Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

Blameless Just Because Beautiful You 1.1

Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

Just Because

Hi Beautiful!  I pray your week is sprinkling you with love and affirmations in how highly favored and blessed you are.  It’s that time again; it’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays.  I am starting up these weekly challenges again.  We’re all in this together, so let’s try and embrace these challenges with a cheerful heart that Proverbs 17:22 talks about.

These Tammy Tangent Tuesday challenges are encouraged to stimulate and encourage each other to give back to the community and also to bring unity by tapping into that beautiful spirit that resides within you, that Beautiful YOU, while pouring into each other.  It’s inexpensive, oftentimes will be free, and encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone and share that BEAUTY that resides within Beautiful You!

I challenge all of us this week to go out and share the beauty and joy that simple flowers bring. Let’s show the world by sharing how a simple gesture of handing someone flowers or attaching them to a car’s windshield or your neighbor’s front door will illuminate a smile across America! And when mamas are happy, everyone’s happy!  I challenge you to go out and buy a bunch of flowers, $3, $4 a bunch (if finances are tight, buy one flower or cut one of your own), and attach an anonymous note saying “Just because…You’re Beautiful! Pay it Forward.”

Find that neighbor that you don’t know and drop them off on their porch, give them to your pharmacist, a nurse, or the checker in any retail establishment, or how about the waitress that serves you.  Trust me, you will be amazed at the reactions to what people say and do.  Flowers bring smiles; and that smile will be transposed on others naturally and it will bring joy to a dark world.  Come on, let’s spread the love of Jesus to a world that needs a bright spot.

Share this post on your FB page and let’s get this started. Every time you receive a bunch of flowers, take one flower and give it to someone else.  I would love to hear how this simple token of love is brightening up others’ lives!  Embrace that beauty within you and let it shine!  Remember, we may be different in color and style, but without each other, there is no beauty in the bunch!!! 

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Blameless Beautiful You

Living With Addiction Day 11 ~ Depression and Belonging

Blameless Window of Blessings

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Depression

Damage more than the Afflicted

Day 11 of 40

News Alert:  That mask I lived behind for many years showed the deep darkness to what controlled my very existence.  Depression is a lonely torment.  The enemy plants these tiny seeds of doubt into our minds with words like “You don’t belong, you’ll never be good enough or pretty enough.”  This scheme of deceit creeps into our minds and hearts while this full-blown warfare develops solely to steal, kill and destroy.

Somehow, some way, I saw the hand of God extending down from heaven as I was driving off that cliff and grabbed ahold of it as my car smashed and bounced off the wall of rocks.  Jesus had been patiently waiting for me to grab ahold of His help so I would understand why He came; to set us ALL free, those who would believe, so that we may have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10).  It was then that this weapon of depression and force of destruction that was being formed against me lost its power during my final attempt at suicide.

While I was unconscious due to my skull fracture, I witnessed that bright light that some near-death experiences receive as I witnessed my life flashing before my very eyes.  I was touched clearly by the hand of God; how else could I survive flying through the air 350 feet after going through steel beams and bars and smashing into the cliff’s rocks, not to mention living through the force of the impact that compressed and wrapped my remains around the twisted metal of what was once my Volkswagen Bug.

So what happened to good ‘ole Scott, that dreamy boy, that some of you have asked?  You know, I don’t know.  I will never forget the “words” from his get-well card saying, “If you ever want to drop in anywhere, drop in at my house.”  He said I looked beautiful at the concert and disappeared right afterwards.  Due to our amazing seats, he was unable to get up front with us, but that he was behind me the whole time watching us a dozen rows back.

My parents and I moved to a completely new area shortly after my release from both hospitalizations and I never saw him again.  The enemy is good about robbing us of blessings and gifts that were ours to begin with to open, but we let doubt, insecurities, and fears, you name it, rob us of our value and our gifts intended just for that day.

Since Isaiah 54:17 reassures us that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, then it is my duty and responsibility to believe and walk out my faith trusting God at His Word.  This will require moving forward in great expectation and obedience so I may receive the deliverance from this weapon called depression however He chooses to orchestrate it.

God is faithful; He brought my deliverance and healing, but it was not without great cost and pain; the death of Jesus Christ.  I’d call it nothing short of a miracle.  Being healed by Jesus offers us a lifelong journey of hope and joy while giving us glimpses into what heaven will really be like. 

When we encounter this Great Love affair on a daily basis breathing, living and applying His Word to our lives, we become redeemed and transformed and our old strongholds and insecurities that genetically shackled us are removed and we become restored and renewed to being these Beautiful Beloveds God designed and created us to be.

It also helps us love others, even those that have brought us harm.  I want to live and love like 1 Corinthians 13 tells us; through kindness, humility, patience, and by being one who does not easily anger and holds no record of wrongdoing while seeing the best in others through the lens of the forgiveness that was bestowed upon me during the outpouring of love and redemption.

Having a relationship with the Lord changed my perception on who I was!  I finally belonged, to the King of kings and Lord of lords, mind you, and experienced the Love that we all yearn for; the Love I was even going to die for, but Jesus took my place instead and rescued me from myself.  This is called our Father’s Love!  He’s a good, good Father.

Until next time…

 

Living With Addiction and Strongholds of Depression

Blameless Depression I'm Fine

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Depression

Damage more than the Afflicted

Day 10 of 40

Today started like any other summer day before my senior year in high school; I took a shower, smoked a joint and cigarette and headed down to the beach to surf and sunbathe.  Today was special, though; there was a new boy in town named Scott and tonight was Pablo Cruz’s concert at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  Scott had the hots for me and said he would meet me down at the concert after work.

I scurried about in order to catch a ride on the morning surf and soak up as many sun rays possible needed to obtain that “been-at-the-beach-all-day look” with the peeling red nose and face to contrast and compliment my long, blonde hair!  That’s what looked hot and defined us surfer chicks!

Today held the promise of hope and love.  After my longstanding feelings of rejection and abandonment with my family, the constant jeers of being laughed at and not fitting in, coupled with bouts of depression unattended to for a couple of years and the breakup of a long-term boyfriend; there were glimpses of sunshine peeking through the dark clouds from a dreamy boy who was way out of my league. 

Scott had curly brown hair, green eyes, around 21, and even had surfboard racks on top of his BMW.  He said I was hot!  He made my heart palpitate.  My heart was beating again and I felt alive.  I couldn’t wait to receive more of his CPR.

After the beach, I showered with intention and detail to look beautiful in my size 3 Jordache jeans that were long enough to compliment my 5’11” frame and wear cowboy boots.  I looked hot, just like a supermodel!  I jumped into my V.W. Bug feeling beautiful and picked up a couple of girlfriends and headed down to the fairgrounds.  We drank some beer and smoked a few joints before we entered the concert. 

Upon arrival at the concert, we were fortunate enough to get escorted and seated in Row 3 right smack at center stage.  Every band wants a group of screaming teenage girls upfront.  The whole time we were talking and laughing, my mind became fixated on the whereabouts of Scott and it interfered with my ability to have fun engaging with my girlfriends.  The concert was getting jammed packed full of concertgoers and still no Scott.

The feelings of not being pretty enough and good enough was the perfect environment for the brooding of the storm.  Each emotional dagger of rejection were all consuming, turning the gusts of shame and walls of torment into deafening sounds diffusing the emergency warning system of the impending tornado.  Being tossed to and fro in the quiet eye of the tornado left no time to hear or acknowledge the warning sounds that this storm was about to implode even though it was louder than thousands of screaming cheers as the concert began. 

I started looking at everyone in the concert smiling, singing and dancing, the band focusing directly on us girls upfront, and I felt a sense of loss and gloom.  It wasn’t the spin of the tornado that was making me sick, it was because I felt alone in this crowd and no one could hear my screams for help and panic.  I didn’t belong and I didn’t fit in and I was scared to death.  My mind kept focusing on trying to find Scott in the chaos because my heart needed help. 

Once the concert was over, we headed over to the restroom.  I took one look at myself in the mirror and became horrified.  Between the sweat and oil from the heat of the lights and stage, the profusion of sweat from being one sardine amongst a compressed can, I looked horrible.  I no longer resembled the perfection of the model I put on beforehand.

The beads of sweat bonded my hair like glue instead of free-flowing locks that could be flicked back and forth; my black mascara resembled more of a tarantula instead of highlighting my green eyes; my peeling red and flaky white nose resembled my white eyebrows stuck to my burned forehead.  No wonder Scott stood me up.  I felt ugly and not worthy of love.  I had to get out of there.  I couldn’t let anyone see me like this and I needed to hide.

I told my friends that I wasn’t feeling good, so we needed to go home.  Everyone was laughing.  They wanted to stay and continue to have fun.  They didn’t look gross like me, so they stayed.  I walked to my car alone.  I felt ashamed because everyone was laughing in large groups and I was alone running to hide.  I felt unworthy because of my appearance.  Why do we place so much significance on our looks?

I got into my Volkswagen and headed home.  I cried the whole way home, but no one was there when I arrived.  All the thoughts, emotional daggers and flaming arrows that were penetrating my heart and controlling my mind became desperate. 

I drove to my favorite spot, Swami’s Beach, and circled the parking lot a couple of times after finding no one to love on me and snapped.  Before I knew it, I was driving through the protective barrier and wall built with steel beams and bars free-flying through the air bouncing off the rocks landing onto the ocean floor.  All I remember is seeing a bright light with my life flashing before me.

I wanted out of my cell of hell.  People with depression who don’t receive help can get this low.  There’s nothing to be ashamed about.  I was screaming “help me,” but I could not find a solution to ease the pain except for this final attempted suicide.  Thank you, Jesus!

Stairs+at+Swami+Beach+San+Diego

This is Swami’s Beach.  Beautiful, isn’t it?  Hard to really gauge the cliff’s height, but I believe it’s a little over 350 feet.  I wrote this from what I can remember as to what set me over the edge,  so to speak, 37 years ago.  I want to share that I have been completely healed by God’s Divine grace and mercy of depression many years ago.  Today I’m living in freedom and flying free of yesterday’s guilt, today’s fears, and tomorrow’s grave.  All because God loves me just the way I am!! 

 

There is hope for everyone suffering with depression; please just don’t let it get as far as I did!  This was my drug of choice, depression, living with addiction and the generational strongholds.

Until next time…

About Me/Meet Tammy Ingram/Founder and President of Blameless & Forever Free Ministries

profilepic2015Tam

About Me

Hi Beautiful!  Thanks for stopping by and saying hi.  You’ve found a great place that is not only safe, but hopefully you will enjoy the humor found while being supported.  My prayer is that you will leave my blog feeling hopeful, encouraged and aware of this Great Love of our Father God.  He never runs out of time or love for His beloved children.  God is ready and able, patiently waiting for us to call upon Him for help, equipped with His tool belt and power tools.  Now, that’s a good, good Father.

About me…  Well, for starters, I love being referred to as Grammy Tammy.  Yes, I proudly wear that crown.  I was graced with a princess granddaughter after raising, and surviving, rambunctious sons.  All I knew besides being knee deep in muddy waters, stinky socks, baseball and soccer balls and Tonka trucks, was starving boys and girls constantly calling.  Now a whole new world of tiaras and tutus and bright pink manicures/pedicures blesses each day along with giggles and princess kisses.  There’s not enough bling in the world to decorate our lives. 

On a more serious note, I am a beach girl raised in good ‘ole Southern California.  When I’m traveling abound and running through airports, I am often asked if I was raised in the south due to my Tammy Flare.  I jokingly reply, “Well, you could say so.  I grew up in beautiful San Diego County.  That is in the south, you know!”  I guess my brief tenure in Texas gave birth to the Southern Belle who refuses to leave which explains her accent emerging from time to time.  Proud of it!

I am a Beloved daughter of the Lord God Almighty who has been broken and set free from all the guilt and shame that has directed my life.  I have been saved by nothing short of grace and mercy given freely through Love Himself (1 John 4:7-11).  This Grammy Tammy is determined to leave a legacy of love through the realm of advocacy in being a “Voice” for those who have lost theirs through the imprisonment of abuse, abandonment, addiction, neglect and violence all in the name of Jesus.  My motto and the way I see it is:  There is no shame in our game; Jesus is His name!

Because the Lord has chosen to turn my ashes into beauty, after 20 years working in the law profession combined with another seven years serving as a chaplain, after completing the law enforcement chaplaincy academy, the Lord called me back to school.  College life is hard enough for a 20-year-old, much less a woman in her Fabulous 50s.

This is my only opportunity to boast so I’m going for it.  I am proud to say I graduated Magna Cum Laude and became a lifetime honorary scholastic member of Alpha Lambda Delta while accomplishing my Bachelor’s of Science in Religion, with a minor in church ministries.  But.. and I preface it with a big BUT… I am forever working towards my Master’s of Divinity.  Some day!  I’m Grammy Tammy; doing everything backwards!  I know all too well the life application meaning of Philippians 4:13 at its finest:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  So hard, but so rewarding!

You will find quite often that I refer to myself as being “high maintenance” in my writings, requiring sitting at the feet of Jesus after performing my exhausting and infamous Tammy Tantrums.  The “high maintenance” tag is just another lucid term I use to describe my pathetic fits.  Seeing a near six-foot-tall woman pout and hysterically cry with demands perfectly explains my extreme need for time with my Lord and my co-dependency on my best friend, the Holy Spirit. 

I love my Jesus and when I find His radiance has taken a backseat to the cast-iron horns emerging from my head while flaming arrows are spewing out of my mouth (quite the visualization, huh?), initiating a meltdown consisting of toddler tantrums, I realize rather quickly my great need for my Goditude time; solitude time with my Papa God.

Since I’ve been an advocate for those without a voice due to abuse, addiction, depression, being abandoned and rejected (all of which I have walked through myself), I understand the hurt, the loss and sorrow from a bleeding heart.  I want to share with other Beautiful Beloveds my story with a twist:  Being an Advocate for the Word instead!

I believe the Bible is God’s love letter written for His children.  After all, He calls us His masterpiece and His work of art (Ephesians 2:10).  The Word was written to engage in a relationship with us, much like a father relates to his children here on earth, to teach and instruct us in the way in which we should go through love.

God knew how hard life would be at times and that we would suffer, feel rejected, become lonely, and even develop characteristics and behaviors in need of fine-tuning.  He gave us this tangible moral compass because of His Great Love for us.  He wanted to make sure we had something to touch and could go to as a reminder of His loving presence, for help, hope, reassurance and strength as we press through while being loved just the way we are.

His love is abounding.  I pray you’re awakened to why God created mankind in His image (Genesis 1:27).  He created us with different colors, shapes and sizes in order to bring beauty to the bunch.  His creation was intended to engage in being unified within our communities by acknowledging our need for “each other.”  As I always say, without each other, there is no beauty in the bunch.

God designed us for relationship with Him and others.  We need each other to thrive, not just to survive.  I believe we need to share our lives with courage while being a member of the Hot Club; being honest, open and transparent!  One thing I will promise you, being honest, open and transparent in my writings might offend some, but I am a supporter of being vulnerable and authentic.  Leave the judgment to Jesus; that’s His job, not ours!  I live by my advocacy motto:  There is no shame in our game, Jesus is His Name!

If one person can receive hope, comfort or be encouraged by reading that they’re not the only ones going through their struggles and difficulties, that makes my heart leap with joy.  That is the meaning behind learning from each other while being bold and courageous.  I might not be able to walk alongside of you physically encouraging you to press on, but I can try through my writings.  Don’t believe me, just wait until my book, Flight 951, is published.  You will understand my journey.

The greatest gift I pray you take away is how much God loves you.  He loves it when we take the time to open up His Word and snuggle in tight learning about His nature and goodness and sovereignty.  He wants to pour healing into our hearts by speaking affirmations and truths about us being His Beautiful Beloveds. Cleaving and pressing into the Lord escorts us into the presence of what it’s like to be truly loved!  The worth and value is overwhelming; be-loved and be-valued and be-healed!

Welcome.  I pray you enjoy this blog and come back often.  Please don’t hesitate to comment or email me.  I am honored when I receive prayer requests.  I want you to experience this Great Love affair waltzing with grace as we sojourn together this side of heaven.  You can email me with your prayer requests or by visiting my non-profit organization’s website at blamelessandforeverfreeministries.org

Until next time…

What Does Christianity and Easter Have In Common?

Blameless John 15.13

What Does Christianity and Easter

Have In Common? 

He Is Risen!

His tortured and mutilated frame bled like ours as His blood-stained arms were stretched out and nailed to a wooden cross.  These nails that bound him at the hands and feet did not end His kingdom and/or take away His spoken promises.  They fulfilled it!  Jesus’ death brought love, life, truth, forgiveness and eternal reconciliation with God through His resurrection.  Jesus Christ defeated every sin, all evil and death on the cross.  Death is not an ending, nor should we fear or dread it!

The Resurrection is at the very core of the Christian faith.  Christ promised that He would be risen again in three days (John 2:19).  Since He did just as He promised, we can be certain every single word Jesus ever spoke is nothing but the Truth because He is God (1 Corinthians 15:13-18).  God sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10)!

Because Jesus has risen and is alive, we can be assured that He is sitting at the right hand of God and that our sins are forgiven and forgotten.  And since Jesus has risen, we can have faith that He is living and intercedes to God on our behalf.  What a glorious promise to treasure and embrace this Holy Week with Good Friday and Easter celebrations, reminding us of the victory gained on the cross all in the name of Love. 

Since Jesus rose and was resurrected, He defeated death which ushers believers into eternal life with God the Father once we are gloriously raised (John 11:25).  Now that’s quite a celebratory event, wouldn’t you agree?  After all, the stone that was rolled away from the tomb heralded the gateway to heaven and the assurance of the promises that await us.  We will also see our loved ones who passed before us again; that’s cause for celebration!

Sadly, the beautiful truths and proclamation about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection has been riddled with division due to the deception built around our legalistic religions.  Jesus’ death and resurrection wasn’t fulfilled in order to instill guilt or shame.  Quite the contrary!  His death and resurrection was never intended to manipulate us through threats of eternal damnation or to restrain us with fear in order to lead us to repentance.  Jesus did it all in the name of Love because God is the source of all love.

We have a friend in Jesus.  Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends (John 15:13).  As hard as it is to wrap our finite minds around this concept, we need to remember, There is no fear in love.  But Perfect Love drives out all fear, because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18).  That is the key that unlocks the doorway of our hearts and minds to engage in this great love affair.

I don’t know about you, but I needed introduction into what belonging meant because I was abandoned and rejected.  I was once orphaned and alone, but all I had to do was reach out towards my Lord’s extending hand to receive His presence and adoption into His kingdom.  Jesus is the gateway towards grace.  Jesus is the doorway towards deliverance.  Jesus is the free pass for peace.  Jesus is the man of mercy.  Jesus is the gate to glory!

I have been hated, but Jesus calls me highly favored.  I was broken and betrayed, but Jesus made beauty out of ashes.  My heart was fractured into many pieces, but Jesus offered me peace.  When my worth and value were questioned, Jesus showed me my significance.  I was once lonely, but Jesus calls me His friend.  I was once abused, but Jesus is my advocate and protector.  I was once weak and insecure, but now I’m strong, bold and courageous. 

Everything Jesus did in His Life and through His death was extraordinarily loving!

Jesus ushers us into the gateway of heaven.  That’s why He suffered such a horrendous death.  Love is a choice and requires action.  He died for my sins, let alone the world’s, to bring us into reconciliation with God.  God so desperately wanted a relationship with His beloved children, He was willing to sacrifice it all, His only begotten son, and that was quite a selfless act. 

Jesus brought heaven down.  Let’s be Beautiful Beloveds who praise with reverence and adoration.  There is no Greater Love than what ushers believers into eternal paradise promised and delivered through His death and resurrection.  We can be at peace in the words Jesus promised us.  That is love and hope worth believing and cleaving into!  This hope is what empowers us with confidence to bravely walk by faith and not faint by sight!

Let’s commence this Holy Week remembering the freedom we have received from the death and resurrection of Christ.  He is alive and is risen!  I am embracing this beautiful Easter celebrating and rejoicing over who my Lord and Savior is, my Redeemer, by sharing with others this joy that resides within me and radiates off of me.  Love is a choice with an action; won’t you join me!

Jesus Is Risen

That’s Why You’re Beautiful You! 

Wading Through Muddy Waters

Blameless Wade Thru Mud

Wading Through Muddy Waters

The massive strength needed to trudge through the muddy waters resembled more of a controlled, predictable gait, mirroring the confidence honored from the instincts that guided her next move.  She moved so swiftly, you’d never know her lack or hunt.  Her consistent fortitude simulated being well fed, full of faith and contentment exhibited by the play-like wading through the thick muddy waters all in the game of provision.

Her work is never affected by slim pickings, cloudy days, depression, bloating or PMS.  She is grateful for her daily bread.  Her comforts and submission are turned to the One who knows all things so there is nothing interfering with her loyalty and integrity.  Not even the pathetic whines that require way too much wine to numb the senses.

She finds rest and peace, ready at a moment’s notice, to please her master.  She knows Him and believes He has her best interests at heart even when she doesn’t see its fruition and the relentless hunger pangs remind her of the deficit.  Her mind stays focused on the trust that He will provide for her need, provision and protection every step of the way. 

She is reliable and a true hero.  Because her convictions rule her faith walk, each stride produces character traits that do not change like the raging storms and people around her.  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10).  

I don’t know about you, but when financial struggles strike our very heel, I would sure love to wade through the muck and yuck of those muddy waters with vigor and freedom mirroring such trust and confidence in my Lord’s provision rather than trudging through it fearfully, barely able to keep my head above water.  All that does is waste precious energy anyways in being exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually. 

If we could only remember to put our hearts and devotion into seeking and hearing our Lord and believing in His promises while walking by faith and not fainting by sight, all these things would be given to us with peace and vitality.  We just have to be patient and wait on the Lord and His timing by saying “thank you.”

Victory will come through trust when we dare take our eyes off of ourselves and our problems, get out of that bad neighborhood girlfriend, and look towards our amazing Lord who goes before us to pave and prepare the way. 

He blesses us with the gift of others who help encourage and pull us through all the muck and yuck and some that will even dare sit right smack in the middle of it all as we cry out for help.  They understand what it’s like and know our tears will turn into joy in the morning.

Don’t give up on Him, Beautiful Beloved.  He will provide!  I know, I’ve been there before and God delivered in such a profound and dynamic way, it was almost too overwhelming to receive.  There’s a reason for this very season and it will pass before your very eyes carrying that blessed miracle of provision.

Talk about being brave!  Money is a hard master to control and a deceptive one at that.  Just look who’s coming to protect and carry you, Beautiful Beloved.  We must never lose sight that the King of all kings comes first, the Lion Himself, to guide His precious princess lionesses who make sojourning this side of heaven exciting, and then comes His delectable provision and feast.  Integrity rules!

Blameless On The Hunt

These girls are wading through muddy waters with bravery and strength.  No depression or isolation here to suggest anything but victory.  They are well nourished and adequately provided for.  These friendships courageously plow through life being Brave And Determined warriors (#BADwarriors)!  They are beautiful and confident beloveds leading each other to the finish line in sync with integrity.  They remind each other of the provision right around the bend.

Beautiful Beloved, don’t let your perceived lack take over the power and place that only God can offer and sustain.  God is your master, not money; let Him deliver!  Perfect peace that surpasses all knowledge can be obtained through financial crises if only you will trust Him and His timing!  “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).  God is not ignoring you, He sees everything and cares for you.  Give Him some room to work as you rest at His feet.  He’s got it covered.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Brave, Beautiful You!

Beautiful Blue You

Blameless Blue Monarch Butterfly 7

Beautiful Blue You

Automatic obedience?  I’m a work in progress and a tad bit slow, but that’s what makes my gifts extraordinaire!  Those golden nuggets strategically placed just awaiting my presence makes this journey so exhilarating.  I am nothing short of a little girl skipping merrily along with my Easter basket in tote hunting for those hidden treasures my Lord has placed along the pathway just for me.  He loves my excitement as I squeal with delight as I find them, just like any good father would when blessing His children.

This morning I was challenged by my Lord during quiet time to embrace a time-out by hiking to clear my head and encounter His beauty and promises through nature.  I wrestled with Him through excuses like, “With my maxed-out day, you want me to go hiking?  What about my high pain level?”  Through my typical Tammy Tantrum and objections, I happened to shrug with an attitude to boot demanding, “I better see my rare and beautiful blue butterflies then.” 

Call me a spoiled brat!  I am and so PROUD OF IT!  Here my Lord asks me to take a break from all the demands vying for my attention and my spoiled and pathetic attitude barters with the Lord God Almighty demanding this encounter with MY (me-me-me) rare and beautiful blue butterflies that I haven’t seen in years.  My daddy knows what these butterflies mean to me, much like He knows the joy and peace I receive when He paints those magnificent portraits at sunset in the sky, JUST FOR ME!

These absent blue butterflies guided me quite a few years back on the Ravine trails that brought hope and assurance at a time sojourning this side of heaven crossed roads with an uncertain pathway that I needed clarification on.  Being aligned with His will is vital during a time when significant decisions are needed.  My faith and Spirit residing within me knew exactly what it needed for clarification:  “Just follow the blue monarch butterfly.” 

I did.  That obedience led me to one blue butterfly that guided me to another blue one that was stuck in the mud.  The amazement was that there were over 50 other blue butterflies just waiting for it to be released nearby.  This community of butterflies surrounded this one stuck beauty and refused to leave until the meticulous use of leaves pried it from the mud.  Talk about splendor as I sat and watched a bouquet of blue butterflies emerging from the ground I was sitting on.

Each step began with pain and a lot of grumbling, but once the tunes were on and I started worshiping the Lord, my mind started clearing and I watched nature blossom before my very eyes.  I was no longer rushed, just enchanted.  The crisp coolness from the gentle breeze excited my senses along with the fragrance that the orange blossoms offered as I skipped joyfully along with awe and praise.  Those initial grumblings were replaced with shouts of joy as I praised my daddy for this gift.

Praise not only changes our attitude, but it ushers down the presence of the Almighty and turns our gong sounds into sweet lyrics towards God that proclaim how amazing He works.  He not only blesses me with the road in which to take, answered prayer; but He affords me the luxury to speak life into a few of my beautiful girlfriends who are going through really hard and trying times right now.

My girlfriends have honored and graced me with complete trust where their bleeding and tattered hearts are exposed and shared with my heart for consolation.  I know their pain.  I can remember that pain.  Those sobs of anguish and convulsions of deep fears and despair that pour out of their tender hearts echos pain I once walked through and was graciously delivered from.

Beautiful Beloved, God sees you and hears you.  Your world hasn’t fallen apart, it is falling into place.  I know you are feeling blue right now, and I wish so compassionately that I could take your pain away.  But what I can offer you is to remind you how loved you are, continue to offer you a shoulder to lean on, a warm heart filled with lots of hugs and love, and a quiet presence to continue to allow you to cry, be prayed over, and supported as you’re surrounded by beauty and hope.

Don’t forget to cleave to the Truths found in the Word.  You were created and designed by God for His glory (Isaiah 43:7) and you are His masterpiece and work of art (Ephesians 2:10) so do not lose heart.  He is reaching down to help you get back up and fly, beautiful blue you.  Meditate on Psalm 116:1-7 as God bends down to deliver you:

I love the Lord, for He heard my voice;

He heard my cry for mercy.

Because He turned His ear to me,

I will call on Him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me,

the anguish of the grave came upon me;

I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the Lord:

“O Lord, save me.”

The Lord is gracious and righteous;

our God is full of compassion.

The Lord protects the simplehearted;

when I was in great need, He saved me.

Be at rest once more, O my soul,

for the Lord has been good to you.

Praise the Lord, Beautiful Blue You.

He Hears You and Will Deliver You!

Blameless Blue Monarch Butterfly

 

You Are So Beautiful!

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You Are So Beautiful!

You are so beautiful!  No matter what you think or what I think, you are so beautiful!  Every imperfection and battle scar and idiosyncrasy just introduces and highlights the depth and layers of your unique beauty.  Look at yourself.  Look into your eyes.  On the surface they may resemble a green marble with brown hues due to years of sun damage or even pale blue, but look at how they twinkle radiance when you take the time to grace your uniqueness. 

Beautiful, our beauty is skin deep, not just superficial makeup that we paint on each and every day.  There is a reason we arise and are called blessed.  Those that witness us see us as beautiful.  They see through our veils of deceit and polluted lenses.  They see us through the life of Christ.  They see us through the lens of purity.  They see us as a light that illuminates darkness.  We are beautiful because there is no one like us.  God designed us in His image (Genesis 1:27) in every color, style, shape and size.  He did this because without each other, there is no beauty in the bunch!

And Beautiful, I challenge you to chew on these Truths in the Bible every day.  Write them on the tablet of your heart.  When you realize who God says you are, your worth and value, you will understand what it means to be confident without need to compare yourself to others and conform to what society dictates as being beautiful.  You will radiate your beautiful self by standing tall wearing your crown securely, because you will know and experience how loved, cherished and pursued you are. 

Remind yourself of these Truths and speak them over your life daily:  I am beautiful because I am God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).   I am beautiful because I know I have royal blood running through my veins and that I am God’s temple and His spirit resides within me (1 Corinthians 3:16).  I am beautiful because my beauty portrays a woman of virtue, a woman of God.  I am beautiful because I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and God’s works are wonderful.  And when God says He makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11), that means He created ME in HIS image (Genesis 1:27) and I shall never forget that I am His work of art (Ephesians 2:10).

I become more beautiful each and every day because even though I may be outwardly wasting away, inwardly I am being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).   And because I have searched the scriptures and have received the wisdom that God says about me, I know I am beautiful because my Lord says, “She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed” (Proverbs 3:15-18).

I am beautiful; look at me!  When I smile, you can see the depth of me.  Never forget, Beautiful Beloved, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).  Now that’s beautiful!

Charm may be deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but God says in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Do not be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”

Oh, Father God, I pray that you let all of us Beautiful Beloveds taste and see what you see and start to believe.  Help remind us to meditate on Your Word, Your Love Letter, day and night so we can remember what fine works of art we are.  Help remind us that we are altogether beautiful and there is no flaw in us (Song of Songs 4:7), not one. 

Let us pray:  Oh, my Lord, Your love surrounds me like the great expanse of sea.  Let me feel Your Love crashing over me.  Immerse me with your living waters and swing wide open the floodgates of your Truths upon my heart.  A downpour to wash over me and make me clean.  Oh, how your Word was once nothing to me, now is everything before me.  Oh, how Your Love has set me free!

Remember, Beautiful, in closing, what a beautiful name it is, Jesus Christ, and He is our King.  Don’t believe me, listen to The Name of Jesus by Hillsong Worship.

Until next time…

Live, Laugh, Love!

 

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Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Lots!

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He Loves Me,

He Loves Me Lots! 

Perfect Love!

Aromatic fragrances and sweet lyrical sounds excited my senses as I inhaled pure joy and eager anticipation.  These heightened sensations drew me towards the direction that was greeted with excitement as my heart jumped with joy in unison with each footstep that led me closer to the propped door.  The simplistic and innocent melody being sung beneath the covers amplified the subtle undertones. 

Upon arrival, I stopped dead in my tracks instead of plunging in through the door.  I usually fly onto the bed to receive that much needed sugar fix I crave that can only be satisfied through the hugs and kisses and giggles of my beloved granddaughter.  The restraint delivered through the quiet peek from the door captured more than sweet memories. 

The dangling of the tiny feet resembled more of a banging sensation similar to that of a tambourine along with the precious whispers of the words delivered.  This clanging cymbal was something that her daddy mastered and brought me great joy.  You can’t help but dance when memories are that vivid.  This ushered me right into the presence of praising my Lord for all His amazing gifts and love!

The innocent melodic words flowing freely without any reservation from a two-and-a-half-year-old were simply,  “My Carson, I love you.  My Carson, I love you.  My Carson.  My Carson is good, good, good.”  Then a brief moment of silence and the singing continued with “One, two, three, four.  Two, three, four.  Five, six.  One, two.  One, two.”  Silence erupts as the wrestling of the sheets breaks through with, “He loves me, he loves me not.  He loves me, he loves me not.”

Here my precious granddaughter was laying on my bed thinking about her adored three-year-old friend, Carson, with her legs flailing about in open air while pulling the petals away from flowers that were sitting on my nightstand.  My heart leaped with joy as I watched with admiration how precious and innocent the words flowing carefree intertwined with her contentment to just be and receive.  She had mastered that delicate art of basking long enough to ponder about love after awakening from a nap.

Listening to those tender words, “My Carson, I love you.  He loves me, he loves me not,” suddenly reiterated how God’s Love never ceases.  There is nothing we could ever do to make God not love us.  If only we could arise and take a few brief moments each day to bask into His Great Love.  This is why I’m such an advocate of His Word!  Daily immersion equips us to press through boldly each day remembering how loved, chosen, pursued and valued we are.

We need to remember, reiterate and emphasize while changing our words to reflect “He loves me, He loves me lots.  He loves me, He loves me lots!”

I want my Princess Ella to grow up knowing that she is Loved, ALWAYS, and Lots (LAL)!  No matter what happens in life, there is nothing she can do to run from or separate herself from our good, good Father’s Love.  And when she questions it, all she has to do is read her Love Letter, her Bible, and ask the Lord to show her what He thinks about her while she rests at His feet.  I pray she constantly awakes knowing she is unconditionally loved and can sing out loud,  “He loves me, He loves me lots!  He loves me, He loves me lots!”    

I can remember what it was like to feel and think I never belonged or that I was not loved.  It distorted every choice and decision I ever made for decades.  Talk about insecurities and strongholds that developed.  I felt my identity was based on the power delivered from my family, career, income, power and prestige, education, children, you name it.  All of that left me unfulfilled, unloved, and lacked any long-standing self-worth and identity. 

Now that I know where my worth and value are derived from and how loved I am by our good, good Father, and it’s unconditional and never ceases, I am walking confidently with my Godfidence (confidence given by God) knowing I am not only loved just the way I am, but I am Loved Lots!

Being Loved is the most valuable and cherished possession one could obtain.  It not only offers great riches through friendships, healing, transformation, and miraculous treasure chests filled and overflowing with daily gifts just awaiting to be picked up and opened, but it’s free and one in which we all thrive and bloom under.  Maybe that is why Jesus was telling us to be more like little children in Matthew 18:3.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to change my thinking and loudly proclaim to my Princess Ella that she is LOVED, ALWAYS, and LOTS!  May we never forget to remember and share the power delivered from the Truth that “He loves me, He loves me lots.”  After all, that is the meaning behind 1 John 4:8-21.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

I’ve Been Caught!

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I’ve Been Caught!

Now What?

I’ve been caught!  Now what?  What’s a girl supposed to do?  Should I apologize?  What for, I didn’t ask for this disregard.  Should I just keep quiet to cover over the offense of another?  Now why would I do that, especially given the fact that statistics show the perpetrator will continue?  Should I run away with my tail between my legs or should I stand firm, tall, and roar like an angry lion does announcing his forewarning?

Ha!  I know what I would like to do!  If we’re being honest here, I know most of us would like to see revenge occur when others devalue us, especially when one’s heart has been hurt and violated, right?

That’s when my very own advocate, Jesus Christ, convicts my heart and reminds me that His ways of Love and justice, not to mention vindication (revenge, yes!), will be accomplished completely different than anything I could ever conjure up.

My initial attempts at confronting through Love will be honored, while those who devalued my life and time will be instructed in how to better handle these situations in the future because Love is patient.  Love is kind.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Honestly, after hearing those beautiful words from my best friend, the Holy Spirit, my Comforter, I had about a three-second sense of peace and contentment; but then the decay stemming from the bitter root inside of my heart wanted out and her revenge didn’t want it accomplished through God’s Love or His ways of justice.  I am just being totally honest here because I’m far from a saint.  I have feelings and they run deeper than any roots or any circumference of the cedars of Lebanon.  Sadly, there are times I’m ready and able to devour and feast on my prey that I’ve been lying in wait for.

It’s a beautiful thing my good, good Father knows me and loves me just the way I am, because right after I completed my Tammy Tantrum at her finest, my Lord reminded me of my beliefs; that every affliction that comes my way and brings God glory through reaching and teaching others is well worth any vindication my mind could dare conjure up because I have seen firsthand the destruction that pride and hate promotes.  Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs (Proverbs 10:12). 

My Lord reminded me to focus on matters worthy of my attention; that I have quite a challenge before me that will consume all my energy and to let Him take care of this.  Isn’t that what a loving daddy does; gently reminds us what to release, where to keep our focus, and to trust Him for the outcome while He blesses us with peace that surpasses all knowledge (Philippians 4:7).  How else are we going to make it through another day without it?  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I am so grateful I have the freedom to press into His Word through intimacy and memorize scripture that I cling to for dear life because it’s at these moments when I’m ready to attack by fighting back that my heart and soul gently leads me to quiet pastures in order to regroup and calm down.  Sometimes that even requires grabbing me by the bit.  It’s better than ripping someone’s head off through words that could easily spew out of my mouth or of the pouring myself a glass of wine just to temporarily calm down which leads into several along with a headache the next day.

Since I’ve been declared innocent and righteous, it only makes sense then to extend that grace to those that have harmed me through Love.  It does not mean they will not suffer any subsequent repercussions of their actions, it just helps me to release the sting and be healed.  This will require being completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in Love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called (Ephesians 4:2-4). 

You might be saying, “Can you really let God have vengeance?”  Oh, it was hard at first.  That’s when I get to share that after you’ve been caught and touched by my Lord and realize how pursued and chosen you are, abiding in His Love and ways is amazing.  The freedom from the bondage and pain that those handcuffs caused releases a little snicker underneath your breath once your spirit (your BFF, best friend forever) reminds you, In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you (Proverbs 25:22).

Now that’s worth a happy dance!  And my heart gets to leap with joy knowing that through loving crazily while being kind to those I encounter that are hard and messy this side of heaven, pours more than hot coals onto their heads.  My God, my Lord, claims vindication in the only way that could reap lasting results; Love!  I’m really not that kind, it’s just a byproduct of the fruit of the Spirit; Love!

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

 

Victim or Victor? Part One

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Victim or Victor?

Silence Empowers Perpetrators

Part One

This piece of Caryn Drexl’s Photography speaks of unfathomable pain and suffering.  It also exhibits triumphant undertones that are not only haunting, harsh realities, but speak victory if one simply dares to look long enough under the torment.  Kind of synonymous with the old adage that a good friend shared last week, “Our churches are hospitals for sinners, not a showcase for saints.”

If churches and congregations are supposed to be safe havens and refuges for the hurt and broken, how can they safely coexist alongside places of worship and be common ground that encourages engagement in healthy relationships?  Can they nurture and develop into communities where we can learn and grow from one another as we do life together safely through prayer, consolation and the healing of our infirmities?

Why is it I cannot be consoled or receive this peace that others receive or flock to?  Why is my spirit so downcast within me?  Is it because my hands are tied and affliction abounds or because it is yet another piece of bravery that valor requires I walk through?

Have our churches become so polluted with sick people who only attend so they can be catered to and loved on while we practice our sermons getting paid through accolades and tithes and commercialization or are we forgetting through our performance-based facades that we are supposed to administer healing through Love Himself in order to be released back into our communities?

The Word teaches that the Body of Christ is meant to be the hands and feet of God while sojourning this side of heaven through love, justice and accountability.  Why, then, are we staying loosely bound and tied, afraid to bravely break free by confronting and speaking up against the actions of a brother from another mother?

Isn’t that what community in the church is all about; loving one another while sharing our experiences in claiming freedom and holding each other accountable for how we do life each and every day, good or bad?  To me, that requires trust that is gained solely through the engagement of communication and the building of relationships

Since coexisting on earth oftentimes requires love, patience, goodness, kindness, etc., communities go through a gamut of emotions similar to victims ranging from fear to denial and maybe even to acknowledgement.  As a society, how can we claim victory when the actions of our leaders compound and make the violation much more worse than need be all in the name of devaluation? 

I personally feel completely violated myself, not so much from the actions of a perpetrator, but the way my complaint was handled by those in authority.  I didn’t ask the Lord to put me on this path or even to take its sting away.  I asked Him to give me courage to be brave enough while being obedient through Love.  I knew this obedience would release the everlasting peace and wisdom that I was craving for, but I was not prepared to tackle this battle after what I perceived was being completely devalued and shut down.

I can handle the person injecting the fear and control, but what about those who shepherd and lead us and are supposed to protect and support us as we press through attacks, not to mention the legalities that accompany it?  What are we supposed to do if we don’t feel as if our backs are covered?  I know that sadly in the world we live today, this violation will happen again, but it does not have to tarnish the spirit of another.

I was brave enough to try and stop the actions through Love before they hurt more people or themselves and the power from my voice was stilled before I even had a chance to share my concerns about what had transpired.  I don’t know what hurts worse, the actions of the perpetrator or the blatant disregard of my value.  Mocking it on the podium is quite shocking.  Isn’t this conduct called denial, sweeping it underneath the rug because no one wants to take the time and deal with it?  Is it the victim’s duty to proclaim victory without the untying of the ropes first?

Being an advocate and a victim myself, the one thing I always try to emphasize and share with victims is that when we keep quiet because we feel no one will believe us or more harm will befall us, or it will just cause a scene in the church, we are giving our violators the power to continue in their conduct.  What might have started out as borderline bad behaviors can quickly escalate into dangerous situations because no one stood up and said, “Stop.  Enough.”

Bad behaviors and boundary breakers will continue to exist and clash in our congregations until someone is bold and courageous enough to bring awareness through Love.  When this conduct is tolerated in our congregations and the victim is ridiculed, this is not the edification and correction process that Paul speaks so clearly about in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

As a matter of fact, how can we effectively help build each other up while being sensitive to all sides until we take the time to communicate?  Have our churches lost that delicate art, sense of communal relationships, in order to be polished and presented with perfection?  I didn’t realize living in an imperfect world being imperfect beings demanded perfection; just saying…

Call me bold and courageous or even crazy.  I like to believe I’m a Beloved chosen to walk out my faith as I boldly confront what my Lord asks me to do.  Call me controversial or even boisterous, but I know where my value and worth derive from.  It is my duty and responsibility as a child of God to talk and share about lifestyles and subjects that are a part of our culture today which are not spoken about and even hushed in our congregations.  God forbid!

Until next time…

Too Blessed To Be Stressed!

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Too Blessed To Be Stressed?

Hello!!!

Too blessed to be stressed?  Hello…  If truth be told, even this jovial, hyper-happy spirit would say, “In your dreams maybe!”  Oh, I am by far one blessed woman lavishly surrounded by my great riches; those rare and beautiful gems I call my friends.  Friendships always seem to sparkle and bring life and clarity back to those dull and dreary seasons that need brightening.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Truth be told, though, when your world is spinning out of control and you’re drowning underneath the compounding weight of wickedness and disease, sometimes the force of that power challenges the stability of the connecting links.

How do we stay connected to our powerful source of clarity when we’re suffocating underneath the life of relentless trials and tragedies?  How can we remember that life sometimes clouds and pollutes our very own lenses from the fog that breathing hard develops and living in the wrong neighborhood portrays?

Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A cheerful heart is great medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  If we can be brave enough to apply this to our lives and walk it out, we will remember not to isolate and that changing the atmosphere is the best medicine possible.  We don’t always have to be happy, that’s not what blessed means.  Blessed means being brave and courageous enough to be present and not withdraw and to love on others when we’re so needy ourselves.

I’m so glad I am doing exactly that because I’m one needy beloved right now.  God has told me to dance while He works out all these painful situations that are lurking in every corner for my protection.  I courageously accepted that challenge and took God up on His Word and will continue to dance no matter what I look like and have fun while I’m still breathing!

If only we could remember to not go at it alone and isolate while the heaviness of life is crushing in on our palpitating hearts.  That’s when the Lord is knocking on the chambers of our hearts trying to get us to open the door so He can sprinkle His Love through sweet friends that will forever hold us up like Aaron and Hur did for Moses when he was too exhausted and in too much pain to keep his arms up and remain steady and strong (Exodus 17:12). 

This help wasn’t just for the benefit of Moses’ leadership, it was to help and protect the Israelites by coming together as a team to defeat the evil army of the Amalekites.  This is the domino effect of being loved on and shouldering some support; communities being blessed.  That’s cheerful medicine!

This is also where we get the freedom to warm up our bodies to dance; you know, when you get to vomit, purge and open the tear ducts raging out of Hoover Dam where your two left feet turn into pure grace.  But just a gentle reminder, whatever you do, don’t take yourself too seriously immediately afterwards because if you’re anything like me, when Hoover Dam rages, the eyes and face would scare just about anything!

Blameless Mirror Fright

I was asked why I attended my church with all the amazing churches abound.  I had one simple reason, really.  It is called our women’s group.  No, it’s not where you get a bunch of judgmental women together with their Bibles opened sitting in cliques of eight to a table.  Our group sits in one large (huge!) circle and shares real life battle scars that God has redeemed.  Along with our study book, this supports and encourages each other to hang onto the Lord while we share our very own personal stories of victory.

This is where we talk about real life situations such as abuse, addiction, rape, molestation, divorce, marital affairs, not feeling loved or belonging.  We don’t sit around feeling sorry for one another, we gather around each woman celebrating God’s redemption and healing strength while encouraging others going through similar trials to continue walking bravely as we pour love into their souls.

This crown we wear and the royal blood that runs through our veins cost way more than any affliction we’ve ever walked through, but when we can be vulnerable, raw and honest with one another sharing our battle scars and life experiences, God’s grace receives glory because being the hands and feet of Jesus creates unity and belonging that pours wellness and health back into our communities.  This also helps us to be healed of what has held us captive in our imprisonment of shame. 

Our congregations were never meant to be places where the weak come and get catered to and coddled while staying in their afflictions.  They were designed to experience the power and healing that comes from a relationship with our good, good Father in heaven who offers His unconditional love.  His Love brings healing and a sense of belonging with the strength to walk through battles victoriously while sharing our unique stories.  This is how we walk through life too blessed to get stressed and receive that sense of belonging and purpose we all crave.  That’s what is called the Body of Christ; being the hands and feet of God!

Sometimes life throws at us seasons of suffering, but when we surround ourselves with others who love us just the way we are, battle scars and all, and will bleed right alongside of us until they’ve completed sewing the stitches that God uses their tender and loving hands to mend; there’s something unique and valuable about being loved just the way we are!

Until next time…

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Plank In Thine Own Eye

Excuse me… 

You might want to remove that rather large plank from your own eye while I’m still hanging here!!!

You know that feeling, you’re beyond console.  You’re no longer content and purring like a kitty.  Now you find yourself lying in wait for an innocent prey to cross your path so you can devour and consume them!  Every living, breathing thing annoys you.  Between the sound from the constant jeers occupying way too much space in your neighborhood (your mind) to the innocence of childlike laughter, everything and everyone has somehow leeched onto the underpinnings of your emotional and spiritual foundation.  Now all you’re doing is roaring like a tiger and leaping and pouncing on the prey that stands before you. 

You’re tired.  No, more like exhausted.  Life is hard.  People are messy.  Change abounds and relentless demands suck out the very last breath you had been holding onto.  You feel like the hunted, yet your actions simulate a hunter looking to accuse and devour.  You’re judging another’s piece of imperfection while prancing around with your own huge plank distorting your framed lenses.

Everyone has a problem except for you (hello!!!).  You’re demanding they change, yet you’ve failed to realize you’re the one who needs to change because you’re letting their actions affect you.  Life had gotten too heavy again and somehow or another you removed the wrong baggage; you know, you lightened your load by putting your solitude time with your Lord on the back-burner.  And here your Bible is screaming, “Open, open, open.”

There’s a reason the Bible tells us in Matthew 7:5 and Luke 6:41-42 about Jesus’ teaching regarding the criticism of others.  Granted, there are times when the actions of others need to be confronted for their wrongdoing, but when we can’t let it go and it starts consuming our every thought and action, bringing about negative amplification, we become self-righteous and judgmental.  Ouch!

I needed this.  The Lord was convicting me.  I had let the doubt and challenges over the sovereignty of God’s protection with future generations consume me.  Every choice and decision I was obediently choosing to make will Blameless Judgmentimpact our future generations.  Walking out our faith is brutally hard at times especially when it requires the severance of strongholds that have afflicted loved ones. 

When everyone and everything started annoying me, I realized how I let the actions of another pollute my tender heart and I needed the cleansing that only the Lord could purify through His Love and healing.  This anger and irritation festering inside of me was wrapping me up into a web of destruction.  The lies of the enemy.  I wanted out of this entanglement again because it was way too hard to walk through.  Even though I knew this suffering would last only for a little while, sojourning this side of heaven was anything but blissful.  My bones became dry and brittle and I was parched!

How could I figure out how to escape victoriously?  First I needed to pray and repent!   After that, I needed to sit at the feet of Jesus and immerse myself in that beautiful love letter of mine, the Bible, and receive the cleansing and nourishment my soul was craving.  God was awaiting His daughter’s presence so He could purify my soul and speak peace and restoration back into my dry bones as He gently caressed my face while loving on me.  What a good, good Father!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wrestle, clash, growl and, yes, even pounce on others because I’m irritated, exhausted, frustrated, feeling attacked and want out of the tough journey that I am pressing through, and I forget about the valuable resources available that would empower me with the much-needed strength to quench and satisfy my thirst that could only come from the living water Himself; Jesus Christ!

Since God loves us just the way we are, we don’t have to be afraid in getting exposed through our vulnerabilities!  The filthiness and decay of my flesh and spirit needs daily, or more like moment by moment, cleansing perfecting His holiness throughout my life this side of heaven.  When I receive this cleansing from being in the presence of my Lord, reading His Word, then my thoughts and attitudes promote reactions and actions that lead to peace and love.  If we don’t take the time to understand and process what we’re feeling and thinking, we become judgmental and sinister and blinded to the plank in our very eye. 

You know, I’ll let you in on a secret here; I’m not always right.  I am an imperfect Beloved who is Be-held living in an imperfect world and my humble perspective changes and allows my world room to bloom and grow being a Beautiful Beloved!

Oh, don’t worry, I’m still hanging onto that tree branch.  I’m sure there will be many more difficult days in my future where I’ll want to pounce and devour, but I can only pray for deliverance on that day and worry about my own plank rather than what is in my brother’s or sister’s eye.  God isn’t through with me yet. ♥♥  I choose to remember that others’ actions and behaviors are their own and there is no place for my own judgment.  I have enough of my own issues to deal with! 

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

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My Heart Bleeds

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My Heart Bleeds

My heart bleeds…  When you ignore and don’t see me.  My heart bleeds…  When you say you love me and yet look right through me.  My heart bleeds…  When I don’t feel accepted because of my needs.  My heart bleeds…  When you turn your back on me.  My heart bleeds…  When you say you don’t need me!

My Lord Holds My Heart

After pulling myself out of my car exhausted, praying that the Lord would fill me up with strength and love, I dragged myself into the welcoming area.  Every step was riddled with physical pain, but Blameless Animated Heartthe lack of any acknowledgement or greeting of my mere presence ushered in a deep sense of loss and rejection which cut right through to the very core of my being.  Here I’m generally the one welcoming and loving on others wherever I go, but today the only image I saw was the turning of backs.

My heart sank with rejection which made me want to run and hide.  Better yet, it prompted me to visit my bad neighborhood filled with triggers that were rearing their ugly heads.  My mind was filled with scenarios like, Do I smell like B.O.?  Do I have precarious toilet paper hanging in the wind and no one can look at me without laughing?  I could live with that!  Worse yet, what is so repulsive about me, my mere presence, that would trigger people to turn their backs on me?  Great, now this forced meltdown is causing Hoover Dam to burst from my tear ducts!

To make things worse, right before my heart leaped from my chest in despair, I noticed five known leaders who were huddled together in a corner watching my every step.  The closer I got to them, the quicker they all turned their backs on me to face the door.  Now mind you, when all backs simultaneously turn in the opposite direction, it doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that the consolation and acknowledgement I craved today was going to stay unmet; or was it?

I am so grateful for our Great Counselor that John 14:26-27 (MSG) talks about because when four of the five backs turned against me, it threw a dagger deep into my heart that made me want to do an about face and run like the wind on that cold and stormy day!  Their disregard felt more like the arctic blast.  I resolved to pull up my big girl panties and wipe my tears as I felt peace warming my heart and hearing, “I see you, Beautiful.”  I remembered the meaning and intention behind John 14:27, I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft.  So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” 

That’s when the Holy Spirit reminded me how my Lord Himself experienced this great pain just so He could relate, engage and identify with our sufferings.  The Spirit helps us walk through these painful encounters bravely because we’re so wrapped in His Love and know where our worth and value come from.  That’s affirmation!  Jesus often says, Beloved, My heart bleeds when you ignore me.  My heart bleeds when you turn your back on me.  My heart bleeds when you say you don’t need me.  My heart bleeds when you don’t accept and love me.  My heart bleeds when you don’t believe in me. 

My goodness, had it not been for the Holy Spirit’s comfort and tugging, I would have succumbed to the pain afflicted from the flaming arrows and emotional darts that penetrated my armor.  We all get dressed more often than not without our armor on or even with our breastplates on backwards.  This leaves our hearts vulnerable to the seat of our emotions and self-worth exposed. Without knowing the love and pursuit of our Lord, defeat would strip any confident beloved!

I don’t know about you, even though I’m jovial, I don’t always remember that I have royal blood, crowned with favor, am pursued and chosen while always being unconditionally loved.  I am surrounded by a community where my stink and scarred and beat-up presence journeying this side of heaven is welcomed and supported, knowing my exposed back is covered.  I need to know I am accepted when I don’t feel beautiful.  I need to be able to cry and receive a hug and shoulder without judgment by those I do life with.  I need to be able to bleed right there while my peeps come in close, not afraid to weave love and support through every stitch until the bleeding stops.  That’s the meaning of a heartfelt community and one that Jesus offers!

Remember the words of our Jesus:  My heart bleeds when you don’t trust me (John 14:6-12).  My heart bleeds when you ask for help and refuse to believe (1 Cor. 2:9).  My heart bleeds when you feel you’re not beautiful and I created you as my masterpiece (Eph. 2:10).  My heart bleeds when you say you’re afraid and lonely, yet you forget to grab ahold of my hand as we sojourn together (Isaiah 41:10-13).  My heart bleeds when you believe your worth is of no value and yet I died for you (John 3:16-18).  My heart bleeds when you know nothing of me (1 John 4:7-21).     

Most Importantly,

My Heart Bleeds When You Say

You Don’t Need Me!

Until next time…

Blameless Flower 6.6

Our Mess Becomes Our Message!

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Our Mess Becomes Our Message!

Coming from a highly experienced beloved who’s walked through her fair share of messes, when we go through great pain and trials, it is easy to stay wrapped up in the comforts of being bound by that captivity.  Being a prisoner of fear, it seems every step we take to break free, the paralyzing torment only proves to deepen the tattered heart.  Traumatic attacks are hard to survive and heal when our focus is solely based on being bailed out.  That includes also the loss of failed expectations, physical pain, emotional scars, and even financial destruction.

I was asked how I walk and talk confidently relating the torments of abuse and the shame that lingers from breaking free from it when sharing my testimony.  Admittedly, there are times when I get overwhelmed reliving it because it feels like a totally different person’s trauma, but it is healing to share because I’m taking back the power of my voice that was once stilled.  I try to emphasize that there is no shame in our game, Jesus is his name!  There really is power and freedom in the name of Jesus when we release the blood stains caused from the fears of judgment and condemnation all because of our Great Advocate.

Maybe that’s why my heart burns with desire in being an advocate for those who have lost their voice because I get it.  I’ve walked that path and survived.  I also know what a relentless pursuit change requires.  This requires the understanding of what 2 Corinthians 1:4-5 (MSG) talks about; that God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”

I hate suffering just like anybody else, but I remember meeting a woman named “J” who forever changed my beliefs about God and suffering.  I met “J” at one of our weekly W.E.A.V.E. support groups.  I had only learned of W.E.A.V.E.’s existence after escaping exactly what the acronym means; Women Escaping A Violent Environment.  I was not an advocate then; I was attending these meetings because I had found myself a victim of a sophisticated stalker.  

I was subjected to a stalker who wanted what he could not have:  Me!  Even though I had broken free from the chains of domestic violence, the physical and emotional abuse, I was still imprisoned with identity and insecurity depravities that needed some fine tuning from the Lord’s direct intervention.  This would help bring awareness to unhealthy behaviors while offering safety and refuge for my children and I. 

I have learned to approach the testing of trials with more peace, confidence and clarity now as my faith has deepened.  Trials are now perceived as opportunities to learn tools that will help equip me with what might be brewing in the future; for example, perseverance, patience, trust, hope, knowledge, courage, you name it.

The development of my character became profound after I left my violent environment.  Kind of funny how God orchestrates situations at times, because here I had broken free from the cycles of abuse and the Lord introduces me to a woman who would subsequently come to know the Lord as she survived and broke free from her violent marriage.  Here I thought I was strictly going to these meetings for my own feeding and equipping and God used my testimony and friendship to walk alongside of “J” as she crossed the finish line with integrity. 

This is where I love how scripture claims our victory and where I get to stomp the enemy with my high-heeled boots.  Genesis 50:20 (NIV) perfectly announces to the enemy with an attitude to boot, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  Ha, take that enemy!

If we take the time to ponder what this passage is saying and the power it holds with the revenge built in (just sayin’), it will help remind us that our trials are not meant to torment us or even keep us on our knees; they are intended to launch us to a different atmosphere and realize that our messes are our messages.  This is where our ashes turn into beauty by walking alongside of others going through similar trials and how it also benefits our healing process.  Blessings of community!

Our momentary troubles are not meant to be gone through alone, much less swept underneath the rug.  They are meant to strengthen us.  There are reasons for this season.  Maybe, just maybe this test has come because it’s going to be a part of our testimony.  I’m going to be brave enough to try and seize every moment of my trials so I can learn wisdom that will help me get through the next mess quicker and stronger.

I’ll close in sharing what I copied for my youngest son who is going through his own battlefield.  This is what Max Lucado calls his Declaration of Faith and every refrigerator should proclaim it:

I’ll get through this. 

It won’t be painless. 

It won’t be quick. 

But God will use this mess for good. 

I won’t be foolish or naive, but I won’t despair either. 

With God’s help, I will get through this.

~ Max Lucado ~

Beautiful Beloved, I pray you are blessed and filled with more strength and peace than before you read those powerful words.  They are so truthful and something I hold onto very closely.  Life can be hard and sometimes it’s quite unbearable, but when we keep our focus on the Lord and walk through life surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, the power we receive from each other helps carry us during the healing process.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Blameless Just Because Beautiful You 1.1

Courage To Be Still

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Courage To Be Still

Are you anything like me, it takes more than courage to be still?  What does that look like anyways and why on earth would I want to be still with all the demands clamoring for my attention?  Here I’m exhausted with a whole house to pack, still have “the” home to find, along with numerous state and federal filings for Blameless’ nonprofit status and I’m told to be still?

I am sitting here needing me some cheese to go along with all this whining as I vomit to the Lord all of my frustrations and how He needs to get real with His expectations; that how dare He tell me to sit and be still with all of this going on!  Attitude at its finest!  I’m so grateful we serve a good, good Father because what is coming out of my potty mouth right now isn’t exactly worthy to pen, but it’s the truth in how I’m feeling!  Frustration with a capital F!  Oh, and because He’s such a good, good Father, He lets me throw my Tammy Tantrums and loves me just the way I am!

Sit and write?  I don’t want to.  I don’t have a brain.  Why would I want to write?  All I would write about is how all these spinal injuries make it hard to type with my neck propped, brace and all; and sitting doesn’t exactly take the pain off the old back injuries.  It seems my cages and rods do nothing but sever my nerves these days.  But I can walk and move, sometimes even gracefully (in my dreams anyways!), so I am grateful for that.  There are times when I want to dance and move about like I used to, but all that does is makes me bitter and hilarious to watch.  Pain is a part of my journey. 

The Lord shared with me back in 2003 or so that I would live with chronic pain until He took me home to be with Him for eternity.  He even called it my thorn in the flesh that would keep me humbled that Paul so eloquently shares in describing his weakness in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  I had just finished my two-year rehabilitation from a serious life-altering car accident that forever changed my life, but since I could finally walk to my mailbox that was located at the end of my driveway, I was elated with the progress.  At that time the pain was tolerable, but I had no idea subsequent accidents would cause more pain and damage. 

The simple things in life, really; learning how to walk down your driveway to retrieve the daily mail.  Just a simple feat and one WE ALL take for granted!  I know I did, and I still do at times.  Here I’ve done too much, things I’m not supposed to do, especially given my couple-pound weight limit.  Since the Lord gives me daily grace and an outpouring of strength and vitality to persevere, I forget all I accomplish because I lack self-compassion on the hard days. 

You know those moments, when someone gives you the greatest compliment by saying they had no idea all the injuries that your body has sustained and the pain you live through constantly, that it reminds you of His constant mercy and humbling grace?  That’s HUGE PRAISES to my Lord because He alone has sustained me!

Tonight I took a brief moment to catch the sunset.  I am a sunset chaser and one of many reasons I love my home.  Until they built the new cancer center next door, I had an unobstructed view of every sunset.  I love how God magnificently paints a masterpiece most nights to remind us of another beautiful day lived this side of heaven. 

Kind of strange how we say we don’t have ten minutes to be still and watch God’s majestic radiance as he paints a portrait that would brighten up any life while pouring peace over our depleted souls.  Instead we manage to spend over thirty minutes spewing and infecting those surrounding us what ten minutes of gratitude and stillness through admiration could accomplish.

Wow, amazing how magically better I feel.  Oh, I am in pain, but hopefully me stopping now and being still with admiration will afford the Lord some healing time so tomorrow I can get up and continue once again.  For all my fellow chronic pain sufferers out there, my heartfelt prayers for healing and restoration are yours for the taking.  Receive the peace, alignment and strength to continue to fight the good fight as we run towards the finish line.  One thing I know for certain, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). 

If you would like prayer or would like to share a comment, please honor me with the prayer request below.  I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer.

Until next time…

Blameless Beautiful You 5

 

How Quickly We Forget ~ Courage To See The Hope

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~ How Quickly We Forget ~

Courage To See The Hope

Accept Change & New Beginnings

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Happy New Year, Beautiful!  The new year offers seasons of hope filled with new beginnings and fresh starts.  I don’t know about you, but instead of embracing this new year with excitement, I have found myself all tied up in knots.  One moment I’m hanging onto the rope carefree, squealing with delight, the next I find myself at the end of the rope barely able to hang on, forgetting where my focus should be.  That’s when I have to remind myself, when we’re at the end of the rope, all we need to do is look up.  God is at the end with all Hope!

I generally look forward to each new year because it’s a fresh start to new beginnings while we look back and celebrate how God has carried us through another year; whether it was full of blessings or a year filled with great suffering and refinement. 

As I shared before, my word for 2016 was Favor and I had no idea what life would be like when the Lord lavishes His Favor on you all year long.  I’m not talking about just Favor financially where the Lord spoiled me with lavish vacations or even that He paid off all my student debt (Grammy Tammy is still screaming hallelujahs), but victory in many court trial cases where God used me as an advocate while breaking my own fears.

Favor didn’t necessarily mean that life would be quiet or that life would be easy without trials or great pain, because there were increased burdens with the Favor; but it did mean that my Lord continued to walk alongside of me as He challenged and stretched my faith to new, deeper levels while trusting in His provision, guidance and direction.  Though there were periods of great pain, the Favor that was extended promoted more growth than I ever could have imagined.  Such intimacy! 

This Favor God enveloped my year with included even the long-standing and promised reconciliation with members of my family that had been absent for years all due to forgiveness along with the development of deeper friendships that no amount of money or price tag could be equated.  You can read Daddy’s Little Girl here.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a firm believer that we can do all things through Christ  who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13) and that requires community; you know, friendships that can help drag us to the finish line when we’ve become too paralyzed in fear or too exhausted to take another step.  We’re only as powerful as those we do community with!  I am indeed living out life as a rich, blessed woman; rich with friendships that I have a hard time containing.  I bet you didn’t think Favor equated amazing friendships, did you?  It does!!!

2017 offers Courage.  Courage to me equals change.  More change?  Oh Lord, please tell me that isn’t so!  The courage I needed throughout 2016 married many defining moments, especially when the Lord said that courage would be my greatest test I would ever have to walk through without knowing the outcome.  Am I going to walk by faith or faint by sight?  I’m relying more these days on Psalm 34:7 that says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him.” 

I totally get it that the only way hardships can touch upon our lives is if the Lord allows it, but knowing Courage is my word this year, I’m going to have to rely more on the words that Perfect Love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

Being honest here, I don’t know about you, but I tend to forget rather quickly how the Lord has sustained me throughout my entire life, much less how He took miraculous victory just a few short months ago.  People often ask me, do I really read my Bible every day?  Let me sum it up this way:  I’m a reactor and tend to panic easily, reacting in ways that rob me of total peace and self-control (Hello!!!).  This beloved is only strong and courageous when her nose is in the Word.  I did admit and say I was high maintenance, remember? 

I’m alive and thrive because of my Jesus!  To exist with this jovial spirit, I need me my Jesus time for the renewing of my mind and to cast off all old behaviors and beliefs that my old mindset used to conjure up with.  Trust me, I still have those brief, rather pathetic, moments of freaking out while performing my infamous Tammy Tantrums, but then I run to my secret place and purge my heart out to my Lord.  That’s going to take more than great courage for me to master; it’s called a life that is a work-in-progress and proud of it!

Courage also includes getting back to writing, you know, even finishing that book called Flight 951 that I do not care to finish.  Don’t know why either.  Prayers, please!  I also need courage in being me; no matter what that looks like.  I know my story needs to be shared, one that takes great Courage, but I learned during my Year of Favor that God has a plan and purpose that is being unveiled.  I’m a firm believer that there is power in numbers, and community has taught me that we not only need each other for love and support, but for power that walking through it together offers.

So let’s welcome in a Happy New Year, Beautiful Beloved, as we embrace this new season with lots of courage and love as we trust in our Lord!  I would love it if you would share your thoughts or prayer needs below.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Back The Blue Whatever You Do! You Have No Idea What We Go Through!

 

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Back the Blue

Whatever You Do!

You Have No Idea

What We Go Through!

The simplicity prevailing from the heartfelt stories heard from many desperate, yet heroic, LEO (law enforcement officer) wives is overwhelming.  One shares, My comfort is governed by the fact of feeling his skin sleeping next to my scared and fragile body.  Another shares, The comforting sound and melody of his snores when I have not heard even the slightest peep from him in days.  Many announce, The power coming from the thunder of his boots as he quietly opens the front door.  One reiterates, The fact and reassurance in knowing that My Man is home, even if all that means is to catch but a glimpse of him similar to checking on the kids before bed.  Many share that the comfort and solace to their freaked out persona is found in his touch and those tender and meaningful moments of his gentle kisses!

The most disturbing and heartbreaking due to today’s violence…  His backup is on the other end of the island.  I do not dare get off my knees once he leaves the house.  I’m afraid!!!  What if he needs backup and gets shot and I fall asleep and don’t hear the phone?  I am so overwhelmed and exhausted!  Even our kids are full of fear.

I don’t know about you because I’m guilty here, but a common phrase that a lot of us girls utter vicariously is, “Oh, I love a man in uniform.”  What many of us girls don’t realize is that being the beloved bride of a law enforcement officer requires selfless loving.  Want to know how to live out the definition of 1 John 4:7-21, marry into law enforcement.  This means there’s no room to be weak, needy, insecure, clingy or even self-centered.   No one ever said it would cost so much; yet night shift wives grieve, “That’s when their scent on the pillow has to be enough!”

Matthew 5:9 tells us that “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  We need peace today in our culture, especially as fragile as the world is today.  Just because some bad cops refuse to honor the badge, it does not mean the integrity and character of all law enforcement is corrupted. 

Instead of bringing division through disagreements and violence and riots to get our voices heard, how about we take that negative energy, agree to disagree, and exert it in praying for the lives of all law enforcement officers and their families, especially the wives.  These courageous women grow more fearful each passing day and we need to extend our love, support and encouragement to include more than just prayer. 

The image below disturbs me because of its validity and truth.  There is heightened awareness needed here, “Come Home Safe”?  Ponder that.  A gentle reminder implanted on the backside of the front door.

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My heart is heavy, especially right now, for all law enforcement officers, their wives/partners and children.  They give so much to their communities to keep order and control, and yes, even a speeding ticket for those of us who need to slow down at times, so shouldn’t we in turn give back a little of our time to pray for, pray over, love on, support and encourage those who are doing everything in their power to be the peacemakers that Jesus talks about? 

If you know of a police officer and their family, won’t you please consider offering some sort of comfort and encouragement to them by offering to pray for daily protection, bring a meal, drop some flowers off, offer hugs and a listening ear, even an introduction, and just let them know how much we appreciate EVERYTHING THEY DO!  Who knows, you might make a friend for life, but if not, you are pouring out love and bringing unity into our communities by reaching outside of the comforts of your own protected home and offering golden nuggets filled with love as you sprinkle support that will initiate peace that surpasses all knowledge.  Peace is the golden nugget here that can only be found in Love! 

This post is dedicated to all law enforcement wives/partners and their families…

With Special Honor and Dedication to a Woman and Wife of Nobel Character, a Courageous Warrior, My Friend For Life, who bravely covers her husband in prayer each and every day as he performs his duties to serve, defend and protect his community, Sheena Higgins! 

The World Is A Better Place Because Of You, Beautiful Sheena!  Thank You!

Living With Addiction & Strongholds ~ Mother Of Magnificent ~ Day 26 of 40

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Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Broken Behaviors

Mother of Magnificent

Day 26 of 40

Ticktock… ticktock… ticktock…  You know that relentless sound of time creating nuisance where you bury your head beneath the smothering pillow and the only thing it suffocates is your very own breath?  The sounds from the annoying clock marrying your erratic heartbeat threatens to blow out more than your eardrums.  You can’t breathe, you can’t sleep or think, and most of all, you can’t handle the noise or the speed of the world as it hones in for the kill!  How do we tell the world to stop existing and leave us alone as we grieve and process our own sorrows?

Death…  Death of Expectations…  Death of Identity…  Death of Perceptions…  D-E-A-T-H is really nothing more than the pathetic plea and damaging acronym I dared to reason with in what my family is experiencing right now:  Destruction Evolves Around The Hate!  Even the amazing Word of God briefly talks about the damaging effects of hate for good reason, not to mention why Love Himself might hate.  For an understanding on why “God hates,” check out Proverbs 6:16-19.

Hate to me is synonymous with death.  It destroys everyone in its path.  It causes bitterness and allows rage to take over and infect everyone in its tracks.  Hate bulldozes the strong like the plague.  Hate surfaces jealousy and insecurities.  It allows comparison.  It breeds division and promotes injustice.  Hate causes war!  The silent killer like cancer.  Hate oftentimes causes death without warning!

I don’t want to be that roaring lion shaking everything and everyone in a couple-mile radius.  I want to be that beautiful, loving lioness in the picture below who pulls others and her cubs out of trouble by releasing them where they should be; in their den (community) being loved on, close by and protected!  When this mama thinks of her cubs, though they’re grown men with their own families, I still lean on the fact that blameless-mamas-loveI’m a Mother of Mayhem, Mother of Memories, but mainly a Mother of Magnificent!  I have been blessed with strong, intelligent, and successful children that the Lord allowed me to be Manager of Many over.  But when that one extra-grace-required child finds himself in the misery of mayhem, the destruction and bite almost paralyzes this mama’s heart.  Can you relate? 

Nowadays, being honest here, I am experiencing the effects of being paralyzed with much fear and disbelief, and only functioning because of the grace and mercy of God who is the author and deliverer of this Mother of Magnificent’s cub.  This is helping me cling to His promises written in my love letter, the Holy Bible, stating He will never forsake or leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6-8), no matter what we’ve done!  The havoc from the breaking hearts doesn’t just exist within our own souls, but that connection we have with that cub; whether they’re fifty or ten!  It speaks to the very core of the lioness sitting back and letting her child make these mistakes with any and all subsequent repercussions in order to learn and grow from as others take charge of him.

Zach Williams’ song entitled “Chain Breaker” speaks to my heart and empowers me with hope by reminding me that “If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain-taker; if you feel lost, He’s a way-maker; if you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior, if you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.”  Girlfriends, we can’t give up and let the lies of the enemy spewing guilt and shame defeat us!  We have to join hands by sharing through transparency our deepest hurts so we don’t ever give up and claim freedom!  There’s hope just waiting to be released because there is no shame in our game; Jesus is His Name!

So many of us are full of sorrow, trials, confusion, betrayal, pain and exhaustion.  We need each other for a reason.  Don’t hide behind your walls of shame and insecurities.  Get out there and share!  When we share our hurts with others, it releases the key that unlocks the hope and peace for sustainment and victory.

This mama’s heart is hurting.  I mean, I’m like other mamas and grandmas, I already had my life and children’s and grandchildren’s script written out to perfection.  Though I knew there would be tears shed, hearts broken, and agreements to disagree, I can actually say I never thought seconds of my life would involve tragedy caused at the hands of my own child, especially coming from the one who has a heart full of compassion. 

I am finding out very quickly that oftentimes those of us who are filled with compassion have had great suffering combined with betrayal, along with abandonment and rejection that reared its ugly head somewhere throughout our lives.  Sound familiar?

What happens when the bleeding heart can no longer tolerate the strength from the taunting jeers that has been suppressed?  Sadly, I am finding out that when you haven’t exactly worked through your own fears and hurts, also known as heartbreaking anger, that compassionate heart quickly gets wiped out to what evolves as Hurricane Aggression destroying everyone in its path.  Can you relate?  I know I sure can.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

 

Denial versus Reality ~ Day 25 of 40

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Denial versus Reality

A Mother’s Grieving Heart

Day 25 of 40

Almost half the day had elapsed before the choking awakened the corpse gasping for breath.  As I struggled to get up to entice my comatose body to naturally react with a deep breath, the tickle stuck between my swollen tonsils grabbed ahold of the air bubbles just enough to satisfy the depleted oxygen.  Upon arousal, the air bubbles trudged wearily ahead through what seemed like a mirage from the lungs of a heavy smoker.  The coughing hurt and it needed to be stilled.  As I grabbed the glass of water to soothe my parchment, the time on the clock reflected 11:38 a.m.

Once the quieting was accomplished with the ahem, the normal rhythm of consistency transpired.  What is the first thing a person does the moment their eyes peel open in this technological-dependent era?  Yep, grab their cell phones!  Though my vision was greatly impaired due to illness, what my eyes saw quickly jolted this woman into crisis mode:  Seven missed calls, twenty-three text messages, and twelve instant messenger messages, and it wasn’t even noontime.

My heart quickly reacted by viewing the senders of the numerous messages.  I saw that many were mainly sprinklings of love sustaining me through this sickness to which I exhaled with praises to God for the outpouring of love.  But almost simultaneously, a knot developed in my throat restricting the natural flow due to the sender of several messages; my son’s girlfriend.

Receiving messages from your son’s girlfriend shouldn’t warrant the anxiety and fear that this mama felt.  Sadly, this relationship was strained due to unhealthy behaviors and lacking the understanding and respect to agree to disagree.  When there was communication, it required a whole lot of grace and mercy to endure.  This mama’s heart was usually willing and able with this tribe, but with healthy boundaries.  My tender heart believes with God’s Love that we can and will conquer villages, especially those filled with broken peeps!  The text message was something like:

Tammy please call me, very urgent.

Hello???

It is regarding your son.

My mind immediately flashed back to this time a year ago.  With lightening speed, someone who was once vital and healthy spent a period of another year living in and out of hospitals.  There is nothing worse than watching your child suffer with a disease that is not only debilitating, but uncontrollable and life threatening.  There were days, weeks, even months when I thought the Lord was going to heal my son by taking him home to heaven like his father.

Without notice, the floodgates of tears opened wide and started pouring down my cheeks.  Once shock mode took back seat, I frantically scurried about trying to listen to my phone messages.  The messages quickly dressed my heart with chaplain armor and prayer; equipping me with radar speed to hear the dreaded words that I thought I would never hear.

My heart solemnly reiterates, how could this be when I praise God daily that “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14)?  The kryptonite explosion from those painful words immediately stripped me of my Super Hero Mommy outfit and left me naked and exposed. 

This is where we fall to our knees into disbelief.  Reality versus Denial!  Denial is easier because reality hurts like hell.  Without your Super Hero Mommy Outfit, all that is left is a puddle of tears, remorse, fear, shame, guilt, d-e-n-i-a-l!!!  Where’s your crown and royal blood when you’re hanging over the toilet?  The news is way too painful to handle so you scream…  You inhale and scream some more…  You exhale while your heart explodes and you fall on your knees exclaiming…

Really, God?  This is how you’re going to bring about healing and restoration?  Where’s the HOPE in that deliverance?

Many emotions occupy my bad neighborhood (mindset) while controlling my weak, overwhelmed and burdened persona.  The daunting and torturing flaming arrows that relentlessly attack my armor quickly demand that because of this destructive event, I should cease my love and trust in the Lord all because my son made an exceedingly bad judgment call reacting that hurt others that will forever effect the rest of his life due to the subsequent repercussions. 

Hurt people hurt others and anger is as much a part of mental illness as depression and living with addiction is.  Generational strongholds rear their ugly heads!  All eyes and judgment may lean on us mamas, but we must never lose sight during these times because of what Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”  

Our sons and daughters need love and support and encouragement to face the consequences of their bad decisions.  This is never the time to turn our backs, no matter what anyone says.  Isn’t that what the Lord calls all of us to do; forgive others just as we have been forgiven?  We don’t forget, but we can still love.  Love conquers all. 

I know many mamas out there who are hurting right alongside of me and somehow or another claim and hold onto the guilt of what their children have done.  Seriously, we cannot carry the burden of our children’s conduct and decisions.  Jesus already suffered the consequences of those sins to set us free.  Let’s utilize that wasted time and energy beating ourselves up by devoting it to prayer and remembering we’re not to grieve with shame; that “the joy of the Lord will be our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Let’s unite with love, support and encourage our children to be the amazing individuals God designed them to be while walking alongside of them remembering the battle belongs to the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:15) and that God is the author of their lives and is writing their testimony, no matter how painful it is.

Until next time…

♥ Thank You For Being Beautiful & Amazing You

 

When Hiding Is No Longer An Option ~ Day 24 of 40

Blameless Freedom Found in Exposure

When Hiding Is No Longer An Option

Living With Addiction

Day 24 of 40

The sun had barely risen when you’re abruptly awakened by your pounding heart and shortness of breath.  As sweat drips from pores you never knew existed, you eagerly fumble about for that cumbersome set of eyes buried somewhere in the sheets.  You tremble with awe and delight as your located glasses are planted firmly on your face.  Laughter erupts as you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror!  The sight you see is nothing short of memorable!  You giggle as you reminisce on how you and Mr. Right danced to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran in the hospital waiting room.  You graciously praise God that you can dream the true desires of your heart again!

Okay, I might not be able to move like that anymore; hence, the reason for the perspiration bath and shortness of breath, but to know that I can dream the true desires of my heart because my Daddy wants to bring them life, makes this girl giddy and free.  Oh, I have “huge dreams,” but my dreams are more in line right now with a childlike heart and sense of freedom in being me because I have walked through my past and survived victoriously with my crown still on and playful mindset.  I know Whose I am and belong to while being loved on and encouraged to be me.

Music and dance are just a few of my creative outlets that I’ve always found refuge in and safe avenues for expression, but due to the insecurities and bondage that losing my dreams developed, it robbed me of such pleasures!  Or did it?  Why do we let pleasures and dreams die when life becomes hard and painful?  After all, God gave us these desires, so why do we remove or lose what once brought life, vitality and joy?

Exposure breeds freedom!  After dancing with the dolphins in Florida with people watching (not all enjoying), I realized just how instrumental music and dance were and an integral part of my daily makeup.  With tomorrow never being guaranteed, I don’t care how old and broken I am, it is time to pick up that violin again and start dancing.  There’s a little girl in every woman’s body just waiting to be set free!

When our lives are absent of chaos, busyness, abuse, control or addiction that has covered and driven our life choices and behaviors, we realize how powerful the freedom is in being ourselves, loved and acknowledged.  Oh, and the severance that others used to manipulate and control our stifled voices is powerful and explosive.  Now I know what being still is all about; peace and freedom to proudly be me!

When the Lord tells us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10), many of us just plow right through that scripture without much thought because how could any of us be still longer than five minutes in prayer and meditation and expect miracles to occur?  I mean, I know I say I’m high maintenance when it comes to clinging to my Lord and sitting at His feet often so my perceptions and reactions don’t wipe out the universe when anger, judgment, rejection, anxiety, exhaustion, and depression sets in, but what does “being still” really mean?

Blameless Grand Finale

 

 

Welcome to the front yard of my sabbatical space at the beautiful beaches in Bradenton Beach, Florida.  Initially what started out as being uncomfortable, because who wants to have nothing on their agenda except to roll out of bed right onto the white sandy beaches each and every day, turned into the most beautiful cleansing experience one could ever imagine!  This was my view every day for almost a month.  Rough, huh?

There were moments of pain so give me a break!  When you had to turn down that tall, dark drink of water because you already had a date to dance with the dolphins (confirmation of a fleece) or the moment you realized your toosh resembled more of the pomegranate you were eating and you could not sit down!  And I did not want to shower with vinegar; thank you very much!  That’s real attractive!!!

Why was the beach calling me home?  Being in a foreign place all by yourself with nothing to do except to be still, quiet, and listen to the Lord’s majestic tones of crashing waves and the harmony of the birds’ Acapella, you understand just how wide and deep the Lord’s love is (Ephesians 3:17-19). 

The awe in watching God magnificently paint every sunset to match my mood just to show off enabled me the freedom to just be and dance with my new amazing friends and my dolphins.  You can’t help but hear and listen to the beautiful orchestration that the Lord is rejoicing and serenading over your life (Zephaniah 3:17).  You matter!

Most of my abrupt sabbatical I had no control over.  I will share it was a welcomed period because “hearing” what I was writing as I was reliving some of the horror from my past as I tackled this challenge made me realize being vulnerable and transparent unleashed suppressed rejection strongholds that were buried deep underneath the scar tissue.  My head was above water, but my heart was still drowning in pain.

What are you dreaming about?  One thing is certain, we all matter and belong!  We need each other to accomplish our dreams and walk through the perils of living with addiction and abuse.  When we become no longer fearful of our naked selves, sharing our stories and hurts is when we begin to truly heal and dare to live the lives that God designed us to have.  Being still also positions us to be used by God to help others safely walk through their own struggles.

I understand now what being still in His presence means; being present and available.  I’m still on sabbatical, but will you dance with me?

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Blameless Beautiful You 5

Tammy Tangent Tuesdays ~ Love & Support Our Law Enforcement

Blameless Police Officers

 

Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

Dare to Care and Share

~ Support our Officers ~

Let’s bring unity back into our communities!

Hello Beautiful, I know I’m currently on sabbatical, but due to the state of emergency and attack on each and every gender, race, religion, and the vicious attacks on our amazing and much-needed law enforcement; in order to restore order and control from all this chaos and destruction causing division, I felt it imperative to plead for prayer for restoration back into our communities.  We all make a difference; and though there may be a few rotten apples in the bunch, it does not mean they’re all rotten.  We need to take all that negative energy and focus back to bringing peace and unity back into our communities.

It’s that time again, it’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays!!!  This Blameless Police SWATweekly challenge is to go out into our communities and show our love and support by acknowledging the men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day to serve, defend and protect us!  And with the raging wars, protests and violence in our world today, please understand how vital it is for the peace, restoration and unity back into our communities to constantly rally around our law enforcement officers!  They need love more than many of us could even imagine, along with a hug, a handshake, a prayer, and acknowledgement for all they do in protecting and serving our communities!  Their lives matter, too!

Please understand how imperative it is for initiating this support through unity back into our communities by rallying around our law enforcement through love, support, prayers and encouragement.  We can accomplish this by letting them know how much we appreciate them for all they do on a daily basis with random thank-you cards of support and encouragement along with possibly a great cup of java!  Starbucks gift cards anyone?

Blameless Police OfficersWhen a police officer is sworn in, they take an oath to serve and protect the lives and property of others, while defending and keeping the public safe.  These brave men and women are constantly on high alert and live under tremendous stress.  They don’t leave their homes and families worrying they might not make it home, they just pray that their dedication and service can make a difference while defending and protecting their community.  Don’t let bad press or a few bad apples cloud the respect and honor these brave men and women are so deservant of!  They need our support more than ever!  They operate under more fear than any of us could possibly comprehend.  Only Great Love can diffuse that fear!

For all of the wonderful parents and grandparents out there looking for a great summer activity, even summer school teachers, and a fun craft/art project that will keep everyone cool and happy, is to have the kids make thank-you cards and draw up cute letters to drop off at your local police departments; and for the rest of us, to send a simple email, a written card, or personally handing them a Starbucks $5 gift card with a thank-you note blessing them with words of gratitude for all they do and that we are supporting them along the way and praying for them!  They want and need our prayers.

Blameless Amazing OfficerWeekly Challenge:  Let’s get together and go out into our communities and give a loud and great big “Thank You” to all of our law enforcement officers.  Let’s start showering them with love and support through gratitude and praise for all they do by handing them a Starbucks Coffee gift card, along with writing out a thank you note, offering hugs, words of encouragement, and a whole lot of praise and prayer!  They really do want our prayers; that perfect covering of love.  Keep a few of these cards in your purse and a few in the cup holder of your car; you’ll never know when you might be blessed to hand one out!  Let them know personally how much they’re appreciated.  Remember, they’ve made a vow to serve and protect; they really do care about those they protect and want to engage with us and get to know us and our needs.  We all need to be AFFIRMED!!!  

Grab your girlfriends, your church community, children and grandchildren and share the love through support!  What a great way to model to our kids our respect for authority and unity in our communities through giving back while firemen tragedyhaving fun by loving on and blessing others with random acts of kindness and cheerful smiles radiating that Beautiful You!

They do so much for us, let’s do what we can to say “THANK YOU.”  We all have a role and responsibility in contributing to our own neighborhoods and communities by helping restore the unity and what a great way to start, through the support and encouragement of our law enforcement officers before it’s too late!  We all need to do our part and we all have a responsibility in delivering such!

Blameless Police Sacramento

 Have a great week!  Thank you for being Beautiful You!

Dedicated to Officer Jason Higgins of Bradenton Beach, Florida!

Living With Addiction Tammy Tangent Tuesdays ~ Day 23

Blameless Breaking Free 7

Living With Addiction

Performance-Based Beloveds

† Freedom To Just Be †

Day 23 of 40

Hello Beautiful, I have missed you!  I am so excited to get back into the swing of writing again.  My demanding advocacy trial prevailed with astounding victory, and I cannot wait to share how God severed so many of my own fears fighting for the justice of others!  Amazing how it all ties into the dysfunctional strongholds of addiction and abuse.  Being a voice for justice allowed my bifocals to taste and see the goodness of the Lord!

The last Tammy Tangent Tuesday’s challenge required finding a new friend or taking an old relationship to an even deeper level of intimacy by sharing locked up hurts that have held us captive and fearful along with learning the delicate art of listening; the many blessings found in drawing near to God, called True Friendships.  It’s that time again; it’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays! 

If you’re anything like me, living a life in front of an audience of one is anything but exhilarating and satisfying.  Now that my big advocacy trial has been victoriously battled (and here I couldn’t wait for it to be over so I could relax and breathe), my distorted behaviors in being a performance-based Beloved demands recognition through the acceptance and affirmation of a sold-out auditorium.  I need an audience to survive and thrive!  Hello…

What happens when the intensity of our dance or trials are over and we are still standing tall with our crowns secure, hands on hips, but there are no more challenges to pursue, roaring mouths to shut or battles to conquer?  If we don’t have to perform, how can we still be loved?

I don’t know about you, but being a performance-based Beloved is all I’ve ever known for over 50 years.  Living and existing in the calm, peaceful and ordinary is quite daunting, not to mention it carries feelings of inadequacy and even a tad-bit guilty and lonely because the audience is no longer filled to capacity with members of demands, chaos and crises.

Sadly, when we’re used to an audience full of demanding deadlines, jeering seats of shame, guilt and performance, dancing to an audience of one, One who is more lovable and accepting than the non-pretentious bear, can seem downright silly, not to mention boring and lacking stimuli.  Or is it?

Do we really need an audience to perform to in order to establish our worth and value or even be loved?  How are we going to learn about ourselves or God unless we take the time to be still, process and poured into while being loved on?

For all of us Beloveds who live and/or have existed under a performance-based religion, please understand one thing:  God loves us just the way we are and we do not have to perform to be loved by Him. 

We are so quick to create our own dramatic stories designed merely to stimulate and entertain our own distorted anxiety-filled neighborhoods.  We feel guilty when our day is not full of demands and appointments.  We feel inadequate and less important so we create stress just to breathe guilt-free!  The amount of time we spend feeding our Negative Nancy Neighborhoods (mindsets) robs us of our nourishment in being restored and rejuvenated.

This quiet time is what God designed as rest that ALL BODIES need and require to maintain as His Beautiful Beloveds and bring light to a darkened world.  God relaxed on the seventh day and if He needs a break, we need seasons of rest!  What does that look like?  I don’t know because I’m walking through it right now myself and I feel quite uncomfortable.  

God shares, “Daughter of Mine, I did not ask you to be there or do that.  Relax, I just want your time.  Quit feeling the need to be busy.  Relationships take time getting to know one another.  How else are we going to learn to waltz together?  That requires trust that only intimacy and devotion can develop.”

Let me share one little tidbit of wisdom here through my own struggle.  Living a life filled with peace and contentment, dancing to our own audience of One as a child of Love and Approval (the Lord God Almighty), this is the greatest waltz and love story we’ll ever encounter this side of heaven so let’s treasure it.  Gifts from God that are so easily discounted and not even opened!

If you’ve been begging and pleading for rest through prayer like me; then girlfriend, God has answered our prayers and we are worthy to receive this gift!  Embrace it with honor!  It is a free gift from Love Himself!  Let Him love on you!

Who knows, you could even find yourself trying a new Pirouette instead of the typical Plié like me as you waltz through life because God is the only One watching.  Isn’t that how we learn new techniques for the upcoming dance anyways?  God loves to teach us new dance moves when we’re without agenda and just be!!! 

Either way, you will waltz with dignified grace and extend and position your beautiful self to receive one standing ovation after another.  Dancing with and for the Lord is the only audience you need to please.  It is so simple!  He only asks you to listen and be, Beautiful You. 

Weekly challenge:  Let’s practice this week being our beautiful selves; reminding ourselves that we don’t have to perform to be loved by God.  He simply wants us to just be, Be-loved and Be-Healed, while embracing His audience of One!

Until next time…

Blameless Beautiful You 5

Living With Addiction † Breaking Free From Captivity Day 22 of 40

Blameless Breaking Free 2

Living With Addiction

Breaking Free From Captivity

† Freedom to be You and Me †

Day 22 of 40

A child’s innocence stolen!  Through no fault of their own, the child is thrust into an environment that is anything conducive to behaviors worth emulating, much less a world that any adult should walk through or be subjected to.  The vantage point being projected through the naive lens of a child is one of sheer horror and gore.

For the precious, innocent child, being left alone to process the effects brought on from rage and abuse in living with addiction, they are victimized and stripped of all protection and innocence.  Their only hope for survival is through denial.  Denial will become their stable reality.  They will learn that the only way to handle fear is through the fight-and-flight response.

The child immediately employs protection from the construction crew of fear.  With no one to offer consolation and a warm embrace, the child’s fear factor instinctively and subconsciously constructs a safe haven.  This safe haven consists of walls and barriers intended to protect the child as they hide and cradle behind all the emotional scars brought on from the lack of parental protection and emotional stability.  Abandonment is a fierce enemy when a child’s heart is unprotected!

The only rocking this child receives is in the drawing up of one’s knees tightly to their chests with their t-shirts pulled over down to their feet as a means for capturing needed warmth and protection.  They rock back and forth in their cocooned state to pacify and console their anxieties caused from living in a violent environment.  Constant crocodile tears flow from the child’s tender face saturating their t-shirt that once offered warmth now leaving the child cold due to the dampness caused from the chill in the air.

Because of the child’s innocence and naivety, these walls they’ve constructed around their tender and bleeding hearts for protection from others do nothing but hinder their reality as to what life is like in the healthy behaviors that exist on the other side of the wall.  Their barriers teach nothing but emotional isolation, though understandable.  This emotional isolation leads to a lack of self-worth riddled with insecurities and identity crises.

As the child attempts to climb up on his own to catch a glimpse of what God says is on the other side of the wall offering freedom, the child is troubled and confused by what they see.  There is peace without chaos and violence.  Their skewed perception developed from fear clouds the warm invitation and the comforts offered through what the safety of the environment promises. 

The child hesitates and exhausts themselves emotionally to climb over.  Without a friend or parent’s hand to grab ahold of to help them safely over the wall, the exhaustion sets in from battling the fear of the unknown alone.  This fear contributes to the child slipping, allowing the barbwire on top off the wall to grab ahold of their flesh, causing even greater physical and emotional pain.

The child is forced to reside in the lonely, cold and dark places they’ve created to protect themselves from the dark and violent world they were running from until they scurry up enough strength to attempt their breakthrough again.  Light and warmth arouses their curiosity.  Children may be resilient, but what kind of entanglement will their imprisonment bring until exhaustion sets back in?  Is this how we are leaving future generations instead of equipping them?

The child repeatedly attempts to no prevail.  Each attempt leaves the child numb and desensitized to the pain being caused from each laceration delivered from being held captive in the entanglement of the barbwire.  The child wants rescued.  This child is alone and does not have any guidance how to tackle this bondage victoriously.  No one is walking alongside of them or extending a hand of help.  Everyone just looks the other way.  They want help, but no one is offering.  Why are we a society who gives up too quickly and would rather cast the blame and responsibility onto somebody else?

With no one encouraging the child to try again or in a different way, the child becomes so weak and delirious, bad decisions are made.  The child’s last futile attempt to break free from the entangled mess offers nothing but resolution to just survive instead of thrive in this painful cocoon and environment.  Every future move that child will make will cause great bodily injury, to themselves and/or others.  Where does this cycle of abuse end?

Children do not know how to handle adult problems and should never be a part of or witness, whether abusive or not.  Children need to be protected.  When parents are at war dealing with their own emotional battle scars of abuse and addiction, this only further aids in casting the frightened and innocent child into a scary world all alone due to being wrapped up in the remains and captivity of fear and isolation.  But there is hope!

How does one go from abhor to restore?  Love versus fear!  Faith versus fear!  How does that look when the victim is both the child and adult and owning up to one’s responsibility as a parent in allowing my precious cubs to be subjected to this ugly world in living with addiction and abuse?  Fear kept me in bondage as a victim and yet Love was calling me to freedom.

Faith versus fear, how would you react?  Breaking free is a risk.  Is freedom worth it?  My fear’s captivity and insecurities led me paralyzed, unable to escape the bondage and have self-control with trust and freedom.  How could I teach and equip my children to walk in freedom outside the generational walls of living with addiction and abuse when I was too cowardly to break free myself?

Enjoy listening to the lyrics that speak so loudly and profoundly to this very subject in “I’ll Keep On” by Jeremiah Carlson.

Until next time…

 

Living With Addiction Day 21 ~ Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Blameless Lion 5

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Shame

Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Day 21 of 40

Addiction and abuse versus submission and love?  That one might seem to have an obvious victor, but much pain was suffered from the hands of the abuser in the game of “love.”  Today, though, all that pain knows its purpose that ended up developing into a love story with no end to His name! 

When our hearts are not right, irregardless of who or what is to blame, it’s hard to give Jesus our wholehearted selves through trust, time and the courage to surrender.  I knew after the last violent blow, it was time for me to sit at the feet of Jesus and let the healing and transformation begin.

When you wait to start that surrender after decades of abuse, several years may go by before you begin to see any healing.  Don’t lose heart, though, God is faithful and just.

It was 10:30 a.m., the kids were fed, dishes cleaned, hairs groomed and content in their TV/play time when I decided to wake up and ask my husband if he wouldn’t mind getting up so I could get my run in before I had to get home, shower, and get the kids packed up for an afternoon on the soccer field.

While my initial attempts at trying to arouse my husband from his stupor were infrequent between the dressing and putting on my running shoes, they became more frequent and agitated.  

Between the pungent odor of sour alcohol overwhelming the upper level of the house and the demeaning words being spewed out instigating a typical submission versus love argument, the words became heated and demands enthralled. 

I could either take care of him first as the Bible commanded wives to “submit to their husbands at all times” that he claimed Ephesians 5:22-24 meant or I could forget about going. 

An ugly exchange of heated words and hostility ensued.  Not only was my heart torn and tattered from failed expectations and promises, but the more I demanded my voice be heard and having value and for the control to stop, the louder and more aggressive the results got. 

After several minutes of yelling and screaming and shoving about, the precious cubs downstairs began to scream out of fear and cry begging for it to stop.  When my body was shoved against the wall, the oldest came running upstairs to intervene saying he would watch his brother and to stop it as tears poured down his cheeks.

A tender child should never be subjected to witnessing abuse or resume the role of defender and protector of his family.  Children need to be protected and it’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure of that, whether we’re the victims or not. 

I may have been a victim, but I have to own up to my own failure in not leaving this environment sooner; thereby allowing my precious cubs to be subjected to unhealthy behaviors in living with addiction and abuse.

Children learn from what they see and hear, and fear is a destructive trait to acquire.  Fear’s power over me was controlling and paralyzing.  It is something that I still struggle with occasionally.  It paralyzed me into accepting behaviors that would forever change not only my life, but my children as well.  We must never forget what these eyes now see matters.

The fear and panic protruding through my son’s beautiful blue eyes pacified the threats being demanded and executed.  I lovingly assured him I was okay and was sorry that they had to hear and witness that.  I graciously escorted my precious son back downstairs and hugged and held them both tight assuring them I was okay as my heart imploded. 

Abuse quickly escalates from manipulation and control to demands and violence.  No sooner than I could catch my breath, the stench that overwhelmed the upstairs of the house was now breathing down my neck. 

His vile and horrific demand that my son watch his little brother while his father and I “be together” was being a good son and older brother as my arm was yanked and grabbed with fierce strength as I was forced upstairs.

Submission is not intended as a form of control or abuse that is written in the Bible.  Merriam-Webster may have it defined as “an act of submitting to the authority or control of another,” but Paul mentioned the word “submit” to imply “respect.” 

When we pay careful attention to what Paul was sharing in this context, he uses the word “love” more often than “submit” when talking about marital responsibilities.  Husbands loving their wives is beautifully articulated and continued in Ephesians 5:25-33.

When one is desperately trying to heal from the tragedy and pain caused from the betrayal of adultery from the affairs of your husband, and the one with your best friend, along with the healing still coming from a shattered and worn-out Beloved that had driven herself off a cliff a decade prior all due to rejection in living with addiction and abuse; my compliance in order to sustain peace and protection for my young gave birth to abusive submission. 

Victim mentalities are skewed because, for one, their view of love and their worth is significantly distorted; two, they believe it will change which diminishes the severity; three, they isolate due to feeling no one understands and/or cares because of humiliation; lastly, they know that the cost of submission delivers needed peace during destructive outbursts. 

My colored perception and awareness of love was based on “performance based conditional love, being seen and not heard,” so understanding what Love meant required being set free from the captivity that held me prisoner by what only the Great Physician could perform.

My heart could only implode after this offense so when the Bank of Grace felt overdrawn and shame is your name, you continue to stuff it down further in hopes to suffocate the toxic gases brewing from the sweltering flame within.

Until next time…

Living With Addiction Day 20 ~ Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Blameless Scars and Shame

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Shame

Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Day 20 of 40

How does a Beloved heal, much less move forward, after encountering one’s best friend cradled in the arms and refuge of her own husband?  Did I forget to mention that my best friend and I were both business partners in a court reporting business that required day in, day out contact and cooperation occupying the same space and airways as one another?  There’s no room for a cat fight in a court of law!

Do I hear awkward?  I don’t know whose motives were worse, hers or mine!  How about both being destructive and lost!  One vying for revenge through the scorn of power and the other like a mouse running for cover in the presence of a cat!

My motives and deliverance were based solely on Vengeance with a capital “V” with having the upper hand in holding the power brought on through daily punishment in working together.  Makes absolutely no sense, I know!  She worried about her reputation and profession and I worried about feeding my babies while controlling our business arrangement my way!

You may take my man, but you won’t survive my plan!  Can I hear kudos to the scorned Queen?

Honestly, what was I thinking?  After I kicked my husband out of our home, those two ended up cohabitating for a period of time, supposedly for the sole economic convenience, until reconciliation developed between my husband and I.  Welcome to the behavior of use and abuse! 

And here I felt pity and compassion for her when I allowed him back into our home.  Seriously?

My battle scars ran so deep, not only was I consumed with covering up my perceived failure as a wife which justified the actions of these two selfish individuals, but the shattered image that projected my source of identity could no longer thrive and survive.  I now became that dubious distinction; no longer desired as a Beautiful Beloved. 

Cells of hell are built on insecurities and identity blasters!

My shame evolved around spending countless hours and resources trying to hide and cover up the behaviors of others who needed to be exposed.  My sweeping it underneath the rug just enabled freedom for it to occur again and again.  It also robbed me of my voice and prevented healing, not to mention the acceptance in the behavior that would subsequently become violent!

Because denial lost its battle, I needed a new go-to, a new source of strength to handle all the pressures in burying this infidelity.  Since suicidal tendencies and drug abuse didn’t work in the past, my desperation sought out the comforts delivered from Coors Light!  Can’t lose the figure in the process, right?  I started covering up this pain through good ‘ole beer drinking just to take the edge off.

Herein lies the daughter of alcoholism and rage.  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?  Isn’t that the old adage?  Wrong…  This just further contributed to my alter ego developing a life that was similar in nature to court reporting; you’re hearing it and taking it all down, but it goes in one ear and out the other, blinding my reality and exposure to unhealthy behaviors.

Sadly, this left the door wide open for its festering effects of bitterness and anger to attach and disease all of my vital organs.  It also allowed full exposure for the flaming arrows to penetrate my tattered and bleeding heart.  My precious cubs were left unprotected and in an environment that was unhealthy over and over again.  I became so numb, infidelity and abuse had full rein and control over my life.

We have to be fierce lionesses standing firm, facing our enemy and looking him square in the eye, while being self-controlled and alert.  Not buzzed and medicated on alcohol or drugs.  The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  We need to let the enemy know whose authority and power we are standing on and living under through the sharing of our sufferings with one another (1 Peter 5:8-9)!

After all, let’s continue to be honest here while remembering that our friends and associates mirror us, so let’s say cheese!!!  This is why the Lord cautions us to be careful with those whom we spend a lot of time with because we will become like those surrounding us; and bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).  Some of us are slow learners and that would be me!

Betrayal in marriage is a double-edged sword and it hurts all who are near.  I have to believe that some pain and difficult trials are oftentimes the only doorway leading towards development that God uses for complete healing.  This enables us to receive His best that otherwise would never have been received!  God is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who call upon His name (Psalm 34:18)!  I’m living proof!

Until next time…

Living With Addiction Day 19 ~ Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Blameless Freedom

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Shame

Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Day 19 of 40

The Beautiful Mandisa sings, “There’s freedom on the other side of things that keep us tied up and afraid.  There’s hope in every situation no matter what you’re facing every day.  But it’s up to you, you get to choose.  I’m walking, living, breathing proof.  The Father is waiting there with open arms” in Dear JohnOh, how He loves us!!!

Beautiful lyrics to hold onto!  People will more than likely hurt us, that’s life and there’s absolutely no way to escape or avoid it.  In fact, I know this kind of pain myself all too well, but we don’t have to let it hold us captive in our prisons of anger, fear and bitterness.  The beauty that God brings from our ashes of mourning is worthy of sharing.  Broken lives can be put back together.

God’s Word is not what many perceive as a list of do’s and don’ts.  It’s a love letter announcing the freedom we achieve when we believe.  There’s no record of any of our imperfections or faults.  It’s all erased and it’s been forgiven.  The Bible shares why God sacrificed it all and gave us His son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for it all.  He loves us just the way we are and is awaiting for us to open up our hearts and receive Him!

Can you hear me singing?  These words penned and sing are especially dedicated to all my violators who have ever afflicted any injury to my person; emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially and sexually! 

How can a woman who has been violated in such a way that has been battered, stalked, abused, bruised, robbed, betrayed, amongst many others not worthy of listing, forgive, open up her heart, and walk proudly and confidently knowing where her worth comes from?  It’s called H-O-P-E!!! 

How have I survived, thrived, and stayed alive during such torment instead of understanding what a scorned woman does?  His name is Jesus Christ and the hope He promises when we believe and act out our faith!  I’m a friend of God and I know Him and love Him.

I also know and believe in the resurrection of God’s son, Jesus Christ, so I know what I can trust and what I cannot!  I know that His love is greater than any pain I could ever endure. 

There is beauty everywhere, more beauty than tragedy, and that is what I choose to hold onto and can because of the redemption of my pain!

Psalm 34:4-8 sums it up perfectly to describe my deliverance:  “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”  This poor woman called, and the Lord heard her; He saved her out of all her troubles.  “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.  Taste and see that the Lord is good”; blessed are those who take refuge in Him.

Martinis were their name, Cocky Bull was its game.  What started out as a typical night two-stepping at the local country bar holding our fame whereas not to be lame led to too many martinis and an uninvited guest into our sacred bed that was meant just to be shared between a husband and his bride.  This uninvited guest called my best friend at the time felt the need to sliver in through the midnight shadow and rob what was mine to begin with; my husband. 

After tending to the crying baby and hearing whispers filled with eerie secretive sounds, the only thing I heard loud and clear was my heart imploding as my bestfriend justified her actions in sharing how she had been in love with my husband since the first time she met him.  Excuse me???  That’s betrayal at her finest hour!  Now you might understand why I’ve said I’ll take any physical blow to the head than the pain caused from emotional trauma!

This shame I carried for years is being related for the sole purpose to share how God works in and through our lives with tragedies and brings freedom through healing.  Today I’m living in freedom and flying free of yesterday’s guilt, today’s fears, and tomorrow’s grave.  All because God loves me just the way I am!

There is a greater purpose and plan for our pain.  I agree, pain sucks big time, but we need to share our joys as well as our tragedies together as a community.  We’re more than conquerors in Christ, we’re overcomers!

Until next time…

Living With Addiction Day 18 ~ Broken Behaviors

Blameless Beach Peace

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Shame

Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Day 18 of 40

Peace!  Perfect Peace!  Can we actually have it through our storms of darkness and decay?  It’s hard to fathom that concept and wrap ourselves around it, but if we remember to grab ahold of the Hand of God extending down from heaven, He will safely walk us through it with peace that surpasses all knowledge.  This increases our endurance to overcome as we press towards the finish line with grace and dignity!

I don’t like pain.  Sometimes I even feel like a gentle touch from a loved one might hurt.  That may sound melodramatic, but I’ve endured more pain than I care or dare to admit and I just wish it would all end this side of heaven. 

We tend to forget that when we have emotional pain like depression from disease, divorce, loss of job, etc., we then encounter the cause and effect of physical pain to the body and spiritual loss.  Same goes when we have physical pain caused from chronic issues, disease, broken bones, we then suffer the effects of emotional depression, anxiety, anger and spiritual loss.

Notice how I put “spiritual loss” last above with both physical and emotional pain?  When we go through grief, pain, loss of any kind, we tend to lean towards isolation because we feel ashamed, we don’t feel anyone cares or understands or we just need time to process it all and we push others away, including God.  That’s the worst thing we can do, suffer spiritual loss and go at it alone.  There’s power in numbers; it’s called community.

God wants to help us during our grief and trials by receiving His love that He directs through others.  We need others to carry us and our burdens so we don’t push away the support that the Lord orchestrates.  This is a time to draw in and cleave to the Lord’s strong legs because He is the only one directing our stories.  He wants strong and healthy children that can go out into the world and help others while bringing Him glory.

If we become devoid of our connection with God because we have walked away from Him, then we are cutting off our lifeline of community and the life preservers that could have aided us in arriving at our next destination sooner and stronger, along with the perfect peace we are all striving for!

In writing about my cycle of abuse, I didn’t intend to start with sharing about my ex’s confusion regarding his sexual orientation preferences.  It not only brought on so much more pain through the betrayal in marriage, but being stripped down naked of any shred of femininity is what a lot of us live through each day!  Society dictates how we should look and act while being perfect in an imperfect world.  Wrong!  Our worth and value should be found in whom God says we are only; Beautiful Beloveds!

My emotional scars took a lot of healing and time with God, sitting at His feet and letting His love letter (Bible) permeate my soul so He could actually get his six-foot drill bit into my hardened heart and clear out all the disease (pain) that life with addiction, shame, abandonment, betrayal, and abuse developed.  Just getting through the scar tissue itself to bring back life was brutal enough, much less mending and sewing up my hemorrhaging heart through God’s meticulous precision and intricacies of love.  

So what’s all this hype about reading God’s Word?  The Bible isn’t about fables and stories, it’s about the Truth that sets us free and the nature of God and His goodness.  God knows the kind of pain and struggles we’d be subjected to here on earth and so He picked every kind of personality imaginable to relate their stories and the consequences given.  The world needs this great moral compass to gauge our conduct.

For example, I struggle with fear BIG TIME.  Every time I start freaking out, I flip open my Bible to the Book of Exodus 3-4 and read about Moses’ insecurities and fears regarding leadership speaking.  When God told me I would be speaking in front of women, I threw a Tammy Tantrum fit of the worst kind and ran the other way because I thought there would be no way I could ever do that.

Fear is paralyzing, not mobilizing.  Public speaking brings out the worst in me; peeing my panties!  I’m not kidding either.   God shares with me that though I may feel inadequate, He is right there alongside of me holding my hand and equipping me with what to say and the provision needed.  I am proof positive of both crawling to the finish line and receiving the blessings found from the favor of God through peace, favor and fulfillment.

Remember, I started reading the Word along with cracking open a beer, like I said, because God invites us and love us just the way we are.  When you spend time in someone’s presence, you automatically mirror what they project and give.  His transformation severs addictions, rage, depression, fear, and especially insecurities before we even realize it. 

God has taken my shattered life and molded it back together by intricately gluing each piece back together so not only is it stronger, but it’s more beautiful and it illuminates His glory through the transparency of the Superglue.  God loves putting broken and messy lives back together because, after all, Psalm 34:18 reminds us that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  God is Love, that is why He sent His son, Jesus Christ, into the world; not to just save those who believe and offer reconciliation, but He came to heal the brokenhearted just like me (Luke 4:18).

Forewarning, I will be writing sporadically in the next couple of weeks, but I will share graphic and violent events solely to show you the power brought about through God’s gift of healing and transformation.  Fear versus Faith.  Now I’m an overcomer.   Enjoy Mandisa’s Overcomer.

Until next time…

Living With Addiction Day 17 ~ Abuse

Blameless Faith

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Shame

Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Day 17 of 40

“What the hell could you possibly have to say that has any merit or even worth listening to?”  Those piercing words coming from my husband as I was sharing my excitement and dreams due to the rewards and recognition I was receiving for my hard work still haunt me today through certain triggers tapping into my insecurities. 

When exactly was my faith defined and how were my chains of abuse severed that set me free from the bondage of living under the various forms of abuse?  The last adulterous affair that proceeded shortly after the above-mentioned comment left me completely devoid of trust and emotion while being stripped down naked, exposing every battle scar ever afflicted upon my being and the very core of being a woman!

The remnants concealed behind my veiled face painted an eerily familiar and devastating silhouette.  The tears projecting from the flood gates of my soul permeated the chiffon and organza material that had been beautifully hiding my flaws of imperfection and rejection.  Now I was exposed again; this time after giving up EVERYTHING near and dear in search for that perfect Love!

When I walked down the aisle in my beautiful princess wedding dress, like so many Beautiful Beloveds, my rose-colored glasses projected a life through the lens of great expectations and naivety hope filled with nothing but mere promises assuring love and fidelity, along with being cherished and treasured until death do us part.

As my Veil of Shame exposed the deep recesses of despair coming from broken promises, my mind suddenly transitioned to the reflection mirroring the trauma in finding another woman’s undergarments underneath the backseat of my new vehicle that was purchased as a congratulatory gift for passing the state exam flashing before my very eyes?

I sit on the cold kitchen tile feeling defeated and full of dread and shame.  Why doesn’t he love me?  Everyone says I’m so beautiful and bright, but why is everyone laughing at me again? 

The words burning from his lover’s phone call cannot escape the speed in which my blood is being recycled over and over and over again!  My heart palpitates, except this time it requires the urgent need of the defibrillator because my tattered and bleeding heart no longer knows how to beat on its own. 

The words coming from the man on the other side of the telephone interrupts my plans and reasoning as to why I came home early from work just to get dolled up and surprise my love with another scrumptious meal.  His words pulled the rug underneath my very feet leaving me unable to stand, much less deny, the horror from the searing words penetrating through the telephone.  My husband was having an affair with another man… 

His lover or one-night stand was giddy as he was talking and sharing his joy of union with MY HUSBAND!  He even went so far as to say he couldn’t wait to meet me because my husband told his lover that he was living with his neurotic sister.  Neurotic?  On a lighter note, maybe someone could share with me what scorned women do because that aspect escaped me!

How is a woman supposed to cope with the loss of a lack of sexual union between husband and wife with all the broken promises that were filled with nothing but deceit and lies to cover over a lifestyle of being sexually confused amongst other things?

I am only sharing this tidbit because I know many Beloveds who have for whatever reason lost this beautiful union in their marriages and also women who found out the hard way that their husbands were just not who they said they were because of their lifestyle choices and closet living. 

I will share that for years it devastated me and it stripped me of every last blood vessel announcing my beauty and femininity as a woman.  I carried the shame, of course, and the blame that it was MY FAULT!  That was my go-to resource that superficially kept me going; but after time, when being forced to deal with the suppressed pain underneath the layers of superficiality, it left me feeling anything but beautiful and/or sexy.

Being honest here, even though I know who God says I am now, and I look back and see what “a waste of a beautiful woman” I was (yep, comment came straight from my doctor that added daggers into my lifeless heart as it was), how that didn’t push me back over the edge off the cliff is a testament to being wrapped up in God’s love, healed and sustained by His saving grace found through my reliance and relationship with Him.  Waste?  Honey, I’m still alive; just saying…  ♥♥

My great love affair with the Lord started after this season of betrayal.  I love Jesus with my total being, and because I’m speaking the truth here, I may have forgiven my ex-husband for his betrayal in many facets of his life, but I will never forget!  I still wish he could have been hung by you know what; just saying…  🙂

When our spouses have affairs on us, it’s hard to move forward, but it can be done through therapy and a whole lot of grace extended down for both parties.  Trust is something that has to be earned after such betrayal.  My prayers go out towards all the Beautiful Beloveds who have walked in these same shoes; it is painful, but God will mend our broken hearts.  He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL and just asks for a little of our time!

Until next time, never forget…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

 

Living With Addiction Day 16 ~ Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Blameless Chains 7

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Shame

The Broken Behavior of Abuse

Day 16 of 40

Shame and Abuse, two powerful words used in our everyday lifestyles and conversations denoting the ugly reality of life.  Do we really understand their correlation and definition to one another?  Better yet, what could they both possibly have to do with my living with addiction?

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, shame is defined as “a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong”; and abuse is defined as “a corrupt practice or improper or excessive use or treatment.”

Many people ask me, “How could a person be so amazingly strong and confident with unfathomable faith and yet be an advocate for others after having stayed in these horrific abusive relationships for so long?”  My answer, S-H-A-M-E!

Remember, I am a byproduct of a long generational lineage of shame living with addiction.  So many of the behaviors I learned throughout the years were quite different than what most individuals would deem appropriate or allow themselves to be subjected to.  I am a work-in-progress and will continue to be until I reach the finish line this side of heaven.

My thought processes reflected and perceived everything that was happening to me as my own fault.  I deserved whatever form of punishment being afflicted on me because I did not conform to my controller’s demands.  That’s the game of shame; us victims take and carry the blame for what our abusers do.

Abusers entangle their prey initially through shame.  The victims get caught into this web spun with deceit and blame forcing them to be subjected to numerous stings from the venom that weakens and clouds their lens of perception.  They find themselves being exhausted and entrapped into this web of destruction with no way to escape and end up hanging there alone until death.

I will be using words such as “husband” and “family members” throughout.  Please understand that I’m not here to shame the living or the dead.  This is where being married a couple of times shields the identity along with having a large family.  So when I refer to my husband’s abuse or affairs and my family member’s spitting into my face, it is to bring awareness to what I was subjected to in order to share my story and not focus on the identity of the abuser. 

I will be sharing how my husband controlled me through the means of force and threat by brandishing a gun, strangulation, threats in taking my children away, verbiage that would alarm any law enforcement officer as forms of manipulation and control to help bring awareness as to why I lived under such horrific conditions along with my current struggles in balancing the fine line between healthy boundaries of love versus enabling.

Let us not forget how addiction ties in nicely here also!  Since my life was full of shame, depression, addiction, and now abuse, my initial go-to for escape and consolation was alcohol and cracking open my Bible.  What a contrast, I know; but I am being honest here and how it just reiterates that God works best in hot messes and He loves us just the way we are! 

So…  How were my chains of abuse severed that set me free from the bondage of the physical and emotional scars that held me down on the cell of hell’s floor for several decades?

I’m going to end today’s writing with another disclaimer.  Hearing the world say, “You’re so strong.  You’ve been through so much, I wish I could have the strength and faith like you.  I wish I could have your joy.”  Ha!  Hello…  What do I say, “I am not shielded from bad things, quite the contrary.  I am obedient and stand firm on my faith.  That takes action and practice, not complacency and laziness.

I am far from strong.  I am weak.  I am fragile.  I am frail and broken, but I am living proof of the definition found in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; God’s grace and power is made perfect in weaknesses.  My heart aches and bleeds just like yours.  I’ve just learned how to tap into the authority that is given to me through faith and grace and not go through life focusing on fear, excuses and complaints.  That’s the antidote that’s available to everyone who believes!  It’s called faith, the true source of where our strength and power comes from.

I blossom hearing God say, “Come here, Beautiful!  I love it when you spend time sharing your fears and dreams with me, beautiful daughter of mine.  I’m so proud of you that you are allowing My Spirit to transform you through faith and trust.  Your reliance unleashes the authority given to all my children who believe.  Now you can look back and see what I’ve been saying to you all along.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.  Trust me.  Just ask and receive.”

Wow, what a beautiful imagery of what amazing Love awaits for God’s Beloveds who care to engage in a relationship with Him by merely sitting at His feet while reading His love letter (Holy Bible) being humbled, honest and exposed knowing His Truths will set us free.  That’s called a relationship! 

Until next time…

Living With Addiction Day 15 ~ Broken Behavior

Blameless Stairs to Freedom

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Shame

The Broken Behavior

Day 15 of 40

Wow, it seems like it’s been months since I last wrote.  Here I was on a roll and the typical tactics of the enemy intervened and attacked causing great pain.  Thankfully I will endure by fulfilling this 4o-day challenge as I press forward and remember where my strength comes from.  I just have to grab ahold of that life jacket filled with grace and tender mercies flowing from our Heavenly Father full of perseverance and power.  Can you relate?

Shame is a sad thing, isn’t it?  The broken behaviors that develop because of it, especially the insecurities, addictions and depression, are devastating!  My heart bleeds for my family members who live their lives hiding behind all that unmerited shame.  My wholehearted love and compassion especially grieves for the Beloved who was the blessed miracle that came from all the sin and shame and never understood her worth and value.  Not only can I identify with her on so many levels, but she was a precious gift and beautiful blessing.

So how has shame intervened in my life through all this broken behavior?  I know I eluded to it briefly in Day 14 that my life paralleled this broken behavior of shame through denial and the running from such problems so I guess that’s my intro into and navigation to start sharing another dark period of my life that was filled with deceit, infidelity, and many forms of abuse.  Abuse can be a really hard topic to talk about on a blog because its effects are so profound and stem from many facets concerning physical, verbal, sexual, financial and emotional abuse!   I will try my best.

I never could understand why some people could just walk up to me in the past and say that they could tell I was either a domestic violence warrior and/or survivor.  I mean, it’s not like I wore a T-shirt announcing such or even had it taped to my forehead, but…  The shame victims of abuse carry in either their body language, clothing, or mannerisms announce loudly what we often work so hard trying to cover up!   This is when being exposed and running naked is freedom at her finest hour!  Hallelujah!

Unless you’ve lived under some form of abuse, it is very hard to identify and understand the torture us precious souls are subjected to and live under.  It’s still a battle I visit every so often myself with some of my family; it makes me quiver and shake and want to throw up in believing I actually lived under that fear and control for decades.  I praise God for the severance of that cell of hell. 

It’s a hard cycle to break, and one in which requires awareness and sensitivity, and a whole lot of love and compassion; but we can all be healed by God’s Great Love through the sharing of our own stories and struggles.  Abuse is subtle and once it locks you up, the chains will hold you captive in a cell of hell with no window or door until you allow the Lord to sever that stronghold of shame and abuse.  I know, I lived in that cell of hell myself once upon a time.

It’s hard for people to conceive how hard it is to walk away from being in a cell of hell when that’s all you have ever known.  It’s hard to look at the removal and freedom of the shackles that once held you captive and are no longer a part of your life from entering that door of freedom with its doors wide open along with the warmth drawing you near.  That warmth and illumination flowing from the freedom outside those four walls is unfamiliar and scary because all you have ever known is the heaviness from the chill that has weighed you down and existed on the cell’s floor as you’ve crawled towards freedom.

Because healthy relationships and life inside the cell of hell never offered glimpses of paradise outside those four walls, many abuse victims never break free from the bondage of being a victim because, for one, they’re afraid; two, people just don’t talk about it due to shame and lack of awareness; and three, they do not realize what their worth and value is to society because they have never met Love Himself, Jesus Christ!  Their lives are based and built on shame.

Dealing with this stronghold of shame for deliverance meant, and will always mean, that my walk and reliance would solely be based on God and that I would need to learn how to go deeper with my lifelong interaction and relationship with Him, while relying on the promises of Jesus to break every chain holding my family captive through affliction.

Relying on God in times of stress and troubles are our only source of consolation and strength because this severance calls for a job that only Jesus can heal.  That’s where we get a glimpse of the majestic beauty that comes from the ashes of our pain this side of heaven!  Enjoy one of my favorites from Jesus Culture, There Is Power In The Name of Jesus; Break Every Chain!

Until next time, never forget…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Living With Addiction Day 14 ~ Shame Broken Behavior

Blameless Love

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Shame

The Broken Behavior

Day 14 of 40

The piercing chill arising from a lonely Beloved’s heart who longed to be touched and loved on was no match for the brooding blizzard within.  This Beloved’s desperation found her tears leading her adrift until the chill from an approaching arctic blast forced her to seek shelter in an unexpected tavern occupied by deceptive sojourners. 

Midwest storms were known for their frigid temperatures due to the arctic air that rushes down from the backsides of snowstorms, but this arctic blast was no match for the impending freeze-up that would last for generations to come.

One step into the tavern confirmed that not even the biting chill from the wind outside could be compared with the brokenness existing from the patrons seeking shelter from the storm’s wrath.

With the chill brooding in the Beloved’s broken heart, she found her way to the warmth of the bar.  As she began to sit down, she unwrapped her fur scarf and asked the bartender for a shot of whiskey to diffuse the frigid dampness in the room.

This unraveling of the layers between the clothing and the warmth from the whiskey within announced the Beloved’s beauty that drew attention unlike anything she had ever experienced.  What started out as innocent shelter from the arctic blast led to decisions that would effect many hearts, many families, for many generations to come. 

Two hearts united together by whiskey during an arctic blast should have offered a life leading to marriage with the white picket fence and a couple of kids.  Maybe in a perfect world!  But coming from a tavern of deception…

Hundreds of years ago, living with addiction became predominant.  The stronghold of physical abuse and being subjected to it through control and manipulation bled through to subsequent generations.  There was also infidelity acceptance; this man was married with his own children.

Here is a married, abusive, alcoholic man promising love to a beautiful and desperate Beloved with a broken heart.  An affair ensues, but when the Beloved finds out she is pregnant, she also finds out that the man she gave her heart to is married. 

Back in that era, not only was premarital sex forbidden, but an unwed mother from an adulterous affair would receive ridicule and be forsaken.  This new life that promised new beginnings started a whole new arctic chill and avalanche that would take out and devastate many generations to come.

To me, the birth of a child is a blessing, no matter how it’s conceived.  I cannot imagine the pain associated with living a life filled with lies brought on to cover up an affair!  This child grew up living with the shame brought on from being a byproduct of an adulterous affair and that her parents chose to run and hide to a new area to get married to cover up the shame of the pregnancy and adulterous affair.  May I introduce you to Mr. Shame at his finest hour!

The shame in living with the secret that you are a byproduct of an adulterous affair was destructive.  The damages continue to be the predominant force and stronghold over my family!  This sounds so much like my own life.  How about yours?  The cycle continues.

The shame this Beloved carried kept her locked up in a cell of hell.  She became emotionally absent because she feared that the truth of her blessed inception would be found out.  It created layers of deception and rage throughout the family dynamics because, for one, her father was a womanizer, an alcoholic, and an abusive man drowning in his own misery and alcohol.  We know what scorned women do, but carrying the weight of such shame is unfathomable!

If I could see you today, Beautiful, the Beloved who lived your life through the lens of shame, I would hold your hand and share that being a byproduct of an affair has no reflection on the amazing and loving woman you are.  There is no reason to be ashamed.  You are a blessing to your family, though you may not hear the gentle whispers of love and affirmation through the concealment in your cell of hell. 

Your children still arise and call you blessed because of all the love you poured into them with the best of your ability battling depression and shame.  Even though your heart may be severely tattered from all the hell you lived through for so many years underneath the weight of torment, I get it.  I wish I could erase and pull out all that pain to spring new life from your heaviness due to carrying and hiding from this family secret that has no bearing on you.

I want to say thank you for blessing me with your unique and valuable gifts of love and compassion for others, intelligence, style and sophistication that will continue to live on through many generations.  I am proud to carry your DNA.  I love you like so many do.  That barrier that was built because of shame that robbed you of a life filled with peace and fulfillment, it’s coming down in the name of Jesus Christ!

Beautiful Beloved, you are forgiven.  Just ask!  You are so loved and precious!  Your life leaves a legacy for the beginnings of severing this stronghold of living with addiction!  I love you.  This stronghold deliverance belongs to the Lord!  Jesus has the key and He has unlocked the ball and chains that have held us all captive for so many generations.  Rejoice, your life has meaning!  We have come for a time such as this; our legacies leave love, strength and deliverance!  Love covers all!

Until next time…

Living With Addiction Day 13 ~ Shame

Blameless Beach Peace 2

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Depression

Shame

Day 13 of 40

So what else contributed to this California beach girl who presumably had it all, you know, looks, brains, and popularity, to end her own life by driving off a cliff after repeated failed attempts?  Was it another he?  Well…  Shame is his name and his game!

Suicide and depression are just the underbellies of this beast called shame, especially when there’s a controlling link and lineage in living with addiction.

What is shame?  Webster’s definition states shame as “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety”; but more importantly, it’s “a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute.”  Aaahhhhh… that not being trusted because of humiliation or respected by others that disrepute claims.  Isn’t that the “What-would-people-say-if-they-found-out syndrome?” 

Kind of like the aftermath:  Run, hide, cover it up so no one will find out.  Throw those skeletal remains into the closet and slam it shut, making sure to lock it with bolt and key.  Afterwards, run down to the river and throw the key into the deepest part of the raging current and never mention it again!  Cover-up is essential, no matter the cost!  The shadows of darkness…

What kind of life is that?  Shame had reared its ugly head for far too long in my life and my family’s lineage.  That Persona of Perfection!  Reiteration of why my addictive behaviors and chronic symptomatology of depression and suicidal tendencies were overlooked combined with the humiliation from driving off the cliff being swept underneath the rug, so to speak, never to be spoken of again unless controlling reminders of the darkened shadow emerged.

I get it!  I mean, I own up to my own choices and behaviors and I have taken complete ownership of what transpired.  That’s why I’ve never stopped working to get to the core of what has held my family captive of such darkness since the Lord healed me of my depression.  I am completely aware of this problem and I want these dysfunctional strongholds severed.

In raising my own sons who did things at times that made me cringe and brought humiliation; the cycle of shame continued by running and hiding for shelter to get rid of the evidence, you know, those skeletal remains, except for tackling the truth and reason for the problem. 

Pride, denial, S-H-A-M-E!  That was my comfort zone, familiar go-to, spend exhausting chunks of time covering it up instead of finding a solution for severance because that’s what I knew and my choices and decisions reflected that.

The amount of time we waste on covering up our mistakes, our true lives, our decisions and choices, rob us of the life that God intended for us to live.  I think about all the shame I carried throughout my life and will always be working on my own junk so I can be the best Beloved that God designed me to be. 

That shame did not stop ruling me once I became healed of my depression.  In fact, it grew!  That shame just announced more profoundly the worth and value I placed on the wrong sources of identity; marriage, beauty, family, career, prestige, social status, you name it!

This Shame Game led me to stay in relationships and environments that were unhealthy, yet familiar, with addiction running rampant through control and abuse day in and day out.

Remember how I mentioned before how addictive behaviors are a magnet for destruction?  That chaos that spins the web of destruction in abusive relationships is by far the hardest battle to survive and break free from.  My body cringes and shutters when I’m reminded of what I allowed in my life; chaos, addiction, abuse, infidelity, betrayal; it goes on!

Shame is like an article of clothing we put on everyday so we’re not naked and exposed!  Unless we realize how natural and controlling it is over our lives, we’ll never truly understand what the cycle of living with addiction involves.

Tomorrow I will share a Story of Shame that has not only effected many generations of Beloveds negatively through shame, but it robbed the most amazing and beautiful woman (whom I’m honored and proud to be a genetic part of ) of the life God created and designed her to have. 

She lived underneath the Veil of Shame and curse of what addiction robs without embracing her beauty, charm, intelligence and persona of style and sophistication.  She received her life as a curse to carry in shame and secret instead of embracing the beautiful woman she truly was!  I was saddened to find out how a life was lived behind closed doors!

Until next time…

 

Living With Addiction Day 12 ~Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

Blameless True Friends 1

Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Depression

Damage more than the Afflicted

Day 12 of 40

Hello Beautiful!  I pray you are having an amazing week realizing just how beautiful you are with the last couple weeks’ challenges.  It’s amazing how removing ourselves from the Negative Nancy neighborhood (mindset) and living with intent and expectation blossoms the true beauty behind the blessings.  It’s that time again, it’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays!

Since the affirming words that flow from our mouths guide our feet towards blessings, let’s challenge ourselves this week to be a true friend with childlike intentions.  Let’s share our story with another Beloved the struggles we are feeling through the lens of what vulnerability offers in being raw and candid.  The healing that will come from this transparency will be liberating, but it will also bond you to the one you’re sharing with.

One thing I have learned by allowing my life to be completely exposed (and I’m talking about being totally naked here with nowhere to hide) through the transparency, rawness and complete vulnerability during this 40-day challenge is we all struggle with insecurities, feelings of shame, defeat, fear, anxiety, depression, you name it!  We’re all imperfect beings living in an imperfect world soBlameless Children Rain why hide behind our struggles that are intended to help us grow!

When we open up our lives by sharing areas of weakness that are uncomfortable for us to talk about, it paves the way for God to bring healing and support needed to battle and conquer our darkness.  We are also blessing the other person we’re sharing with because if we are opening up our hearts, that relates to the other person that they’re loved and worthy of trust.  When we share our lives and struggles with one another, it not only unlocks our fears and the suppressed pain, but it gives God the room to bring healing to that area we didn’t want touched, much less exposed.  We need community and we need each other; that’s how God designed us.  Sharing our stories offers intimacy and it opens the window to see clearly through the lens of how God intended true friendships to be.  No matter how old we are, there is still a little girl residing within our tender hearts who is wanting to love and be loved. 

Seeing through the lens of a True Friend is acknowledging the need for others; in fact, a true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while others believe the smile you’re wearing!  Blameless True Friends 1This requires sharing the good, the bad and the ugly.  You’ll be blessing that other person by sharing your struggles because they’re probably going through similar trials themselves and sharing our hurts builds trust.  That treasure chest filled with golden nuggets of trust richly blesses others’ lives with the comfort and confidence in being vulnerable.  This is the beauty found in connections.  Sharing leads to trust.  Trust leads to healing.  Healing then brings peace and beauty from the ashes.  True friends make our good days better, but they also offer strength to make the hard times lighter and easier through their love and support.

We all have hundreds of acquaintance-type friends between social media and through our own channels of networking; we also have friends that have been in our lives for years, yet for whatever reason, the friendship remains on the superficial side without vulnerability and because of constant betrayal through gossip and hurts.  Let’s embrace our friendships or even cultivate new ones enjoying the benefits of being a true friend first so we can get to a new level of deeper understanding and intimacy together. 

Weekly Challenge:  Challenge yourself this week to share your life and struggles, your story, with a friend you want to try and go deeper with and watch the bond of that transparency and vulnerability remove the veil of shame that you’ve been hiding behind.  When we share our hurts, others will share theirs as well.  There’s nothing in our lives worthy of shame.  We have been redeemed and we are Beautiful Beloveds, royal heiresses to the kingdom of God.  Let’s claim what freedom being the real beautiful “us” offers.

Until next time, never forget…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Living With Addiction Day 11 ~ Depression and Belonging

Blameless Window of Blessings

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Depression

Damage more than the Afflicted

Day 11 of 40

News Alert:  That mask I lived behind for many years showed the deep darkness to what controlled my very existence.  Depression is a lonely torment.  The enemy plants these tiny seeds of doubt into our minds with words like “You don’t belong, you’ll never be good enough or pretty enough.”  This scheme of deceit creeps into our minds and hearts while this full-blown warfare develops solely to steal, kill and destroy.

Somehow, some way, I saw the hand of God extending down from heaven as I was driving off that cliff and grabbed ahold of it as my car smashed and bounced off the wall of rocks.  Jesus had been patiently waiting for me to grab ahold of His help so I would understand why He came; to set us ALL free, those who would believe, so that we may have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10).  It was then that this weapon of depression and force of destruction that was being formed against me lost its power during my final attempt at suicide.

While I was unconscious due to my skull fracture, I witnessed that bright light that some near-death experiences receive as I witnessed my life flashing before my very eyes.  I was touched clearly by the hand of God; how else could I survive flying through the air 350 feet after going through steel beams and bars and smashing into the cliff’s rocks, not to mention living through the force of the impact that compressed and wrapped my remains around the twisted metal of what was once my Volkswagen Bug.

So what happened to good ‘ole Scott, that dreamy boy, that some of you have asked?  You know, I don’t know.  I will never forget the “words” from his get-well card saying, “If you ever want to drop in anywhere, drop in at my house.”  He said I looked beautiful at the concert and disappeared right afterwards.  Due to our amazing seats, he was unable to get up front with us, but that he was behind me the whole time watching us a dozen rows back.

My parents and I moved to a completely new area shortly after my release from both hospitalizations and I never saw him again.  The enemy is good about robbing us of blessings and gifts that were ours to begin with to open, but we let doubt, insecurities, and fears, you name it, rob us of our value and our gifts intended just for that day.

Since Isaiah 54:17 reassures us that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, then it is my duty and responsibility to believe and walk out my faith trusting God at His Word.  This will require moving forward in great expectation and obedience so I may receive the deliverance from this weapon called depression however He chooses to orchestrate it.

God is faithful; He brought my deliverance and healing, but it was not without great cost and pain; the death of Jesus Christ.  I’d call it nothing short of a miracle.  Being healed by Jesus offers us a lifelong journey of hope and joy while giving us glimpses into what heaven will really be like. 

When we encounter this Great Love affair on a daily basis breathing, living and applying His Word to our lives, we become redeemed and transformed and our old strongholds and insecurities that genetically shackled us are removed and we become restored and renewed to being these Beautiful Beloveds God designed and created us to be.

It also helps us love others, even those that have brought us harm.  I want to live and love like 1 Corinthians 13 tells us; through kindness, humility, patience, and by being one who does not easily anger and holds no record of wrongdoing while seeing the best in others through the lens of the forgiveness that was bestowed upon me during the outpouring of love and redemption.

Having a relationship with the Lord changed my perception on who I was!  I finally belonged, to the King of kings and Lord of lords, mind you, and experienced the Love that we all yearn for; the Love I was even going to die for, but Jesus took my place instead and rescued me from myself.  This is called our Father’s Love!  He’s a good, good Father.

Until next time…

 

Living With Addiction Day 10 ~ Depression

Blameless Depression I'm Fine

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Depression

Damage more than the Afflicted

Day 10 of 40

Today started like any other summer day before my senior year in high school; I took a shower, smoked a joint and cigarette and headed down to the beach to surf and sunbathe.  Today was special, though; there was a new boy in town named Scott and tonight was Pablo Cruz’s concert at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  Scott had the hots for me and said he would meet me down at the concert after work.

I scurried about in order to catch a ride on the morning surf and soak up as many sun rays possible needed to obtain that “been-at-the-beach-all-day look” with the peeling red nose and face to contrast and compliment my long, blonde hair!  That’s what looked hot and defined us surfer chicks!

Today held the promise of hope and love.  After my longstanding feelings of rejection and abandonment with my family, the constant jeers of being laughed at and not fitting in, coupled with bouts of depression unattended to for a couple of years and the breakup of a long-term boyfriend; there were glimpses of sunshine peeking through the dark clouds from a dreamy boy who was way out of my league. 

Scott had curly brown hair, green eyes, around 21, and even had surfboard racks on top of his BMW.  He said I was hot!  He made my heart palpitate.  My heart was beating again and I felt alive.  I couldn’t wait to receive more of his CPR.

After the beach, I showered with intention and detail to look beautiful in my size 3 Jordache jeans that were long enough to compliment my 5’11” frame and wear cowboy boots.  I looked hot, just like a supermodel!  I jumped into my V.W. Bug feeling beautiful and picked up a couple of girlfriends and headed down to the fairgrounds.  We drank some beer and smoked a few joints before we entered the concert. 

Upon arrival at the concert, we were fortunate enough to get escorted and seated in Row 3 right smack at center stage.  Every band wants a group of screaming teenage girls upfront.  The whole time we were talking and laughing, my mind became fixated on the whereabouts of Scott and it interfered with my ability to have fun engaging with my girlfriends.  The concert was getting jammed packed full of concertgoers and still no Scott.

The feelings of not being pretty enough and good enough was the perfect environment for the brooding of the storm.  Each emotional dagger of rejection were all consuming, turning the gusts of shame and walls of torment into deafening sounds diffusing the emergency warning system of the impending tornado.  Being tossed to and fro in the quiet eye of the tornado left no time to hear or acknowledge the warning sounds that this storm was about to implode even though it was louder than thousands of screaming cheers as the concert began. 

I started looking at everyone in the concert smiling, singing and dancing, the band focusing directly on us girls upfront, and I felt a sense of loss and gloom.  It wasn’t the spin of the tornado that was making me sick, it was because I felt alone in this crowd and no one could hear my screams for help and panic.  I didn’t belong and I didn’t fit in and I was scared to death.  My mind kept focusing on trying to find Scott in the chaos because my heart needed help. 

Once the concert was over, we headed over to the restroom.  I took one look at myself in the mirror and became horrified.  Between the sweat and oil from the heat of the lights and stage, the profusion of sweat from being one sardine amongst a compressed can, I looked horrible.  I no longer resembled the perfection of the model I put on beforehand.

The beads of sweat bonded my hair like glue instead of free-flowing locks that could be flicked back and forth; my black mascara resembled more of a tarantula instead of highlighting my green eyes; my peeling red and flaky white nose resembled my white eyebrows stuck to my burned forehead.  No wonder Scott stood me up.  I felt ugly and not worthy of love.  I had to get out of there.  I couldn’t let anyone see me like this and I needed to hide.

I told my friends that I wasn’t feeling good, so we needed to go home.  Everyone was laughing.  They wanted to stay and continue to have fun.  They didn’t look gross like me, so they stayed.  I walked to my car alone.  I felt ashamed because everyone was laughing in large groups and I was alone running to hide.  I felt unworthy because of my appearance.  Why do we place so much significance on our looks?

I got into my Volkswagen and headed home.  I cried the whole way home, but no one was there when I arrived.  All the thoughts, emotional daggers and flaming arrows that were penetrating my heart and controlling my mind became desperate. 

I drove to my favorite spot, Swami’s Beach, and circled the parking lot a couple of times after finding no one to love on me and snapped.  Before I knew it, I was driving through the protective barrier and wall built with steel beams and bars free-flying through the air bouncing off the rocks landing onto the ocean floor.  All I remember is seeing a bright light with my life flashing before me.

I wanted out of my cell of hell.  People with depression who don’t receive help can get this low.  There’s nothing to be ashamed about.  I was screaming “help me,” but I could not find a solution to ease the pain except for this final attempted suicide.  Thank you, Jesus!

This is Swami’s Beach.  Beautiful, isn’t it?  Hard to really gauge the cliff’s height, but I believe it’s a little over 350 feet.  I wrote this from what I can remember as to what set me over the edge, so to speak, 37 years ago.  I want to share that I have been completely healed by God’s Divine grace and mercy of depression many years ago.  Today I’m living in freedom and flying free of yesterday’s guilt, today’s fears, and tomorrow’s grave.  All because God loves me just the way I am!! 

There is hope for everyone suffering with depression; please just don’t let it get as far as I did!  This was my drug of choice, depression, living with addiction and the generational strongholds.

Until next time…

Living With Addiction Day 9 ~ Depression

Blameless Depression 9

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Depression

Damage more than the Afflicted

Day 9 of 40

You’re a brave soul to continue on here with me.  Not every person that is depressed and suicidal feels and goes through what I went through or suffers these symptoms.  This is how my generational stronghold of depression started manifesting itself with more than just the subtle cues announcing I needed help!

My first attempt to take my life was to find out what was at my disposal in my house.  Easy way out, I thought, was to take as many pills laying around the house as possible.  It’s important I deviate here for a moment…

Parents, please don’t deny this:  With peer pressure the way it is today, us parents have a tendency to think, “Oh, my child will never take my pain meds.”  You’re gravely wrong.  Even if they don’t ingest them personally, they may take a couple here and there and sell them or their friends will know you have them and rob you blindly.  Yes, this happened to me as a parent.  $20 today gets you a couple Vicodin or one Oxycontin.

Continuing…  I started taking all the medications that were in my parent’s cupboard.  I think back at how desperate I was, I even swallowed enema suppositories.  I had no idea at the time what they were.  Pretty gross, huh?  I might nervously laugh at that now due to discomfort in being transparent, but that’s how low and rock bottom I had hit.

My parents were loaded with medications.  No wonder I kept throwing up every day for weeks; it was the meds.  All this did was add more ammo to the fuel lines of depression because I really felt like a failure; I was unsuccessful at taking my own life.  Epic failure!

I then started slashing my wrists.  At first it was just a get-back-at-you vice towards a boy so I could write a love note goodbye in my blood.  Pretty morbid, huh? 

Teenagers today are often cutting their skin to release some of the tension; a little different than slashing their wrists.  They will have fine-line scratches, almost like a two- to three-inch-long cat scratch.  They diffuse their anxiety and mental loneliness through a quick cut; their drug of choice. 

My slashing only made matters worse with the anger coming from my family which brought on more isolation time and removal from others because of the punishment:  I was grounded and left alone to suffer the consequences in my room. 

Please remember to never leave a depressant and suicidal individual alone in their cell of hell because all it does is give them time to contemplate and conjure up their next move.

After many days of forethought and preparation, occupying time and space, I decided to slash my wrists this time by going straight across the wrist in order to sever any nerves that were in the wrist area so I could bleed out.  I obviously had found books during schooltime showing how to properly cut and bleed out because the internet did not exist back then.  My initial attempts were vertically imposed; this time I would cut horizontally.

I inflicted the greatest of pain imaginable to myself here because I somehow or another felt using dull razors while digging deep to lacerate both wrists over and over again would bring instant death.  The agonizing scream was torturous itself.  I still cringe thinking about this 40 years later. 

This time the paramedics came.  I was taken to the hospital and stitched up.  My slashing my wrists was an obvious “I need help,” but when there’s generational strongholds here, we become numb and blinded to the loud pleas for help because it gets dismissed.

This might be morbid, even horrifying, to read, but this pales in comparison to what some people feel and experience.  Depression is real and many have no idea they’re afflicted or how to break free.  It starts subtle and has become an epidemic in today’s society because of the advances in technology that offer the ease to cover up and isolate.

As I was trying to console a girlfriend whose daughter tried to end her life by ingesting bleach, I was sharing with her that the parents cannot carry the shame and blame for what their children do.  Yes, it is the parent’s responsibility to seek out help if there are signs or symptoms, but when we let shame and fear and the veil of generational strongholds keep us from intervening and seeking help by sweeping it underneath the rug, God help us!  As far as my girlfriend goes, most of us were oblivious to her daughter’s despair and depression.  

We all get depressed; that’s a natural part of life, to a certain extent.  Sadly, some stay in this rut and isolate and can’t shake it and need help.  There’s nothing to be ashamed about.  Don’t let darkness prevail here. 

Good time to close.  I’m preaching and not sharing.  Tomorrow’s might be offensive to some as I try to be as raw and candid about everything I went through and felt the day I drove myself off the cliff.

Until next time…

Living With Addiction Day 8 ~ Depression

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Depression

Damage more than the Afflicted

Day 8 of 40

Depression is cruel.  It is not discriminant in nature and/or symptomatology.  My story is simple really; I became so low and full of despair in my desperate attempts to belong, anywhere, I couldn’t understand or figure out why this sudden gloom of hopelessness was developing that was attacking and overwhelming my heart and soul.  I tried to talk to my family about it, but they were detached and busy about their ways and girls in high school just did not talk about depression.  Girls talked about boys, surfing and where the next party was while sizing each other up.

Because the pain was becoming intense and the heaviness of the cold and thick residue of dampness had chilled my body, I tried visualizing about things that would wrap me with warmth and happiness:  Boys!  But when reality set back in and the daydreams were interrupted because of life, school and work, I felt more alone and isolated.  Even though there was a crowd of people encircling my presence, I felt as if I was inside of a bubble and no one saw me or even cared about my existence.  I was just floating by hoping and praying someone would notice me.

This loneliness and despair led me to seek out such vices as drugs and alcohol.  When those temporal fixes wouldn’t suffice; you’re only happy when you’re high on mind-altering substances because you’re denying the truth that you must work through and face when sober, I started developing differing personality traits and vices to diffuse some of the air in my bubble and coddle my need for attention.  It’s called Negative Attention and Hello Insecurity!

I have been asked what my ulterior motives are for sharing such an extremely painful, personal and dark journey of my past.  My motives are pure and simple:  Why not!  There’s no shame here talking about it; it’s just another amazing victory and piece of the glued shattered glass in the vase that illuminates God’s grace and mercy through each and every crack displaying His Divine nature and love over my life.  That’s called beauty made from the ashes.  When we’re truly healed and set free, we want to share and help others leap over the hurdles and finish the race victoriously!

I didn’t have the help to sever this stronghold of depression that was stemming from the environment caused by living with addiction that has been a part of my family for centuries.  Instead it was swept underneath the rug because of shame and not having the strength or time to deal with it.  I may have claimed and received complete healing, but not before it stained and tainted more of my beautiful family.  These strongholds are going to take several generations for it to be removed completely or Divine intervention; but awareness is the key to freedom!

Working on the high school staff for a year at church opened my eyes to the purpose of my pain; helping others beat the affliction of depression and anxiety and insecurities that are so prevalent in our students in high school today.  No wonder heroin is the drug of choice now!  If I can help one parent, one person, beat this monster of depression by the awareness I am bringing to it, then it makes sense in how God has turned my ashes into beauty!

On one of my report cards from 40 years ago, the teacher responded, “Great academics, but student is quite boisterous.”  Since I was receiving new attention from this conduct, I developed this mindset that negative attention was love and acceptance.  It helped quash down and mask over the roaring pain that was expanding in my tattered heart.  This may have helped develop the comedic side to my personality, but that just meshed over the real pain that was brewing inside.  I passed that trait onto one of my precious sons.

When the boisterous side ran its course, I gravitated towards boys and love; my first love.  When you’re a young girl in high school, you may think you’re mature and know it all, but truth be known, there are so many life experiences you could never conjure up in your adolescent mind, much less know how to walk through it victoriously.  That’s why life experiences and pain are part of life; they teach us how to better handle people and situations later on and we grow through knowledge.

My family did not engage in much communication because of all the shame, addictions, strongholds and busyness of life.  I did not know how to handle all the emotions of depression that I was feeling or knew of the dangers in being led down the wrong path.  All I knew was I was in love, I was ready to play house, my life was going to be perfect and full of love, and no one was going to take that “gift” away from me.  It was mine for the taking.  Needless to say, that gift was unwrapped and I gave myself over to a boy who promised me unconditional love, but gave me only a heartache and ammunition that fed the fuel lines of depression that were ready to explode!

This multiplied the pain I had stuffed down into the deep recesses of my heart and soul.  I had just been rejected and abandoned again.  That love, that sense of belonging, that I was starving for was just a tease to lure me even lower into the pit of hell.  With feeling like no one cared and I didn’t matter to the world, I started taking extremes to fill that void; that deep sense of loss and hole in my heart that only God could fulfill.

Many have also asked what I did during my life with addiction and the strongholds of depression that developed with it, so be prepared to hear the raw, the dark and transparent part of my story.  This is where you get the opportunity to wait a week or two to come back and visit the blog if you can’t handle hot messes because it’s going to get messy. 

Enjoy Mary Mary’s song called Shackles.  Be prepared to boogie.  This is the freedom we receive when we believe!  We can praise God during our difficult circumstances because He will bring us safely to the other side.  

Until next time…

Living With Addiction Day 7 ~ Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

Blameless Words Matter

Living With Addiction

Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

Day 7 of 40

Words Matter

Hello Beautiful!  I pray you’re having a blessed New Year embracing some down time dedicated to renewing your faith and are being refreshed with all the blessings of favor and fulfillment found in drawing near to God.  It’s that time again; it’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays!

Words are powerful and they become our reality!  Whether we realize it or not, what we speak with our mouths, our words, leads us either into victory or down a path of destruction.  I don’t know about you, but I have found that not only do our words express the condition of our hearts, but living in that Negative Nancy neighborhood (our mindsets) has guided me to places that were dark and full of torment. 

The Book of James alerts us to the fact that with our tongue, we can curse our lives or bring blessings (James 3:9-12).  I believe that what we speak not only reflects our hearts, but it awakens and guides our feet by setting into motion where our feet will follow.

Have we become beloveds who constantly complain and speak negatively about our lives and other beloveds?  If so, we’re not only gossiping about others and spending way too much time in their problems (hello, don’t we have enough of our own?), but we’re allowing ourselves to lose peace and become likes those we are talking about.  Misery loves company! 

How about speaking out loud, “I forgive you,” and watch the blessings that will flow from that.  If anything, it will lead you towards peace and not the path of bitterness.

What happens when we profess we don’t look good or we’re never going to be successful or that we’re too old for love, those words spoken sets into motion where our feet will follow:  Defeat!  A bad day will surely arrive because we are led by what we profess!

Words can be traps.  For instance, when I used to receive compliments, I would immediately interject, “Oh, I look like crap, this is old,” etc.  Right away that shuts down the flow of blessings and oftentimes offends the person giving the compliment.  That person may pull away or shut down because who wants to be around Negative Nancy.  Not me!  Saying “thank you” acknowledges the compliment and encourages blessings through engagement.

Words are tiny seeds that will grow into blossoms radiating beauty and blessings or weeds that will choke the life out of us and foster bitter roots.  We are being led by our words, so let’s plant seeds of ample fruit through our words and usage of self-control so we can receive the bountiful harvest and season that God intends to shower us with (Galatians 6:7-9).

Don’t call in defeat by sowing seeds of bitter roots.  Bitterness grows like a weed.  Yet, positive and fruitful speech reaps beautiful blossoms as they open up reflecting the beauty and confidence within. 

If we’re going to speak negative, we’re never going to end up having a positive and prosperous life.  I want the Favor and Abundance of God.  You know, we’re all imperfect beloveds living in an imperfect world, but we can resist the negativity in our lives by embracing change and speak with authority the power given to us by being positive beloveds who have gracious hearts drawing in God’s favor.

Weekly Challenge:  Let’s be the Beautiful Beloveds that God says we are, wearing our crowns remembering where our inheritance comes from, the kingdom of God!  Let’s start being conscience of what flows from our mouths this week and start sowing seeds that will bear good fruit.  

Let’s speak words of affirmation and expectation such as, “I am beautiful just the way I am, There’s nobody like me; I will get my Master’s; my family will walk in the ways of the Lord; I will have a baby; I deserve to be loved, I will get married; I did a great job; I cook divine; I will get that new job.”  These are empowering words and will be a magnet for blessings to pull in when we profess them with our mouths.

Until next time, never forget…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

 

 

New Year, New Promises

Blameless New Beginnings 1.1

New Year, New Beginnings

2016 Promises

Psalm 65:11-13

Hi Beautiful, Happy New Year!  I don’t know about you, but 2015 offered many blessings, opportunities, and celebrations interwoven with pain and grief that the obedience and stretching delivered.  It was literally a roller coaster ride filled with many emotions!  There were times when I couldn’t catch my breath due to the excitement and/or intensity, the abrupt pace of the constant change, not to mention the sudden impact that the huge roadblock delivered!  Hello… can you relate?  I know many of us Beautiful Beloveds can.   

You know those times when we’re cruising merrily along with no worries in sight (in our dreams, maybe ) and then before we know it, the very ground under which we are standing gives way to a journey filled with free-falling and unknowns requiring unconditional trust and deep faith.  His Love Has No BoundariesThat journey requires the faith set out in walking by faith and not by sight that complete abandonment demands in order to get out of the boat and walk on the water that is before you (Matthew 14:22-33).  That’s faith in action focusing on the favor that reaching up for God to help sustains.  Those twists and turns that were thrusting from all sides, causing me to surrender the last bit of control I had as I hung on for dear life, awaiting my Faithful Deliverer were brutal!  Oh, how we are loved and surrounded by His Great Love.  He loves us just the way we are. 

What an exhilarating ride it was!  Now that I lived through it, I will know how to ride any roller coaster with my arms stretched up high without the piercing screams damaging my vocal cords and everyone near!  The woman I am today, saved and sustained by pure grace, could never have developed had I not trusted the One who held my very hand leading me to where He wanted (Isaiah 41:10-13).  I have met the most amazing and incredible people this girl could ever imagine and I have watched God blow my mind by His sudden miracles and blessings that painful obedience brought on through trust.

God challenges our faith by stretching us; and that oftentimes requires pain.  But oh, girlfriend, the beauty that develops in and through the ashes is nothing short of Divine!  He may stop us from going or doing something He knows will hurt us or He just wants to change the path our current journey was leading us on; but as I look back at the doors He closed, the friendships He asked me to end, and the overwhelming challenges to take on, I may have thrown my Tammy Tantrum fits because they were painful and depleting at the time, but now that my eyes are further opened and I can see what He was preparing me for, I am grateful for His tender mercies and strength that sustained me each and every day.

Psalm 65:11-13 speaks loudly to the promises I’m claiming in 2016.  “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.  The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.  The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.”

You know what, Beautiful Beloved, 2016 offers promises of new beginnings, of hope, of peace, of love, and days of abundant provision and favor!  This year may pose all the same trials and tribulations that filled last year’s challenges, but one thing I am certain of:  “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken…Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken” Psalm 62:1-6.

You know what, girlfriend, we can attain these promises of fresh and new beginnings by cleaving into and pressing into the Lord where we can express freedom in our true feelings to God through prayer so we will be able to release all the deadly effects that the emotional stressors of anxiety causes and what our fears and tears project, and leave them at Jesus’ feet so we can get back up on our feet and stand tall knowing our crowns are secure. 

To be able to trust Him at His Word; that He is our rock, our salvation and our fortress, offers us a new perspective for 2016 and enables us to receive the abundant Favor and Blessings He eagerly awaits to lavish upon us.  Happy New Year, Beautiful!  Receive 2016 as a year filled with Promise, Hope, Provision and Abundant Favor!

Until next time…

Thank You for being Beautiful You!

Blameless Sunset 1.1

 

 

 

The Perfect Gift

 

Gifts 7

The Perfect Gift

Peace

John 14:27

Hi Beautiful, are you still looking for that perfect gift with time clicking away and you’re wondering where and how you can find it?  What is the perfect gift anyways?  What are we all running towards and trying to prove in our quest for the perfect gift?  Is it the best price?  To be the first in line?  Our image?  Or is it a byproduct of conflict that we are somehow trying to soothe through our purchases in hopes that it will bring about the needed peace towards love?

If we’re honest, isn’t all that debt we incur and have to face eventually as we scramble about in pursuit of the perfect gift a reminder that it’s already been purchased and paid in full?  So why are we spending countless hours in long lines offering forced smiles when, really, underneath it all, we’re just trying to hide the fact with not feeling we do enough for everyone underneath the many hats we wear.  Isn’t that called retail therapy?  ♥♥ 

All I was experiencing was the anger brewing about by my pathetic attempts to secure peace as I became burdened with the thought of overextending myself through the daggers of debt, reminding me of the painful tug-of-war this side of heaven presents for that needed diffusion that only peace could offer.  

What I have learned personally myself this year is that all this expectation and debt and dashing about grows from my own root of discomfort caused from a lack of peace that needs cultivating.  We naively feel we can buy the recognition, love and affirmation we all crave for in finding that perfect gift.  We don’t have to buy love.  It’s already been purchased and paid for, at a high price I might add, which is the true and ultimate meaning of Christmas.

The perfect gift is something purchased only through Love; free and received with no expectations or demands.  A present is often known for having some sort of strings attached, being nice, or returnable if you’re naughty.

How does a Beloved who is a professed sufferer from Obsessive Christmas Disorder shop, decorate and celebrate when expectations placed from prior years’ performance rule?  Who or what am I really trying to buy, impress, prove and strive for with my purchases?  This really taught me a lot about myself.

I am trying to remember that the perfect gift is just awaiting me to be still and sit at His feet and claim it.  I want and need that time devoted to preparing my heart for what this amazing and sacrificial Gift that Christmas promises; the love given from my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  That perfect gift that we all search for is talked about in John 14:27 that says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”   

Isn’t that the Perfect Gift that we are all searching for and one in which only our Savior could purchase and bless us with?  Yes, He paid significantly for our salvation and reconciliation, to say the least; but in today’s world, isn’t peace the greatest commodity valued in a world full of conflict and we would do almost anything to acquire?

As I took a step back this year to acknowledge that I don’t have to buy love, I was blessed to capture a moment of this perfect gift as I lovingly decorated and illuminated my home with what I felt would captivate my granddaughter, Princess Ella, with her innocent and infectious excitement.  Since she is so infatuated with her Grammy Tammy’s Ella12122015eye-wear (glasses), I knew if I placed Santa Claus right next to the Christmas tree, she would not be too concerned about all the purchased gifts that surrounded the tree, whether disguised as beautiful ornaments or openly displayed gifts.  Instead, I catered to her childlike heart that captured a glimpse of splendor that cost nothing but being still and peaceful offered.

Sure enough, the first thing she did was take Santa’s glasses off.  She could care less about the countless gifts under the tree.  Even though she’s only 18 months old, I want her heart to always be full of love, hope and peace knowing that she’s precious, a gift herself, is loved unconditionally and doesn’t have to buy or perform in order to be cherished.  I pray she is able to perceive Christmas through the lens similar to the magical fantasy that Santa portrays, but Jesus promises.  That’s the perfect gift!

Even though Mary did not know that her baby boy, Jesus, would one day save our sons and daughters, she pondered in her heart what the angel told her in Luke 1:26-38.  She took the time required in being still so she could reflect on all the amazing things that the Lord God Almighty was entrusting her with so she would have peace while being scorned and ridiculed.  She moved forward with all the discomforts, challenges and fears because she was filled, literally, with both Perfect Gifts, peace and Jesus Himself.  That expresses “God is with us” perfectly. 

I cannot fathom the hardships, loneliness and complete abandonment Mary was subjected to, but we do know that she gleaned her strength in order to abandon all expectations as to how this King would be born.  I don’t know about you, but if I was going to bear the responsibility in giving birth to a king, I would expect at least silk sheets and cashmere blankets, not to mention a five-star hotel to begin with.

Many Beloveds can relate to Mary’s story.  Mary gave birth without the help and support of her family, being in unfamiliar land, with nowhere to go except for a cold and smelly stable right alongside the animals and their intense odors, much less having to place her baby, Jesus, in a manger (the animals’ food trough; talk about conflict).  She pondered in her heart what was promised!

Because of this Gift, though, the world can now tap into and experience the peace that Immanuel offers:  God is with us.  Now that’s the Perfect Gift! 

Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Never forget, Beautiful, you are an amazing gift to the world from God Himself.  You are pursued and prized just the way you are!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Thank You for being Beautiful You!  See you sometime next year!

Until next time…

Thank You for being Beautiful You!

Ella12122015

 

What These Eyes See Now Matters ~ Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

BlamelessEyesSee1.1

Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

What These Eyes See Now Matters!

Hello Beautiful!  I pray you are having a blessed week so far!  It’s that time again, it’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays!!!  This weekly challenge is dedicated to all of the single parents trying to sojourn through what appears to be a swamp land filled with nothing but quicksand that is pulling them under with no way to be rescued, refreshed and restored.  Plus, think about all those precious little eyes that need help in seeing what the kingdom of God is like this side of heaven.  ♥♥

Sadly, I know all too well what it was like to be a single parent raising two children of my own without any help.  I admittedly made numerous mistakes while doing the best I could with delirium, fear and chaos leading the way, but one thing is tragically apparent to me that we cannot deny; with the Blameless Single Parents Isaiah 46.4predominance of society today rearing children in single households, we need to reach out to all of these heavily burdened parents and start helping with co-hosting nights of babysitting services and sharing our struggles.  Being a parent is hard; you don’t have to be a single parent to understand that feat.  We all need time to be renewed.

In sharing in the responsibility to love, care and nurture my granddaughter, one thing I am reminded of is how demanding it is to even go to the grocery store with children in tote, much less living daily life juggling family and career.  It takes you an hour to get your car packed and loaded just to get everyone to their respective places.  It’s rush here, rush there; snap here, snap there, simulating nothing but alligators in the swamp awaiting their devour.  By the time you get to your destination, everyone has been bit and overwhelmed. 

As a grandparent, I experience love through a lens that offers a renewed perspective to cherish this time without juggling.  My son even pointed out his jealousy in how my granddaughter just snuggles in tight while being still.  This Grammy Tammy’s life and world does stop with literally no demands except for what my Princess wants.  This highlights the difference between roles and in wanting to help my son be the best parent possible, it made me think about ways we can help each other bring unity and purpose into our communities in areas that we might not otherwise think about or cater to.

This weekly challenge is to start co-hosting babysitting nights throughout our churches and friendship circles.  Extend an offering to anyone you know Blameless Proverbs 22.6who is a single parent.  Great excuse for building relationships and community!  There are many Beautiful Beloveds that have barren wombs who would love to love on our children and offer refuge and friendship to those that reciprocated.  I know a few personally! 

I may have struggled more than I should have parenting alone because I didn’t have the resources like many, but it was primarily because I DID NOT TRUST anyone due to the pain afflicted from a painful past that pushed away God’s blessings of help from others.  Many tender hearts are living the same way; in fear.  Relationships take time and commitment; and this is helping those who really need it by getting to know one another and establishing trusting relationships through co-hosting. 

We need to intervene and help not only the single parents, but our children in today’s society need to see what the kingdom of God is like this side of heaven through people who are willing to be the hands and feet of God.  Every person matters, and we are helping the next generation through love and service by modeling how God loves His children. This is also a great way to connect single parents together since their time is so limited.

Let’s start co-hosting babysitting services where new life can be renewed and restored for all while teaching those little eyes NOW what true Love is.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!!!

Blameless Isaiah 46.4.1

Call for Action: Let’s be the Hands and Feet of God serving our Firefighters! Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

Tammy Fire 2

Tammy Tangent Tuesdays

In Honor of the Firefighters we lost: Michael Hallenbeck and David Ruhl

Call for Action:  Let’s be the Hands of God serving our Local Firefighters!

Hello Beautiful!  I pray you’re having a great week so far!  It’s that time Tammy Fire 4again, it’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays!!!  This weekly challenge is one filled with compassion while pouring out blessings and much-needed prayers into our own communities!  With the serious and out- of-control wildfires burning here in California, we have tragically lost a couple of firefighters while battling this demon.  All firefighters are maxed right now due to not only the grief from losing a fellow firefighter, but they’re being sent to other areas to fight those fires while leaving their own families.  Not to mention, they’re working longer shifts exhausted just to accommodate for the slimmer crews in order to make up for the overwhelming demands.  ♥♥ 

This week’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays challenge is to go out into our community and shout out a great big “Thank You” to all of the local firefighters who are also our First Responders.  Let’s get out and visit our local fire departments and deliver them lots of goodies, along with hugs, introductions, praises of recognition, cards, and words of encouragement.  They really do care who resides within their district.  Station No. 6 received me with such open arms and attentiveness, I was saddened because I would have loved to have had theBlameless Hands of God 4.4 time to reciprocate back at them while delivering them pizza for dinner!  Next time!!!

♥♥  Since we all need to be appreciated, loved on and poured into; when we share and pour out love into the members of our communities, favor and blessings abound in such a dynamic way.  What a great opportunity to bring them dinner “Just because…”  ♥♥ 

Grab your girlfriends, yours kids, your grandbabies, and especially your church body and share the love of gratitude for all they do while being the hands and feet of God!  What a great way to model and witness to our kids by giving back and having fun by baking up some goodies, ordering pizza or buying In ‘n Out Burgers or even buying some items at the grocery store and delivering those tokens of love with a smile radiating that Beautiful You!

Tammy Fire 3We must not forget, these brave men and women put their lives on the line each and every day and commit themselves to giving back to their own communities. They are so much more than eye candy in uniform; they have families whom they leave for extended periods of time knowing their lives could be put in danger; they’re also much more active than just fighting occasional fires. They are unsung heroes who are generally always the first to arrive Firemen-with-Peds-Pt-300x225at every emergency scene to assess the patient and situational emergence.  They provide all medical care, whether it’s spinal and/or bone mobilization, perform CPR or administer external defibrillator treatment, and they even administer the life-saving epinephrine.  If extricating human life, fighting fires and locating patients left behind wasn’t brave enough, they are also subjected to unknown and unsafe environmental conditions that oftentimes compromise their health for life! 

I think our firefighters are far more deservant of praise and recognition than most even think about.  I am honored and blessed to know a few of them Blameless Firemenpersonally and I want them to know just how grateful we are for their service!  Let’s show our local firehouses how we can honor each other while we’re still alive through love and service.  It takes a community to bring back the unity and being the hands and feet of God is not only rewarding, but it’s sprinkling love and light to a world that really needs to see it!  Plus, you’ll make a new friend or two; it’s a win/win situation no matter how you look at it!

Since we have lost a couple of firefighters of our own here this past week firemen tragedydue to all these wildfires burning in California, this week’s Tammy Tangent Tuesdays is dedicated to our fallen heroes, firefighters Michael Hallenbeck and David Ruhl, who died while bravely battling the wildfires and losing their lives doing what they loved most.  Let’s keep their family, friends, and fellow firefighters in our thoughts and prayers!  Let’s love, respect and honor those while we can!  ♥♥♥

 

♥♥ In Loving Memory of Firefighters ♥♥

Michael Hallenbeck and David Ruhl

†† May you rest in Peace! ††

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Not Again! Everything Hinges on Today!

Blameless Sunset 1.2

Not Again!

Everything Hinges on Today!

You know those mornings, the aftermath of the war.  You stand there startled, short of breath, as you boldly survey the carnage left over from the enemy’s constant plundering.  Remnants from another battleground has left you just as scarred and naked as when your weary, decaying body collapsed into the cool comforts of satin just hours before.  You toss and battle all night long with one eye on the ticking clock and the other on the enemy’s next move.  You’re now prepared to combat every flaming arrow, emotional dart and affliction that the enemy extends with your armor of protection and your sharpened sword; this is life, the new norm.  Change!

You’ve become numb; you’re not worried about the outcome, both require either change and/or adaption.  You’re exhausted from all the physical pain caused from being a surgeon’s fantasy, you know, remove this, remove that; insert this, insert that!  The long recoveries, the staples, the scars, the lack of essential organs; and the growing weakness that every surgery brings about; spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Your life is full of change, relentless pain, and restrictions.  You’re used to this; you’re only getting older!  No one understands.  Most would never believe it if you told them.  You yearn for what everyone else has;  freedom to be me, pain-free!  Yet you’re isolated from the normalcy that most take for granted, and every step hurts like hell!

Blameless Ballet InnocenseYou look into the mirror and even though your heart and mind tells you you’re still as beautiful and vibrant as the crown you once wore, the image you see tells another story.  Traumatized, you pull the skin from around your eyes and cheeks and press hard while stretching it towards your ears and breathe a sigh of relief as you receive the affirmation that the fantasy portrays, while choosing to believe and hide under the weight of what was.  Then reality hits and rears its ugly head with a loud roar.  Everything hinges on today!

With your alarm blaring, you bury your head underneath the pillow trying to drown out the piercing screams coming from such a miniscule item.  If only we had such a powerful voice!  You’re exhausted, you’re scared, you’re trying to survive in this alien form of decay this side of heaven.  Heaven?  You’re wondering how in the world you got here to begin with, much less AGAIN!  You’re not ready for today; no one is.  Someone make that torturing and boisterous noise stop!  Everything hinges on today! 

As you roll over to silent that relentless and torturing alarm, you smack the glass of water that was sitting on your nightstand flinging it against the wall.  In response, the water starts trickling down into your clothes drawer.  As it starts rushing towards to wipe out your Bible, your moment of fight-and-flight adrenaline enables you to jump out of bed in haste to stop the water from damaging your road map, your life, your love, your Bible.  In accomplishment, you slam your shin on the new exposed steel end caps of the bed that protrudes beyond its borders and scream loud obscenities not worthy of imagination.  (Trust me, my mouth could have competed, and proudly taken the prize, from any sailor’s foul mouth; just sayin’… )

Hobbling to the kitchen with tears streaming down your face to turn on the morning liquid courage (coffee ) just like every other day, the realization that coffee wasn’t made the night before due to the lack of tricklin’ brew, a tantrum brews anew.  To add insult to injury, the irritable thrust of attitude and pathetic demeanor in opening the coffee results in a confetti blessing of Mt. Starbucks all over the counter-top.  Time may be of the essence today, but because of the DELIRIUM, you flip your long hair back like an old Charlie’s Angels icon and smack your forehead against the granite ledge knocking you completely on your assets with your teeth snapping down on your tongue like an alligator devouring its prey!!!

Go ahead, laugh!  I will nearly pee my pants with joyful humiliation every time I revisit this horrible encounter for years to come; but laughter is the best medicine, right, especially when laughing at one’s self.  It was as dramatic as it sounds, resulting in the makeup that every woman runs from, a black eye!  So much for the audition on Charlie’s Angels! 🙂

As you fall to the ground in literal tears and in pain, reality sets in as you realize you’re not allowed to have coffee or water because today IS DOOMSDAY, the day of another surgery!  Today is the day that starts yet another new journey filled with unknowns and a whole lot of pain, both old and new.  You reflect as you lay on that cold tile floor sobbing like a tantrum-throwing two-year-old regurgitating the blood coming from the lock-down caused by your own beautiful teeth.

As you glance over through the cloudy pool of tears, your heart focuses on a picture of your kids and granddaughter smiling right back at you.  God really has sustained you with grandeur blessings!  You then wonder why you can’t be like that innocent child who runs a high fever, doesn’t sleep, has Philippians 4:13a nose filled with liquid congestion and the constant drippings, along with a cough that burns and seems to have Energizer bunny batteries; yet when she wakes up, she is smiling, eager and excited for the day ahead.  She doesn’t know what is going to happen, she embraces the good along with the bad; all she thinks about is how it’s a new day and she trusts the One Who Loves her.  She’s ready to experience all that life has to offer her that day and the beauty it holds moment by moment with the biggest smile, contagious excitement and total gratitude!  That is the meaning of “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). 

With everything hinging on today, the heart remembers…

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come…Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised…” Proverbs 31:25-30 (NIV). 

Today’s surgery might bring about additional long-standing pain, Chronic is his name, due to the physical, emotional and even spiritual losses; but let’s celebrate victory even before we have received the prize with love while engaging in the dance with one another through joy, laughter, tears and support in order to claim the victory that will “…let them praise His name with dancing” (Psalm 149:3).

Until next time…

Thank you for being Beautiful You!

Blameless Ballet 3.11