Schuh shared her story at the Ladies Lunch, May 6, at the KI Center. The annual event, hosted by Dona Schmitt, wife of Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, is held in recognition of the National Day of Prayer.
“Sometimes we wonder if God is hearing us,” said Schuh. “I’m here today because of prayer.”
Schuh grew up going to church, but said that she “didn’t know God outside the church walls.”
“God always seemed really far way,” she said. “I didn’t think that I could go to God with my struggles.”
Schuh’s injuries required a 16-hour operation. Following the surgery, her body began to shut down. Doctors said that she would die within 24 hours and told her family to say their goodbyes. Somehow, despite a 108-degree fever for eight days, Schuh persevered.
“My family had put me on every prayer chain possible,” she said. “When my parents had told me how many people had been praying for me, I knew that was how I survived.”
Schuh spent six months in the hospital. Her paralysis affected her physically and emotionally. She struggled with being in a wheelchair and having to rely on others. Her parents’ marriage was falling apart and her boyfriend broke up with her. Visits from close friends were few.
“It was a time of extreme loneliness and sadness,” said Schuh. “I really didn’t want God in my life, but living on my own wasn’t working for me.”
While in the audience at a church play, Schuh said she discovered God’s presence.
“I learned that God wasn’t far away,” she said. “I learned that God cared about my struggles. I began relying on God.”
Schuh would go on to earn degrees in communications and theology from Winona State University in Minnesota. Today, more than 12 years since her accident, Schuh said she is happy and finds purpose in her life. She drives her own vehicle and lives on her own in a house she had built. She hopes her story inspires others.
“I’ve overcome so many things because of prayer,” she said. “I live a life of answers because of prayer. I love everything God has done in my life. Prayer changes your soul and gives you peace and joy.”
Joy for Schuh includes singing. Following her accident, doctors told her that she would never sing again. She closed her talk with her version of the Rascal Flatts song, “Bless the Broken Road.” The audience responded with a standing ovation.