Admiration Mondays: Tara Malouf

I haven’t done an Admiration Monday post in a while and I thought it was high time to bring it back. So, today I want to tell you about my friend, Tara Malouf.

I’ve known Tara since I was in High School. Her husband was my youth pastor and she was my discipleship leader my senior year. She has been an incredible source of comfort, encouragement and truth for me over the years. Tara has always been someone in my life who I could turn to when I needed advice and help. I always know that she will really listen without putting her own paradigm on what I share, and without judging me for the doubts and questions and struggles I raise. She will honestly listen and let me express and feel what I need to express and feel, but she also won’t let me get away with lies and half-truths. She is compassionate and empathetic, a wonderfully non-judging listener, but she is also not afraid to call things what they are and speak truth where needed and I love that about Tara.

Another thing I love about Tara is her authenticity. She has never hesitated to share her thoughts and life and struggles with me. I remember even when she was my discipleship leader in high school she didn’t put on this “I have it all together” mask and just teach us, she often brought in experiences from her own life and shared with us from where she had been and where she was at that moment. And she has continued to do that more and more as I have gotten to know her more. Tara is never fake. She never puts up a façade and pretends to be something she isn’t; she is truly and unapologetically honest before God and others. I really admire that about her.

Tara also has a very real and authentic and genuine desire to follow God in everything she does. She strives to listen to God and then obey and follow where He leads her even if the way looks dark and uncertain. God has definitely taken her and her family through dark and uncertain times and I truly admire the way she whole heartedly followed Him through everything that He brought her way. Tara’s faith is real and messy, alive and whole. There is no area of her life that God isn’t involved in and that is truly admirable in an age where we so often compartmentalize our lives and relationship with God. While others talk about and strive to make their life and relationship with God holistic, Tara’s already is.

Tara is also one of the most creative individuals I know. Her creativity pours out in all areas of her live – in her photography, in her writing, in various activities she plans, in the way she treats and interacts with her kids, in the way she encourages and mentors others, and so much more. Tara oozes creativity and I love that about her. Every time I talk to her she has some new project she is working on or some new way in which she is using her creative talents for the kingdom of God.

I was blessed to be able to live with Tara and family for a while back in college and I saw so much beauty and splendor in her. But, one thing that really sticks out to me from that time is the way she interacts with her children. I’m sure she has her bad days with her kids, just like every other mom, but Tara is an amazing mom, one of the best mom’s I know. And I got to see firsthand her being a mom to her two beautiful kids day in and day out. I loved watching Tara play with her kids and I loved watching her teach them, and I loved that so often the lines between teaching and play became blurred. I have often prayed that God would make me as good a mom as Tara.

There is so much more I could say about my friend, Tara. She is truly an amazing and beautiful woman. I wish everyone could know Tara, but I know that’s not possible, so for now I count it my blessing to be able to say I know her, and I encourage you to at least check out her blog or family web site or this amazing project that she is working on so that you can know her a little too.  

Lord Jesus, Bless my friend, Tara! Circle her, Lord, Be beside her, on her right and her left, Be before her, and behind her, Be above and below her. Surround her, Lord, so that all who meet her would meet you. Lord, give her the fruits of deep friendship. Use her creativity and talents and authentic heart for the glory of your kingdom. May she continue to dive deeply into you and to lead others to dive deeply into you. Lord, give her more and more the life that you promise, full life, abundant life. Provide for all her needs, that she may in turn provide for the needs of others. And as you call her to new land and new areas of influence give her peace and courage to follow you through each bend in the road. Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon her, And establish Thou the work of her hands. Establish Thou the work of her hands. Amen.

I love you, Tara!

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman

Photograph of Tara, me, and Kathi in Prague taken by unknown stranger