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Meeting the parents can be murder. For Dani Foster that’s a literal statement, and there’s little chance her boyfriend’s parents will ever warm up to her. Not after what she uncovers.
After dating for several months, it’s only natural that Jay Hunter should want his girlfriend to meet his family. But Dani’s curious nature and extraordinary observation skills can’t be turned off. Not even for his parents. Their secrets aren’t her doing, and the fact that she unearths them aren’t her intentions, so why is she openly hated?
His parents’ obvious dislike for the lady he loves leaves Jay with a terrible decision. Does he accept their counsel and give up this woman who has meant so much to him, or does he return to Dallas with Dani and never look back? Or is there some way the problems can be resolved without destroying either relationship?
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Discuss GRIME FAMILY With Me!
1. Dani begins this story with so much stress. Meeting Jay’s parents is bad enough, but Matthew’s call reminds her of her unworthiness and the doomed relationship she’s pursuing. What does Psalm 23 say about the way the Lord feels about us?
a. Do you ever feel unworthy? I know I do. I fuss at myself for every little mistake using words like stupid and dumb. What does that do to you?
b. What does the Bible say about words? Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 16:24.
Words are pretty big for me, so calling myself names is not my wisest move. But even with folks for whom words aren’t as important, these scriptures hold true.
2. It’s important for us to view others through the Lord’s eyes, dealing with them in the same love-actions that the Lord uses with us. Do you find it easier to show love to others than you do to yourself? I’m not heralding self-absorption or entitlement, but I do have trouble forgiving myself for mistakes. I tend to second guess things that I do and say. Surely, I’m not the only one! Here’s what the Lord thinks about me: Psalm 139, Matthew 10:29-31, Psalm 8:4-5.
I can’t help but think that Dani needs a refresher course in these verses.
3. Dani spent the entire book feeling guilt and a huge sense of foreboding about the eventual revelation of her secrets. I’ve come to the conclusion that her guilt is what is really keeping her from letting Jay know about her past. After all, others know (from book 3) even Jay’s partner, so the witness protection thing seems like an excuse to keep it from him. Is there any way that this pile of secrets she has doesn’t blow up?
a. There are two types of secrets: those for someone else and those for yourself. Can you think of anything positive with either of those types of secrets?
b. I think secrets for someone else includes those that they’ve uttered as a type of confession: these can be dangerous. When we were young, we’d be more apt to tell our friends about our problems than our parents. But even as adults, we’ll share things that can prove devastating for ourselves and our loved ones before we’ll share bad news with our family. But at the same time, sometimes we’re called on to keep secrets for others when they’ve needed the safety to vent and rid themselves of the uglies. So it can be a fine line we draw about whether to keep other’s secrets. Can you think of another type of secret we might keep for someone else?
4. The secrets we keep for ourselves can also have positive and negative effects. I keep secrets that involve surprises. I keep nothing at all from my sweet hubby and only temporary secrets from my kids. That way, they always know they can trust me. (Only talking about personal secrets here, not confidences.) Do you keep personal secrets from your friends and family? What type? What positive and/or negative effects do those secrets have on you? On them?
5. SPOILER ALERT! DON'T READ THIS QUESTION UNTIL YOU READ THE STORY! Did you have a clue about the antagonist? Some flaws in that person’s character revealed themselves early on, but the secrets were devastating. Life changing. The antagonist had lived under the weight of a crime – a mere accident at the time – for over a decade, and the guilt and grief had taken a toll on other people as well. How might things have been different?
6. Keeping secrets can lead to sinister results as with the blackmail that Roger Baselind had going. It’s crazy for me to think that situations like this actually exist. Especially when the word of one person, one victim whose secrets are more important than life itself, can halt all of the pain. Have you ever been held captive by your secrets? Maybe something in your past that necessitated the ending of a relationship or a job?
7. Read Luke 12:2 and Ephesians 5:6-13. What do these verses tell you about secrets? How does this story bear out that truth?
8. I think the passage mentioned at the beginning of this story, from Ephesians 5:15-16, not only sums up the theme of this book but defines how we are to be. How will these verses look in your life, with the things you’re going through right now?