Inspiring Women Series - Natalie

Mar 24, 2011

Ask any blogger and they will tell you one of the highlights of blogging is when we get to meet an online friend in the flesh!  So of course, I was very excited last week to have the opportunity to meet Natalie for the first time.  She is an amazing wife and mother of three who stays very busy!  You can visit her blog at Mommy on Fire to get to know her better.

Let's chat with Natalie:

You had a rough start in life with an alcoholic father.  How did you cope with such an unstable life?
Honestly, I didn’t realize it was unstable in the midst of my trauma because I was a child and there was much I didn’t understand.  I was definitely more anxious than most children my age and I remember feeling a longing to see my father almost always (my parents divorced when I was six years old due to his alcoholism and various behaviors that partner with this horrible disease) but I have to credit my mother in working hard to create the healthiest and safest environment as possible given the somewhat torrential circumstances that surrounded us.  

In addition, I had very stable and loving grandparents who lived less than five minutes from us and I was fortunate enough to spend a decent amount of time with them.  My grandparents continue to be a very influential part of my life - my sweet Grandjack passed away four years ago and until his death, we had a very close relationship. My Meemo is still living (she just turned 85!) and we remain close as well.  I’m so thankful my children can know her and they adore her as well - it’s a blessing to see history repeat itself.

You’ve shared on your blog that you had an abortion in college.  How have you been able to heal from this experience?
This is an issue I buried for a long time because it was just too ugly to face.  I knew God would forgive me for a choice I made when I wasn’t following Him (and even if my choice had been made when I was following Him!) but at the same time, I had a difficult time forgiving myself.  

I heard all of the pro-choice arguments - it’s not a baby yet, it’s simply a cell, and it’s your “right” - and I chose to believe them because that’s what aligned with the choice I had made.  However, after having my own children and choosing to follow Christ four years after my abortion, I began to realize the magnitude of what I had done.  

The “higher up and deeper in” I found myself in my walk with God, the more I realized that this was unnecessary baggage I was carrying and it was actually a lack of faith and trust in who He is to keep trying to schlep it around.  I released it and felt a nudge to start writing about it because the statistics tell us that 45% of women aged 40-55 admit to having an abortion at some point in their lives!  That’s almost half of the women of our population and yet the subject remains taboo and dialogue about this issue is not often encouraged.  Therefore, women in my position walk around believing the lies that are being implanted in their minds because they don’t have anyone to talk with about their feelings of guilt, despair, “dirtiness”, and, as one of my friends put it, committing the “one thing God will never forgive.”
I had been feeling a nudge to speak out on this topic but when I heard my dear sister utter those words, I knew it was time for the lies to stop.  I have been washed by the water and I hate to see women who have made a similar choice living in such captivity. God’s grace and mercy is such a gift and it’s got all of our names on the tag.  There’s no reason - even abortion - He won’t allow us to open it.

When your father died and you were going through a divorce, did you feel God calling you at any time?
Absolutely - this is when I chose to follow Christ.  I married my college sweetheart two years after choosing to end our pregnancy.  He developed a very serious drug addiction and was repeatedly unfaithful - I soon found myself in the throes of a divorce at the age of 27.  Soon after making the decision to file for divorce, my father, who had battled alcoholism for most of his life and at one point, lived on the streets of Indianapolis, died of COPD very unexpectedly.  Luckily, he was sober for the last six years of his life and we were able to develop a relationship but ultimately, it was his addiction to cigarettes that ended up taking his life.  I am so comforted in knowing that he had found Jesus and I have no doubt where he is now yet I am so saddened that he doesn’t know my three children in an earthly way.  I’m so thankful I will see him again one day!

Who has been an inspiration in your life?
As I mentioned before, my mother.  My sweet, stable grandparents.  But the one I haven’t mentioned yet?  My ever-patient, ever-gracious husband.  We met two years after my divorce and we were both wounded birds.  He had also been married for a year and we were the same age.  God had always planned for us to be together but in His own time - we were even at the same college at the same time and didn’t know one another!  He teaches me about God’s love constantly - he forgives me more than I deserve and he just “gets me” and can lovingly (usually J) call me to the mat on things I need to be called on.  He makes me walk closer to our God and he’s an incredible father to our children.

Can you describe how God has worked through the tragedy in your life to bring you into a life of faith?
God began working very hard on me during my divorce and the loss of my father.  My aunt had given me a Michael W. Smith CD and I had aligned my path with a mentor from a group called “Priority Associates” which is basically Campus Crusade for working professionals.  

I also started running and this gave me a chance to think, pray, and reflect.  My running group met at a church - all of the pieces were put together and it began to make sense to me.  I devoted my life to Christ at 28 and I haven’t looked back since.

Through all of the trials I have endured, Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28 were my guiding forces. 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you, not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future,” reads Jeremiah 29:11.   Romans 8:28 tells us that “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  

I realized His plan for me was indeed good and now I use my somewhat wild story to glorify our God and what He can do.  He literally restored my crown of ashes to a crown of beauty.
Today I am happily married and I have been given extreme mercy in the gift of my beautiful and healthy children. I often think of the verse from 2 Samuel 7: 18 which reads “Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”
Who am I that you would bring me this far?

A child of the king.  His princess.  One worthy of a crown of beauty.  Beloved.  Cherished.  Protected when hurting.  One who has been provided for beautifully.
And the best part?

That’s available to every last one of us.

Thank you, Cherie, for featuring me today.  I loved meeting you IN PERSON last week.  You are a beautiful soul - not to mention lovely on the outside, too. 

Natalie, you have such a beautiful story of redemption.  Thank you for sharing it with us today.  I LOVED meeting you last week as well!


SomeGirl,  March 24, 2011 7:15 AM  

Thanks for sharing this and letting us all get to know Natalie more!

Lisa,  March 24, 2011 8:50 AM  

Thank you for featuring this inspiring lady! I enjoyed reading what she had to say!

Mel,  March 24, 2011 9:25 PM  

Wow, Natalie and I share so much in common. Alcoholic father who got sober and died because of cigarettes :( Thank you for sharing so much of your heart in this interview. I look forward to reading your blog.

Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

Marci,  March 27, 2011 9:47 PM  

It was great getting to know you better, Natalie. You are truly inspiring!

Jenn,  March 28, 2011 11:16 PM  

i love that y'all got to meet! (a tad jealous, but happy for you!) ;) ....and i also love that i feel like i know natalie even more now :) you both are such an inspiration....

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