Unrelenting Grace Ministries launched in June 2017, but it started long before then. Teresa Schultz, founder of Unrelenting Grace Ministries, grew up in a Christian household in Texas, yet experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hand of family members from a young age. “Every family is dysfunctional, because we are human,” said Teresa, expressing compassion. “I love them, but we were broken.”
Teresa’s senior year of high school brought a new love with a wonderful Christian man who treated her well, but ended tragically when he died suddenly from a brain tumor. She grew bitter and angry towards God. “I had a full ride to Blinn College, and that was a good place to be bitter,” recalled Teresa. “I got into the party scene, drank and did drugs, and I would do anything for a fix.” She continued, “I had a friend named Rhonda, and I would call her bawling and crying, complaining that I was miserable, and every time she would tell me that God loved me, and she loved me, and that I knew what I needed to do.”
Teresa hit rock bottom one morning when she woke up in a locked garage with no idea how she got there. She banged on the door until a stranger let her out. She called Rhonda and said, “I’m done.” Rhonda sent her a plane ticket and brought Schultz into her Arkansas home. That day, Teresa quit all substance abuse and the party lifestyle cold turkey.
Six months sober, a dear childhood friend, Glenn, re-entered her life at the perfect time when, as fate would have it, his family moved to the same Arkansas town as Rhonda. Glenn and Teresa fell in love, were married, and moved back to Texas. Teresa is a drummer, and Glenn can play nearly any instrument, so they formed a band. Playing in bars proved to be a mistake for Teresa, who quickly relapsed and spent the next several years as an addict.
“My husband doesn’t fully understand my struggles because he’s not an addict,” she said. “Yet he stood by me as I struggled, and as I lost the house and pawned our possessions to buy alcohol, he never left me.” Teresa’s daughter was attending the youth group at University Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville. “She told me her youth group was praying for me,” Teresa recalled. “That’s what brought me back to church in 2007.”
Motivated by her love for her children and husband, along with a desire to live right, she tried to stay clean, but relapsed again in 2009. This time Teresa entered rehabilitation. In rehabilitation, she learned to journal as a form of therapy, and soon realized she loved writing, laying the foundation for what would one day become Unrelenting Grace Ministries.
Teresa found joy in writing. She could express herself in ways she could not while speaking. Even through another relapse, writing helped her cope and grow. She started a blog that gained a following, and she was encouraged by a friend to put together a book with all of her writing. Teresa said, “I write about my own experiences and I apply it to God’s word.” She self-published her first book in 2011, a rough compilation of her blog posts.
Sharing her experience with others through writing opened doors for Teresa to speak. “My ministry has been written. That’s where I’m comfortable,” said Teresa. “I was given the nudge to help lead Wednesday night Bible study. I gave my testimony, and the more I spoke, the less scared I was.” She was then asked to share her testimony with her group at Celebrate Recovery. “It’s amazing how many people come up to me and tell me they relate to what I have been through.”
Now four years sober, Teresa followed the lead of the Holy Spirit to officially launch Unrelenting Grace Ministries. As an author and speaker, Teresa’s mission is to spread the spark of hope to the desperate and hopeless, fanning to flame the faith of the lost and broken.
The name of Unrelenting Grace Ministries comes from Lamentations 3:22-23.
“Because of the Lord’s great love
we are not consumed,
For his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness.” (NIV)
“God is so faithful to us that every morning His mercies are new,” Teresa said with a sparkle in her eyes. “I want to minister to God’s unrelenting grace to the people in need of a second chance or a fresh start.”
Teresa is quite obviously full of joy. She takes her failures and heartbreaks and uses them as proof of the complete redemption of God. She explained, “God pursued me constantly, no matter how many times I turned my back on Him, no matter how many times I said I hated Him. He never gave up on me. That’s unrelenting grace.”
Her second book, The Bible in Poetry, was published in July 2017 and is volume one of a four volume series. In the book, Teresa takes creative license in translating scripture into poetry, interspersed with devotionals and food for thought.
She shared one of her favorite passages from her book, an interpretation from Zephaniah Chapter 30:
For the Lord your mighty Savior
is living among you.
He will take delight in you
with gladness anew.
With his love, He will calm all your fears.
With singing, He will dry all your tears.
“I write and speak from my experience, using God’s word to apply the lesson to any situation,” Teresa shared. “I used to be painfully shy and private, but now I’m completely different. I’m open and transparent. It feels right. God was pushing me out of my comfort zone.”
When asked who her inspirations and mentors are, Teresa smiled and said, “Beth Moore. I love her. She resonates with me. We have gone through a lot of the same things. You can tell she just loves people, and that’s had a huge influence on me and Unrelenting Grace Ministries.” Another inspiration comes from the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. Teresa explained, “Hagar runs into the woods, hiding from Sarai, and God comes to her and finds her. She says to Him, ‘You are the God who sees me.’” With another smile, Teresa continued, “Now I look back and I can say that He is the God who saw me through all of that.”
Teresa is continuing to grow Unrelenting Grace Ministries with more writing and speaking engagements. “This is all about what God has done in my life,” she said. “It’s about what HE did! I just have to tell people!”
You can read Teresa’s blog, purchase her books, and invite her to speak at teresaschultzauthor.com.