Tag Archives: #depression

God’s Great Love Changes Everything!

Blameless Martin

God’s Great Love Changes Everything!

Love Offers Hope.  Hope Develops Confidence.  Confidence Leads To Action.  Action Results In Change!

Albert Einstein was onto something when he stated, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing!”

When we encounter homeless beloveds, our natural reaction generally triggers dismay along with blinders because it exposes the depth of our hearts.

Shallowness!

Ouch!  If you’re anything like I used to be, you become appalled when you encounter the homeless.  Do you discount them as losers?  Even refer to them as junkies and beggars with mental illness?  Or do you judge and group them together as lost souls who are polluting our rivers and streams and becoming public safety toxins?

Sadly, Einstein’s analogy is exactly how we, as a society, have been operating and dealing with the homeless.  We need to facilitate an emergent change because this homeless epidemic is out of control and it’s birthing hate, division and war instead. 

Casting and shifting blame onto our overwhelmed governmental programs, lack of law enforcement implementation and nonprofit organizations scrambling to find needed finances to create shelters, carrying the full weight of society’s expectations in finding a remedy obviously has failed.  We need education and awareness of this process while becoming part of the front lines that are no match to this Goliath.

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries continues to become equally frustrated at the increasing numbers.  This nonprofit has found that incorporating God’s Great Love and treating the homeless as our own family with the addition of their “A Beautiful You” homeless events where outreach is geared towards providing nourishment spiritually, physically and emotionally is conquering this battlefield one life at a time, one day at a time.

Should we give up because society dictates a numbers game so responsibility is relinquished? 

Every life matters so one life saved is victory!

The founder of Blameless and Forever Free Ministries has spent the last year doing life with the homeless, getting to know the need underlying the needs, and is going to try as humbly as possible to share her raw, true feelings comparing the pain and shock from the loss of her own first husband succumbing to the death delivered from alcohol addiction, depression along with homelessness, to spending a Friday evening eating dinner and listening to the story of a working homeless man, to starting a charitable organization catered to the many facets of homelessness.

Homelessness hurts and effects everyone.  Whether you’re a family member, an ex-spouse, a child/parent, taxpayer, you name it, we’re all being effected one way or another.  We can no longer relinquish responsibility.

I pray that I can somehow share openly my past judgments with candor while offering awareness to just how long it takes to cut through the bureaucratic red tape to find governmental help along with the stigma that mental illness carries to a world who is just now being introduced to the painful consequences that has been swept underneath the rug for generations. 

I am going to start showcasing one homeless beloved a month so you might understand their story; how they get to where they are and why they still remain abandoned and rejected.  Shame is a hard outer shell to crack through, much less rehabilitate.

The man above is Martin.  Martin thought he was going to die homeless with his Stage 4 colon cancer.  Outreach offered me the ability to befriend Martin, engage in fellowship with him, along with introducing him to Christ. 

Martin’s lens had been clouded and tainted by life, pain delivered through tragedy and rejection, but once we got him reading glasses, a Bible, and a whole lot of love emulating our Beautiful Jesus, Martin soon realized his life mattered.  He didn’t need as much alcohol that once dictated every decision he made (liquid courage, NOT!!!).  He realized he belonged and is now living comfortably in Sacramento with his sister and family. 

Martin, I love you and miss you dearly.  Thank you for teaching me the simplicity in sharing that I’m not the only one who becomes giddy watching the twilight of the moon dance through the trees while howling like a wolf when the moon becomes full. 

Blameless Homeless Rite-Aid

My mission with Blameless and Forever Free Ministries is not to encounter the appalling picture above anymore encamped alongside of our grocery stores.  Not all homeless want help, including Martin’s friend passed out in the photo above, but roughly 40% of our homeless do. 

And with our amazing God and all the precious beloveds dedicated to being His hands and feet, contributing to the welfare and outpouring of God’s Great Love, rehabilitation is awakened, proving with God, all things are possible! 

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

 

Dear Younger Me…

Blameless Dear Younger Me

Blameless Dear Younger Me 4

… I Forgive You!

Every Decision To Live For God Will NEVER Leave You With Regrets!

Dear Younger Me…

I forgive you for not loving, even abhorring, the beautiful beloved God created you to be…

I forgive you for living your life trying to blend in and be accepted where you did not belong…

I forgive you for believing that you had to do anything but “Just Be” to be loved…

I forgive you for trying to look and act like others while burying the uniqueness, the value and the qualities your true self radiates…

I forgive you for giving away your innocence and purity to a boy who was dared and did not care…

I forgive you for hiding underneath your umbrella of protection due to the insecurities built around rejection…

I forgive you for allowing fear to cheat and defeat you…

I forgive you for allowing the lies of the enemy to rule over your life, thereby living in strife…

I forgive you for not prancing through the poppy flower fields and for not dancing everywhere you pleased…

I forgive you for not believing you are enough as you plowed through the rough stuff…

I forgive you for trying to question and destroy the life that God intended as His prized possession…

I forgive you for every slash of your wrist that you could not resist to prove you did exist…

I forgive you for calling down the rapture as you drove yourself off that cliff that God decided to capture…

I forgive you for not living, laughing and loving instead of striving…

I forgive you for not fulfilling your marital vows promising to love until death do you part instead of drilling…

I forgive you for believing you must perform and conform in order to be loved…

I forgive you for allowing your life to be buried and wasted underneath every shovel full of shame and guilt instead of being carried during this game…

I forgive you for believing you were not worthy of unconditional love…

I forgive you for allowing being orphaned to be equated with an abortion…

I forgive you for every assault and violation that you felt you deserved to receive…

I forgive you for not standing up and demanding your voice be heard in objecting to your uncle’s constant hands all over your body that resembled more like worms squirming through dirt…

I forgive you for choosing alcohol, drugs, depression and denial as a vice to numb the pain instead of embracing God’s peace and grace…

I forgive you for having to lay down on the bed just to zip up your jeans…

Blameless Tight Jeans or Friendship

I forgive you for NEVER wanting to wear those jeans again… (Yep, that’s what it looks like!)

I forgive you for your mistakes and failures and feeling like a disgrace…

I forgive you for not believing that you are chosen, pursued and loved beyond measure that would have ushered God’s favor of healing into motion…

These imperfections, mistakes and failures are what led you to be the beautiful beloved you are; one that is pursued after and one whom is highly favored by our Lord and Savior.

Without these imperfections, choices and decisions, you would have missed out having this relationship with our Lord, not knowing or receiving His grace and tender mercies, much less embracing the beauty derived from the alchemy of transformation that salvation offers.

God gave and forgave much so you could see the strong, joyful, bold and courageous beloved that you are today in being His prized possession!

For that I am grateful!

One last thing: I do forgive you for living a life without God. Now you embrace with grace knowing every decision to live for God will never leave you with regrets!

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Blameless Living For God

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!

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…

Living With Addiction Day 18 ~ Broken Behaviors

Blameless Beach Peace

Living With Addiction

Strongholds of Shame

Broken Behaviors of Abuse

Day 18 of 40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…