The Lord is constantly moving and redeeming hearts. Check out Carson & Aunika Kleinfeldt's story of grace below.
Carson & Aunika Kleinfeldt
Carson: “I grew up with parents that loved me and wanted the best for me, but in my stubbornness I always wanted to do what I wanted to do. I really just didn’t want to go to Hell. In high school that mindset led to me sneaking out, partying, getting drunk, getting into fights and being arrested multiple times. I became an alcoholic that only was worried about himself. After high school, I became consumed with work, and when I wasn’t working, I was drinking. That’s when I met Aunika.”
Aunika: “I grew up in the Church here in Cody, but I always thought that there had to be more than one right way of living. This led me to moving out after graduation, and chasing a boy to San Diego. There I joined an eastern Cult and got married. As that relationship quickly went sideways, we got divorced. During that time I was living in a van and traveling back to Cody in the summers to work for my dad in order to make extra money. The whole time, I was chasing whatever felt good in the moment. One summer I met Carson through some friends, and decided to say in Cody.
C: “Soon after we got pregnant, and decided to get married. We were a mess. We weren’t really Christians and didn’t have any direction or guidance. I was working all the time, and when I wasn’t working I was drinking. Aunika was afraid to have another failed marriage, so she swept a lot of things under the rug. The first five years were a managed crisis.”
A: “ I spent a lot of time feeling angry and isolated. Then my Dad got sick. This led us to go to church in order to spend more time with him while he was still alive. In the middle of that, my heart was softened to the gospel. I got saved, and baptized and really wanted to follow Jesus. But that is when things got the hardest.”
C: “Aunika was a devout follower of Christ, but was married to someone who only wanted to run away from Him. That was really hard. I still was living a life filled with busyness, alcohol, and running away from my family and God. Meanwhile Aunika was trying to follow God and wanting me to do the same.
"I knew that God had something bigger in my life than what I’ve been doing"
“Two years later at a family company event at a bar in town I began drinking as I always did. Aunika got upset and took the kids home as I continued to drink. Later in the night I was brought to my lowest. God convicted me of my life as He physically made me feel sick in a way I haven’t been before. In that moment, I put my faith in Jesus and knew that God had something bigger in my life than what I’ve been doing. I got a taxi home, woke Aunika up to apologize, and told her that God had something better in store. That was the turning point.”
A: “It still didn’t come easy. After that, Carson had an uphill battle with drinking, and I was still a pretty angry person. We started attending church, but I didn’t think there would be anyone that would help us or understand. We stayed pretty surface level with everyone there.”
C: “I started to volunteer in youth, which lead me to a deeper relationship with God and others. But I was afraid to scare off the only church people I knew, so I never gave anyone the full picture of my life. However, that began to change with community.
A: We started our community group long distance, and didn’t feel like we really knew the other people, and they didn’t know us. But as we continued along, we saw people sharing their sin and confessing their struggles. So we started sharing our sin, struggles, and things we thought we would take to the grave. My community helped me realize instead of being angry, I needed to show Carson the same love and grace that was shown to me by Jesus on the cross.”
C: “In community, I saw people being fully authentic and open about their own sin. I realized that confession is the first step towards healing, and I confessed my struggles with our group and was met with love and grace. I had people that wanted to help me in my alcoholism, my busyness, and didn’t shy away from my sin, but looked to help me through it. I started experiencing real freedom in being fully known, it was something I didn’t think I’d ever have.
“I love our group more than anything. Those people have always stood behind me, always loved me even with my faults, and it’s the only way I’ve understood Jesus’ love for us. Community has changed my life. That’s why I want to talk about it, because through confession and community, there is so much freedom to be had.”