"We women carry so much with us – the weight of family, children, work, caring for husbands or parents and trying to be the glue of the family," said the singer-author-speaker from her Nashville, Tenn. office.
"This will be a chance to get together as girl friends and let it go for a day or two, and see the surprises and challenges in realizing that we're not alone, and to see how God can show up for us in this moment."
Trent, the former Tammy Buffum, will be sharing her testimony and some of her music over two sessions: Friday evening and late Saturday morning. Speaker-author Jill Savage will also provide keynote addresses on both days. Saturday morning features break-out sessions with several special guests.
TELLING HER STORY
It was more than 14 years ago that Tammy lost her husband – Trent Lenderink – in a tragic diving accident in Jamaica. The loss was devastating to Tammy - her husband had been her manager, booking agent, and road companion during her rising Christian music career.
"I speak at a lot of women's conferences and retreats," noted Tammy, a Forest Hills Northern graduate. "Some have heard my story before but say they always learn something new, and others have never heard it," she said of her presentation.
"As long as it's still relevant and God is using it to minister, I want to be faithful to it."
The couple first dated in their teenage years, and married in their early 20s. Both were involved at Grand Rapids First Church (formerly First Assembly of God) on 44th St. SW.
She followed in her mother Judy's footsteps as a Christian music singer. Her husband Trent, a Tri-Unity Christian School and Aquinas College graduate, was by her side.
The couple moved to Nashville in 1998 as Tammy's career was taking off with national record releases and top charting songs.
Then in September, 2001 her world fell apart when Trent, an experienced swimmer and diver, lost his life in a free-diving accident. Tammy's book "Learning to Breathe Again" (c.2006, Thomas Nelson) details the story.
These days Tammy is doing more speaking than singing, and doesn't feel like the "music industry girl" anymore where a new album every year or two and regular concert tours are the norm.
"My world has been speaking and I love it and I still get to throw in some music with what I do," she said of songs such as "Welcome Home," "Edge of the Water," and the upbeat "Sunny Days."
"I never wanted to just run away from my pain," she said of re-telling the story of her loss. "I'm not afraid of visiting the hurt and from giving myself permission not to be afraid."
Tammy still lives in the same Brentwood, Tenn. home the couple purchased 18 years ago. Although she has dated some in the past, she hasn't been "seeking."
"I'm a person of genuine joy and adventure – I feel like I married adventure," she offered. "Do I miss being in love? Yes. But not enough to make me run out into just any relationship."
ALSO ON THE SCHEDULE
Jill Savage is an author-speaker on the topic of family and motherhood, and is director of the organization "Hearts at Home." (www.hearts-at-home.org). Among her books: "Real Moms...Real Jesus" and "No More Perfect Moms." Savage will speak both Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Among the leaders at the Saturday break-out sessions:
*Renae Napier - She is the mother who forgave the drunk driver who caused an accident killing her daughter. The forgiving act was the inspiration for the Matthew West song, "Forgiveness."
*Dawn Scott Damon - author of "When A Woman You Love Was Abused" and co-pastor of Tribes Church in Rockford.
Just the Facts:
"Get Real" Women's Conference featuring Jill Savage and Tammy Trent
7 p.m. Friday Feb. 19 thru 12:30 p.m. Sat. Feb. 20
at Community Reformed Church, 10376 Felch St. Zeeland.
7:00 PM Conference Begins----2 keynote sessions
9:00 PM Conference concludes for the evening----sign up for Sat. breakout sessions
8:00 AM Doors Open, Breakfast Bar, Merchandise Tables Open
9:00 AM-10:00 AM Worship and Keynote session with Jill Savage
10:15 AM Two Breakout sessions
11:50 AM Closing Session with Tammy Trent
General admission $25 advance, $30 at the door. Available via www.itickets.com, 800-965-9324, at the Community Church office (cash or check) or at the Holland Lakeshore Pregnancy Center.
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