But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”
This is the story of my friend, Joshua Ridgeway. He came through our RCIA program last year. I post it here in his own words straight from his heart. I am so proud to have walked with him on this journey and I hope the Lord pours abundant blessings over him as he continues. Please keep him sincerely in your prayers.
A TESTIMONY – BY: JOSHUA RIDGEWAY
A little over a year ago my whole life changed. I invited a co-worker, that was going through a nasty divorce, to lunch with me. My impression was that I would get all the juicy details of her divorce and see how she was holding up. I was perplexed when met and she was calm, peaceful, and full of joy. I thought how is this possible. She began to tell me about her new relationship with Christ and how it has transformed her life. looking at her she was gleaming with love I had never seen. I looked at her and told her, “I want what you have.” She replied,” that’s Jesus!” She invited me to church that following Sunday and I agreed to go. While getting into my car to leave she stopped me and said that she felt compelled to give me something. It was a little medal of St. Christopher and the Miraculous medal of Mary with Jesus in the middle, that goes on your sun visor.
The next day I got pulled over for speeding on the interstate, going over 100. The officer asked me to get out of the car and that was when I began to realize my life is about to change forever, I’m going to Jail. At this point in time I was already broken, and had hit rock bottom. I was living a homosexual lifestyle, being very promiscuous, doing drugs, and had left home and dropped out of school when I was 16 because I was tired of the abuse from my father. I already had two speeding tickets that month that I told the officer about, and he rewarded me for my honesty and sincerity and didn’t give me a ticket. I sat in my car for a while and ugly cried. I told God at that moment if he got me through this I would go back to church. At that moment I heard God’s voice for the first time,” You sing my praises but you deny my presence.” I continued down the road and heard a song by Rascal Flatts, I won't let go. I listened as though God were saying these lyrics to me. I ugly cried again.
That following Sunday was Divine Mercy Sunday and I remembered the homily was on forgiveness. Immediately my father came to mind, but I wasn’t ready. I spent some time alone in the Old Chapel lying on the floor crying. One particular time I heard God say to me,” I need you to forgive your father. I need you to be an example.” I replied,” How?”
He gave me a vision of my Father being beaten by his father, and my heart sank. A few weeks later I called my father up and had a difficult conversation with him. I told him that I forgave him, and asked for his forgiveness. I didn’t get a response, but I called my mom a few days later and she said,” I don’t know what you and your dad talked about but he cried like I have never seen before.” I told her about the conversation and she said thank you.
I knew I had a long road ahead of me but forgiving my father is where it began. I invited my parents, aunt and family to my first Communion. I saw my dad glowing in a way I hadn’t before. He was smiling more and laughing more. While at the Easter Vigil when the choir sung Veni Sancti Spiritus, I heard my dad singing for the first time. I broke into tears, and hit the floor. At that moment a voice came out of me I had never heard before. I was just confirmed into the church and I had heard of the gifts you receive from the Holy Spirit. It was then that God revealed to me my Purpose. I grew up singing in church but I held back a lot and never felt any conviction with what I was singing. When I sing from the heart, I cry and feel naked and exposed. That following week I joined my church choir.
Going through Deliverance helped me to reconnect with my heavenly father as well as my earthly father. Deliverance helped me to realize that no matter what is going on in your life you can be redeemed, and there is Forgiveness. I learned to fight intelligently, and learned what I was fighting. Deliverance not only revealed to me what part of my purpose was, but my whole purpose. I learned how to give up control and surrender to God’s will, and what trust means. Not only was I given great examples, but friends I have met and go to church with are some of the best to date examples of what a redemption looks like.
I have since then given up assuming I know who I am, and started asking God, “who am I?” And,” what is my purpose?”
It was revealed to me in prayer that God wants me to become a priest. I know some of you are reading this and thinking how can you go from living a homosexual lifestyle to being a priest? Anything is possible with God. I gave up that lifestyle, and became celibate and chaste. I have found freedom in redemption. No one is more worthy of God’s love than the other. If you truly want freedom from whatever vice, or past you can find it. The keys to the chains that bind you were hung on the cross.
I knew at a early age what God’s truth is. My mom made sure I attended church every Sunday. The only thing I didn’t fully understand were the consequences. Nothing could prepare me for what I was about to go through living the homosexual lifestyle. Having a close relationship with God has the power to change people, and your heart.