All Is Well Today When We Know God Is In Our Tomorrow’s…
Hi precious friends and family, I don’t know about you, but with everything going on in our world between COVID-19, social distancing and all the chaos and panic, if I don’t remember that God is with me today, I will never be able to rise up and not shrink back.
Remembering that with my marching orders, which includes being on the front lines combating this enemy as His pillar of strength, that requires walking out all is well today when we know that God is in our tomorrow’s.
As treasured possessions of God and His Works of Art, being God’s handiwork allows us to rise up and shine during crisis for our loved ones, friends and family.
As Christians, we have never been better positioned to rise up and shine and be the light of our Beautiful Jesus (Isaiah 60:1-2) as the glory of our Lord rises upon us.
And if we really think about it, our co-workers and the beloveds in our communities, they are going to be watching us now for hope. Being His vessels, they will lean in for strength, for love and for a calming comfort, seeking a compassionate ear when their lives are consumed and compromised by fear.
Our secret to a freaked out world: We know all is well today when we know that God is in our tomorrow’s.
Walking out Matthew 6:34 can lead us victoriously through the doors of peace and strength, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
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.
What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
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?
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!
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.
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.
I stood there shocked in disbelief. Every single one of the doctor’s words spoken were unintelligible, framed in slow-motioned lip slices to this mama’s hemorrhaging heart.
When our world turns upside down AND implodes!
Hearing tragic news literally jolts your world. It scars and cuts like a knife. It shakes and rocks your world more violent than a 7.5 earthquake.
The doctor’s rushed encounter causes sheer terror. Extreme panic and shock sets in. Only divine and supernatural intervention can restore.
Your hands cup the disbelief along with salty tears released from the ducts of Hoover Dam. You collapse to the ground because your weight becomes too much to bear by yourself.
As your body folds onto the cold cement floor of the E.R. doorway, your focus zooms to the feet scurrying by and the relentless, torturing, alarm sounds going off from medical devices sustaining lives triggering major PTSD.
Code Blue, Room 2!
The coolness from the floor can’t compete with what’s burning through your heart and mind. The branding sears, “Code Blue, Room 2; Code Blue, Room 2.”
My mind races back 25 years as I cradle this beautiful blue-eyed baby boy with the sweetest white hair that I spiked up like Bart Simpson.
The joy this mama’s heart pondered hearing what a beautiful baby he was from those passing by; though their initial reactions were that he was a girl because he was such a beautiful porcelain-skinned doll. It didn’t matter, he was my beautiful baby. He was God’s medical miracle.
Cradling him back and forth became a coping mechanism that would offer him comfort throughout his life.
Setting them free…
I wish I could go back and hold him forever as I squish and caress his porky feet.
Only us mamas can appreciate our infatuations with our children’s feet.
Dislike feet? Stinky and gross?
Me, too. That is, until I gave birth to my children.
Suddenly two feet layered in Red Wings and blue slip covers slide into my uncharted pool of tears. I’m agitated because they’re occupying my “personal space,” even though I lay dormant on the hospital’s floor.
After hearing repeated “Ma’ams,” this fully bearded, piercing dark eyes and haired man wearing a white kippah squats down and squares me right in the face. His lips begin to move, but I can no longer make sense of anything after the explosion of tragedy hit my brain.
I laid there comatose until his physical touch stroking my hair away from my face did my senses start to re-emerge.
He offers to help me up, but due to the paralysis from all the fear and dread and the lack of courage to face reality, he scoops me up into his arms instead and pulls me out of the deadly traffic jam in front of Trauma Room 2.
No sooner than hearing the beat of another’s heart, my eyes fell laser-focused onto the huge lifeless squishy feet hanging over the hospital gurney as many doctors and nurses were performing CPR, inserting tubes and IV’s into my lifeless blue son.
The adrenaline from the broken heart leaped me out of the chaplain’s arms and off the floor as loud battle cries from heaven wailed, causing the medical team to pull the curtain closed.
The chaplain catches me again, pulling me away from the room.
When your visualization is a lifeless baby boy, who may be 6’5″, but who is blue and not responding to medical attention being rendered, your eyes and mind focus intuitively on what’s outside the drawn curtain for survival.
You frame each second onto the surroundings; his blood on the floor, the fluid bags and needle wrappings and the horrible sounds coming from the trauma team who is now holding your baby boy as long as it takes.
God’s Great Love reaches down to hold me tight through this amazing Jewish Chaplain named Joe. God comforts me through Joe saying, “I’ll hold you as long as it takes”along with scripture from Deuteronomy 31:6:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God was faithful in sustaining me. His words are branded forever in my heart and mind, “I’ll hold you as long as it takes.”
And through a life that’s cleaved to those beautiful words, even when there hasn’t been an expected and good ending, I trust my Father God to pick me up and carry me through every tragedy and loss that comes my way.
As far as this 6’5″ baby boy, his striking blue eyes still pierce this mama’s heart with love and strong, yet tender, hugs. This day ended well!
Seek To Understand Before Seeking To Be Understood!
So hard when words from another hurt like hell.
Hi friends and family! Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who’s been affected by the tragedies in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton. It seems that these hurt/sick people hurting others has turned into an evil epidemic seeing who can outkill one another.
When my son and I were talking about how these hate crimes and hurting individuals have changed the landscape of everyone’s lives, personally involved or not, it tapped into my own fears from being victimized reiterating how we’re all effected by these horrific crimes.
Right after talking with my son, I listened to a girlfriend’s deep pain from defeating and defaming words delivered by a coworker, feeling that no one defended her.
This brought up my own pain from the sting of what others have said and done recently that were still fresh.
Speaking honestly here, there’s a part of me who loves and walks out forgiveness emulating Jesus, but I would rather start ripping out these venomous tongues! Words are destructive and often leave emotional wounds and scars unhealed.
I may be a follower of Jesus Christ, but I battle my own insecurities and fears just like everyone else. And after what we’ve witnessed through these heinous shootings, we need to choke this hate line and exhibit self-control with L-O-V-E, God’s Great Love.
Life forces us to be many people with differing hats and images within seconds of each other. Friends in need (homeless beloveds), incarcerated beloveds, along with you and I, we all have hurts, insecurities, brokenness and needs. We just react and respond to them differently.
I keep leaning into these beautiful words of Psalm 85:8.
“Now I’ll listen carefully for your voice and wait to hear whatever you say. Let me hear your promise of peace— the message every one of your godly lovers longs to hear. Don’t let us in our ignorance turn back from following you.”
Working with friends in need and the incarcerated and their families, one common denominator that is lacking is love and forgiveness; God’s Love, unconditional love. It is easy to hate and judge, especially after witnessing these deadly shootings, but feelings pushed down fester and will destroy.
Tragically, we’ve allowed our unhealed pain to turn into hate. Hurt people hurt others. Instead of communities with living, breathing people, we have become part of the problem hiding behind our screens. We are no longer a part of the solution.
Allowing pain to turn into hate, this great divide becomes a part of the problem and forfeits any solution.
Where’s the person to stand up and defend others when hateful words and evil actions are spoken of and acted out?
Where there are persistent hurts, evil will prevail.
I almost let paralyzing fear stop me from helping another in need yesterday. Our Lord loves it when we move out in faith. People need to encounter extensions of love and kindness being poured out.
Action helps change the impact on our futures, though.
How can we allow God to turn our emotional wounds into good like He promises in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it…”?
Our emotional wounds and bruises fall short in receiving help because only time and grace can process the pain. Our bruises and pain take more than a quick click.
Emotional Hurts and Wounded Spirits
Looking back on some of my “most painful” life experiences, the sleepless nights, the tear-stained pillows, the anger and bitterness that developed because the people closest to me delivered nothing but betrayal and disappointment, and the torment in being abused and rejected, God’s Great Love came pouring out!
Our Beautiful Jesus always has a plan for redemption, but…
Amid my all-time lowest moments, and I’m talking crushed, shackled and bound, I’ve witnessed the miraculous power of healing, redemption, reconciliation and restoration. God uses both the good and the bad (Romans 8:28).
Without pain, there’s no healing. Without imprisonment, redemption couldn’t be experienced. If there’s no estrangement, then reconciliation isn’t possible. And without destruction, there’s no need for restoration.
Experiencing this blossoming, this growth, that constructs the very core of who we are and created to become is miraculous.
We just can’t allow ourselves to be defined through this prison of pain.
We Are The Product Of Every Decision
Every day of our lives, we get the opportunity to respond to everything that crosses our path. By remembering that Someone (God) believes we are good enough in their eyes and that we don’t have to measure up to anyone to be loved should usher us into confidence. There’s nothing we can do to be loved more or loved less. It’s a gift to just receive.
Being utilized as a bridge that meets others in their struggles and a source of support and encouragement for building community is a part of the solution. Everything we do today matters. Our impact matters. It effects today and our future.
Seeking to understand others before seeking to be understood will help terminate hate. Let’s be proactive parts to the solution. Forgiveness is a great decision that leads to love!
Please share. This is Gregory Garland and his birthday is Saturday, October 6. He is nearing 70 years old and his last known address was in the Seattle, Washington area. Those blue eyes radiate his kindness and hope without telling the real story of how he wants to go home and be with his children. His children are located in Washington and Massachusetts and probably think he’s dead. Their names are Cheri Lee Garland, Stephanie Harrera (spelling ?), Gregory J. Garland and Sean I. Garland. If you know them, please contact Tammy Ingram or Blameless and Forever Free Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook.
Gregory came to California for a hip replacement surgery. Once he was released, he wanted his alcohol. He is an alcoholic. One thing led to another and he was attacked and beat up with all his possessions taken except for his walker. This is how I met Gregory. He was incoherent on the side of the road and I pulled over. I had to stop traffic and summon paramedics. He went back to the hospital.
Upon release, he had no driver’s license, no wallet, no cell phone, nothing but his walker. I have run back into Gregory after looking for him for months and we need to find his family. He stays to himself, like many homeless, and has exhausted all resources and feels this is just how he will die.
Due to technology, can you remember your kids’ phone numbers? I can’t and have felt hopeless at times and quite ignorant when my cell wasn’t readily available. What most of you don’t know about the homeless is, a lot of resources are not available without a valid I.D. They cannot even receive necessary resources like temporary shelters because they don’t have a valid I.D. We cannot get Gregory a valid I.D. without a birth certificate.
Many homeless individuals suffer from this mandatory item; lack of I.D. It is horrendous and quite a lengthy time-consuming process and expensive to get the necessary items that are needed for emergency support. Plus, you need a valid mailing address to send this pertinent information to. If you’re homeless, you don’t have a valid mailing address.
We will be ordering Gregory’s birth certificate and finish completing the forms on Thursday, but it will take weeks to have it sent to Blameless’ mailing address. Then once we get it, we will have to go down to the DMV and order an I.D. card/driver’s license which will take a couple more weeks. You get the idea here. He is unable to receive his Social Security or any financial help. He is suffering from a significant skin disease/lesions throughout his body now and needs medical help.
Please, this man is near and dear to me. If we can find his family, I will do everything in my power to put him on a bus or an airplane to get him to his daughters in Washington, but I need to first find them and have hopes that they have his birth certificate or other documents to expedite travel.
Yes, this is a battle which keeps many homeless beloveds homeless. I used to sit back and judge and get all pissy because some hotels were allowing the homeless to come into the lobby area and charge their cell phones. I felt so violated and upset with the generous management of some hotels. Woe to me for being Princess Tammy judging and thinking heinously because now here I am running a nonprofit organization that is trying to make a difference in the lives of those who have been rejected and are homeless for a sundry of reasons.
Please help me help Gregory Garland whose birthday is Saturday, October 6, in finding his family so his gentle spirit can live long enough to get home and see his family. I’ve had to hunt him down. He is not asking for anything, but I AM! This will also remove one more homeless person off the streets. One person at a time, one day at a time. With God, all things are possible!
Should you ever find yourself the victim of another’s bitterness, their smallness, or even their insecurities, remember… things could be worse… you could be them!
No, thank you! I’ve had my fill of the angry birds and abusers for a lifetime.
Today I was reminded of God’s amazing love and His protection in guarding my heart when a family member attacked and belittled me.
Abusers are a part of my DNA. Lord knows I’ve learned from the best! But one thing I have learned and am so grateful for is, Greater is He that lives in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
The beauty of transformation. Thank you, Jesus!
And I don’t take “my DNA” lightly. The blood that runs through my veins now is kingdom-filled and full of life flowing with God’s Love, not hate and spite of the enemy that comes to kill, steal and destroy!
Am I upset?
It’s time to break through the mold and thank Jesus for His life and freedom in being beautiful beloveds who are dearly loved, imperfect and yet, His magnificent works of art, right?
I want to be free of all these deeply-seated wounds and the broken pieces that are hindering me from my God-given identity and purpose.
How about you?
When another belittles or tries to pretend we’re a bad person so they don’t feel guilty about the things they did personally to us or said about us, running from confrontation and any accountability whatsoever, we are most like Christ when we remain silent under attack.
And let me be brutally honest here…
It is sooooo freakin’ stinkin’ hard to remember this when being assaulted. People can be savage!
Belittle may be defined as to “make (someone or something) seem unimportant,” but that’s an understatement. People are cruel. Even family members. This is their way of projecting their insecurities onto others and what they wished they actually were.
So when walking through another’s assault that deems my life as “worthless,” the sole blame for their problems, it is near impossible to be quiet.
Where’s my voice, Lord?
Gag me with peace!
How can my breastplate be shielding my heart when I can still feel pain ricocheting off my shield?
This breastplate of righteousness is what protects and guards our heart which is the very seat of our emotions, you know, our self-worth and trust factor.
Thank God I’ve been touched by my Beautiful Jesus who loves me and I can run to Him for refuge knowing He’ll never forsake me.
When you’ve been completely rejected and abandoned, you need tender coddling and assurance to deal with persecution and courage to walk through life confident and strong.
Sweet friends, the piercing of our hearts requires immediate healing so the pain will not attach and fester into a venomous bitter root. When stuffed down, it will eventually mirror the aggressor’s ugly actions with death rolling from our tongues!
This reiterates why James talks about the tongue being a small but powerful member that destroys everyone and everything in its path (James 3:1-12). Who needs to fear a nuclear war when our mouths are more destructive?
Forgive me for the profanity below, but it speaks to my carnality as it releases toxins from the sting incurred from an embittered person’s assaults.
Just being transparent…
It’s hard to pray for those who hurt us, but loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us is brutally challenging. Not to mention blessing those who curse us is even harder (Luke 6:27-29).
I’m still a work in progress, but it can be done when we’re filled with God’s Love.
Remembering to be on guard equipped with our shields of faith when assaults come out of nowhere takes practice. We lose our focus easily. Guarding our hearts and minds requires being grounded daily in God’s Word. This helps thwart the attacks from distracting us and subtracting ourworth.
Our worth was never theirs to give us in the first place, so they cannot take away what was not theirs to give anyways.
Words hurt. They sting. They rob us and can leave us depleted!
Belittling is flat-out cruel and a form of emotional abuse. The best rebuttal is to love and respond with a blessing. That takes a BIG heart of courage! Any fool can retaliate; just saying…
God wants His Beautiful Beloveds building others up because we know what it’s like to be torn down and ripped to shreds.
“Never let anyone belittle you. Their unkind words are a reflection of their insecurities and what they wish for you to be.” Trust in yourself and believe in who God says you are: