From 1974 to 1994, Susan Libby was involved in abusive New Age and Christian movements. In one of these groups she was actually held captive until the FBI intervened. Shortly after the dispersion of the group, she married another group member. Art was Susan’s voice during the time of captivity and an instrument of recovery in the following years. In 2001, Susan and her husband moved to Kansas City and created many paintings in various mediums. More than 15,000 cards/prints of her work have been sold through various sources, including a ministry bookstore that has an international reach. Each piece includes her contact information, so people moved by her art and those emerging from high-demand groups can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. This opportunity has enabled her to be a bridge and source of help for those coming out of cults.
On This Page
Desolation of my Soul
This was at the end of our captivity after the FBI intervened. We were left with no homes, cars, belongings, money- all had been taken from us in addition to being jobless and without family. I felt stripped bare, burnt out and lifeless with an inability to think clearly with periods of disassociation and fear.
This sketch I believe reveals the anger I had at the Pastors who were like colorful, flamboyant, prideful peacocks.
A Broken Heart Healing
Lilies represent renewal, love and hope in the midst of a broken heart. This painting is a collage of 2 different paintings in 2 different mediums
God rises up like a roaring lion in the midst of injustice and will avenge. Ultimately He will make right those who have been wronged.
In the eye of the lion is a reflection of the earth. The tender hearted God weeps for all the pain and suffering endured by the people of the earth.
I have been transformed, redeemed and renewed from the ugliness of my past into a beautiful butterfly free to fly and be who I was created to be expressing all the colors and character that is unique to me.
Pearl of Great Price
Finding the Truth, leaving the cult and recovery is like finding a pearl of great price that is priceless.
The Lord carried me and took my hand when I felt so helpless. In His loving care He took my hand, and led me out. My dependence was, and is, totally on Him. I became like a child as He taught me, and guided me into Truth.
This represents the compassion and heart of God toward me. I wept periodically throughout the creating process. As I painted and neared completion, I noticed a difference in the expression of His eyes: the eye with a tear is of tenderness, comfort and compassion, while the other eye expresses the Lord's intensity and fierceness. He saw, He knew, He was with me through it all, and He will avenge. He is a God of justice and will eventually right the wrong. During the painting of He Weeps, my heart of bitterness was softened with the tender touch of the Lord as I continued to forgive those that had spiritually abused me.
At times darkness surrounded me, but He is the light and the Truth; I leaned on Him during times of struggle.
Nurtured, Sustained, and Healing
Apples represent good health
Weeds of Deception
This was painted shortly after the church disbanded and I began to see the Truth: Truth, beginning to break through the choking weeds of deception.
His Love will cover the earth like a tidal wave. Fire in the wings of the dove represent the Holy Spirit , the purifying presence of God
Phoenix Rising with a Ring of Hope
Phoenix rising represents renewal from the ashes and is depicted as the Holy Spirit that brings devotion and love through the symbolism of a ring .
Deflated Heart - A Hope Deferred
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick". After I painted I see a face in the middle of deflated heart of a scream and a key hole in the front . The key is A longing fulfilled is the tree of life.
Unable to Fit
The cult tried to put me in a box but I did not fit.
Trapped and Can't Escape
There is no color in this drawing, just the grey tones of lifeless desperation reaching out for help
No One Hears No One Sees
Balloons represent a celebration of fun joy and freedom if released into the air. These balloons however are crushing me because what was experienced was the opposite. The scream is the anxiety, fear and pain behind the facade projected by the love bombing leaders as it stripped away all joy and sanity. It is a silent scream in the midst of abuse.
Much grace has been given to me as find healing through art. Flowers has been a source of life and healing. As I painted this I kept thinking of grace that has been so abundant over the past many years of recovery.
I did a painting of a flower that I gave to the leaders (not this one but similar) to keep my heart tenderized and softened from bitterness. It represents my choice to forgive but to never forget.
Mending of a Broken Heart
Energy and colors of life healing a fractured heart.
Finding Rest in the midst of Chaos