March 19, 2011
It’s been a while since I have written a Simple Grace Update, and it is certainly time to be in touch with you! The Hitch family is home from our winter tour to the states of Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Our time on the road was enriched by a fulfilling prison crusade in Alabama’s prisons, with very heartfelt responses from inmates in every facility we visited. Jim shared a message about the ministry of Jesus in healing broken hearts with inmates and volunteers during the We Care Prison Crusade, and God touched hearts on both sides of the fence (literally). It was an enormous privilege to minister in every church that God gave us opportunity across the southeast, and we treasured the moments!
Our ministry has carried for us a bittersweet flavor over the past months, as we prepare to give our daughter, Avery, away in marriage on May 7th. She is marrying Warren Jennings, from central Nebraska, and we are all thrilled to welcome Warren into our family. Our son, Lucas, is preparing to move to Colorado in May also, to pursue music as a solo artist and to continue to develop his web design business, Oleander Web Design, on a full-time basis. These changes are exciting and our children have our utmost blessing as they follow the path the Lord is leading for them. The changes are bittersweet because they mean that our music ministry will no longer be Simple Grace Ministry in the same capacity we have been ministering for the past eleven years.
In July of 2010, Jim and I spent a week with a Christian counselor who helped us immeasurably as we sorted out 29 years of marriage and complications that had occurred during our marriage relationship. Many of you already know the brutal and abusive past that Jim had endured, and his subsequent experiences with drugs and alcohol. Even though Christ had redeemed Jim’s and my lives, the brokenness that had occurred in both of our hearts still affected our marriage and consequently, our family as well. Committed to Christ and to one another, we knew we needed to somehow overcome the hurts and distance that the years had eroded in our relationship. That week was life-changing! We learned so much! We healed so much!
The restoration that was accomplished in our marriage is something that we are passionate about sharing, and we have felt the Lord’s leading to change the direction of Simple Grace Ministries to a ministry of healing and restoration for couples and families. Jim has been studying and training since last autumn under the ministry of Caring for the Heart Ministries (John Regier), in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is currently completing an internship with Caring for the Heart, and also Restoration Ministries, two outstanding ministries that complement one another’s focus on healing relationships. Jesus announced in Luke 4:18:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
We believe that Jesus is still in the ministry of healing broken hearts and setting captives free, and our eyes have been opened to the very real and deep need in Christian marriages and in family relationships for the profound restoration that we experienced. Just by virtue of living in this broken world, every heart has been hurt. Jesus saw that universal need when He stated His mission at the outset of His ministry in the synagogue of His hometown, Nazareth. Marriages and family relationships are tragically hurting in every church and every city today. In all honesty, when Jim and I returned home from our week of counseling, we encouraged every one of our children to make appointments to seek healing for their hearts also. It was an amazing week with the Lord for us and we desire everyone to experience it!
While we don’t know exactly what Simple Grace Ministries will look like, Jim and I went to the counselor’s office Monday through Friday and experienced thirty hours of counseling. We spent evenings studying and learning. We were away from home and all distractions. There was no charge. The two ministries Jim will be affiliated with consider their work to be ministry and offer it to those who need it. Period. They are supported in a similar manner as missionaries; from pledges and gifts, churches, individuals and certainly from donations from those they serve as they are able to give. We would want to minister in a similar fashion. We also see a need for church ministry and couple’s retreats which give opportunity to impact lives. We hope to continue in prison ministry also. Jim is expected to be completing his internship by mid-summer. We have had several churches invite us to share the principles of healing hearts and relationships already. Havilah and Bristol deeply desire to continue in ministry also, so we may include music as a part of our ministry when we travel. We’re leaning hard on God to direct our paths!
Our family is ministering in music as usual, with Avery, Lucas, Havilah and Bristol, and Jim and I, through the end of April. We are treasuring every concert! (We can still squeeze a couple concerts in if you contact Jim and are in the Midwest.) Jim is interning during the week in either Colorado or Central Nebraska. Wedding plans are flying; graduation plans for Havilah are being made, the bus is for sale, and we are all preparing for significant changes! We sure would appreciate your prayers as we determine the Lord’s will for our lives and transition into it.
Please try to join us for one of these last concerts if you are nearby! We are finding it hard to say goodbye and look forward to seeing our loved ones (you!) during these last couple months. This little part of the Body desires to stay connected, and treasures your continued involvement in our lives! Thank you for your friendship and encouragement. God’s very best to you! (Lincoln, Nebraska friends, our closest concert is next week in Firth. We don’t want to miss you!)
Passionately pursuing Christ,
Kathy Hitch, for the family