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It's been awhile since I've shared my journey with you all. So I thought I'd try and catch you up a bit. I was recently asked to write an article for the Women Of Faith magazine called "Connection" for their July/August issue. I've titled it, "Breathing Again" and thought I'd share it with you. They've also asked me to join them again next year for their "Irrepressible Hope" Tour. I'm completely loving it and sooo happy to do more conference with them. It's soo healing for me.
Breathing Again - By Tammy Trent
As I sit here in the study of my Brentwood TN home, looking out the window in front of me, I am captivated by the wind pushing the big tree across the street gently from the left to the right - there is movement. I see an American flag flying high right next to it - there is freedom.
The world outside seems to be moving and changing with every new season. I can see it. I can hear it with each passing day. Yet, my world is still and quiet inside these walls. Some days I feel like my world has stopped but that everyone else's has continued to move forward. There used to be lots of noise inside this home. Conversation, laughter, love, music, movies, Play Station, dinners for two and plans for the future. But with the tragic death of my husband, Trent Lenderink, on September 11th, 2001 - while on vacation in Jamaica, my life came to a sudden halt. Now I fight to breathe. I fight to move alone without him. I feel sort of trapped or stuck without him in a place that I sometimes can't find my way out of. I fight for life itself.
After I lost Trent I didn't know how I'd ever make it alone. We had just celebrated our 11th Wedding Anniversary. I didn't know if I'd ever find the strength or desire to want to sing, speak or write again...to just enjoy life again. I kept thinking "What am I supposed to do now God?" The answers just weren't there and I hated that, but I couldn't deny the fact that deep down inside I knew I wasn't alone and that Jesus was my answer and that He was real. His presence in my life was real. I knew I needed Him desperately.
When I returned from Jamaica I asked the Lord for a year away from most everything, so that He could put my life back together again. Nothing made sense to me. I thought many times, how could Trent's death be good for my life. I couldn't see it. Honestly, I still struggle to see it most days. But I know that my faith will carry me through.
My greatest pain yet my greatest healing has taken place in our home, as I chose to stay here, even though it's far away from my family. But you've heard it said before, that home is where the heart is, and my heart has certainly been here in our home. It's a struggle everyday to not be able to share my life with my best friend, husband and manager. I wonder what he'd say about my life now. What conversations we'd have. What we might laugh about. What movie we might rent tonight and whether or not he might like my new "mystery dish" for dinner (smile)
Trent was a man of God. Faithful, consistent, fun, adventurous and so full of life. He was a man who spoke life into my spirit everyday. Guiding me gently towards the things of God. God was at the very core of our relationship ever since we met at the tender age of 15 in our youth group in Grand Rapids, MI. Through it all, for better or worse, Trent wanted me to know Jesus, to be a Women Of Faith.
Interestingly enough, one of Trent's biggest prayers for me was that one day I'd have the opportunity to travel with the Women Of Faith, and to grow from and experience like that with them. So, when the phone rang in March of 2002 and the caller ID read, "Women Of Faith", I knew then that my life was about to change again. But the change was up to me, I could choose life, I could choose joy, I could choose freedom, I could choose hope, I could choose Christ. And even though I might not feel strong enough at that moment, if I just step our in faith and say, "Yes, I'll come. God will get me through it - not somehow, but triumphantly". I know I'll gradually start to come back to life again. I wanted to know that Freedom and Liberty that I once knew. I wanted to walk in it again. I wanted to dance in it again.
On Saturday March 29th, 2003 I took some of my first steps back onto a platform in front of 20,000 women at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH on the Women Of Faith Tour. It was at that moment that I began to really breathe again. I began to move again. I began to dance again. And now with each breathe I take, and with each new step I make, I am hopeful that the Lord will complete in me a good work, and that one day when I see Trent and Jesus face to face and thousands standing behind them, I will shout from deep within, "It was worth it all - I'm finally home - I am free"!
As the wind pushed the tree in Freedom and Liberty, I'm allowing my faith to push me!
God bless you all and thank you for all your love and prayers and support. It has been sooo instrumental in the healing process of my life. And I've loved meeting sooo many of you through my travels. Hold on and keep breathing with each step you take. God is good and the sun is shining in Nashville today! (smile)
Love & Laughter,