Focus on the Family

Tammy Trent: A Story of Hope After Loss

Courtesy of Tammy Trent
On Tammy Trent's road to healing, she learned to give her pain purpose. She's found her greatest joy comes from encouraging others who are facing a hard season in life.
  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

As I sit here on my couch, staring out the window trying to find the words to describe my journey, I fight to hold back tears. I have known the depths of love, care, commitment and respect. There have only been a precious few things in my life that I have held closely to my heart. One of those treasures was the gift of my marriage.

I was just 15 years old when I met the one who would become the man of my dreams. I was sitting with my girlfriends in youth group when Trent walked into the room. As our eyes met, who could have known that would be the beginning of a fairytale-like relationship? Trent and I dated for seven and a half fun and adventurous years before we walked down the aisle in 1990.

A new path

After 11 years of marriage, a few bumps in the road and a move to Nashville, Tennessee, I was at a personal crossroads and asking myself, What is my purpose? What am I doing with my life? Should I come off the road as a recording artist? Should we start a family?

In the middle of all the questions, Trent and I were asked to go to Jamaica on a mission trip. The timing seemed perfect to get away to do a little soul-searching and at the same time to serve others. Trent suggested we include a vacation, so we added an extral week at the start of our trip to relax and enjoy Jamaica. I felt a little lost and scared about the future, but I also felt that as long as Trent was by my side, everything would be just fine.

We were in a gorgeous place — Jamaica’s spectacular Blue Lagoon. The sun was shining, the water was aquamarine and Trent was ready to free dive in the center of the lagoon. He slid quietly into the water without a splash and said, “I’ll see you in 15 minutes.” Then Trent turned toward the deep water, sank beneath the surface and was gone.

Healing and joy

It has been 15 years since standing on the edge of the water the morning of September 11, 2001, as Trent’s lifeless body was recovered from the Blue Lagoon. I have cried hundreds of buckets of tears. I have cried out to God wishing that this new plan for my life were different, but I have also learned to walk with hope and faith in Him.

On my road to healing, I have learned to give my pain purpose, and I see it each time I share my story — whether from the platform at a women’s event, or right in my own neighborhood. My greatest healing and joy have come from encouraging others who are facing a really hard season in life and reminding them never to interpret their numbness as God’s absence in their lives. There is never a time when Jesus is not speaking. There is never a place where Jesus is not present. Never! He says, “ I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Sometimes I wonder how long the Lord will have me in this season,” where I continue to travel the world speaking, record music and write books to encourage hurting people. There are times when I feel worn out and tired. But I also feel humbled and overwhelmed that the Lord would choose to use me to affect the hearts of others through my life.

The days ahead

Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time for everything, so as I look to the days ahead, I will remain open to the Lord’s timing. Even though I’m not sure what His plan is, I have a strong feeling it will still involve serving, loving and ministering to hurting people. It could be working on a mission field in Africa, hosting a TV show, running a gym or even becoming a barista at a local coffee shop. The point is, I will keep my heart open to the things of God. One thing I know for sure, I’ll never stop sharing my story.

I have chosen to build a life on the promises of God — His hope, faithfulness, provision, peace and unfailing love. My life feels full and complete in Him. And, oh yeah, I’ve even dated a little, which has taught me that I can love again.

Thoughts on marriage

I loved being married, but it wasn’t always easy. How do any of us make a marriage work? I think it’s waking up each morning, renewing our commitment to the one we love and realizing that we’re not promised tomorrow. But we have this day to love, to cherish and to comfort each other.

It’s true that at times each of us can be annoying to one another, and you’ll most likely irritate each other a little on a daily basis … clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink, music too loud in the car, too much affection, not enough affection. Even though it’s unhealthy to nag and nitpick, letting anger build up and not communicating with each other are also unhealthy.

Communicating in a loving, calm, rational way was one of Trent’s greatest gifts to me. He never tried to change me — I just saw him working on himself, which made me want to better myself, too … for me and for him.

There are days when I still feel like I’m standing on the edge of the water … waiting … just waiting. I wish I could go back and tell Trent how much he changed my life through his love for me and how that love, commitment and belief in me helped me cope in these difficult years.

Please let me be an encouragement to you today, even if it’s been a rough week, month or year. Take the time to work on your relationship and invest in the things that produced that “spark” in the first place. Learn and respond to each other’s love language. Bring home flowers. Leave a love note some place for him or her to find later (something Trent and I always did through the years). Plan a date night. Fight for your love. Fight for your marriage. Fight for every reason you stood before God, family and friends on your wedding day. Do whatever it takes to build a stronger marriage. Your relationship is worth fighting for!

Tammy Trent is a speaker, recording artist and the author of Learning to Breathe Again and Beyond the Sorrow.

A Love Note

This is one of the notes Trent left for me when he was going off to Mexico to scuba dive with friends in February 1999:

“Tammy, I can’t live without you! 1 week is too long. My thoughts will be on you always & my heart will be always with you. All I pray is for God to keep you safe until the day of my return & that I may dream of you EVERY night. My heart is yours, Trent”

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Focus on the Family Plugged In logo

Entertainment Reviews Your Family Can Trust

Plugged In shines a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving families the essential tools they need to understand, navigate, and impact the culture in which they live. Let us help your family make wise and informed choices about movies, TV shows, music, video games, and more!
Close up of a young, pensive Asian woman listening to someone talking to her on her phone

Talk to a Counselor

If you need further guidance and encouragement, we have a staff of licensed, professional counselors who offer a one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective. They can also refer you to counselors in your area for ongoing assistance.
Reach a counselor toll-free at 1-855-771-HELP (4357).

Understand How to Respect and Love Your Son Well

"Why doesn’t my son listen to me?" Have you ever asked yourself that? The truth is, how you view your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. We’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Focus on Parenting Podcast

Mom or dad, could you use some encouragement and support? Put your ear buds in for this Christian parenting podcast and get practical, faith-based inspiration through all stages of parenting. Hosted by Dr. Danny Huerta, in every 8 to 15 minute episode, you’ll hear parenting experts share Biblical truths, effective parenting techniques, and useful resources that will help you feel equipped as a mom or dad in today’s culture.
Parenting a strong-willed child resource promotion

Learn How to Speak Your Strong-Willed Child's Language

In this free 6-part video series, Cynthia Tobias, author of many popular parenting books including You Can’t Make Me, explains why your strong-willed child thinks in certain ways and gives you effective tools you can use when communicating with him or her. Start today!

Journey with Jesus!

This holiday season, take a journey to Galilee and discover what it was like to walk with Jesus! Get your copy for today for FREE with a donation of any amount!

Get Equipped With the Truth So
You Can Bring Light to the Lies

Abortion is not an easy subject to talk about. You want to defend the truth, to expose the realities so easily confused during these times. Yet, it is so easy to tense up, to get nervous, to get so concerned with wanting to say the “right thing” that you end up saying nothing at all. If you feel at a loss when these conversations come up, this video series, “8 Lies About Abortion,” can help equip you with the truth, and the confidence to engage in the discussion.

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

Husband trying to talk to his wife; his hands are on her shoulders and she's looking away

3 Myths About Forgiveness When Your Spouse Betrays You

When her husband confessed a porn addiction, Shelly thought she had forgiven him. A year later, she was still holding hatred toward him. That realization started her on the path toward true forgiveness.

Regretful young man sitting across from his wife who is upset with her arms folded across her chest

5 Reasons to Tell Your Spouse About Your Porn Problem

You’re ready to quit using pornography. Should you tell your spouse about your struggle? Ask yourself, If I maintain the secret, is that really the intimacy I’ve always longed for in my marriage?