Let me start by saying that, looking back now at my life before I gave my heart to the Lord, it's plain to see that God had been working in my life even then......I was just to blind to see it......or too stubborn to admit it. But there have been times in my former life that, because of my actions at the time, I should have died or at the very least, ended up doing a long stretch in prison. And although I did spend a lot of time in jail, and a brief period of time in prison, it could have been so much worse, had it not been for Jesus.
I was born in 1951, in Boise Idaho and my parents, although loving in their own ways, were not believers, so I never attended church. When I was 6 years old, obviously my parents thought that I needed religion in my life, so I was enrolled in a Catholic school and shortly afterwards, was baptized in the Catholic religion. However, I very seldom attended church on Sundays, and that was fine with my parents. I think they felt that since I was going to Catholic school and since it was mandatory at that time to attend Mass before school, that was all the church I needed. My parents were very hard working people; my father was a contractor and owned his own business, so it was not unusual for him to work 10-12 hour days and my mother, who worked as a nurse's aid and later a LPN, worked a normal 8 hr shift, then came home and worked around the house until late at night. So although we were not considered rich, we were pretty well off financially.
Needless to say, my brother and sister and I were rather spoiled and since I was the baby of the family, I was really spoiled. When I was about 12 or 13, I made friends with some of the wrong kind of kids.....kids who skipped school, were smoking cigarettes, sneaking out of the house at nights and so forth. I found it exciting and soon was doing the very same things. This was the beginning of a long road of hurt and pain for my parents, myself and many others. But I found the life exciting.
To make a long story short, before I turned 18, I had been arrested as a juvenile several times, for multiple charges.....grand theft auto, as a runaway ( at least ten or eleven times) carrying a concealed weapon, petty larceny, and so forth. I first started smoking marijuana when I was about 15 and then when I was about 17, started doing heavier drugs.....speed, mescaline, LSD and so forth. I had always managed to stay out of jail for a long period of time because my father had a lot of influence in town, and one of his friends was a judge, so I always managed to get lucky.
Looking back, since my parents weren't believers, they tried to raise their children as best they could or as best they knew....with love, of course, but more so with money. I had about 5 different cars before I was 18 and managed to wreck all of them. Still they kept trying to get me to stay home, stay out of trouble, stay in school and so forth, but at this point, I was just simply bored and the excitement of breaking the law without getting caught was too much an attraction for me. I did managed to finish grade school but only made it to about sophomore year in high school before I finally dropped out. Before I turned 18, I spent an entire year in a reform school, but did that straighten me out? No, it just added more fuel. Just after I turned 18, I and a friend and his girlfriend got drunk, broke into a small trailer and burglarized it. We were caught for that and since I was now 18, I was sentenced to prison but again my father's influence saved me. The judge informed me that I would have to serve a month in the regular prison and then I could do another three months on an honor farm, but if I messed that opportunity up, I would serve my regular sentence....5--10 years. Well, I finally started to see light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that if I messed this up, I may never have another chance. So I did my time, kept my nose clean, so to speak, and was released after doing only 4 months in prison.
The "Hippie" generation was really coming into power about this time, and I jumped in with both feet. I spent about 2 1/2 years hitchhiking around the country, much of it in a drug induced stupor. I briefly married for a year, but of course, that didn't last. Up to this point in my life, I still didn't have a real need for God in my life, but already HE had saved my life a few times and I came into contact with some Christian people during these time that planted ""seeds"' in me although I was unaware of it at the time. In those days, we called them "Jesus Freaks" , and God even sent an angel to save me from what I now firmly believe was a serious threat on my life. (* See excerpt below for this testimony) But still I ran from Him.
I finally made the decision that I had to break away from my past, so I left Boise, where I grew up and moved to Seattle. It was here that my life started calming down a bit. I was still doing drugs but not nearly as much and I again married, and this time my wife and I welcomed two beautiful girls into the world. But I then switched from drugs to alcohol and my wife and I fought quite often. After about seven or eight years, we divorced, chiefly because of my drinking and our inability to get along. As a result of this, I fell into a depression and ended living on the streets for about two years.
Again, God continued to work in my life, and again, I was still blind to it, but I was starting to come around. I finally decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and I managed to get a educational grant and went to a trade school where I learned Data Entry. After graduating from there, I managed to land a job at the company where I worked for just short of 20 years. It was during this time that God decided that I was too dumb or ignorant to see what HE had been doing for me all these years, so HE gave me a BIG hint and also gave me a BIG gift. I met my future wife, Ruby and although she too was a unbeliever, God worked through her to save me, and she changed my life forever and continues to help shape me in God ways. She helped raise my self esteem, got me looking at the positive side of life again, and eventually helped me move from the streets and my car to her apartment where we lived together for awhile.
Then God gave me even a Bigger push. While working at Airborne Express, I met Electa Stanley and Fran Sodoma, two more people who would not only change my life but lead me to salvation. Fran, and her husband, Don, at that time, only lived a few minutes away from Ruby and I, so Fran and I started carpooling to work together. Fran, of course, was a Christian, and although I was not a Christian and had no desire to be, we still became friends. One of the great things about Fran is that she never preached at me or tried to talk me into coming to her church, but she did share the Word of God with me in a simple but effective manner. I always tried to be polite and listen to her and thought "Yea, yea, yea," but the things she said DID make sense and after all these years, the wall I had built up to separate me from Jesus was slowly starting to crumble, thanks to Fran.
I was, of course, still rebelling, as Fran will tell you, especially with my mouth. I had a short temper, and was quick to anger, and if someone pulled out in front of me while driving, I was capable of really letting loose. And I still had an attitude. For a long time, I had a sign in my rear window that read, "IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY DRIVING, DIAL 1-800 ......" well, the ending wasn't very nice. But Fran kept working on me and slowly but surely she was making progress. Then Electa started in also. Sheesh, I had Fran on one side and Electa on the other. Electa kept harping on my to come to the church she was attending at the time, and I finally agreed to, more to hush her up than anything else. Ruby and I went one Sunday, and afterwards, we said, "Well, that was nice" and went home.
But a curious thing happened. After just one time going to this church, sometime later that week, I thought to myself "That church was nice...maybe I need more of that" , and between Fran sharing the Word of God with me every day, driving to and from work, and going to Electa's church, this wall I had spent so many years building completely and totally collapsed. God, and with God's help, Ruby, Fran and Electa brought me from darkness into the light.
I gave my heart to Jesus in September 1995 and became a Born Again Christian and within a couple of months, Ruby followed. Jesus never gave up on me......looking back now, HE was with me all along; I just didn't see it or wouldn't acknowledge it. Then when it seemed all hope was lost, HE gave me my Ruby. We met on the radio and although that is another story, God had His hands all over that. Then he gave me the opportunity to go back to school, learn a trade and then led me to Airborne Express, where I would eventually meet Fran and Electa, who would lead me to Christ, whom I had been running from for many years.
Fran and I also share another special memory. While carpooling one day, we were involved in a terrific auto accident; almost a head on crash. I managed to tell the ambulance driver to call my wife, Ruby and later she and Don, Fran's husband, drove to Harborview Hospital, where they had taken us. Fran ended up staying five days there and I spent 10 days there, and although there was a time, while there, where I told Ruby that I didn't think I was going to survive, she quickly and boldly told me that God had more planned for me and that my fear was groundless.
In looking back on my "former" life, I can now plainly see that there were certain roads that, had God not intervened, I would most certainly have traveled and thus there is no doubt in my mind, that I would have died. But God, in His loving and all knowing ways, had other plans for me, so when I got to the point when I didn't think I could go on anymore, he provided me with my loving wife, Ruby, and then Electa, and Fran.
I worked for Airborne Express for just short of 20 years, and in 2003, the company was purchased by another company. Needless to say, most of the employees lost their jobs. Electa and I are still in contact often and she is on my mailing list. Although I don't see Fran nearly as much as I would like to, her and Don will always have a special place in my heart. She knew the '"old' Rick and and I believe her and Don were there when I was baptized and now knows the new man in Christ that I have become. I now am employed as a bus driver for King County.
Then one day, I actually won a computer in a radio promotion (another one of God's gifts to me) and soon afterwards, I started my first website, R & R Inspirationals, followed by Rick & Ruby's Place (now gone) and lastly, Planting His Seeds.
And my Ruby. I cannot imagine my life without Ruby. She has enriched my life so tremendously that I cannot even begin to describe how blessed I am to have her in my life. My love for her continues to burn as brightly now as it did when we first married.
Most importantly, thank You, JESUS, for saving me from myself and bringing me into the light of Your love and salvation.
For Rick's testimony related to this testimony, (Divine Intervention with an Angel) please click here...