Will Life Ever Feel Normal Again?

Will Life Ever Feel Normal Again?
By: Susan Deborah Schiller
This is the shortest version of my story that I've yet shared! And it's also the first time I've ever done a video like this, apart from the "Miracles" movie that was produced in 2006. There's so much more that I could have shared, and so many more people that I could have talked about, who influenced my life greatly during this time of transition, but this is like a tiny snapshot of the most turbulent, yet the most transformational part of my journey to freedom. I hope you like it 🙂
My counselors told me that I was the most abused woman they had ever met, and they feared for my life. I was so conditioned for abuse at the time that I didn't fully understand what they were saying. I was a regional leader in a large international ministry. My husband and I were traveling and doing seminars from one end of the country to the other. We were put on stages and in front of television cameras.
Yet behind the scenes our marriage was falling to pieces through intense emotional abuse. Soon after I sought help, my husband left me, sent divorce papers, and married another woman. We had been part of an unhealthy church and many of them silently shunned me, aligning themselves with my charismatic and charming husband and his 5th wife.
I was dealing with multiple traumas: divorce, betrayal and abandonment, smear campaigns, threats to my life, loss of friends and family, loss of a job, and loss of house, furniture, and personal items. I had been abandoned in the middle of a Wyoming desert, homeless, and without reliable transportation. It was like an emotional earthquake closely followed by a spiritual tsunami hit me. In retrospect, I realize that only what was true and built on love survived the crash.
People used to frequently remark at how strong I was, like a rock, they said… but after losing nearly everything it felt like all my bones were broken and there was nothing I could do to move forward.
It seemed like an impossible task to re-enter the world, to get my life back. But the first thing I had to do was to let go of my need "to be strong"… that very quality that had gotten me through 24/7 caregiving for nearly 4 years following my husband's severe spinal cord injury, prior to our public lives.
I had no choice, really. I embraced my own brokenness and discovered that it's okay to be weak. In fact, it somehow feels good to be weak – like it's more REAL – even as all the shattered illusions scrape your soul and scream that you were a fool. Only then can God be strong in you. That's when the miracles began.
God used the most unlikley people to help me re-enter life.
Out of seemingly nowhere, at a point in my journey when I was homeless at the beginning of an icy Wyoming winter, a Lakota family adopted me and brought me into their home. After work, I'd arrive at their gorgeous ranch where everyone was crafting with these gloriously colorful glass beads. They put a needle and thread in my hands and taught me how to create gorgeous artwork! I began to feel like ME again, the real me. I love art! Beading was the beginning of learning the importance of caring for myself and taking time to have fun.

I used to wonder if it would ever be possible to live a normal life again, if the pain would finally go away.

Now I know the answer is "Yes, the pain will begin to go. It will fade away faster when you take time to care for yourself and to open your heart to trust again.
Be very careful of the friends you allow to speak into your life, though. Your true friends will not necessarily have all the answers but they will say things like the Lakota family said to me: "Honey, everything's going to be all right." It helps to hear those words, over and over again, until finally you believe them.
I believe it's in sharing our stories that we build bridges for each other to be able to live and love again. In the times we are in deep grief, the roots of our life – our beliefs and values – grow deeper and stronger. We end up having more life to live and to give when we re-enter the world again.
We may never have all the answers to why we had to suffer. Evil is something irrational and no one can ever truly understand how and why it happens. But we can say to each other, "It's going to be all right." "It's okay to be weak right now – You're going to be okay." "We'll be with you until you get your life back."
In choosing to love, we banish fear. Together we can create happiness for ourselves and a new life.
I'd love to hear your story over life after a sociopath… or life after a time of grief… life after a time of great upheaval or loss! I'm collecting 100 Stories of Choosing Love Today and I'd love to publish your story! Together we can create  an oasis of hope!

Choosing love today,


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 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, http://TeamFamilyOnline.com. 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.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Glashower October 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

So great to see you & hear your voice! Your story of choosing to love despite what happened to you is always so encouraging and such a testament to God's healing power. You inspire me with your strength!


Susan Schiller October 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Hi Sue,

It’s exciting to see the full potential and the unlimited possibilities that open to us when we choose love… it causes me to hope, to have faith, for the world to become a more loving place… we are so desperate for this.

Thanks for coming today and for sharing!


Keri Kight October 2, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Susan you truly are a wonder woman.  Sometimes I think of you and wonder how you managed to break free.  Your beauty shines so brightly and I can feel your loveliness in your voice.   You truly are an inspiration to many woman.


Susan Schiller October 2, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Thank you for listening, Keri – it means a lot, as I know you are on a similar path and helping many others to create happiness – thanks! 🙂


Sharon O'Day September 30, 2013 at 8:41 pm

It is so good, Sue, to put a voice to the words.  I had only heard it on the phone once or twice … and hearing it again reminds me how much vulnerability there is in your memories.  I take joy in watching you grow stronger and stronger, in the ways we choose to be strong, while holding the right amount of that vulnerability that keeps us from letting life harden us.  God bless your journey …


Susan Schiller October 1, 2013 at 1:37 am

Hi Sharon,

It means a lot to have friends like you on this journey to freedom! Today, a reader wrote to me, saying, “…. Each time I heard you say, “you will be alright” it was as though the words pierced straight through to my heart. … it is okay to be weak, a relief to be weak, and to not only admit you need help but also ask for it. Your words are soothing balm to me…”

Everywhere I turn I see women who, like me, are very Strong, with a capital S… but as you know, no matter how “strong” you appear to be, your life could possibly be only one click away from disaster. Many of us, through programming from the world’s systems, have cracks in our foundations, deep underneath the surface. When the earthquake comes and the tsunami hits, it can be a hidden blessing as it uncovers what is broken.

What I really appreciate about your mentoring, Sharon, is that you teach us to go straight into our root belief system to repair the cracks before they become an issue! You are saving lives, including mine 🙂

Thanks so much…. for being YOU… for shining your Light 🙂


Gertraud Walters September 30, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I've read your story a few times beforebecause it moved me deeply. It's wonderful hearing your voice and Yes it does fit the picture I painted 🙂 Beautiful Susan.


Susan Schiller October 1, 2013 at 1:27 am

Hi Gertraud,

The morning that I made this video I was listening to the Jamaican waves on the beach where you were pounding the sand with your race to fitness… and I thought how wonderful it is to hear your voice and that you took me out to the gorgeous ocean with you. I felt a deeper connection and it gave me additional motive and strength to get this video done.

Thanks for your courage in helping to pave the way!


Marvia September 30, 2013 at 7:49 pm


Thank you for baring your true and the story of redemption.  God is a redeemer.  You are an encourager.  Thank you for your bravery.  It is lovely to see the new unfolding.


Susan Schiller September 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Hi Marvia,

You’re an amazing encourager and I’m so glad to know you – thanks so much for reading/watching and sharing your heart here – I really appreciate you!!! <3

Isn’t grace the most beautiful expression of God’s love… I love how you put it: “the new unfolding” 🙂


Cyn Rogalski September 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm

So touched by your story, each time I hear a another snippet of it. Praying your you, my dear friend, & I appreciate your prayers for me.


Susan Schiller September 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Hi Cyn,

It’s so nice to see your cheerful face here and to read your encouraging comments – thanks so much, my friend!

I’m thinking of you often and praying for you 🙂


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