Tag Archives: suicide

Our Journey For Joshua

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)!


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 Read the rest of this entry »


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Where Is God When Your Child Dies?

Where Is God When Your Child DiesToday, 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. Read the rest of this entry »


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The Last Goodbye

The Last GoodbyeEspressos of Faith is excited to have Tammie Wommack back in our continued series on “Stories of Hope, Healing, and Courage.” Tammie has joined us several times to share her journey from the incredible pain of losing her son Joshua to finding moments of hope, healing, and even joy again.

What I love about my friend Tammie is that she is not afraid to be raw and real. She wants to take parents who have lost a child through the real phases of healing, letting them know that their experiences/feelings are normal, they aren’t alone, and peace can be found despite the ongoing ache left when a child is no longer here. I have been on the other end of this—the desperation of depression—and because her story ran parallel to my own and I knew her when her loss was new and raw and I was lost and broken, I believe she can truly minister to those left behind grieving with her beautiful words of encouragement. Our stories coincided in 2008 in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and through God’s grace and despite moving away to different locations, we are still heart-connected.

Please share this with anyone you know who needs her words as a soothing balm, and feel free to leave a comment for Tammie. She would love to connect with you. She is making a deliberate choice to live in intentional ministry. Please feel free to reference her other articles at the end of this blog as well as the resources (suicide hotline) listed there.

And now, here’s Tammie…. Read the rest of this entry »


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Why Grieving Mothers Find Comfort in a Tattoo

Why Grieving Mothers Find Comfort in a Tattoo
I am so thrilled to be able to once again feature my sweet friend Tammie here at Espressos of Faith. Tammie’s life first touched mine when we both resided on the tiny island of Kwajalein in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. During that time, Tammie and her husband Rick experienced unfathomable loss, and ever since, their lives have been on an amazing trajectory to healing, hope, and even joy again! Life will never be the same, and Tammie is extremely honest about their painful journey; she readily admits that some days are extremely difficult. But she has found purpose again, and her heart beats to bring healing to other grieving parents. She wants to share how she and her husband are finding their way again. In the process, Tammie and Rick made a choice to forfeit regular income and steady jobs to travel around the country volunteering, giving back to others in celebration of the life of their son. As passionate as they are about suicide prevention, they are equally driven to love those left behind as they open up their lives to us, sharing their source of love, comfort, hope, and promise.

Without further introduction, here’s Tammie…


For those who are asking if that is really my tattoo: Yes, it’s true.

“What are you thinking? You are not the kind of person who would get a tattoo.”

“You have to be kidding! That is not your style.”

“You know what people think about tattoos? You will be judged as soon as they see it.”

“Well, if it will make you happy, then do it—but I would never do it.”

These are some of the responses I received when I shared my desire to get a tattoo as a tribute to my son Joshua. They were all very kind in the way that they said it, and I truly knew that they were trying to comprehend something that was just outside all of our comfort zones.

Read the rest of this entry »


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

Would You Do Anything to End the Pain of GriefToday’s blog post has a special place in my heart, mostly because my guest blogger, Tammie Wommack, hurts for the grieving. She knows what it is like to get through extreme pain during the holidays.


Because Tammie’s story is one of unfathomable heartache and grief—the kind that can knock you over, hold you down under water, and threaten to never let you breathe again. And because she has found a way to breathe again—she has discovered the airhole through which to draw life, breath, and oxygen out of her very changed world, her “new normal”—her heart is to help others do the same.

Tammie wants to reach into the hearts of those experiencing the significant pain of loss and bring them hope and encouragement during the time of year when families gather but some loved ones are noticeably missing at the table or celebration. She fully understands how incredibly difficult that is to face. If this is you, I hope you can feel her heart not only beating with yours here but that you can tangibly grasp the hope, ministry, and nourishment her heart is trying to communicate to yours—that you can start to find or rediscover that airhole.

She previously shared parts of her experiences here at Espressos of Faith in “Honoring Josh: A Mother’s Heart in the Aftermath of Suicide” and “Journey to Joy: How Giving Back Brings Hope and Healing to Hurting Hearts.”

Today, Tammie both asks and answers the question:

Would you do anything to end the pain of grief, even give up the loving memories?

Bonnie Lyn Smith, author of Not Just on Sundays


As I have been reliving beautiful memories of our time as a family during Christmas, especially now as we are surrounded by Christmas every day in the tree lot where we are currently working, it occurred to me how much power those memories have and how much more I cherish those moments in time than I did when they were happening to me. We are never fully aware of how much of an impact something is going to have on our lives when it is actually happening, but we are given the gift of those memories forever.

This brought me to this question about my grief and the loss of my son Joshua:

Would I trade the memories in order to spare myself the grief?

Grief is such a tough aspect of living, yet it is always going to be inevitable. Some people choose not to love or have friends so that they do not have to experience the pain of loss. But to avoid grief, you would truly have to give up something worse: no beautiful memories of all the wonderful times together—memories that help you relive the joy and love you had with people.

The answer for me is:


I am so thankful that I have those beautiful moments that I can recall whenever I need to, and I need to—often. Times of fun, laughter, things he did and said: Sure, some of those are sad, but most are so special. Memories are a rare gift that God has allowed us to have while we live our lives here on earth, and having them is a priceless treasure.

This Christmas season, my husband Rick and I were given a gift that no money could ever buy: time with our oldest son, Brian. We created new memories that will always be with us of time spent working together at the tree lot. We also were able to relive old memories of his childhood and enjoying Thanksgiving. We also experienced some real healing time to all share our thoughts and memories of Joshua. It also gave us a glimpse of the wonderful man Brian has turned out to be—a gift that not all parents are privileged to receive. In some ways, it has allowed all of us to gain some closure and move to an even better place in our grieving process. And as a Mom who lost a child to suicide, it was so comforting to hear and see how much our parenting made an impact on him and to have him tell us that we were truly good parents.

So this Christmas Season, create some memories and relive the past as you can. They are all gifts from God, and if we are not careful, we will let them slip by unnoticed.

If you are grieving, use this time to help someone else. If you are involved in family disputes, forgive whatever it is and choose to show God’s love.

Time is so unforgiving.

How we use it is up to us.

You never know what the future holds, only that God is in control.

God gave us the ultimate sacrifice in His Son Jesus Christ—a gift so awesome that nothing we do in our lives could ever repay.

And the truth is we don’t have to. God is not looking for us to repay Him through works and deeds. He is looking for us to have a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ and to treat others as we would like to be treated.

Merry Christmas and Much Love in Christ,


Feel free to leave comments to share, connect with, or encourage Tammie. The message she wants to send is: You are not alone, she understands, and you are deeply loved. Make every moment count. Memories are such a treasure, and making new ones with loved ones still here is a precious gift not to be wasted, even in the midst of deep grief.

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

This blog has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & 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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Journey to Joy: How Giving Back Brings Hope and Healing to Hurting Hearts

Journey to Joy-How Giving Back Brings Hope and HealingI am so thrilled to be able to share another part of Rick and Tammie Wommack’s story here at Espressos of Faith. I know these dear friends from my time spent in the Marshall Islands, a time when their world shattered into unbearable heartache. For anyone knowing or currently mourning tragic loss of any kind, this blog is for you. It’s also for others to understand the journey the heart takes in these hard circumstances—and the hope and healing that come through giving back. Thank you, Tammie, for being vulnerable so that others know where to get their bearing again and what life looks like on the other side, each day offering a choice as to how we will let ourselves be used for good. Tammie’s honesty and humility are so refreshing. What she offers us here brings my heart to this exact place, and I can’t wait to bring yours there too, if you’re willing to give it a read:

Psalm 27:3, King David speaking, NKJV 
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

[After losing their son to suicide, Tammie and Rick made a choice to forfeit regular income and steady jobs to travel around the country volunteering. For Part 1 of this story, please refer to “Honoring Josh: A Mother’s Heart in the Aftermath of Suicide.”] 

Bonnie Lyn Smith, author of Not Just on Sundays


Here’s Tammie….

The Interview

HOPE through FAITH and SERVICE to Others

Most of us travel through life just trying to get through it, not really realizing how what we do impacts others. We would like to think we are kind, generous, trusting, and all the things the Bible tells us a good and godly person should be.

The reality is we are busy: with work, families, finances, commitments, appointments, shopping, daily chores, and so many things on our to-do list that we are too tired to even think about how our actions, words, and deeds might be affecting others. I am confident that if you really contemplated this question and took the time to think about it, as I did this morning, you would find that most all of us impact others in our daily lives, no matter how busy they seem.

The questions then become:

Are we impacting them in a positive or negative way? 

Are we showing them an example of Christian love?

Can they see Jesus in us?

The other day while we were traveling through Iowa, I received a phone call from someone who wanted to write an article about Rick and me. They wanted to know how we got started on our Volunteer Journey: how we find volunteer jobs, what motivated us to choose this lifestyle, how we fund what we do, etc. Most of all they wanted cute, heartwarming stories about the people we helped—something that would really tug at the heartstrings of the readers.

I didn’t have any of those—heartstring stories to share. We do not really see the impact of what we do, but we know it does not diminish the importance to us on our journey.

This morning, as I was doing my devotional, I thought about her questions and my response (I’ll share my response later). I still couldn’t really think of any heartstring-tugging moments that are a result of what Rick and I do. Most of what we do is rarely even seen by other people.

It does, however, have a impact on us. And that is the real story.

We are healing and growing in Christ, learning every day to be more like Jesus and to help others just as Jesus would if He were living an everyday, “normal” life.

We are simply living a lifestyle that allows us to find joy again—a joy that we thought would never be ours.

In our hearts, we believe that we are saving lives when we teach water safety to young children.

We are keeping God’s house clean and getting it ready for visitors when we are working at the campground.

We enjoy doing all the little, behind-the-scenes details that have to be taken care of so that ministers and counselors can share the Word of God and lead children and adults to Christ.

So many of our volunteer jobs are just that: jobs. But in the work, we find hope and healing, God’s grace, and, yes, joy. We find joy in everyday living and in the wonderful people we meet, in the places we visit, and in the personal and quiet knowledge that what we are doing makes a difference and is part of God’s path for us.

By societal standards, we are not successful: We live in a camper, drive a very old truck, own few possessions, have very little money, and, yet, we find ourselves happier than we can ever remember being. We are rich in the knowledge that we are saved by grace and are following God’s plan for our lives. Through this grace, we have found:


So my response to the interviewer that day was more or less:

“This is not that kind of story. We are not outstanding people on a mission to help others. We are not looking for praise for all the wonderful things we are doing. We are certainly not missionaries.

It is not a story about the people we have helped. It is a story about how giving back has helped us.

We are simply ordinary people who have suffered a tragic loss and found healing through giving back. The story is really just that simple! We did not start out feeling that God had called us to go forth and help others. Our journey is one of evolution; we started out just running away from home and memories, not really sure what we were seeking but still very much stuck in our grieving. We finally realized (not both at the same time) what we were doing each time we were volunteering was actually helping us to move forward through our grief in to a life filled with purpose and hope. We began to heal and find joy again. It was not overnight; rather, it was a gradual process. We are still traveling that journey but believe that if we have any kind of story to tell, it is one of hope through Jesus Christ and healing through giving back.”

2 Samuel 22:29, author unknown, ESV
For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness.

I suspect that our story was not what she was looking for, although she did say she would send it to her editor. We are not looking for the spotlight to shine on us.

Isaiah 66:2, Isaiah the Prophet speaking, ESV
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

The only story we have is how this journey has helped us and, in turn, has helped others. That is what we hope to share and what we would like to spotlight for other parents and family members who are lost in the grieving process. Hope through faith and service to others will help you heal and find your joy in life again.

1 Timothy 4:10, Apostle Paul speaking, ESV
For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.


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

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

Honoring Josh--A Mother's Heart in the Aftermath of Suicide
I am so incredibly honored to give the first guest blog spot at Espressos of Faith to my dear friend Tammie Wommack. I know her from my time living in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Tammie and Rick have turned deep loss into a path of healing by volunteering their time to help others. They gave up a regular income to live a nomadic lifestyle, going wherever God leads them to help others in need. They have done so much to raise suicide prevention awareness and comfort those experiencing such tremendous loss.
I had just met them when they were called off the island with unimaginable news, and I got to know them as they returned and started the difficult journey of living with their “new normal.” Tammie speaks from the heart and sheds some light on a mother’s thoughts and feelings a few years into this new chapter of life.
In light of the recent suicide of Robin Williams in the news, I felt it was a very good thing to hear the perspective of a mother. I hope we can get Tammie on Espressos of Faith from time to time to bring more understanding to this important issue, help us know what brings comfort to those left behind, and inform us further on suicide prevention awareness. 

Bonnie Lyn Smith, author of Not Just on Sundays


Here’s Tammie…

A really good friend asked me a question the other day, and I had to process it before I could really understand it and realize the magnitude of the answer. Actually, the question came at a time when suicide was in the news and being talked about everywhere. Whenever that happens, I seem to rehash my own feelings of overwhelming grief and the moment I realized my child was dead. Then the stages of grief and learning to live again all rush past me so quickly. Now that some years have passed, this happens in an instant, and then I realize how blessed I am to be where I am now and not in the moment again. My heart always hurts for the families left behind and with the knowledge of the very long and painful process of healing they have in their future. So here goes my response to that thought-provoking question:
“Have you found that anything good has come out of Joshua’s death?”
At first, I really didn’t know how to respond—because I heard the question in the wrong way. I said, “Do you mean am I glad Joshua is dead?” And then I quickly responded with an answer about our life now. Well, of course they did not mean it that way, but a mom is so quick to want to protect no matter what, and somehow, I always have the guilt of his death uppermost in my mind; it colors my thoughts and actions a lot of the time.

Now as I process that question and understand what it means—and the intent with which it was asked—my answer is a resounding: “YES!!!”

Rick and I have found a new direction and a deeper meaning to our lives. We believe that our efforts to honor Joshua have resulted in making a difference in other people’s lives. We, as a couple, are closer, and we cherish our families and time together. We both have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Christ and have learned to depend on Him for everything. We have been humbled, to be sure, but we love life and all that it entails: both the good and the bad. Our families still do not understand our deep desire to give back; they see it as a decision to quit working, especially on Rick’s part, and truly, in the beginning, we were just running from our grief with no real plan. But God has opened the door, and we have stepped through it!!! We are not regretting our decision to give up so much because we have gained even more. We live on a very limited income, but we LIVE it to the fullest. Small things now are so much more important to us: time with family, being thankful for the little things, grasping with both hands the beauty of whatever place God allows us to view.

Our advice to everyone is: Don’t wait until it is too late to love the ones in your life whom God has blessed you with. Don’t sweat the small stuff. (I know that was a book; maybe I need to re-read it.) Always try to help whenever and wherever you can. Embrace and be thankful for what you have, and most of all, give God the glory in everything that you do.

God Bless,


To find out more about how you can help Tammie and Rick help others, please read their story at

A great resource for suicide prevention is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


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