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! :-)

God Sees Beyond Our Right Now…

God Sees Beyond Our Right Now

When life isn’t exactly how we pictured it would be…

Facing seasons of disappointment and despair can leave us feeling isolated and alone.

Encouraging and inspiring our incarcerated can be a daunting lifestyle, but they deserve an outpouring of God’s Great Love.

Meeting our prisoners right where they’re at, determined not to leave them shackled in shame and guilt, surrounded by nothing but criminal conduct, is a priceless gift of Love.

It’s challenging to understand that during these grave times, being in a pit of hell, there are others in similar situations who have gone before us…

When you’re considered “incorrigible,” a “burden” or “a menace to society,” impervious to restraints and punishment, it’s hard to react/respond against this branding, this labeling, cauterized deep into one’s soul and flesh.

And we are, after all, a byproduct of our environment…

Discouragement leads to death and destruction. Being near the edge of the pit serves as a constant reminder that its edges of hell will swallow and take down those who dare come close.

Our incarcerated can only see and hear what’s inside their prison walls. They’re a number, not a person. It’s dark and it’s dangerous. It’s not filled with life and/or rehabilitation. It’s filled with segregated gangs; your color and ethnicity matters because that pre-determines your space, affiliation and housing and HIGHLY INFLUENCES what you learn and become.

But our Beautiful Jesus resides inside prisons and He reminds us through awareness that re-offenders lack relationships.

What would your faith look like if God said to you what He specifically spoke to my heart, There’s an amazing door of opportunity standing wide open for you [me] to minister here, even though there are many who oppose and stand against [you] me (1 Corinthians 16:9 TPT)?

Truly, God spoke those very words to my heart.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

As Christians, we are commanded to stand with the oppressed and fight injustice. What kind of Christians are we; ones with selective obedience accommodating our facades or are we, as a community, going to start loving more and rebuking division and strife like we’re commanded?

It’s not about us! Relationships matter. Re-offenders lack relationships!

Addressing our high recidivism rates requires programming and services essential to decrease the re-offender rates and foster successful community reentry. Reducing recidivism will benefit both our offenders and our communities.

When I personally think of despair and discouragement, I am reminded of Joseph in the Bible who had ample reason to be discouraged and knew what longstanding imprisonment offered.

Joseph endured the death of his mother, along with the conspiracy and hatred from his brothers.

Can you imagine the gut-punching torturous blow in being cast into a pit and then sold into slavery?

That’s unfathomable sibling rivalry.

Then to face imprisonment due to false accusations, OMG!!!

I don’t know about you, but my abandonment issues seem rather inconsequential.

Being molded by pain along with having a personal, intimate knowledge and relationship with God, allows us to survive and prosper where most would fail.

Being betrayed and deserted by family undoubtedly leaves deep emotional wounds that only God could graciously heal. Add in a long incarceration, being punished for doing what’s right, Joseph was even forgotten by those he helped.

But God doesn’t forget because He resides inside our prisons and knows what is on the other side of our circumstances.

Joseph’s life is one of God’s most powerful and miraculous stories of what redemption offers. Even saving his offensive family during the famine.

My heart of hearts believes that our beautiful Jesus wants to transform our deep losses and grave disappointments the same way He did for Joseph. God can and will make a way.

I don’t know about you, but I have decided to be a “Doer” of the Word and not just a “Hearer” that James 1:22 talks about.

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries believes God allows crises or shows us problems so we can be part of the solution.

Relevant truth for today: Where we are RIGHT NOW is not our final destination, nor is it for our incarcerated.

Looking through the lens of God’s Great Love, we are able to believe that what lies ahead on the other side of our circumstances is greater strength and victory.

One bad circumstance leading to reintegration.

No story is beyond redemption.

We can’t overcome what we don’t confront.

Living for a cause greater than myself reminds me to maintain the rights of the oppressed that Psalm 82:3–4 expresses. This passion was birthed by a personal crisis which led to a bigger cause.

We need to prioritize what matters. It’s not so much about the events or the many circumstances of life, but our response to them. Our incarcerated haven’t responded appropriately and when they get out of prison after serving time for their crime, they will repeat if we do not intervene and start rehabilitating them while incarcerated.

The most important thing I pray our hearts remember, once our returning citizens are back into society, we need to be prepared to disciple them, encourage them and surround them with love while walking alongside of them. Being prepared to help, not discriminate, will ensure safer communities and society assets.

Until next time…

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+13%3A3&version=NIV

Don’t Hate, Rehabilitate!

Don’t Hate, Rehabilitate!

When you’re surrounded for years with only other incarcerated beloveds and their criminal conduct, we wonder why our recidivism rates are so high!

Our prisoners need rehabilitation leading to transformation while they’re doing time for their crimes. Long-standing punishment without restoration is why two out of three offenders return back to state prison within three years after being released.

Hurt People Hurt Others!

Society will continue to pay with more crime, lives and homelessness if we do not step in and do more by intervening and moving them towards restoration, reintegration and redemption!

Embracing that today’s offender will be tomorrow’s neighbor supports the very core and mission of Blameless and Forever Free Ministries which is organized to reduce the recidivism rate, expand community safety and awareness, and disrupt the cycle of re-offending.

We need to do more! Introducing our incarcerated to Jesus by pouring His Great Love into their lives covers them with grace and motivation leading to transformation and a smoother transition back into society.

Reentry programs and the love of Jesus are a powerful tool for successful transitioning and are desperately needed in our prisons today. Otherwise, our incarcerated who have never dealt with what brought them to prison in the first place will be shackled with what they have picked up during their prison term: additional criminal conduct, habits and unhealthy behaviors that are being brought back into and infecting society.

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering (Hebrews 13:3).

Long-standing punishment has gotten us nowhere except for high recidivism rates. It’s time we start meeting and embracing our prisoners right where they’re at and pouring the love of Jesus into their lives. Their lives do matter!

Until next time…

Re-offending Lacks Relationship!

Relational Justice

Blameless Prison Doors

Relational Justice

When you think of offenders doing time for their crimes in state prison, what is your initial response?  Losers?  Criminals?  Drug addicts?  Who cares?

Who ends up in our prison system anyways?  Do we even care?  Or does our prison system take care of that for us? 

Being honest, I admit to being hypocritical; once considering them all vile through my own lens of judgment and condemnation until the Lord allowed a crisis to enter my own life to see who really exists inside this dark and dangerous dungeon. 

Their precious lives matter!

Realizing our prison system is broken and filled with the same repeat offenders, you know, the individuals who went to prison, served their time, got released, re-offended, and then goes back to prison and starts the whole process again; something needs to change.

If we’re all a part of each person’s contribution to society, good or bad, our hearts need compassion through awareness of what an incarcerated beloved goes through.

Being the founder of Blameless and Forever Free Ministries, I know personally who ends up in our prison system:  Hurt people!  Hurt people hurt others!  When wounds stemming from childhood traumas or other hurts are never healed, other vices/actions often become the crutch in dealing with triggers and pain that’s been holding them captive in a torturing cell of hell.

Imagine being shackled in your own cell of hell while serving time behind bars in prison. We’re not negating the pain these prisoners have caused to others, but we’re sharing being caged up like an animal without rehabilitation is only going to make wounded hearts hardened and calloused. This leads them to continue to hurt others, even inside the prison walls.

 

I’ve experienced personally what unhealed pain has caused; the tearing apart of my own family along with hurting another and their family all in the name of fighting.  My son is being released from Folsom State Prison this year.  He has completed serving time for his crime and considers his incarceration a blessing in disguise.

But is society going to accept him back into population with open arms as he transitions or are the flaming arrows and emotional daggers going to penetrate deeper into an already wounded soul through discrimination, obstacles and judgment?

Relational Judgment

What many beloveds don’t realize is what our prisoners go through once they’re released and why rehabilitation is not only vital for our incarcerated, but for society as a whole.

Without transformation from rehabilitation, the incarcerated will never receive the opportunity to succeed with the many obstacles they face, and society will continue to absorb the cost, monetarily and/or possibly with lives, producing more victims leading us nowhere except entangled in this vicious cycle of broken people.

Suffering doesn’t have to lead us to constant failures where frustration and bitterness develops, but it should lead us instead into creative forces for positive changes.  That is transformation.  It can’t take place with just the offenders solely through long-standing punishment, society needs to play a proactive, integral role in transformation.  We are all a part of the solution and need to change.

Transformation is a process, not an overnight conversion and/or purpose.  Changing the way we utilize our prisons so people come out rehabilitated and not worse than what led them there in the first place is vital in building and giving hope to our prisoners.

 

Blameless State Prison Grounds
 

How can we do this?

Being the founder of Blameless, I sure don’t have all the answers, but I’m proactively working with the incarcerated and governmental entities and community members to help find the need behind the need and set up a plan of attack to help contribute to the lives that need help. Blameless believes not doing anything due to fear of failure is not acceptable when many lives are at stake.

With my 20 years experience in the law field, being a chaplain, serving on Folsom State Prison’s Inmate Family Council along with sharing the gospel with the incarcerated and their families, Blameless is now transitioning its focus towards the rehabilitation side and reentry programs for the incarcerated.

This is Blameless’ contribution to help stabilize the homeless epidemic. Without rehabilitation, most offenders will end up either homeless adding to our homeless epidemic or back into crime leading to more prison time.

Public safety issues effect more than just the criminal justice system.  Our prison systems are working towards rehabilitation, but it’s going to take continual effort with changes thinking outside the box.  The old ways are not working.

I believe relational justice must include God and His Great Love serving as the anchor for everything built upon it and will change the way our prisons function.  We will focus on making our offenders emotionally healthier from the inside out with tools to become better than when they entered prison.  This is instrumental in successful reentry before they’re released.

Punishment is never going to work being the long-lasting solution. Yes, offenders need to do time for their crimes, with their punishment meeting their crime, but they should be allowed to change before they’re released. And once they’ve done their time, they should be accepted back into society.

What good is it for society, much less the offender, to be released back into communities where incapacitation and preclusion rules?

Punishment can no longer be the sole answer.  Rehabilitation needs to exist along with punishment. Rehabilitation requires love and action. The vast majority of our incarcerated are never visited and/or encouraged and supported to help facilitate healthy hearts and minds.

Many chaplains, churches and nonprofits, along with our state prison systems, are transitioning into focusing on rehabilitation and God’s Great Love, but we need an army to stand on the front lines with the oppressed and fight injustice.

If deterrence worked, our prisons would be empty.

Transformation is a process. The opportunities have to outweigh the many obstacles. Transformation starts with the offender.  It starts with the offender taking personal responsibility for their actions and deciding to change.  It’s hard to take that initiative when one is not loved and/or supported.  Families need to get involved along with society.

Click here to continue reading more…

Everyone Has Value!

Everyone Has Value!

Who do you think ends up in our state prison facilities?  Do we actually even care who’s occupying space in our prison system or does the state prison itself take care of that for us?

What if your son, a brother, your father, your mother or even your husband was there, would you care?

Or would you hide behind your own veil of shame?

We’re all tired.  We’re all trying to survive…

Everyone’s drinking a bit just to take the edge off of it.  Everyone’s smoking.  Wired, yet tired.  Even popping a pill or two to just do.  We’re all tired.  Everyone’s at the end of the rope without any hope! 

We’re all distracted.  Doing everything we can just to keep calm…

Just to keep it together. 

Everyone’s high just to get by!!!

Everyone’s terrified hiding behind their pride!

We all mess up and we all need forgiveness.

Every failed relationship needs another to try again.

Blameless Respect

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?

Be honest…

Now imagine it being known and exposed to all who dare to look, kind of like living with it taped to both your forehead and back.

How would you feel being completely exposed??? 

Probably would have to get high just to get by. 

Maybe even rob the mob and sob…

How we survive prison is a life-long commitment…

Prisoners survive most sentences.  Sooner or later, they return to the long-awaited outside world.

But is it really what they had hoped for, even fantasized about? 

Nobody thinks about how they’re going to be discriminated against, even tagged with the big “F” as in felon precluding them from getting a decent job, a car, a roof over their head or even vote. 

No one told them that they would have to live making minimum wage just to work.  How can you possibly save enough money to get a car to drive to work, much less support a family with a roof over your head? 

Nobody ever said you’d end up becoming a working homeless person just to survive in a world that is full of hate and condemnation. 

You did the time for your crime, but now you’re forced to live on a dime!

With sobering statistics showing that two out of every three incarcerated return back to State Prison within three years, as a society we are all imprisoned by their incarceration.  Once they are released and walk through those pearly gates, these beloveds must live by a completely foreign set of values and rules.

They have lived under the governance of institutionalized thinking being caged up like animals, but since we’re so good at punishing and not rehabilitating, prisoners forget quickly into their imprisonment how to critically think and function because it was all figured out for them being incarcerated. 

Being institutionalized told them when to wake, pee, eat, shower, exercise, work, etc. 

Kind of like a herd of sheep in their protective pens. 

But this institutionalized thinking never permitted them to deal with the issues that led the prisoners to commit the crimes that incarcerated them in the first place.  Now they’ve been forced to suppress that pain and have developed more issues from being incarcerated.

And we throw them back into reality with a whole new world that jeers their every move with spears of judgment, hate, ridicule, condemnation, discrimination and a lack of acceptance?

Not to mention, if they didn’t have an outpouring of love from family and friends who supported them with love and visitation during their incarceration, how can we expect them to successfully reenter society?

How can we make changes in our thinking and help our incarcerated reintegrate, rehabilitate ushering them into redemption to stay out of prison for the rest of their lives? 

God commands us to stand with the oppressed and fight injustice, so…

One major weakness I find being a chaplain, transitioning Blameless and Forever Free Ministries towards the reentry side for our prisoners along with having served on the Inmate Family Council at Folsom State Prison, not even a tenth of all prisoners have contact visitation with loved ones and friends. 

And without any love and support, we expect them to have successful transition back into society?

Everyone has value! 

Re-offenders lack relationships!

Until next time…

Reoffending Lacks Relationship

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Tammy Ingram Founder Hebrews 13.3

The Incarcerated Say, “Thank You For Loving Us!”

Blameless Hebrews 13.3

The Incarcerated Say

Thank You For Loving Us!

How often do we go through life being thanked for loving another?  Especially those with differing faiths, colors and cultures? 

How about being thanked for simple, random acts of kindness that flow naturally from the love in our hearts?

Should our expectations demand acknowledgement and recognition?

I honestly never really experienced what walking out Christ’s mission, ministry and soul was like, understanding His interaction and engagement with EVERYONE, until I started pouring life into the rejected and abandoned; our homeless and incarcerated.  They’ve taught me what love means…

Blameless Warrior/Thank You

Working with the homeless and the incarcerated has emphasized how we are living in a self-serving, loved-deprived culture. 

Sadly, it’s much easier to hate and judge, using others for our own gain, yet so unfathomable to love ALL OF MANKIND through our actions when there’s no benefit to ourselves and/or acknowledgement and recognition.

When was the last time you heard the words, “Thank you for loving us”? 

Much less from those incarcerated?

Break…

My…

Heart!

I felt led to share a recent thank-you card in order to shed light to some of the lives that exist inside our prison systems. 

Admittedly, I used to judge and criticize those incarcerated until my own crisis developed with having a son incarcerated due to fighting.

But I lean in being convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are His lovers who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose (Romans 8:28 TPT).

This beautiful and touching card came from inmates at Folsom State Prison demonstrating what a little love and rehabilitation leading to redemption offers. 

They don’t know Jesus, YET…

I’m honored to be transitioning my nonprofit, Blameless and Forever Free Ministries, to stand with the oppressed and fight for injustice as an avenue to help stabilize our homeless epidemic.  Their successful re-entry back into society keeps more beloveds from adding to our homeless epidemic that is out of control. 

Every life matters!

Look at those eyes on the card!!! Talk about a gift of artistry.  Her eyes captivate me.  The twinkling radiates with life as if she’s actually looking back at me.  What a work of art!

I’m not a badass or warrior princess as some of the inmates might say, because honestly, sometimes I’m so paralyzed in fear and scared to death, I have to continue remembering I’m surrounded by angel armies!  I have a much easier time being referred to as Mama Tammy or Miss Tammy. 

I’m just walking out being obedient to whom my Father says I am, His precious daughter, that the Lord God Almighty chooses to work through as one of His vessels to pour out His Great Love!

“…The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37; Matthew 9:35-38).

Through the chiseling of my own calloused heart and loving on the homeless and the incarcerated, I’ve had my eyes opened to what God’s Great Love does to those who have been thrown out, rejected and abandoned.  They’re starving!

Maybe it’s because I understand that deep, torturing loss, through my own life crises.

What I once took somewhat for granted and expected, God’s Great Love, many are desperate for and would do anything to be led through that door.

Why shouldn’t we all be extended an invitation to engage in a relationship with our Beautiful Jesus and be loved on?  Jesus doesn’t discriminate, He invites us all.

Our world is starving for love!  And our incarcerated are no exception to that rule and need God’s Great Love!

Thank you, Beautiful Jesus, for allowing me to see society’s desperation and need for Your Great Love through your lens!  Talk about masterpieces…

Thank you, Lord, for the boldness and courage to stand with the oppressed and fight injustice.  Every life matters!  I’m beyond blessed to see Your hand and covering of Love to those who desperately need an encounter with You!

Until next time…

Do It Again, God!  Do It Again!

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The Gift Of Presence…

The Gift Of Presence…

Priceless!

Hi friends and family, I know I’ve been absent this past month.  Forgive my overwhelmed schedule.  But I couldn’t let Christmas go by without saying, I’m praying that we all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

But first…

Are you wanting, and willing, to give “THE PERFECT GIFT” of Christmas that far surpasses any and all cost? 

We love because God first loved us.  And our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us (1 John 4:19).  God gave His one and only Son as a gift to us.

So giving the gift of presence might just be the most precious gift we can give to those we love.  Wrapping ourselves in consideration and conscientiousness embraces those we love, hearts become mended as the bow becomes untied and lives become alive and blossom like wildflowers.

Presence is a genuine expression of love.

Presence says “you matter”…

Presence offers peace…

Presence initiates healing…

Presence delivers love…

Presence initiates generosity…

A life of generosity demonstrates God’s genuine love and presence.

Presence is priceless!

Showing up and being present is invaluable.

Christmas Love

Putting away the electronics to listen embraces consideration.  Listening without thinking creates closeness.  Being attentive and mindful requires casting all judgment aside.  Instead, following every line and wrinkle, the twinkle radiating from the eyes, the battle scars and sweet freckles that make up this amazing masterpiece before us tells us more than a story…

Our presence and attentiveness is a gift that speaks volumes and shows we care.  We can’t put a price tag on that and it will never go out of style.  It could start a trend that is re-gifted over and over and over again.  Talk about paying it forward.

And even though it might be a cliche, there’s no time like the present!!!

May we be the gifts that God uses as His presence to bring hope, cheer and joy this year.

Heck, sharing a box of chocolates can and will unite lives with all its feel-good endorphins, not to mention sweeten the atmosphere and those that indulge.  Sharing in the tasting indulgence creates experiences filled with love, joy and peace.

I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to a box of See’s Candy so you’ll know where to find me this year!

May you feel and experience God’s sweetness, His presence and His abiding love throughout this holiday season and through each new day of the coming year!

And because faith makes all things possible, hope makes all things work together, and God’s Great Love makes all things beautiful, may you be blessed with ALL three gifts this Christmas.

Until next time…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Gratitude: A Glimpse Through The Lens Of Images…

 

Gratitude: A Glimpse Through The Lens Of Images…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends and family!  I just wanted to share rather quickly how grateful I am for you, your life, and your heart to sojourn alongside of me through this crazy journey called life. 

I’m sharing with all y’all an excerpt of an email I sent out to all my nonprofit’s financial partners and the invaluable volunteers who make up Blameless in being God’s hands and feet.

So on behalf of myself, and Blameless and Forever Free Ministries, Happy Thanksgiving!  We are grateful for you and are blessed to hear and witness all the amazing stories and testimonials that God created and designed for His purpose and destiny.  Talk about amazing grace!

Happy Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving upon us, we are eternally grateful that you are a part of the Blameless family.

Your support not only fuels our work, but it inspires us to create a much more compassionate and loving world.  This encouragement enables us to be a part of stabilizing the homeless epidemic and now transitioning into re-entry programs for the incarcerated.  It’s an honor to be able to serve our communities through a sprinkling of God’s Great Love..

We’re pleased to share with you a few pictures illustrating our work throughout the year. 

Thank you for supporting us and being with us on Thanksgiving, over the hectic holidays, and throughout each year.
 
 
 

Feeding hundreds of food-insecure beloveds and friends in need (homeless)!

 

Erin, homeless veteran, and single mother…

No longer homeless!

 

Tammy and Dave, no longer homeless!

Tammy is employed with

the founder’s son’s company.

 

Martin, stage four cancer, found family.

No longer homeless!

 

And many more no longer homeless!

 

Gypsy homeless, helping clean up Roseville (top left photo)!

 

Suits 4 Homeless Event!

 

Just Because… Event!

 

#GivingTuesday Event!

 

 

Blameless is now transitioning into re-entry programs for the incarcerated! 
 
Blameless believes generous hearts meet the offenders right where they’re at because one day they will become our neighbors.

 

With Gratitude,

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries

 
Until next time…

Happy Thanksgiving!