Post image for Justin Aguiar, Mississippi State, Baseball Volunteer Staff Member

Justin Aguiar, Mississippi State, Baseball Volunteer Staff Member

by carmine on January 13, 2014

I grew up in Buford, Georgia, a northeast suburb of Atlanta. I was brought up through the church, though I was not really old enough to understand, and never really had any unusual or extreme experiences. That was, until I reached age 8. It was then that my parents divorced. It was a difficult time for me to handle at first, but being able to visit my father on a pretty regular basis made things a little easier. For the first few years following the divorce, things were fine. I was a good student, I obeyed my parents, and I played sports; I was a normal kid. When I was about 13-14, things changed with my father. The phone calls and visitations began to become less and less frequent, until one day he told me he had to go to North Carolina for work. Once he was there, I hardly heard from him, and the contact eventually ceased.

It was at this time, around 14-15, that I began to feel the beginning stages of depression. I felt that my father abandoned me, that I was not good enough for him. I began to get involved with some questionable people, just trying to find someone or something that could take all this sadness and pain from me.

I found alcohol, but that couldn’t ease any of the ongoing depression. Couple that with the abrupt, harsh disconnect with some people that I had recklessly given a lot of myself to, and I was on a path to destruction. I was 15-16, and I was cutting my wrists and legs, trying to find some release from all the sadness and endless hurt.

While all of this was happening, I was also suffering on the playing field. I played baseball and basketball, and while I was never a standout player, I thought of myself as a hard worker and played my tail off. As the talent of my teammates began to step over my own, I got to see less and less time on the diamond and court. I loved to play, and now the one thing that made me happy was slowly being taken from me.

Finally, at 17, I had thoughts of ending everything, of suicide. When I cut, instead of finding a release, I was thinking about making that fatal slice, and I wanted to end it all. It was after one night of this that I went to a regularly scheduled counseling appointment. I had been in counseling since I was about 10, but I never really felt any different after I left the sessions. But for some reason, at this session, I spoke about how I felt and the thoughts I was having. My counselor immediately made arrangements for me to go to the local mental hospital and be admitted into their adolescent in-patient program.

I was there for roughly 5 days, and it was there that I finally found people who understood me and my problems and knew how to help. It was also there that I was officially diagnosed with severe clinical depression. When I was discharged, I felt at ease, but I knew something was missing. I thought baseball would fill that void, but I knew my playing days were no more. Some time went by, and my girlfriend at the time (who I told about this experience) invited me to her Bible study just to see how God worked through people and to surround me with positivity. I hadn’t involved myself with anything associated with God or church because I had given up on it. I didn’t think He was looking out for me so I didn’t even bother acknowledging Him. But it was after this Bible study that I finally realized that He was what I had needed the entire time.

So at 17, I accepted Jesus as my Savior and, while life hasn’t been a cakewalk, it has been much easier to go through with Him by my side these last three years. There are still times that I struggle and the devil tries his hardest to weaken any progress I have made with Christ, but knowing who I am in Him gives me the strength to fight off the devil’s attempts. God is with us at all times, when we are in the darkest hours of our lives, celebrating in our triumphs, and everywhere in between.

I can proudly say now that I am a survivor of self-harm and suicidal actions, a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, a Mississippi State Bulldog, and a staff member of the MSU baseball team; but what I am most proud of saying is that I am a born-again believer in the Great Creator, the Alpha and the Omega, our wonderful God.

The Mississippi State baseball program is one with a strong focus on God, and it is so incredible to be able to see and feel how much He helps all of us both on and off the field. I’m not around the players as often as the coaches, but I can tell that these guys are on fire for God, and being surrounded by that atmosphere allows me to continue to grow in my walk with Him.

Justin Aguiar
Mississippi State University (2015)

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