Monthly Archives: April 2017

Suicidal Survivor ~ Even When It Hurts

Blameless Anxiety by Daniel Rochelle

Suicidal Survivor

Even When It Hurts

This daunting portrayal by Daniel Rochelle illustrates society today by depicting how many people are existing and feeling on the inside.  We’re exhausted, anxious, overwhelmed, addicted and sadly, a lot of us are depressed.  We may look radiant and put together on the outside, but this depiction confirms what’s really going on inside.  This illusion portrays anything but being peachy-keen!

Is it too far-fetched or imaginable to slow down and open our hearts while daring to take the time to feel, experience and peel away the layers that clutch those deeply hidden tears long enough to identify the underbellies causing this horrid despair?  We might be shocked to learn how many people today quickly remove this facade once they’re safely behind closed doors in their rightful places of refuge called home.  This only causes more of an epidemic with isolation.

Beloved, there was a time in my own life where I portrayed this persona of having conquered the world and achieved all its accolades that “worldly success” derives from, yet I was so lost and empty.  You know that image, the one in which dreams are made of?  It caused resentment through higher education, liquid assets, affluent lifestyle and, you know, having drinks with the mayor over at the country club (so overrated!!!). 

I was screaming to get out of my own skin because, for one, I didn’t feel I belonged because I wasn’t good enough or worthy enough; and two, I felt as if I had to perform to a higher expectation without blemish in order to fit in which had me running away to deny its pressure.  I became oblivious to who God designed and created me to be.  That tug of war that exists between flesh and spirit is intense!

I still struggle with fears that haunt me occasionally today.  Fear of being laughed at and rejected.  Being plagued with great insecurities and fears throughout my adolescent and teenage years conceived this grave depression that manifested into suicidal tendencies.  Depression is smart, it leeches onto and attaches itself to the life-sustaining vital organ that could nurture and cultivate its growth:  Our beautiful hearts.  It’s a silent killer!

It took me years to learn how to explore and/or process these hurtful emotions or even to understand the magnitude of what I was feeling.  No one prepared me to deal with these screaming emotions ticking away with an already fragile, unstable heart.  How could I become prepared or equipped to be honest enough with myself and others about my feelings with all these voices clamoring for attention?  I had no idea how to discern the difference between simple experiences of sadness versus anger, joy or dread.

This fear and lack of emotional stability even leaked over onto my precious children who are learning themselves today as adults how to claim victory in this battleground.  Tragedy was developing and occurring before I could even process suffering that occurred over a decade prior which contributed to my being emotionally absent.  I was present physically, in a shell, but unable to be emotionally present and intimate because of the raging war going on underneath my hood.  Talk about living in the wrong neighborhood.  Our mind is a powerful gift.

We are living in a world where image rules and oftentimes either opens or closes most doors.  Society dictates we are to be seen and not heard.  Probably why I’ve become unleashed in my passionate pursuit to share with the world how loved we are, that our lives matter and are needed, and how we are amazingly considered God’s precious and priceless works of art. 

If you read Jeremiah 18, you will understand this very notion of being molded into these masterpieces by Love Himself.  We are pliable in the Potter’s hands.  This allows the Master Crafter the opportunity to transform us each and every day, the imperfect beings that we are, living in an imperfect world, in order to prepare us for when we will be perfect; eternal destiny for those who believe.  He’s never rushed.  All He asks is for a little time with us.

God promises to take our tainted hands and fainted hearts that hurt like hell after having cried a Noah’s Flood ushering us into His loving arms not only to be mended and healed, but stronger and more vibrant than any wish-upon-a-star could deliver.  God promises to wash us in His Great Love.  Depression sucks and it hurts and burns much like the enemy’s branding iron marking its territory as it penetrates our lifeless hearts shaming us to believe in his lies.  Hence, my motto:  There is no shame in our game; Jesus is His Name!

This mental illness classification is nothing to be ashamed of.  It means it’s recognized and can be treated.  I have been healed completely for decades all due to this Great Love affair I engage in.  This heartbreaking depression builds walls of shame that become so thick and tolerant with heights constructed so high, you become a slave shackled in your cells of hell without any windows, exits or doorways.  It destroys more hearts than the one afflicted.  When I drove myself off the cliff 37 years ago, a lot of hearts were damaged in my family.

This is probably a good point to pause and reflect.  I will pick up next time when we meet again.  So much to share.  I would love for you, however, to stay a little while longer so you may be blessed by this beautiful song from Hillsong United called Even When It Hurts,” which is dedicated and prayed especially over you, my new friend!

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries believes if you need a lifeline because of thoughts of suicide, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8522.  There is no shame in reaching out.  It requires bravery to grab ahold of that hand extending down from heaven.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

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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…

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About Me/Meet Tammy Ingram/Founder

Tam Pic 2017

About Me

About me…  For starters, I proudly wear the crown in being Grammy Tammy. I was graced with a princess granddaughter after raising, and surviving, rambunctious sons.  All I knew besides being knee deep in stinky socks, baseballs and Tonka trucks, were starving boys and enamored, pestering girls.  Now a whole new world of tiaras and tutus and bright pink manicures-pedicures enriches each day along with giggles and princess kisses.

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 am living each day as a treasured daughter who has embraced God’s grace, determined to leave a legacy of love through the realm of advocacy. Being a “Voice” for those who have lost theirs through the imprisonment of abuse, abandonment, addiction, neglect and violence is an honor to glorify my Beautiful Jesus. My motto and the way I see it is:  There is no shame in our game; Jesus is His name!

Because the Lord turned my ashes (pain) into beauty, after 20 years working in the law profession combined with another seven years serving as a chaplain, obviously attending the law enforcement chaplaincy academy wasn’t enough academia, the Lord called me back to school.  College life is hard enough for a 20-year-old, much less a woman in her Fabulous Fifties.

I am proud to say I graduated Magna Cum Laude and am 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 on 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.  This “high maintenance” tag is just another lucid term I use to describe my pathetic Tammy Tantrum fits. Seeing a near six-foot-tall woman pout and cry hysterically explains my extreme need for time with my Lord. 

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 Beloveds my story with a twist: Being an Advocate for the Word instead!  This is why I’m on Folsom State Prison’s Inmate Family Council; everyone deserves to be loved and supported!

I believe the Bible is God’s love letter.  After all, He calls us His masterpiece and His works 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, His 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!

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, 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 feel free to email me. You can email me with your prayer requests 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!