Hunter and Paije Stevens both accepted Christ in college. After marriage, their obedience and faithfulness in discipleship and living in an authentic community helped them to see and experience even more joy and the fruits of Christ-centered lives.
How did you come to know the Lord?
Paije: “God was graciously pursuing me, regardless of my unhealthy desire to please others when I was growing up. I tried to fit in social groups by partying, drinking alcohol, and seeking the attention of boys. One weekend, a group of friends invited me to Passion, a weekend ministry event for college students in Atlanta. Still hungover from a party the night before, I got in the car and headed to Atlanta. There, I learned that when you come to Jesus, you don’t have to be dressed up and cleaned up. He knew my sin, and He died to pay for it (Romans 5:8). At the time, I was living with a lot of guilt and shame from my past and my family’s past, but that weekend, I learned there was freedom to share my struggles openly. Jesus loved me in spite of my brokenness. Because of God’s grace, I began to change my lifestyle and follow Him.”
Hunter: “In high school, I followed the rules and wanted to have a good reputation. But as I entered college, something changed. I found myself with more independence than ever before, and I surrounded myself with people who were not positive influences. I started partying, drinking, and viewing pornography. Paije and I were friends growing up, and our relationship grew during college. Paije and other friends at school saw that I was different– and not in a good way. I had distanced myself from God, and they encouraged me to turn away from my sin and pursue Christ.
“I started going to Breakaway, a ministry for students in College Station, where I learned what it meant to follow Christ and live in a way that was honoring to the Lord. I learned that the freedom I thought I was experiencing would ultimately rob me of joy and peace if I continued the same patterns. I saw that Jesus came to offer me true freedom in a life with Him (Galatians 5:1).”
How has living in community transformed your marriage?
P: “We were not pursuing Christ together as a couple, but things changed when we became Members at Watermark Frisco. We started meeting with a small group of other married believers and sharing our struggles. When you are authentic and real with others who are following the Lord, that transforms your marriage.”
H: “The first year and a half of our marriage was rocky. I was struggling in my personal relationship with Christ – I wasn’t a spiritual leader in our marriage, and I didn’t know how to be one. Being a part of a community group and meeting with other believers showed us the power of studying God’s Word together on a regular basis. I’ve learned that I have to lead by submitting to Christ at all times. God has called me to pursue and love Paije as Christ does the church (Ephesians 5).
How has serving changed your relationships with each other and with Christ?
P: “It is encouraging to see Hunter go from being uncomfortable with sharing his faith to teaching God’s Word to large groups of students. Serving has also humbled me and shown me the pride in my heart. It’s so sweet to see how God has grown us through serving together. When you see your spouse sacrificially serving others, it brings your marriage to a different level. I am reminded of God’s vision and desire for our marriage: to be on mission for Him.”
H: “Serving together has made a huge difference in our walk with Christ. We’ve realized that our lives are not about us but about God. When we were asked to serve with a new ministry for high school students, I hesitated. But I’m learning to jump in when God asks me to and trust Him to equip me. It’s been a joy to witness the growth happening in the lives of these kids. My relationship with Christ has grown so much deeper, and He’s draw me nearer to Himself through serving them.
“It’s easy to say you believe in Christ, but it’s hard to follow Him. However, when you truly know Jesus and He changes your heart, following Him is all you want to do. I’ve realized that I have nothing to offer Paije, our son, or the students we lead. Everything good is because of Christ, and I pray He continues to use us as His vessels.”