KEVIN’S STORY: REDEEMED
“It’s funny to get Facebook memories from 10 years ago and be like, ‘I can’t believe I said that,’” says Kevin Hicks. “I want to delete that stuff because it’s embarrassing, but I don’t because it’s a reminder of where I’ve come from.”
Where Kevin was 10 years ago was trying to pull his life back together after a divorce. And as he puts it, doing everything wrong. “I did all the things you should not do. And it’s because I didn’t know, and I didn’t have a support system - somebody sitting in front of me going, ‘I know this is hard.’ I needed people to say, ‘If you go out and date the northern hemisphere, it’s not going to be good for you. It’s not going to help you. In fact, it’s going to make things worse. If you spend your alone evenings looking for God at the bottom of a beer bottle, it’s going to cause problems.’”
“I wanted to control every single detail of my life, and I really struggled with the whole divorce and figuring out that I didn’t have everything under control.”
With time he reined in some habits, settling in to a long-term relationship with Cindy Carter, a former classmate he’d reconnected with on Facebook. They were living together with her son, and his two children part-time, trying to navigate the often harsh realities of shared custody, blended family life, and financial struggles.
“It got pretty crazy,” Kevin says. “Even then, I wasn’t going to church, but I’m reading C. S. Lewis books. I’m reading this stuff, because it was fascinating to me, without actually saying, ‘Hey, God, you are in control and I trust you.’”
That changed for good on Good Friday in 2010. Kevin and Cindy had been attending Valparaiso Nazarene Church regularly for a few months at the invitation of friends. Cindy was pregnant with their child, and faced with the responsibility to father 4 children, Kevin finally ceded some of the control he’d been desperately grasping after. “Valpo Naz had this gigantic cross in the middle of the sanctuary,” he explains. “They gave everybody a piece of paper and a nail and hammer.” People could write what was troubling them on that paper, what they needed help with, or struggles they were having.
“Then you went up and literally nailed it to the cross. I wrote on there that I wanted to be a better father.” Forty-eight hours later, a crisis arose with his ex-wife and children. “It absolutely forced me - forced me - to take an active approach in what was going on.” He turned to God with a simple prayer, “Alright, I’m in.” Unsure what to do, he asked Cindy, who gave him the words for a prayer to receive Jesus as his Savior.
“Everything changed from that moment: myself, our relationship, everything.” Being at church took on a new importance and both he and Cindy started not just attending but really listening and focusing on what it meant to follow Jesus.
“There were things 10 years ago that I would have said and done, that I would never do now. It’s not even consciously saying, ‘Oh, don’t say that;’ I just don’t do it because I’m changed. It’s just not in there.”
“It has allowed me to put God at the center of our marriage,” he says. “The sermon at my first wedding was about building your house on sand versus the rock. I had no idea what he was talking about. But it all made sense to me when Cindy and I got married.” Kevin and Cindy married in 2012, when their youngest was a year old. Theirs is not a traditional story, “but it’s our story,” they say. It’s the story God wrote for them, meeting them where they were and guiding them - sometimes prodding - toward a better way.
Ten years later, Kevin and Cindy are facilitators for Rebuilding After Divorce, a part of Calvary’s Care Ministries. “I compare divorce to a nuclear bomb. For years after, the fallout - everything that happens, the collateral damage - it’s massive and it never ends. I’m doing Rebuilding After Divorce because I want other people to learn the right way, the right principles, and what God is telling them to do. I didn’t do that, and it did some irreparable damage to people I love and to myself. There are things I have to live with that happened during that time period.”
“But God can heal those things that you think are irreparable,” Cindy says. “The longer you hold that, it’s Satan’s to use. But when you put it out there and give it to God, Satan can’t have it anymore.”
Kevin sums it up: “It’s all redeemed.”
Click here for Cindy’s Story: Redeemed, Part 2
Click here for Kevin and Cindy’s conversation about life change, going to church as a single parent, and how the church can be safe place for people rebuilding their life after a broken marriage.