Heather Marie Schuldt is a writer, speaker, traveler, evangelist, Christian apologist, wife, mother, friend, and daughter of the King of Kings.
My life before I became a Christian was rather short because I became a Christian when I was young. However, I do remember a few things about my life as an unbeliever. I must have been about five years old when the following things happened:
1.) I remember learning about death and heaven. The reason why I learned about death and heaven was because my mom’s best friend’s very young son died in a terrible accident. It was explained to me that our soul lives on after our body dies. Our soul? What is my soul? It wouldn’t be until later when I learned that my soul is my mind, will, and emotions. At the time, it was explained to me that our soul lives inside of our body. It did creep me out knowing that my body would die someday, but I was comforted in knowing that our loving God would somehow take care of my soul in heaven.
2.) Something else happened when I was a non-Christian. I remember having a dream about an enemy who was chained up. It was a frightening thing. I woke up and wondered, “What was that about?” and “Why does my soul dream at night?” Then on another night, I had a wonderful dream about the most incredible place ever. It was beautiful and colorful and good. I felt peace and love and acceptance. One other thing stood out about that place. It had the most enjoyable music I had ever heard. When I woke up, I knew I must have dreamed about a place called heaven. I didn’t know how to get there, but I knew I wanted my soul to be there forever.
3.) In real life one day, I was at church when I saw a woman give a performance about Eve in the Garden of Eden. That was when I learned about the reality of a spiritual warfare. At that time, I did not have all the details, but I knew enough about good and evil to know that I wanted more good and less evil.
4.) At a denominational church, I remember wondering, “What is the big fuss about Jesus at church?” At home and at school, no one talked about Jesus. It never failed, whenever we went to church, the teachers were always making a big deal about Jesus. I began learning things about God and other Bible stories, but I do remember not knowing much about Jesus at that time. At home, we had a big old Bible in the living room that we never opened, and my parents had a Buddha on their dresser. I noticed that at church, no one talked about Buddha.
5.) Then we switched to a non-denominational evangelistic Gospel centered church. Immediately, I began learning about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Then one day when I was seven years old, my Sunday school teacher led our class to receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. I thanked God for sending his son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for my sins on the cross. I thanked God that He brought Jesus back to life after three days being dead in the tomb. I thanked God that He would take care of my soul in heaven after my body dies. At church, they made it very clear that Jesus needs to be our Lord and not just our Savior.
6.) Then someone gave me the “Four Spiritual Laws” booklet, and I read it over and over at home. I prayed a prayer of salvation. I knew what happened. I had become a born again Christian. I knew my soul was saved by the gift of grace through faith in Jesus. I memorized John 3:16 like the back of my hand. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, and whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” I realized my need for Christ as my Savior and my Lord.
7.) I learned the Lord’s prayer and the sermon on the mount from Matthew chapters 5-7. I learned about the Golden Rule, and that my body was a temple where the Holy Spirit lived. It was only the beginning of a personal relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, for the next ten years, I began to drift from the Holy Word. The more I began to discover flaws in church people, the more I tried to stay away from them.
WANDERING IN THE SPIRITUAL DESERT
As a teenager, my spiritual life became dull. I did not want to go to church, and my parents did not make me go to church. My family moved to another state between middle school and high school, and it was hard to make friends all over again. I went to a public school, and I had non-spiritual friends. When I was fifteen, my friend’s mom took the three of us to a Billy Graham crusade, but other than that, I had no one teaching me about spiritual things.
I tried a youth group one time at a church, but it was not a good fit for me, so I never went back. To a large degree, I had given up on church and on church people. Looking back on it now, I should have kept trying to find other youth groups. If you do not connect well in one Bible group, find one where you do connect.
When I was sixteen, my parents moved again, this time to Irvine, California. I started aviation school and flew small airplanes from the John Wayne Airport in Costa Mesa, California. One day, the airplane took a big drop in the air. After we landed, I decided I did not want to fly airplanes. Then my parents moved again.
FINDING SPIRITUAL GROWTH
After my first year in college, I switched colleges. There were some kids from a church near by, and one of them reached out to me by leaving telephone messages once a week. I ignored all of those invites. Then one day, I was invited to go to a Bible study at an apartment. I decided, “Sure, I will go try it… one time.” I went to that group and surprisingly, I really liked it. The teacher played his guitar and had us sing really good praise and worship songs such as “Lord, I Life Your Name On High.” He taught about the Babylonian captivity, and I realized my soul really did feel refreshed and lifted up. One time, the teacher asked me to go visit a church. I did not want to, but I began to wonder if I was missing out on a blessing. That Sunday, I visited a church he recommended, and I felt like the preacher was talking directly to me. He gave me an opportunity to pour my heart out to God and tell him how sorry I was for trying to live life on my own, doing things my own way. After about three months, the teacher stopped. I realized it had been a season in my life. I learned that spiritual seasons of growth do come to an end, but it doesn’t mean that our spiritual growth has to stop. We just need to look for the new season.
FINDING MY PLACE
When the kids from another group invited me to another study, I tried it for several weeks. It was my second study group, and I did not connect very well with the leaders or the kids there. As an adult in college, I looked back on my teenage years and realized I had lost track of learning God’s way for me. I had lost track of learning more about our Creator. I had lost track of having a personal relationship with God. It was actually in a third study group with a seminary student who was teaching when I began another season of spiritual growth. In 1993, I went on my first mission trip where I helped lead people to receive Christ. I had forgotten all about the “Four Spiritual Laws,” but I soon familiarized myself with them. A new love for evangelism began to grow. I realized how easy it is to drift away little by little, and I never wanted to drift away ever again.