Writing Ourselves into a Better World
We Are Crossing Over
By: Susan Deborah Schiller
We are crossing over, all of us who have survived abuse that hides behind the masks of ordinary pastors and leaders. In church we all too often silence the abused and cover up the crimes. But God has heard our cries and has seen the injustice.
Like the Israelites escaping Egypt to enter the Promised Land, there's a bridge to freedom made of our stories. Love wins.
I dreamed about helping to build this bridge in 2009, a year when I had fallen very sick. My abdomen was swollen and I had been bleeding every single day for seven months. Home-bound in rural Montana I kept hearing Papa God's whisper to write my story and to share the stories of other survivors. It's a series called "Love Wins".
The more I wrote, the more I got well.
In reading a best seller book called "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave, about correcting injustice, in part, through journalism. The journalist in the book said to Little Bee, a Nigerian woman who escaped the genocide of her village, that they needed to write the stories of the survivors.
Little Bee replied: "You know it is not a good idea to collect stories."
Sarah shook her head, "I don't agree. I think it's the only way we'll make you safe… Our problem is that you only have your own story. One story makes you weak. But as soon as we have one hundred stories, you will be strong. If we can show that what happened to your village happened to a hundred villages, then the power is on our side. We need to collect the stories of people who've been through the same things as you. We need to make it undeniable…."
In Sue Monk Kidd's best-seller called "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter," she writes:
"The truth is, in order to heal we need to tell our stories and have them witnessed. 'All sorrows can be borne if we put them in a story or tell a story about them,' said Isak Dinesen, a writer who had plenty of sorrow and told stories to bear it. The story itself becomes a vessel that holds us up, that sustains, that allows us to order our jumbled experiences into meaning….
"I also needed to hear other women's stories in order to see and embrace my own. Sometimes another woman's story becomes a mirror that shows me a self I haven't seen before. When I listen to her tell it, her experience quickens and clarifies my own. Her questions rouse mine. Her conflicts illumine my conflicts. Her resoutions call forth my hope. Her strengths summon my strengths. All of this can happen even when our stories and our lives are very different.
"Solidarity is identifying with one another without feeling like you have to agree on every issue. It's unity, not uniformity. It's listening without rushing in to fix the problem. It's going deeper than typical ways of talking and sharing – going down to the place where souls meet and love comes, where separateness drops away and you know these women because you are these women." — Sue Monk Kidd (bold mine)
This is my hope, my intention, and my goal in writing my own story, the 101 stories, and helping you to write your story!
Instead of blaming, shaming, and shunning, I want to hear ringing in our ears: "Beloved child, you are Home. Your story is our story and our story is your story. We are all One in Christ. We want to hear your voice. Shout if must. Cry if you need to. Sing, draw, write! We need you, beloved one."
Thousands of years ago God put into place a plan to save every family – every man, woman, and child. It's called "The Avengers". We get payback – a double portion.
This is our inheritance: Every abuse is turned into something Good and Beautiful.
In writing our stories, we are breaking the shame barrier. Instead of silence, we are getting our voices back. Instead of cover up, we are exposing. Instead of cowering, we are gaining the courage to confront evil forces.
We are using our inheritance to rewrite our future and to create our world.
Instead of ______ (fill in the blank with whatever has been stolen from you – peace, reputation, relationships, etc), you get ______ (fill in the blank with what you believe God has in store for you).
We are His peacemakers. We cry out for justice. We rescue victims. We go after the one who was shunned and abandoned. We doctor the wounds.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever. – Isaiah 61:7
Nothing changes unless we change. The Word of God, a sword in your hand, is "living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword…."
Faith is using God's Word to tell a story that creates a better world.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write your own story. We are creating a new family legacy. Family is the backbone of society.
Let's write ourselves into a better world!
Beloved, we are the Bride of Christ. This process of sharing our stories in an empowering way, in a way that brings beauty out of ashes, is making us ready for our Bridegroom! He is coming for us!
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 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 McKenzie, http://TeamFamilyOnline.com. For reprint permission for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller.