Tag Archives: #inmates

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…

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Tammy Ingram Founder Hebrews 13.3

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

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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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Faith vs. Fear? Faith The Fear!

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Faith vs. Fear?

Faith the Fear!

“The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me.  Everyone abandoned me.  May it not be counted against them.  But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength…”  2 Timothy 4:16-17 NLT

 

Inmates!  When you think of this infamous title, what comes to mind?  Losers?  Prisoners?  Convicts?  Rejects deserving punishment? 

Better yet, what comes to mind when you hear of excessive force being used by correctional officers along with inmates’ Constitutional rights being violated? 

Who cares?  Hmmmm…

Anyone that knows me or has been following my blog for even a little while knows about my 110% complete devotion and support for ALL of our men and women in blue who have taken an oath and who selflessly sacrifice their lives to help protect and serve their communities. 

Okay, most of them anyways…  There’s always going to be a rotten apple in the barrel that infects and spoils the good ones.  Enough said!  I was married to a dirty cop so I know how that story goes…

That one bad apple didn’t stop me from going through the law enforcement chaplaincy academy after the fact and even serving as a chaplain for the past seven years, nor did being a victim of heinous crimes myself hinder my advocacy work and passion for the rejected and unloved. 

But when a beloved son finds himself in mayhem, I became sandwiched between our justice system and this corrupted force by witnessing firsthand violation after violation causing pain and turmoil to this mama’s child and others by the COs (correctional officers) not following the laws and the rules demanded by our U.S. Constitution.

Where’s the love in this world anymore?  We have become bullies hiding behind the power given to us through lack of governance, social media and our computer screens.  We have become fixated and thrive on corruption and crime and “colluding” and even become energized by real-life drama.  Talk about egotistical people without a moral compass.

When our three-year-olds are more familiar with the word “collude” instead of “loved,” we need to take a step back and examine how we are allowing the actions of others to influence our lives.  This includes how we utilize social media to peek, watch, stalk, gossip and even “date others” which is nothing more hazardous than to one’s “selfie.”

What happened to the meeting of minds face to face and loving our neighbors as ourselves?  Would you protect yourself by letting another brother be blamed for the fall?  If a child was getting hurt, would you intervene to protect them or would you click Facebook first and turn your video on and record instead of protecting them?

Every person is a child to some mother or father, so…  

What if this person was sitting in county jail awaiting trial; considered innocent until proven guilty, right?  Here he’s hurt, harassed, hazed, and even refused his Constitutional rights.  He’s put into a cell with another human’s feces on the walls.

Would you just ignore the inhumane discrimination because inmates are considered “losers” in jail or would you stand up for their rights and scream awareness against those who are abusing and usurping their authoritative powers?

This is frightening to come up against, but my God commands we work for justice.  Just because someone is in jail does not mean they’re dehumanized or any less of a Beloved.  God loves us all just the way we are, mistakes and all. 

These inmates have to do the time for their crimes, but between overcrowding, inhumane conditions, and being subjected to excessive force violates their Constitutional rights and it must be stopped.

What happens when you find yourself in the middle of Corruption versus Dedication?  Justice versus Usurping Authority?  Commitment versus Constitution?  Innocence versus Injustice?  Faith versus Fear?

I want to preface that I still stand behind law enforcement knowing full well there’s plenty of rotten apples, but when you find yourself having to go against some of those you once believed in and supported, the betrayal leaves you mad as hell with a passionate pursuit to end all this physical, emotional and spiritual harm. 

I had no idea advocacy meant I would find myself right smack in the middle of an exposed corruption ring within our correctional facilities through excessive force and inhumane conditions while a beloved child was at the core of just a minuscule part of it.

Between healing from surgery and going through further treatment alongside of this corruption case, writing is going to be sporadic and take a backseat as I fulfill my duties being a mom and an inmate advocate and making sure justice prevails.  There’s a mama’s heart that would love to react with my cast-iron horns fully emerged while spewing out flaming arrows, but…

I don’t know what emulating my Lord looks like exactly because each day there’s a new violation and I haven’t always reacted in a positive, loving manner with the COs with all of these emotions.  When your child is under the umbrella of abuse and injustice and his Constitutional rights have been violated again and again, you better believe I’m going to Faith the Fear boldly and courageously!  And I do not care WHO YOU ARE!

I am choosing to love my son mirroring the words penned from Paul in 2 Timothy 4:16-17.  I want him to feel the love of the Lord alongside of him through support, encouragement, visitation, phone calls, unconditional love and especially being an advocate demanding his due rights so he knows he’s not alone. 

Someone has to stand up for these inmates.  The system is slow and corrupt and families and friends dwindle away real quick.

I firmly believe hope replaces discouragement while trust overcomes doubt because my God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).  That’s being His hands and feet!

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

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