BY: GIOVANNA GOMEZ
BIBLE TEXT: “Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” --Romans 14:12-13
PERSONAL REFLECTION: Samalee Allen recently asked people on Facebook what their “word” for 2017 was. She stated hers was “engage.” Last week, Darrell Crawford used the word “radicalize” when he wrote for Day in the Life. Let me tell you about my word for 2017.
I’m a social worker and about three months ago I was asked to work a case involving a woman who had been homeless for two years. She had six children from different fathers. After I read her record I immediately made an assumption. I felt I knew what kind of person she was based on her circumstances. Before I met her and her children I had already made a mental plan of how I was going to handle her case.
When I met her, however, I learned that she was educated — a construction contractor with an impressive resume. Her children had learning and behavioral disabilities but she had sought out tutoring and therapy services for all of them, and aside from their disabilities, they were doing well in school. The fathers of her children were very involved and she maintained amicable relationships with them. One of her children often had breakdowns due to mental illness but she was skilled at calming him down. Her children adored her. There was a delicate way about her that instantly drew me. My assumptions – all of them – were so wrong.
She eventually found a modest three-bedroom home that was within her means just before Christmas. When I visited her new home I noticed that she had two Christmas trees set up – two trees for the two years she was homeless. Her children thought their new home was the most beautiful house they had ever seen and had an attitude of gratitude that quite frankly moved me to tears.
The children were excited to show me their home, opening all of the closets and demonstrating how the garage opened all by itself with the touch of a button. They had never had an automatic garage door opener. I noticed the garage was neatly organized and contained an excessive amount of toiletries and items such as paper towels, toilet paper, and non-perishable goods. “I’m a couponer,” she said, “And out of our surplus we help other homeless families.” She then said, “I can turn a $200 grocery bill into $20.00.” During the visit we talked about God’s goodness and His provision and her dreams for the future.
As I drove home from the visit, I asked God to forgive me for judging and making assumptions. I thought to myself that if the circumstances were different I would enjoy being this woman’s friend. How many beautiful people have I missed because of stupid assumptions and judgments? I wonder how much richer my life would be right now.
My word for 2017 is BEFRIEND. What is your word? If you are reading this devotional on Facebook, leave a comment with your word for 2017. If you are reading this from your email, click on “Leave a comment about this Devotional” link, scroll down, and leave a comment with your word. Let’s encourage one another.
PRAYER: Father God, in Jesus Name I come before you asking for forgiveness because I have sinned. Create in me a new heart, a heart that longs for you. Help me to love the way you love — without conditions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Giovanna has been blissfully married to Hubert for 28 years. They are parents to Andrew, who is married to Evelyn, and to Rachel who is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University. They have been partners with Life Assembly since 2005. Giovanna is a social worker – a profession she loves. She enjoys laughter, gardening, eating tasty food at restaurants with friends, and taking walks with Rocky — a Black Mouth Cur that her daughter rescued from the pound.