42. MOVE | with Tamara Manahan
This is the extended series of spoken words shared by women around the world, who have been selected or interested in sharing their stories and word from God. It's to showcase the power of faith and how God manifested their lives in the most powerful and loving way.
When reading Tamara's story, it literally brought me to tears. It was the impact she made through her podcast. I listened to that first and was automatically moved by her spirit. Upon waiting on her story, I cried again, I felt the passion that God had given in her heart and the story of her life that empowered her business today. God uses the unexpected events in our lives to shine and move others, just like her story below.
M E E T T A M A R A
I'm Tamara Manahan, owner and founder of Tamara & Company. Happily married to my husband, Mark, for 29 years and mom to five amazing children. We currently live on a beautiful farm nestled in the valley in northern Frederick County, Maryland. This journey began while I was preparing to become my dad's bone marrow donor in August 2016, as he was fighting for his life against stage four lymphoma. You can listen to that story here. My goal is to do more than just make people look pretty. I truly want to make a difference. which is why I began my 'brows2bless' campaign. A campaign that gives to recent cancer survivors suffering hair loss. I'm so thankful for this opportunity.
Known for: loving Jesus, curling up with a good book, enjoying the sunshine, working hard, and making a house a home.
I’m certain God is working in my life; I can feel Him inside my soul and I know it's his Spirit moving in powerful ways that I struggle to even put words to. Finding a single word of expression was difficult to say the least, but I believe the word ‘move’ is His spoken word to me.
God’s been teaching me about this word for a long time. And it began in the form of a tough lesson. About nine years ago, our sweet daughter, Mallery, who was ten years old at the time learned that our neighbor, Wayne, was waiting on a lung transplant. Well, I'm saying neighbor, but he actually lived about a half a mile from our home so I'm not really sure you'd classify him as a neighbor. At any rate, Mallery came to me and asked if we could go see him to make sure he knew Jesus. I'm going to make a very long story short here, but suffice it to say I was feeling a little bit like Jonah (actually a whole lot like Jonah). By the time I got over the crisis I was having in my mind..."What will we say?"..."He'll think we're crazy"... and mustered up enough courage to go to his house with my lovely, concerned daughter he was already in the hospital. "Whew" was all I can remember feeling. Relief because I had no idea what we were going to say. In fact, the only reason we were there was because I couldn't ignore my daughter asking, “When are we going?” any longer. It’s much easier to ignore God’s still small voice than a persistent 10 year old! Sad, but true. I learned a tough lesson the day I got the news that Wayne had died and we had never caught up with him. You see, I knew I should’ve taken my daughter right away, instead of allowing fear to rule my heart. With tears pouring down my face and a heart full of guilt and shame I made a promise to God and myself that day; when God says 'move', I'm gonna' get moving! That's what I've been up to ever since, even in the face of fear and doubt. You see, sometimes moving isn’t easy.
A little over two years ago, my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma. Under the care of a local oncologist, he underwent two different 'chemo cocktails' and when the second one stopped working we ended up at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for a consultation with their lymphoma specialist. We learned that Dad's lymphoma was winning the battle; he was given a one year life expectancy at best. The only hope was a bone marrow transplant that might rid his body of cancer and give us extra years with him. Dad wasn’t about to lose, so we began the search for a match. Five family members were tested, myself included, and I was the only match, so in September 2016, Dad and I teamed up to beat his lymphoma; I would be his bone marrow donor.
Before finishing that story, I need to back up just a bit to show you how God was speaking to me and preparing me to get “moving”. A handful of months before Dad and I went on our 'look out cancer here we come' journey, a dear friend of mine, Valerie, had her eyebrows microbladed, something I had never even heard of at the time. You may be wondering, what is microblading and what does it even have to do with this story? Microblading is a cosmetic tattoo procedure that allows a permanent makeup artist to add individual 'hairstrokes' to mimic real eyebrow hairs on people who suffer from hair loss, and it has everything to do with how God is showing up in my life. After Valerie had her own eyebrows microbladed, she shared posts on her Instagram and Facebook accounts about an upcoming certification course for microblading. (A little fact about me...I'm a super nerd and love learning new things, so I inquired about it.) Once I received the details, I decided it wasn't something I was going to pursue. I really didn't have the time or want to spend the money needed for the course.
Fast forward to a waiting room at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the rest of my story. In preparation for the bone marrow extraction surgery, I had to undergo quite a bit of testing to make sure I was a healthy donor. One day during a stretch in the waiting room at Hopkins, passing time while waiting to be called for my next test, I couldn't help but notice the many men and women with cancer. All around me I saw bald heads and hairless faces. I felt God 'move' inside my heart. I turned to my husband, Mark, and said, "I totally want to do that eyebrow thing." Now remember, I had already decided I definitely was not going to pursue this! And what happened that day doesn’t feel like it was my decision. I wasn't sitting there thinking about it. Heck, I hadn’t even stopped to pray about it. The words just came out. You see, God 'moves'. He moves mountains and he moves hearts.
That day in the waiting room, while I was preparing to make a difference for Dad, God was preparing to make an even greater impact. Since this journey began a little over a year ago, there have been many moments where I have been filled with doubt and fear, but I just continue to ‘move’ forward and trust that God is working out His plans for my life. We now have two permanent makeup studios in Maryland, with a business philosophy that beauty is defined by a generous, giving heart...not a pretty face. In keeping with that philosophy, I’ve launched my ‘brows2bless’ campaign that gives back to cancer survivors suffering hair loss.
His Spirit continues to ‘move’ me. I’m in the process of working on a new project which I’m super excited about. It’s another way for my business to bless others. We will be launching an online shop to help support a missionary family doing amazing work in western Honduras. Please pray for success for this project, and that God will use this humble soul to bring glory to His name! Sometimes I wish I knew exactly where He was taking me and other times I'm excited to not know, just like the children of Israel as God led them in the wilderness. What a privilege it is to follow the greatest heart that ever was, still is, and always will be!
Catch more about Dad and me on my mini podcast here.
To see why I was inspired to help support: