Every now and again, you may experience an epiphany. This may be a big, monumental boom or even a small-scale flash. Oprah calls them "aha moments"; while Arsenio said they are "things that make you go hmmm". I call these experiences "WHOAments".
We’ve all heard the saying “You
reap what you sow.”
It’s usually stated when a
Christian sees someone who is faced with challenges or “struggles”, right?
Maybe you’ve heard it this way: “So and
so is going through that because they are reaping what they sowed.” I know
I’ve said it and I’ve definitely heard it.
For example, when we hear
that someone, who has done us wrong (in our eyes), is faced with unforeseen sickness,
financial strain, or some other unfortunate event or circumstance, it is common
for some to put on self-righteous glasses and peer down judgmental noses and
condemn their “enemy” by saying ‘God don’t like ugly and they are paying for messing
with a child of the Most High!’ This is usually either followed by eye-rolling,
high fives or a “I know that’s right!”
Am I stepping on any toes? Come on. You can admit it. I won’t tell
First off, I will say that the
Bible does speak of sowing and reaping. However, usually, it is tied to God’s
principle of giving and receiving and sowing into the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not always about punishment and wrath. Yet, there are those people who have been
conditioned to think so highly of themselves that they believe these scriptures
mean that if a person treats another person “bad”, they will reap something bad
Think about it. You really
don’t hear that someone is reaping what they’ve sown when referring to something
good that has happened. Instead, you will hear them say that ‘so and so is richly
blessed because they blessed others’ or because ‘they are “living right”’.
Do you see the contrast?
As professed Believers, we
often quote scriptures and proclaim that ‘our God is a good God who loves us in
spite of us’ and that ‘He pours out His grace and love on all of His children
because he is not a respecter of person’ and that ‘He reigns on the just as
well as the unjust’.
Which one of those
statements do you hold true? Does it depend on the situation and the players
who are involved? Is sowing and reaping only applied when someone has wronged
you and you think they need to be punished for your perceived mistreatment?
Have you ever thought about
the fact that maybe your “enemy” has been diagnosed with cancer because they
didn’t heed the Surgeon General’s warnings that smoking can lead to cancer or
Maybe they are going through
financial strains because they aren’t good stewards of their money.
Maybe they lost their job
because the company was downsizing and had no choice but to let them go.
Maybe their dog bit them
because they were feeding it the wrong dog food.
Maybe their cat scratched
them because its nails were too long.
The list of circumstances
could go on and on. But they all have one thing in common: THEY HAVE NOTHING TO
DO WITH YOU! Let me repeat. THEIR
CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU OR GOD PUNISHING THEM ON YOUR BEHALF.
God’s love is unconditional.
Thank God! He doesn’t first look at our faults and decide to love us or not. In
fact, He doesn’t look at our faults or deeds at all. He loves us in spite of
us. So why would He change His ways to suit our needs?
Can you imagine if God
really did work this way? We would all walk around hurting, broke, sick, in
pain and just plain pitiful because, well let’s face it, every one of us has
done some thing(s) in our lifetime
that didn’t sit right with others. At least I know I have.But then again, raise your hand if you are
perfect and have never made mistakes or decisions that adversely affected
others. I’ll wait…. Hmmm. I don’t see any hands so I can assume that I am
correct. We all have done things that
could be deemed as “wrong” or “bad” to someone else.
Yet, God doesn’t punish
people. People punish people. Therefore, God will never, ever, ever punish
someone on your behalf. Sorry to disappoint you. God is not a bully or an
attack dog waiting for you, or anyone else, to say “sick ‘em”.
Let’s renew our minds
today. The next time someone who has done “wrong” to you, or someone else, is faced
with unfortunate circumstances, please don’t take credit for it (or blame God).
Instead, pray for them and their situation. Pray that they rely, solely, on God
to fix their circumstances. Pray that no matter what, God is glorified. Pray
that hearts are changed (yours or theirs) and that circumstances turn around.
Take yourself and your feelings out of the equation. Remember, what they are
going through has nothing to do with you. Above all, remember to show them
Christ’s love. You will be blessed because of it.
So the next time you hear
someone else say, “They are going through that because they are reaping what
they sowed.” Simply ask, “Well if that’s true, what about all the good things they’ve
done?” They will look at you and hopefully have a WHOAment!
Tiffany’s Side Note: When I was writing this, I thought about the
times the Bible mentions that ‘He will make my enemies be a footstool’. Could this
mean that they will be put down and I will be elevated? Not quite. After
researching more, I had another WHOAment. God will turn it so their actions will be
under my feet. When something is under your feet, you won’t stumble on it. It
is no longer an obstacle. It is nonexistent and a moot point. I will walk as though it doesn’t exist. Their
actions won’t stop me from having favor with others. Their actions won’t hinder
me from praising God. Their actions will
simply be “their actions” and they will have no effect on me. It is more about how I react to them. As
usual, it’s about me, not them.
Before Lorenzo and I married, we had discussions around
combining our two families and our expectations surrounding parenting. Lorenzo
had a teenage daughter from a previous relationship and I had a six year old
and a toddler, also from a previous relationship.
Having witnessed the “hands off” relationship between Jazmyn
and her biological father, my mother also had her reservations and concerns
about how Lorenzo would parent the girls. She wanted to make sure that my next
mate would treat me and her granddaughters right. In her words, she wanted
Jazmyn to finally experience being ‘a daddy’s girl’.
Ultimately, we decided that together we would raise our daughters
in a Christian home, preparing them to become virtuous women. Lorenzo’s daughter
would become my daughter and my daughters would become Lorenzo’s. We would
raise each of our girls as though they were our biological children.
Once we married, due to the physical distance between us and
her age, my “parenting” of Denae was somewhat limited. Often times she would call me for motherly
advice and to get my opinion on a range of topics. When she came for her
regular visits, I would finally get the opportunity to love on her in person. I
loved it. I was always happy to see her come and was equally sad when it was time
for her to leave us. Although she is in college now and has “left the nest”, so
to speak, she is my oldest daughter. My face lights up whenever I talk about
On the flip side, because I have full custody of Jazmyn and
Kayla, Lorenzo’s interaction with them is on a daily basis. For most men, it is
a huge responsibility to raise another man’s child fulltime. In fact, I have
come in contact with men, both biological fathers and stepfathers, who shun
their responsibilities by either running for the hills or quietly sitting back
while watching the mother raise “her” children, only assisting if or when they
are called upon.
In true fashion, from the day we married to now, Lorenzo has
stepped up to the plate!True to his
word he has treated our three daughters equally. They are all his daughters and
he is their Daddy.
When they are not feeling well, it isn’t to me that the
girls run. It is to Lorenzo. He uses his expertise to comfort and soothe them. He
is also usually the one that coordinates their day care when they are out of
school. It is Lorenzo who fixes their lunches. It is Lorenzo who helps Jazmyn
with her homework, making sure she understands and completes it. Lorenzo makes
sure he spends quality time with both girls, making sure they are taken care
of. Likewise, Lorenzo is also involved in correcting and disciplining the girls.
The list goes on and on of all the ways he is involved in our daughters’ lives.
Most people who don’t know our history automatically assume
that Jazmyn and Kayla are Lorenzo’s biological children. He is just that in
tuned with them.
To give you an example of just how involved he is, there was
one occasion when Lorenzo went out of town for a few days on a business trip.
Once Jazmyn realized that he would be gone, her first question was, “Who is
going to take care of us?” The “us” was not only her and her sister, but
included me as well. All I could do was laugh. Yet, her question was a
confirmation of answered prayers and a true testament of just how blessed we
all are to have Lorenzo Thompson in our lives.
To quote my Grandmother, “Lorenzo takes care of his girls...”
Raising someone else’s child means that not only do they not
have your DNA or genes; it means that they may also exhibit traits and
behaviors that are foreign to you and your spouse. It can be challenging.
However, Lorenzo has told me that in spite of these challenges, he knows that
he can’t sit back idly because he has been given an assignment – directly from
God – to train, teach and guide our family, and as such, he will never slack on
his job just because it would be, seemingly, “easier” to sit back in the wings.
Knowing that I am not alone in raising our daughters makes my heart warm.
Knowing that I have a participating partner is comforting.
“The Lord has blessed me because of
Genesis 30:27 TLB
This Father’s Day, I would like to salute and celebrate my
children’s FATHER, Lorenzo Thompson!
I also dedicate this WHOAment to all of the men who are
raising children who are not biologically yours!
God sees our diligence and will reward you for your efforts.
This year promises to be full of new experiences, milestones and many, many WHOAments to share with you. While I won't make typical New Year's resolutions, only to feel disappointed when they are not carried out, I will set new (SMART) goals for myself. What are SMART goals, you ask? Glad you asked. SMART goals are:
Here are some tips for setting your SMART goals: 1. Make sure your goals are specific. What is it that you are hoping to gain by setting this goal? 2. You need to be able to measure or track your progress. 3. Can you really attain your goal? Remember baby steps add up! Take it day by day. 4. Is your goal realistic? For example, can you really set a goal to lose 40 pounds in one month? Nope. 5. Give yourself a timeline for completing your goal. An example of New Year's Resolution is: "I will lose weight". vs. A SMART Goal: "To become healthier this year, beginning January 6th, I will walk on the treadmill for twenty minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays." Can you tell the difference? In the New Year's Resolution, how will you know if you've attained your goal? Is one ounce your goal? One pound? Is this realistic? Nope. By the time your first meal comes, you will gain instead of losing and your resolution will be shot -- probably by January 2nd. In the SMART goal, you have a specific goal in mind: to become healthier. You know that, starting on January 6th, if you don't walk on the treadmill for twenty minutes on the specific days you mentioned, you haven't met your goal. Remember, you can also make adjustments throughout the year to either expand and tweak your goals. Get the point? So now that you are able to set your SMART goals, grab a chair, a piece of paper and get to writing. Here's to another great year! P.S. - Looking for an accountability partner? Share your goal with me! I'd like to hear what you have planned for 2014! Let's see God work in our favor! ~Tiffany