The Day Ronin Acknowledged God As His Shogun

August 10th, 2014, forever known as the day I acknowledged God as God. In these three years, it’s been an interesting journey. I have a picture on my wall from that day, mostly inexpressive, looking into the camera. What a change since then, and the year before.

The Day the World Stopped

It started a little over a year earlier. I had been attending church out of obligation. When my godson was killed in an accident in my home, the church surrounded us. Even our jobs helped where they could.

An investigation started on us, and I eventually became the focus of it. I looked for an attorney, finding I couldn’t afford one and was starting to panic as paranoia crept in. That’s just the outside, inside I was either numb or angry, in shock or filled with anxiety and guilt.

And I couldn’t stop the tremors in my hands.

My wife and I were in counseling for six free sessions through a program offered by work. It was a nightmare to get her in due to a lack of an interpreter. Our pastor filled that role, later taking on counseling us both since our insurance wouldn’t pay for psychotherapy. I paid out of pocket for as long as I could, lamenting my own turmoil.

Broken

At one point in August 2013, I was completely broken. I felt like I was stuck in a nightmare, sure I was going to jail, hated by others, and hating myself. I sat crying in a pew at church while everyone was singing Just As I Am.

Weeping and sobbing, I made the chorus into the most sincere prayer I’ve probably ever prayed.

I come broken to be mended,
I come wounded to be healed,
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled…

God Begins to Move…

Things began to happen. A lawyer offered his services to us free of charge. My wife was cleared, though I was arrested and charged with child endangerment. They let me out on a signature bond, and the officers that did the booking paperwork acknowledged that is was an accident.

The court process went smoothly, so smoothly that our attorney remarked he’d never seen a case go so smoothly. I was given probation, a suspended jail sentence, a fine, and I could never get a concealed carry permit in the state again. That was the deal, and we only had one quibble that quickly went our way.

This, among other things falling so easily into place, despite the emotional turmoil and probability, I began to suspect someone was working in the background.

These lyrics from Andrae Crouch’s song came to mind to explain the year between the accident and my baptism.

Through it all,
through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God

Reborn

The Year of the Prodigal goes over 2014 in depth. I began to study the book of James and reading Immediate Obedience. I was learning how to follow Christ. In that year, I realized I was a lot like the prodigal son in the Gospel of Luke, and God is the loving Father.

The Year of Renewal was spent diving into apologetics, and slowly turning away from things that didn’t honor God. During that year, I was diagnosed with PTSD, yet Christ works best with broken things.

I walked away from a business I had inherited the previous year, that had made the original owner wealthy. It didn’t fit me now, I was a new creation. That year rather than being a prodigal, I felt like I had been worked on by a divine blacksmith in life’s fires.

Growing Pains

2016 was the Year of Searching and Growth, where I worked on developing relationships and philosophical musings on God. I felt like I was being prepared for something, and I’m still not totally sure for what.

I lost two friends in a week’s time as I continued searching for my purpose. Occasionally struggling with the idea of relationships, because I think God is getting a chuckle at making a loner logician value and understand people from an emotional perspective.

The end of the year brought our second pregnancy along with our second miscarriage. We grieved, we questioned, yet we trusted God. This was a fire that tempers or destroys faith, and considering how I got here, it was a hotter fire that brought me to Him.

Faith was grounded, tested, and proved that year.

What About Now?

This year has just been me given greater roles at work and church, relationships developing and growing, and working on one big thing. The contrast from then and now has been a complete 180. I’m not sure if any of my old friends understand it, maybe they will if they read this. I’ve even lost some friends.

Still, tomorrow is my 3-year Rebirthday. 🙂

Telling Your Story

9675201825_cb5f6f9a89_zThe last post ended with bullet points on how to tell your story. To recap; tell them what you were, what you are now, and that you’re still changing. To us, it’s the change that Christ worked in our lives that explains our passion. Our changed lives indicate something is different now to others. My story will serve as our example.


What I Was

We didn’t have a lot of money growing up. At one point we were living in a short school bus/camper conversion. I was eight when my parents split with a vicious custody battle afterwards. One point during my childhood, I was using inhalants to get high. Dad put a stop to that.

Later as a teen, I started drinking. I was invited to parties and made a fool of myself. Prom night found me passed out beside a fire. I almost rolled into it, not remembering how I got on the ground to start with. The story probably still survives to this day.

I was in and out of church as I grew up. I jumped back in with both feet when I was 19-20. Then pressure got cranked up and I walked away. Jesus spoke of it in Mark 4:5-6; 16-17 when he taught on the rocky soil. Afterwards, I went further downhill.

After I turned 21, I frequented a Hot Springs strip club with one of my supervisors, growing quite fond of one married stripper. Flirting with married women seemed just fine to me. Married or in a relationship, it made no difference. It’s a wonder someone didn’t knock my teeth out. I was well on my way down the road of hedonism.

This became a sort of sociopathic selfishness as I became even more narcissistic and manipulative. Anger would erupt when I didn’t get my way, not unlike a small child. It’s something I still watch for. I could laugh at others pain, or cruelly feel nothing. I was a horrible person.

Paul echoes my feelings in Romans 7:24, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”

An event took place that caused me to be considered a criminal, and I was traumatized by the event that led to it, and was left utterly broken. Anxiety attacks. Therapy. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. My mind wasn’t a fun place to be. It still isn’t sometimes. During that, something changed.

What I Am Now


“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV



I was a walking dead man. I deserved everything bad and then some. Then Jesus happened.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2nd Corinthians 5:17 NIV

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2nd Corinthians 5:21 NIV

A transformation began. Selfishness started to become selflessness. Humbleness emerged from the dying husk of pride. ‘What can I do to help’ replaced ‘it’s all about me.’ Anger was quenched, patience grew, along with an ever-expanding concern and love for others.

My schedule was flipped on its head. Priorities drastically shifted. If you have time, check the archives, pick a day, and look at the same day over the course of years.

It’s not over yet…

What I’m Becoming

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV



What’s in store for me? I don’t know. I’m just amazed at the changes.

Why So Serious 

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“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15; 18-20

Because it’s true. It works, he works. Be joyfully serious. Use my story as an example for your story about what Jesus did for you. Or use it as evidence of what he can do for you.

Either way, to Him be the Glory.