“I naively thought like a lot of people that you join the Christian club, become a Christian as a kid, do the right things and walk with God and He gives you a great life. That is what I thought I signed up for,” says singer/songwriter Kim Hill, a single mom and now several years removed from her divorce.
“I had a really good life growing up and had great parents. I grew up in a Christian home, attended a Christian school and have lots of great memories of life,” she says reflectively in her Tennessee drawl. “To jump into a marriage that starts off very shaky from day one was not what I thought was supposed to happen to me,” she continues.
For a young woman who had dedicated herself to ministering to others it was shock and awe at its peak. “There were definitely periods when I was angry and asked, ?God where are you? Why would you let this happen to me? Why would you not come and fix this mess?’ Even if I had made a mistake and married the wrong person why would He (God) not come and rescue me, help me to fix this,” Hill tells me.
What Hill hadn’t counted on is the controversy and gossip that appears to descend upon divorced people like a plague. She found herself in an environment where people who didn’t know (and shouldn’t know) the details of her divorce were speculating wildly about her character, reasons for the divorce and who she had suddenly (in their minds) become overnight.
It was during that dark valley that Hill received excellent advice from both a friend and her pastor. The friend told her, ?I know you want to go put flyers on everybody’s car at church one Sunday morning but you can’t.’
Hill says, “My pastor told me, ‘Kim you have to trust God with your reputation. Time and truth walk hand in hand. You just have to put your head down and walk.’ That was the hardest thing in the world for me to do because a lot of times all you have is your reputation and what people know of you. That was a very difficult time for me.'”
It was out of those experiences that the song “Run Away” from her CD Broken Things was born. The song addresses something Hill encountered, “So many people give lip service and say, ?We really care about what is going on with you’ and I am as guilty as anyone because so many times we really don’t want to know. Life is very messy. In my situation things were very messy. I think people are trying but I think the church has a really hard time with things that are messy. They don’t know what to do with it.”
Hill discovered however that even though some (not all) of the people in her life didn’t want to face the cold hard reality of her divorce, God was always willing to listen. That realization can be heard in the words to “Run Away”.
“When will I get it through my thick head
You’re the only one who really cares
You see the one that’s real
When I’m broken
Trying to heal
And you don’t get scared off
You don’t run away.”
Hill says, “Over and over again I felt that the lesson I learned was I wore everybody out. I wore out the pastors. I wore the counselors out. I wore my friends out. I even felt that I wore my mom out and I didn’t think that was possible. The truth that I felt God was saying over and over to me is, ?Run to me. I will never ever leave you.”
Hill serves as a worship leader for women’s conferences and it has provided her with an opportunity to minister to women who have experienced great loss in not only divorce but also other areas of their lives. “I talk to women all the time whose husbands have walked out on them or whose fathers left them. It is such a foundational issue in their life that they have to deal with it for years. I think God is not like an earthen husband or father in that way. He doesn’t leave. For women to get that is really huge,” she says.
Hill’s ministry also extends to being able to share with single women who may be tempted to press the panic button because they are getting older while remaining single. “I have now watched several friends marry for the wrong reasons. (They have) married because, ‘He seems pretty good, I am almost thirty and I better get married.’ There have been a lot of people in my life that I have watched do that. I have watched (some people) marry guys that they knew weren’t Christians just because, ‘Well I am getting past the point of having a lot of choices so I am going to make this work. I have seen the destruction that it has caused in their lives.”
“I caution single women that there are a lot worse things than living alone. You may think, ?Maybe it will be worth it.’ I haven’t met anybody married under that kind of pressure that would tell you to do that,” Hill says.
She shares with me the lives of friends who she watched struggle with their singleness and came to the point in their lives where they realized they are not half of a person because they are single and instead found contentment. About her own life Hill says, “I have really worked on the parts of me that marriage would fill. (It is) an emptiness that only God can fill.”
Like any single parent there have been times when Hill has felt worn out. “I think the biggest challenge for any single parent, male or female is just that it is really hard when you are the only adult. You are the only one doing everything. I get so physically and emotionally exhausted from being mommy and daddy. I have to be the woman nurturer and the disciplinarian. I am trying to be both of those people and figure out which one is more important to be in that moment. (It is difficult) not having someone to hand off to or partner with. To do it by myself has been the biggest challenge of my life. I think that it is hard to be a parent period but I think when you are (a single) parent it is hard ninety percent of the time,” she says.
Songs such as “Lover Of My Soul” and “Shelter” are songs that appear on Broken Things because Hill feels they accurately speak about the love and comfort that she has found in God throughout these recent years. “I think ultimately God has helped me to heal and part of that has (come out of) just me trying to help my children to heal. (After) speaking to and praying over my children at night I would go back to my room and God would whisper those things back to my me and say this is what you need to hear too,” she says.
“It was truths that I had known since I was a little girl. (It is) some of the simple things such as the Lord is always with you and will never forsake you. (It is reminders) such as the call of God and His gifts are irrevocable and He won’t take them back. He is the father to the fatherless and the husband to the husbandless,” she says paraphrasing scripture. Continuing to quote scripture she says, “He will redeem the years that the locust has eaten.”
“All those simple truths are the kind of things that healed me and helped me,” she says.
Being a mother to her two sons has been a constant reminder of God’s love. “I think of so many times when my kids have made a mess, fallen or hurt themselves because it was their own fault for doing something that I told them not to do. They run to me crying and of course I run to them and help them. Those are the simple things that I think God does a million times more than I do. That always encourages me so much.”
Kim Hill’s life in some ways may have started out as the poster girl for happiness and contentment as a Christian but it is through the dark valleys that a much deeper ministry than she could have ever imagined was born.
The singer/songwriter wants you to know, “He loves me not because of what I do or don’t do but just because I am his daughter and He loves me in the same way (I love) my kids.”
Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.