The Drama of the Unexpected

John and Tamela

What a fabulous ACFW conference!  As always, I had great meetings with favorite writers, editors, and other publishing professionals. I enjoyed meetings with Steve, Karen, and Dan. I feel so blessed to work with such a wonderful team. Again this year, I enjoyed the privilege of teaching a workshop with Steve, an event I hope will continue to be a tradition for us at ACFW. Each conference reinforces my sense of gratitude that I work in CBA. It is such an honor to share my life’s career ambitions with others who love the Lord!

And to place the whipped cream and cherry on the sundae, what a delight to be present for the Genesis award for Susanne Dietze for One Word from You in the Historical Romance category. And Lynette Eason won a Carol award for When a Heart Stops, edited by Andrea Doering and published by Revell.

What a night! I am over the moon proud to be the agent of both of these talented writers!

After such excitement, I was ready to go home and relax, then get back into my office routine and the new adventure of living as an empty nester with my husband, John. He has worked as a civilian at the Department of Defense for 33 years and is now the Deputy Director of Contract Policy for the Naval Sea Systems Command.

I am writing this post on Monday night, the day of the Washington Navy Yard shootings, where John works. This morning, my flight leaving Indianapolis was on time. I was sitting on the plane and just about to turn off the phone when John called. Apparently a shooter had entered the building. John had exited the building with his employees shortly after the shooting began.

In the meantime, Reagan National Airport had shut down. We had to sit on the tarmac over an hour. Everyone on the plane stayed calm, and I sent thanks to the Lord that no poor infant was stuck there with us. I probably made more noise than anyone else because I had to notify a number of friends and relatives. I especially didn’t want my parents, in-laws, and daughters to be alarmed by learning of the news on television. I couldn’t help but feel thankful that we are gifted by many people who care about us.

The most alarming moment for me was during the flight. The captain said we were in a holding pattern because the airport shut down a second time. Had there been another rampage? Was John back in danger? But soon we were able to land, and all was well.

I’m saddened that some people can’t work out their problems without harming others. John and I are praying for our NAVSEA community, and we appreciate those who have told us they are praying for us.

Every workday evening, I hear the same sound: metal against metal as the key turns in the front door, followed by a whoosh of fresh air as the door opens. Today, that was the most beautiful sound in the world to me. For that everyday sound told me that John had safely arrived home.

47 Responses to The Drama of the Unexpected

  1. Ron Estrada September 19, 2013 at 4:12 am #

    Oh my, Tamela, praise God your husband got out okay. I come from a Navy family and served four years myself, so the shootings drew special attention from me as well. There is such darkness hanging over our country. It seems every day there’s another example of absolute evil in the news. It makes our calling that much more important. There’s so few of us shining the light of God’s truth. We have to keep working until the Glorious Day. Sorry I didn’t get to meet you at the conference. I was only registered for Saturday and it was all a blur. I did have my appointment with Karen, though. What a delight she is. Blessings to you and your husband.

    • Rachel Muller September 19, 2013 at 9:51 am #


      Thank you for your service!

  2. Jackie Layton September 19, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    I’m thankful your husband is safe and got word to you before the news broke.

    It’s hard to believe another senseless tragedy has occurred in our country. The thing that’s even harder for me to believe is how little outrage there has been over this incident. Sure some people are outraged, but why are more citizens not in an uproar?

    I don’t want this to be forgotten beyond your community. Lessons need to be learned. Better background searches before giving security clearance maybe.

    I continue to pray for the victims and their families.

    Thanks for sharing this today. God bless you and your husband.

  3. Terrance Austin September 19, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    GOD is so Amazing! He protected John, and guided you safely home to him so you could continue to enjoy your union with one another. I am grateful for this post. WHY? Because everytime I walk out the door going to work from now on, I will remember that Our Father has given me that one chance to tell my wife I love her. Thank you Mrs. Murray and may blessing continue to flow towards you and John.

  4. Lisa Carter September 19, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    I love that picture of you and John. It was so great to spend time with you at ACFW. I am so thankful for God’s watchcare over you and John during the tragic events of Monday.

  5. Pamela S. Meyers September 19, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    I am so grateful that John was able to evacuate the building and is safe. I had no idea the shooter was IN his building. Praying for both of you as I know the shock will resonate for some time to come. God is always our comfort in these times.

  6. Angie Dicken September 19, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    What a great picture, Tamela. Thank you for sharing your experience on Monday–it put a lump in my throat. So glad that you can rest in prayer, and that John is safe and sound.

  7. Michelle Sutton September 19, 2013 at 5:31 am #

    Wow! What a small world… my sister’s husbands brother (Matt Frazee) works there and my brother (Mike Sutton) worked there up until a few weeks ago when he got transferred to another building. So glad they are all safe!

    • Tamela Hancock Murray September 19, 2013 at 6:35 am #

      Michelle, I’m praising the Lord that Mike and Matt are safe, too!

      • Esther Thompson September 19, 2013 at 7:36 am #

        Praise God that your husband is safe and prayers for those who weren’t so fortunate.

  8. Cassie Greutman September 19, 2013 at 5:53 am #

    So glad to hear your husband is fine! So scary.

  9. Terri Weldon September 19, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    Tamela, I’m so thankful your husband is safe. The minute I saw he had 33 years of Federal Service I thought, tell him to retire. If that was mt first reaction I can’t imagine the terror you must have felt. Not the fear all those in his building suffered. Thank the Lord for seeing him to safety.

    • Terri Weldon September 19, 2013 at 5:58 am #

      That should have read Nor the fear all those in his building suffered.

  10. Johnnie Alexander Donley September 19, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Your last paragraph is so sweet. It’s often the “little things” that mean the most. My prayers are also with you and your husband.

    Congrats to Susanne Dietze and Lynette Eason! Whoo-hoo!

  11. Patti Jo Moore September 19, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    Praying for you, your husband, and all those affected by that senseless tragedy. I’m sure that was unnerving being on the plane during that time, but thankful your husband was able to contact you.
    What a sweet photo—you make a charming couple! :)

  12. Cherie Burbach September 19, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    So glad your husband is safe and praying for the families of the victims. I loved the last line about the beautiful sound of hearing your husband’s key in the lock at the end of the night.

  13. Connie Almony September 19, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    Yes, this one hit close to home for those of us in the Washington area. My very good friend just emailed me this morning asking for prayers. Her husband’s friend, a father of three, had been killed. Prayers going out to all impacted by this tragedy!!!

  14. Carol McClain September 19, 2013 at 6:24 am #

    Praise God John was okay. I could have taken a flight through DC, fortunately, I chose O’Hare. I missed seeing you around conference, but had a fabulous time with Karen Ball.

    That picture of you and hubby is BEAUTIFUL!

  15. Sonya Contreras September 19, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    If you can magnify that feeling, that is how many wives of soldiers feel when our husbands finally arrive home after one year over seas. It is with a great sense of peace, contentment, and praise that can barely be contained inside our hearts.

    Thank you for your descriptive account of a harrowing time. My husband is home (for the time being) and we are blessed. God does protect.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray September 19, 2013 at 7:20 am #

      Sonya, thank you for serving. And yes, I do believe the wives and children of our military are serving, too. I can only imagine the hardship of long absences, knowing your husband is in danger. God bless you, and again, thank you!

  16. Nichole Hall September 19, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Bless you and your family for serving! I’m thankful yours were kept safe in that senseless shooting and I am praying for everyone involved. I would think going through something like that would help us appreciate the little things and the people we love the most. Make each day count and love to the fullest! God bless!

  17. Jeanne Takenaka September 19, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    Tamela, when I saw your post on FB on Monday, I began praying. What a tragedy. I was relieved to read your husband was okay. I’ve been praying for those who lost loved ones and friends.

    As the wife of a retired Air Force navigator, my husband and I learned to keep in frequent communication when he travels. There’s comfort in knowing he’s okay when he’s away.

    What a beautiful picture of the two of you!

  18. Rachel Muller September 19, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    The Lord is good! Praise Him for keeping your husband safe! The unknown is a frightening place to be, especially when loved ones are involved. Our prayers go out to the families of those who have suffered loss. One man was from our town. I’m encouraged to read our local newspaper’s Facebook posts and see the many comments to the family expressing their heartfelt prayers and sympathy.

    A big THANK YOU goes out to all our service men and women, whether they work in the military, government offices, or contracted personnel who help keep our country running. It seems we have entered a time where they all put their lives on the line. May God bless them all!

    Beautiful picture of you and your husband, Tamela. God bless you both as well.

  19. Mocha with Linda September 19, 2013 at 7:52 am #


    I loved reading this post and rejoice with you that your husband is safe! I can imagine what that must have been like for you as you were circling the airport and wondering if something else had happened.

    It was a pleasure to be at the table with you and Lynette and to meet Susie Dietze at the Gala. What a fun evening!

    And my husband and I are also entering the empty nest years with both of our kids in college this fall! Big transition!

    Love the picture!

  20. Beth K. Vogt September 19, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    I echo everyone’s “so thankful your husband is safe” comments, even as I continue to pray for the families affected.

  21. Barbara Robinson September 19, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    So glad your husband and his employees made it out safely. Thank God for those smalls things like the sound that means so much. Blessings, BJ

  22. Grace Fox September 19, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Praising God with you for your husband’s safety, and praying for those who lost their loved ones. Praying for revival across North America, too.

  23. Cynthia Herron September 19, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Tamela, so thankful God’s hand of protection was covering your husband! I’m praying for those who were affected…

  24. Rebecca Barlow Jordan September 19, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Tamela, praise God your husband was safe! My heart hurts for those families who were hurt or lost loved ones. Every day is so precious, isn’t it?

    Love, love the picture of you and your husband. And the word picture you painted in the last paragraph is priceless.

    It was good to meet you last year at ACFW. Hated to miss this year’s conference.

  25. Sharon Gillenwater September 19, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Praise God that your husband and his employees made it out safely! How wonderful to get the call from him before that first delay in the flight. I tried to read your post to my husband but got all choked up and couldn’t. Praying for the families and friends who lost loved ones on Monday. So, so sad.

  26. Steve Myers September 19, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Its hard to be in the eye of the storm both as an innocent bystander and as a professional. I have known similar instances as a journalist, radio broadcaster, and television producer in tornadoes, hurricanes, blue northerns, flash floods and in criminal or crisis atmospheres — but also as a bystander on the edge or the center of a criminal act. I know that all too well today moonlighting in security of a big box retailer during evening hours and post closing when the people of the night come out or threaten our otherwise comfortable parameters of our world. I speak a lot of breath prayers – just under my breath and recall scripture that is the only counter to offer peace.

    Its hard for most to find answers or reassurances these days it won’t happen ‘here’ and in ‘our’ lives. As a Christian believer I often embrace, ‘there but for the grace of God go I,’ philosophy but wrapped in scripture to persevere through. All I could post on Monday of making any sense and offering any comfort to your posts (and others on Facebook) was John 16:33:

    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

    Speaking for myself its how I cope with the daily stresses of volatile situations, accidents, incidents and life beyond our control in the world. That said its great to have smart phone access to be in touch with family and loved ones and specifically for me to ask for prayer.

    What touched me most of your day of posts Monday was about prayer and how your husband could feel those prayers. Makes me aware my prayers are not just bouncing off the rafters above but actively at work in those whose hearts are tuned to God’s voice.

    My prayer now is for healing of all involved from Washington to those of us around the world who watched it unfold, the political and all too often media debates of what to do and often of little productiveness beyond political correctness which in itself does not fix what is broken.

    What I have to do is focus on those scriptures of Jesus himself suggesting what I am to do as he has overcome the world. To take heart instead of loose it. It seems more and more of a constant challenge but its the best answer I can grasp.

  27. Janet Lee Barton September 19, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    So very glad and thankful that John and his employees made it out and that you were home when he got there. Praying for all who are dealing with this tragedy.
    And I love the picture of you and John.

  28. Anne Prado September 19, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Praise God!!! And great picture as well. Wish I’d been able to go watch you at the conference!

  29. Dawn Kinzer September 19, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Tamela. Like others, I’m so glad your husband made it out of the building unharmed. We hear about tragedies on the news every day, but it hits home and affects us so much more when we know someone personally connected..

  30. Shannon McNear September 19, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Oh Tamela, I’m so glad to hear your husband made it out safely!! I saw the coverage during my short layover in Newark and like others began praying for those involved.

    It was good to see you at conference–thank you so much for that workshop with Steve, and for sharing your most excellent chocolate while I was working as appointment timekeeper! :-) I nearly mentioned that I was a Liberty U girl once upon a time, and lived very near Lynchburg College for the first few years of married life. :-) I still miss the Lynchburg area.

    Blessings on you and your husband as he continues to deal with the aftereffects of the shooting. Mine also works Dept of Defense, and well, yes, it could have been any of us … how we need that reminder to be grateful!

  31. Andrea Cox September 19, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Tamela, I’m praising the Lord with you that your husband (and his employees) got out safely. My heart goes out to those who lost someone they love.


  32. Rajdeep Paulus September 19, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Wow, Tamela,

    I was just stopping by to say hello to you and thank you for you kind and encouraging words you said to me when you got off the elevator. The same elevator I directed you do on day one of ACFW. :)

    Had no idea your hubby was in the midst of the Naval Yard crisis. What a miracle that he’s okay! What a sobering moment to be back in his arms after the unknowns you wrestled with during your flight and landing. What a story of grace. And I meant it when I said, I loved seeing the pics of you two, such an example of how marriages can last and love can endure years. Thankful you two lovebirds still have time.

    Hugs and Smiles. Exhaling,


  33. Lorraine Walker September 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Tamela, so happy you had a great time at ACFW and even happier that hubby is safe. Love the picture in this post.
    Blessings, Lorraine

  34. Ane Mulligan September 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    I’m so glad he got you before you heard it any other way, Tamela. Praise God!

  35. Kimberly Buckner September 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Just, wow.
    I’m so glad he’s okay!

  36. James Rogers September 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    I am very happy that tragedy was avoided in your immediate family. Unfortunately in my line of work (CSI), and my personal life, I often see it turn out otherwise. I intentionally keep past happy words, sounds, smells, images of my family, and God’s promises locked away in my mind for just such occasions of worry and woe. I hope you, or anyone else, ever has to go experience the feelings on that plane. Keep happiness stored away in your memory for times of trouble it will help. May God bless you and yours.

  37. Dana McNeely September 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    I’m so thankful he’s okay, too Tamela. And what a sweet picture of the two of you.

  38. Deborah K. Anderson September 19, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    I know exactly what you mean by the sound of the door. So very glad you’re still hearing it. God bless you both.

  39. Mart Ramirez September 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Oh, wow, Tamela!! I am so glad your husband is okay!!!! And I’m so glad he was able to call you! God is so good! And what an amazing title John has. And you too! So amazing.
    Beautiful pic of you both!

  40. Elva Cobb Martin September 20, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    Tamela, I am so happy your husband was delivered! BTW he looks like a warm teddy. Or maybe that’s just relief and thankfulness on his face? Blessings, Elva Cobb Martin

  41. S. Kim Henson September 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Thanking God your husband came home safe. Praying for those not as fortunate. Beautiful photo of love.

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