Beyond the Sorrow: There's Hope in the Promises of God
In September 2001, Tammy Trent and her husband --- Trent, from whom she gets her pen name --- headed to Jamaica for a trip that was to be part vacation, part missions trip. An experienced scuba diver, Trent went out for a free dive on September 10th. He never returned.
On September 11th, as a search and rescue effort was underway, Tammy watched on TV as planes plowed into the World Trade Center and later that night she identified her husband's body. It surely felt like the world was coming to an end. "When I first lost my husband, it seemed impossible to even breathe. Shock, then sadness, and sometimes fear, literally took my breath away," she writes in BEYOND THE SORROW.
In the book, Tammy shares her own story, relaying the lessons she's learned and encouragement she's received. Such books, especially those packaged like this one and obviously intended to be given to friends and family experiencing grief, can easily devolve into a regurgitation of platitudes. But this is not the case here. Tammy is honest about the lack of easy answers and vulnerable with her pain throughout. The result is part confessional, part "how-to" (survive losing someone you love), part motivational speech, part theological lesson. BEYOND THE SORROW is a deceptively small book for the large emotional punch it delivers.
Four years after losing her husband, Tammy's pain is still close to the surface. "As a young married couple, we thought we'd have a long lifetime to grow old together. We had just begun to talk about starting a family when he was taken from me. If you could see me sitting here, you'd see a woman who's still very broken. I must admit, there are still days when all I want to do is close the window shades and curl up on the couch praying that I'll wake up from this unbelievable dream that my life has become."
Such honesty makes it easier to believe her claims of healing and heed her advice about what moving forward really looks like. "One of the most important changes you can make in life is to keep living, no matter what circumstances surround you. It is never hopeless when you know the Lord, when you know who God really is --- not some figure up on a throne, but someone who loves you and wants to have a personal relationship with you. Knowing we are not alone and that we will be comforted is what helps us make it through. God is still good when life is hard. And His invitation to chose life is always there for us."
Tammy is a speaker with the Women of Faith conferences and a Christian recording artist. As such she weaves in the support and wisdom she's received from some of her fellow speakers and Christian personalities, like Luci Swindoll, Pam Thum and Lisa Beville. But she also includes notes and anecdotes from unfamiliar names, and most importantly, she always points people back to God.
"God had been a part of my life since I was a child, but sometimes it seemed like I was praying to someone who lives on a big throne in heaven, not sitting next to me on my couch," she writes. "But his presence has become so real to me since I lost Trent. I had to just depend on Him in a close, personal way. And He has met me there. He has kept his promises to give me strength to carry on through the dark days, comfort me with his love, and lead me back home."
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel on June 21, 2005