Every year on September 11, I am reminded of the following story I heard one year at a Women of Faith Conference. It's the story of someone going through her own personal tragedy, unrelated to September 11, but totally affected by it. Tammy Trent is an amazing vocalist, but her story is incredible. I always remember the "angel in the Hilton Hotel Dress". We never know where we will see our angels. I also think of how affected she was by the actions of those that drove their planes into those twin towers. She certainly wasn't the target of their actions, but was forced to suffer because of them. How many times doesn't that happen to us? We are affected (or affect others) by actions that originally had nothing to do with us? Long-term vision is required, not optional.
Love Story Lost
By Scott Ross
The 700 Club
CBN.com -- SCOTT ROSS: Where did you and your husband meet?
TAMMY TRENT: We met in our youth group when we where 15-years-old in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
SCOTT Was it love at first sight at 15?
TAMMY : For me completely. I turned around and this gorgeous, gorgeous guy was sitting behind me and I said to myself, "Oh Lord he is so cute and I look so ugly."
SCOTT: Was that a prayer?
TAMMY: It was for me. It really was, and it was one that was answered. I met him and found out that we were the same age and was completely taken by him and his love for the Lord. We were 15-years-old and this kid adored the Lord so much. It was so attractive to me at that age.
SCOTT: Were you allowed to date?
TAMMY: When I was 16. I couldn't date until then.
SCOTT: You had to wait a year
TAMMY: We did, but we did lots of things with our youth group and fellowship group and our parents, doing things together after church.
SCOTT: So you dated with 300 other people.
TAMMY: Exactly. I hated it.
SCOTT (reporting): But it was well worth it. Tammy and Trent fell deeply in love with each other. At the tender age of 22, they got married and vowed to love each until death parted them. They had their entire lives ahead of them to live and to love.
TAMMY: We got married on August 18,1990.
SCOTT: Was that a good day?
TAMMY: It was amazing.
SCOTT: In love, for real?
SCOTT: A friend of mine wrote a song years ago that talked about the two becoming one and Jesus making you three. Somehow in there the mathematics works. Was that true of you?
TAMMY: Completely. The Lord was always the center of absolutely everything we did. Trent was stronger than I was in our dating relationship. He was stronger than I was. He was a man. There were times when I even struggled about being in love, and wanting to feel loved, wanting to be loved, moments of weakness in my life where Trent was always strong. He wanted to have a pure mind and a pure heart and he wanted it to be that way in our relationship. There were times when I thought, I can't take this anymore. He'd say, 'Girl, I love you. I know if we wait, God will have something special in store together.'
SCOTT: Are you glad you waited?
TAMMY: Now? Yes, completely. Even then -- definitely. I was weak, but he was strong. I would know every time when he'd say, 'Girl, I love you and I am thankful for you, but I know God's got something greater for us if we just wait.'
SCOTT (reporting): The purity of their love and their relationship was the beginning of a very strong marriage and ministry. Tammy's music career gave her a platform to share about her relationship with Christ, while Trent remained behind the scenes as her manager. Their lives were spiritually, emotionally, and professionally inseparable. Together, their life was filled with love and joy.
TAMMY: He just absolutely enjoyed life. This was a guy that never spoke a cross word to me. He always spoke life into my spirit. He never had anything mean to say to me ever in our 18 years of being together, 11 years of being married.
SCOTT: Not many women can say that about their husbands.
TAMMY: Never. There were times when I completely deserved it, times when I probably drew him to want to scream at me. He never would. And I'd ask, 'Why?' And he'd say, 'Because I never want to hurt you. I want you to always know love, and I never want to you to know hurt.' And he lived it. He lived it.
SCOTT: Trent was the kind of man who was passionate about everything he loved. Early in September 2001, he whisked Tammy away on a romantic vacation in Jamaica for some much-needed rest.
TAMMY: We had an amazing week together. I had given Trent a card that said, 'I feel like I have loved you forever' and you open it and it says, 'My heart tells me I have.' I wrote to Trent and said, 'Baby, I'm so glad to be here with you this weekend to have all your attention.' Our cell phones wouldn't work and our computers wouldn't work, so no one could reach us.
SCOTT: On the last day of their vacation, Trent, an expert diver, suited up to explore a famous body of water, the blue lagoon. Because he was free diving, he submerged into the deep without the use of an oxygen tank or snorkel.
TAMMY: He put on his wet suit and his fins and his mask and he grabbed the scooter and said, 'Tammy, will you take a picture of me?' I said, 'Sure.' I took a couple of pictures of Trent right before he got into the water, and I sat there on the side of the dock and I watched him, and I watched him swim away. I sat and about 30 minutes had gone by. I had been watching him go up and down. Thirty or forty minutes had gone by, and I realized I had stopped watching. I was kind of watching other people swimming and playing. There was a boat that had swum across that hole back and forth, and it took my breath away because I wanted to scream, 'There's somebody in there!' and I couldn't. I felt paralyzed, but it made me now start to watch for Trent. I was really concerned now, and I didn't see anything. I just stared at that hole for, like, 5 minutes, 8, 10, minutes and now I started to worry because, obviously, you have to come up for breath. I didn't see anything, and Trent would never do anything to scare me, so I thought something was wrong. I couldn't see anything. I kept having to fight fear saying, 'Oh Jesus.' All I could say was 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.' I started asking, 'Please will someone give me a mask so I can go in and look for him: he's in that hole' because I kept thinking if he's in there, I could save him. The people around knew that I wasn't in that frame of mind to do that, so a couple of men went out looking for him. Then they called a dive team in and they looked for Trent for three hours. Each minute that went by I knew. I knew what happened. I was sitting in that office and I was all alone, nobody was a believer around me. I just began to lift up my hands and I began to praise God and I began to sing songs -- anything I could think of -- and I was just crying out to God. It's all that I had. My whole life I had been on the platform telling other people what to do in these times, and now it was up to me. What did I really believe? I knew that all I had was Jesus. I cried out to God and I started praying in the Spirit. I didn't care who was around.
SCOTT: The next day, on September 11, 2001, divers found Trent's body. They notified Tammy of her husband's tragic death early that morning.
TAMMY: All my family was trying to fly in to see me and be with me and the doctor had come in and said, 'Had you heard what's happened in America?' And I said, 'No, I hadn't.' He said, 'There's been some bombings, and there's been some explosions and some aircraft that have been driven into the towers in New York.' I ran into the other room and I saw that. I just couldn't believe it. I began to cry for these people and what was happening in America and what was happening in my life. I didn't understand. He said that nobody can make it. All the aircraft are grounded. I cried out to God again, 'Why what is happening?' I couldn't understand. Then I had gotten a call that my father-in-law had landed on the islands. He was the only one that had caught a midnight flight out of Los Angeles on a business trip. As I stood up, Trent's father walked in. He held me and we cried and it was at that point that I knew that my life was going to change forever.
SCOTT: This was Sept 11, 2001, and the whole world that you knew basically was caving in on you.
TAMMY: I didn't even have my Bible with me at the time. All I had was a Gideon Bible left in the hotel, but I would pen that thing like crazy and I'd find Scripture everyday that was perfect for me. I told God, I said, 'Lord, I can't handle any of this. I have got to have answers now. When I ask you for something, I need you to answer me. I don't have the patience to figure it all out. I don't want riddles right now. I don't want to go over a big old mountain to just get down. I just have to know now.' So I would ask Him something, and I would open the Word of God, and boom, right there was the answer. I would just begin to say, 'Thank you, Jesus.' One day I was alone in that hotel. I could barely walk, and I could barely see, and I was trying to make it to the bathroom. I just fell to the ground and I said, 'Jesus, I just need to feel just one angel holding me. Just send me one angel in this bathroom to love me in this room, in this place.' I was crying. I couldn't breathe. All of a sudden something stopped. I got enough strength to stand up and I walked into my room. And my bed had been a mess because I slept in the bathroom the night before and drug everything in there. I thought, OK, I just want my bed made. I waded into the adjoining room with my father-in-law, and I heard a noise. I looked in and there was a lady in the Hilton hotel outfit, cleaning lady, housekeeper, and I walked in and I was getting myself together and I said, 'Could you come in and make my bed?' She said, 'Oh, yes. I've been trying to get to you. I could hear you crying, and I have been trying to get to you.' She said, 'Can I just hold you?' And I began to cry, and I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'Can I pray with you?' And I said, 'Yes.'
TAMMY: She came in and she held me and we cried and we prayed. I thought, It was exactly what I had asked Jesus for minutes, seconds before when I said, 'Send me one angel that would hold me.'
SCOTT: An angel in a Hilton Hotel dress.
TAMMY: In a Hilton housekeeping outfit. And there was this precious angel, and she held me and she cried and she prayed and we began to pray together. Then she let go and she said, 'I needed to get to you,' she said. 'I can tell you are grieving, and it's more than just a cry. You are grieving aren't you?' I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'You have lost somebody, haven't you?'
SCOTT: She didn't know?
TAMMY: No idea. I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'Somebody you love very much?' I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'Who?' I said, 'My husband.' I told her what happened, and she just broke. We hugged some more, and she began to clean my room.
SCOTT: There are obviously thousands of people who are identifying with you right now in this. Certainly the people are sharing your sorrow for those who died in the World Trade Center, the timing of all of this together. What do you say to them? Is there a hope for a future?
TAMMY: There is hope. There is a future. God's got a bigger plan than any of us know. He's not surprised by any of this. I'm shocked. He's not surprised. My faith has been built on Jesus Christ. My hope has been built on Jesus Christ. In times like this, my faith and trust in the Lord is somewhat being tested. What do I believe? Where is my hope? Where is my faith? God does have something greater for me. We talked about destiny many times. Was Trent's destiny to get me ready for something spiritually? He was always fighting for me to be in the Word of God. I don't know how much time we have left. You know, what happened to my husband Trent, was unbelievable, the timing of it just seemed so unbelievable. It's shaken my world so much to say that I am tired of playing a game. I'm tired of walking so close to the edge. It's like I want to live boldly for Jesus, so if I can use my voice today to tell people there is hope, there is life after death, but you have got to know Jesus Christ in order to make it there. I know I will see Trent again someday, but it is only because of my relationship with Jesus Christ. There is a lot of pain in this world and there is a lot of hatred. There is a lot of hurt. We are seeing it firsthand. All I can say is I just cannot imagine living without the hope of Jesus Christ right now.
SCOTT (reporting): So how do you make sense of such a tragic loss? Where is the fairy tale ending that 'they lived happily ever after?' Why would a loving God allow such a Godly, caring man to die so suddenly and tragically? The questions are endless. But maybe, just maybe, Trent's life was taken just for you. Maybe in the hour of your brokenness and pain you too, like Tammy, will cry out to the God of all comfort -- Jesus Christ. He is the God of all creation who came down to live and love among us. No other god or religious system made such a sacrifice. He personally knows pain, He knows suffering, and He knows grief. He still beckons us today with these words: 'All of you that are heavy laden, come unto me and I will give you rest.' That is His promise to us, and He sealed it with His blood.