I Surrender All
It‘s an honor to have Tammy Werthem share in our inspiring stories series. Her ministry, iwokeupyesterday.com. shares hope and healing with men and women. Read her story and check out her ministry she shares with Jenny and Michelle. They are three inspiring women!
I grew up in a Christian home with a strong mother and a passive father. My dad suffered from bipolar disorder, with an emphasis on depression. My mother was the spiritual leader of our home for the majority of my childhood. I am an identical twin. Two brothers preceded us. I relished the role of baby in my family and learned the gifted art of manipulation at a young age.
I gave my life to Christ as an eight year old at a neighborhood festival. I really understood and wanted to live for him.
My parents did the best they could. My mom was great about reaching out to friends and neighbors for playdates. She met with women who discipled her. This seed was planted in her and we were blessed by her discipleship in our lives.
My father worked hard to provide for our family as an accountant. He was with us physically, but emotionally distant.
manipulation became a way that I could feel safe and wanted with the people in my life. It gave me a sense of power and control. I learned from the relationship with my father that I could flirt and charm in order to get my way.
When I became a teenager, I battled insecurity and feelings of unworthiness. I didn’t measure up to my twin sister. She excelled in many areas, including academics, friendships and athletics.
It seems that I lost my direction and gave in to what felt right. I began experimenting with alcohol and got drunk for the first time at 14. I was kissing boys and seeking attention in ways that were inappropriate. I felt so uncomfortable in my skin and needed others to affirm me and tell me my value. What a dangerous place for a young lady to be.
I associate much of this void with my father. He was there, but he wasn’t present and engaged. I needed a daddy to affirm and love me, but my dad was missing that in his life. We can only give what we have received. I am not saying he did not love me, but I didn’t feel safe and secure in our relationship, due to the instability in his life.
My alcoholism progressed in college. Dropping out of college to go to treatment is no parent’s dream for their child. I stayed sober for five years. I graduated from college and moved to Colorado to work with troubled teenagers. I was living well, but I was not fully surrendered to Christ. I was still looking for something outside of myself to make me happy.
Life began to unravel and I went back to live with my parents. Within days of being home, I met a man who led me to my demise. I was in a manic episode when we met. I also suffered from bipolar disorder. Our romance was a whirlwind and within 6 weeks I was pregnant.
Here is a letter I wrote to him:
To my Partner in Crime:
I wish I never met you. Maybe then, my life would not have been turned upside down.
Our meeting was like a magnetic force, which could not be broken. You charmed the socks and the rest of my clothes right off of me. Maybe if I had not been in a manic episode, I would have had some restraint. Probably not!
You were beautiful, charming, dynamic and completely deceptive.
When I told you I was pregnant,
It was like your life was over. I wanted you more than anything. I wished the same was true for you – in wanting me. I wanted to believe you wanted me too.
You wanted an end to this problem. It did not matter to you that this went against my personal and spiritual convictions. Impulsive and reckless, you convinced me this was our only out.
I’d already given you my heart and body. I wanted to please you.
I wanted you to love me.
But instead, you drove me to the clinic. You financed the abortion. I elected to be completely anesthetized, in hopes that I might not remember the pain of killing our unborn child.
You “held” me after it was over. You nursed my wounds but you would never again have my heart. No one would for a long time.
We put an end to the possibility of life: our could have been, our should have been will never be. I blamed you for putting an end to my ability to give or receive love.
I will never forget the moment I woke up and realized this nightmare was real.
I told God he could never forgive me. I turned my back on Him and you became my god. I gave myself to you for three more years. I gave myself in hopes that we could create something good from our mess. Even though I wouldn’t let you hold my heart, at least I wasn’t alone.
I was wrong.
You never really loved me. You were incapable of loving anyone but yourself. I blamed you for my month long stay in the mental hospital. I blamed you for my addiction to crack cocaine. I blamed you for every bad thing that happened in my life for years that followed.
It was not your fault.
It was the enemy, who seeks to kill, steal and destroy. He almost had me but God’s grace is endless. His grace covered me; it covers you too. I forgave you and I forgave myself. I received HIS full forgiveness.
I am healed today.
I am whole. I named our baby and held a memorial service for her. Her name is Savannah. I let God love me again; he never stopped pursuing me. Today, I lead other women into their complete healing in Christ, including the wounds from being post-abortive.
God really does make beauty from ashes.
My life is living proof. I am a mother today and this fills my life with joy. I have four children. I will meet our daughter someday and I hope you are there too!
I hope someone in your life has loved you enough to lead you out of your pain to the merciful heart of Jesus.
There were years of suffering as a result of me choosing my addiction and sin over living for Christ. Through it all, He never stopped pursuing me. He never gave up on the chase, even as I kept running further and further away.
There came a point that I finally chose to Surrender All to Him. This was almost 9 years ago, and I have yet to look back. Living a life of surrender is a moment by moment choice. As believers, the quality of our lives depends on our level of surrender, and so do the lives of those we are influencing.
Today, my life is beyond my wildest dreams. I am married to a man who loves God and serves Him. He and I met at our church, and share similar pasts, with redemption lives to prove God’s incredible faithfulness.
Blessed beyond measure, I am the mom to three beautiful children. I have learned so many valuable lessons as a step mother to Kaily, our twelve year old. Being a mom to two young boys is such an adventure and privilege.
My life is living proof that God restores beyond our comprehension.
Every day, I wake up with a heart of gratitude for what God has done in my life.
My life verse is Romans 8:28. I love the translation in The Message:
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
My prayer is that God will continue to use my life story to lead others to freedom and wholeness in Him. Please know if you are suffering today from sin in your life and our broken and in need of restoration, He is ready to meet you in your mess and love you back to health. He did it for me and continues to do so, each day that I continually surrender all.
Where have you surrendered in your life? We’d love to hear.
About Tammy Bolt Werthem
“I am made to glorify God in all my roles, to live a life of worship and to boldly lead others into their complete healing in Christ.”
Tammy Bolt Werthem is a writer, blogging at http://iwokeupyesterday.com/; a life coach at http://everydaylifeline.com/. She loves to encourage and inspire men and women as they seek healing from life’s hurts. She is blessed to be married to an amazing man and is living the dream as parents to three amazing children.