Her Story: Tara Wood Waldrop

Motivating Stories from Local Women


Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for a truly motivating story by a woman who experienced them firsthand.


Photography by Emily Pérez Long / Photos taken on location at the Chattanooga Choo Choo




Tara Wood Waldrop, Ringgold


A colleague once told me I lived a “charmed life.” She was kindly referring to me being married to a wonderful husband, having a healthy son, a good education that allowed me to work as a clinical social worker, and many other blessings. I thought of her words often throughout the years, but never more than on August 28, 2016, when my life no longer felt charming.

It was a typical Sunday. Our family went to church, and my son attended a youth event. When my son and I came home, we found my 45-year-old husband unresponsive on our floor. After performing CPR, praying over his body, and following the ambulance to the ER, I soon learned the life I’d known and the charm I was accustomed to were gone, along with my sweet husband.

My life was different in so many ways: I was now one, not two; my best friend wasn’t there for guidance and support or to help raise our son. I had never felt more alone than in those first two years after losing Todd.

The amazing thing I learned through this loss was that I was never alone to begin with. My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was with me every step of the way and showed himself often through help, love, and support from friends, family, neighbors, church members, school families, and countless others.

I learned it was okay for me to allow others to help, and that I couldn’t do everything on my own. I often tried to and failed. Not allowing others to help was robbing them of a potential blessing. I was often the one helping others, but now I was the one receiving the help.

There are times in our lives when we’re going to need help. It’s vitally important to allow others to provide help, even when it’s out of our comfort zone. A statement by the late Elizabeth Elliot means a lot to me: “God’s story never ends in ashes.” He used himself and others to help raise me up from what felt like ashes to experiencing charm once again.

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