
With all my love,
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