By Pastor Bryan and Chelsie Hill
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. – Psalm 51: 8-12
When we think about something being restored, we tend to immediately go to the result, which always looks better than the broken pieces that they started off as. No one likes brokenness, but it is the brokenness that opens the doorway for Jesus to step in and make what was lost, whole again. We are all a work in progress, and it is that progress that bridges the gap from what used to be to what can be.
Over the weekend of February 10 – 11, Seacoast hosted the Revive Marriage Conference at the Summerville Campus. We had the honor of hearing from amazing speakers such as comedian, Jessica It’s All Good, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, Pastor Josh and Katie Walters, Fred and Terry Reed—and us, the Hills.
“We are all a work in progress, and it is that progress that bridges the gap from what used to be to what can be.”
We also had the privilege to see many couples from our Lowcountry campuses and even from our online community joining in from other states, enter a safe space, full of encouragement as they learned what it meant to wholeheartedly pursue Jesus as they pursued one another. Some couples entered the weekend already experiencing brokenness, some uncovered broken pieces in their relationship at the conference, and some came to gain reassurance that the path they have been walking is honoring to God. It was amazing to see couples in every stage, expectant to experience restoration in their marriages and lives.
Change may feel overwhelming or even impossible at times. Too often couples don’t seek out restoration in their marriages because they don’t know where to start. But Bryan and I have learned to start small. Something “small” that the Parrotts shared that was actually monumental to us was how to strategize to fight well. Fighting is unavoidable in marriage, but we can either be on the same team and experience growth, or we can destroy one another. After sharing four points, the Parrotts encouraged us to name one particular thing we were each good at. Bryan’s strongest tool in handling conflict well is empathy, and mine is respect. This is something we never realized until that Friday night! But it was so clear.
“Fighting is unavoidable in marriage, but we can either be on the same team and experience growth, or we can destroy one another.”
When we choose to believe the best about one another and use what God has strengthened us in, we can work through conflicts in a healthy, life-giving way and sharpen each other in the areas we need to grow in as well. What a practical and helpful tool! For us personally, it brought awareness to how God wired us and how we can love one another better by being mindful we were made uniquely.
Change Starts With Choice
The Lord revealed that change starts with a choice to take one step toward Jesus and away from our fears. No one is too far gone, and no shame is too deep for God to remove. God is with us when we take that first scary step. And guess what? He is there with the next one and the next one after that.
We hope that if you haven’t had a chance to attend the Revive Marriage Conference, you will be encouraged and join us in February 2024!