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  June 2018  
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University of South Florida - Baseball

Casey Mulholland

Ill start off by saying I don’t have a testimony filled with addictions or poor life decisions that got me into trouble with the law or anything like that. For the most part I would say my life would be considered fairly socially normal. I grew up going to Church and my family implemented many Christ centered, Biblically focused teachings throughout my childhood. I grew up loving baseball and was actually nicknamed at birth after a former Yankees manager named Casey Stengel. Baseball at a young age was my life and I would say I knew about God but in no way did I truly know God on a personal relationship level. I was blessed with an awesome childhood and a loving family. I worked my butt off working toward my baseball dreams everyday and my family was there to support me every step of the way.

By the 8th grade my parents saw my love for the game and my potential. To help me make the most of my future they made a sacrifice financially and decided to send me to IMG Academies in Bradenton FL. I would over the next 4 years make a name for myself across the country from the academy. By my junior summer I was an All American, had been undefeated as a pitcher through my high school career and had obtained around 20 scholarship offers from division 1 schools. I was on the fast track and as I moved into my senior year I was quickly obtaining pro draft interest. With all this excitement and interest I was trying very hard personally to be what I saw in the media and on T.V. I found myself out on Saturday nights looking for the best party and anything my friends were wanting to do I just wanted to be a part of. I guess in a way you could say at this time I felt invincible. I was living my life focused on worldy things and I didn’t know it yet but God had quite a different plan for my life that would bring me to my knees shifting my focus to him. Spring of my senior year came around and I was committed to play college baseball at the University of Mississippi or as many know it “Ole Miss”. As the season started I was lights out on the mound and with nearly 10 pro scouts showing up to each of my games. I knew the draft was going to be a real possibility for me come summer time. According to most online draft predictions I was in the top 70 players of 2010. All I needed to do was close out the season strong and I thought I would be a professional baseball player fresh out of high school.

On a March night in St. Pete FL I was pitching in the 4th inning of a tournament championship game. I threw a fastball and simply felt a pop. I knew what had happened to my arm but in denial I threw 3 more pitches and in one of those 3 gave up a grand slam that would ultimately give me my first high school loss as a pitcher. Sitting on the bench after feeling my UCL pop was one of the first times I began to think about God and feel him tugging on my heart. At the time I had no idea why but I just felt comforted by him in such a trying moment. I had this feeling that everything was going to be ok and that no matter what there was a plan for my future. Looking back on this moment in my life its funny to think about the number of signs that God clearly had shown me his presence but I blindly turned my head passing it as coincidence. To explain every small detail would be almost impossible for most to believe and to save you from having to read a novel here Ill jump ahead to about 2 weeks after the game I was injured in. I found myself sitting in a Birmingham Alabama hospital bed face to face with the world-renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews preparing for the Tommy John surgery I would be receiving that day. I was nervous, I was unsure about the future but before I knew it I was on the way home and starting rehab after a very successful surgery. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as I began my comeback but in a time of need the youth pastor from my church came to me and started asking me about all I was going through. I told him I was having these feelings that I couldn’t explain. As days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months these feelings kept getting stronger and stronger. I would go out and everyday my heart would be in conflict with my actions. Parties became no fun, curse words almost hurt to say, it was like I was ashamed of myself and my actions but I really didn’t know why. In continued contact with my youth pastor I would learn that these feelings were God calling me to serve and be in a true relationship with him. I wish I could say that when I leaned this my life changed on the dime and I became a solid Christ follower but it wouldn’t be until I became healthy again and I was at Ole Miss that I would give up my life entirely to him. After a long year away from baseball I was excited to finally be back to pitching.

I showed up in Oxford Mississippi with expectations to become an Ole Miss standout on the mound. After a few terrible outings in the fall and realizing I wasn’t back to full form pitching I felt pressure like I had never felt before. I was away from home for the first time in my life and in need of direction. I remember trying to live out what I thought was the college life and going out with friends drinking and partying but the feelings that I was having previously were back again and I couldn’t deny God was wanting me to be so much more. I would jog down to the Ole Miss baseball stadium a lot of times around 1 or 2 in the morning and sit in the stands behind the plate staring at the empty dark field. I’m not sure why I felt so at home in those moments late in the night but I would sit there and just pray and ask God what it was he wanted from me and try to figure out what it was he wanted me to be in my future. I began attending FCA at Ole Miss consistently and even started looking for a church. I stopped going out on the town and really began to focus on finding friends that were Christ followers that I could use for support as I decided to start walking the path Christ wanted me to follow. I can’t place my thumb the moment or day exactly in my life where I decided to start living this way, really it’s like it all just happened in a sequence of time. I do however know exactly when I realized I was fully committed to serving and glorifying Christ. I will never forget I was reading Psalms and I came across the verse 55:16. It was so simple but it just made since to me and all I had been through. It says “But I call to the Lord and he saves me.” Sitting in history class after reading that I started drawing a cross on my wrist and I was so deep in thought about the verse and the Lords great works in my life that when asked about what the “X” on my arm was I rambled off the verse and how I just felt the cross meant so much to my life at that time. As the day went on I got more questions about it and each time I was asked I got so excited to share what I was feeling that the next day I woke up and drew it again. I went about a week with this cross on my arm and I realized the opportunity it was providing me. My life by this time had been saved. I prayed to the Lord to forgive me for my unfaithful past and strengthen me in my future. As I day by day began to share and live the life God has called me to I saw more clearly and clearly that baseball was a blessing and that I had been so selfish with this blessing in the past. I feel to this day God is calling me to use baseball as a stage to glorify him on a much larger scale.

My future is completely in his hands, though I have a passion for baseball and will do anything to achieve my dreams of one day making it to the MLB I completely trust in Gods plans for my life even if baseball isn’t in those plans. To assure that I don’t forget that God is in control, I draw that same cross I drew on my wrist in history class that day on my wrist now before every start. Maintaining my focus on my faith and being obedient to Gods plans I have found success this year on the mound again as I pitched for a junior college in Bradenton FL by the name of the State College of Florida. I am excited to see what is in store for me in the future because I know his divine plan for my life is far greater that I can ever imagine. If I can encourage you reading this today with anything I would say wherever you are at with your faith just understand that Gods love for us is far greater than we can understand. If he could work on my heart as he did for nearly 2 years and change me from the inside out then he can surly work inside of your heart and allow you to feel consumed by his love too. Trust in him in your greatest times of need and glorify him in your greatest moments. May everything you do be done with him in mind and as I have been blessed in so many ways so will you be.

 

-Casey Mulholland