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  April 2018  
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Atlanta Braves

Brain Friday

God worked a miracle in my life when he saved me my freshman year of college. I grew up in Houston, Texas with a great family, in a great neighborhood, and always went to great schools. If you had known me you probably would have characterized me as a good kid. I worked hard, made good grades, had a lot of friends, and did what I imagine anyone would want to do growing up. Looking back now I realize I was extremely blessed. However, there always seemed to be a small void in me and a sense for a greater purpose in life. I went to church sparingly and even went to a high school that had daily chapel services, but faith never meant anything to me. In fact, it all bored me. 

Over time, I became extremely devoted to baseball. It consumed a lot of my thoughts and time when I was in high school. Of course I loved playing it, but soon baseball started to define who I was as a person. If I had a good game or practice that day, then it was a great day for me no matter what else happened. Vice versa, if baseball was bad that day, then that was a terrible day for me. 
After high school, I went to play on scholarship at Rice University and earned the starting shortstop position my freshman season of 2005. Despite this, I had always been a hard worker and I never trusted myself enough on the field. This became evident that freshman year as I struggled offensively and defensively. Pressure from coaches added to the immense pressure I put on myself, and a downward spiral began. I was undoubtedly costing the team games, and had lost all confidence. It got so bad that I dreaded going to the park everyday and would actually wish I had been taken out of the lineup. Nevertheless, I was still starting (I guess they saw potential). 

Finally, I hit the bottom after a game against Texas A&M at home. There was a big crowd, it was on TV, and I honestly played the worst game of my life. I made so many errors the scorekeeper started to feel sorry for me and change some to hits. In the bottom of the ninth with the game tied and a runner on third with one out&.I struck out looking. Thank goodness we ended up winning. I knew after that game that I wouldnt play the rest of the year, and there was no reason to believe I would ever again. I was brokenhearted and mentally messed up after the game, and on my way home I turned a corner and my foot slipped off the break, hit the accelerator, and I crashed head-on into a wall. At that moment I lost it and for the first time in my life I cried out to God. I was angry, upset, and felt as helpless as ever. I yelled at God for a reason why I was going through this, why I was at Rice, and why was I even playing baseball. I didnt sleep that night and we flew out to Hawaii for a weekend series early the next morning. While I was sitting in the terminal my Dad called me and told me one thing. He told me to start finding out what was important in life and to start reading my Bible. I figured I had nothing else to lose, so that day I started to read the New Testament and it changed my life. I still believe that God was speaking directly through my father that morning. 

As I read the New Testament, I could feel God working in me and a foundation for my faith was created. I didnt play the rest of my freshman year and that summer, but I found God. I began to pray, started going to church with some friends, and became involved in a bible study. As God has continued to grow my faith over the past few years, He has blessed my baseball career, but more importantly He has given me true joy apart from what this world provides. 
When I think back on my freshman year I am reminded of what Paul says in Romans 5:3-4, &but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 

It is amazing how the Lord works in peoples lives once they turn them over to Him. I am a living testimony to that fact, and thank God for it. 

- Brian Friday