Sunday, January 17, 2010
A Gift From God...
Julie and Tammy Last Spring on one of her visits to Malakoff
This weekend I spent some time in Houston with my Best Friend Tammy and her sweet family. Sadly in all the hustle and bustle of the weekend no pictures were taken, so this old photo above will have to do for now. During our visit together, I was reminded how precious the gift of a true friend is. It is such a gift from God to be allowed a friendship like Tammy and I have. As each day passes, I am forever becoming more and more grateful to the God in which we Love and Serve for allowing me Tammy.
It was the Summer of 2000, I was working at J.C. Penney's at the Deerbrook mall and taking classes at the local Community College in Kingwood. What I was really doing was enjoying my freedoms for the first time in my life from the firm grasp of Jim Crye, and literally having the time of my life. I wasn't wild per say, but I was having fun and on the road that could have led there. Summer had began, and with that came the pool of young new hires at J.C. Penney's. Tammy Hatley was one of them.
The first day I saw her, she was completing her training on computer modules and I passed her coming out of the break room. She had the hugest smile on her face, that made you have to smile back. She even said Hi as we passed, even though she didn't know me.. instead of it being weird though it brightened my day. It left me thinking, I wish I was more like that girl! That was just in passing.
A few days later, we were assigned to the Purse Department together. Needless to say, Purse sells were up that week! Tammy and I were like a dynamic duo. We made customers laugh, and buy more stuff. It was good times. Then, we started hanging out on our time off together, and were basically joined at the hip through out that summer. Tammy was the good influence on me. When I'd tell her things I was doing that I knew better than to be doing, she was the friend that had no problem telling me you shouldn't be doing that. She was the Friend that encouraged me when I made good decisions, instead of rebellious ones.. yet, stood by me even when I failed miserably! She was the friend who prayed for me, and her family was "that family" who ministered to me through example not preaching. They were as Welcoming to me, as Tammy was at a time in my life that I really needed that.
Summer ended, and Tammy went to a Bible College in Canada. I remember standing at the airport with her then boyfriend Jacob and her parents and putting her on a plane. Her mom said, "To think the two of you met at J.C. Penney's!". My heart sank that day, I had lost my running buddy and the one friend I had that was any good for me. She loved me as Jesus would have, and stood by me through all my stupid decisions. When most other Christians would have disconnected themselves.
After that life began to move pretty fast for us. I moved from Houston, to the Athens area to live with in the grasps of Jim Crye again. He had caught on that I was having the best time of my life with out him and decided to nip that in the bud! Tammy came home from Bible College and after breaking up with Jacob, swearing to never have anything to do with him again, and on one of my visits to Houston to see my Grandparents announced that she was marrying him. I remember my response being, "but I thought we didn't like Bob (what I call him) anymore." My heart sank some more, because now I was really really loosing my running buddy, but I always thought her and Jacob were meant to be so it could have been worst! I was counting my blessings that I was the one friend of Tammy's that he could stand.
Tammy and Jacob got married at 19, moved off to Kansas. In the mean time, I was busy falling in love with Adam. Adam and I get married on short notice, I remember Tammy calling to say she worked out getting to come to our Wedding, and I said, "Never mind we already did that!" That was a good laugh. We lost touch for about a year after that, do to moves and number changes. I was trying to get a hold of her parents, and she called my Grandparents to get my new number. We talk on the phone and catch up, come to find out her and Jacob had moved to Arlington. So, we decide to meet up. Sitting in Jason's Deli, we find out not only am I pregnant, but she's pregnant and it's twins!
So began our journey together as wives, and now mother's. Another huge blessing from God, was a friend to call and say is your baby doing this? The reassurance for a first time mom that some things are perfectly normal is priceless! Trenten, Haleigh, and Hannah were born exactly a week apart from each other. The journey of what woman struggle with within, has been much easier and sweeter going it together with Tammy.
The greatest battle to walk through together has been her struggle with cancer. During her unplanned and unexpected pregnancy with their son Drew who is a month older than Jonah, Dr.'s discovered a mass on Tammy's Pancreas, Liver, and Spleen that had to be removed with in a couple of weeks of delivering Drew. Talk about rocking your world. Having twin 19 month olds, a new born, and cancer. Yet, she handled it with such strength and Grace that could only come from God alone.
After nearly two years of waiting on weather treatment would be necessary or not, waiting for cancer cells to grow inside her body... a cystic mass shows up on an ovary. Now it's back to the drawing board, removing the cystic mass to see what it is... and yet the pillar of strength still stands. After watching a mother of three this weekend, hurting in pain but not willing to show it until the kids are asleep in the bed.. a mother who cries for her children not herself, that her children cry when she goes to Dr.'s offices or Hospitals because they worry the Dr.'s won't give their mommy back for a while. No three year old should fear that, or even have knowledge of hospitals and Dr.'s to the extent they do.
My Prayer, is for Healing for Tammy, Strength for her, Jacob, and all of her family to with stand the trial. For her children to have comfort and peace that only God can bring. Every time I start to doubt in my mind that God is bigger than all of this, I think of how precious a Gift Tammy is to everyone she comes in contact with... I just refuse to believe that God is done with her yet.
I can not Thank her enough for being the friend to me that she has been. I often describe our friendship as the female version of David and Johnathan in the Bible. One in Spirit since the day we met. I am so grateful for a friendship that blossomed out of J.C. Penney's ten years ago. The amount of trials that we have walked through together in our families, marriages, child raising, and life have been much easier together than they would have been apart. I am Thankful for the years of loud laughter, and good times that have accumulated.
I hope that each of you have a friend like Tammy that God has blessed you with to walk through Life together. I challenge you to take a moment to reflect on how Thankful you are for that person's place in your life tonight. We all take so much for granted each day, and God layed it on my heart not to let another day pass with out praising him for the gift of a True Friend.
Thank You Tammy for being the Awesome friend you are. The friend that can see my house a mess, take me to the ER with my eye infected, and letting me tell you anything knowing it goes no further than you and I. For always being encouraging, loving, honest, and straight to the point all in one beautiful package. Thank you for marrying a man who will put up with us, and allow us to be together... I know it's not an easy pill to swallow! Thank you for letting God shine through you always, and challenging me with out even knowing it to be more like that. Having everything on your plate, and others seeing Jesus in you is amazing. You are the Johnathan who gives his robe right off his back, and goes the extra mile with his sword, and belt. You make those around you feel like David, Shepard boys in the presence of royalty! You are an amazing woman, and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Remember that in the weeks to come!
Until Next Time,