Voice of the Moon Flower

Voice of the Moon Flower

By: Susan Schiller

The scorching desert was anything but barren, and it became my classroom for the year 2011. From living in the corner of a hayfield to camping alongside the Big Horn River, it's where I learned to survive… and through trust, to thrive. The desert was better than college and more intense than ministry school.

The desert is the place where I unlearned most of my life's beliefs and began to build a solid foundation for my life, based on trust in the Creator of the whole universe.

The desert isn't a place you would normally choose for yourself – sometimes you have to be chased there!

  • David, before he was entrusted by God to be Israel's king, was relentlessly persecuted by the murderous King Saul. Chased into the desert where he lived in caves, David practiced his leadership skills with a ragtag army of losers.
  • Moses, who had received a princely education in the courts of Egypt, before he was entrusted with the leadership of a brand new nation, fled for his life to the desert, after killing a man.
  • Paul, before he was entrusted to be an apostle who wrote most of the New Testament, spent solitary years in the desert. Even Jesus, before his public ministry began, spent 40-days in the desert, without food or water.

All of these men grew a backbone in the harsh desert. And I believe that's what God is doing with many of us today… he's fixing the backbone of society: the family!

It makes me wonder how leaders are chosen these days. Most of it is politics, you probably know. Votes. Popularity. Charisma. I graduated from a Christian college and spent almost my whole life in church. I've been a youth pastor, children's pastor, Sunday School superintendent, inner healing and deliverance minister, and a regional coordinator covering 10 Midwestern states.

I invested my whole life in ministry, until my life was threatened and I had to flee.

Some people might think I'm writing for its therapeutic value. Some people believe I'm writing out of bitterness, or even revenge. That might have been so, if it hadn't been for the year of the desert.

One day I heard the soft voice of the Moon Flower.

The Moon Flower taught me a lesson, as I pondered the pain of abandonment.

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 it 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.

If it weren't for the dark night of the soul, you would never get to see the shimmering white glow of a Moon Flower!

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 the abuse continued unabated, back home.

I ponder this method of releasing leaders to public ministry versus desert training. Is it true "grace"?

You see, I was threatened to remain silent.

If someone silences you and you comply, it puts that person in control of your life. You are imprisoned. It's "Predator 101" to isolate your victim, to silence her, so that no one hears her cries.

To get free, you have to do the opposite, so I wrote "Breaking the Silence," which was my first step in escaping to freedom. 

People always tell me I'm "strong". Like the Moon Flower, I can thrive in the hard places, but it's what happens in the darkness that causes people like us to shine, shimmer, and glow.

Until we can learn to sing and dance in the dark desert night of life, in the companionship of other survivors, we haven't yet begun to live.

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 intimacy with God that opens our eyes and ears to hear what is really happening in the world.

There's a desert in our churches today. God's people are perishing for lack of pure water and nourishment…. I believe God is raising up a new army of leaders today, and they are coming out of the desert, leaning on their Beloved, even now!

Song of Solomon 8:5

Who is this young woman coming from the wilderness with her arm around her beloved?

Even though you may be in the desert today, or if you know someone who is facing a time of wilderness, you're not alone, even if you walk a solitary path. God is making streams in the desert!

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 abuse survivors write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into the 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

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Cyn Rogalski October 22, 2013 at 10:31 am

What a beautiful analogy. So beautiful.
and speaking to me yet again.
So grateful for God speaking to me through you.
Cyn Rogalski recently posted..Afterthoughts — Part 1My Profile

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Susan Schiller October 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

We comfort each other with the comfort God has given to us… He’s given me so much comfort and I’m glad it somehow eases your load, too, Cyn… Thanks so much for the honor of your friendship! <3

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katherine October 22, 2013 at 9:52 am

beautiful post! iwill be back to tthis site. thanks!

Reply

Susan Schiller October 22, 2013 at 9:54 am

Hi Katherine,

Thank you for sharing your kind words here… I look forward to learning more about you!

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Lisa Mallis October 22, 2013 at 9:48 am

WOW – thanks for sharing a part of your journey here.  I am intrigued by the symbolism of the moon flower, and the moon flower itself.

 

Fabulous!

Reply

Susan Schiller October 22, 2013 at 9:50 am

Hi Lisa,

Thanks so much for visiting and sharing today! The moon flower is quite remarkable, isn’t it… it’s wonderful to watch bloom in the moonlight 🙂

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