by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

True grace is shocking, scandalous. Without Grace there would be no second chances. Grace shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to people and touching them with mercy and hope.

Grace forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day.

“Amazing Grace” is one of our most beloved hymns, written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton. Containing a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me

I once was lost but now am found was blind but now I see.

But what is Grace?

Lets take a minute to go on a journey of Grace. Look at stories of grace, touch grace, feel grace and see grace.

Grace is given and never earned. Grace absorbs this world’s hostility and doubt yet responds with patience and forgiveness.

Max De Pree the CEO of Herman Miller Inc., tells a story from his own experience that vividly demonstrates the power of a literal, physical touch of grace.
Soon after De Pree’s married daughter became pregnant, her husband moved out and abandoned her. So she was alone when the baby was born about four months prematurely. “I went to the hospital to see my new grandchild for the first time,” De Pree recalls, “and there in that incubator was a tiny little baby, about the size of my hand, with wires running from his body to a lot of monitors and machines.”
As he was watching his grandchild silently struggle for life, the senior nurse went to him and said, “Mr .De Pree, that baby’s father is not here, so from the next several months, you will have to be the baby’s surrogate father. Here’s what I want you to do. When you visit the baby, go to the incubator, put your hand through the cuffs, and stroke the child. As you touch the child with your hands, talk to the child. It’s very important that he experiences your voice and your touch together.”
Voice and touch – together.
The story of Gods grace is not only told in words. Our voice must be clear and our touch must be real. Our touch cannot tell the story, only our voice can do that.

 The touch of grace makes the story of grace come alive.

Shortly after the Madrid train bombings of March 2004, Bono and French music journalist Michka Assayas had a series of conversations.

I would like you to read to you what transpired in this interview.

This is Bono’s view on Grace.

It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

I really believe we’ve moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace…You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics–in physical laws–every action is met by an equal or an opposite one.

And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic.

Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions.

If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my sin and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.

U2 wrote an amazing song on ‘Grace’ – here are  some of the lyrics

What once was hurt
What once was friction What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty

Out of ugly things

Grace
She takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain
It could be her name

Everybody needs Grace, Everybody hungers for Grace.

Everybody has a story to tell.    Everybody has a wound to be healed and everybody wants to believe that God is real.

Grace shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to people and touching them with mercy and hope.

Grace forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day.

True grace is shocking, scandalous.

Without Grace there would be no second chances.

Grace takes the blame covers the shame and removes the stain
Grace truly is still amazing.


Infidelity Survivors Anonymous (ISA) is starting a new meeting in Austin this Thursday, December 7th. The meeting is at 11:00 am until Noon at the Yellow House Foundation, 120 Commercial Parkway, Cedar Park, TX 78613.
Infidelity Survivors Anonymous is a support group for individuals who have experienced infidelity-induced trauma caused by any form of sexual betrayal in their relationships.
Additionally, ISA is planning their first retreat January 5-7 at Camp Allen in the greater Houston area. Room is still available for a few more ladies to sign up. Also, I understand that some scholarships may be available. For more information about the retreat, go to http://www.isurvivors.org/2018-retreat/.
For more information about ISA go to http://www.isurvivors.org.

Would we actually help one another? 

Those who have seen The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King will understand this meme.


Originally posted at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/20/kids-and-divorce-_n_5170182.html

By Tara Kennedy-Kline 

Divorce can really suck. Two people, at one time so in love they committed to spend the rest of their lives together, find themselves communicating through lawyers and dividing assets and possessions so they can start their lives over again — on their own. But for families with children, there’s a whole other layer of complication and planning, and too often kids don’t have a voice in what’s happening. The only measure of control kids may have (at certain ages and in some states/countries) is choosing which parent’s house they would like to live in. But that’s just geography. What about the feelings that accompany a house torn apart, and their unspoken expectations of a life lived with a whole family?

The most vivid and painful memories many kids from divorced families have of early childhood aren’t of playground scuffles, skinned knees or getting in trouble. Instead, they relive scenes from their parents’ divorce. Kids of all ages — some barely aware of their own roles in the world — are acutely aware of events, situations and actions in families divided.

After working with hundreds of families — and observing the behavior of kids as they struggled through the breakdown of their families — here are the top 12 things kids think about divorce, but don’t have the world experience to say directly. If they could find the words or the courage, this is what kids wish they could tell their divorcing parents:

1. You got divorced, not me. I know you hate everything about “your ex”, but your ex is still my other parent, and I still love both of you. Please stop talking badly about each other to me or in front of me; it just makes me disrespect you. Don’t gossip with your friends and family about them when I’m around. It makes me feel like crap and you look like a jerk.

2. I really don’t care which one of you gets the car, the timeshare, or Nana’s ashtray collection, so stop telling me about how pissed you are about it and how you feel it’s “unfair”. When you start putting all your energy into material things, you make me think that’s all you care about. Honestly, you should be more angry about losing our family than you are about losing your gym membership.

3. I trust you to protect me from bullies or people who would hurt me. I may need you to shield me right now from the stupid things other people say to me. I don’t have all the right answers, and my feelings get hurt really easily, so please stand up for me. Also, it’s not ok to let your newest “squeeze” discipline me. They don’t know me well enough to scold or even correct me. They have no idea what I am going through, and I lose trust for you when you let them push me around or hurt me — even if it’s unintentional.

4. When you’re talking to each other about visitation, please don’t talk about me like a project that needs to be “managed”. If it’s your weekend to spend time with me, consider the fact that I may really be excited to spend time with you before you let me overhear you say things like, “I have a date. Can’t you just keep her and I’ll cover your weekend?” And when it comes to big events, keep in mind that I have family that I love on both sides. So how about instead of letting a judge decide who I get to see on the holidays — ask me what I want.

5. Don’t use your failed marriage and bitterness toward the opposite sex as your reference when you lecture me about my friendships and relationships. I’m too young to bear your wounds. My friends are my escape from all the stress your divorce is creating, so you may want to not talk badly about them right now, that will just make me rebel against you more.

6. When you start dating again, don’t assume that I am going to love every person you bring home. I have my own opinions, and just because you like them doesn’t mean I’m going to automatically hit it off with someone you’re dating. Remember, you have a different set of criteria for this relationship than I do. Your new “friend” is not my friend, so maybe I don’t want to be nice to them. As a matter of fact, I might fight with them on purpose because I want you take sides — my side. If I’m getting upset please remember that I may be a kid, but I still have feelings. It might be time for us to spend some quality time together — just us.

7. Don’t insult or make fun of the gifts and things I receive from my other parent or the experiences I have with them and their family. This isn’t about you. If you’re jealous, then say that. But insulting the things I like, enjoy and am proud of just because they came from my other parent, only makes you look like a huge, petty brat. It also makes me think twice about sharing new things with you.

8. Quit telling me I’m “being dramatic” about what’s happening. Don’t dismiss my emotions. I’m allowed to be sad/angry/disappointed/depressed over the divorce of my parents. The family I knew for the whole of my life is ending, and I am scared to death. And from my perspective, you simply stopped loving someone who made you angry, so how long will it be before I do something to make you stop loving me? And on that note, now that I have realized your love has limits, be prepared for me to test those limits almost daily.

9. I would really appreciate it if the two of you could stop acting like children and come up with a plan that allows you to be in the same space at the same time without being mean to each other. For example: my birthday, sports events, recitals, concerts, and basically any time my other family, friends, coaches or teachers are around. If you could manage to put your own selfish crap aside and be civil with each other every once in a while, that would be great for everyone.

10. Please get on the same page when it comes to values, rules and discipline. When — out of spite for each other — you let me get away with stuff that even I know is wrong, you confuse and frustrate me. You teach me how to manipulate people and pit you against each other to get what I want. It is then that I stop taking either of you seriously. Just because you stopped being married, doesn’t mean you stopped being parents. I need you to teach me how to resolve conflict, not create it.

11. Please recognize that there are some things that my other parent is better at than you … and that’s OK! I won’t think less of you if you let Dad teach me how to catch a ball or Mom show me how to drive. I need to learn from both of you. When you take those experiences away, I can see right through you. I know you want to be able to do this whole parenting thing on your own, but I don’t want you to! I like making both my parents happy. I love seeing you smile when I do something you’ve taught me, and it makes me very happy when you compliment each other by saying things like, “You should ask your (other parent), they’re really good at that.” When you allow me to learn from and value both of my parents, that teaches me to appreciate the gifts in others and to ask for help when I need it.

12. When I do something to make you mad, don’t compare me to the person you divorced. “You’re a slob just like your father!” or “You whine and complain like your mother!” are statements that insult me, not the person you divorced. Remember, you left that person. You removed them from your life because of the very things you are identifying in me. Saying that you see things in me that make you think of the things you despise in them makes me feel unlovable and self-conscious — and it destroys my already damaged self esteem. If you want me to clean up after myself or speak more respectfully, then show me how, or make a rule, or talk about it. Just stop putting in my head that my actions are just as offensive to you as the person you divorced.

Divorce isn’t pretty or upbeat, but it’s also not a time to shut down. When kids are involved, it becomes necessary to open a door for conversation and realization of what your child(ren) are going through — and what they desperately need from both parents. It may be an “adult” situation, but the kids are very aware of what’s going on. Be there for them.


Jeremiah was depressed, as gloomy as a giraffe with a neck ache. Jerusalem was under siege, his nation under duress. His world collapsed like a sand castle in a typhoon. He faulted God for his horrible emotional distress. He also blamed God for his physical ailments. “[God] has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones” (Lam. 3:4 RSV).

His body ached. His heart was sick. His faith was puny … He realized how fast he was sinking, so he shifted his gaze. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him'” (vv. 21–24 RSV).

“But this I call to mind …” Depressed, Jeremiah altered his thoughts, shifted his attention. He turned his eyes away from his stormy world and looked into the wonder of God. He quickly recited a quintet of promises. (I can envision him tapping these out on the five fingers of his hand.)

1. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

2. His mercies never come to an end.

3. They are new every morning.

4. Great is thy faithfulness.

5. The Lord is my portion.

The storm didn’t cease, but his discouragement did.

Today’s devotional is drawn from Max Lucado’s Second Chances.


 UncleanNotUnknown.com – Keith B.

Unclean. Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines unclean  as “dirty, filthy, morally or spiritually impure.” How did I get that way? Of course, original sin led to that break with God and true moral and spiritual impurity. But really, what happened with me in particular?

So, what is “clean”? I believe I mentioned that God is Holy. Yeah, I know, big surprise. Because of that original sin of Adam and Eve, we can’t ever meet His standard of holiness while here on earth in our brokenness and in a broken world. So why does holiness even matter?

Leviticus 19 – 21 defines holiness, cleanliness and why they are important. Someone challenged me last week when I wrote about the necessity of seeking a life of holiness to pursue a relationship with God. I was rightly challenged that holiness is not a requirement for salvation or being seen as redeemed by God, which is true. So why pursue holiness? Well, two real reasons. One, living by holy standards gives glory to the Lord, honoring Him in our lives by seeking His standard of living. Two, living by holy standards keeps us from unhealthiness, disease, abuse, and darkness. Stark, huh?

God is Holy. He is the Holy One. He decides what is holy and what isn’t. He is picky, like I mentioned previously. He defines what is clean and what is unclean. Sexual holiness means living by God’s holy standards. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul explained the importance of practicing sexual holiness and honoring God’s creation of our bodies. He stated our bodies are part of Christ and defiling our bodies through sexual immorality defiles the holiness of God. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul goes further by defining sexual holiness as existing in the context of marriage between man and woman. Paul made clear that sexual holiness means avoiding any sexual immorality. All sexual sin including adultery, prostitution, homosexuality – all run counter to God’s call to holiness.

How do we become unclean? Many don’t know any better, don’t know God’s expectations for living a holy life. Some of us have a desperate need that we try to fill with something other than God. We may listen to our culture which allows for and even encourages sexual practices that don’t fit God’s definition of holiness. Whatever path we follow, all of us need a Holy Savior.

Our culture and society label those who express support for sexual holiness as intolerant or ignorant or unenlightened. So how do we live in this society, balancing the pursuit of holiness with the love of Christ for all people? I turn to John 1:17 again and again to the only man who successfully navigated being in the culture but not of the world. Jesus came in grace and truth. We pursue His model of living. Revelation 4:8 reminds me “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” 1 John 4:8 says “anyone who does not love, does not know God, for God is love.”

God calls me as a follower of Christ to pursue His Holiness and to show His love. Grace and truth. Sexual holiness exists as His truth. Telling my story of redemption and restoration allows me to share a message and example of His grace. Grace and truth. He calls me to both.

 


A short while ago I watched the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and made two short videos, Deepest, Darkest Secret and Drax’s Wisdom.  As I continued to watched the movie various “father wound” scenes stood out to me.  As I have stated before, now that I’m in recovery the Holy Spirit has allowed me to see movies differently and notice subtle (and sometimes blatant) recovery tones within the movie. 

The plot of this movie has been pasted below courtesy of Wikipedia:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his mysterious parentage.

What I saw in this movie was a humorous example of characters suffering from the “father wound” and how it manifests itself in their lives as adults.  This movie, although not therapy-accurate, brings humor to the Father Wound which affects many men and women.  Hopefully, those who are in recovery can see the humor in this movie as much as I do.  This video has a limited amount of comments to allow the viewer to come up with their own opinions.

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