A Blaze of Light and It Became Startlingly Clear

Being Comfortable in My Own Skin, Part 1

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

I once wished I could sit at the feet of a holy man – someone known for humility, wisdom, and a kind heart. It was at a point in my life when all systems were failing and I was in a terrifying tail spin, blazing a trail of disaster behind me.

I wanted SIMPLE. I needed CHILDLIKE. I was desperate for TRUTH.

It might seem strange, but this episode began at the peak of what many people would call success. I had started to become moderately successful in my own small business. A well known international evangelist had documented my husband's and my life in a DVD. We were put on stages across the Midwest and promoted on the Internet, God-TV, and other venues.

Wherever we went signs, wonders, and miracles followed us. We weren't big name people, but we had enough invitations to keep us traveling.

But behind the scenes, all was not well. The greater the pressure to conform to what was expected, the worse it became for both of us. My husband was becoming a stranger who I barely recognized. I was also playing a role not meant for me.

By our elders we were being patted on the back and help up as an example to our peers.

Inwardly, I was screaming for help, even as the phone calls poured in for more and more help. We had both become the "go to" people whenever there were serious sicknesses or spiritual needs.

It was a full-on tail spin and a crash was looking imminent. I couldn't stop it, no matter what I tried.

Then on the stage of our lives entered a Lakota woman, the first of three, who would tell me their stories and change my life. They didn't convert me to their religion or they way of life, but instead they simply helped me rediscover my own faith and my true identity.

Theh first Lakota was a Native American woman from Porcupine, South Dakota (the Pine Ridge Reservation) who told me the story of an elder – a pastor – who lived a lifestyle of holiness. She told me about the "holy hill" and what it felt like to pray there.

On the wings of her stories I flew with her into the Black Hills and felt the beat of the drummers, the wisp of a gentle evening breeze, and the vibrations in the ground as dancers leaped and twirled in a circle, sometimes all night long. Men, women, and children all worshiped together, in joy and with so much love and respect.

Hour after hour, day after day, passed and my fingers were flying over the very same keys I'm tapping on right now, as I recorded the life story of her tribe.

I felt her heartbeat. Her passion for love, truth, and justice drummed a wake up call to my spirit.

Storytellers change the world. Words are powerful change agents.

Shortly afterward, the crash came. A couple of years passed and my life switched directions. The Lakota woman's story was the catalyst for a great change that is still underway in my life.

When you let go of understanding, when you release the need to control your life, that's when the magic happens.

A second Native American arrived in my life.

I was working at a hotel in a small tourist town on a windy day when the doors blew open and a brown-skinned woman with flowing black hair purposefully strode into the lobby, rolling her suitcase across the marble tile. She seemed to be in a hurry, as if she was late for an appointment. I quickly checked her into Room 222 and then returned to my duties.

Fifteen minutes later she rang the bell, calling me to the front desk. I went to assist her, but it was me, she said, who needed assistance.

"God told me to come back downstairs and tell you that you need to open your heart. There's an opportunity coming and you're going to miss it if your heart remains closed."

Having delivered her word, she smiled and said she didn't have time to explain, but repeated the same words. Then she twirled around, heading for the stairs.

A third person entered my life's stage, a pale, red-haired man who worshiped in the Lakota way.

He was a stranger who walked up to me, holding out his cell phone. On the screen was a picture of a beaded vest. "I just sold this vest for $250!" he said, with great pride. He began to describe a small town in South Dakota – Porcupine was it's name – and it was the same small town that the first Lakota woman I had come from.

Fast forward a bit, two months later I was invited to live on a ranch with his family, parking my camper in their yard.

I sat at the feet of his uncle, who taught me the Lakota ways… all the simplicity, the childlike faith, and the humble ways of their people. I know, many of today's Lakota have lost their way. I know… but the simple truths are still alive and well.

And many people still follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life, even those with brown skin.

Perhaps one of the greatest life lessons I learned – and I am still learning – is that holiness begins with being comfortable in your own skin.

We each need to be comfortable in our own skin. We need to see beyond the wrinkles and stains of life on earth. When we find our authentic voice, our words become change agents, and our stories create a new world!

To be continued, click here!


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 2014, Susan Schiller, http://TeamFamilyOnline.com.  For reprint permission for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne Terry January 17, 2014 at 9:18 pm

So beautiful, Susan.  I love this story and the way you tell it.


Susan Schiller January 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Suzanne, thanks so much for sharing hearts here today – many blessings to you 🙂


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