Jason and Chelsea Ross were both raised in church. After they were married, they continued to invest in their local church community. Shortly thereafter, their trust in the church was broken by a dear friend. The experience had left them jaded, frustrated, and cautious about diving into new relationships. Chelsea explains, “We felt like we couldn’t trust people. Why should we count on someone when they will just let us down?” Although they found a new church to attend, their attendance was sparse, and became more infrequent as time went on. The birth of their son, Spencer, complicated the matter even further as it was difficult to leave him in the nursery away from Jason and Chelsea. This led to them rarely, if ever, making an appearance on Sunday morning. But the decline in their church attendance was a symptom of a deeper issue: a stagnation in their faith. Jason says, “We weren’t pursuing Christ as individuals or as a couple. And as our faith became stagnate, our marriage became stagnate as well. We were living as roommates. It wasn’t fulfilling, we lacked intimacy, and we had little communication. We never intended to do this, it just happened. At the time it felt hopeless. I was focused on the things I thought she needed to fix, and not on myself.” Chelsea elaborates, “I had given up. We had settled with the idea that this was how things were going to be. We were just trying to get by. Maybe we made a mistake. We weren’t going to get divorced, but this life was the lot we had been dealt.”
Yet in the midst of their despair, God began to nudge them toward restoration. “We knew something needed to change; we realized we needed to be more committed to God and that our marriage was in need of help.” Jason says, “Chelsea had been to a Bible study at McKinney with some friends, so we started exploring options here. We found ReEngage on the website and thought we would give it a try. Even though it started that night, everything worked out so that we could attend. We had no idea what to expect.” The experience of the first night came as a shock to Jason and Chelsea. Chelsea says, “People were talking about really hard struggles. They weren’t shying away from it. I thought, ‘you don’t do this at church, you put on a pretend face and act like you’re fine.’” Jason adds, “It felt like we could come as we were. We even heard Jay Felker [the family and marriage pastor at McKinney] tell his story. He was telling his struggles. It was cool to see that pastors have the same struggles as I do.” While the experience felt a bit overwhelming at first, the Ross’ knew that this community was what their marriage and their relationships with Christ were missing. “Getting everything out was eye opening. When you bring stuff to the light- that’s when you can have healing and have change. I’ve lived my whole life in fear and insecurity, and as a result, I’ve held people at arms length. ReEngage doesn’t let you do that.” Chelsea says.
Through the help of the community at ReEngage, God began to restore the broken pieces of Jason and Chelsea’s marriage and draw them into a more vibrant walk with Himself. They were soon invited to attend an Easter service at McKinney by their ReEngage leaders, which they readily accepted. Ever since, the Ross’ have made McKinney Church their home. “We love that people know they are accepted as they walk through these doors, even though they may feel like they’re damaged goods.” Jason says, “We feel like new Christians. Things have more life to them. I’m spending consistent time with God on a daily basis, I have Running Partners, and we teach a 2nd grade class now. All aspects of my life have changed- our trajectory has turned. A year ago, we wouldn’t have been doing any of this. It started with us both coming back to Christ, and that allowed us to vastly improve our marriage, and has equipped us with the necessary tools to continue growing closer together as we grow closer to Christ..” Chelsea says, “God can redeem and restore, no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. He can take the broken pieces of your life and put them back together. We would encourage any couple that if He can redeem the stories we’ve heard, and the story we’ve lived, He can redeem yours.”