Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reap What You Sow? Or Nah?

Another WHOAment in Time with Tiffany:
Reap What You Sow? Or Nah?
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 anyone.
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 from God.
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 death?
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.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Tribute: Lorenzo Thompson

Happy Father's Day to Our Hero: Lorenzo Thompson!
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 her.

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 you” 
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.

Happy Father's Day!!!


Daddy and Denae

Daddy and Jazmyn

Daddy and Kayla

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Out with the Old...In With The New!! 2014 Goal Setting

Happy New Year to you and your family!! 

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". 



"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!