Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

Tammy’s Story: Conclusion

This is the final post in Tammy’s Story. I suggest you check out part one, two, and three before reading on.

A Home called Grace (Tammy is falling over in the upper left)

A Home called Grace (Tammy is falling over in the upper left)

Jumping In

Seven years ago I attended a conference and Tammy was one of the speakers. The topic was finding  your purpose in life. She explained how she ended up in South Asia. It was something like this:

I was in seminary at Asbury and I was wondering what God wanted me to do with my life. I decided to spend extended time praying and fasting until God gave me directions. I locked myself in a small prayer room on campus and started to pray, “God tell me what you want me to do!” All day and all night I prayed. I only took breaks to refill my water bottle and go to the bathroom. For days I pleaded with God.

One afternoon, while I was praying, the phone in the hall started ringing. At first I was distracted. Then I was curious why no one was answering it. Eventually, I went outside and picked up the receiver. I said, “Hello.” Then I heard a voice on the other end of the line say in a heavy Asian accent, “Come to Asia . . . come to asia.”

That’s when I knew God wanted me to move there.

The audience was stunned. There was total silence.

Then Tammy said, “I’m just kidding. That never happened.” A different kind of silence fell over the crowd. Some laughed, others fidgeted in their seats. Did the speaker just lie to us?

Tammy continued:

Most people believe that finding God’s will is like walking a tight rope across a canyon. One wrong step to the left or right and you fall, head first, into the river below. So many young people are sitting around waiting for some supernatural phone to ring with God’s voice on the other line. They are so scared of making a mistake that they aren’t doing anything.

How did I end up in Asia? I had some Asian friends. I went for a visit. It seemed like a good thing to do. So I prayed about it and I did it.

Finding God’s plan for your life in not like walking a tightrope, it is jumping into God’s river at the bottom of the canyon and letting Him take you wherever he wants. The question we need to answer is, “Am I willing to jump in?”

Those words have stuck with me over the past seven years. I think they provide a fitting conclusion to Tammy’s story. She jumped in the river and it led her somewhere far better than she ever could have imagined.

What ever happened to Tammy’s twin?

Tammy and her twin sister

Tammy and her twin sister

There is one loose end of Tammy’s story I want to tie up before closing. I asked her to say a few words about her twin sister (from part one). Here’s what she wrote:

I saw my twin sister only once or twice the first 20 years after parting ways as teens. The last time was briefly in 1994 while I was in college. I was a relatively new Christian, and was overly zealous, I’m sure. After that, we talked via email every now and then, but her emails were never more than two sentences long.  I knew she was a tattoo artist and still walked on the wild side, but not much more than that.

 In 2010, I took my first extended break from the home. During those six months, I flew from Atlanta out to Los Angeles to try to make a connection. My one desire was to share with her the unconditional love of Jesus that I experienced. I had been praying for her for 16 years! 

 Long story short, she had given up drugs, but still lived on the edge.  Our visit was really short but full. She shared her 20-year update, and I shared mine!   She was eager to hear the good news I was sharing with her about my relationship with God. In our very short time together, God gave me the right words, the right heart, and the right discernment to share about him in a way could appreciate.  She was ready for a change in her life. She decided to start the adventure I began years ago. It was an amazing moment!

 Even more amazing, she is living a radical life with Jesus today, two years later—leading people to God, praying for strangers, making an impact in the tattoo industry. God not only redeemed our past, but also our relationship.

Read More about Tammy’s work on her blog.

Or leave her a message in the comments below.

One Final Bonus

How long does it take all 46 kids to say Happy Mother’s Day to Tammy-ma? A little over 12 minutes. Watch a few minutes below . . .

 

If you liked reading about Tammy, check out last month’s story—Slavko: from Mafia to Minister.

 

About Josh

  • Rose

    Wow, this is a really powerful story. I would never have thought that Tammy would end up halfway across the world for God after reading the first part of this story.

    The best advice:
    “Finding God’s plan for your life in not like walking a tightrope, it is jumping into God’s river at the bottom of the canyon and letting Him take you wherever he wants. The question we need to answer is, ‘Am I willing to jump in?”

    • Josh

      I think that’s what I love about her story: she ended up in such a different (better) place. Really, it is a story of redemption.