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Tamra Barbieri

Tamra BarbieriCan God Be Trusted?

Is God in control or is He not in control? After her 33-year-old sister-in-law and her best friend died, Tamra Barbieri’s unanswered questions and grief forced her to ask herself if she trusted God.

“It’s through those terrible tragedies that God strengthens us. He grows us,” she said.

Tamra, a student in her final year of the Biblical Counseling program, is passionate about the hope Christ offers to hurting people. “God is victorious. I think sometimes we give up and say, ‘God is not powerful enough.’”

A mother of twin daughters and a son, Tamra enrolled at Dallas Seminary in 2002 and recalls her first class—Bible Study Methods—with Dr. Howard Hendricks. “I just ate it up,” she said, “and I knew my husband, Jeff, needed to be here. So I just kept praying about it.”

A year later God honored Tamra’s prayer. Jeff approached his employer, Nortel, about reducing his hours and was shocked when they not only promoted him, but also allowed him to retain full healthcare benefits and a flexible work schedule to accommodate his classes. With no more obstacles, Jeff enrolled in the Th.M., Pastoral Ministries, program in 2003. Then God supplied a full year’s tuition for both Tamra and Jeff through their friends and family.

“God has continued to do that,” Tamra said. “He has faithfully provided for us in amazing and unexpected ways. I can’t begin to tell you how He has increased our faith.”

While Jeff feels called to the pastorate, Tamra feels her ministry will blend several elements. A counseling major, Tamra also leads the Seminary’s Women Students’ Fellowship Board, co-teaches an adult Bible study with her husband, and teaches a Bible study for her teenage daughters and their friends. Passionate about strengthening marriages, Tamra and Jeff also teach marital-enrichment workshops.

“I just want to be wherever God wants me to be,” she said. “That’s the most exciting place.” Open to God’s plan, Tamra and her family continue to focus on God’s faithfulness in the past to guide them in the future.

Where the deaths of her sister-in-law and friend cast darkness on her days just before she entered seminary, Tamra said the darkness surrounding her family is different now. “God is illuminating only the next step and we are following that light. The dark just represents the unknown.”

What she does know for certain is that God is in control—and that He is more than trustworthy.