Post image for Eric Garza, Texas Christian University, Baseball

Eric Garza, Texas Christian University, Baseball

by carmine on September 23, 2013



 

 

My Family Background:

Hello everyone, my name is Eric Garza. I was born December 19th, 1993 in Miami, Florida. I have two brothers and two very loving parents. Both of my parents were born in Cuba, and both moved to the United States with their families at a young age when Fidel Castro came into power. I can’t speak with great detail about either of my grandfathers, as they both passed away before I was old enough to really get to know them. I do know, however, that they were men who understood responsibility, work ethic, and the importance of family. I did receive the blessing to grow up with both of my grandmothers and my extended family, and many of the same Godly qualities found in my grandfathers were and are also found in them. Both sides of my family grew up in Roman Catholic doctrine and loved baseball, and as children my brothers and I played baseball and were also raised Roman Catholic.

 

My Background:

My father worked hard to become doctor when he came to the United States, and my extended family made a lot of sacrifices to help him in that pursuit. My father did end up becoming a doctor and when I was only a few months old my family moved to San Antonio, Texas so he could begin his medical practice. My brothers and I were fortunate enough to have been raised in a pretty affluent home, and we all grew up playing and loving baseball as our whole family had before us. As I said we were raised Roman Catholic, and I remember when I was young my family attended Catholic mass a decent number of times a year, with that number decreasing as I got older. The thing about growing up Catholic was, I remember learning and seeing a lot of traditions undertaken during Sunday services, but I never remember learning about the Jesus of the Bible I know today. The teachings were based more on being moral and ethical, than having a loving relationship with Jesus. Jesus was never really God, the traditions of the church were. In this way, I grew up believing that Christianity was a set of guidelines and moral principles on how to live life, and I never experienced the life-changing grace and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus. I also remember boredom overtaking me just about every Sunday mass I ever attended and going to church was more a hassle than anything else.

            Outside of church life, most of what I remember from my childhood is baseball. My family is in every essence of the phrase, a baseball family. I can’t thank my parents enough for the sacrifices they took to give us the opportunities my brothers and I were given in baseball. They instilled in us the ideas of hard work and dedication, and my father preached to us about having a competitive drive and ‘killer instinct’ so we knew competition from a very young age. All three of us brothers began playing baseball as early as we could, and I remember my older brother was very successful in his baseball endeavors from the moment they began. While I was fairly successful playing sports, my brother was and is flat out more talented than me. He was bigger and stronger growing up, and he could achieve anything he wanted to achieve, which he did. I remember he had more on me than just physical size and talent though, he had that IT factor, or ‘killer instinct’, that I remember my father speaking so much of to us as children. While my personality was more meek-mannered, my brother was ferociously competitive in sports, and he accomplished a ton in his prep career. Again, I was fairly successful in the sports I played, but I never really felt that ferocity and tenacity during competition that my father told me about. My younger brother is still too young to really compare to the two of us at this time, but if one were to look and compare our competitive instincts at younger ages he would most definitely relate more to my older brother’s instinct than mine. I’m sort of the odd ball in our family: while the Lord blessed me with some natural talent, both of my brothers are physically superior and my older brother especially was always more competitively inclined growing up.

 

My Story:

My life was basically how I described it above until I reached high school. Freshman year I began to mature physically, and my natural…’affinity’ for girls we could say, matured with me. My skills began developing well in baseball through hard work, and I was getting pretty good at it. I began to feel that ‘killer instinct’ while I was playing ball, and competition was something I was beginning to excel at. Naturally, my demeanor began to get cocky and arrogant, and I began to have lustful feelings towards the cute girls at my school. I wasn’t allowed to play varsity sports my freshman year of high school, but that didn’t stop me from thinking I was the baddest dude in the world. Any of what I had learned of morality and ethics from my Catholic upbringing left me and I pursued pleasure from anywhere I could find it, especially from girls. While I can say I never dishonored my parents by smoking weed or breaking the law, I was far from a ‘good’ man. I was a boy, obsessed with girls and baseball. School always came easy for me, so I was able to make good grades without much effort, and that leftover effort was poured into my lustful and ungodly desires. I enjoyed the instant gratification that came with temporary sexual pleasures and competition designed around myself, but there was always something missing. I always felt empty after a sexual encounter with a female, or after a great game I had just played.

            Up until holiday break of my junior year, I spent my time in high school making bad choices with girls, watching pornography and unfortunately succeeding in baseball. I say unfortunately because with more success my ego grew larger, and the emptiness I felt grew even larger. During that holiday break, as I was surfing the Internet looking up popular rap songs (hip-hop has always been my favorite genre of music), I happened to come across the music of a man by the name of KB. I don’t remember how, but the Lord led me to this Christian brother’s music and by His grace I was able to listen to KB’s testimony and some of his songs. At first, it was hard to tell that this man was a Christian. His songs were really good, and all I had ever heard about Christians making hip-hop was how corny and cheap the songs were. I was awe-struck, confused even. Here was this talented rapper, describing a Jesus who wasn’t about a list of do’s and don’ts, but about eternal love and grace (John 1:24). I had never heard about this Jesus of faith, I had always thought that Christianity was limited to rules, laws and principles that bogged people down (Romans 4:15-17).

The song I remember most vividly was called, “Greater Than”. It was about how Christ Jesus was greater than any thought we as humans could ever think of Him (Job 37:5). That not only did He have the power to fill in the empty feeling I had grown so accustomed to having, but that He was the only person who could fill it in (Acts 13:52). The more I listened to KB’s music, the more interested I was in finding out about who this Jesus was that he was talking about. I began picking up my Bible and reading daily, and I began watching sermons from Christian rappers like Trip Lee and Lecrae. I started to fall in love with the Jesus of the Bible, the true God of the universe, and eventually after about six months of searching and trying out a Godly lifestyle I gave my life to Christ. I felt so changed, empowered and perfect those first few days, and I figured that since I was in Christ I was going to feel that way forever. Gone were my lustful thoughts, my desire for pornography, my cockiness and arrogance (2Corinthians 5:17). I began to play baseball to glorify Jesus’s name, not for my own benefit. My ‘killer instinct’ competitiveness was replaced with a competitive drive designed around Christ (1 Corinthians 9:24). The summer following that holiday break I committed to play baseball at Texas Christian University (TCU), and I was also forced to change high schools for reasons that were totally misunderstood and sadly I lost connection with many people I had grown to care for at my old school. While I was going to miss the people of my old school, I felt so encouraged and happy about my future and the perfect life I thought I was going to have. Suffering and emptiness because of sin weren’t in the future I had planned out for myself.

Ok, so there it was. I had given my life to Christ and now everything was going to be fantastic and I was going to live a fairytale life of peace and happiness, right? Wrong. The passion for Christ and living a perfect life subsided. My faith in Jesus remained, but the sinful desires of my heart crept back into my life. I stopped reading my Bible, and I would go a few days or weeks trying to live perfectly, but then fall into lust and make a bad decision with a girl, or become arrogant over my ability in baseball. People recognized I was a Christian at my school, but because I couldn’t accept that I wasn’t perfect I would trust in myself to act correctly and control my lustful desires, or reign in my arrogance. Needless to say I failed again and again, and hypocrisy took control of my life. I would tweet about Christians trusting in Jesus to deliver us from temptation, but then try and conserve my sexual desires on my own, fail, and reach out to women with sexual intentions. I felt disgusted, I had stopped reading His Word so I didn’t know enough about Jesus to realize that I wasn’t perfect; I was and am a sinner who desperately needs Christ to save me (Romans 3:23). I also attempted to walk with Christ alone and it wasn’t until the Lord led me back to His Word and a relationship with a wonderful sister of Christ that I began to learn that I needed Christ alone for deliverance and that I needed other Christians in my life to help me in my walk with Christ (Hebrews 10:24-25).  

I am currently enrolled as a freshman at TCU and I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to play division 1 baseball at the best school in the country. I pray that my desires here on campus conform to God’s will and not the world’s (Romans 12:2). For I am nothing without Him, He does everything through me (John 15:5). The more I walk with Christ the more I realize that I’m not perfect, in fact I’m the opposite and my own ambitions will never be enough to destroy my sinful desires. The more I walk with Christ the more I realize that Jesus never promises that we won’t suffer, but He does promise that our suffering is not in vain (Romans 8:18). The more I walk with Christ the more I realize that Christianity isn’t about moral principles, where the righteous sit atop a moral high horse and condemn the unrighteous (Romans 8:1). There are none righteous except the Son of God, Jesus Christ and we are only righteous when He shines through us. The more I walk with Christ the more I realize that my past does not define me. The bad choices with women, the pornography, the arrogance, nothing about me defines me. What defines me is what Jesus did for me on the cross when He sacrificed Himself for my future lust and arrogance (1 Peter 3:18). I’m still a sinner, and while I know I will sin again, I don’t have to search for fulfillment in sin, because the temporary satisfaction of sin is nothing compared to the satisfaction I find in my Savior Jesus Christ.

This is my testimony, and I hope it can reach people in similar walks of life to my own. Let Jesus pour through these words into the empty hearts of those who are searching for fulfillment like I was! Let hypocrisy reign no more inside of me, but let Jesus bring me so much joy and peace that the sins I used to long for are revealed as the miniscule, irrelevant acts of Satan that they are. In Jesus name I do all of this, Amen.

 

Previous post:

Next post: