Bouncing Back from Betrayal—the Redemption of Kim Mitchell
Heard the one about the husband running away with the best friend? Ha! Right. Only happens in Hollywood.
Except when it doesn’t.
I know all of us were stunned that morning when Kim Mitchell shared her story.
None of us had heard it before, and all of us were thinking the same thing: “Kim Mitchell doesn’t carry that kind of baggage. There’s no dark side to Kim’s sunshine. She’s the happy, life-is-always-perfect-as-long-as-Clemson-wins lady.”
Heck, even on those rare occasions when Dabo and the boys drop the ball, Kim Mitchell, one of the world’s most rabid Clemson football fans, finds a cheery word to say on her socials, praises Jesus for her Tigers, and moves on.
So truly, what in the world is this? A double betrayal? Depression?
But wait, there’s more.
A plan for suicide?
Hold the phone. I have to know the backstory.
So I ask Kim to tell me everything, and she agrees.
But I want to know more, and Kim wants to tell me more, not because hers is a salacious story, chock full of intrigue and drama.
No. It’s better than that.
It’s a story about what happens when Jesus steps in and saves.
Kim Mitchell was happily married in 2000. At the time, she was in her late 20s. For a few years she felt doubly blessed. She had both a wonderful husband and a very best girlfriend. And despite three agonizing miscarriages, she felt hopeful.
But then life changed.
Out of nowhere, Kim’s husband wanted a divorce.
The shame and embarrassment, Kim tells me, was too much to bear. She comes from an exceedingly close family and couldn’t bring herself to tell her mom and dad that her marriage had imploded, that she had lost her husband and her very best friend to one another.
In deep pain, she devised a plan. On meds for depression and high blood pressure, she would swallow a toxic mix of pills and check out.
First, though, she had to go to church. To Wednesday choir practice.
I ask her about this. I wonder: If your plan is to die that night, why would you feel like you had to show up for choir? It’s not like the following week your absence would be held against you.
She can’t explain.
She just had a strong urge, she says, to get to Chapin Baptist, have Wednesday dinner, and attend choir practice.
Part of it, she reasons now, is because her ex curtailed her church time. Most of it, she knows now, is that Jesus had an appointment for her.
So she went to church. She ate dinner. And on her way to the choir room, a friend caught her attention and asked her to come pray with a few others in a special prayer room.
That friend, of course, had no clue what Kim had planned to do after choir practice.
But she was being led by Jesus. And so, too, was Kim.
Kim went to the prayer room. And she spilled her guts to this room full of faithful acquaintances. She told them the whole nasty story. She sobbed. They prayed.
After, she went to choir, then drove home, her plan still intact. She remembers she had the car windows open. She remembers Whitney Houston was on the radio.
And that’s when she says she heard what she is convinced was the “audible voice of God”: “You have to forgive them.” She says she heard it twice, clear as day: “You have to forgive them.” (She says since that night she’s never again heard that voice.)
Shaken to the core now, once inside her house she collapsed on the floor and just laid it all out before Jesus: “Lord, I heard you … I’m going to forgive them. I want them to be happy together. But I need you to save me because you know what I’m about to do. If you keep me from doing what my flesh is telling me to do, I’ll do Your work forever.”
She and He were both as good as their promises.
Kim Mitchell didn’t hurt herself that night, and Jesus did begin a remarkable healing in her life.
She got divorced.
And in sharing her story she is adamant that all know this: She bears no ill will to those involved in the making of it. She says she’d go through every bit of the hurt and heartache again to be where she is today.
And today, Kim Mitchell may not have a marriage, but she has something in which she finds herself far more grateful—she has a mission.
She figures there’s no way she could have done both well, anyway, and figures God had that figured.
Her mission: To bless whomever God puts in her path.
It’s taken her to an orphanage in Brazil and seven mission trips to Africa, a country she longs to someday call home at least half of every year.
She loves kids. It’s hard to reconcile how one who loves so large can lose three babies to miscarriages.
I ask her if she’s bitter. That too, she has given to God. She says she knows where her babies are, knows she’ll see them one day, and serves others in Sunday school, in VBS, in the church nursery, all in their memory.
She belongs to various women’s ministries and too many civic clubs, charity, and outreach groups to name.
Her friends in the business sector know her as the faithful community “liaison” for Cassell Brothers Heating and Cooling, a job she adores, in a role where she could teach the UN a thing or two about being an ambassador.
Her latest project is honoring the recent death of her beloved daddy and his devotion to Dawn Staley and her Lady Gamecock basketball team by setting a lofty goal. She is halfway to collecting 5,620 pairs of brand-new sneakers to donate to Staley’s Innersole charity which distributes the new kicks to needy kids throughout the state. Why 5,620? Her dad passed away on May 6, 2020. He was as rabid about the Lady Gamecocks as Kim is about her Clemson Tigers.
But theirs was never a house divided. Her parents taught her there was enough room in their home to love two teams—even South Carolina’s most bitter rivals.
It was a lesson that would serve Kim well later in life as God commanded her to forgive the two who had betrayed her.
But that’s how God works.
Most of the time He doesn’t intercede directly with us like He did for Kim on that lonely road. Most of the time He reaches us and teaches us through people, through those who love us, and even through those who hurt us.
He wastes nothing.
Kim Mitchell is convinced God saved her so He could use her to save others. She says her story is His story, and that’s what makes it great.
Hollywood, take note.