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‘part’ of my story – 3

July 28, 2009

part 1 and part 2 have been posted. here is the last part of this story.


“Are you sure? Are you sure?!!”  That’s all I could say to my mother on the phone. She continued to reassure me the news she received was accurate and direct from Steve’s and my friend who lived right next to us. Steve was found dead, on his bed, from a fatal gunshot wound to his heart. He had killed himself the day I left. But even so, in my mind, I thought Steve was crazy enough to fake his death and have me believe I was “safe”, only to come find me when I least expected it, when my guard was down.

I was paranoid. I was exhausted. I was lost. I was so afraid. I knew his death was my fault. I was convinced he killed himself just to get at me, to make me feel bad for leaving…one last act of control.

It took several days for me to relax. And after a week or so I began thinking clearly again.

Then one morning it hit me…I’m on my own! This is it. I have to take care of myself. I went from a little girl, to a married young lady, to a widow, straight to a young woman all alone with nothing. I realized I needed a job. I have to take care of myself now. I decided I needed to suck it up, be a big girl and move on.

Within 3 days I was employed as a Purchasing Agent for a small company in Irwindale. Instantly a gentleman there reached out to me. Seriously. That was the last thing I wanted. I wanted nothing to do with the opposite sex. Don’t look at me. Don’t talk to me. Don’t breathe in my general direction. Nothing. Please. Just leave me alone. But he wouldn’t. He was relentless. He was also completely different than anyone I had ever met. There was something about him that was gentle, sincere. He befriended me and reached out. Although reluctant at first, I accepted his friendship with an unspoken caution.

About two weeks later, my new friend invited me to church. Church? Are you serious? Me? In church? Afraid the building might spontaneously combust upon my entrance, I agreed to go anyways. If nothing else, it would be entertaining.

He picked me up early that next Sunday morning with his family. I sat in the backseat a nervous wreck. Sweating, shaking and nauseous. I couldn’t believe I was going to church. We walked in the doors and immediately people came up to him. He introduced me to his friends as, “the one you’ve been praying for.”

Huh? What does THAT mean? Who are these people and why are they praying for me?? I don’t need prayer. And they were all so nice. For me…uncomfortably nice. But, I smiled and played along.

Week after week, my new friend invited me back to church, and I was compelled to go each and every time. I became increasingly intrigued by everyone’s happiness. I wanted what they had. I needed what they had.

Sunday, August 19th, 1990 there was a guest speaker at church. His name was Mardo. Mardo had a very strong accent of some kind, not sure. In fact, I could not understand one thing he said. I sat there, in the back row, listening intently, trying to read his lips to follow along. I wanted so badly to know what he was talking about. Then, as he was drawing a close, it all became clear. I heard Pastor Mardo for the first time. I heard actual words. I understood him. This is what he spoke…

“Ipp inee ub you wood like to uh-sept Sheesis Klighst indoo yaw hourt, pluhze pay wit me…”

THAT I heard. THAT caught my attention. As I bowed my head my thoughts went back to my childhood. All the fear, the physical abuse, the secret abuse. My thoughts drifted to the teenage girl in the abortion clinic where I would be on two different occasions. Then my thoughts settled on my most recent journey…my husband holding a gun to my head. Me, sneaking off to the Greyhound Bus Station, barely escaping Knoxville, TN. I shuddered as I pondered my 3-day trip to CA. I relived hearing that Steve had shot himself.

Then…all those thoughts disappeared. All I could see now was God. Not in a physical sense – but it was…Him. Everything else disappeared. All the fear and confusion…gone. And I heard the words, “I brought you here”. I knew right then, without question, God had been with me all along. He had brought me back to So. CA. Brought me to my new job, my new friend and to this church. Everything, for the first time in my life, made sense.

The next thing I heard was, “Amen”.

I left that building a brand new person that Sunday. Everything in me changed, in an instant. I was determined to live. I wanted to live. For the first time I was looking forward to life. I realized in a powerful way, my life had just been radically saved in every sense of the word…I was saved!

And…I had no idea my husband today, of 17 years, was sitting in that building that day too.

But God did. He knew all along.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristen Buchanan permalink
    July 28, 2009 8:57 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing..I am so blessed right now. God is so good!

  2. July 28, 2009 8:58 pm


    • July 29, 2009 7:27 pm

      I agree! Beautiful story of God’s love and grace. Beautifully written as well, Tam!

  3. July 28, 2009 8:58 pm

    my eyes are leaking uncontrollably. God is freakin awesome! And so are you and your family!

  4. Heidi permalink
    July 28, 2009 9:00 pm

    Redemption, victory, freedom, provision, answered prayer,HOPE, love, forgiveness and healing. Just words that came to my mind.

    Abba Father thank you for immersing yourself within Tam’s life, allowing her to be the woman that she is today; bold, courageous, and transparent. Allow YOUrself to be present when she doubts to push the “publish” button that’s telling her maybe I shouldn’t. She’s a testimony of YOUR Greatness, healing, righteousness, and grace.
    Keep her in Your richness and YOUR BOSOM as she heads into a busy time of her life, reminding her daily that YOu are with her in health and protection, provision for her family.. Thank you Daddy God. Amen

  5. July 28, 2009 9:05 pm

    your story is changing lives and will change lives. i love you and your authenticity and your allowance of bringing others into it… just so God can be glorified through His changed daughter… you.

  6. July 28, 2009 9:11 pm

    I am so in love with you. And so proud of you!

  7. Nicole Wick permalink
    July 28, 2009 9:28 pm

    I don’t even have words for you right now, except that I love you. I’m in awe of your strength and transparency. You’re amazing and your story blesses me. I’m proud to call you friend.

  8. July 28, 2009 9:43 pm

    For the second time today, I’m lost for words. Just “thank you”.

    And that just feels trite. So, I’ll stop now…

  9. July 28, 2009 9:50 pm

    Amazing story of God’s hand on your life. Thank you for sharing this. My heart ached over the events in your past, but what a JOY to see you healing and whole!

  10. July 28, 2009 10:55 pm

    i feel honored to have read all this tam. not just this one but all 3.

  11. Stacey permalink
    July 28, 2009 11:28 pm

    Woman….strong, caring, loving, beautiful. My Tam-Bam….I never knew. I only knew the before, and thought, you had been through a lifetime before 19. Woulda, coulda, shoulda? None of that maters now, that you are in my life again?- DOES…I am lucky to know such a strong SPIRIT of a human as you, my boo-ti-full Tam….

  12. July 28, 2009 11:59 pm

    i missed reading this ‘beginning’ (part 3 of your life story) the first time around!

    feels good to know all 3 parts, at last 🙂

    and you write VERY well!

    you should do it more often 😉


  13. pokinatcha permalink
    July 29, 2009 12:35 am

    WOW! Thanks for sharing. Praise the Lord for the work He has done in your life!

  14. July 29, 2009 12:37 am

    Thanks Tam.

    I needed to be reminded of all that God has done – how he continues to be with people in the very worst of times, and brings redemption out of them.

    As I like to say – God has a habit of bringing the good out of the very crappiest of situations.

    Praise God for all that He has done in your life. Thank you for sharing, and get writing that book of yours…because it’s God’s story not just yours, and He’s going to use it for His glory…

  15. July 29, 2009 3:59 am

    Wow. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  16. July 29, 2009 6:13 am

    What an amazing story. You have much to teach the world about overcoming pain and heartache and choosing life and light. How inspiring you are! Please keep writing. (Write and then get published in a big way!)

    Many blessings for all revealed good!


  17. July 29, 2009 6:48 am

    Christ is still changing lives – even me at the age of 66. He still is working on me.

  18. July 29, 2009 10:02 am

    Don’t. stop. writing. You have too much to give. Thanks for what you have already shared.

  19. July 29, 2009 12:24 pm

    Love your story. Thanks for sharing…what a great reminder of God’s power.

  20. July 29, 2009 12:36 pm

    thanks to all of you who read thru this journey.

    when i say God is good…i reeeealllly mean, He is good. i know this very personally. but, i think He is this good to all of us. we all have baggage, regret, guilt and fear – but those of us who have God in our lives also have a redeemer, One who renews and refines. knowing that…there was no excuse for me to stay in those circumstances any longer. its up to us….

  21. July 29, 2009 1:36 pm

    really thank you for sharing (:

    • July 29, 2009 1:45 pm

      it would be wrong of me not to…

      you are quite welcome


  22. July 29, 2009 10:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are a testament to the truth that God can redeem all things if we allow Him to do so.

  23. July 31, 2009 8:17 am

    Thank you for this blog, I beleive we could of traded lives and not even known the difference. Still waiting for the peace you have with God though! I long for it and want it but most of the time I feel like I’m faking it! Some times I catch myself in victim mode still and ask how could he let all of that happen to me?!? Instead of thanking him for getting me out of that situation with most of my sanity still intact. Something that I guess I need to continue to work on! You have shown me that it’s possible to completly move on from the past, and I appreciate that!

    • July 31, 2009 9:50 am

      libby – i truly am living proof that one does not have to continue living in the past, the hurt, the pain, the memories. we dont have to play victim. like i said earlier here in the comments…

      “but those of us who have God in our lives also have a redeemer, One who renews and refines. knowing that…there was no excuse for me to stay in those circumstances any longer. its up to us….”

      its our choice. takes a lot of work…but anything worth having is worth working like hell to get to it 😉

      • August 1, 2009 1:32 am

        You know something?

        There are a LOT of people, some who don’t believe in God and some who do, who ALL think exactly the same on this topic as you have so eloquently presented for us in those thoughts.

        “its our choice. takes a lot of work…but anything worth having is worth working like hell to get to it 😉 ”

        What i find interesting is those who don’t believe in God seem to have about the same ‘success’ rate as those who do? To a large extent they also have roughly the same problems, issues, disasters, triumphs and joys also?

        I wonder what that may be telling us? Or, if anyone is actually researching this to prove a point?

        God sends His rain down upon the Just and the Unjust alike.

        Did He actually save you from that Hell? or Did you just do all the work yourself?

        Were you one of the Just? or the Unjust when (you feel) He saved you?

        i already know the answers – but they are interesting questions to ask ourselves from time to time. 🙂


  24. July 31, 2009 11:30 am

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your testimony of how God worked in your life. @moviepastor said that reading your blog would mess me up and it did. Keep on writing.

    • July 31, 2009 1:05 pm

      wow, that moviepastor has some influence. 😉

      im glad you stopped by to my little corner of the world. thank you for your kind words!

  25. August 4, 2009 6:26 am

    a beautiful story, tam.
    beautiful because it’s so obvious that God’s hand was always holding you up.
    i love that.

  26. December 31, 2009 5:57 am

    I want to make some clever comment here but I’m just stunned by your story. God bless you Tam.

  27. February 18, 2010 12:19 pm

    I’m sitting here at work blotting my eyes with a napkin – a reminder that I need to buy Kleenex. Over and over again God is showing to me the power of His restoration. Frankly it’s getting kinda scary.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • February 18, 2010 12:27 pm

      ah, scary. and scary isnt always bad…just new, untouched territory.

      (i love your avatar!)

  28. Glory permalink
    August 20, 2010 1:13 am

    Incredible story of God’s grace — so dramatic and opposite of my boring, sheltered life; yet, His mercy and grace are common themes that connect us. “We are one in the bond of love.” Sharing your story weaves ribbons of grace in and through the hearts of those who hear it.

    • kassincahoots permalink
      August 20, 2010 11:05 am

      i believe that we dont have to have a traumatic story to have a testimony. youre right, Gods grace permeates all His children. we all have a story of grace and mercy to tell. and every one of them are beautiful.

      thank you for that reminder in your words…

    • August 20, 2010 11:06 am

      and the above reply to you is not from my daughter kass, its from me. she was logged in :-/

  29. December 6, 2011 11:11 am

    Wow. I’m speechless. WHAT a story! You are truly an inspiration to those who have gone through trauma and pain. Thank you for sharing that God can bring hope and transformation in the darkest of circumstances… I’m moved to tears.

    • December 7, 2011 3:18 pm

      hi, marcia!! i was so surprised to get an email notification for a comment on my old blog here.

      but am so glad you stopped by. now that you know a little about me, you and i have GOT to get together here in nashville so i can get to know you some more…yes?


  1. ‘part’ of my story – 2 « inProgress
  2. 2009 best posts – a re-post: my story « inProgress

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