Author Archives: tammyingram7

About tammyingram7

Beloved daughter of Almighty God 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. The way I see it, there is no shame in our game; Jesus is His name! I love the Lord with all my heart and soul and want to help other beloveds cleave to and press into the Lord to know what it's like to be truly loved! The worth and value is overwhelming; be-loved and be-valued and be-healed! This is why I started a religious 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called Blameless and Forever Free Ministries. Bringing unity within our communities through relationships and outreach events is just as important to me as sharing the love of Christ with women; which is why I designated Tuesdays to Tammy Tangent Tuesdays. These are weekly challenges to stimulate community involvement and to bring unity within! Received my B.S. in Religion, with a minor in church ministries, and forever working towards my Master's of Divinity! And I'm Grammy Tammy; doing everything backwards! :-)

Re-Entry Back Into Society…

img_1823

Re-Entry Back Into Society…

Transitioning from institutionalized thinking to independent thinking!

Hi friends and family!  I’m praying that this week our hearts will be so full of love, that we will embrace others who are completely different from us. 

I’m going to start sharing where this challenging expansion of my nonprofit is taking me, not just for accountability purposes, but sharing my fears and insecurities sojourning into areas I’m far from qualified to engage in, but have been called to.

God is doing amazing things with Blameless and Forever Free Ministries as we transition into the re-entry programs for the incarcerated.  If society doesn’t support them, they’ll become homeless and be prone to unlawful conduct.  And with 600,000 prisoners nationwide being released each year, we don’t need to add to our homeless epidemic.

I’ll be breaking up my writings into smaller chunks after this one since there are areas I, myself, never gave much thought to and can be perceived as quite overwhelming. 

Words alone won’t impact people, but the power of God that is manifested through our lives does.

Is everyone really welcomed in today’s society?  How we respond to the oppressed, our incarcerated and homeless, is a perfect heart check.  It’s one thing to say everyone is welcome, but it’s another to support it with actions.

Upon release, the incarcerated walk out through the pearly gates overwhelmed.  Freedom at last!  But a whole new foreign world rushes in.  Fantasies never detected the strong sting of transition.  Focus is scattered.  Between the nervous kind of energy and the adrenaline flooding from their systems, each pump and beat resembles more of a prison break than a release date.

It takes bravery to feel and experience this fear while keeping self-controlled.  It’s the hardest thing anyone could do, especially without a support system!

The typical offender is released from prison with nothing but a new state identification card, a $250 debit card, a bus ticket, and the clothes on their back.  This is how our incarcerated re-enter society. 

One minute everything is institutionalized thinking and controlled and suddenly it’s independently dependent on thyself.  Change is hard.  If that’s not hard enough, try existing again being branded with the big “F” as in “Felon.” 

Blameless Words That Restore

Connections provide the spark that is needed for the journey back to a vital and dignified life.

Welcoming our returning citizens (incarcerated) back into community takes preparation. With 2/3 of all inmates ending up back in prison within three years of their release dates, we need to start investing in them before they leave their institutions and thereafter. 

Investing in people and human dignity, we will reap the rewards of a safer and sound community for ourselves.

If we take the time to teach them how to take care of themselves, they’ll be able to take care of themselves, their family and their communities.

That’s rehabilitation, right?

We mustn’t forget that our incarcerated are branded for life.  They are handicapped.  That is their new reality also. 

With 25 percent of the population having arrest records, that means there are more people with arrest records than college degrees.

That is a mind-blowing concept to me.  We wonder why the world is the way it is today.  It’s too easy to hate and hard to love!  This is both sobering and motivating.

Another interesting statistic is, why do so many people end up back in prison?

I have a criminal record!

No, I don’t personally have a criminal record.  I do have a son that does.  And according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, with having 2.3 million people incarcerated annually along with over 4.7 million on some form of parole or probation, every family has at least one beloved in need of extra grace. 

Shocking statistics, but one in every four Americans has an arrest record.  That’s a staggering statistic.

What does a person with an arrest record look like?

Speaking of my son, he’s smart, handsome with blue eyes and blonde hair and loves his mother and daughter to eternity.  He’s an amazing father.  His heart is full of compassion and he’s working on completing his degree. 

He made a mistake in getting into a fight and is doing time for his crime.  Once released, he will have his mother outside those pearly gates to surround him with love, support and help guiding him back into society being a productive member. 

Why do people return to prison?  For one, their criminal record discriminates them from essential matters that we take for granted, like housing and employment.

Successful reentry requires compassion, patience and forgiveness.

A typical three-year sentence costs taxpayers over $100,000 of investment dollars into their rehabilitation.  But where is this “rehabilitation” when one only knows institutionalized thinking and demands?

Statistics show one in five walking into prison is a result of not being convicted of a new crime, but for violating extra rules of their parole or probation that you and I could commit, without a criminal history or record, that otherwise would not be considered an offense. 

Violations could be something as minimal as missing a court date, a parole or therapy appointment, not having a stable job or housing, or even not paying fines.

Our prison system is very good at punishing people, but rehabilitation is lacking.  The real reason a person ended up in prison goes largely untreated.

Most ex-offenders leave the state prison facility with more problems than what brought them there in the first place; their pre-incarceration issues. 

Having said that, where do they start?  They are overwhelmed.  Every decision in every hour of their days incarcerated were managed and dictated by others while being incarcerated.  Their own personal decision-making skills atrophy.  They’re not used to thinking, every hour is already determined day in, day out.

How can we expect them to make better decisions and choices when everything is up against them? 

Without the tools taught during a successful transition back into society, the ugly process of incarceration starts all over again.

Many return homeless, indigent, with no place to go, no job, and no specialized training.

For those that do have a place to go to, whereas not to be homeless, some go back to the same environments that caused them the problems in the first place. 

I’ve seen firsthand what happens when an addict goes back to living with an addict.  They’re back in the dysfunction that caused their incarceration. 

Oooops, I’ll stop here.  I hope you’ll come back and hear more.

Generous hearts meet the offenders right where they’re at because they know one day that they will become our neighbors…

Until next time…

Blameless Teach Generosity

 

God Bless America.  May We Never Forget This Great Cost!

Blameless God Bless America Aaron Burden.png

As Americans, We Proudly Say Thank You As We Celebrate The Bravery and Sacrifice Of Every U.S. Veteran!

 

We remember, honor and thank all of our fallen heroes!

As we awaken to new beginnings, peace and amazing sunrises each and every day, especially today on Veterans Day, we say thank you as we celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of every United States Veteran along with our fallen heroes who selflessly served and sacrificed with their lives. 

Sadly, it seems we take for granted the great cost of freedom.  We appreciate your sacrifices and the courage it’s taken to defend our country.

So for all the amazing men and women serving in our military, here and abroad, we thank you and praise God for all you do protecting our country and for your service!  God bless you and keep you safe!

Blood That Was Shed!

Blameless Veterans Neil Thomas Photograph

God Bless America!  Our heartfelt love, devotion and prayers are extended to the courageous men and women who continue to fight for justice in protecting our freedoms.

Until next time…

God Bless America.  May We Never Forget This Great Cost!

Suitts 4 Homeless people

Suits 4 Homeless

Suits 4 Homeless!

Hi family and friends! I pray your week is filled with joy and strength to persevere through it, along with knowing how much I appreciate you for visiting my blog along with all the support I receive from your love!

So thank you, I appreciate you!

Since I’m busy doing a month-long event for my nonprofit called Blameless and Forever Free Ministries in order to initiate community involvement doing random “love tokens,” I wanted to share a snip-it of what we’re doing leading up to the big social media event called #GivingTuesday on December 3rd.

Sharing this tender event is a glimpse of what fuels my soul to always do more and love more because of the gracious hearts we get to encounter. This Suits 4 Homeless event brought me intense joy and is but just one reason why I love pouring life and healing into the homeless and the incarcerated.

And with the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” need I say more?

The amazing man in the picture is named Tony. I’ve known Tony and his beautiful bride now for a little over two years. They have had their ups and downs along with being forced to live in their vehicle due to disabilities and a lack of family support; a common thread of homelessness.

Tony is recovering from a triple bypass heart surgery and life being confined to living and existing in a vehicle has a tendency to strip any “man” of his pride and self-worth. So once Blameless received quite a few suits and dress shirts, Tony was the first person I could think of to bless.

And bless we did…

These suits almost appeared to be tailor-made to fit every inch of Tony’s frame. It was uncanning how they fit; but then again, with God’s Great Love, He does the supernatural! Remarkable.

Tony was so excited, he stripped down naked (almost) right between our vehicles and tried them on.

Lo and behold, I present you to the amazing and ever-so-joyful, Mr. Tony! He looks like a million bucks, right?

Suitts 4 Homeless people

And look at that smile…

One couldn’t look more handsome and/or be more appreciative!

Blameless has added onto this global social media event called #GivingTuesday an extension event called #TuesdayGiving4Love. This is created to cultivate fun community engagement, which changes the culture, inspires the church, and advances justice reform.

This #GivingTuesday4Love campaign is about encouraging people to see the soul, mission and ministry of Jesus by leaning into His very heartbeat, understanding His interaction and engagement with people, and how He tenderly loves and restores.  

Combating the enemy of loneliness and isolation takes a village!

That’s Tony’s beautiful bride in the center along with myself (tall one in back) and Miss Tennessee. I pray this tugs at your heart strings to help nonprofits like Blameless and Forever Free Ministries and others as we share the good news of the gospel with those in great need; most especially the homeless and incarcerated.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

When Faith Is All You Have To Hold Onto!

When Faith Is All You Have To Hold Onto!

Sitting numb with fear, I gasp for air as if I’ve forgotten how to breathe.  I regurgitate, “I can’t breathe,” but no one hears my pleas for help.

To say I cried me a Noah’s Flood would be an understatement!

Adrenaline floods my system and surges like it’s trying to escape.  Tears of anguish leave me trembling.  My slumped posture screams defeat.

As I hugged myself through the confusion of the courtroom, my bundle of joy was swaddled away in handcuffs.  Unable to flee the situation, shock ricochets up his spine.  It was almost as if you could smell burning flesh.

The puffy face and eyes were a dead giveaway to the verdict and the pain projecting from my body.  The bailiff hands me a box of tissue; he knew one or two wouldn’t do through the many issues.

This is when you doubt what you were once so secure in!

Doing Time With God!

No one is prepared to lose a loved one.  More excruciating, parents are never prepared when their child becomes incarcerated.  The loss is compelling, lamenting the death of their future seems almost self-serving, even selfish.  But it is a death, a loss of hope and dreams, with an evil twist of life.  And oftentimes, it delivers more grief due to the shunning and loss of relationships.

As a victim of abuse and addiction, orphaned and tossed to and fro, add in depression and suicidal tendencies along with being a domestic violence survivor, these traumas have strengthened me and molded me into the beloved I am today.

But when my son was arrested, my heart was never prepared to undergo this battlefield, this loss, the stigma and longstanding costs; spiritual, emotional, relational, financial and physical.  These costs were associated with an event reiterating a generational stronghold of rage in need of being severed instead of being swept underneath the rug.

Scurrying up the strength to share my grief and remove the veil of shame I was hiding behind, one by one people started trickling away when they heard my son got into a fight and was doing time for his crime. 

Oh, how they hounded me and became my best friend only to hear the news flash. 

Once I opened up my heart, it was as if I had the plague…

I was ousted. 

The tragedy of it all, friends and family trickled away, leaving both my son and I unsupported and completely alone, but…

We were both doing time with God!

Family member’s searing attacks vomit, “I don’t give a shit about you.  I’m not coming to support you, I’m coming to do something about this.”

As if my 24-hour days weren’t enough…

That’s called performance-based love, bordering more along the lines of abuse.

Where’s the love in that statement?

Sadly, their “concerns” were full of hot air and never materialized into even a visit with my son.  Maybe it was better they didn’t communicate with him since their actions supported similar conduct as to why he was incarcerated than support filled with needed love, hope and patience.

Why is it people try to make you feel guilty and blame you for their own behaviors and actions?

I hope and pray I’ll always be able to own up to my mistakes while forgiving others for theirs…

Prisoners of Hope!

Being a prisoner of hope, seeing light despite the darkness, is helping me pour love into my son’s emotional wounds. I know what it’s like to make mistakes and be abandoned because of them.  Being wrapped in unconditional love and offered a second chance to start over is a treasure worth digging for.

Physical violence has no place in my life, God’s Great Love overrides any mistakes and bad choices one makes. Rebuilding my son will take a lifetime, but we’re all works-in-progress anyways, right?

When faith is all you have to hold onto, you continue to see how God restores and turns even our most painful trials into good. 

God ended up being my ever-present, faithful and dependable friend that held me and carried me through the roughest few years I have ever walked through. Without His Love, I would have isolated, become depressed and probably fallen into addictive behaviors (Jesus Juice ♥) when all hell was breaking loose. 

Through His amazing grace, I was able to press through and become a justice ambassador with marching orders to speak life that restores those incarcerated. 

After all, my God changes things…

This mess will be more than a message!

How do you cope all alone underneath all the shaming and rejection delivered by the world?

Acknowledging our Lord is with us holding our hand, never leaving nor forsaking us, empowers us with confidence to receive this gift that keeps on giving which overflows into our children. They’ll experience relentless, unconditional love! Love never stops loving!

Those who are loved by God, let His love continually pour from [them] to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of Him (1 John 4:7 TPT).

The God of all comfort broke through and transformed all my wailing into a whirling dance of praise!

Seemingly insurmountable challenges are the breakfast of champions for three years, two months, and ten days. But who’s counting?

A Mother’s Love Never Gives Up…

Do you know how hard it is to love when you’ve never experienced it before?

Mighty waves of restoration crashed upon me causing me to be stronger than ever before along with stepping into increase filled with life and love.  God’s love is enthralling.

Lifting up my eyes and looking about kept me from turning inward, focusing on myself and my suffering.  Pain is demanding, often suffocating.  It’s hard to believe that God is doing something in and through our lives when they’re riddled with pain, but that’s the blessing when faith is all you have to hold onto!

Until next time…

Learning God’s Unforced Rhythms Of Grace…

Learning God’s Unforced Rhythms Of Grace…

Reproducing Godly Behaviors

Hi family and friends! I’m praying this week is filled with the little treasures of life, you know, pure love and lots of laughter living through the lens of childlike faith.

Personally, I found myself starting to mirror our world by becoming anxious and spiraling out of control. The intensity of power and control robs us of peace.

It’s nice to get unplugged from all the Breaking News and tap into God’s beautiful gift called His unforced rhythms of grace.

Reproducing Godly behaviors is God’s desire for His beloveds through our fruitfulness. Being challenged to be an example of Godliness to the world and other believers is humbling when you’re living in a glass house requiring maintenance to constantly wash your windows!

God tells us…

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways (Matthew 4:26).

How does one give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways when one side wants life and peace while the carnal lust for power wants control?

That’s when my Lord speaks loudly to my heart saying: Tammy, pay attention to what I say; Listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to your body (Proverbs 4:20-22).

Letting God lead us simply means it’s not about us anymore. That’s easier said than done and requires our deliberate focus and seeking, not freaking, to know His next step.

God was pulling my heart strings to let Him guide the way by just sitting at His feet (resting) in total surrender (calmness and trust) instead of being tied up in knots planning all the backup plans of “what-ifs” and the freaking out to orchestrate Plans B and C.

Speaking candidly here, that Control Freak rears her ugly head and wants to wrestle with the Lord resembling Chuckie sometimes!

Why we waste energy worrying and forfeiting peace is beyond me. And why God continues to pursue is beyond our finite minds.

God’s relentless love shapes the way we live and love!

God’s Love is relentless. He speaks, “Child of mine, I want to bless and speak to you in foreign ways. I want you to sit back and trust me. I am giving you an illustration to soothe your anxious thoughts while living under unforced rhythms of grace. You will soon see how I’m going to put everything together. This test is developed to stretch and increase your faith. Trust me.”

His relentless love showcases dolphins, beautiful and playful dolphins, which is a majestic form God sometimes uses to speak to me. It taps into my childlike wonder and delivers comfort to trust. Kind of like my blue butterflies.

Here I am wrapped up so tightly in my own destructive battlefield strategically planning everything out, I lose valuable and precious time that God intended for me to just be, relaxing and basking in how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18).

Too Blessed To Be Stressed?

I tend to forget to walk out the mindset and authority given by Jesus that I’m too blessed to be stressed! Because if you’re anything like me, you find yourself worrying, planning and stressing yourself out only to look back later and say, “Why did I do that? I created my own fanatical crisis!”

Are you tired?

I am…

Worn out?

Hello…

Burned out on religion?

I don’t do religion; thank you very much! It’s all about a relationship with my beautiful Lord Jesus.

God pursues us saying, Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavily or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).

Sweet friend, learn from my lack of trust and obstinance. DO NOT rob God of His amazing gift. His unforced rhythms of grace are easy and light. He never tires in grabbing us by the bit to redirect our stubborn fits, but His Great Love filled with help (no more backup plans) is ALWAYS AVAILABLE if we’ll just trust Him enough to let go of the wheel!

Our Father God REALLY is concerned about every area of our lives. He relentlessly pursues us. Life doesn’t have to be hard. Life is full of beauty and splendor when we learn to let go and TRY and remember it’s not about us anymore.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Smile, It Confuses People!

Smile, It Confuses People!

Hi family and friends! I pray your week has been full of God’s Great Love and awe as you adore the changing of seasons. Fall is in the air!

My schedule has been rather overwhelming lately so I missed last week’s post. Sorry about that! As much as I wanted to carve out time, time is not something that is on my side these days. God is shaking and changing things dramatically in my life, which is super exciting!

Stay tuned!

But…

The ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, as of late, is a human being without compassion…

After comforting one of my girlfriends due to false accusations against her character, we were praying together and Psalm 120 popped into my mind immediately so I knew the Lord wanted us to focus on it and not the offenders.

That’s easier said than done at times…

One thing I am passionate about, I believe people who assault through gossip and back-biting need Jesus and a job. And those that profess to be Christians and dishonor my Lord through their deception and lies, they need more than prayer and grace. It may be called forgiveness, but sometimes that becomes really hard to activate!

I get so frustrated and sad when watching those that profess to know Jesus help the enemy out through their lies and the deception flowing from their burning tongues, but…

Right before we started praying, we both started laughing like little girls because these “offenders” were focused and spending so much time trying to take that perfect “selfie,” that they didn’t even realize we were 20 feet from them.

And if I’m going to be honest here, it took everything to not get up and confront them, but this was my girlfriend’s battle who is still working on confrontation, so I released hold.

But…

My girlfriend gave me full reign to pray as I wished and my unfiltered mouth rebuked them and their actions.

It’s called pushing back darkness while being a GOOD FRIEND, so…

But the beauty beholds from the words penned in Psalm 120:1-4:

I was desperate for you to help me in my struggles, and you did!
So come and deliver me now from this treachery and false accusation.
O lying deceivers, don’t you know what is your fate?
You will be pierced through with condemnation and consumed with burning coals of fire!

Always believe something beautiful is going to happen!

Deceivers destroy. I wanted deliverance and vindication for my girlfriend, but being the better and not bitter person (so hard, too!), communication with love instead of hate would be what Jesus would do.

I have to remember (self-control) that sometimes we don’t understand how our actions offend and hurt others, so…

I wanted peace and healing to overwhelm my girlfriend’s bleeding heart.

And this battlefield was filled with flaming arrows of deception from lying lips. I can’t allow my precious friends to drown in a sea full of slanderous sharks, so I choose to stand up for justice and truth with a moral compass that opposes and refuses to be compromised!

Whatever happened to affirmations of love and acceptance sprinkled with encouragement?

We all want the security of belonging; otherwise, we will find vices and relationships that offer nothing but bad behaviors and unhealthy sources that fill nothing but moral turpitude.

And I admit, “moral turpitude” may be a rather profound legal word, but these Christian leaders were violating souls while being catty in their cliques. And I love the church, just not all the actions delivered.

But remembering the world is changed by our examples, not by our opinions.

And honestly, there is a grave difference between religion and relationship.

My only competitor is who I was yesterday!

I love when prayer removes all the toxicity of life and the remnants from the trials. My girlfriend and I decided to CHOOSE to celebrate each other and not compare ourselves with others; that our ONLY competitor is who we were yesterday.

Having special friends, sometimes I’m like a roaring lion when those that I love get hurt. After all, I am strong because I’ve been weak. I am courageous only because Jesus transformed the cowardly. I’m fearless because I’ve been afraid and paralyzed by fear. I am wise because I have been quite foolish at times…

And sweet friend, regarding the being “quite foolish at times,” it doesn’t always involve that tall drink of water, if you know what I mean! I’m smiling…

Forgiveness delivers peace within our broken pieces!

Forgiveness doesn’t tell us or mean that the hurt goes away. Sometimes ugly words cause emotional wounds and scars that stay with us. Even Jesus still had His scars when He presented Himself to His disciples, you know, the holes in His hands; meaning He still had battle scars. But He was filled with resurrecting power. Forgiveness just means we release its control over us.

God is faithful as He was with my girlfriend. Before we left, she was vindicated. Our smiles spoke of love and life while their “selfie” smiles confused people.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Never Let Me Go…

In Search of Hope and Validation!

My sons and I struggle.  We struggle with trust.  Bleeding hearts keep other hearts at bay, sometimes without recognition.  We suffer from deep emotional wounds and scars that sometimes hurt one another.  Sadly, hurt people hurt others.

We want to fully trust others with unconditional love, but walls of defense built on fears of rejection are hard barriers to demolish.

I get my youngest’s struggle with lack of trust.  After all, he is my son and he learned both the good and bad characteristics deep within my underbellies.

Family is something we hold near to our hearts because it’s just us.  We don’t have other family to celebrate with or to lean on for support and encouragement.  Hope and validation is what our foundation is built upon.  Hope is our great motivator.

Establishing healthy new generations and traditions is vital, but fear of rejection threatens the very core of our foundation.

Disease, dysfunction and death have taken the multitude, but disappointment and dejection linger…

For me, leaning into my Lord when I’m trying to overcome dejection and loss is where my source of hope and validation is found.  I ponder the beautiful words in Psalm 32:7, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

My son wrestles with the Lord’s Love with all the tribulation surrounding his life and tends to unravel with anger to fight off the depression.

Rejection can smother any room with despair when hope (grace and mercy) is right in front of us leading the way!

We are broken and works in progress like most.  We come from generations of dysfunction, addiction and abuse, like many families. The scars left behind, though, due to abandonment can create further generational strongholds if we don’t faith the fear and allow the Lord room for healing.

Several generations had to learn the hard way, and we’re talking imprisonment, before the shackles of rejection and shame released their hold and freedom delivered a powerful message of hope and validation.

How is it some of the fiercest leaders have suffered great pain?  Is it the constant pounding that leads to a tender heart?

How and why God molds and rebuilds from the lowest point is inconceivable to this finite mind.

Someone has to trust!

But trust who?

We play off our pain through layers of comedy and laughter.

This is how we have learned, and adjusted, to plow through great pain and suffering.

It’s awkward and uncomfortable changing this characteristic, but this discomfort is healing, healthy and communicative!  Humility and compassion bridges new beginnings and healthy relationships.

We sit across the table from one another and grieve, both struggling with the rawness in dealing with life, betrayal and lack of trust.  How do we trust others again? Where does a compassionate heart draw the line?

As a mother/grandmother full of wisdom and experiences, I should be able to console my son with ease regarding trust, but I can’t.  Not easily, anyways.  Not right now.  I’m still trying to figure out how to process and navigate trust myself.  I used to just laugh off pain and suppress it instead of feeling it, processing it and releasing it.

Tears come from the heart where healing starts!

Tears replace laughter, but through the discomfort, healing starts.  All I can do is be honest, share my heart and offer unconditional acceptance/love.  One reason God gave us family.

Sometimes a heart can be full of darkness hiding behind a smile!

We laugh hysterically when my son interjects, “Don’t worry, mom, I’ll wipe your butt when you can’t.”  There’s hope and validation in those words.

Sometimes laughter can pave a way to handle the unknown.

Sadly, I subconsciously taught my children to make jokes when life gets hard and uncomfortable.

People may love to be around jovial spirits, but sometimes it’s covering up deep emotional pain.

We’re scared.  New beginnings abound.  My children and I have sojourned alone for so long and with being honest about our fears, whether through laughter, tears or anger, it’s communicated raw with unfiltered honesty.  It’s completely foreign and difficult. 

Through God’s grace, the intimacy and trust we’re developing is real and beautiful.

We have to fight hard to keep our small family intact, but it’s only growing larger and stronger through the transparency of the glue (love) that holds all things together.  God’s Great Love changes everything!

Others left me when their promised and expected love was initiated, but betrayal replaced unconditional love and scarred the heart.

Everyone hurts others, intentional or accidental, through our words and/or actions, but THIS MAMA reassures with roars similar to the Lord’s, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Can we be fierce and tender at the same time?

Jesus was both fierce and tender, so…

If Jesus saw a problem or a need, I believe since His motives were based on love, and He was both lamb and lion, I believe that means our strength can be poured out as both tender and fierce!

Filtering disappointments through my Lord‘s love offers me wisdom through God’s eyes and not the torment of my own heart.  Processing life through the absolute assurance of His Great Love, it allows me space to trust whether I agree with the decision or not.

Leaving those around us feeling well cared for and loved is the greatest gift we can leave this world in.

I’m trying to be a fierce and tender beloved who is filled with God’s Great Love that recognizes validation this side of heaven is thwarted by the enemy.  Part of my job is to push back the darkness to allow God’s glory to illuminate our paths back to Him.

That’s when I get blessed to look into those baby blue eyes and say with hope, “I’ll never let you go, no matter what.  Restoration from your broken heart is around the corner.”

Until next time…