When Pain is a Gift

Sometimes Pain is a Gift

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

There was a time to break my silence and to tell my story of how I lived as a battered preacher's wife for 20 years in an abusive marriage, with more than 10 years of consequences in the aftermath of sociopathic abuse. And now is a time to take account of the many benefits that are now mine. I call them gifts!

The pain of the consequences of my sin was a gift. God’s throne of judgment is built on a foundation of justice and righteousness. Somehow, in all of the abuse that nearly killed me, I began to discover that much of what I thought was abuse (and it was) was a balance to my religious zeal.

Justice is like a balance scale. At one end of the scale, I was piling on performance, workaholism, people pleasing, and so much more. It was a life built upon a fear-based reality… a life built on sand.

I’m grateful for God’s just “judgment” because on the other end He allowed persecution and the temporary triumph of my enemies to slow me down.

As I sat alone – shunned and in exile – amidst the shards of my shattered illusions, he brought me back to my true foundation: intimacy with God. My new life is built on a love-based reality, a life built on the rock of Truth.

Knowledge is not the same as truth. God showed me that all my studies were getting in the way, and that I was trying to gather all this information from books that He would have gladly given me, just He and I together, sitting or walking and talking together, as He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden.

It took being rescued by the Lakota for me to understand the value of being mentored one-on-one. I discovered you can’t mass duplicate mentoring without losing something valuable…. that spirit-to-spirit connection that comes in a unique moment in time, between unique individuals.

Jesus spoke to the crowds, at times, but not by intention or design. He seemed to prefer small groups and one-on-one. For the deeper things, he only spoke with his disciples, in privacy.

DVD’s, CD’s, MP3′s, books, conferences…. I’ve valued those things and I still do, but they can crowd out the simple truth that God really wants to be our moment-by-moment guide and friend, our comforter and companion.

I’m glad for God’s judgment – this balance system of justice. I believe the main reason I suffered so much is that I had put so much sin (stamped with approval by my church) on my end, that God had no choice but to allow the consequences to pile up on the other side. Justice is a balance scale. In His mercy and grace He supported me, on my end, in all the filth of my sin… and He never let me go. He didn’t let me fall.

He lovingly guided me to let go of each socially-approved-sin – the sum total of my pride.

"We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear. – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

What if we've been taught all the wrong things and so our belief system is askew?

In "When We Don't Understand God's Ways" I wrote:

When the bottom drops out of your life, your foundation crumbles, and everything you thought to be true and right is proven to be the opposite of what you thought, and you're sitting in a pile of rubble that you no longer recognize as your life, that is "enlightenment". That is the path to real life.

Pain is a gift. We can't grow without it. Sometimes we suffer and then we are healed in an instant. That's God's gift, too, but usually it doesn't happen that way.

There is no glory without trials. God's justice system is perfectly balanced. You are a pearl of great price. Your soul is the most precious thing you own.

It's the quality of life you have lived that will be weighed on the balance scales. The measuring rod is, "How well did you love?" This love-based reality is where we're designed to live.

And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE."… – Luke 10:26-28

Sometimes the pain is a gift, for it causes us to grow. It can be good for the soul, and our eternal souls are priceless! What can a man profit if he loses his soul?

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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

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie March 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Choosing Love  Back!


Susan Schiller March 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm



Cyn Rogalski March 6, 2014 at 11:26 am

Having chronic pain for many years, I’m no longer surprised by people’s reaction to the fact that I don’t pray for my own healing. I, instead, ask God what He wants to accomplish in me by my having this pain/condition/crisis.
I find a deeper connection with Him, and at those times the pain/condition/crisis takes 2nd place, putting God back into 1st place, where He belongs.
Thank you Susan, for speaking to my heart, yet again. 😀


Susan Schiller March 6, 2014 at 11:48 am

From the moment I heard your words, Cyn, my spirit began to bubble up, melting my heart… you speak pure wisdom! I love your heart, Cyn –

I know what you mean about people not understanding…. I’ve seen the other side, too… the side of the instant miracle. And sometimes that turns out to be a bloody mess. I remember Jesus’ words, warning the cripple he healed at the pool of Bethesda, to be careful not to sin again, because the consequences could be worse than before. Instant healings often need to come with a warning label, even though I’m grateful when God heals instantly!


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