101 Stories of “Love Wins” Even in the Darkest Times


101 Stories of "Love Wins"

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

Art is War! Pens, Paintbrushes, and Pianos are Mighty Swords as We Fight with Beauty & Truth!

We get naked here at Team Family Online, because every layer of "stuff" that comes off means more freedom to fly higher. It means more souls are given wings to soar.

Stories do more than uncover darkness and expose injustice, as you will learn from Marvia and Amie, in their stories linked to the images above. Stories impact us at the heart level, at the core of our being, and that initiates a chain reaction of transformation.

Perhaps the traditions of our earlier ancestors as they shared stories over the evening campfires is the truest form of psychological and spiritual help. With that in mind, I'm collecting 101 stories of people who have learned to thrive, even in the midst of their worst nightmare.

Your story matters! I hope you feel welcome to share YOUR story today! Please email me, to participate 🙂


"I'm 98% certain that Carolyn will be dead within a week, but there's a slight chance that she won't kill herself because she seems to have a bit of faith."

Those were the words of a psychiatrist as he discussed the probabilities for my future. He was absolutely right. Having been admitted to a secure psychiatric  hospital following an alcohol-fuelled suicide attempt there was no doubt that I was in extreme danger of attempting to harm myself again.

After battling chronic depression since childhood and spending years of self-medicating with alcohol I had hit rock-bottom. The impact of being abandoned by my mother as an infant, together with being abused by my father, had become too much to bear. And in an attempt to numb the pain I had turned to vodka as my healer, with disastrous consequence. Addiction took over and destroyed everything I had in my life and it was on the verge of destroying me. Read More

Meet Kimberly Dimick, whose magnificent love story has sparked a revolution in marriage.

  Kimberly's story begins…  My dream of a great marriage was supposed to be coming true. It only took a few days to realize, much to my horror, that he was an abusive, control freak. Joshua's weapons were deliberate and cruel.

Among his arsenal were rejection, abandonment and controlling with rage to keep me bound up and under his thumb. He was profoundly spiritually abusive. The usual submit and headship teaching of the Church came spewing out of his mouth incessantly and with a vengeance. The more I tried to meet his needs the more insatiable he became. My husband abused me in every way possible. To read more, click here.


Meet Joshua Dimick, in part 2 of "Ruins to Restoration"!

Josh's Story Begins: For twenty years I kept my wife and two sons prisoners to my tyranny. I exacted control by using rage and manipulated them by means of my blistering anger. Nothing was about love; everything was about following my rules. I expected my wife to keep an impeccably neat house at all times and always be willing to have sexual relations whenever I asked. The children were expected to always obey an endless set of rules, never have a voice except to say, “Yes, Sir.” I kept them all in fear of me. I silenced them. I broke their hearts and spirits. If they did not give me full submission, they would pay. I actually thought this is what the Bible taught concerning the husband/father role. My ego was so bloated and my heart so insecure, that I left them no choice. I was an abusive control freak.

After 15 years of marriage, I had beaten down their spirits. They collapsed under the weight of my disapproval and rejection. I could extract nothing more from them, so I abandoned them.  Read more of Josh's Story here!

Who Do You Think You Are?

happinessThe turning point for me was a complete physical and mental breakdown. I could no longer go on existing as a product of my past. Enough of the fake smiles that covered the heartbreak. Enough of the false mask of confidence that hid the fear. Enough of the pretense. Enough of the uncertainty.  I had had enough of it all.

It was time to reclaim my life and find out who I really was. It was time to listen to my inner voice, nurture the child within and allow my authentic self to emerge. And in doing so I found out that I was everything I thought I wasn’t and a little bit more.

Refusing to enable my past to have power over my present, I was able to allow the real me to emerge. Initially the fears of who I had become revealed my rawness and vulnerability,, but over time my confidence and self-worth grew. No longer was I controlled by others.  No longer did I compare myself to others. After all the years of believing otherwise, I was okay being me.     Read More

The Princess Warrior Prayer

Care to listen to the audio, rather than read? Click here :)

This is a powerful prayer and it really works to change your circumstances when you read it, listen to it, write it in your own words, draw a picture of it – and make it your own!

Arise worship warriors, arise! For your God has seen your low estate and He has heard your cries from on high.

Right in the midst of the taunting of your enemy there is coming a roar and loud cry in the heavens over your lives that will drown out the voice of your enemy. Its reverberations will shake your enemy loose from your lives and cut him off long before he can get to you.

You see your chains BUT your God hears your praise. You see and feel the wind and stormy seas around about you BUT I see a glorious new day over your horizon… You feel the quaking under your feet but it is I who is causing it. I am shaking all that can be shaken and just as it was in Peter's prison long ago…..the chains will fall off and you will walk out of your prison untouched and unscathed. –  Read More

Dear sister, my heart goes out to you. I understand the emotional and spiritual exhaustion you feel at this point. I know you have tried everything there is to position your husband to obey and love God. You have honored God in the face of being tested to your very core. ANY woman unloved by her husband, causes God to tremble. Rejection is the antithesis of LOVE and everything God Himself stands for.  First, I want to say, I believe you!

Your marriage relationship and how it is affecting you is just as painful an experience as anyone's. I know that you tend to measure your level of pain against others. God does not see us like this. No one has lived your life or understands the circumstances, events, the wounding or the number of tears you have cried. No one knows what you have dealt with in the secret place of your mind and heart. The Lord loves you individually and loves everything about you and His heart breaks over everything that makes your heart breaks. There is no child of God that when they are crushed in spirit He is not moved to His depths too. –   Read More

To hang naked between heaven and earth, to be brutalized in every conceivable way gives a husband a picture of the cost of love. What many think as degrading, what we think of as a reproach; is what Christ was willing to do to prove His love.

God earned our love??? How can this be? We can not fathom this. Yet, even our own selfishness and ignorance did not hold Him back from a Cross. Jesus chose it for us.  He chose to lay His life down freely without one thought for Himself. This is AMAZING love. 
We who mock sacrifice could only be redeemed because of it. It is not demonstrated with only trite words and phrases. It was not a half-hearted attempt but a love that went the distance…..a Bridegroom who chose death and the grave to show the whole world a living picture of love's truest meaning.

Christ's death opened the floodgates of the Father's heart to every living soul. Though we fight it, we run from it, we hide and make excuses why we have no need of so great a love……there will never be any way of escaping the awe and wonder of the God who IS love.…   Read More

Biblical Due Process for Relationships

What do you do when a loved one hurts you over and over and over again? What is biblical due process in the case of what appears to be domestic violence?

What most people do is get hurt, stuff it, never say anything directly to the person or give them a chance to make it right. They don't take other witnesses with the purpose of reconciliation, but instead, continue to talk about it to others instead of the person who hurt them.

BUT, not following the Bible in this way makes the wounded party then just as guilty as the one hurting them. Most people jump right to cutting off relationships without the process.

If the process is there and followed an there is clear refusal then cutting off relationship is good and reasonable as the other refuses to hear the other person out and that is on them.

If they do not receive the other person and remain abusive or hurtful then we are not called to keep taking that.…   Read More

An open letter to an abused and abandoned wife, a Vet, whose grief is a hundredfold because most of her friends sided with her abusive husband, a charming sociopath everyone loves to love. She drank the bitter poison offered her by her captor, making her the scapegoat for a multitude of sins committed against her.

She is grieved that her heart seems bitter from the experience of being left behind by the friends she thought were eternal friends, her spiritual home. She is praying, wondering if God cannot bless her because there may be a root of bitterness in her. She feels like her heart is a toxic waste dump and doesn't want to contaminate others around her. Isolated, she may not survive long, without intervention.  Read More

Only six months into my marriage, I was already suffering under Joshua's abuse to the point of losing my mind. I had always been a such a joyful person, so when I grew more and more depressed it sent me reeling. I could not get a handle on the depression.

One night I was literally out of my mind. I had been wrestling with suicidal thoughts the whole day and decided I would take my car and run in to a tree or oncoming traffic. 

I felt God keep pressing me and so I decided to go in. Well, there were like twelve pews and in the front of the Church, standing in the pulpit, was this very small man wearing a ten gallon cowboy hat praying his heart out. I laughed to myself because this guy had to be the most ridiculous looking man I had ever seen. His hat was as big as him!

As soon as he opened his eyes and looked at me, sure enough, he came down off that platform headed right towards me….  Read More

"Where does the betrayal and injustice end???" asks a young wife, betrayed and abandoned by the one who once promised to love, honor, and cherish her till death do they part.

Kimberly Dimick responds: My heart breaks for you. I am moved with compassion for your plight and the injustice that wicked man heaps upon you. I understand your feelings of hopelessness and despairing that accompany the treachery of betrayal and sheer heartlessness of your ex. Then to add to this we feel like God, the ONLY ONE who can save us and redeem our circumstances seems so far away….

There is nothing more beautiful, than a person who in their brokenness and pain come to the end of themselves and understand it is not about your love for God that matters but the Father's love FOR YOU that makes all the difference.

ONE thing, ONLY ONE thing is needful….that you take and take and draw and draw and draw your very LIFE from Him. Psalm 116 says, "What shall I GIVE unto the Lord for ALL, HE has done FOR ME?….You think David would have said…."Lord I give you my life, my praise, I GIVE you something, anything"…but this is not what it says. David said, "I will TAKE the cup of Salvation and pray as long as I breathe."

What moves God's heart more than anything is that we TAKE, as our own, His very Salvation and ALL that this means.…   Read More

Ready to Dream Again!

Tweet Ready to Dream again! By: Linda  South Honea I'm ready to dream again! A couple weeks before my divorce was final, I read this passage in Kristin Armstrong’s book, a devotional birthed out of her divorce with Lance Armstrong.  Do you remember being little, playing dress-up or soldiers? Did you climb trees or pretend […]



Was Yeshua A Great Leader?

David asks us to consider how Jesus walked on earth as the Son of God – a king. And yet, he didn't employ any of the platform-building techniques of his time. Can we learn from this man, Yeshua? What does His strategy to win the whole world really look like? In this deeply inspiring article David helps us examine our own platform building strategies of today. Read More



To Tithe or Not-to-Tithe


Teaching tithing is a tricky game to play. First, you must understand all of the tithes of the Old Testament (total = 23.3%). Secondly, all tithing was to be done through food. Changing this to money equivalents misses the principle of "the scriptures must mean what they always meant." You end up teaching a rule that even you have altered. When you change something that directly benefits yourself, you do put your integrity on the line. I know you can blame God and say it's His rule but don't forget that you have had a part in reformulating what God has said.
David shares a fictitious courtroom story (full of truth) in which a judge convicts a pastor of multiple counts of extortion… simply for conducting business as usual in a church that resembles most ordinary churches of the 20th and 21st centuries.

David vulnerably shares a pivotal moment that led to him quitting 14 years of pastor ministry and fundamental change in his Christian faith. In this deeply personal story, we see how God views are most horrendous mistakes with compassion and unconditional love.

"As I’ve been deconstructing my entire Christian experience over the past several months I have been plagued with one idea. I couldn’t shake it even though I had sincerely repented of ever having been a full time, paid minister. The thought was that I had cost my family a great deal of financial security that was my responsibility to provide. This was a revelation to me….

When I made my mistakes for Father, He saw me with nothing but love. He knew I was just a little child that could only bring a handful of dandelions to Him. I had “matured” and could only see the foolish dandelions. But now I see what He saw: a beautiful bouquet of flowers."   Read More

Part 2 of D's Story – how one grandmother protected the next generation's identity and inheritance!

Part 2. Raped at home, raped at school, abused her whole life in every way: sexually, financially, educationally, and in the work place, D's story paints a rainbow of light and hope in the midst of an upside down world. Taken from her home, even her first was stripped from her; her identity and inheritance were placed on the line. Her one tie to the only world where she had experienced love and stability was her grandmother. In part 1 we feel the grandmother's heartbeat, as she knows her grandchildren are about to be removed to a very dangerous place. She knows she must do something or a whole generation will be lost, not just in her family but in their whole community. Can one woman – a victim, herself – make a difference? Read more of Part 2, D's Story!

She was raped 249 times in her Christian school, Part 1. "D" has no regrets, no hatred, no bitterness, just a deep joy in her heart that she has retained her identity and is receiving her inheritance.

Part 1. Raped at home, raped at school, abused her whole life in every way: sexually, financially, educationally, and in the work place, D's story paints a rainbow of light and hope in the midst of an upside down world. Taken from her home, even her first was stripped from her; her identity and inheritance were placed on the line. Her one tie to the only world where she had experienced love and stability was her grandmother. In part 1 we feel the grandmother's heartbeat, as she knows her grandchildren are about to be removed to a very dangerous place. She knows she must do something or a whole generation will be lost, not just in her family but in their whole community. Can one woman – a victim, herself – make a difference?  Read more of D's Story, Part 1!

I am a Pastor – now retired after 35 years. In my 64th year and 2nd month there wasn’t enough money coming in to pay the salaries of our staff. So they fired me! I felt like crap!!! Moving from a highly respected, ordained minister, trusted by everyone to that level of Crap was not easy. BUT GOD had another plan…

Ministry life isn't easy. I had experienced abuse… horrible bosses (senior ministers) that were the most miserable men alive. One of them threw his typewriter across the desk at me. I had bought the typewriter and repaired it for him. The "dear brother" got so mad one day that he threw the stupid thing across the desk. It missed  me and hit the wall.

BUT GOD… I love this phrase because "BUT" is an eraser word that wipes out everything that was said or done before it.    Read More

Who Do You Think You Are?


For 20 years Carolyn called alcohol ‘The Hurt Healer’ It numbed her from being abandoned as a child by her mother and abused by her father. It gave Carolyn confidence to deal with the present and took away her fear of the future.  But it also kept her trapped in depression and hopelessness.

It is nothing short of a miracle that Caroly is alive today but she was given the opportunity to heal and she grabbed it. By reclaiming her life she has found  the freedom to live life in sobriety and to recover from chronic depression.  Read more of Carolyn's Story Here!

Step into Kara's shoes for a few minutes, a woman who has silently left church….

"We married the same mane!" is the most common refrain in the support group for survivors of sociopathic abuse that I have been part of for several years. The enemy uses the same strategies and therefore is quite predictable, and yet, most Christians are blissfully unaware of the horror happening right in their own churches and communities… perhaps like many Germans were unaware of the burning flesh in concentration camps in their own nearby cities.

Meet Kara, a composite story of a typical survivor. Every details in her life story is based on true story of a survivor that I know personally, including parts of my own story.

Read more of Kara's Story!

Meet Caleigh, a survivor of religious fundamentalism, as God's Light explodes into her world, shattering all illusions.

God's light exploded into Caleigh's world in the form of a beautiful love story. Like a princess who was locked in a tower, put under a curse, and given a poisoned apple to make her fall back to sleep, Caleigh was rescued by Love. Her story is a fairytale, yet a true one!

True love prevailed as Caleigh learned to discern between righteousness and manipulation. Caleigh is now very excited about what the future holds for her, and she is still in her twenties. You gotta love what God is doing in her generation 🙂

Read More of Caleigh's Story!


Grandmother Power: Creating Happiness in Guatemala

Sally York, a feisty Puerto Rican has been married to her college sweetheart, Erv York for nearly four decades. Erv and Sally raised  four children while pastoring a church in the small town of Hillsdale, Michigan. Busy with homeschool and community projects, counseling, marrying, and loving their church family, Sally never lost touch with a dream she nurtured in her heart, like a yet-to-be-born baby.

Just like babies, dreams have a life of their own, growing in the unseen realm of our subconscious mind, fed and fueled by our imagination, our faith, and the little steps we take to make them real…

The dream kept beckoning Sally even as she cared for her aging parents while celebrating the births of each of her grandbabies. It takes loads of courage to do the work to follow your dream, and sometimes that means disappointing the people around you, who haven't been tenderly nursing that dream as you have.

Erv and Sally took turns helping each other through burn-out, depression, and the change of life. At first, they didn't realize the power of the unborn dream, compelling them to make the changes in their lives, to get ready to live their second life – a second career – another round of helping families get married, raise children, and live healthy lives. Kind of like morning sickness and a swelling body, growing pains are a normal part of growth!

…It's the Power of One in action. Whether it's a single mother Sally and Erv employ to keep house or an orphan teenage mom who needs a mother to take her under her wing, Sally reaches out to whoever is in front of her. And wherever Sally is, Erv is usually not too far off… living the dream, himself.    Read More

No one heard my silent cries but him. He told me it would always be that way. And then he grinned, that mocking, smirk – more like a half-smile, except that it held no warmth and made me shiver. He was not only my husband but a popular church leader. Real champions of the faith speak up for the survivors who have been silenced.

This week there is a hot debate raging on Facebook, in which a predator in the pulpit was asked to respond to multiple accounts of sexual molestation. He is a well known minister, a speaker and author of several books, but he refused to respond to the request to dialogue with the church leaders who had done their due diligence in researching the case. As I read through the comments, it's plain to see that the majority of Christian leaders prefer to protect the "anointed" and "gifted" leader while silencing the victims.

This is the most common strategy among abusers… to charismatically rally the troops around themselves, to portray themselves as the victim, while the true victim is silenced and shunned.   Read More

Please Come Back Soon – More Stories on the Way – Will Yours be the Next? 🙂

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Eveliina October 15, 2013 at 5:32 am

Reading those stories is a great reminder of how blessed I've been after all. Keri just said the rest above, you're a remarkable woman Susan! 


Susan Schiller October 15, 2013 at 7:53 am

How kind of you, Evelina, to read these stories! It means a lot to me. It’s a beginning… I have so many stories stories on my audio recorder – it’s just Time that’s needed to transcribe! Thanks so very much, Evelina for your thoughtfulness and compassion 🙂


Carolyn Hughes October 5, 2013 at 5:36 am

What wonderful stories of courage and restoration. They show that no matter how dark, how deep the problem, God's light will shine through. Amazing!


Susan Schiller October 5, 2013 at 7:43 am

Hi Carolyn,

Not everyone sees it right away, but you did – that we all need Hope – more hope… Stories of hope light up the darkness and change how we perceive what is happening in our own lives and around us. I really appreciate you, Carolyn, and the story of your life! I hope you are writing a book soon, because I want to be one of the first to read it! Your story brings peace, hope, and shines with God’s Light 🙂


Sharon O'Day October 1, 2013 at 8:06 am

Storied have been used through the ages to pass teachings down from generation to generation, as you well know from your Lakota experience, Sue.  They can also have a personal cleansing function as a way of difficult truth-telling.  Ultimately, the power of stories lies in the intention behind the telling.  I honor your 100 Stories Project for the myriad reasons the stories are told.


Susan Schiller October 1, 2013 at 9:03 am

Yes, you’re right Sharon – stories bypass our busy, often messed up minds and go straight to our hearts. I believe our stories are transformational, for ourselves, and for others. Thanks for your faithful friendship and for the ongoing unfolding of your own story!


Keri Kight September 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm

The horror of the abuse is just unimaginable.  It breaks my heart that churchs have turned on people or given up on them.  

It is truly wonderful that you are collecting the stories because I believe that sharing the stories is a powerful message.  I was never physically abused, but I have been emotionally abused, and I spenty years abusing myself emotionally.  

One of the reasons that I left church over 10 years ago was that they made me feel like I wasn't good enough to be a part of the church.  It hurt, but I felt I had to give up Christianity.  So I did.  It wasn't until a little less than 2 years ago that I started to rediscover my faith and spirituality.  It's still a learning process, but I'm thankful of the positive direction I am going.  

Thank you for being such an amazing woman and supporting women who need it.  


Susan Schiller December 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Your story, Keri, is powerful – full of tenderness and compassion. I can feel your mighty spirit and love for God. I'm so sorry you were treated like that by the very ones who should have unconditional love! Thank you so much for sharing here today. I hope you will be back to share a little more!


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