That’s an obvious question to ask if pornography has invaded your home and is tearing apart your marriage.
Here’s a hard fact that’s difficult to swallow: according to a survey*, in 67% of cases in which one parent was acting out sexually (pornography, adultery, etc.), the children knew before there was an official disclosure.
Don’t get me wrong; there are no cut and dried answers here. In the ideal scenario, you (the parents) will have transparent discussions and much prayer about whether or not to disclose information, how much to share, and when. Even better, you will have come to conclusions after consulting with a professional trained in this area. Our statistic (67%), however, suggests that “ideal” scenarios are a rare gift.
I know of families who have had forced disclosure. In one case the father was a public figure and his secret porn addiction was exposed on the 5:00 local news and made the front page of the newspaper for several days running. In some cases parents can delay disclosure until the child is old enough to understand. In most cases I encourage parents to soften the disclosure by sticking to developmentally appropriate information, and if necessary, sharing additional information when the child is older. Unbalanced disclosure should be avoided as the partner often does it in anger or without healthy boundaries when the addict isn’t present. The worst case is when children discover the pornography (or sexual infidelity) on their own.
Dr. Stefanie Carnes **offers wise counsel that lines up with my belief that we shouldn’t hide “Behind Closed Doors.” She suggests that good reasons for disclosing to children include the following:
- We want to teach direct, open, and honest communication in our family.
- We don’t want to perpetuate family secrets.
- We want our children to know us and understand our path to recovery and health. We want to share this part of ourselves with them.
- We want to stop the transmission of addiction from generation to generation in our family by educating our children.
A year ago, I was asked to speak in a large southern city to a group of women whose husbands are addicted to pornography. The event planner approached the city’s large Christian radio station about promoting the event. They declined because they were a “family friendly” radio station and they wouldn’t want children to hear the word pornography.
I get it. I understand that parents want to protect their children; and they should! However, I emphatically believe that avoiding the subject of sexual addiction is not the right answer. Instead, having honest conversations with our kids about pornography is one of the most important lessons we will teach them.
Carnes suggests that if one parent in the home is struggling with sexual addiction, the children should be at least a mid-adolescent before full-disclosure is considered. Younger children have a limited capacity to understand abstract ideas like “addiction,” so a softer disclosure is recommended. Kids will want to know different things depending on their age:
Preschool (ages 3-5)
- Are you going to die or leave me?
- Am I in trouble?
- Do you love me?
Early Elementary (ages 5-6)
- Is this my fault?
- Will something bad happen?
- Who are you now?
Upper Elementary (ages 9-13)
- Am I normal?
- Will I get this addiction because I have sexual feelings?
- Am I going to end up an addict because you are?
- What will happen to me if you get divorced?
- How could you do this to Mom/Dad? To the family?
- How does this specifically relate to me?
- How could you ruin my life?
Here’s the big WHAT IF … What if your child walked in on Mom/Dad when they were engaging in self-gratification while viewing porn or they were exposed to the pornography themselves?
It happens. Often. If this is your situation, it’s important that you don’t ignore it. Even if you only have a suspicion that it has happened, you need to address it. Such exposure can potentially influence your child’s own sexual development. Have open, honest discussions with your child, and consider talking to a professional.
This is really tough stuff – stuff we’d rather keep behind closed doors. Don’t do it. This is the time for you to assure your child that both Mom and Dad are available to discuss this with them as much or as often as they need to talk or as you deem appropriate. Disclosing this bombshell and then never discussing it again only serves to reinforce shame.
You can make this unfortunate situation healthier by doing the difficult, but right things.
*C. Black, D. Dillon, and S. Carnes, “Disclosure to Children: Hearing the Child’s Experience,” Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity 10: 67-78.
**S. Carnes, Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, Chapter 9
Last night was date night with my boys (13 and 15). We went to see “The 33” and we’re not sorry. The boys and I were very moved by the movie and would definitely recommend it. (Though maybe not from the front row, which was our only option. Oy! It almost made me sick … but I digress.) It’s been 5 years since the Chilean miners were rescued, but my oldest remembered. So did I. That makes the story even more poignant.
Comment on my Facebook page if you go see this movie, and I’ll put you in the drawing for a t-shirt that says “HOPE RUNS DEEP” on the front and “The 33” on the back!!
In 2010, the eyes of the world turned to Chile, where 33 miners had been buried alive by the catastrophic collapse of a 100-year-old gold and copper mine. Over the next 69 days, an international team worked night and day in a desperate attempt to rescue the trapped men as their families and friends, as well as millions of people globally, waited and watched anxiously for any sign of hope. But 200 stories beneath the surface, in the suffocating heat and with tensions rising, provisions—and time—were quickly running out.
A story of resilience, personal transformation and triumph of the human spirit, the film takes us to the Earth’s darkest depths, revealing the psyches of the men trapped in the mine, and depicting the courage of both the miners and their families who refused to give up.
Based on the gripping true story of survival—and filmed with the cooperation of the miners, their families and their rescuers—“The 33” captures the never-before-seen actual events that unfolded, above and below ground, which became nothing less than a worldwide phenomenon.
The international cast is led by Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient”), James Brolin, and Lou Diamond Phillips, with Bob Gunton and Gabriel Byrne. The cast also includes Mario Casas, Jacob Vargas, Juan Pablo Raba, Oscar Nuñez, Tenoch Huerta, Marco Treviño, Adriana Barraza, Kate Del Castillo, Cote de Pablo, Elizabeth De Razzo and Naomi Scott.
Patricia Riggen directed “The 33” from a screenplay by Mikko Alanne, Oscar nominee Craig Borten (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Michael Thomas, based on the screen story by Oscar nominee José Rivera (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) and the book Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar. The film was produced by Oscar nominee Mike Medavoy (“Black Swan”), Robert Katz and Edward McGurn. Carlos Eugenio Lavin, Leopoldo Enriquez, Alan Zhang and José Luis Escolar served as executive producers.
The behind-the-scene creative team included cinematographer Checco Varese, production designer Marco Niro, editor Michael Tronick and Oscar-nominated costume designer Paco Delgado (“Les Misérables”). The Academy Award-winning team of Alex Henning and Ben Grossmann (“Hugo”) supervised the visual effects. The score was composed by Oscar winner James Horner (“Titanic”).
“The 33” was filmed on location in Chile’s harshly remote yet breathtakingly beautiful Atacama desert just kilometers away from where the event took place, and deep within two mines located in central Colombia.
“The 33” is a presentation of Alcon Entertainment, co-founded by CEOs Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson. A Phoenix Pictures production, the film is being distributed domestically and in select international territories by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. This film has been rated PG-13 for a disaster sequence and some language.
Last night, we filled our family room with friends for an ADVANCED SCREENING of the new Christian movie we’ve all been waiting for – WOODLAWN. This movie is truly top-notch entertainment with a bold Gospel message.
Before I tell you about the movie, let me tell you about the makeup of our audience. We had 5 teenage boys (12-17), 1 teenage girl (13, not a football fan), 2 football-loving moms (whose age I’m not about to tell), and 1 football-loving dad (who’s usually on his iPhone during movies at home, but didn’t get it out once last night).
Here’s the scoop … From Pure Flix (GOD’S NOT DEAD, DO YOU BELIEVE?), Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (THE BIBLE, SON OF GOD) and the Erwin Brothers (MOM’S NIGHT OUT, OCTOBER BABY) comes WOODLAWN, an exhilarating high school football drama and remarkable true story of how love and unity overcame racism and hate in early 1970s Birmingham, Alabama. Starring Academy Award winner Jon Voight, Sean Astin, Nic Bishop and newcomer Caleb Castille, WOODLAWN depicts the spiritual awakening that captured the hearts of a team and unified an entire city.
This is the description from the Woodlawn Movie website: ”
A gifted high school football player must learn to boldly embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field in WOODLAWN, a moving and inspirational new film based on the true story of how love and unity overcame hate and division in early 1970s Birmingham, Ala.
Tony Nathan (newcomer Caleb Castille) lands in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joins fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School after its government-mandated desegregation in 1973. The Woodlawn Colonels football team is a microcosm of the problems at the school and in the city, which erupts in cross burnings and riots, and Coach Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop) is at a loss to solve these unprecedented challenges with his disciplinarian ways.
It’s only when Hank (Sean Astin), an outsider who has been radically affected by the message of hope and love he experienced at a Christian revival meeting, convinces Coach Gerelds to let him speak to the team that something truly remarkable begins to happen. More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives over to the “better way” Hank tells them is possible through following Jesus, and the change is so profound in them it affects their coach, their school and their community in ways no one could have imagined.”
“It’s not a cheesy Christian movie.” [Been there, done that.]
“It’s a movie that would appeal to both football people and to Christians, but you don’t have to be both to really like and ‘get’ the movie.” [Remember, Grace isn’t a fan of football, but she really got into the movie!]
“The fact that it’s a true story makes it credible.”
“We like that there were some very unpredictable moments (as well as a few predictable).” [It would be a spoiler if I shared any more about this. Go see the movie.]
“The period music was great!”
“The acting was strong and believable, and there was great character development.”
As a homeschool, we’ve study the integration issues of that era, specifically the issues in Birmingham. The message this movie has for today’s racial issues [think Ferguson and Charleston and countless other places] was not lost on us. The telling of Tony Nathan’s story may be meant for such a time as this.
Check out the trailer …
WOODLAWN is a special movie with a perspective that America – believer and nonbeliever alike – needs to hear today. As Director Andy Erwin says: “I’m passionate about the truth that the only way to overcome hate is by a greater law – and that’s love and forgiveness. And Jesus is the ultimate way to receive and give both love and forgiveness.”
I’m giving away a package of goodies that you won’t believe. It ALL goes to ONE winner!
WOODLAWN, by Todd Geralds, on which the movie is based
TOUCHDOWN TONY, by Tony Nathan, the autobiography of the superstar player on whose life the film is based
WHEN GOD SHOWS UP, by Robert Noland, a 40-day devotional tied to the themes of the film
An official WOODLAWN T-shirt – Large (Sorry, I have no control over the size)
TO WIN … Do as many of the following as you can!
1. Leave a comment on my Facebook post about this. (worth 1 entry)
2. Leave a comment below on my blog post (worth 1 entry)
3. Share the blog post from this page and tell me in your comment where you shared it: FB, Twitter, etc. (worth 1 entry for each share).
4. Go to the movie by October 25th, take a picture of your tickets, post the picture in the comment of my FB post. (worth 3 entries for EACH ticket you buy)
The movie opens tomorrow, October 16th. I will announce the winner on Monday, October 26th.
**Also, check this unbelievable article about a football coach in Washington who says he will defy his school’s prayer ban. #Believe #NoFear
I am a meal planner and have been for about 12 years now. I typically do a two-week plan and then create my grocery list accordingly. It saves us money, I almost always have what I need when I need it, and we eat much healthier. Seriously, what do you do when you’re hungry after work and you have no plan? If you’re like us, you choose unhealthy things … fast food, processed food, junk.
Many of my clients say they are tired of making the same things and I want to help! Optimal health is a lifestyle we want to achieve, so when my clients are “on the plan” I still want them eating in a manner that they could eat for the rest of their lives. That said, here is a one-week Lean and Green plan. Try it out. Give me feedback. If this helps you, then I’ll create at least 3 more of these, so you’ll have a month’s worth of menus to choose from.
|Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Zucchini Noodles ~ 1.5 cups6 oz. grilled chicken breast(make extra for the chow mein)
|Thai Basil Ground Beef Bowl ~ 1 cupCauliflower Rice ~ 1 cup(I put broccoli in mine rather than asparagus, because it’s what I had on hand)FREEZE what you don’t eat!!
|Chicken Taco meat ~ 6 oz. (crockpot meal)Either wrap it in romaine lettuce leaves or on top of a salad loaded with veggies
|Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein ~ 1.5 cups with…6 oz. grilled chicken from Zucchini Noodle night
|Grilled turkey burger (Costco)
wrapped in Romaine Radish chips ~ 1.5 cup See pic below
|Grilled Mahi-Mahi ~ 7 oz.1 cup raw spinach salad with 1/2 cup mushrooms and 1/2 cup celery
+2 dressing servings See pic
This summer, I had the privilege of leading a group of women through your new book, Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy. When I was given the opportunity to review your book, I knew immediately that this was a book that I wanted to give more attention to than a quick read-through. Five of us met consistently for six weeks. Each week we’d read two chapters and complete the related workbook pages before connecting to watch the DVD and discuss how we were being stretched and refined.
I could fill this letter with platitudes about each component (the book, the DVD, the free workbook) and how much we loved them (because we truly did, and if pressed, I couldn’t tell you which of the three I liked more), but I need to share something else here.
I think you and I first met back in about 2007 at a little CAN (Christian Authors Network) retreat at a hotel in the Cities. Just a few of us were there … Cyndy Salzmann, Mary Connealy, Susan May Warren, Sharon Hinck, you, and me. (My apologies if I’m forgetting anyone.) Though I may have blanked on some names, there are things I will always remember about that weekend. I remember that you welcomed this newbie who didn’t have a single book title to her name. I remember waking up early and finding you curled up on the couch in our suite with a big mug of coffee in your hands, your Bible open on your lap, and your heart deeply engaged in prayer. (I remember feeling like I was walking in a holy space and ought not interrupt.) I remember you jumping up to wash the dishes anytime someone put a cup or spoon near the sink (and I laughed when you mentioned that old tendency to be “that good” in this book). I remember you reading from There Were Two Trees In The Garden and quoting Francis Frangipane. (I came right home and bought the book and got acquainted with Mr. Frangipane’s vast work.)
There was one moment that stands out more significantly than all the others because you said something that changed the trajectory of tmy ministry. (You know the breakfast date you describe in chapter 1? Yep, this was you passing that counsel on to me – for all I know – maybe before you’d had your own eye-opening breakfast date.) I shared with you that I had spoken 67 times to MOPS groups in the last year. (I was a new speaker and felt like I was “doing my time,” gaining experience for not even enough money to cover my babysitters and gas, but was oh-so-hungry to share God’s Word straight out, which I couldn’t usually do in this setting.) That’s when you pulled me close and, though you didn’t claim what you shared to be a Word from God, I believe it was. You said, “Vicki, God has something more for you, but as long as you are giving so much of yourself away, you won’t have the capacity to go deeper when He calls you to do that. Speak less often. Go deeper.”
You didn’t use the words “sacred yes”, but you may as well have.
My schedule the next year looked vastly different, but sadly I didn’t apply the wisdom in all areas of my life. My closest friends will tell you that, for years now, I nearly always responded to, “How are you?” with “Busy!” I was still giving away my yeses.
I pretty much cried my way through “Your Sacred Yes.” Yep, big ol’ mascara-running-drop-to-my-knees-ugly crying.
You see, for the last few years, I had given away so much of myself, that I had nothing left. I said good yeses, but not necessarily sacred yeses, and I certainly didn’t understand the necessity of my sacred nos. I often told my husband Mike that if people really knew everything that was on my proverbial plate, they would have me committed. (He’s a psychologist at Mayo and he agreed, which wasn’t comforting.) The hardest thing to share is that this “Christian author, speaker, Bible teacher” (not to mention Christ-follower) and God weren’t speaking and I couldn’t focus on His Word, so my Bible stayed closed. You see, I was busy keeping all of my precious plates spinning while deeply grieving through a long season of watching my best friend die by degrees as a result of cancer. I was soul weary. I was in a spiritual desert. I was going through the motions … and “Your Sacred Yes” led me Home. (Honestly, there aren’t enough Amazon stars to give a book that does that, so 5 will have to do. Also, I’m really glad you know your worth isn’t measured by Amazon stars or in (wo)man written reviews.)
I want to share some of the things that you said that resonated so deeply, causing me (and Mike) to prayerfully reprioritize and make some hard, but necessary changes in my life.
“We’re not called to a busyness that drains us; we’re called to an abundance that trains us” (p.25).
“When we miss the greater promise written over our lives, others miss out on something God intended to give them through us” (p.34).
“So how do we discern the difference between un-appointed busyness and God-ordained fruitfulness” (p.35)? [This resulted in me evaluating and categorizing all of my commitments into two lists: Busy vs. Abundantly Full and Fruitful. Not an easy task – just saying.]
“… we stepped up beyond what God had asked us to. … The need does not always dictate the call” (p. 45) [Wait. What? Stop the press! Reading this was a game changer for me.]
“More rests on God’s shoulders than on mine” (p. 62).
“When we’re sloppy with our yes, we miss out on God’s best” (p. 63). [Ouch.]
“What would need to change in your life—how do you need to rearrange your day—so you can experience regular deep contentment, joy, and confidence with God” (p.63)? [Note: because I’d been meeting Jesus every morning on the deck to read this book and pour through my Bible using your workbook, I was hearing His voice again for the first time in a very long time, and I KNEW the answer to this immediately. It was from Him – no doubt about it. Sa-weet!]
“If we’re serious about following His (God’s) direction in our lives, then He gets to say—from day to day—how we live, how we give, how we serve, how we pray, what we say, and what we do with our day” (p. 118).
“Our no matters because our yes matters more. And anytime we say yes, we say no. If we say yes to working too many hours (beyond what God has asked of us), we say no to family and friends and the sacred life rhythm God offers us” (p. 134).
“Walking in God’s yes for us calls for diligence with the things that matter—if we truly want to abound in every good thing God has for us” (p. 151).
“Our enemy, the devil, camps on the assumption that if he baits us into busyness, we’ll forget about our adoption as daughters and sons. And sadly, he gets away with this scheme far too often” (p. 170). [Man your stations, friends! Be ready to fight and DON’T be baited into busyness!]
“We have nothing to prove and all of eternity to live for. Oh, the love of Jesus. May we stand courageously, pray tenaciously, and love audaciously. May we give our whole lives as an offering to Him” (180)! [Yes, and Amen!]
So, Susie, thank you for allowing God to use you to write this book to me. That may not have been your intent and countless others will no doubt feel the same way, but I truly felt like this was a gentle, but firm love letter that redirected my steps. (You seem to have a way of doing that in my life without even knowing it.) We have made some hard, but necessary changes in the Tiede house, and more will undoubtedly come, but it’s good and we’re following His lead. My book is marked from page one to the very end. My workbook is filled to capacity. These are treasures and I’ll be revisiting them again and again and pointing people to this beautiful book and its message – starting here.
With holy enthusiasm, much gratitude, and an abundantly full life and heart,
Read more about Susie Larson and Your Sacred Yes HERE.
What a few others from our Summer Study had to say about this study …
In the recently released movie “Mr. Holmes” the plot deals with living selfishly, doing only what meets your needs and ambitions. Susie’s study, “Your Sacred Yes” helps put the godly perspective on living and doing what He deems holy, His best not just for me, but for all. “Our goal is to find such freedom and wholeness in Christ alone that we truly enjoy the way He loves us, which freely enables us to spill out His love to others” (p. 93). I appreciated finding venues to assess my lifestyle, and in my daily connections with Him find joy and confidence in my ‘no’ and in my ‘yes’ as I do the next thing.
This study is one I want to go over again and fine tune in my schedule and mindset.
“Your Sacred Yes” by Susie Larson provides insight as to how to prioritize God’s Word in establishing life-long goals. I especially felt the workbook pages provided in-depth questions that are thought provoking and meaningful. Chapters in the book along with the video lessons are real-life applicable, and I feel a great deal of affirmation in knowing Susie has a lot of life learning experiences she shares with her reading audience. Reflecting upon these experiences, she is honest with her reader about how life is messy at times, and as we faithfully rely on the Lord, we grow. “We embrace the God-given vision for our lives–and we see this as our sacred duty: to guard our hearts and lives as ones who are set apart for Him” (p. 167).
I truly appreciated at the end of each chapter she allows time for authentic personal reflection and prayer and she included a Faith Declaration. “Life is a gift, and my time is a gift” (p. 183). I would highly recommend this resource study for all women.
“Your Sacred Yes” was a gentle, affirming, upward-tugging lift to my spiritual life. I am in a season, and profession, where I am the caregiver to many. The needs are never-ending. God used “Your Sacred Yes” to reaffirm that I also need to be one that I provide regular care to – both physically and spiritually. Susie has a beautiful way of encouraging, exhorting and challenging all in the same sentence. This is a book I have recommended to another Bible Study that I have been part of for 25 years. What a gift it has been to me to learn that part of saying “yes” to God includes saying “no” to others, that the only approval I need is His, and that I am free to be a work in progress. I will read this book again and again – in order to obtain, and maintain, a clear vision of the specific “yeses” to which God has called me.