Christmas Eve, 2008, (from left) Jenny and her two daughters, Gloria and Kylie, Kaye, OUR Mommy & Tammy
I look at the above picture and celebrate all that my awesome, huge. life saving God has done, and I treasure all that He continues to do in the lives of those I love, especially in my twin sister Tammy.
As you read in yesterday’s post, Tammy has given me her blessing and her full permission to tell her story – a story of being lost in addiction, defeated by destructive life choices, and wandering from her Savior – Jesus Christ.
In my writing, it is my hope to share her story of pain and suffering, but to also tell the story of those that loved her years of struggle.
The story I know best is MY story – as her twin sister -
a story of heartbreak, of seeking to know my own personal sin, so as to not cast judgment, but to better understand why Tammy was running;
a story of letting go, of trusting in Christ – to do what only He could do;
a story of tough love, of having to say “this is enough”;
a story of watching Tammy’s battles, since we were 14 years old, and up until our early 30s;
and all of this, leads up to His glorious story of healing, of lost time redeemed, of broken pieces made whole, of shattered dreams transformed to beautiful days lived for Him.
We are twins. My story is her story. Her story is my story.
But both of our stories are HIS story, and in telling ours, we will make HIStory together, leaving our hearts open, our thoughts revealed – in the pain, the worst of the worst, and in the victories, the best of the best.
“All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called, according to His purpose.”
This is the life verse my Mom has prayed over my sister’s life since she was very young.
This world is wrecked with pain:
Addiction – to work, to play, to sex, to drugs, to lying, to prideful thoughts, to any and all the options that are out there.
Prodigal children – those who leave home and never return (or wander for many painful years), leaving mother’s hearts destroyed and leaving fathers left carrying failed hopes and dreams
Loved ones in jail. Children born out-of-wedlock. Marriages broken. Promises not kept. Children abandoned. People who are just checked out of life, because it’s just too much to deal with. People who don’t know the one and only Truth of Jesus Christ.
This world is wrecked…AND
HIS MERCIES are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness! GREAT is His loving kindness!
He is enough, for all the pain, and all the heartbreak. He is our Redeemer and Restorer.
This is why I write: to tell more of His story in my life and in Tammy’s life.
EXCERPT from “Inseparable” - “The Stranger I Found in My Twin Sister”
Rock Road wasn’t a road that anyone aspired to drive towards. It was the road that led to the jail in Fort Pierce.
It was where the phone call came from.
“This is a collect call from Tammy Bolt. Do you accept?”
Gut instinct – all at once – YES and NO!
“Jenny, I am in jail. In Fort Pierce. I am asking if you would be willing to come see me. I don’t need anything brought to me. I just would like to see you.”
I wondered. So many things. So many questions.
The next day, after making arrangements for my three kids to be watched, and after discussing it with my husband, I went for visiting hours.
I drove to the ever dreaded road – Rock Road. I blared my music. It was a Steven Curtis Chapman album. Worship. Focus. I needed God more than I knew. I was going through the motions mostly, but I was holding onto Hope, in Him.
Once I arrived at the jail, I wrote out some lyrics that I knew I wanted to share with Tammy, during our visit. They were really for me, but, I thought it could be a place of reckoning, a place of connection.
Full of fear.
Full of pain.
Terrorized at what “might be”.
I was processed through the doors, was taken to a cubby, directed to sit in the chair, and the jail dude told me what to do.
“When she arrives at the window, pick up the phone, and that will be how you visit.”
“Oh wow, so personal. So deeply connected”, I thought to myself, deep in my anger. sitting in my sarcasm and sadness.
Honestly, I was already distraught at the whole experience. The people that were seated on this side of the window -on my side – on the “good side” – on the non criminal side – these people scared me. I looked around. These were not people like me. These were people that did know what it was like to visit a jail. They did know what it was like to come see their family member, or loved one, or whomever – seated across from them in their cubby.
This was NOT my world! I didn’t have family members, much less, my identical twin sister in Jail! This was not my life.
But, it was.
So, I sat.
And I waited. For what seemed like hours. It was likely a few minutes. But it was enough time to get me plenty worked up and deep in to my full-blown anxiety.
She was there.
Across from me.
There she was.
Tattered. Worn. So tired.
A wounded woman – lost in her pain, desperate for touch, longing for connection.
And all she got was me – clueless, wrecked with sadness, not even wanting to see any of this, any of her truest pain. All she got was her other half. Trying so hard to pretend I was strong. To pretend I could “do this”.
We both picked up our phones, and looked through the filthy, thick, blurred glass – and we tried to connect. Through all the pretending, and chatter, we tried to just be – US. Twins. Connected. Understood and understanding without words. With a simple look. With a touch – even though we weren’t physically touching.
She told me bits and pieces. There was a woman she had met that leads Bible Studies. Her name was Sandra. She was offering her a safe place when she got out. That was good to know. That there were people like this, that knew how to help and love women like Tammy.
She also asked me to try to find her car – she hadn’t seen it for a while, and it was likely towed from some apartment complex. Could I please find it, because inside the trunk was the scrapbook my mom had made for us, her scrapbook, her story – the one my Mom had kept safe for her for 30 years – the scrapbook that carried the special memories, and the happy times of Tammy’s first 30 years - that was in the lost car, in the hidden trunk, in the towed, missing vehicle. And I was being asked to find it.
We had about 30 minutes time together. It was more than enough time and yet, it wasn’t enough time at all.
We said goodbye, we “touched”, and we cried some more.
In her prison of pain.
All by herself. A stranger. My other half.
I walked to my car. Heavy.
My body felt like it might fall to the ground.
I got behind my steering wheel, and I let it go. Wailing. Tears flooding. All the “WHYs” flying out of my heart and my mouth.
Why us? Why her? Why me? Why my family? Why now? Why Lord, WHY?
I made some phone calls, discovered where Tammy’s car was towed, and I drove there. I begged the man if I could just get one thing out of the trunk. That whole encounter is a whole story in itself.
But, he let me clear the car of her belongings.
“Get what you want out of there. But you’re not getting the car back without paying the $400 fee.”
I found her story, her scrapbook, the one my Mom had kept so safe for her, the one my Mom had scripted, of the good memories, of the Tammy we all wanted back in our lives. I found her. In the pages of her precious book.
The stranger I visited that day in jail…
She was, and is, my twin sister – my other half.
I was so grateful I had that book. I could not afford to have lost the last 30 years in that moment.
Have you ever loved someone that was so known by you on one day, and then a complete stranger – the next time you saw them?
What part of your story would God like to use in other people’s lives? He wastes no part of our lives, and He particularly makes beauty from our ashes.
Please share Your Story. Please Leave a COMMENT below. Your story matters to us.
Please also share HIS story of our lives with those in your life. His message is for ALL mankind. We value your support in sharing “iwokeupyesterday” with others.
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