I Gave My All

This is where I share my "hard" story…

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

Charismatic, charming, and good-looking, he was a lovable guy… church deacon, business owner, a friendly neighbor, and a man always ready to lend a helping hand. No one believed what was happening behind closed doors.

I had no one to turn to but God, because we didn't have Internet, back then, and no one I knew was speaking out or teaching about sociopaths. Listening to God's voice was like a lighthouse guiding my storm-tossed life even as the ship was going down.

Here's a peek into my journal, during a time when I struggled to know the meaning of all the suffering…

My husband recounts to me in graphic detail all the ways he desires to murder my physical body, but he's already killing my heart.

His voice is calm and cool. He even smiles a bit. And then, as usual, he concludes his litany of mutilation and death by saying, "I'm sorry. You haven't done anything wrong. There's just something inside of me that wants to hurt you. But don't worry, I've got it under control!"

Father, You hate divorce – why have You allowed this option?

"I hate evil of all kinds, especially evil that hurts oppressed women and children."

My heart is broken, crushed. Heavy pain. God is near. I have peace, yet I know what little life was in my marriage is dead. It's sad – far beyond any pain I have previously known.

What is Your perfect will in this situation, Father?

"Love in the midst of overwhelming odds."

Father, there has been incredible pain for so many years. What do you mean by "love"?

Father, I want to know Love. I want the emotional abuse from my husband to end.  How much does one person have to bear? I think of women across the world who are bearing much more than I. Lord, how You must grieve and cry over the lost and dying world full of sinners perishing without hope.

Father, I love You. Thank You that the glory awaiting us far exceeds this present suffering.

I must learn the art of rejoicing in the midst of pain and sorrow, rejection, worries, doubts, and fears. Some day I will look back on this year as the time when God transformed me. Right now it feels like never-ending pressure! Lord, I need a glimpse of what it looks like at the end of this long, dark path.

An Interjection: From God's perspective, I was like a newborn child inside the birth canal. This was my "born again" experience, as I left religion behind, with all the shame, fear, and control. The "old" me was still dying… slowly!

In the outward world, my husband had already divorced me. He had other lovers, did not want me in his life, except for childcare and housekeeping (outward appearances, to help make him look like a godly Christian man). When I finally initiated a formal divorce, after many years of desperation and searching for help, it was to make the private condition a public matter. I couldn't keep on hiding and pretending. It cost me everything.

"It's like giving birth to your child. You don't know quite how it will turn out. You hope and pray and do your best to endure months of slow, unseen progress. Then, suddenly comes the day of solemn joy. First the pain, then the joy and wonder of new life. I will be with you and help you through it."

Nehemiah 12:43 "… for God had given the people cause for great joy…" After years of oppression the walls of Jerusalem were built. Enemies within and without. Impossible circumstances and a wonder-working God.

God wants the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart – not my successes. Lord, I'm very weak right now. I don't see the big picture like You do. You're a gentle Shepherd. Please carry me on Your shoulders today. Please forgive me and heal me.

All I've ever wanted all my life is to make a happy home and raise a familyto love and to be loved.

I've also had a dream of missions – reaching out to the most destitute… I submit to You, God… Have Your way in my life. Do whatever You want to do in my family. Touch us with Your love. Fill me with with Your Holy Spirit. Fill our home with Your presence. Give us abundant life. Rain on us. Bring refreshing and healing. Lift us up once again from the mire and mud.

"There's manna to eat for today even in the desert."

Thank You, Father. Please guard my heart from judgment, unforgiveness, and bitterness. Please grant me peace and rest as I continually turn all of this over to You.

I'd rather fail attempting to love than to withdraw from taking risks in a broken world.

Yet, I feel ruined. I feel I've let everyone down. I feel disgraced. Even so, I feel rich because You still love me. O God, please help. More grace.

"Dear child, just come to Me and lay your head down and rest. Just be My child. You've been squirming and I can't comfort you until you learn to rest."

"You hide them in the shelter of Your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues. Praise the Lord, for he has shown me his unfailing love. he kept me safe when my city was under attack. In sudden fear I had cried out, 'I have been cut off from the Lord!' But you heard my cry for mercy and answered by call for help." Psalm 31:20

"Have courage, dear one. You are Mine and I am yours. You are complete in Me.  What you lack in abundant life is found and stored up in Me. To find what you lack, come to Me and draw from My living waters. Dance with Me – you know how – it's our song. I want to be Your lover and friend."

My Righteous Father and Judge shall preserve my reputation. I must face the disapproval of many people, but I will do as My Lord commands, for I've prayed the prayer: "Lord, make me obey You."

Refuse to think about what has not yet happened.

Instead, REMEMBER what God has done in the past.

This opens to door to your miracle!

Heavenly Father, You preserve the simple. You are Justice. You take care of orphans and widows in their distress. Jesus was betrayed by Judas. David was betrayed by his best friend. Paul was disconnected from Mark.

The nature of human relationships is fragile. Sinners sin. Jeremiah was thrown into a well to die. Joseph was thrown into a pit and sold as a slave, and he suffered – but even as he suffered, you prospered him. Daniel was thrown into a lion's den to be torn apart and eaten alive, and yet your rescued him. Moses' siblings turned against him, but you rescued him. Ruth endured great hardship as a result of following You.  All of these people were rewarded for their obedience.

Daddy, please help me to be faithful in every aspect of my being. Help me to endure Your discipline.

"From this day on I will bless you. You have endured hard labor. From the fat of the land I will satisfy your hungry soul. Do not thirst for revenge. I will give everyone what is due them. Your reward is near at hand. Come to Me all who are weary. I have comfort for the brokenhearted. I have more to give you than you are aware of at this time."

Daddy, why am I all alone? My pastors and leaders won't talk to me unless I "repent" for not obeying them. What shall I do?

"Make peace with your enemies. Do not allow the enemy to prosper in your own soul. Forgive and release those who have offended you. It's time to let go of the debts and tear up the I.O.U's. Forgiveness mends your own soul. Pray for those who persecute you and bless those who curse you. To neglect this duty is to neglect your own soul. I'll take care of your hurts. I'll heal you as you release these people… I won't abandon you – I will restore you… I'm moving you from a place of instability to a place of rest, free from fear… challenge Me, by faith, to be your Great Reward! … Give Me all your tomorrows."

Be at rest, my soul. Some day you will be thankful for the deep agony of this time.

"Forged in the fire: courage and strength."

I may have lost everything: family, church, ministry, friends. But I know that I did my best – I gave my all. I've confessed my sins and made them public. I know my Redeemer lives and that He feels my pain. I know He has a plan to prosper my family and me.

I sense His presence – He himself is holding me and loving me. God knows my heart.

"I will super-charge you with an anointing to break yokes of oppression. You will wear the leadership mantle of courage. You have done well to ask Me for these things. I have longed to give you My choice gifts but so often you have given up Hope just when the answer was near. Little child, you know Me well. I take delight in My children. It makes Me happy to give you the Kingdom."

Father, it's so dark and I can't see!

"Faith grows only in the dark… Your heart still needs to trust Me more. I will not fail you… Storms will come your way, Little One, but My Peace never changes. You're embraced by My Father's Love and Power and even if the whole world were to forsake you, I never will.

Troubles will come to test your faith. Be Mine. Don't be shaken. Stand firm. Resist evil, especially the evil in your own mind. Step inside My mind. Know me. I am stable and secure."

"You are blazing trails for others to follow. Be patient in trouble. Hope."

When we humble ourselves, God lifts us up. When we rest, God goes to work. When we trust, God speaks up for us. When we give up everything to obey Him, God restores much more back to us. When we lose our faith, God remains faithful.

Being shipwrecked simply means you get a chance for new start. Life is not over, it's just beginning. You can't really begin to live until you have lost everything. Once you have lost everything and have watched the miracle of new life and restoration, the fear of losing anyone or anything is gone! This is FREEDOM!

My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

With all my love,


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 2015 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

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