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Matthew Schoenherr

A Little About My Spiritual Journey

I was born and raised a Catholic. As a child, I always had a close relationship with the Father, though it would many years before I truly understood the deity of Christ or could claim a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. Growing up, I would pray every night before drifting off to sleep. I was the only kid I knew who would occasionally cross the parking lot to the church to sit with God in St. Patrick’s large, empty cathedral while my friends played during recess.

Still, by the time I reached high school, I had little respect for God’s Word and certainly didn’t understand it. But hey, I was going to church twice a week, so I must be in good standing, right?

Around age 18, I experienced my own personal apostasy when a Jehovah’s Witness friend ask me some tough questions I was ill-equipped to answer. She asked me questions like “Why are there no women priests?”, “Did you know the Catholic church helped to fund the pill?” and “Why would a parent of unconditional love condemn their children to fiery, eternal damnation?”

These questions blew apart my fragile Catholic faith (if you can call it that) and I spiraled into an agnostic haze for a couple decades. Through that time, I maintained a loose relationship with the Father, defining Him as was comfortable for me to live for myself in whatever fallen way I chose. I still prayed occasionally (usually when my choices led me to a humbling low,) but Jesus became “a good teacher” and the Holy Spirit was still some mythical power given to the Apostles about 2,000 years ago.

By my early thirties, I found myself married. My wife and I came from two different sides of the spiritual tracks. I was the disaffected Roman Catholic and she was the liberal New Ager. For me, the last straw from the Catholic Church was when the priest (who always read his sermons anyways) played an audio tape from one of the church officials petitioning for money again. Feed their spirits and they’ll feed your coffers, I thought. It was the good excuse I needed to leave the church. We were barely surviving popping out four children in five years anyways, so taking a couple spiritually-nullifying hours every weekend was a luxury I easily dismissed.

As the children grew older, we taught them to pray over meals and at bedtime. We hoped a connection with an ever-present God would bring them emotional stability when Mom and Dad weren’t around for life’s challenges. Spiritually, we plateaued here for a few years.

One day, my stepfather loaned me a book called “The Harbingers” by Christian rabbi, Jonathan Cahn. In it, I saw the very real hand of God on America. As a result of that book, I resolved to commit a couple hours every two weeks to growing my relationship with God by returning to church. Trinity was the closest church I knew, so I gave them a shot. I wasn’t hopeful. Years prior, a friend had loaned me a tape by pastor Brad Mitchell where he actually promoted the Iraq war. Even in my spiritual ignorance, I found war to be completely uncreative, errant and un-Christ-like. Still, I visited Trinity anyways and pastor Marvin Williams delivered a great message that hit me square in the chest. Next, I began bringing my oldest son. Then my wife surprised me by suggesting the whole family attend. We’ve been going to our non-denominational church ever since.

Even though I was attending church service, I was still full of questions. If Jesus says we can do “all these things and greater,” why wasn’t I seeing it in the Church? What about His lost years in the Bible? (Really? Two decades of His life unrecorded?) And what about that whole doctrine of being sent to eternal damnation by a Father who loves unconditionally and with unending mercy?

I began starving to know Jesus’ path. I decided meditation had to be part of the answer. I looked on YouTube for “guided meditation” and found an eastern guru teaching Kriya yoga meditation. I chased this path for about a year until some well-meaning Christians found me on Facebook and YouTube and offered me new information. Still, I hadn’t completely let go of the eastern meditation arc until God placed a spiritual mentor in my life. This Christian man asked me the right questions and pointed out I was trying climb the wall to God without going through the narrow gate of Jesus Christ. Enter my salvation experience and re-baptism.

From here, the regeneration—which had been going on for years by now—heated up. Professionally, my energies shifted away from chasing the Almighty Dollar and toward studying the Lord, His character, His promises and who He calls us to be. Near the end of 2014, I began dismantling my web practice. After over 20 years in the online marketing industry, we had managed to build a solid client list, however something was still.. missing.

The fact is, marketing work doesn’t feed the soul as much as it feeds the ego. And, as my ego became diminished through the spiritual quickening offered by meditation and prayer, I began to realize the ONLY thing in this life that would fulfill me (or any of us) is a deeper relationship with our Creator.

In fact, I think that’s about the only reason we’re here.

As 2015 began, this revelation was further reinforced as I pushed out over 400 accounts in a few short months. That was when I truly realized all I had been building for the past 20 years was smoke. It was nothing. Temporal.

Professionally, I no longer take on any new clients whose work does not point others to God. I work as a digital marketing manager at the State of Michigan housing authority for the steady income. I have returned to school to pursue a degree in religious ministry.

On the spiritual front, I am growing in my identity in Christ, spiritual discernment and authority. I am studying healing and its place in ministry, and am recognizing the huge importance of spending time in that secret space with Him every day.

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Matthew

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