What’s up?! You may not know me yet, but don’t worry that feeling will change VERY soon. I tend to remember my story photographically, sometimes I just forget to develop it. HA! I know … I know … super lame. Those who do know me best know that I love a good play on words or magnificent pun as it just really speaks to my dry side. In fact, if you are the type of person that carries around a collection of puns in your wallet, we might have just become best friends, and yes we can go do karate in the garage. Also, give me a call just in case I don’t have some of the ones you do … seriously though. Hey, if you can’t make yourself laugh you might as well go home, so they say, or at least I say it anyways. As you can already see, I can be a tid bit scatterbrained which hopefully some of you can relate to. I like to think of it as having so many genius thoughts that I just cast the ol fishing line out to see which one I might regret … wow autocorrect … reel in*. That’s the power of positive thinking right there, ol Jon Gordon would be proud (if you don’t know who that is, check him out). Anyways, let’s dive in.
I guess there’s no better place to start than the beginning. I was raised in a household where Christianity was a priority. But, priority here was defined more or less by doing the right things, having good character, attending church, and associating with people that go to church; but now I realize there was quite a bit missing. Church was more of a social event than a form of true worship. I wasn’t necessarily a bad kid, but I hadn’t experienced the presence of God or understood grace. I believed in Him, but I did not know what all that entailed.
Sin started to really creep in when girls entered the picture, and my eyes were opened to a whole new world when I realized the urge to be sexually immoral. This continued throughout high school, and I was so focused on sports and girls that I began to let them control my life. Lust overwhelmed me, consumed my thoughts, and turned me into a person I did not want to be. Looking back now I can remember times where God was warning me not to go down a certain road as a result of the decisions I was faced with to make, but I ignored them because all I cared about was myself. I was so selfish that I did not care how I emotionally affected the women I pursued let alone how I was distancing myself from God.
Started college off at Pensacola State playing baseball, but the coaching situation wasn’t a good fit so I transferred to Darton State my sophomore year. During that span of time, alcohol came into the picture, and I messed up my elbow playing summer ball. My first semester down in Albany, GA I had Tommy John Surgery and the slippery slope continued. I still wasn’t relying on God for anything, I didn’t care about my actions, and I didn’t even want to think about Him after all He had put me through. I was mad at God (a concept I plan to dive into on a much deeper level later on). So, after the surgery I discovered the appeal of prescription drugs. The percocets and oxycodone doctors gave me provided a high that I had never experienced before. When I took the pills, nothing else mattered and I forgot about all of my problems … temporarily. At this point in my life I had completely rejected God and all I cared about was girls, alcohol, and pills. As long as I had one of the three I was set, but if I could find a way to pull off all three, I felt like a real man when in fact I had become the biggest coward on the face of the planet. Not only was I running away from my problems, but I was fleeing God as fast as I could. Then the point of transformation took place when I met the girl that I would spend the rest of my life with.
I met Callan after staying at a friend’s apartment, and I knew there was something different about her from the moment that I saw her. She gave me her number before leaving to go to the Alabama vs. LSU football game, and we started talking on an everyday basis (because she just couldn’t resist even though she claims she wasn’t attracted … psh). I knew quickly that I was in love with Callan, but I was scared by love because of what had happened to me in the past (extensive detail to be provided later) and didn’t want to let myself be vulnerable. I let my insecurity multiply in my brain until I felt like I had to have the upper hand on her in case she did wind up hurting me. I didn’t put my full trust in her because I didn’t even trust myself, and it’s one of the most selfish and unfair acts that I have ever committed. I was unfaithful to Callan which was the biggest mistake of my life, but little did I know that it would actually turn out to be one of the biggest blessings in my life as well. I knew that I was living a lie and I would only be able to take it for so long because it ate at my soul every time I looked at myself in the mirror let alone when I looked in her eyes. I finally worked up the courage to tell her, and absolutely fell apart as I told her that I had been unfaithful for fear of losing the best part of me. In the time since that had happened, I had sincerely developed a desire for a radical life change, and I knew that could only happen through Jesus Christ. Callan had witnessed the changes I had made, and knew that my regret and sorrow were sincere. More importantly, she relied wholeheartedly on God to heal her pain after my confession. The forgiveness I experienced through her was not anything of this world. It was the love and mercy straight from God at work within her. After all, true love keeps no record of wrongs and always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Experiencing this unconditional love broke me down once and for all. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that I didn’t get what I deserved after all that I had done. At that moment the gospel finally made sense to me: even though I don’t deserve it, all the sin that I have committed and will commit is paid for in full by the blood of Jesus Christ. It never added up until that point that God really loves me that much.
I got on my hands and knees and cried out for forgiveness, and I thanked Him for staying with me through the times I had knowingly rejected Him. My God transformed me that day, and I have been living for Christ ever since. He provided me with a freedom that I had never felt before and the fatherly love I experienced was indescribable. Both Callan’s and my convictions from the Holy Spirit were so strong and truly changed our relationship through complete surrender to God. He has shown me over and over again not only that I need this woman that He has blessed me with but more importantly that I need HIM! Callan holds me accountable for everything under the sun and is the most forgiving, gentle-hearted, loving, caring, hilarious, determined, unbelievably beautiful, character filled, God-fearing soul that I know.
My transformation has been and will continue to be quite an adventure (*input marathon versus sprint cliche). Adversity can hit you hard at times, but I’ve learned that God works in mysterious ways and that His will is always fulfilled. Throughout this brief testimony it may seem that the sin was focused on at times, but I want you to know that I am forgiven for all of that and it is in my past; no longer does it burden my soul and God deserves all the glory in the world for wiping my slate clean. Salvation is a life-long relationship and is not about the prayer you pray, not about walking down an aisle or raising your hand, it’s about coming before our Savior with a humbled heart and a broken Spirit knowing He is the only one who can do anything about it. James 4:10 tells us, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and he will exalt you”. I pray mine and Callan’s story is a direct reflection of God’s love. It’s time for Christians to stop hiding behind curtains with whatever baggage you feel like you have to take on your next trip. You weren’t designed to carry it.
- Kyle Conkle