Today, I am very excited to once again feature guest blogger Tammie Wommack. She is a dear friend of mine and has regularly contributed to a series on Espressos of Faith: Guest Bloggers: Sharing More Stories of Hope and Courage.
Her continuing message of hope, healing, and even joy as she wades through the wreckage of losing her son in 2008 ministers and encourages in such significant ways. I’ve decided to dedicate an entire category to her story: Tammie’s Story: Child Loss and Suicide. My heart’s desire is that others in pain discover Tammie’s story and find healing in her words.
Yesterday was the 7th anniversary since her son Joshua left this world. I met Tammie right as these walls in her life came crashing down. God’s purposes for Tammie continue to be lived out as she and her husband Rick submit to being willing vessels of healing and ministry to others. The road has not been easy, but I love that Tammie asks the hard questions—the ones nobody wants to admit they ask—and she does it in writing for all of us to see how she works through them and how her faith informs her with an inexplicable peace amidst an unimaginable sorrow.
We post this blog today in honor of Joshua and all who suffer with suicidal thoughts. The internal battle is real, and the devastation they leave behind is significant. They are not forgotten. We also post this today to reach the hurting family members trying to make their way. May your pain find a voice in Tammie’s honest and vulnerable words, and may you know the healing balm she has found in her faith in Christ.
And now, here’s Tammie. May her words bring you peace, encourage faith in Christ, and/or offer a breath of help to your shared journey of repairing shattered hearts. Feel free to leave her a comment. She wants to connect with you.
Where is God when your child dies?
Why doesn’t a guardian angel swoop in as God performs a miracle?
So many times I have wondered this, as I am sure thousands of parents who have lost a child have asked this question. Because of my faith, I now believe that Jesus was there at the specific moment waiting with arms open to welcome and walk with him into the kingdom of heaven.
But what happens on the bad days that are sure to come for a grieving parent like me?
Hope and faith take over—and an overwhelming sense of peace. You realize that your child is safe—and is that not what all parents want?
God realizes that, as humans, we can sometimes have doubts, and those doubts lead to pain and anguish.
I have written numerous blogs on losing a child. In my eyes, my Joshua was a sweet little boy and a powerful young man. He was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Each time, I have tried to portray Joshua as he really was: a man with numerous faults but also a man that had so much to live for and to give. He always seemed harsh and standoffish, which is the reason for his nickname “Bulldog,” but he truly was a marshmallow at heart.
So did I somehow fall short?
Am I truly worthy of asking and trying to question God on His decision?
With a lot of prayer and faith, I have come to realize that God knows best because only God knew how Joshua’s life was meant to be lived.
Each time I have tried to express the magnitude of the loss, I cannot find any words to describe the unbelievable pain because I not only lost the present, but I lost the future as well!
I lost Joshua’s time with his son Landon teaching him about life and sports, which was so important to him.
I lost him sharing about our family history and how his own father, Rick, helped shape our future.
I lost a Georgia Bulldog fan with whom I could conspire on game day and talk about how we were going to beat the Gators.
The loss of the future is so vast.
I lost watching him age and mature.
I lost seeing him as Landon’s dad and sharing our family traditions and love for this country.
I lost the opportunity to watch my son realize his own father’s sacrifices and how much Rick’s influence in Central America affected our lives in this country—and more importantly saved the lives of countless people trying to flee a harsh regime.
I lost my son’s life but also witnessing how proud he would be to grow in understanding of how truly special his father Rick is and what a tremendous sacrifice he gave not only for our family but also for our nation. I lost the hope that one day he would realize how many times his father put himself in harm’s way to be sure his son would be safe. I really wanted him to understand the sacrifice that his father made for him in the army. That now is a source of pain for Rick because he feels that if he had been there, Joshua would have understood the true love Rick had for his country and the desire to protect not just his family but a way of life.
So where is God in all this loss?
Why would He choose to let a new life (Joshua’s infant son Landon) be left without a father?
A mother without a son?
A father without a son?
A brother without a brother?
All I know is this: He is there with a plan!
GOD IS EVER-PRESENT—even if I cannot see Him or understand.
Perhaps it was because Joshua might have had to deal with a physical ailment and God took him early. Perhaps it was because Joshua Porter (a different Joshua) was Landon’s mother’s (Mandy Watson’s) true love, and they were meant to raise Landon together.
I really cannot answer these questions, but I can say what I know to be true:
God is in control. He loves us, and He accepts our faults.
He will ALWAYS be the constant.
I LOVE YOU, JOSHUA, AND I THANK MANDY WATSON AND JOSHUA PORTER FOR BEING THE LIFELINE TO GOD’S LOVE.
I spoke so much of loss, and the loss is very real.
But what have I gained?
I have gained a tremendous young man in Joshua Porter:
- A man who follows God’s plan for Landon Wommack
- A man who I am so proud to in some way call my son-in-law
- A man who is everything I wanted Joshua to be and more
Even more so, Mandy, who I first met as a schoolgirl, has now become one of the best mothers I have ever seen. Despite the emotional loss of Joshua, she has become a model parent.
The question is always lingering:
What kind of father and person would my Joshua have been?
Only God knows that answer.
I do, however, thank God for a different Joshua: Joshua Porter who took on the role as a father to Landon; he has truly been God’s gift to Mandy, Landon, and Kyleigh. That role cannot be diminished.
I am so proud of Joshua Porter and the father he is for Landon in the day-to-day grind of life. He is a man who stands tall in the face of overwhelming odds and exceeds both Rick’s and my expectations. He is a man who will teach Landon how to be a young man of God and how to have fun! I am so thankful that God, in His wisdom, provided such a godly and human dad because Joshua Porter is all that—and so much more.
A great resource for suicide prevention is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
To find out more about Tammie and Rick, you can read part of their story at Giving-Back-For-Joshua.
The rest of Tammie’s story here at Espressos of Faith can be found at Tammie’s Story: Child Loss and Suicide.
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