It all began in 1996. I had settled into the stay-at-home mom role and was homeschooling my three children. I had been married for 14 years, seven of which we’d spent in marriage counseling. That spring my husband, Jim, had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. No matter the amount of medications or counselors, nothing helped. Jim was a raging man who would claim that he loved me one moment, and then wanted to either end his life or the marriage in the next moment.
Jim repeatedly threatened suicide. In 1996 he made a suicide threat in front of our three young children. I knew that he was suffering, but I had to draw a line when it came to our kids. I mustered every bit of courage I had, countering with a threat of my own: “If you ever say suicide again, I will call the police.” Now, in South Dakota at that time it was a crime to threaten suicide. You didn’t get to go to the hospital—you went to jail, you paid a fine and you did community service and/or jail time. My threat made him fume, so he asked for a divorce.
I took a deep breath and said, “No. I’m not buying it. I don’t think you want to kill yourself and I don’t think you want a divorce.”
He stormed off, announcing that he would be sleeping on the couch. I thought, “good,” because I hated that hard, old couch, and I sure didn’t want to sleep next to him.
My outlook was fairly bleak: crazy husband, scary future. I was only 32 years old. I was still thin, and it was the 90’s—I had great hair. I toyed with the idea of going through with the divorce, thinking maybe somebody else might like to be married to me. But, instead, I sat down at my old word processor (which had been given to me by my neighbor and best friend) and started typing. Scenes and details flashed through my mind and all I could do was type—I typed 900 pages in 21 days. I typed from about 4:30 a.m. until 8:00 or later at night. My oldest daughter brought me food at my desk so that I didn’t have to get up. She and the neighbor were hooked on the story and would read the pages that I’d typed the day before.
The characters in the story I was typing deeply loved one another, and there was stability there—stability that I craved and needed—and to this day I believe that God sustained me with those stories to get through that rough time with my bipolar husband.
As I typed I was amazed at the colorful vivid descriptions that I’d find on the pages day after day. Lots of things I didn’t even remember writing, yet there it was on the page, in black and white.
The next month I typed 500 more pages. Yes, my husband was still stomping around, asking for a divorce or a separation, or anything—but he never mentioned suicide again.
And I read my Bible. The Psalms sustained me, and God’s power in the Old Testament gave me hope. Though Jim was continually asking for a divorce (and confessed some pretty horrific things) I never felt released to go through with it. I wanted my marriage to be fun and romantic, and I asked God for a miracle, but things just got worse and worse. I was often frustrated and asked God to just take my husband home—I thought I was living with a disobedient Christian. But then God would give me another awesome story and I’d be side-tracked once again.
Over the years I went to all of our counseling appointments, took care of my duties at home, and in my spare time I wrote like crazy. To date I have 19 novels planned for this series.
Our marriage battles continued for another 7 years. By the time we’d been married for 21 years we’d spent 14 years in counseling, and Jim had left us 3 times. I went to my LAST marriage counseling appointment on the Wednesday before Palm Sunday, 2003. Jim was still asking for a divorce, and I blew my stack—precipitating a horrible altercation with the counselor. I caved and said, “Fine. You want a stupid divorce, you can have it!” And I went home. I had no place else to go, and I wondered if Jim would stay at home after all that had happened with the counselor. He did.
On Palm Sunday, Jim got up with me and the kids and announced that he was going to church. I rolled my eyes, thinking, “You’re really a piece of work. You clamor to church on Sunday morning, but you put me through hell during the rest of the week.”
But you know what? Jim accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior that Palm Sunday, 2003. Within less than an hour, my life changed. He asked me for forgiveness a few minutes after the church service, admitting, “I’ve never wanted to kill myself, and I don’t want a divorce. I think we can work this out.” His very appearance changed that day. I am amazed when I look at photographs of him from before that day—he’s not the same man.
Jim doesn’t take drugs for depression, and he hasn’t for years. We don’t sit with marriage counselors every week. It’s an awesome life. And I’m so thankful that God didn’t take Jim when I asked Him to—because Jim didn’t have a home in heaven until that Palm Sunday, 2003.
I love telling that story, and I’ll tell it to anyone who will listen. Thank you for the opportunity to share it as a guest blog!
ABOUT TA’MARA HANSCOM
Having experienced the healing work of the Lord in their own marriage, Ta`Mara and her husband, Jim, are strong promoters of a healthy marriage through obedience to Christ. Ta`Mara shares a testimony of deliverance and healing for hurting marriages, as well as messages on other topics. References can be provided.
It is Ta`Mara’s prayer that, as the readers explore the truths in these volumes, they will come away with a new perspective on love, obedience, and God’s plan for marriage.
Ta`Mara Hanscom has worked on The Caselli Family Series since 1996. Within three weeks she had created a 900 page rough draft of what would become a five- novel series of the epic love story of Tillie Caselli and Noah Hansen.
Loving all things Italian, Ta`Mara created the Caselli family true to their ethnic name. Born and raised in South Dakota, she brings this traditional family alive on the Great Plains where she has spent the entirety of her life.
ABOUT THE CASELLI FAMILY SERIES
BOOK 1 – THE PRETENDER
My Jean-Marc’s uncle was married to an English woman, and she told us once, a very long time ago, that in this world there are men of two kinds. The one, the knight, is the man possessing only strength and quality of moral character. He will never ask a lady to compromise her honor for less than a vow, and never, ever will he consider another once he has captured her heart. A knight keeps his vow, even when it hurts, and the honor of a knight is a thing a country is built upon. A knight comes along only seldom these days.
Now, a blackguard is a man who can be found quite easily, for it is an easy thing to be a blackguard. He attempts to trick the young ladies into taking him home and caring for him, making them believe their honor can be given away as a mere trifle, offering no vow, and making only human demands. The blackguard is to be avoided at all costs, for to settle for someone like him is to settle for something less than ideal.
In the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, Tillie Caselli promises to marry Noah Hansen. Theirs’ was a love intended to last, and their promises were never to be broken. But when there’s an illusion of unfaithfulness, the result is an error in judgment—an error that changes the course of lives.
Epic romance, global adventure, ethnic passion, and Christian values inspire this new series.
BOOK 2 – PIT OF AMBITION
Rosa begged Guiseppi to reveal their prayers to Angel. But Guiseppi was stubborn…and the thing with Alex went too far. Guiseppi buried Noah’s identity deep within himself and demanded that Rosa do the same. Now Guiseppi is tempted to tell Angel the secret that is crushing his heart—but Noah will find out first!
BOOK 3 – A BLACKGUARD’S REDEMPTION
A Blackguard’s Redemption picks up where Pit of Ambition left off. Noah has discovered the identity of his beloved Angel and he schemes a way to have words with her alone at church.
Tillie is not at all happy with the situation. Surprisingly, she is still extremely angry with Noah for what transpired between the two of them more than eleven years before. She makes Noah promise that he will not ever tell Alex, or any of her brothers. Noah agrees.
Alex decides to run for political office—and it’s worse than ever. He reveals his real “blackguardly side” by notifying Tillie that he’s spent enough time at home with her and the kids, and that he should move (by himself) to another city. He leaves Tillie and the kids behind in order to pursue his career.
BOOK 4 – THE GIFT: THE STORY OF ANNIE LAURIE
They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.”
BOOK 5 – THE TRUTH: SALVATORE’S REVENGE
As Marquette Caselli plans his retirement, the pinnacle of his career takes center stage and the end of an era draws near…