For everyone who has ever battled depression. For anyone who has ever suffered a loss and a pain so deep and so real that it took your breath away. For anyone walking through the grief and mourning that comes from a loved one dying and facing the unthinkable. This is for you.
“We overcome by the blood of the Lamb…. And the words of our testimony.” Revelation 12:11
This is mine.
Big Daddy Weave’s song, My Story, says to tell you my story is to tell of Him. The kindness of Jesus, and the faithfulness and mercy of God.
My name is Tara Warford and this is My Story.
To paraphrase a message by Andy Stanley, never leverage another person’s pain to justify the inexistence of God. Because what you’ll often find in the face of great adversity is great faith.
I’m a single mom to six beautiful children, ages 3-12.
And I’ve been a single mom to my 6 kids most of their lives.
In June of 2020, due to a series of events outside of my control, I entered a program called Mercy Multiplied. Because, as I would tell the other girls there, in order to get to Mercy, you had to hit a special kind of rock bottom. And in January 2020, I did.
Life for me and my 6 kids, prior to me going to Mercy was defined by seasons of extreme hardship.
We faced seasons of homelessness and poverty. We suffered loss and abuse.
There was a lot of uncertainty and fear in our lives.
And due to what we went through, I personally suffered from depression.
I myself suffered physical and sexual abuse.
I’d been raped.
And in trying to support my family solo, I’ve at times had to wait hours upon hours in a food pantry line only to come out with a few cans. That, my friends, is poverty.
I’ve had prayers answered by God in those 11:59 hours. And I’ve also had seasons where I was simply surviving, trying to make ends meet rather than thriving.
I was willing to do anything and everything for my family. Anything.
I’ve at times worked as many as 4 jobs at a time to support my family of 7 solo.
And yet, we’ve lived in basements, a single bedroom.
Sometimes staying in hotels a week at a time, until money ran out.
And at one point, we spent a year housed through a family violence center.
Times were tough. But we had each other, and we had God.
Despite how bleak I know all of the above must sound, especially to someone who has never known poverty as my family and I have, I want you to know that God never left me, or my kids. And every single one of those housing situations was an answer to prayer.
God never left us.
But as a result of what was done to me and my children, I spent years cycling in and out of depression. And I learned to push through and live with a lot of anxiety and fear.
At my lowest, I believed the lie my children would be better off with my $250,000 life insurance policy than with a single mom who was always exhausted and burned out.
But as God voiced in a recent prophecy to me, no matter how many times I tried and planned it, He wouldn’t let me die.
I felt I deserved abuse. It was my normal.
But no matter how much I believed I deserved it, I knew my children didn’t.
So in 2019 I filed a restraining order and decided to start new.
I got a great job outside the home.
I was in the process of refinancing our home.
And I clearly remember thinking in December of 2019, it was all so perfect.
I didn’t ever want anything to ever change.
But in January 2020, everything did.
On January 3, 2020 I received a prophecy from my chaplain. He said, “I don’t want to scare you, but there’s a sense of urgency. The decisions you’re about to have to make will affect 7 souls.”
That prophecy changed my prayers. And prayer is what saved my life and the lives of my six children.
In October of 2019, I’d started dating a guy who I thought genuinely loved me. He was kind, he was generous. He loved my kids.
And when he was ok, I do believe he loved us. He did.
The problem was that in January of 2020, he was facing his own downward spiral, with depression, among other things. And in January, life for him took a drastic turn and things got bad.
On January 27, 2020, I returned home to try and talk my now ex boyfriend out of suicide.
On that day, and in that moment, what he wanted more than anything was to die. But I didn’t want that.
I was unwilling to let him die.
And so what followed for the next several hours was me literally fighting to save both his life and mine.
Thankfully, and I mean that sincerely, God intervened.
God saved me.
And I didn’t die.
But despite my efforts and the effort of several police, my boyfriend did.
The only silver lining to that, and it’s a glimmer, is that because of him dying, several other people are now still living. Because he was an organ donor, he was kept on life support for several days following the incident. But on January 30, 2020, his battle was officially over. And I got to see him wheeled back to the O.R. at noon that day. The last time I would ever see him this side of heaven.
I suffered a lot of trauma and loss during those 3 days alone. More than I had in all my years leading up to his death.
It was truly unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.
Thankfully, in my now ex going to heaven, his battle was over.
But unfortunately, despite all I went through in late January, my battle and pain was just beginning.
Upon returning from the hospital that day in late January, I was served with papers by my 2 ex husbands. And within a span of about 3 hours, I lost everything.
I lost custody of all six of my kids, 5 of whom had lived with me every day of their lives up until that.
I lost the van I was driving.
I lost my job.
I lost my home.
And in the fall out in the months following, I lost even more.
I lost friends.
And I lost my reputation.
I lost, quite literally, everything.
Everything, except as a friend reminded me, everything except my faith.
But if I’m completely honest, in the moment, that didn’t feel like enough. It did not feel like enough to keep me here, anchored in this life.
I made some very clear statements in my grief. Having lost everything.
And so as a result of my statements, I was forced to spend the next week in and out of hospitals on suicide watch.
My chaplain made that call.
And it was the right one.
And I will forever be grateful to him for saving my life.
I am grateful to him and several of my closest friends for praying for me and my children that day and the days leading up to it.
And for him ultimately calling the police to intervene on my behalf.
I am alive today because God acted through him to make that call.
The day I was released from Middle Tennessee Mental Health, he actually took me on a tour of Mercy Multiplied Nashville. Again, another God sent leading.
And 5 months later, I was in the Mercy Multiplied Sacramento, CA home.
Mercy was what I needed.
Both God’s and Mercy Multiplied.
Because in losing virtually everything that mattered to me, I found a closer relationship with God.
And I found healing. I found freedom.
And my time at Mercy was nothing short of miraculous.
To learn more about the mission of Mercy Multiplied, and to find out how you or someone you love can find healing and freedom through Jesus Christ and Mercy, go to https://mercymultiplied.com/
And if this testimony has blessed you in any way, I would ask that you would comment below, share it so that it provides hope to others.
And if you would, consider giving to Mercy Multiplied.
They are a 100% donor funded, faith based organization based out of Nashville, TN with homes in several states and even abroad. They are dependent on God’s faithfulness through the generosity of people like you. So if you would like to give and help change a girl’s or young woman’s life for the better, go to https://mercymultiplied.com/ and donate today.
Again, blessings to you and yours. I hope that my testimony has provided hope and encouragement for someone else that Jesus truly is the answer and healing is possible.
“We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony.” Revelation 12:11
May God Bless you.