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Our Journey For Joshua

07 Jun
Our Journey For Joshua

Once again, it is my great delight to share a piece from Tammie Wommack’s beautiful heart here at Espressos of Faith. Tammie lost her son Joshua in 2008 to suicide. Ever since, she and her husband Rick have been slowly healing and are passionate about sharing their journey, hope, and paths to finding peace and joy again with other grieving families. They are also fiercely committed to suicide prevention. Their story is an amazingly redemptive one. I hope your heart is encouraged and loved on by her sincere words.

Tammie and I first crossed paths in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where we were both living at the time, rocked by different circumstances in each of our lives. God has reconnected us, and I’m so thankful for her courage, vulnerability, and willingness to be used by God to help others. May God continue to bless you, Tammie (and Rick)!

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As Rick and I travel around this beautiful country, moving from one destination to the next, we eventually find ourselves heading back to Clarksville, Tennessee, for many reasons: our precious grandchildren who keep us young, our friends who have been a lifeline and anchor for us on this grief journey, business matters that must be taken care of so we can stay on the road, doctor appointments, etc.

Our arrival to Clarksville is always mixed with so many different emotions. My heart, mind, body, and soul begin to prepare days before we get to what I call the “Joshua Zone.” I brace myself for the overwhelming rush of emotions that I know I will experience.

Grief is truly a very rough and long roller coaster ride. For me, the emotions are always followed by the temptation to drink alcohol so that I cannot feel that rush of emotions I know await me as I enter the city limits. I feel like I have to be constantly on guard.

The length of time we stay and the number of our visits has varied over the years, but the feelings are still just as strong now as they were the first time we had to travel back there after Joshua died. It seems I am never really able to let my guard down until we are heading out of the city of Clarksville, Tennessee.

While I write about my grief often, I don’t always talk about my temptation to give in to the desire to just go numb and feel nothing: the desire to not allow myself to experience the joy in life but to run and hide from everyone and everything. Many of my past arrivals in Clarksville have ultimately led to me finding myself at the bottom of a vodka bottle or a unending glass of wine—totally emotionally and physically wasted in order to

not feel the pain.

My faith has allowed God to lift me from that scenario. He always carries me on a wave of His grace and His protection as I travel through a city where I see Joshua on every corner.

God has given me many tools to stay in my seat on this roller coaster ride of grief. He has kept me strong even at my weakest and has given me the ability to fight the temptations that would lead me to be consumed by my grief and yield to satan, the enemy of my soul, by way of the vodka or wine bottle.

Matthew 4:1, ESV, Apostle Matthew narrating

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness just after he was baptized by John. It was for the purpose of being tempted by satan in order to prepare him for the reality of his awesome ministry.

I am not in any way suggesting that I am preparing for ministry, but I believe that God calls each of us to love our neighbor as ourselves and to help

whenever,

however,

and wherever

we can.

We have the ability to touch others in this life and make a difference every day, even if we don’t realize it ourselves. God can and will use us if we will let Him.

God has given Rick and I the opportunity to travel, and many times, He has put us in places to help others, reaching out to them in a way that they can understand and receive it.

Luke 10: 30-37, ESV, Luke the Physician narrating

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.

Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.

So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

We hear God urging us: Go and do the same as the Good Samaritan.

Rick and I want to use the opportunities that God gives us to help others like the Good Samaritan did—even if it is in the smallest of ways. We respond to these opportunities and situations because we believe God put us in those places for a purpose.

He has you in your spheres of influence for His purposes too! He has given us the privilege of doing this as we travel, but anyone can do them wherever they are: Something as simple as offering to listen to someone or to pray for them can be just what a person needs in that moment.

The last time we were in Clarksville, Rick and I enjoyed dinner at a local Mexican restaurant—not just any restaurant but my son Joshua’s absolute favorite; the restaurant contains so many memories because it is a place we ate as a family from the time Josh was 7 years old until he passed away. Some of the staff remembered us, which made it an even more special night because they spoke of Josh fondly, having watched him grow up. That small gesture by the staff is an example of how each of us has the power to make a difference in someone’s life—a difference that we may never know we made. I believe that God places us in these positions for His purpose and His glory.

Our latest journey has evolved from a volunteer journey (which we financially could not manage) to what I call: “Journey For Joshua,” a journey to honor and remember our son in different ways as we travel.

We feel very blessed even though this is not the path we would have chosen.

But it is the path God wants us to follow.

People today are so busy that they let so many God-given opportunities pass them by. Rick and I find ourselves in many situations as we travel that allow us to see what busy people often miss. Our lifestyle is a tough one sometimes; financially, we rough it many times. We work jobs where the combined salary we make in a 12-hour day is equivalent to what we used to make in an hour, but in that 12-hour day we talk and listen to others, now having time to recognize and acknowledge hurting people and to speak to their hearts. This is something we did not have or take the time to see in our other life—the one we lived before Joshua died. This life is so full of hurting people that need to be seen, heard, loved, and prayed for.

So what is the message in this blog that I want the reader to hear?

1 John 4:11-13, ESV, Apostle John writing

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

I hope you will take away the thought and the promise that

no matter how hard your grief journey is

and how fast the roller coaster is moving,

God can use your grief for His purposes.

He can fill your heart with so much joy and love that you feel compelled to share it with others.

I pray you will find hope in this and some of my other blogs and see that God can use anyone, no matter the situation. I pray that you will find purpose despite the pain, just as we have.

Remember: It is a roller coaster ride; you will have some really bad days. Just use the tools that God gives you in His Holy Word.

YOU HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

1 Peter 4:11, NIV, Apostle Peter writing

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I invite you to follow us on our Facebook Page Journey For Joshua.

God’s Blessings,

Tammie

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Tammie and Rick Wommack
Tammie has contributed to Espressos of Faith several times,
sharing her journey of healing and hope with us. I hope you’ll check out some of her other reflections. If your grief is fresh, it may be helpful to start at the beginning. Tammie is very honest, vulnerable, and real. More than anything, she wants you to know you are not alone.

If you leave a comment here or any of the blogs, we’ll do our best to have Tammie read and respond.

Honoring Josh: A Mother’s Heart in the Aftermath of Suicide

Journey to Joy: How Giving Back Brings Hope and Healing to Hurting Hearts

Would You Do Anything to End the Pain of Grief? Even Give Up Loving Memories?

Why Grieving Mothers Find Comfort in a Tattoo

Let God Be Your Handhold to Joy

What Your Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

The Last Goodbye

Where Is God When Your Child Dies?

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.

PAC-CC-I-was-featured-button

*This blog has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Moments of Hope, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Worshipful Wednesdays, Women With Intention WednesdaysGrace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Up, Bonbon ‘n Coffee Linkup, and Christian Mommy Blogger.

 

 

 

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16 responses to “Our Journey For Joshua

  1. Deb Little

    June 7, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Hi LilCoz! Hoping you can get my comments to Tammie 🙂

    Tammie, I have read your other blogs that Bonnie has posted. I’m so glad I did! Sharing your “Journey for Josh” is such a wonderful gift for everyone that reads your blogs! Sometimes grief sneaks in, like a thief in the night, wanting to rob us of any further joy, bringing lots of feelings of guilt, despair, & just utter defeat. BUT, the good news is, we do not have to let grief get away with that! Do we have to ride those waves when they come? For sure. Are we the saddest we have EVER been, maybe actually in a depression? No doubt. However, WE are standing at the helm, we have ultimate control over the grief. Do we need to go through it, to come out the other side? YES! Grief can be our friend too. The Lord put grief there for a very good reason. He wants us to see that the hurt, the sorrow, the incredible sadness, all of these most painful things we feel are because we LOVED someone (including pets!) with what I’ll call “wild abandonment.” The love we had is/was SO worth the grief! The love that we had with/for that person (two or four legged) will ALWAYS triumphant over grief! And, I believe, it is because Jesus, through his life & teachings, showed us LOVE always conquers! We may not be able to see that when we are riding those waves through the storm. I know I couldn’t for a very long time. But by taking the reins away from grief, you can drive it in the direction YOU need to go & come out the other side!
    Tammie, thank you so much for sharing your journey. All my best!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 7, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Deb! Love you for this (and many things)! Just beautiful! I keep re-reading it! So true…everything you said. Touches me deeply, and I know it will touch Tammie too! I will let her know the comment is here. Love you much! ❤

      Like

       
      • Deb Little

        June 7, 2016 at 10:19 pm

        Right back at you LilCoz! Love you bunches! Thank you for your kind words ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

         
      • tammie wommack

        June 7, 2016 at 10:39 pm

        Hello Deb,
        It is wonderful to meet you through Bonnies Blog. Your words are so beautifully written and truly spot on!!! Grief really does sneak up on us….it can be something so little yet the feelings can be gut wrenching…almost a physical pain.

        Thank you for reading my blogs and your kind comments.

        God Bless you always,
        Tammie

        Liked by 1 person

         
  2. Deja

    June 8, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    So glad you’re allowing God to take control of this area of your life and turn it around to encourage others around you.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 8, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks, Deja, for stopping by. I’ll make sure Tammie sees this. Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

       
    • tlwommack

      June 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Thank you so very much for taking the time to read and comment on Bonnie’s Blog. I appreciate your prayers and thoughts. I hope in some small way it will inspire you to reach out to others.

      Tammie

      Liked by 2 people

       
  3. Lori Schumaker of Seaching for Moments

    June 11, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Bonnie,
    I cannot image their pain. My parents lost my older brother (prior to my birth) of leukemia at age 4. I know different circumstances, but the loss of a child in any way seems to me the deepest loss one can experience. I see my Mom, 46 years later, still crying at the mention of his name. I want to come back here and explore the links provided to their blog when I have some more time! Thank you, friend, for sharing this HOPE with us at Moments of Hope. This is the type of hope I prayed God would bring to saturate the page each week. You are a blessing!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    Liked by 2 people

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 14, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks, Lori! It’s so great to link up at your site! I love the message of His hope! More of the world needs to know it! I am so sorry for your parents. I imagine that pain never leaves, and yet, there is an amazing redemptive story awaiting each of us as we let Him take the pen to our lives in His hand.

      Blessings,
      Bonnie

      Liked by 1 person

       
    • tlwommack

      June 15, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Lori,
      Thanks for your comments…grief seems to have no timetable nor does it end. I have found that it does diminish and change but still smack you in the face without warning. I said a prayer for your Mom… she is in a club no parent wants to be a member of.
      I covet your prayers as I and my husband work to reach others.
      Tammie

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. Pat

    June 14, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this with our readers at Coffee and Conversation. It was hard to follow Tammie’s story through her posts through tears…but what an inspiration. I can’t even imagine their pain…let alone how I might handle it. Praying for God’s continued blessing on their ministry…
    We’ll be featuring this on tomorrow’s Coffee and Conversation, Bonnie; I pray it will speak and minister to even more!!
    {{hugs}} to you all!

    Liked by 2 people

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 14, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      Pat, what an honor! I’ll make sure to send Tammie the link and refer her to your comments. I really appreciate you getting this message of hope and healing out there on your site. Thank you for helping us advance this message. Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • tlwommack

        June 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

        Lori,
        Thanks for your comments…grief seems to have no timetable nor does it end. I have found that it does diminish and change but still smack you in the face without warning. I said a prayer for your Mom… she is in a club no parent wants to be a member of.
        I covet your prayers as I and my husband work to reach others.
        Tammie

        Like

         
  5. Forever Joyful

    June 15, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post about something so painful so honestly. I am taking a minute to pray that your post may continue to bless others. I found you on the Pat and Candy Linkup. Congrats on being featured! I would love for you to join us at the Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup, too. We love devotional posts like this. http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=1135

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 16, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and your linkup, Forever Joyful! I’ll check you out next Monday! Blessings to you!

      Like

       

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