“Baseball was the first sport I ever played. I started playing at 4-years-old and continued through college. My identity was in sports,” said Matt Diekemper. “As I got older, the competition got harder. I wasn’t as successful and needed a new place to put my identity.”
At 11-years-old, Matt was exposed to pornography for the first time.
On the inside, I was a mess. I thought if anyone knew who I was, they would never accept me.
“At first it was just a curiosity. My curiosity slowly turned into an addiction. I had no idea the harmful effect it would have on my life,” he said. “On the outside, I was a good kid. I never got in trouble, had good grades, and worked hard at everything I did. But on the inside, I was a mess. I thought if anyone knew who I was, they would never accept me."
In high school, Matt had surgery on his shoulder and missed his senior season of baseball. “During that season of injury, I dove deep into pornography. Porn was like a joke. My friends and I openly talked about what we were consuming in those videos.”
His addiction to pornography continued to entangle him throughout high school. After graduation, his baseball career continued at Drury University.
“Immediately when I got to college, I dove headfirst into the party scene. I wanted to be accepted, and it’s what I thought I had to do to fit in. There were several weeks where I was drunk more nights than I was sober."
During his junior year at Drury, God began to draw him out of darkness.
I remember quickly deleting things off my phone because I was terrified that someone would find out.
“One day, the leader of the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) followed me on Twitter. I began going to FCA’s big group meetings and was invited to the Denver Christmas Conference.”
“On the way to the conference, I remember saying to myself, ‘Matt you’re going to have to clean up your act for a week.’ I knew my life was not the Christian life. I remember quickly deleting things off my phone because I was terrified that someone would find out about my addiction to pornography.”
During that weekend, Matt heard an unexpected testimony that changed his life.
“I was sitting in a ballroom with thousands of college students. A woman stood on stage with such courage and shared her testimony. To my surprise, the only difference between her testimony and my life was that she was a lady, and I was a young college guy,” he said.
“We had the same exact struggles; alcohol and pornography, and random hook ups. She talked about the grace of God and redemption. She described her encounter with God’s forgiveness, and it was something I wanted.”
God used her story to display His dominion over sin.
Matt soon came face-to-face with the same gracious, redeeming Savior that the stranger spoke about on stage.
“God spoke to my heart that weekend. It was as if He looked at me and said, ‘You’ve been trying so hard to fill a void. You’ve been trying all these things to fill that emptiness, and they can’t do it. But come to Me, I can.’”
“I sat on my bed that night and cried. I realized I couldn’t overcome this on my own,” he described.
A stranger boldly took the stage in front of thousands of students and shared an honest account of God’s redeeming work in her life. God used her story to display His dominion over sin.
“Over time, I encountered God’s forgiveness and began to walk in community. Because of Jesus, I have experienced freedom and victory over my sin.” What was once shame and secrecy has now become a testimony of God’s faithfulness.
“I wish I could remember the name of the woman who shared her testimony. If I could, I would send her a letter thanking her. That moment was a turning point for me,” said Matt. “I feel like God is now calling me to share my story.”
All throughout the Bible, we see that Jesus is the ultimate storyteller. During His ministry, He used stories to teach and display the power and glory of God. May we also glorify God by boldly sharing stories of His transformation in our lives.
Is God calling you to share your story?
“Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.”