What joy it is to share my precious friend, Natalie, with you all today! Matt & I had the privilege of journeying through a newlywed small group with Natalie and her husband Darin almost 2 years ago!
We forged a friendship and deep bond through this weekly meetings of sharing our hearts and have continued to stay in touch. It has been so neat to see the Lord's hand at work in both of our lives as things look a bit different than either one of us anticipated at this point in our lives, but we've also learned to trust the faithfulness of our heavenly Father.
I hope Natalie's transparency and story encourage your heart today, sweet friends! Never doubt how seen and loved you are!
Share where you currently live:
I live in Chamblee, Georgia which is in the Atlanta metro area.
Share where you grew up:
I grew up all over the world, including seven years in Europe. I have lived in Atlanta for over 14 years now.
Share about your family/your job/living situation:
I am a newlywed with two awesome step-teens. I taught English/Reading to tweens and teens for almost ten years, and I am going on my third year coaching teachers on best practices to use in their classroom.
Share your favorite book and/or podcast:
My favorite book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It is a historical fiction book based off the story of Hosea during the Gold Rush. I’ve read it at least 10 times! Life is a Marathon is an incredible podcast I stumbled upon about personal development/success. I like that it’s not geared towards moms or business people or young or old. It just helps all people grow.
Share your favorite quote and/or Bible verse:
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everyone and everything. Ephesians 1:11-12 (The Message)
“You had the power all along, my dear.” Glinda, the Good Witch
Share your favorite beverage:
Sweet tea, and specifically Chik-Fil-A sweet tea. I should own stock.
Share one of the biggest losses you’ve experienced:
Loss of years of my life feeling and thinking like a victim. After a job change, a relationship ending, a move and turning 30, I felt and thought like I was a victim. It was as if with each passing week, marriage, friends moving, friends having a baby, I was missing out on life. I thought I was losing at life. I began choosing poorly in my dating choices, friend choices, and even my job choices, but I blamed it on being single or my co-workers or my friends. For several years, my life spun away from God and away from good. It was finally hitting a lonely, rock-bottom place around 33 that I woke up and saw that I was doing a lot of it to myself.
Share some of the choices that have been most helpful in continuing to move you forward and supporting you while you are healing:
Some of the greatest things I did that led me to a healing place were joining a CBT therapy group, joining a Beth Moore Bible study, and taking action with my life. The therapy helped my thinking, the Bible Study helped me spiritually, and action helped all areas. It is with action that courage is sprung. Buying a house, running a half-marathon, and trying new things like tennis or horseback riding pushed me outside of my comfort zone and taught me I was stronger, braver, and smarter than I believed.
Share some ways you have tried to incorporate laughter and fun in the midst of the hurt:
My friends were the source of laughter and fun for so many years, but adventures and new experiences made me laugh and have fun too. And those were things I could control and decide to do even if my friends were busy at Home Depot with husbands on a Friday night and play dates with their kids. Intentionally watching funny movies or shows, reading funny books, trying to make homemade complex dishes like tamales or perfecting the omelet, and traveling gave me great joy. Basically, I invested in finding what I loved doing. That was the stuff I wasn’t doing in my “victim” years.
Share how this experience has been instrumental in leading you to where you are today:
As I grew stronger and changed my perspective from being a victim to being in control of my life (within God’s design), I quit the job I was miserable in, and began a life where I pursued things that brought me joy. As I pursued that, I became happier and more decisive. I knew more of what I wanted and what I didn’t want. As I became sure of what I wanted, who I was, and was happy with those, I met my husband. It also led me back to a better fit for me in my career which is coaching and developing people outside of the classroom.
Share any tips/advice/love for others who have gone through something similar:
You are in charge of the outcomes in your life. Get a life coach or a counselor! Best money I ever spent. Start making space for action and discovering the adventures and gifts that God has given you. Give yourself time to become physically healthy! What you eat and what you do is tied in with what you think and how you feel. God made us complex and connected. One connects to the other. Believe you are stronger, smarter, and braver than you ever thought possible. Go try new things and stop wasting time thinking of what you don’t have or who you don’t have! Last, but not least…pray! Stay connected to the one who made you. He knows best.
Instagram: Goal in 2017!