How Do You Forgive Someone Who Doesn’t Know That You Know They Hurt You?

Confused??? Me too! This post is seriously me asking for your advice. I would love to hear your opinions posted in the comments. 

Please note: I am not going to share the specific offense that someone (PERSON A) did because it affects another close personal relationship (PERSON B). I do not want to cause PERSON B any further heartache over this situation.

So here are the basics of the situation….

I just found out that PERSON A did something that wounded me in a very personal and emotional way. PERSON A is not someone close to me… however, the other PERSON B involved is very close to me. I have only met and interacted with PERSON A on one occasion. I thought we clicked as friends. We had an intellectual and a little bit spiritual conversation. My whole family interacted with PERSON A. We exchanged phone numbers, later exchanged texts, and friended each other on Facebook.

Tonight, PERSON B told me the offense PERSON A did over a month ago.

It hurts. It hurts badly…

As of right now, I assume that PERSON A does not know that I know what they did.

In my “FORGIVE THEM” post back in 2010, I talked about how forgiveness is more to help you heal than it is for the offender. I quoted the following from Dr. Davis’ “How To Heal A Wounded Spirit” sermon:

“If someone wounds you and walks away without doing anything to help; that does not mean that you have to lay there and die… If someone wounds you either knowingly or unknowingly and walks away; who is going to be in the worse shape 6 months from now if you don’t treat it? You or Them?”

PERSON B is directly involved and because of that I have to work through some issues with them. I will eventually come to forgive them because of how close we are and that is what needs to happen in order for that relationship to heal. I need some time to process, but forgiveness towards them WILL happen. With God’s help, I know it will.

PERSON A is not someone who I have to interact with ever again. I could delete their phone number and unfriend them on Facebook. I may never have to see or speak to them again. There is always the chance that they could call or text me but I don’t know if they would or not. There is always the chance of seeing them in public but I never have before so… I would say that the chance is slim (just not impossible). I could ignore them if we ever come in contact again.

I know that for my sake and in order to be obedient to Christ, I must eventually forgive PERSON A.

My question is: Do I let them know that I know what they did and let them know that I forgive them (when I get to the mindset of being able to do so)? ~OR~ Do I forgive them and move on without mentioning it to them?

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

(please post in the comments…)

And if you think about it, please keep me in prayer as I seek God’s wisdom in this situation. Pray for God to heal my heart and help me to forgive all of the people involved.

“Shaking hands” image found here.

Princess Prayers

This book is written by: Crystal Bowman and inspired by: Jeanna Young & Jacqueline Johnson with pictures by: Omar Aranda. It is a board book marketed towards young girls. Each two page spread includes a prayer, scripture verse, and beautiful illustration based on The Princess Parables series. There are a total of fifteen prayers in the book.

I have always loved The Princess Parables series. My girls have enjoyed reading them over the years. Generally speaking, the series is geared towards preschool & early elementary aged girls. This book is no different but my eight year old daughter still reads the books in the series every once in awhile. This book is perfect for teaching young girls simple prayers. It could be read all at once, as a daily devotional, or as a certain topic is needed. It could could be an adorable gift for the little girls in your life!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that ZonderKidsprovided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Princess Prayers
By Jeanna Young, Jacqueline Kinney Johnson & Omar Aranda (Illustrator) / ZonderKidz

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Reflections: The Woman God Sees

I spoke to 70 women at our church’s Women’s Day Retreat. The following is the message that I shared with them. I edited out a few details to protect the privacy of personal history of people mentioned:

Let me begin by telling you two stories… Listen for which one you relate to the most…

Once upon a time there was a girl who was raised by Christian parents who loved her and her siblings very much. She asked Jesus into her heart when she was four years old and she was baptized when she was eight years old. She had several strong Christian role models in her life; including her grandparents, who would travel halfway across the country to spend time with her family. Throughout her younger years, the girl had several close friends who she remains in contact with now that she is an adult. During elementary school years, she looked forward to going to church camp every year. During middle and high school years, she enjoyed going to youth groups every week. She loved to sing solos or with worship teams and choirs and still loves to sing as an adult. She also enjoyed going on local, short term, and overseas mission trips. As an adult, she married a Christian man in the military, went to college, traveled the world, has had several fulfilling jobs, and has several children. She served as a Women’s Ministry Director at a church she attended. She has lead and facilitated Bible Study groups at churches and at her home. Over the years, she has mentored several women and teen girls. She currently serves in various jobs, ministries, and volunteer positions within her community.

That sounds like a pretty good life right? Maybe it is similar to your story?

Maybe you don’t relate to that at all. Maybe you will relate better to the next story…

Once upon a time there was a girl who grew up in a poor household. Her father almost died of a chronic condition when she was a toddler. Fortunately, her father recovered but the problems did not end there. The family constantly struggled financially with lack of money. The girl’s mother struggled with severe depression due to an abusive childhood and a stressful marriage. As the oldest of four, the girl often cared for the kids when the parents were not able to care for them. When the girl was 13, her parents divorced and her mother got re-married a year later. During her middle school and high school years the girl always looked for love from the various boyfriends she had. She started smoking cigarettes in secret with her friends. She rebelled against her parents with a bad attitude and anger outbursts. She got married as soon as she was able to at age 20 because she wanted to get away from her dysfunctional childhood and be on her own. She quickly realized that she carried her childhood baggage into her marriage. She experienced a very bad car accident with a semi-truck resulting in chronic pain. She had several miscarriages. She and her husband worked difficult jobs on different shifts and they hardly ever saw each other. They both allowed sin to creep into their lives, and as a result they were on the verge of divorce when her husband got notice that they were moving overseas for his job. During their attempt to reconcile, they got pregnant again. They decided to stay together and moved overseas and had two children. However, they never really resolved their sin issues and their marriage hit rock bottom. She continued to allow anger and bitterness invade her life.

You would not want to be that woman right? Which story do you relate to the most?

What if I told you that both stories describe the life of same woman?

What if I told you that… I am that woman.

Before you knew my story, you may have had preconceived notions of who I was based on the persona that I put forward in public… the smile on my face, my answers in Bible study, a brief conversation in the church hallway, what I write on my blog. You may have assumed I had a decent life based on the little that you knew about me. Does it shock you now that you know the truth? Now that you know that there is more to my story? My dysfunctional childhood, the pain of loosing unborn babies, the heartache of a marriage hitting rock bottom due to sin my husband and I allowed into our lives?

It is a misconception that Christians are supposed to have a perfect life and are perfect people.

Even though we often portray our best in public, we often put forward a persona that we want other people to see while hiding the struggles, heartaches, and sins that we are dealing with in private or within our home. Maybe you really have had a great overall life! But I can guarantee that every single one of us has had to go through a valley that makes us feel completely ugly, alone, depressed, and separated from God.

The stain of sin has ruined every person on earth. If you have ever hit rock bottom, you know that it is the worst hopeless feeling in the world. You feel like there is no way out. You feel like a minute in time is an eternity. You feel like you cannot continue on your own. You feel like you are not enough. Maybe, you are in the bottom of this pit right now.

Let me tell you a little secret: You will never be able to get out of your pit on your own. You may try different things that seem to work but eventually everything that you try to do will fall short.

God never promised that we would always be happy or have perfect lives when we have Jesus as our Savior;

instead he uses Paul’s testimony to tell us that Christians can have hardships far beyond our ability to endure. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11:

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Through our hardships; God wants us to fully rely on him so that he can deliver us and heal us. God wants to draw us into a closer relationship with him. He will always rescue us but sometimes it is in the midst of our hardships. He doesn’t always remove us from circumstances but allows us to go through them in order to draw us nearer to Him.

Remember when I said that you cannot get out of your pit on your own?

The good news is that JESUS can carry you out of your pit! JESUS can walk beside you through the valley. JESUS can fill the hopelessness in your life. JESUS can blot out the sins in your life.

One of my favorite Bible verses is:

Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

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Our theme for this retreat is: “Reflections: The Woman God Sees.” The name of God “El Roi” means “the God who sees me.” This name was only used in the Bible once in Genesis 16:13:

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

An Egyptian slave woman named Hagar gave this name to God when she was alone in the desert. When she was completely hopeless in the circumstances that she was facing, God answered her cry for help. God saw her right where she was. Although Hagar is the only woman recorded in the Bible praying to “El Roi,” there are several other women in the Bible who also went through hardships and hopeless circumstances. God saw them too and he answered them and delivered them.

Ruth: a pagan widowed woman moved to a foreign land with her mother-in-law after her husband died. Facing famine and ruin, she chose to follow the God of the Hebrews. She was rescued and married by a kinsmen redeemer. Her son, Obed, is in the lineage of Christ.

Esther: a Jewish girl who was taken from her family to be in the king’s harem. She eventually earned the king’s favor and became a queen “for such a time as this.” She fasted and prayed for God to deliver her people who were sentenced to death. God provided a way for the people to defend themselves against those that would try to kill them.

Bathsheba: a married woman whose husband was away at war, committed adultery with King David (whether by force or by consent we do not know). After she got pregnant, the king had her husband killed and then married her. Due to their sin, they lost their baby. Due to their repentance, their second son, Solomon, later became king and is in the lineage of Christ.

New Testament Women, there are too many to mention but here are a few that stand out in my mind in no particular order:

Mary and Martha: were sisters who along with their brother Lazarus were close friends with Jesus and his disciples. They often hosted them in their home. When Lazarus was dying, they sent word to Jesus in hopes that he would make it in time to heal him. Jesus arrived after Lazarus had already been in the tomb for several days. In their grief, Mary and Martha questioned Jesus’ timing. When he raised Lazarus from the grave, he showed them that he cared for them and that there is a purpose for the difficulties that we face.

The Samaritan woman has had 5 husbands and was currently living with a man not her husband. Jesus met her at the well as she was drawing water during a time that was not typical for women to get water. She was avoiding being around other women who would gossip and shame her. Jesus not only spoke to her, which was not typical of a man or rabbi to do, but he also saw into her heart and gave her the living water of hope, forgiveness, and salvation.

The unnamed woman with the issue of blood: We know that she had a constant menstrual bleeding and hemorrhaging that lasted for 12 years. This made her “unclean” in the Jewish culture and everyone and everything that she touched would also be unclean. She would not have been allowed in the temple. People would have shunned her. As Jesus passed by, she recognized that he could heal her. She moved through the crowd and was able to touch the hem of his garment. Which means by the time she got to him, she was crawling on the ground… I wonder if it is because she was so faint from blood loss or if it is because the crowd was trying to push her away. Jesus stopped walking and turned to the woman saying that her faith had made her well. After 12 years of suffering, she was healed because she had faith enough to reach out to Jesus.

We all have to climb different mountains and walk (maybe crawl) through different valleys.

Over the years I have reconciled with my parents. God healed my mom of her depression and she is an amazing living testimony of how God can bring someone out of a pit. My husband and I will be celebrating fifteen years of marriage in a couple of weeks and we have three beautiful children. It took a long time for my husband and I to get to where we are today. God did not heal our wounds overnight and God still allowed us to suffer through additional heartaches and trials. I still have to deal with my sin stronghold of anger on almost a daily basis. I often struggle with complacency with my relationship with Jesus. However, God is continuously working on me. I can look back over past circumstances and see God’s presence in a way that I did not see him at the time. Knowing that he carried me out of my pits and through my valleys, allows me to trust in him whenever I face a new trial. It also allows me to minister to women who face similar trials that I have faced in the past.

I want you to know that God sees you.

God hears you.

God knows YOUR name.

God loves you.

Zephaniah 3:17 says: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Have faith and reach out to the God of the universe. Allow him to meet you right where you are.

Pray with me the following verse:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:10-12

*****

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“El ROI” image found here.

“The Woman God Sees” graphic downloaded from CTA.

Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal

This book is published by Tyndale and is in their Living Expressions Collection. It is hardback and has over 100 pages. Each two page spread has different themes. Throughout the book there are prayers, scripture, writing prompts, journaling lines, and designs for coloring. There are pops of color on almost every page. Scripture quotes are from the New Living Translation (NLT).

I already have the Gratitude Coloring Journal from the same series so I was excited to have the opportunity to review this book as well. I also have a couple of adult coloring books that sit in a basket by my bed for when I have some free time (not very often). I usually find the coloring pages relaxing but difficult to finish in a timely manor due to size or detailed design. Like the Gratitude Coloring Journal, this book is a smaller journal size and the pages could easily be colored in a short amount of time. Some coloring pages are simplistic and others are more detailed. There are several already colored pages as well. This book will be a good addition to a daily devotional time. Each of the two page spreads coordinate with the tranquility, prayer, and reflection themes. It would also be perfect for gifts (I have bought over 10 of the Gratitude Coloring Journals for gifts and plan to buy several of these as well)!!!

Here are some photos of a few of my favorite two page spreads in the journal:

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You can see several coloring and journaling ideas on the Tyndale Living Expressions Collection Pinterest Board!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal
By Tyndale Momentum

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A Note Yet Unsung

This book by Tamera Alexander is the third installment in her Belmont Mansion series. Rebekah Carringtion returns home to Nashville, Tennessee after a ten year stay in Vienna. As a master violinist, she desires to be in an orchestra even though it is rare for women to be allowed in orchestras no matter what their skill. Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is the new orchestra leader of the Nashville Philharmonic. He is tasked with composing his symphony and training his orchestra before opening day of the new opera hall. His time is split with his rigorous responsibilities and returning to his childhood home to care for his dying father; all while dealing with recurring headaches, buzzing, and dizziness. Even though he recognizes her skill and talent, Tait turns down Rebekah’s request to be in the orchestra due to public opinion. Rebekah takes a job tutoring Adelicia Cheatham’s daughter at the Belmont Mansion and secures room and board there. As Tait’s deadline gets closer, he asks Rebekah to assist him with his symphony.

This is the first book that I have read by this author and I am impressed and anxious to read more from her! I absolutely loved this book! Being that it was the third book in the series, I do not know what connections the storyline and characters have to the previous books. Even so, I easily read it as a stand alone book. I loved the musical content of the book. I have always loved music even though I am not at all talented when it comes to instruments! The author provides a link so that readers can look up and listen to all of the music numbers mentioned in the book. There is some adult content worth mentioning… Rebekah’s stepfather tried to rape her when she was younger which is why she was sent away to Vienna. When she returns, he repeatedly refers to the incident and eventually attempts to do it again. There are mentions of drinking and making moonshine, murder, slaves, and a few other things that may offend some people. The Christian content of trusting God, praying, scripture, etc. was strong throughout the story. It flowed well with the story. I feel that this book was very well written and I will be purchasing the previous two books in the series so that I can read them as well! I recommend it to anyone who loves music, instruments, and historical romance!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

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A Note Yet Unsung #3
By Tamera Alexander / Bethany House

206230: A Beauty So Rare #2

A Beauty So Rare #2

By Tamera Alexander / Bethany House

206221: A Lasting Impression #1

A Lasting Impression #1

By Tamera Alexander / Bethany House

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Once Upon A Time Storybook Bible

This book is illustrated by Omar Aranda and published by ZonderKids. The book is approximately 8 x 10 inches which is similar to other hardback illustrated children’s books. Comprised of 33 popular Bible stories, there are 18 stories from the Old Testament and 15 stories from the New Testament. Each story has a title, scripture verse (taken from the New International Version (NIV), vibrant illustrations, “Once Upon A Time…” paraphrased story, and a “Happily Ever After” word of wisdom and story scripture reference.

On the front cover, it states, “The Bible is not a fairy tale. Every great story happened once upon a time.” An example of a “Happily Ever After” section in the Queen Esther story states, “Esther was brave to face Haman and the king. God gave her the courage she needed to save her people. He makes all of us brave when we need to be.” In the Darkest Day story about Jesus dying on the cross it states, “Jesus gave his life to save the world. He died so that one day, you could join him in heaven. Tell him thank you for his sacrifice.” I love the colorful illustrations of this book. The stories are written simplistically for a preschool and early elementary audience. This book will definitely appeal to young children and would make a great gift!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that ZonderKids provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

Once Upon a Time Storybook Bible
By ZonderKidz

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When The Holy Spirit Lays Something On Your Heart…

…Listen and Obey. 

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I am in the beginning stages of planning something for the women of my church. The idea came to me after several months of hearing about many friends within our church dealing with various difficult circumstances. Some are dealing with their own illnesses or that of a family member, death of a loved one, marital conflict, parenting rebellious children, keeping the home front functioning while their husband is deployed, financial struggles, sin strongholds, and several other circumstances. I know that many times women carry the burden of caring for others while often neglecting themselves. Our church is large and many of us do not know each other. I want to bring us together for a day so that we can fellowship together and build lasting friendships and support systems. I want the women of our church will feel the presence of God even while they are dealing with heartache, tragedy, complacency, or any difficulty within their lives. I want our women to feel loved by God and know that God sees us and meets us right where we are.

Like I said, this is only the beginning stage… I have met with some church leadership who will present my ideas to the church board and staff. If approved, I can plan and organize to my hearts content. Just in the past week of meetings and creating a possible outline of events, I have felt the Holy Spirit working in my heart. I found myself crying for no apparent reason this morning as I was contemplating what to write for my presentation. The burden to encourage and to pray for the women of my church has swelled up in my soul.

I write this to you as a plea for your prayers. Please pray that if it is God’s Will for my ideas to come to fruition, that everything will fall into place:

  • that the church will give their approval
  • that a date can be set
  • that finances and child care will be available so that the women can attend
  • that God will give me the words to say
  • that the event team can create a plan that honors Him

Thank you for your prayer support! I’ll keep you updated!

The Beauty and the Beast Controversy

I am going to make people mad with this post. Probably people from both sides of the controversy. I have read articles and have seen Facebook posts about both sides and thought I would share my personal opinion here. Grab a cup of coffee… this is not a short read. [Update included towards the end of this post, now that I have seen the movie.]

Back story… Beauty and the Beast apparently has an “exclusively gay moment” in the new live action movie. All we (the majority of people who have not yet seen the movie since it will not be released in theaters until next week) know, is that LeFou some days wants to be Gaston and other days wants to kiss Gaston. Somehow he explores those possible feelings (maybe through a fantasy moment but we do not know how exactly yet). If you look up the lyrics or watch the clip of LeFou singing in the tavern in the 90’s animated film, it is not far fetched to assume he may have been gay in that movie too (however subtle it may be).

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Before I get started, let me just say that I disagree with the LGBT agenda. From a scientific/medical perspective, I do not believe people are born gay. I believe that they develop those feelings over time due to a number of contributing factors. From a Biblical perspective, I do believe that living a gay lifestyle is a sin. However, so is any other sexual lifestyle or action outside of marriage between a man and a woman (such as: adultery, premarital sex, pornography, and one that everyone commits at some point…lust). My beliefs on the subject in no way affect how I treat someone who is gay. I treat them the same way I do any other person. I do not have to agree with your choices and opinions (on this subject or any other subject) to still be your friend, have a conversation (and/or debate lol), give you a hug, invite you into my home, etc.

So back to the movie… Honestly, I see both sides of the controversy. Anyone who disagrees with an agenda absolutely has the right to boycott a movie, book, store, event, etc. that pushes that agenda. I hated the book The Shack and I am not going to go to the theaters to see the newly released movie. I am not necessarily boycotting it because I will most likely watch it at some point (people keep asking my opinion since I am one of a minority who dislike it) but I am not shy about expressing my opinion of the book. I did not like Disney’s Princess and the Frog and do not allow my children to watch it because it deals directly with the forces of a currently practiced religion that contradicts what we believe. Will I let them see it at some point? Maybe, but it would be with the sole purpose of discussing the film at length and comparing the beliefs portrayed to other religions. If someone does not want to see a gay moment, then by all means, they should not go see the movie. However, on this particular controversy, I tend to side more with the people who find it baffling that so many people are offended about this. Here is why (in no particular order):

First of all, I do not particularly like boycotting. I think that sometimes there is a place for it and sometimes it can be effective. However, most of the time in my opinion, when Christians and conservatives boycott non-Christians and liberals then we are all feeding into a vicious cycle. I think more often than not when this happens, both sides are being hypocritical. The problem is people tend to boycott what ever is popular to do so due to media hype… think Target, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, etc. They fail to carry that deeply held conviction of why they are boycotting a particular thing into all the other areas that follow the same agenda, policy, etc. For example, if someone boycotts Target for the bathroom issue then they need to boycott Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, IKEA, several airlines, several credit card companies, and countless stores, restaurants and other businesses (a quick google search will bring up a more in-depth list). Most people cannot and do not come close to being willing to give up all of that. Read About Boycotting to explore this further.

Second, my question for anyone who has decided to boycott Disney as a result of this movie is: Why Now? Why is this particular movie making you want to boycott a company that has supported the gay agenda for as long as I can remember? I vividly remember the movement within churches to boycott Disney in the 90’s over their decision to have “gay days” at their parks. More recently to boycott the Good Luck Charlie TV show over an episode that portrayed two mommies. What about all of the Disney owned ABC TV shows that have gay characters. I read a blog post by a woman who is so upset that this movie is portraying a gay moment that she is not only not going to watch the movie but she is also going to cancel her planned Disney vacation for this year. She mentions all of the examples (even more than I mentioned) of how Disney has supported the gay agenda in the past but, all of a sudden, this movie crosses the line.

Third, what about all of the other sins that are portrayed in children’s movies (Disney or otherwise)? Do you have as much discussion and uproar over the child disobedience/rebellion, the witchcraft/sorcery, the anger/revenge, the lying/deceit, the sexual innuendoes, bullying, etc.? I am pretty sure I could go through and find something wrong with every single Disney movie out there. Just picking apart Beauty and the Beast, there is bullying, alcoholism, attempted murder, revenge, jealousy, sorcery, (maybe a hint at prostitution??? i.e. beautiful girls hanging out in the tavern with a bunch of drunk men)…

Fourth, one of the most common rebuttal to people protesting this movie that I have seen is that “they have a problem with a gay moment but they do not have a problem with a girl falling in love with a buffalo.” I know this seems silly but there is some truth there…

So where do I stand? Somewhere in the middle. I definitely respect the right to be upset about something that goes against what you stand for. I also do not think that a “gay moment” should be in a children’s movie. However, I am not going to boycott the movie.

If anyone knows me at all, they know I love Disney movies! In my opinion, they are stories that teach valuable lessons that I want my children to learn. Many of the movies have strong female roles that encourage girls to be brave, be kind, dream big, etc. Most of the movies have issues that cause characters to get in trouble due to their choices or actions (or someone else’s choices or actions) but almost always the characters learn from their mistakes (villains are the exception but that is what makes them villains). [Read The Pretty Princess Phenomenon for more.] Beauty and the Beast is no different. It is a story about seeing the good in people, learning to love, letting go of anger, self sacrifice, and many other positive elements.

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In conclusion, I most likely will let my children see this live action Beauty and the Beast. I read Plugged In online reviews before taking my children to the theaters to determine if I think a movie is appropriate for their age/maturity level. I will do the same before taking them to see this movie [UPDATE: Here is the Beauty and the Beast Plugged In Review]. My guess though is that the good far outweighs the bad. If the “moment” is something that needs to be discussed with them, I absolutely will discuss it. Just like I would discuss any other issue I have a problem with that comes up in movies. I already discussed homosexuality  with my oldest daughter a couple of years ago. I know that my children will encounter homosexuality in our culture. They may see it in a movie, on TV, walking through a mall, or at their schools. So, instead of trying to shield them from it, I feel that it is better for me to have a conversation with them.

[UPDATE: Now that I have seen the movie, here is my opinion of it… I loved it!!! It follows the original story line pretty closely. There are some additional scenes and songs to carry the story and go into more detail on some things that were missing in the original (such as what happened to Belle’s mother). I was not sure how I would like Emma Watson as Belle but she did a fantastic job! She proved that she could be more than a Hermione and her singing voice is beautiful. The costumes and set were amazing! And of course the well known songs were brought to life in an amazing way!

MINOR SPOILER ALERTS: The question on everyone’s mind is, “What was the gay moment?” There were a few places where there were subtle hints. In my opinion, they were so quick and subtle that I am pretty sure most children would not notice or if they did would not understand unless it was explained. Towards the beginning of the movie, it was obvious that LeFou wanted to be just like Gaston. He mimicked his moves and followed him around like a puppy. During the song “Gaston” in the tavern scene, it became more apparent that LeFou may have had stronger feelings for him because of his intense admiration while singing the song (again, I do not think a child would pick up on that). At one point during the song, they were dancing and LeFou wrapped Gaston’s arms around him. He jokingly asked, “Too much?” Later in the movie when Maurice was trying to convince the town’s people that Gaston was bad, Gaston manipulates LeFou to lie for him by appealing to his senses. He grabs his shoulders and talks about how close of friends they are. LeFou does lie because he does not want to offend the man he admires. During the castle battle scene between the town’s people and the castle objects, the wardrobe dresses three men in elaborate women’s clothing and hair dos (in the original movie she does this to one man). Two of the men are clearly disturbed by this and run away but one of them turn around and it is clear by his facial expressions that he likes the new look. In the final ballroom scene, after the castle objects have turned human again, everyone is dancing and we quickly see LeFou and the other man mentioned above dancing together.  There was no gay kissing as was implied when they said that LeFou “some days wants to be Gaston and other days wants to kiss Gaston.”

A couple of hours after seeing the movie, I asked my 10 year old if she noticed anything along these lines and she said no. When I explained a couple of the scenes she remembered the men being dressed as women but did not remember seeing LeFou dancing with another man. Now that I have told her it is there, she will probably notice it next time she sees it though. I have decided not to bring it up to my 8 year old daughter so as not to draw attention to it. If she mentions it to me at some point, I will address it then.

I really did love the movie. The gay moments were very minor and had nothing at all to do with the overall story line. If you want to see the movie but not sure if you want your children to  see it, I would recommend watching it first and then deciding. END UPDATE]

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