A Bigger Plan

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I still can’t believe the God who created heaven and earth chose to save me. Truth is, in the beginning I fought coming to West Ridge. However, I now know that we are here because God has a much bigger plan for our lives than we could have ever imagined for ourselves. The journey that I was on before coming to West Ridge was a very long one. We all have our own unique stories, but here are just a few cliff notes of my own. If you want to know the full story let me know and perhaps we can meet for coffee one day.

Never in a million years would I have thought that I would have been baptized as a Christian, let alone step foot in a Christian church. Sounds strange, right? Well, let me explain. I was born into the Jehovah Witness Organization. However, after countless hours of research, I now know them as the JW cult. The way that I grew up was different than the way that most kids grew up. There were no birthday parties, no Halloween, no Christmas or Easter. No 4th of July festivities, no Thanksgiving family traditions. People have asked me before if I ever felt deprived and my answer has always been and still is, “No, it was life. I was loved and I had a great church community. It felt like it was more than just going to church, it always felt like a big family gathering.”

Fast forward into my 20s I started to have many questions. Questions about my faith that I just couldn’t answer so I slowly slipped away from that life and I started to analyze what I was taught. I had never done that before. It left me with more questions than they could give me answers to so I became an agnostic. I knew there was something out there that was called God but I didn’t care to acknowledge him as such nor did I care to find answers. I felt like I was finally free.

So free that I began making a lot of bad choices. Choices of which I had always been taught not to do. However unbeknownst to me God was still directing my life and leading me to him because during that time he lead me to my beautiful wife. My life began to take me in the right direction. Everything was great. My wife and I bought a home I had a great job and we began creating a family and raising our children together.

Nine years later and I found myself on my knees praying to God again for help. In 2012, it seemed as if my life was just one conflict after another. I felt as if I had tried everything, but I was quickly drowning in quick sand. So I decided to go back to what I knew as a child because life just seemed so much easier back then. I prayed to God asking him for direction. I actually thought that he was going to lead me back to my Jehovah Witnesses family. The truth is He had a greater plan for me.

Two years of studying and trying to get answers I finally surrendered my life to Christ in 2014. The other blog I wrote here details my struggle from leaving the church I was baptized in and coming to West Ridge. It was a painful year where I resisted what God wanted for my life and had to deal with the turmoil it caused. Once I let go and trusted in God I could fall back on the words of Paul in Romans 8:28 (ESV) which says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am that God has open my eyes to see the real truth found in Jesus. We are beyond blessed to be here at West Ridge and because of Him, I am ready to give my everything for the one who gave His all for me.

For the almost three years since I have been at West Ridge my life has truly been blessed. We have friendships that will last a lifetime. I have been involved with a great small group, I get to lead a small group of guys in my house, co-lead with two great guys the Men Of West Ridge events and serve in other aspects around the church.  None of that would be possible without the people who have shaped me to be a better person. Pastor Greg who has taught me how to have effective conversations. To truly listen more than you speak and to ask good questions to work through problems. Pastor Wally who sees in me what I never did. With that vision he has been able to coach me to do great things. I am truly thankful for him. Also through West Ridge, God has put into my life 2 amazing brothers, Mike Kukovec and Joe Miller, who share the same passion to see men get connected with other men and grow. Those two guys have impacted my life and I am forever grateful.

I can go on and on about the great people and the things West Ridge has done and how I look forward to being with my church family on Sundays. It seems all I can do is give thanks to God for leading me where I am and echo what Paul says in Ephesians 3:20,21 – “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Amen.

– Tony Romero (pictured on right)
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