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November 28, 2011

Beautiful Blessings...and Baby update!

This week has been one of both complete joy and sorrow for me.

I knew going into the Thanksgiving/Christmas Season, I would be missing Madeline more and more. Mostly because this time last year, I was so close to having her and with every event I attended, I thought, "she will be here for this next year."

Though God had other plans for her precious little life, as her mother, I had many plans for her here.

We had a wonderful simple Thanksgiving this year that included a visit with my grandparents and a day spent with Rick's family. We had a wonderful meal. We wrote out the things we are "thankful for" as we do each year, and we did a little Christmas shopping.

I enjoyed just being with family and enjoying the little things in life. I look at life so differently now.

I specifically remember one moment of the day when the kids were all gathered in Grandma Ross' bedroom and she was giving all them pedicures and foot massages. It was so sweet. They were all giggling and happy and just enjoying being together.

I thought about Jonah and how close his arrival is and how much I can't wait for him to be a part of these blessings that these kiddo's bring to our life. I'm so anxious to meet him and get him in my arms. I'm so ready to cuddle him and kiss him and do all the things I never got to experience with Maddie Grace.

Yet it's in those moments of what is to come that I feel Satan tries to put those doubts and fears in my mind that he too will not come home to stay. He too, will never wear the clothes hanging in his closet or sleep in his crib. In those moments, I struggle. Yet in those moments God reaches down once again with arms of comfort and compassion to help me through. God is helping me so much.

I may not get to put Maddie in her Christmas dress this year. I may not get to shop for her and buy her baby dolls, but I can't help but smile thinking she will spend Christmas with Christ; the one who this season is truly about... the one who died for me; and THAT is a blessing.

So as I am missing and aching for my sweet little girl, and everything reminds me of her; I am trying to remember to count my blessings and be thankful in all things.

So many times the last few weeks, I have felt so blessed. Through words, through actions, through little tokens and reminders.

Bailee, one of my sweet Sunday School girls recently gave me a necklace and a bracelet she had made for me...

Isn't that a precious keepsake to remember Maddie? She also gives me notes all the time with little bird drawings of our family... It melts my heart. My girls are learning to be a blessing in the life of others. <3

Then I read one of the sweetest comments under a photo on my fb page... It read the following...
"SUCH a beautiful family. I know it's probably hard not to think "maddie's missing" when looking at family pics...but Oh I see so much joy and grace, and Love of God radiating from your family. You can almost see the closeness of you all. I ...just love your little family. You are so precious. I know the road is not always easy, but when you have each people watching can only stand in awe as we watch you glorify the Lord, and show us all how to gracefully get through. You have such a beautiful family. I just can't say it enough! :)" Karly

-These words brought tears to my eyes, what a blessing. What a comfort. What a joy to know that Maddie's memory radiates on through our family photo's and blesses others.

I also had two of the sweetest messages written to me from some friends I got to see while attending one of the most amazing funerals I've ever attended. I saw the presense of God at work because of the life of a lady I love and adored, who lived a life that was to be admired. I saw revival breaking out in honor of her memory. I watched a Husband and Man of God with a broken heart and I watched as God was holding him. Then as I left, I was approached by the sweetest girl who wanted to meet me. She has followed my blog and prayed for me. I don't think she will know what her words meant to me that day. =)

So again, I was blessed by the words of others. Encouraged to push forward and keep going for the cause of Christ; for the memory of my little girl.

Then, as we approached our Sunday Service, I was blessed even more.
My Father in Law and Pastor has now been at our Church for 20 years. He has been serving in our town and community for 20 years... wow.

We prepared a wonderful anniversary celebration with singing, preaching and and special meal.
Rick preached a sermon on "How beautiful are the feet of those that preach the Gospel of peace." It was both an honor to our Pastor and a challenge to our people...

The Church was packed. God was there and the spirit was overwhelming. Tears were being shed all over the service and it was such a special time for our family and our Church.

After the service, we continued on next door for a meal and some testimonies. I saw person after person get up and say such wonderful things about our Pastor and our family. It was in that moment I was so blessed to be a part of such a wonderful thing; A part of a family who is serving the Lord together...
Elijah walking in "Papa's" shoes... =)
The Grandkids doing a presentation for Papa Ross

Through one of the hardest years of our lives, with the deaths of so many loved ones, we have overcome.
We have pulled together trusting in the Lord to lead us... And He has.

I can't imagine if I had never met Rick 13 years ago. I can't imagine had I not walked throught the doors of the Emmanuel Baptist Church and heard the Gospel preached. I can't imagine not having accepted Christ. I can't imagine not knowing I have eternity in Heaven. I can't imagine not being a part of the ministry that is taking place in our Church. It is a blessing.

I'm so thankful for a Faithful God and a Faithful Pastor.

As Rick stated in his message yesterday morning, "As we stood by the bed of our daughter, knowing she wasn't coming back, I didn't just want my Dad at the time... I wanted my Pastor and he was there."

My Pastor is a blessing to me. Because of his faithfulness to the ministry, I am where I am today. I am saved. I love the Lord. I am pushing forward for the cause of Christ even in the midst of trials and tragedies. God is good.

What a blessing.

So as the weeks pass and times are still hard for Rick and I, I just try to keep my eyes open to the good, and there is much....

Beautiful blessing after blessing... God is showing me He loves me. He is there and I am so thankful for that...

Can I encourage you to use your words for the good. Try to be a blessing to someone this week, you just never know how much of an impact you are making in someone's life. It may be just what they needed to get them through their day.

Much love and blessings,
My blessing above... <3

My blessings below... <3

Also... I had a Dr. appointment this afternoon and found out that I am already dilated 1.5-2 cm. I never dilate early!!! So I'm so excited!  Jonah Asher could come any time now but if not this week, his birthday will be next Thursday Dec the 8th. =) Yay! I'm still contracting so I guess we will wait and see...We are so ready to get him here. Please continue to pray for us and our anxious hearts! Thank you!


  1. Love, love, love this! ...and best of luck over the next couple weeks!!!



  3. <3 this post! YOu make me smile so often and yet I have not even met you! I pray for a very smoth and safe delivery for and baby.

  4. Another beautiful post! I am so blessed that my words can bless and encourage you! You are a wonderful example of a Godly wife and mom, and just an all around inspiration. :) Isn't it just awesome the little things God uses to lift our spirits. God is so good. By the way, I just love it when you talk about Maddie being with hard as it is that she's not here, it is a beautiful picture to think of her being with Him. ...beautiful... Much love from our family to yours! God bless!

  5. Natalie,
    even though I have never met you or your beautiful family, I feel like I know you because of the wonderful bond that we share in Christ! Ever since th e first day that I read your blog back in January, I have thought of you and prayed for you. I find myself checking your blog every few weeks to read you encourages me SO much more than you will ever know. You are "real"....I appreciate you sharing your true feelings. I am a mom of 4 children and know the real struggles that we face as Christian wives and moms!No, I have never had to deal with the loss of a child...can't even imagine your heartache. However, I find your daily encouragement so refreshing! I sit here, read your "letters", and cry with you.
    Thanks for sharing and I pray for a healthy and safe delivery of the baby.

  6. I enjoy your blog as many times as I can get into it. I see how Pastor celebrated his 20 years!I didn't see any pics of his mother and father with him. I would love to see how she is doing! Those are your children's great grandparents. They are so lucky to still have them! I was feeling a little sad because my mom died at this time last year, Dec. 22 and just reading your blog and knowing how you are and the family uplifts me. I hope to see the family again someday after I retire from teaching. You are a true woman of God! I admire you and your love of your life, Rick LOVE and BLESSINGS
    Take care

  7. I am sorry I had to post as anonymous but I couldnn't do it any way else. Your uncle Don is going to church more now and on Wednesdays also. I am not attending because of many things that have happened with him. I read your blog and I feel hope. I am just scared. I need counseling and help with the word of God! I need to feel that lost spirit again! No one knows what we go through and therefore doesn't understand our situation. All I know is that we have a daughter together and I love him so much. I will alwayss love him , as he is the love of my life also. Pray for us Natalie and May Maddie Grace hear our plea from Heaven. Lots of love Aunt Letty

  8. Such sweet words of comfort. I love to hear that things are good and that you are seeing every blessing you have around you. Hoping all continues to be well and praying that Jonah makes it in your arms safely.

  9. WOW! You so make me want to be a better person!

    A follower in Illinois!

  10. Love reading your blog. I'm a follower from FL and too a Pastor's wife. I stumbled upon your blog not by accident but because the Lord knew what I needed to hear and you write so well. I pray for you often, especially during this Christmas season. You have such a special angel in heaven. Tonight I bought a little birdhouse trinket from Monet- its beautiful and it made me think of your little girl!! I bought it at Bealls Outlet.. check it out!

    God Bless you!

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  12. Here is the link to the one I bought