The Ridings Family
By Anna Margaret Wilson
Isn’t it mind boggling how God takes us – in our messes, in all the ways that we are unqualified, and uses us to bring Him glory? He has no specified time limit for it either. He’ll uproot us in the most unlikely of times, even if it’s in the midst of our families and lives being in full swing.
Lee and Jordan Ridings know better than anyone. Their contagious hearts for the Lord weren’t always thriving, but when God got a hold of them, He changed them forever.
Both Lee and Jordan were born and raised in Paulding County. They went to school together from the beginning, but were never friends. They ended up meeting in Hiram Station and began dating in December of 2009. They were married in July of 2004, thus beginning their crazy adventure together.
Lee says he wasn’t conditioned or bred to be a pastor. He came from a broken home, and although he was introduced to Jesus when he was 13, he never surrendered his life to Him until Lee was 24 years old. At the time, Lee and Jordan already had their twins, Claire and Sara Jo. Life got so rough that they were on the brink of divorce, but then Lee met Jesus. “God completely changed my world with that decision of salvation,” Lee said.
It was then that Lee lost all desires for the party stage. He gave up drinking, he gave up gambling, and he worked on his relationship with God. It wasn’t always easy – he tripped, he stumbled, but he walked with God nonetheless. Jordan found Jesus in 2009 while their family was living in South Carolina. God even restored their marriage and blessed them with four more children.
Six months after Lee surrendered his life to Christ, he felt God telling him that he needed to preach. After six months of fighting God’s call, Lee preached for the first time. This past February, Lee and his family celebrated four years with Greater Hope Baptist Church. “It’s definitely a hospital for those that need healing and a center for the proclamation of biblical truth.”
Jordan always knew she wanted to teach special education. Even at a very young age, she would go read to a special education class. Her passion continued into her high school years, where she was in the Teacher Cadet Program – teaching in elementary special education classrooms at the end of her school days. During college at West Georgia, she worked with the after school program and was a summer camp counselor at Sara Babb. Jordan has been teaching special education in Paulding county schools since 2004, except for three years when the couple lived in South Carolina while Lee was in college.
Lee and Jordan are blessed to parent five beautiful, vibrant children. Claire and Sara Jo (12), their oldest, are twins. They both play softball, and the whole family loves their time at the ballfield! Ruthie, their 9 year old, loves gymnastics. Hutt (5) is all boy and all smiles! Woodrow Ridings was stillborn on October 8th, 2014, after finding out he had passed a few days prior on October 3rd. Exactly one year after they discovered Woodrow’s passing, their youngest boy, Ridge, was born.
The Ridings family LOVE being outdoors! Whether it be parks, walking trails, swimming, or riding four wheelers, the family adores the great outdoors. Lee and Sara Jo love to coon hunt together, and Hutt enjoys tagging along whenever he can.
The family loves doing ministry together. Many families look at it like a chore, but not the Ridings. “It’s just our life and we’re all grateful for it.” Lee and Jordan have tried to live their lives as an example for their kids. Not only that, but Jordan said she chose to focus on the children developing their own personal relationship with Christ. Rather than having their children do the right thing to make them happy, they hope and pray they will do what is right in order to please God, and be like Him.
Mother’s Day is special for Jordan, and a day she spends with her own mother, children and extended family. “I have noticed that I am a better mother and wife the closer I get to the Lord. I have to be intentionally present on a daily basis, if that makes sense. Making time purposeful is necessary to spend individual time with each of my kids. I will never regret spending time with and investing in my children. I will only regret the opportunities to do so that I failed to take.”