KEVIN & CINDY HICKS: A CONVERSATION
In the following lightly edited transcript, Kevin and Cindy Hicks talk about life change, the loneliness of coming to church when it’s not your weekend with your kids, why divorce isn’t the easy answer it seems to be, and how the church can be a safe place to rebuild your life after a broken marriage.
This conversation was recorded for the May 2019 bulletin story, “Redeemed.” There wasn’t space to include it, but the message is too valuable not to share.
Kevin: I think the other reason that I agreed to be part of the Rebuilding After Divorce class was that I committed to it when the church bought the Life Change Center building. [For Kevin’s other reasons, see “Redeemed.”] When they said, “We’re turning this into a life change center,” I texted Josh Reasoner and said, “Whatever you need, here are the areas I know: blended families, men who are struggling with their marriage, divorce. Just sign me up. Whatever you need me to do.”
The number one thing that I can look back and say, “What has God done?”, he’s changed my life. The name for the new building just really caught me. Because I did feel at the time it was the one area that was lacking in the church. I remember there was a Sunday when I was ushering when there was just family after family walking in with kids, babies. If I were a single person, it would be very intimidating to walk into church.
Cindy: Especially the weekend you don’t have your kids, which is the worst weekend. It is the most emotionally devastating weekend. It sucks from the moment you don’t pick them upon on Friday.
Kevin: Awful. It’s very, very lonely. The last thing you want to see is what you don’t have and what you really want. I would have been uncomfortable coming to church. But people can come to the Life Change Center. We would love for them to come on Sundays, but to be able to come here with other people who are struggling with the exact same thing. To know that your life can be changed here, it’s huge for me. So when they asked me to do Rebuilding After Divorce, I couldn’t say no.
It was nerve-wracking. We were sitting out in the car for our first class, and I was terrified because I didn’t feel like I was going in to facilitate a table, I felt like I was going to the class.
Cindy: I think all the facilitators realized later that we all kind of felt like that.
Kevin: We all needed it. I mean, sure, we helped facilitate the discussion and asked a few questions, but it was therapeutic for all of us. It was big to go through and talk about some of the things I had never talked about before. I’m really glad we did it.
The fact that we have Rebuilding After Divorce now, I even think that it might help marriages. I’ve told friends that are struggling in marriage, you really need to think about this. I compare divorce to a nuclear bomb. For 20 years after that - the fallout of everything that happens, the collateral damage - it’s massive, and it never ends.
I said at our table, I think a majority of marriages are just because of selfishness. Just stupid stuff that you can’t get past yourself.
Cindy: And laziness.
Kevin: And laziness. For some reasons, you need to get a divorce. Abuse, absolutely. But even infidelity, I think you can get past.
Cindy: Infidelity is one of the two reasons God gives for divorce, but I think you can get past it. You have to embrace the forgiveness that God calls us to. And I think forgiveness is the piece that people miss with divorce. Divorce doesn’t let you off the hook to forgive that person. God still calls us to forgive. So yeah, you can dissolve your marriage, but that person is still going to be in your life.
Kevin: Especially if you have kids together.
Cindy: They’re going to be there for the most important days of your life.
It’s really easy to say, “Let’s get divorced, and I won’t have to deal with you anymore.” The reality is you probably still do have to deal with each other. And you’re going to have to answer for the unforgiveness in eternity. That’s something you have to work through in your heart with God, even if you can’t go to the other person. You still have to forgive. That’s one of the things I think the class has helped people manage and deal with. It’s okay to say, “I forgive you. I still don’t really like you, but I forgive you.” Or to say, “God says I have to forgive you. It’s going to take me awhile, but I’m going to do it.”
Kevin: More importantly, in my opinion, is forgiving yourself. It took me five years, maybe longer, to get to a point where I could recognize my part in the divorce and what led up to it. I probably led her down that path. I don’t condone infidelity, but I don’t condone my part in that marriage either. I was never there. I always used to get mad at her because she would put the kids in front of me. She would say, “The kids are more important than you.” But it took me six, seven, eight years to realize that I put everything in front of her: my website, the videos I made, sports, golf. Everything. I didn’t do that on purpose. I just didn’t know any better.
I think when you put God first, everything else just kind of falls into place. When you have the Holy Spirit, he directs everything else.
Cindy: This class, for me, is like our church saying divorce happens and it happens to people in our congregation. We are going to claim it for God. We are going to take it away from darkness and from Satan, and we are going to wash it in the blood of Jesus, and it is going to be ours. So Satan can’t hold it over people anymore. Because we’re going to show them that we still love them. We’re going to remind them that God still loves them. God will work through this to bring glory to himself and to make their life better.
Instead of feeling shame and feeling like not enough, even in the church building, when someone has to say that part of their life, they can say it and know that God is going to bring them through it.