“… for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
(Philippians 2:13)


God at work in the life of Ricky Britner, Jr.

I “should” have been killed that morning

One day, I was sitting behind my grandfather’s car to wait for the bus to pick me up for school. I was living with my dad in Martinsburg, WV, at the time, and I was in the ninth grade.

As I waited, I saw a white Jeep Wrangler pulling out of the driveway of a house up the road. I watched the Jeep come down the road toward me, and suddenly the driver lost control. The Jeep slammed into me, pinning me between the Jeep’s front bumper and the rear of my grandfather’s car.

I “should” have been killed that morning. After all, I was born with a genetic disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which causes my bones to break extremely easily and leaves me confined to a wheelchair. I’ve broken about 25 of my bones more than 150 times during my lifetime. But I wasn’t killed. As I was recovering in the hospital a few days later, my grandfather said he had parked the car in the driveway to work on his brakes, but the Holy Spirit had suddenly prompted him to leave the car alone. Had he fixed the brakes as he had planned, he would have driven the car home, and the Jeep likely would have run over and killed me.

My grandfather’s belief in God didn’t extend to me. Instead, I began to think of myself as invincible. I started getting high, drinking, smoking marijuana, and sneaking into strip clubs. Although I had grown up knowing the Christian faith ― my parents divorced when I was four and I have a younger sister, Melissa ― most of what I learned about Christianity consisted of works. There were a lot of “do’s and don’ts” in our family, and the grace of God wasn’t a key element.

My salvation was a gradual one. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens when I first felt the Lord tugging on my heart. He reminded me of all that He’d done in my life. God also showed me the people who loved and cared so much about me and how distraught they’d be if they knew the life I was living.

It was late 2005 when I felt this conviction, and I was baptized in April of 2006. I started to read the Old Testament, and I saw how God loved His people and was creating a way for them to come to Him through Jesus. I realized I needed Jesus as much as Israel did.

Indeed, I began to see Him in a new light; my desire to know Jesus on a deeper level grew, and I began to pray for Him to prune out of me what did not belong. Psalm 119, verses 9-11, in particular, became very dear to me:

9 How can a young man keep
his way pure? By guarding it
according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek
you; let me not wander
from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your
word in my heart, that I might
not sin against you. (ESV)

I read this passage often because I knew my depravity was great.

A God-Ordained Meeting Leads to A Life of Ministry

Around the same time, God began doing all this work in my heart ― actually even a couple of years before ― I met Ciara McDowell at a Christian festival in Pennsylvania called Creation Fest. Ciara and her family were camping at the festival, and I got to know them. They invited me to visit them over the years. During my visits, I prayed about moving to New Jersey because there weren’t many opportunities for people like me with disabilities in West Virginia. Practicing my faith had also been a struggle as I was stuck in old lifestyles and a very difficult family situation.

Ricky with Caleb Carrasquillo and Ciara and Kevin McDowell

Ultimately, Ciara and her husband, Kevin, invited me to come live with them, and I moved to Medford in July 2016. Since coming here and to FAC, I have served in the Children’s Ministry on Sunday mornings, and I lead a group in the C33 Catalyst Men’s Ministry. I was also part of a men’s group that met on Wednesday nights in the summer. During that time, I was encouraged to start a ministry. I prayed about it, and it gave birth to “Ricky Speaks Life.” I post videos to YouTube, share quotes on Instagram, and I am praying about taking the ministry further so I ask God to lead me constantly.

My Life Today

Today, my walk with Jesus consists of being in the Word daily, seeking the Father, and being guided by His Holy Spirit. The Father allowed me to come to saving faith through Jesus’ death; and the Holy Spirit convicts, directs, guides, and molds me more and more every day into the likeness of Christ.

The perspective I hold today is found in Romans 8:28: God uses all things ― good and bad ― for the good of those who are called according to His purposes and for His glory. My being hit by the drunk driver in my driveway in ninth grade may have been a bad thing, but I see it as the catalyst God used to work on me later and bring me to faith in Jesus Christ.

“ I trust Him, and I believe in Him. He alone is my
hope in the hard times that arise in life.”

I see that God has used all of my past experiences, though many of them seemed bad, to get me to a good place here in New Jersey. God has shown me that every time I broke a bone, every surgery I had, and in every other type of obstacle I encountered, He was there. He still is. I trust Him, and I believe in Him. He alone is my hope in the hard times that arise in life.

God is at work in my life by showing me His love on a daily basis. He’s still working in me to prune out what does not belong, He’s making me the man I am meant to be, and He’s also opening many doors for me to serve, lead, and engage with others.
I see Him in my time of prayer. He’s working to bring about further maturity in my walk with Christ. I am growing in my faith, growing in autonomy, building solid friendships, and have even started a speaking ministry.

I recently did a 5K race with a friend. Doing that race meant so much to me. For one, it meant that I could overcome a challenge I didn’t think was possible. But more than that, I was able to practice for and do the race because I knew it would be another outlet to encourage others, whether or not they have a disability. It’s those types of things that have people wondering what makes me the person I am ― it’s Jesus!


It is my hope and desire that everyone I come into contact with hears and knows about the amazing works of God throughout my life. God is active, and He does many awesome things today. I am blessed that He has used me as a tool and given me a platform to reach people. I want my story to inspire, motivate, and encourage others to know and see the goodness of God. I pray that God will always be glorified through my story and that those who hear it and read it would come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. •