Natalie speaks to us about her work with autistic children, what her devotional life consists of, and what characteristics she is praying for, as she prepares for her next move.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Faith, humbleness and surrendering. I just graduated college with my bachelor’s degree in Human Services, and I am not sure what is next for me. I’ve been praying and stressing out, but I can tell God wants me to put my complete faith in Him, to humble myself so that He may fill me and use me, and He wants me to surrender all my plans and desires.
Profession: I work with autistic children, as a registered behavior technician. I provide one-on-one therapy to the children. The therapy helps the children speak, reduce their problem behavior, and learn the skills needed to function at home and school.
A one sentence bio of yourself: A super smiley introverted extrovert.
When did you first encounter God? Well I was born into the Seventh-Day Adventist church, so growing up I always knew about God. I did make the choice to get baptized when I was 15, but it wasn’t real for me because I didn’t really know God for myself, and I felt pressured to make the choice. So when I was 20, I decided I wanted to get re-baptized but before doing so, I wanted to be intentional about it. So I asked my spiritual mentor to give be Bible studies so that I would know God more and know that I was prepared. By the end of the studies, I realized that God is a relational God. I learned how He wants a relationship with us and wants us to be one with Him. I learned that God is love, and how He wants us to learn to love as He does. After that, I knew I wanted to serve Him forever.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? My devotional life. I’ve always tried to be consistent with my devotional life. Recently, I’ve been more intentional with it. I normally read from a devotions book by Ellen G. White, but lately I have been reading a chapter in the Bible (I started with Proverbs) and I try to see what God is being revealed as in the chapter, what it said that God will do and really see how it applies to me personally.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I am currently reading Lessons on Faith by Alonzo T. Jones and Ellet J. Waggoner. So far this read has taught me that it is impossible to please God if I don’t have faith. It has taught me that faith is full dependency on a God and ultimately expecting God to do what He promised He would do, regardless of whether we like the outcome or not. Because at the end of the day, God knows what is best and He will do what He sees fit, I just need to put my faith in Him.
“Faith is full dependency on a God and ultimately expecting God to do what He promised He would do, regardless of whether we like the outcome or not.”
Top three essentials: God, phone (trying to break that addiction), and hand sanitizer (the world is a nasty place, and I am prone to getting sick).
How did God speak to you recently? God has been speaking to me a lot lately through different ways such as close friends, verses, sermons, and my devotions. But more recently he spoke to me through my sabbath school lesson. I am one of the teachers for the youth group at my church, and we are going through a book called Operation Blueprint by Ivor Myers. It basically goes through the sanctuary and talks about how it is the plan of salvation. It was recently my turn to teach and God used a specific chapter in the book to show me how each piece of furniture in the sanctuary represents every aspect that is important in the Christian walk. It showed me that each aspect requires a dying to self. God revealed to me that being humble is a crucial part to having a relationship with Him.
“Each piece of furniture in the sanctuary represents every aspect that is important in the Christian walk.”
Hobby: Art is my hobby. I enjoy photography and oil painting.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: 1. Make a plan and get organized. Write down your spiritual goals, what you want God to do through you and set the time apart to get those things done. 2. Be consistent, ask God for the strength to be consistent. Even on those day that you don’t feel like doing anything, pray and do it anyway. 3. Surround yourself with people who have the same spiritual goals. It can be very encouraging and uplifting. Also, don’t be afraid to cut out people from your life who are a stumbling block. Think of it as pruning. You have to cut away the dead branches to increase fruitfulness.
“You have to cut away the dead branches to increase fruitfulness.”
Favorite person in scripture? Job. His faithfulness is so amazing and just so encouraging. I pray to be as strong in faith as he was.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That He is love and He is just.
Favorite season? Even though I am a spring baby, I have to say fall. There is something about the changing leaves that makes me so happy. Plus, change is good, right?
Favorite holiday? Christmas! Everyone is friendlier and happier. Also, Christmas is a time my family, and I really focus on giving rather than receiving, which is a huge blessing.
A dream you have? I don’t really like to use the term ‘dream’, I prefer ‘goal’, it makes it more realistic for me. So a goal I have is to use my degree in human services as an avenue to reach souls for Christ. I don’t know what that will look like, but I am so open to whatever God has in mind.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Instead of giving gifts to each other for Christmas, my family and I give gifts to each other for New Years. The reason is so that during Christmas we give to those who are in need and so that we can remember the reason for the season, Jesus.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Honestly, I can’t think of a question to ask. Perhaps with time I will have questions, but initially, I think I will be so overwhelmed to ask questions.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The stigma around mental health disorders. Some people have such a negative attitude towards people who struggle with a mental health condition. There is such a lack of empathy and sympathy. I wish people would educate themselves on the dangers of mental health disorders and take them seriously.
“There is such a lack of empathy and sympathy.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? Pray, read my devotional, workout, get ready for work, family worship, and eat breakfast.
What is on your nightstand? I actually don’t have one, but the closest thing to that would be my desk, and on that I have my planner, laptop, and Bible.
Define Christianity in a sentence: A forever blooming relationship with a merciful, loving, and never-changing God.
For more Natalie:
Until next time, keep witnessing!