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A Clear Path

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“I didn’t have a relationship with the Lord, and I didn’t think I needed to. My life felt great,” said Tia Stelzer. “Even though I grew up in a Christian household, I was never living my life for the Lord. That was even more true when I went to college. I was living a party lifestyle filled with drinking, drugs, and boys.

“I was in a serious relationship my senior year of college, and even though it was really unhealthy, we got engaged. Fights and premarital sex made our relationship toxic and dysfunctional. My life was beginning to feel like such a mess. I assumed we were going to get a divorce in a few years, but I didn’t have the strength or desire to call it off.

“One day, I was in my parents’ bathroom, brushing my teeth and looking at myself in the mirror. My reflection looked so sad and broken. I started sobbing and thinking, ‘I’m engaged. I should be looking forward to this.’ In my heart, all I had was dread and an impending sense of regret because I thought our future marriage was going to end badly. I felt like God was bringing me to my knees in humility. That is when I finally came to the Lord and asked for help and direction.

“My life hadn’t felt bad or rocky up to this point. The culmination of my poor decisions and sin put me me in a really low spot where I realized how much I need God. By His grace and patience, He allowed me to get to a place of humility to see I could not continue doing life my own way.

“Joshua and I decided to move forward with our wedding and make some lifestyle changes. It became clearer that the way we were living before – sinfully and selfishly so far from the Lord – was not God’s desire. Going into marriage, we didn’t know how to live for the Lord, but we wanted to try. We were like two blind mice with no direction and no community around us, but we took the only steps that we knew and started reading the Bible and looking for a church.

“After moving cities, we ended up at Watermark one Sunday. During the meet and greet time, we met a guy next to us who was so outgoing and intentional. He and his wife swapped numbers with us and we started a friendship. It was so encouraging and refreshing to see other couples living a life honoring the Lord. Through that friendship, we were encouraged to pursue Membership, join a community group, and start serving. Living a life committed to the Lord wasn’t intuitive for us because we were so far off from that path for so long, but the community around us helped and guided us through. They showed us how to prioritize Scripture and give up our lives to better serve the Lord.

“My husband and I still thank the Lord for restoring our relationship. We look back and just can’t believe what the Lord has done with our lives. He took two broken people and made this God-honoring marriage and family. It blows our minds! It doesn’t seem like our marriage should’ve worked out, but when we shifted our lives in obedience to Him, things really changed. It’s a testament to God’s power. He can move mountains. He can make beauty out of disorder. God has outlined a path for life in Scripture that leads us to freedom, and He gives us the opportunity to walk in that path and trust Him. Our lifestyles drastically changed when we started living according to His Word. Originally, I felt like I was giving away all the ‘fun’ parts of life, but I now see that living for the Lord is a way better life than I ever had before.

“Before trusting Christ, my life felt so surface level. I didn’t have purpose. In retrospect, I can see that I lived for myself and whatever I wanted to do. I have a lot of hope now that I have an eternal and biblical perspective on life. No matter how bad things get, my hope isn’t tied to this earth. I had no driving force to get up in the mornings, but now there is purpose each day to share Christ with others.

“Part of living my life for Christ now includes serving with The Life Initiative as a mentor to women experiencing unexpected pregnancies. I’ve always been passionate about the preborn, but my passion for mothers didn’t come until I was pregnant myself. I had all the support in the world with a godly husband, and it was still so hard. When I think about women in crisis pregnancies who don’t have support, a present partner, financial security, or a spiritual relationship with the Lord, I just can’t imagine how hard that must be. I realized how much better off the baby will be if the mother is cared for. It is sweet that the Lord has focused my heart to love mothers and babies in this way.”

Learn about The Life Initiative and how the church can be equipped to care for women, men, and the preborn in unexpected pregnancies and abortions at watermark.org/TLI