Reinvention through Resurrection

Reinvention through Resurrection

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

Previous Chapter: The Suicide Notice

"...Hope knows that if great trials are avoided, great deeds remain undone and the possibility of growth into greatness of soul is aborted.… When tragedy makes its unwelcome appearance and we are deaf to everything but the shriek of our own agony, when courage flies out the window and the world seems to be a hostile, menacing place, it is the hour of our own Gethsemane. No word, however sincere, offers any comfort or consolation. The night is bad. Our minds are numb, our hearts vacant, our nerves shattered. How will we make it through the night? The God of our lonely journey is silent." — Brennan Manning

Jesus calls us to pick up our cross and follow him. For survivors of the most horrific domestic violence – sociopathic abuse – we often have no choice but pain and death. The good news is it can be a time of resurrection to an even better life.

The Cross: Your abuser is relentless and has projected his own twisted mind onto yours. Sometimes it really seems like he believes the accusations he's projected onto you.

Up seems down and down seems up, and it feels like you've been dropped onto an alien planet. When people you love and trust buy into his lies, your self-esteem is smashed to bits. You become as dangerous to yourself as your abuser is, because self-hatred, even if you're not conscious of it, is creating a spiritual auto-immune disease that may even manifest physically, commonly fibromyalgia or even cancer.

I'm not saying this will happen to you, but many of us lose nearly everything when we escape to freedom. Losing your reputation, your assets and finances. Losing your home, your family, your identity… it's like a crucifixion… a time when you pick up your cross and follow Christ on the road to Calvary.

You're being dragged through hell backwards and there's no two ways about it!

All my attempts to maintain peace and security failed. I lost my identity in the process and my heart is so numb I can barely feel anything, even the pain of this loss.

Who am I? Why am I here? Who do I want to be? Where do I want to be? Who do I want to be with? What will my future look like? — an excerpt from my diary, summer of 2011.

I had truly loved my abuser and I asked God point-blank: "Where does all the love go?" I knew I needed to cut myself off from my abuser. He began to show me that it all begins with restablishing my own personal identity, in Christ, as one who is radically beloved by her Creator.

"Define yourself radically as one beloved by God," writes John Eagan.

Reading from Brennan Manning: "… The true self claims identity in its belovedness. We encounter God in the ordinariness of life: not in the search for spiritual highs and extraordinary mystical experiences but in our simple presence in life." (The Rabbi's Heartbeat)

"God created us for union with Himself. This is the original purpose of our lives. And God is defined as love (1 John 4:16). Living in an awareness of our belovedness is the axis around which the Christian life revolves. Being the beloved is our identity, the core of our existence… If I must seek an identity outside of myself, then the accumulation of wealth, power, and honors allures me. Or I may find my center of gravity in interpersonal relationships. When I draw life and meaning from any other source than my belovedness, I am spiritually dead."

The Resurrection: I began to see that living with a sociopath had its benefits… it was the guaranteed quickest route to the Cross, to my own certain death, and onward to the resurrection. Today, my new life is better than it ever could have been. Not because I no longer have trials, but because I know how to run to the Light for healing.

My mentor via his prolific writing, Brennan Manning, says: "In boundary moments such as these there is only one place to go – Calvary. Stay there for a long time and watch as Abba's Only Begotten dies utterly alone in bloody disgrace. Watch as He breathes forgiveness on His torturers at the moment of their greatest cruelty and mercilessness. On that lonely hill outside the city wall of Old Jerusalem, you will experience the healing power of the dying Lord."

And so I did. I vividly recall a worship conference I attended shortly after my first church-quake. With my arms raised and eyes closed, I was just basking in the atmosphere of praise and worship – soaking into the very cells of my soul and body healing for the psychological beating I had just received from a church pastor. I got lost inside that worship and suddenly I was taken to a different place. I found myself elevated off the ground, my arms no longer raised but extended horizontally. My feet were nailed to a cross and I should have been in great pain, but there was Someone behind me. He took me to the Cross with Him over 2000 years ago, and I felt His loving embrace as He absorbed all my pain. He didn't let me take the full blow. I suffered with Him, yes… but on that Cross, that day, He took all the pain and I received comfort and healing.

"The recovery of passion starts with reappraising the value of the treasure, continues with letting the Great Rabbi hold us against His heart, and comes to fruition in a personal transformation of which we will not even be aware," reminds Brennan Manning.

We are transcending the evil that manifests outwardly by addressing it first internally, in our own hearts.

We are getting our lives back. It's radical soul recovery.

We cannot afford to be silent any longer. Every story matters. Your story matters. Sharing your story may save someone else's life, even if you feel you play such a small role. Never underestimate the power of an encouraging word, even if you've never been abused. Together, we can end abuse and turn this around, beginning in our own families.

Nothing valuable in life comes to us for free. There's hard work to be done. We are finishing the work Christ began, taking up our own cross, and following Him all the way Home.

May we pray together?


Whenever I question who I am, please help me to see my identity as "the one Christ loves". Let His nature be mine. As I go through my day, please keep reminding me that my life is hidden in Him. Help me treasure time to meet with You alone, to know You intimately. I praise You for these great trials and thank you for the full benefit of living with a sociopath, for being on the accelerated path to the Cross and Your resurrection power. Thank you for bringing me Home to You on the narrow path that leads to Life.

That You for holding out Your nail-scarred hand and walking with me in all the dark places. Thank you for causing me to grow into a fuller, deeper, richer life with You as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Thank You for taking my pain and making me whole and free. To You be all the glory, the honor, and the power… forever. Amen.

To be Continued: Living with a Sociopath: Can Anything Good From It?

Related Stories:

The Suicide Notice

Speak the Truth Even if Your Voice Shakes

Breaking the Silence: When A Victim Speaks Up, is it “Airing Dirty Laundry” or Exposing Evil?

Radical Self-Care: Soaking in Nature's Healing Power

Ground Zero – Church Quake!

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

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Schiller December 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm

I love how our Creator works, Jennifer… ad I love how we all ask the same questions. It brings us to much closer to each other. We are creating something brand new, aren't we? 

We certainly don't want to bring the old into the new. 

Brennan Manning is a good mentor. He knows what it is to suffer, all his life long. His autobiography, "All is Grace" takes us right into the gutter and helps us to see the glory of God in one life, even a life as broken as his.

When I wrote this, it was the day divorce papers arrived, notifying me that it was final. I was so broken. I was homeless. It was a living agony. The quotes on this page I wrote in my journal on that fateful day.

I'm glad that these words give us something to share. It's like a feast of stories when we each can share a part of our life story. Somehow we become a little more whole with each morsel shared, whether giving or receiving.

Thank you for sharing, Jennifer – you are tremendous woman of valor and strength. Those are the two words that come to mind… and so I declare them, asking God to give you even more. 🙂


Marvia July 7, 2013 at 9:54 am

"The recovery of passion starts with reappraising the value of the treasure, continues with letting the Great Rabbi hold us against His heart, and comes to fruition in a personal transformation of which we will not even be aware," reminds Brennan Manning.

sSusan. This. This. This!!!!!!


i needed these words today. I needed to he reminded that God loves me forever. That He is a restorer. He is a purifier and always my defender. Thank you dig sharing the story if your soul. It is encouraging to see how God beings beauty from the ashes. It reminds me also that what the enemy meant for harm, God can turn around for good. May we all experience this truth in ways that transform us to be the beloved in all we think and say and do. 


Susan Schiller July 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

Awesome words, Marvia – thanks! Have you read Brennan Manning’s books? He died recently, but he left behind the rich legacy of a prolifitc writer… This quote is from “The Rabbi’s Heartbeat” and Brennan conveys the heartbeat of our Lord like no one else… he’s a mster with words!

(((( Hugs to you, Marvia ))))


Susan Schiller July 2, 2013 at 7:27 am



I know that you trust Me, says the Lord, because I see your heart and know your love for Me.  But now, I am opening a door of hope that will lead to the specific resolution of the issues you have been dealing with for some time.  Move in the power of My Spirit and let hope rule in your heart.  I am with you to become strength in your weakness.  Let the weak say, "I am strong!" 


Hosea 2:14-15  "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her.  I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor [trouble] as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt."


Susan Schiller July 1, 2013 at 6:43 am

Faith Tabernacle

July 1, 2013




I tell you, My people, that these days will be known as the days of divine expression, for I am about to express My kingdom through you in a greater way. I am going to bring you forth into a place of resurrection power.  In the process of this resurrection I will restore you.  It is My desire that you come forth in health and with provision.  I say these are the days of divine glory, and I will bring forth a divine manifestation, a divine expression, to those who will simply believe in Me, says the Lord.  Position  yourself to be one with Me in purpose, one with Me in heart, and then I will express Myself through you. The world will know that I have a people, and they will know that I am the Lord of Glory.




Do not falter at this critical moment, for you are in a time of specific progression to an explicit place in the Spirit.  It is important that you refuse to get discouraged in this process and that you resist and overcome the urge to quit.  Be strong and take the time to renew your faith in Me to bring you through every challenge in victory, says the Lord.  I am the victorious one, and you belong to Me. 

Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory.


Jennifer December 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Sue, everything written here, your words as well the words of others you have quoted are so powerful, so important for us to receive.  Everything here, I will re-read to take in more deeply. The words "Why am I here?" was the question I put out to the universe this morning, today I have been feeling very confused after asking this question.  The idea the trials we face which turn our world upside down may not be happening so we can quickly scramble to recreate something old, in an attempt to rescue ourselves; when in our heart we know the old ways are not sustaining us the way we are asking to be sustained. The love of God, allowing God in, to be a constant presence and resource, this is a different way of living, God's way.  Thanks for this powerful writing! Reading these words, bring strength to me today.



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