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Spiritual Reflection Breaking Destructive Cycles Written and illustrated by Jackie Mouradian & Bill Crooks Spiritual Reflection Breaking Destructive Cycles Written and illustrated by Jackie Mouradian & Bill Crooks

The absent father – men whose own upbringing has left them with little sense The absent father – men whose own upbringing has left them with little sense of direction or responsibility leave their families who then have to cope alone

For your maker is your husband, The Lord Almighty is his name The holy For your maker is your husband, The Lord Almighty is his name The holy one of Israel is your Redeemer,

He is called God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back He is called God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back As if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit; A wife who married young only to be rejected, says your God Isaiah 54 vs 5 -8

Single mothers are left to do everything. Ill equipped to manage, they become angry Single mothers are left to do everything. Ill equipped to manage, they become angry and exhausted and look for ways to escape from their burdens, sometimes taking their frustration out on their children

He tends his flock like a shepherd He gathers the lambs together in his He tends his flock like a shepherd He gathers the lambs together in his arms And carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young Isaiah 40 vs 11

The child is isolated and abused, growing up with a low sense of self The child is isolated and abused, growing up with a low sense of self worth

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me And the light become night If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me And the light become night around me, ” Even the darkness will not be dark to you; The night will shine like the day,

For darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being You For darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being You knit me together in my mother’s womb; I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139 vs 11 -14

The child grows up with a lack of direction and respect and looks for The child grows up with a lack of direction and respect and looks for a sense of belonging in gangs and street crime. Communities may become fractured and dehumanised and a cycle of abuse and neglect can continue into the next generation.

The spirit o f the Sovereign Lord is on me, Because the Lord has The spirit o f the Sovereign Lord is on me, Because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

To proclaim freedom for the captives And release for the prisoners…. . To bestow To proclaim freedom for the captives And release for the prisoners…. . To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes The oil of gladness instead of mourning

And a garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair Isaiah 61 vs And a garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair Isaiah 61 vs 1 & 3

The problems seem overwhelming. But the church can offer hope where there seems to The problems seem overwhelming. But the church can offer hope where there seems to be none

I will give you treasures of darkness, Riches stored in secret places, So that I will give you treasures of darkness, Riches stored in secret places, So that you will know that I am the Lord, The God of Israel who calls you by name Isaiah 45 vs 3

The church is called to come alongside to support and befriend address the deepest The church is called to come alongside to support and befriend address the deepest needs

You are my servant; I have chosen you and not rejected you; So do You are my servant; I have chosen you and not rejected you; So do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand Isaiah 41 vs 9 -10

To help the life of one person to change is significant To help the life of one person to change is significant

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, My chosen one in whom I delight; Here is my servant, whom I uphold, My chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my spirit on him And he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out

Or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break Or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break And a smouldering wick he will not snuff out Isaiah 42 vs 1 -3

God’s love embodied in the church can rebuild broken communities and restore hope God’s love embodied in the church can rebuild broken communities and restore hope

If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry And satisfy the needs of If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry And satisfy the needs of the oppressed Then your light will rise in the darkness And your night will become like the noonday…. .

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins And will raise up the age-old foundations Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins And will raise up the age-old foundations You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings Isaiah 58 vs 10 & 12

Prayer O God, I cannot undo the past, or make it never to have Prayer O God, I cannot undo the past, or make it never to have happened – neither can you. There are some things that are not possible even for you – but not many! I ask you, humbly, from the bottom of my heart: Please, God, would you write straight with my crooked lines? Out of the serious mistakes of my life will you make something beautiful for you. Amen