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Matt Lehr’s Story


I spent most of my life in and out of church.  Belief in God had its’ moments in my life, but I could never let go of control.  I was always thankful to God, but looking back at it, I don’t know if I meant it then – I was just checking the box.

I had a career in the NFL where I had everything I wanted, but I still felt empty.  I would be surrounded by family and friends and still feel alone. I would be with women and feel guilty and alone. And no matter what I had materialistically, it still wasn’t enough.

I would look at others and ask God, “Why not me? When is it my time?… No matter what I did, it wasn’t enough. Even after attaining a football career, I was still searching. I felt like I was going into a bottomless pit and I just felt more and more empty and  even more alone.  I would eat and never be full, drink and still be thirsty. I would party, but never be entertained.

I finally hit rock bottom. I was in between jobs, bad investments, and my body was physically breaking down. The weight of guilt and emptiness was overwhelming me.

On a cold January morning, I finally surrendered. I was walking my dogs on a cold morning and I decided that, if I wanted to see change in my life, I had to change my ways.  I looked up to the early morning stars and asked God to take control. I asked him to take me in the direction He wanted me to go.

I didn’t know what that really meant, but I heard the Lord whisper two phrases to me: “reset your life” & “fresh start”.  I heard those two phrases over and over.  Next, my behaviors changed. I started listening to podcasts that were Spirit-filled and surrounded myself with positive, success people of God and through them I found Valley Creek.

For years I had longed to be part of a church and I wanted to be able to call a church home. That dream came true.  When I saw the opportunity to be baptized, I felt that this was the next step God wanted me to take.

I remember how nervous, excited, and scared I was all at the same time.  Since I released control and proclaimed Jesus is Lord and I will follow Him, I have I felt my load lighten. The guilt, the emptiness, and the loneliness has passed.  I feel full, complete, and excited to see where His story will take me.  I’m excited to see the path God has for me, and even though I know there will be ups and downs, I know I can get through all life’s circumstances with the grace of God and following His lead.