Sixteen-year-old Tasha Schuh was living life on a stage—literally—starring in local theater productions, such as Grease and the Wizard of Oz, when one day she was involved in a tragic accident. She and her fellow cast members were practicing a scene change when someone yelled for Tasha to “get out of the way!”—the next thing Tasha knew, she was falling.
When Tasha woke up in the hospital, she was informed that she had stepped back through an open trap door, and fell 16 feet onto a cement floor. The impact of the fall broke her neck, and damaged her spinal cord so badly that Tasha was permanently paralyzed from the chest down.
Blame on God
“I couldn’t wrap my mind around why this happened,” says Tasha. “I had no one else to blame for the accident, so I blamed God.”
After completing rehab, Tasha was sent home to learn how to live life from a wheelchair. Her new life was extremely painful and frustrating—physically and spiritually. Tasha began doubting if God really existed; and if he was good, then why he allowed this thing to happen to her. Tasha grew up in a Christian home, but the extent of her relationship with God was that as long as she went to church on Sundays, “she and God were cool.”
It wasn’t until after her accident, when a local church performed a play about the need for Jesus, that Tasha saw her need for God. It was then that she decided to commit her life to following God.
“I realized that my life without God was not working for me,” said Tasha. “I remember praying: ‘My life is a mess, and if you can do anything good with it, please do so. I need your help!’ It was not an overnight transformation, but that’s where InterVarsity came in.”
InterVarsity Provided Fellowship
When Tasha started at Winona State, she realized that she didn’t have any Christian friends. But a friend started going to InterVarsity and Tasha asked if she could go with her.
The first time Tasha went to InterVarsity, she was blown away by all the people she met who genuinely cared about her.
“It was so refreshing to see people really loving and caring about one another,” said Tasha. “And it was also amazing to see average, fun, and good-looking people loving and worshiping God! All these lies that I believed about Christianity when I was in high school—that you can’t have fun and that I would miss out on life—they weren’t true!”
Tasha joined an InterVarsity Bible study and began studying the Bible for herself. The more she studied, the more she realized she had never really read the Bible or understood the good news that Jesus was offering her.
“Without InterVarsity, I don’t know where I would be,” says Tasha. “I learned so much—the speakers were so good and so relevant—and I loved the music!”
Sharing Her Story
Her passion to share her story along with the truth about God grew as well.
“Once I became a Christian and started college, I told all my friends: ‘God is the most exciting person you’ll ever meet. Being a Christian is not boring—and all these things that you think are filling your life are so dark and actually hurting you,’” says Tasha. “It was amazing to see how God began using my story to bring others into relationship with him.”
Every one of her immediate family members committed their lives to Jesus, because of the transformation they saw in Tasha.
After graduating, Tasha has seen God used her story to impact the people around her and even complete strangers. Today Tasha is a full-time inspirational speaker and soon to be publishing her first book, My Last Step Backwards (which is set to come out in the fall).
“The more I’m doing this, God is moving me toward ministry,” says Tasha. “That is what I’m truly passionate about: introducing people to Jesus. I started sharing my story in classes, in InterVarsity, then churches, schools... The doors just kept opening—and it was all God.”
A New Opportunity
Tasha was also crowned Ms. Wheelchair/USA, where she hopes to use her new title to continue to share her story with a wider audience.
“For me, I remember what it feels like to feel hopeless. I look at everybody, and see the hopelessness people live with,” says Tasha. “I want to encourage people and say ‘if you follow Jesus and live for him, you’ll see transformation come to pass.”
Tasha wants to encourage any student or leader involved in InterVarsity, to remember that our job description as ambassadors for Jesus Christ is to be a light in this dark world.
“Whoever you meet, you have the opportunity to genuinely care about them and love people where they are at,” says Tasha.
Tasha claims that it was the “goodness of God that called her to repentance” (Romans 2:4). She has faith that if we embody God’s goodness wherever we go, we will see God continue to do work in those around us—work that will last a life-time.
To find out more about Tasha Schuh’s speaking schedule, go to www.tashaschuh.com. And learn more about Tasha in this CNN video.