A man in a baseball cap poses smiling for a photo

Micah Tyler shares the stories of people walking free

Micah Vander Stouwe
Micah Vander Stouwe

If you think you can predict the basic trajectory of your life, you might want to think again. For all you know, God might call you to quit your job and pursue a singing/songwriting career. Don’t think so? Well, that’s exactly what happened to Micah Tyler.

The singer/songwriter grew up with parents who certainly weren’t musicians, although they did love music. Their family lived in Beaumont, Texas, and country music surrounded them on all sides. But music wasn’t even on Micah’s radar growing up, at least not as far as his career was concerned.

God called Micah into ministry, and he took a job at a church right out of high school. By age 20, he was married, and he thought his lifestyle would stay the same for the considerable future.

But then his life completely changed course. At this time, Micah and his wife had three children. Micah felt a call from God, but this time it was a call to leave youth ministry and seek a brand new mission field: the music industry.

With minimal music experience and no idea what the future would look like, Micah’s family made the decision to take a leap of faith. They downsized their belongings and started on their exciting and frightening journey.

With a single-wide trailer as his new home, Micah toured, traveling to perform at conferences and camps for high school and college students. This was proof for Micah that God had a purpose for his youth ministry work.

Micah Tyler released The Story I Tell, his first self-released album, in 2013. In 2014, he released The Kitchen Sink EP. In 2017, he released Different, which featured “Never Been a Moment,” the song that launched his career onto Christian radio.

It took an extraordinary amount of faith to uproot his family and follow God’s call, but God’s faithfulness to Micah is evident in his career. Through his music, Micah focuses on God’s faithfulness and grace.

His newest release, “Walking Free,” proclaims the freedom we have from sin and addiction when God’s grace enters our lives.

The “Walking Free” music video is overwhelmingly powerful. As the stirring track plays, the video shows the true stories of people who have been set free from their chains of addictions, troubled family histories, and even prison sentences. At the end of the video, the individuals and their families gather together, walking and laughing and proclaiming the freedom they’ve found in Christ.

The video is a tangible example of people finding hope, something the world needs now more than ever. Every person in the video is or was involved with Ground 40, an organization dedicated to helping people heal from addictions and regain their lives.

But the ministry of the song doesn’t end there. Micah pushed the project further by creating a six-week devotional series on Facebook and Instagram. On September 1, Micah posted the first video in the series he calls “Walking Free Wednesday.” Each week since, he’s shared testimonies of those who have been affected by addiction. He uses the hashtag #MyWalkingFreeStory.

On September 1, Micah posted Wesley’s story. Wesley was heavily involved in drugs as a teenager. By age 26, he’d walked out on his family, and shortly after, his brother passed away. He was arrested for the 82nd time in 2014, and it was while incarcerated in the Union County Jail that he found Christ.

Now, Wesley is more than six years sober, he’s reunited with his family, and he’s the executive director of Ground 40.

On September 8, Micah shared David’s story. David’s childhood was full of brokenness and heartache. He was adopted at the age of five, and he spent his early years searching for love in places that only offered pain. At 18 years old, he was in prison.

Like Wesley, David found Christ while he was in prison. He was invited to a Bible study, and he gave his heart to Jesus. He was released from prison two years ago, and he’s been living in the freedom of Christ’s love ever since.

On September 15, Elizabeth shared her story. Although she never struggled with addiction herself, the love of her life, Dusty, was addicted to drugs for the 20 years that she knew him. Dusty went to get treatment at Ground 40, and he was sober for seven months. “For those seven months, we had my Dusty back,” she says.

But tragically, addiction overcame him once again, and he overdosed and lost his life. “If it wasn’t for Jesus,” Elizabeth said, “I don’t know how we would have made it through the last year, through the grief and depression.” Elizabeth now volunteers at Ground 40, the same place where Dusty found help.

On September 22, Will’s story was posted. Will’s testimony was similar to Wesley’s. As a teenager, Will experimented with prescription drugs, and by his mid-20s he was addicted to heroin. He was separated from everyone he loved, and he soon found himself at rock bottom.

But then, at his darkest point, he handed his broken life to Jesus and found sobriety. Will has been clean for two years. He is now married with one child and a baby on the way.

On September 29, Micah shared Jacob’s story. Despite his church background and solid job as a real estate photographer, Jacob was addicted to drugs. He would steal from clients and lie to his family to get high. The faith he had wasn’t genuine: He believed that he could do whatever he wanted if he only asked for forgiveness afterward.

It wasn’t until 2017 that Jacob genuinely surrendered his life to Christ. He’s now been sober for more than three years, and he works producing media at his church. He also serves at Ground 40, has a Christ-centered marriage, and restored his relationship with his family.

The song “Walking Free” and this six-week series is only possible because Micah followed God’s seemingly outrageous call on his life. The song “Walking Free” proclaims how Jesus gives us another chance, even when we feel helpless:

“The verdict was guilty
Case closed the end
No chance for me to ever leave
This prison of my sin
Now I know it might seem crazy
But one day a key unlocked that cell
I heard a small voice say
Your debt’s been paid by somebody else” 

(Micah Tyler, “Walking Free”).

Remember that restoration is always possible.

You are never too hidden for Christ to find you. You’re never too far away for him to reach you. He loves you, and he wants to draw near to you. Christ gives us a chance to experience the beauty of walking free:

“And now I’m walking walking
Walking free
No more darkness
Guilt has lost its grip on me
When mercy called my name
Those chains fell at my feet
And now I’m walking walking
Walking free” 

(Micah Tyler, “Walking Free”).

If God can give a youth pastor a successful and impactful career in music, He can intervene in your life in ways you can’t even imagine.

As John 8:36 proclaims, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

See the final video in the #MyWalkingFreeStory series, available October 6, on Micah’s Facebook and Instagram.

Listen to “Walking Free” on Apple MusicSpotifyAmazon Music, and Pandora.

Check out the amazing ministry of Ground 40 here.