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Beauty for Ashes: How Terry Gobanga Crawled Out of Darkness After Tragedy

“I suggested getting another duvet. But Harry said he couldn’t get it as he didn’t have enough strength. Strangely, I couldn’t stand up either. We realized something was very wrong. He passed out. I passed out. I remember coming to. I would call him. At times he would respond, at other times he wouldn’t. I pushed myself out of bed and threw up, which gave me some strength. I started crawling to the phone. I called my neighbour and said: ‘Something is wrong, Harry is not responding.'”

Terry was going in and out of consciousness as the neighbor arrived with a swarm of people. They rushed the couple to the hospital where Harry unfortunately passed away.

“Going back to church for the funeral was terrible. Just a month earlier I had been there in my white dress, with Harry standing at the front looking handsome in his suit. Now, I was in black and he was being wheeled in, in a casket.”

The charcoal burner had filled their bedroom with carbon monoxide, and ultimately poisoned Harry to death.

Terry says it was in the days and months that followed Harry’s death when she felt completely let down by God. She broke down.

“One day I was sitting on the balcony looking at the birds chirping away and I said: ‘God, how can you take care of the birds and not me?’ In that instant I remembered there are 24 hours a day—sitting in depression with your curtains closed, no-one’s going to give you back those 24 hours. Before you know, it’s a week, a month, a year wasted away. That was a tough reality.”

Terry promised herself she would never get married again after enduring the unbearable loss of Harry. But through her grief, there was one man who God was using to heal her heart—Tonny Gobanga.

“He would encourage me to talk about my husband and think about the good times. One time he didn’t call for three days and I was so angry. That’s when it hit me that I had fallen for him.”

Before long, Tonny proposed to Terry, but still she had reservations as to whether or not he could love all of her—even through her brokenness and inability to have children.

Terry Gobanga

Tony squashed those doubts without a second thought:

“Children are a gift from God,” he said. “If we get them, Amen. If not, I will have more time to love you.”

Three years after her “second wedding” to Harry, Terry found herself at the altar again—this time flooded with emotion and fears—praying that God wouldn’t let Tonny die too.

One year into their marriage, Terry became ill. To her surprise, it wasn’t a sickness you could heal with medicine, but rather a sickness caused by pregnancy. She was expecting a child—the one doctors warned her she’d never be able to have!

After a careful pregnancy, Terry gave birth to a baby girl, Tehille. And four years later to another little girl, Towdah.

Terry Gobanga

Terry has since written a book called Crawling Out of Darkness, and she hopes that her experience would inspire other survivors of rape in knowing that they are not alone. Their story is not over, and God has far greater plans than the depression and shame that you feel in this time.

“I have forgiven my attackers. It wasn’t easy but I realized I was getting a raw deal by being upset with people who probably don’t care. My faith also encourages me to forgive and not repay evil with evil but with good.”

Terry says life doesn’t stop just because unthinkable circumstances happen. It’s our job to keep moving toward the incredible blessings God has waiting for us. “Crawl if you have to,” but no matter what, just keep moving forward.

Terry Gobanga
Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm
Bri is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure. She lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese in between capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras.

Toddler is Sick With Mystery Illness for 3 Months When Doctors Finally Discover What’s Lodged in Her Nose

A mom from the UK is sharing her story after her toddler suffered for three months with a mystery illness caused by an object unknowingly lodged in her nose.

Candace Cameron Bure’s Dreamy Family Vacation in Italy: ‘Take Me Back’

Candace Cameron Bure, loved for her roles on "Full House" and "Fuller House," recently took to Instagram to reminisce about her family's dream summer vacation in Italy.

Chip and Joanna Gaines: 11 Godly Secrets to an Epic Marriage and Family

Chip and Joanna Gaines are teaching us important lessons about marriage and family as they walk away from their HGTV show for the sake of their family.