LifeLetter Cafe LifeWriter Tammy Hodge is an Author and Speaker
who champions life and living it to its fullest.
Having climbed out of her own pit of unforgiveness, shame, and fear,
she discovered what true freedom in Christ felt like
and now spends her days helping others discover that same freedom for themselves.
The Cafe is excited to introduce Tammy’s inspiring biography And Now I Choose,
a story of grace and hope for those who believe they have no choice.
Find a more detailed overview of And Now I Choose here in Tammy’s own words,
I never thought I would write a book about my life,
but ten years ago I was hit out of the blue with a conviction to share my story.
Sadly, my story isn’t much unlike many you’ve probably read before…
child abuse, an eating disorder, promiscuity, homeless teen, abortions, drugs,
walking a dark road to nowhere.
What you’ll find different, however, is how I moved beyond the darkness
and forged through the pain of uncovering bad memories,
forgiving both my abusers and myself, while discovering a deeper forgiveness
that changed me on a soul level.
My prayer is that you will be left with an undeniable conviction within yourself
that you, too, have the power to choose life to the fullest.
So LifeLetter Cafe is excited to share this recent interview with Tammy Hodge
to dive deeper into the story behind And Now I Choose.
Enjoy her answers below in the latest 7 Questions Sunday!
Today’s 7 Questions
LifeLetter Cafe: Your book details a series of epic abuse and self-destructive choices that tattered your childhood and teenage years – at what point did you feel farthest from God and stuck in hopelessness?
Tammy Hodge: This question caused me to sit for a bit and recount many moments of my childhood. Although I did not know the Lord as a child, after each beating I would talk to Him. And I am convinced he bent his ear and arms to me. But the time I felt the farthest was definitely when I escaped my first husband in Knoxville, TN. Having been beaten and held at gunpoint by him just days before my escape, and his suicide, I genuinely felt completely alone, helpless and extremely afraid. It was one of the darkest moments of my life.
LifeLetter Cafe: When did you realize for the first time that you are highly valued and unconditionally loved by God?
Tammy Hodge: Funny, this moment wouldn’t happen till four years after I recognized my need for God. It was the night I confessed my teen abortions to my husband. The mercy, grace, and unconditional love he displayed and freely gave me was the first real life picture I saw of Jesus with skin on. I will never forget it!
LifeLetter Cafe: What is your message to teenage girls and young women who are determined to “find love” in all the wrong places?
Tammy Hodge: Love yourself first. I sought out love in all the wrong places because I didn’t love or value myself and I had no idea my worth. Seeking love for the sake of being known will not fulfill your hearts empty chambers – only God can fully do that. And once that happens, you will see your worth and you’ll be far more aware of who you hand your heart over to.
“Too many of us buy into the lie
that we don’t deserve forgiveness, joy or freedom.”
– Tammy Hodge –
LifeLetter Cafe: How do you rebuild the ability to trust when those you should have been able to trust failed to love and protect you?
Tammy Hodge: Trust isn’t earned, trust is broken. You have my trust, and you can also break that trust. If someone breaks trust with me I cannot bear that weight. That is theirs to bear. What I can, and did do, was safely distance myself from them. And honestly, it wasn’t the broken trust that was difficult for me, it was all the years I spent not having forgiven them. When I learned that forgiveness doesn’t condone their behavior but it releases their power over me – everything changed. As far as trusting other people and not being afraid they would also hurt me; I just knew I could not convict them for someone else’s crimes against me. That just isn’t fair and it is no way to live.
LifeLetter Cafe: What are some practical takeaways readers can expect from And Now I Choose?
Tammy Hodge: What the reader will see is that we are all fractured people. There is hurt in all of us. Some hurt was out of our control, some was completely our doing. However, you don’t have to live in that hurt. Too many of us buy into the lie that we don’t deserve forgiveness, joy or freedom. I don’t believe we were put on this earth to live mediocre lives. What the reader will gain is inspiration, encouragement, and courage to dig out of the pit of their past and begin to live in the freedom they deserve.
LifeLetter Cafe: What are a couple of your most favorite moments in the book?
Tammy Hodge: All of the moments that make me laugh. So much of the book is a tough read because you just don’t want to know that people experience that much pain and abuse. But, I have a weird sense of humor and I look for the funny in just about everything. But on a serious note… when I share about the days I told my husband, and each of our children, about my abortions. Oh! And when I describe a guest pastor’s prayer one Sunday! Get the book… you’ll like that part 😉
LifeLetter Cafe: In writing your story in And Now I Choose, how did God renew and stretch your faith further than you ever might have imagined?
Tammy Hodge: It took me 10 years to write this book. That’s a ridiculously long time. I dug my heels for years. I knew I was supposed to write the book, that wasn’t my problem, I just didn’t like all the feelings I was having to experience again as I recalled childhood memories. It wasn’t that I had not healed from it all, it’s just that it was so grueling some days. But I knew in order for me to write as accurately as possible, I would have to allow myself to go back there and experience some of those emotions again. And, so, it took me 10 years to do it. And time and time again, God reminded me how far He had brought me. Gentle reminders that I am a new creation and safe in His presence. Those times deepened my faith greatly. I would not trade it for the world – not one single moment.