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February 20, 2011

That's my Dad....And that's my Mom.

2/13/11

It has been just over a month since the funeral. I still can't believe how slowly time seems to be going by. I guess when you spend your days missing someone, time can seem to go by slower.

It was Sunday and I woke up with a heavy heart. I knew that a day at Church would definately cheer me up and so I pressed forward.

When I got to Church and was heading up to my Sunday School class I noticed all of the visitors. The busses have been full week after week and we have had so many visitors stopping by the Church. It was so encouraging to see our entire auditorium completely full Sunday after Sunday. You can't help but smile seeing that, no mater how heavy your heart may be.

God has been doing an amazing work in our Church. It seems like a revival has broken out and I can't help but feel like Maddie has been a part of that.

You see, our whole Church lost her too. They miss her too. I'm so thankful for such an amazing Church family who is taking our hands, and walking through this valley with us. We have been so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in our lives.

If you don't attend Church, you should find one. It's like having another family who is there for you all the time. It really is a wonderful thing.

So, as I headed upstairs, encouraged on this Sunday morning, I had no idea what God had in store for me.

Once I sat down and saw the girl's filing in, I sat in awe. My class was packed, and along with my regulars, I had 7 visitors that day.

I opened my Bible and began to teach a lesson on facing giants in our lives. I taught on David and Goliath and wow did the Lord work. I noticed the intent eyes and ears as I taught and couldn't help but take advantage of all the wonderful things that the Lord was giving me.

At the end of the lesson, I began to give the plan of Salvation, never expecting that every little girl in their "knows" God and is saved. Many girls raised their hands that they knew for sure, but there was one who looked confused and unsure.

After I dismissed class, I asked her to stay behind for a moment so I could talk to her more. Two of the other girls asked to stay too. I spent the next 20 minutes talking to them and helping them to better understand the Lord and his son Jesus Christ. The one girl, who at the beginning didn't even know if she believed in God, by the end not only believed but was ready to trust Him!!! Praise God.

I led all three girl's to the Lord and with smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes, the came to know the Lord. What a blessing!

They all hugged me and loved on me afterward and thaked me for showing them in the Bible that they too could know for sure they would go to Heaven. And for showing them how to recieve Jesus in their hearts.

I'm so thankful that God used me this day. I'm so thankful that even in my deepest valley, God can still work. I'm so thakful that 3 more people are headed to Heaven today. And I'm thankful that they will get to meet my sweet Maddie Grace that I talked to them about.

If that couldn't cheer me up, I don't know what would. Maybe it sounds strange, but Rick and I have both stated that leading a soul to Christ makes us feel closer to Maddie. It's like we can feel connected to her knowing someone else will one day be where she is. I'm so thankful for Heaven.

As my day went on, and I was rejoicing, I was still struggling. I think that Satan looks for any window of opportunity to get in and discourage me. I was starting to really miss Maddie and by the time lunch was over, I was in tears.

I cried all the way home and asked Rick if it would ever get easier. For my heart is still so full of sorrow and pain. He began to remind me of what had happened just earlier that morning and how God was working in our lives. He spent all Sunday afternoon holding me and loving on me. I'm so blessed to have him.

As we headed back to Church that night I was ready to hear him preach. Even though he runs his sermons by me and usually asks how they sound, it's like he amazes me every time he stands behind that pulpit. My hubby has got some "preach" in Him! =) If you have never heard him, you should. He's amazing and God has really blessed him with this ability and opportunity.

So, that night he got up and began to preach on Job.
As many of you know the story, Job was considered by God a faithful servant, a perfect(mature) and upright man; One who feared God and fled from evil. He was a man who had much, 10 children, much livestock, and a great household. The Bible says in Job 1:3b so this man was the greatest of all men of the east.

Satan(as he will) tried to get to Job. He questioned what would happen if the hedge(God's protective hand) was removed from around him. He said that Job would curse God. Knowing the heart of His servant, God knew better. He knew Job would not turn his back on Him. He knew his servant.

As I watched my husband stand and preach from this book of Job, listening to loss after loss that this man endured. I found myself rejoicing. Job overcame. He did not give in. He lost everything that he had, but he still trusted in and loved the Lord

And many of you have said it, but it finally sunk in to me.

God finds me worthy.

Praise God, he finds me worthy. He is trusting me with this trial in my life because He knows I can make it through.

And even though day after day, I have to beg Him to help me. He does.

Rick said that night "This cross that my wife and I have to bear is ours. No one can bear it for us. And though some days it may be hard, God has counted us worthy to bear it."

Wow. What an honor. What a God.

And as he continued to preach and speak of the wonderful story of Job, I found myself saying once again, "I can do this!" "I can get through."

Then, what he said next, really pulled at my heart strings.

He said "This weekend has been amazing. We have seen 6 souls come to know the Lord and I'm so thankful to have been a part of that."

"I can't help but think that yesterday as I led a lady to the Lord that my little girl looked down from Heaven and said...

"that's my Dad"

and then this morning as three teenage girls accepted Christ, she looked down again and said...

"and that's my Mom".

(CHILLS)

What a thought. In that moment, I wanted my girl to be proud. I want her legacy to live on. For as the angels were rejoicing of the Salvation's in Heaven, she was there. She heard the cheering and the rejoicing. She was there and she was a witness.

I hope she is proud of me. I'm sure proud of her. I hope I can continue the rest of my days to remember that there is a higher calling and that it is to Heaven. I can't wait to go there when the Lord see's fit. I can't wait to see all those who will be coming with me. I sure hope that you are going too. And if there is any way I can encourage you to make sure you know your going, I will.

Please message me or email me if you would like to know more about getting saved. I always have time to share the Gospel. Please don't wait, for as you know, we aren't confident in tomorrow. Life can be so short. Maddie proved that to me.

And so, as I go through my days I will continue to do my best to stay strong and to know that God has counted me worthy.

I don't know why, but He has.

It has been said to me that this trial can make me "better" or it can make me "bitter." Oh I want to be better. I want to like Job, live for the Lord all my days, and at the end of my life I hope that God will consider me a faithful servant.

Day by day may I point people to Him. And though I will fall and I will fail, may I get up again and press forward. May my wonderful Saviour be proud of me. May my sweet girl continue to say about her parents "That's my Dad, and that's my Mom."

I love that. I love her. Thank you Lord for your blesings on me!

Job 42:12 So the Lord blessed the later end of Job more than the beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand oxen, and a thousand she asses.
13 He has also had seven sons and three daughters.

God is good!

11 comments:

  1. Natalie! You have been blessed with words. Part of me wanted to read your blog today because I wonder how you're doing, & part of me wanted to read because I didn't know if "that's my dad...and that's my mom" would be about Dave and Cindy. I love them and wanted to peek into their lives a little bit if there was a story about them in your blog. It's hard to stay connected from so far away sometimes, you know?

    Anyway, I had tears streaming down my face from this blog. It was beautiful. I wish I could have been there for Rick's sermon; I've only heard his dad preach. I bet he's like hearing our mutual friend Kirk Kirkland preach; everytime people hear he will be behind the pulpit, they rush to hear him speak. He moves people. Well, God moves people through him! I see how proud you are of your husband and I wish that for everyone! I'm so glad you have each other...you're one strong couple.

    I thought I would share that one of my closest friends was telling her mother about the story of Maddie, and her mom said simply, "Do they have God in their lives?" and she knew that you did. She told her that you did. Her mother said calmly, "Good, don't you worry too much about them; they need Him in their lives to get through this, and He will." So, although her mom didn't know you guys, she knows that you will be okay. We all love you and pray for you.

    It is so hard being a teenager. I feel like I can remember back in the day when my family was not the greatest influence...but I found church and had wonderful people like you helping me realize that I was beautiful and that God had plans for my life that didn't include what I grew up around. You're doing the same thing for other girls that age and that is so very honorable and amazing. You ARE making a difference in this world and I admire you.

    This comment is rambling and long and I still don't know what I was trying to accomplish when I started typing. Please forgive me for being all over the place, but I had so many thoughts that came over me when I read your blog and wanted to comment on them! :) Love you guys and hope to see you sometime in the near future. Kiss Dave on the cheek for me next time you see him, please!
    --Missi (not anonymous!)

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  2. Nat i know what you mean about previewing Ricks sermons i had that privilage many years and loved every minute of it. once again your blog made me tear up. keep looking up for your strength. love you and Rick.
    from Steve Stidam

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  3. Natalie,

    My 3 yr. old & just turned 5 yr. old remind me to pray for your sweet family almost daily during our prayer time together! You don't know how many people's lives you are effecting for the better!!

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  4. love, love this post. Love your heart for the lost. Your sorrow is great, so greatly you sow,you water with your tears and great will be the day of harvest...

    In a moment of grief when all words lose their meaning.
    And all that you loved cant stay though your clinging.
    And emptiness fills like the floods of a river.
    Tears stop running and all that's left is a shiver.
    Then out of the darkness a voice comes so near.
    So softly it speaks and you can hardly hear.
    But you know the words you've heard them before.
    AS the Loving one calls as He stands in that door.
    Pleading you ask, "Can I not enter in?"
    "Can't I just peak" is Your beckon to Him.
    Smiling he offers a tender powerful touch.
    Oh How you Love Him, but you Miss her so much.
    Just one look..But He give you a No.
    The Tears begin falling in a bitter, salty flow.
    Then He bends down and Whispers your name.
    And says my dear Mother, this is the reason I came.
    This same door that I came to knock,
    she answered and welcomed me, I am Who she sought.
    So as she waits on this glory side,
    know I am with her, as with me she abides.
    And though you cannot even look in,
    Know she is happy and surrounded by friends.
    One day this door, will open for you.
    And all that you believed will be confirmed in My Truth.
    As sight replaces Faith and you bow at my feet.
    You won't even see her because you'll be Caught up in me.
    But then one day, as you are walking that street.
    you'll hear her voice and you'll run to meet.
    She in her Perfection and you in yours.
    Laughing and rejoicing over all that's in store.
    Not long dear mother. And you will see.
    That though you miss you baby,
    she is caught up,
    in Me.

    love,
    Tammy

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  5. Wow, amazing!!! That brought tears to my eyes. I am certain Maddie is proud of both you and Rick. Your testimony is inspiring and I am in awe of you!
    xoxoxoxo

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  6. Oh, Missy... You are so precious. I just adore you. Thank you for all your sweet words.
    My Dad and Mom are doing okay. My Dad is handling everything better than Mom. He's so strong. He misses you. We talk of you often.
    I wish you could hear Rick too. I've heard Kirk and He is amazing. They do have a similarity having both trained under Pastor Sexton in college. I would love to hear them preach together!=)
    What a sweet comment your friends Mom made. I don't know how people go through something like this without God. She's right. We will be okay. Thank you for sharing our story with them.

    Missi, you are a beautiful person. I'm so glad you had a good Church growing up. It makes such a difference to have positive people in our lives. Thank you for saying I'm making a difference. Wow, what a compliment. You are so precious to me.

    Thank you for sharing your heart here. Everything you said means so much. Our family just adores you. Thank you for thinking of me and reading along. Love ya girl!

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  7. Natalie, what a testimony! God is good. So excited to see more things God is doing through the life of your little Maddie!

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  8. I sat down in front of the computer this morning after having a busy morning of housework and school, and I wanted to catch up on some of your posts that I missed while we were gone.

    The boys were splashing away in the tub as I read this post. Tears were streaming down my face as I read that part about "that's my dad...and that's my mom".

    I know Maddie is proud of you two! You are right, she heard the rejoicing in Heaven as 4 more souls were saved! What a thought! That is so convicting to me. I want to make Belle proud of me, the way you and Rick have made Madeline proud. That was one thing that has stuck with me all these years. Pastor Sexton told us at Belle's funeral, to live our lives so that she'll be proud of us. I have failed time and time again, but I can keep getting up and pressing forward as you said.
    Madeline was on the other side of the rejoicing that day. You heard the rejoicing here on earth, Madeline heard it in Heaven! This image in my mind, is breathtaking. I wish there were words to describe it.
    Natalie I know I've told you before, but I have to say it again. You are not writing this blog.....God is! Thank you from the bottom of my heart (and from all our hearts) for allowing the Lord to use you like this!
    My heart has been moved and touched in more ways than I knew possible through this blog. You are amazing. I admire you and look up to you! Your faith, strength, and inner beauty is something I desire for myself! I love you, and I'm so proud to have you as my close friend! I can't wait to see you this weekend!

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  9. This made me cry. What an AMAZING day. Your Maddie Grace is SO very proud of you!!

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  10. Natalie, I have been reading your blog for the past few weeks, and it has been such a blessing. I went to Crown for a year and a half (Aug. '01 to Dec. '02) and I remember you and Rick well. I always thought you made such a cute couple, and you were such a sweet and friendly person. My heart breaks for your loss, but I praise God for your wonderful testimony. He is truly using you in a marvelous way to comfort and challenge others. I know your beautiful Maddie is proud of you! I'm praying for you and your family.
    Lisa (Maloney) Swab

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