Jeff Bajenaru

My baseball journey began in a strange place - under the family room table.

My dad had decided that playing a year of little league would be good for me. He told me that I had to play for a year, and if, after that year, I didn't want to play, I could quit.

I wanted nothing to do with it. So I crawled under the table and refused to budge. But my dad never gave up. And almost 20 years later, I took the mound at U.S. Cellular Field, pitching for the world champion Chicago White Sox.

You may think it's a long journey from underneath a family room table to the mound in Chicago, but that's nothing compared to another journey I took - the journey from religion to faith.

My baseball career followed an interesting path. After high school, I had no offers from any major college. So I went to a community college where my game came together well enough to receive offers from 10 major schools.

I chose the University of Oklahoma, where I was an All-American as a pitcher and outfielder my senior year. It was there I met the woman of my dreams who would become my wife.

Looking at my life from the outside, you would think I had everything a guy could want. I was an All-American, I had been drafted and was playing ball for a living, I had a beautiful wife, I had a great family. What more could a guy want?

Well, I was missing the most important thing, and didn't even know it. I just knew I was empty.

I had grown up in the church. In fact, it wasn't until I started playing ball that I stopped going to church. And even though I wasn't going to church, I always thought of myself as a nice guy. I even went to Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) my senior year at Oklahoma. But it was all a masquerade.

It was like I was hiding under the table all over again - this time from God. I didn't want to change. I didn't want to give up anything I thought I was entitled to. I was having too much fun. I thought I could do it all on my own. And besides, I was a good guy. What more could God want?

And yet, I knew something was missing. I knew something wasn't working. It was like I had a hole in my heart, and every song at church seemed to be aimed directly at me.

Then, in May of 2002, after my 3rd arm surgery, which, for a pitcher, causes some concern, I felt even more lost. I called my pastor and we met at a Starbucks. He asked if I wanted to pray to receive Jesus right there in front of everyone. It was amazing!

I had always thought that I needed to know the whole Bible backward and forward in order to be saved. I thought that being a good person was the way to get into heaven.

Now I know the truth. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and while I'm not perfect, He loves me and fills me with His greatest gifts - peace, joy and love.

I'm glad I crawled out from under the table when I was a kid. But I'm even more thrilled that I stopped hiding from God.

If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life.