I met her three days after we moved to TN.
My friend, Angie, invited our family to drop by this Monday evening “thing” they were apart of called Meaty Monday — where everyone brings meat for the grill and a side dish. My introverted inner self is not one to jump at the opportunity to go spend all evening with people I don’t know.
However, we were new to this area and knew the only way to plug in was to dive in head first — even when it was way outside comfort zones.
So we showed up to this Monday “thing” and there was Tam Hodge. Cute, spunky, funny, and friendly.
We chatted a bit. I found out that she and her family lived in our neighborhood, that they homeschooled, and that they had moved here a few years ago.
She texted me a follow-up text a few days later. We started texting. And from the get-go I told her that I don’t do fluffy friendships.
Don’t get me wrong. Those who know me well, know that I love to laugh, I love to have a great time with friends, and I can be goofy.
However, you can be sure that spending any length of time with me will also include hard questions, going deep, and authenticity. Because I don’t do surface-y friendships.
She didn’t seem fazed by my honest confessions of what I was looking for in friendship. In fact, she seemed genuinely open to that sort of friendship.
So I kept walking forward. We kept texting. We started getting together regularly. And a beautiful friendship emerged.
Tam has been God’s gift to me in our move to TN. She’s listened. She’s cared. She’s let me be brutally honest as I’ve processed. And she’s loved me — messes and imperfections and all.
As I’ve gotten to know her more, I’ve realized that there is so much more to her than first meets the eye. She’s beautiful. She’s warm. She’s hilarious. And she deeply cares for people.
But more than that, she’s a woman who has experienced some of the greatest suffering of anyone I know — including repeated abuse from multiple abusers, intense rejection by those closest to her, and incredible physical pain.
Of anyone I know, she could have reason to go through life feeling like a victim — hurting, reserved, sad. But those words are the exact opposite of my friend, Tam. She radiates joy and hope!
I am crazy proud of her bravery and courage and hard work to write her story. Her book, And Now I Choose, releases today and I highly recommend it for anyone who has experienced the pain of abuse, abortion, divorce, rejection, and feeling broken and not good enough.
Tam’s story will give you hope. It will inspire you to overcome the odds. It will encourage you to choose joy. It will motivate you that you, too, can become a victor not a victim.
Go get a copy of her book, And Now I Choose. It’s available in ebook or paperback form on Amazon here. And you also might consider buying an extra copy for a friend who could use the encouragement of someone who walked through great trauma and tragedy and found healing and hope.
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