Tomorrow, she leaves. For at least 30 days. Several states away.
I’m going to miss her dearly.
Tomorrow, my friend, the one I let you know about in August, who wound up on the bathroom floor with a knife poised to slice, is finally on her way to getting the help that we all know she needs to be free.
It’s been a long journey: two different inpatient treatments, hours of different types of local counseling, thousands (and I really don’t think I’m exaggerating) of texts between her team, affectionately known as “Team Tammy.” Dozens of conversations, meals provided, rides given, childcare arrangements made, and hours and hours of down-on-our-knees prayers.
When the only way a person can fathom peace is death, it takes a community to help her to see the light. And while I think there are many reasons why God designs us to live and work and breath in community, this is literally a vital one.
No one person could do all that Tammy needed and still needs. I’ve learned the hard way prior to this situation that I cannot be anyone’s personal savior, that I cannot carry people alone, and that as much as the severely broken need community, the helpers do, too.
I tell you about my friend and the team that God brought together for two reasons.
First, there is always hope, even when your friend thinks he/she is beyond repair. Sometimes, as a friend, your job is just to hold the hope for him or her – reassuring, encouraging, listening, sitting. Hope is like a lifejacket that we wear that keeps our heads above water when the storms of life rage. I’ve found that my friend can’t even bear to put on the life jacket, so we’ve all doubled up on ours and kept her head above water. Yes, this means we get wet, too, and that can be really hard. But every wave ridden was worth it. Every drop of salt water in my eyes and up my nose. Every time I choked on the sorrow and the pain. Worth it. Why? Because she’s worth it.
Second, the way God fashions us to work together is like the most amazing puzzle you’ve ever seen. I look at our team and the giftings that we have, how we complimented each other and helped things to click in Tammy’s heart. While we all shared a common faith and all have the ability to show compassion, give empathy, loyalty, and love, each of us also had a special trade that God called us to use. I share this not to extol ourselves, but to prove that while you might think your gifting isn’t needed or noticed or necessary, God has plans to use it in a way that very well could be instrumental in helping someone choose life over death, whether that means spiritually, physically, or emotionally.
Below, I’ve listed each person’s one of the main gifts God used to help our friend and I pray that it inspires you to see your gifts and talents in a new light, that God would open up doors for you to use them in generous and out-of-the-box ways. While I hope that you never have a friend who has gone through what Tammy has, the truth is that despair, depression, and despondency is so prevalent in our society. So many need help and our mental health care system is simply not enough. May we rise up as a body of Christ and work in conjunction with what our society offers. Together we can make a difference. Together, following Jesus, we can remind them of the God who promises to redeem all things, whose Hand is never too short to save.
Kelli, The Fast-On-Her-Feet One: Kelli planned Tammy’s son’s birthday party in about 10 minutes, drawing from the ideas she had used with her own son and her amazing creativity. She’s a quick thinker and because of how her brain works, she can find inventive solutions to both small and large problems. She’s also able to rearrange schedules, think through the timings of events, and offer logical, but creative solutions to upcoming problems. She’s a whiz at adding special touches so Tammy felt like her needs weren’t only being met, but met with a splash of grace, fun, and compassion. She also has this uncanny ability to stay up late, which meant after we all went to bed, Kelli could still be there for her.
Nancy, Spreadsheet Creator and Packer Extraordinaire: Nancy has many gifts, all of which she used, but I have to say, I am so grateful she is so amazing at organizing. When Tammy began to worry about childcare for her kids while she’s gone, Nancy whipped out the spreadsheet with all the caregiver names plugged in. When Tammy began to pack and get completely overwhelmed with what she needed to bring/not bring, Nancy had a packing list spreadsheet. When Tammy would wonder how previous hospitalizations would get paid, Nancy showed her the Go Fund Me (wait for it…) spreadsheet she made. Do you see how vital this was to Tammy’s sanity (and the rest of ours who are not spreadsheet fluent)? She organized prayer meetings and even packed! Nancy’s calm, rational, stream-lined thinking helped Tammy through the times when she couldn’t think straight because she was dealing with her own trauma and the logistics of her family.
Allison, The Amazing Counselor: Allison is a counselor by trade and was able to provide a wealth of knowledge, helping to call out destructive patterns and thoughts that continued to divert Tammy from her path to healing. She is a continual encourager, truth speaker, and has a well of empathy that never seems to run dry. In addition, she helped the rest of Tammy’s team understand things from a counselor perspective, helped us understand the effects of trauma, and was a safe place for all of us when we got down. I was so appreciative when I could bounce my own feelings and thoughts off of her because I needed to be able to see outside my own perspective and get permission to take a breather as being an emotional caregiver.
Jen, The Warrior: I am a fighter for my friends and against the enemy and all the torment he likes to bring. God has been so gracious in teaching me the power of His word and in this situation, I feel like I am continually whipping out the sword of the Spirit from Ephesians 6. This fighting spirit also makes me quite tenacious, which has kept me engaged in this fight against the darkness that has hovered over Tammy. It has been a joy to be able to fight for her, in her presence and in my own war room. Our battles aren’t against flesh and blood, but against the principalities of darkness. When we rally together in prayer, amazing things happen.
The Church: I’m not talking about the building or even the people just at my church. I’m talking about brothers and sisters in the entire body of Christ who have made and delivered meals, provided money for the Go Fund Me page, transported Tammy, given rides to her kids, prayed over her, taken them out for fun adventures, sent encouraging notes, etc. The Church can be so amazing and I pray that we would continue to rise to the challenge, especially in areas of mental health. Every single member is valuable.
It’s beautiful to know how deep God’s love is as evidenced by His family. May we spur each other on, to never give up doing good, so that we can all have life and life abundant. Only Jesus can save a life, but we can do a lot when we answer His call to help.
On Wednesday, Constance Morrison shares her grief over her nephew’s suicide and offers some great resources for those who are contemplating suicide and for those around them.
On Friday, Tracy Willard shares with us her story of loss and rebirth. She shares what God brought to life after she lost her infant son.
We are scheduling SDG Connections posts for January 2016! Please pray about and considering sharing your story with us! Click here for details.
Looking for some unique Christmas gifts that all so benefit a sister in need of a scholarship? Check out this year’s SDG Fundraiser!
Part of our mission statement for SDG is to be accessible. This means financially, too! We are creating subway art to raise money for the SDG retreat to provide scholarships and reduce the overall cost for all attendees. Please come over here to check out our offerings and to order!
2016 SDG Retreat Information & Registration is LIVE! Click here for more details.
SDG Gathering is on a break (but we’ll still be writing)!
Can you believe that we’ve been meeting for 243 weeks between this space and Finding Heaven? That’s 4.67 years. CRAZINESS! It’s been a joy, y’all. So many friendships and connections. So much encouragement and truth offered over the years. God has been faithful to this community.
But the truth is, I sat down to visit y’all last week and I couldn’t get back to my computer. Since Lisa and I have added SDG Retreat planning and I’m also running the fundraiser, something needs to fall off the plate. Though we love you and love visiting you, we are going to suspend the link-up until after the SDG Retreat.
We will still be writing on Mondays and hosting #SDGConnections on Wednesdays and Fridays, so please come and talk with us in the comments. We will continue to respond there (we really want to continue to be a community and it is so helpful when you respond to us after our posts – we love to hear your voices!), send out weekly prayer requests, and converse on Facebook.