Friday, February 21, 2014

The Power of a Praying Mommy, guest blogger, Emily Natzke


I am super excited to share my feature article for Fullfill Magazine, in their upcoming Shame issue...coming soon! 

In the meantime, I wanted to announce the winner of our Valentine's Day Giveaway-- if you missed it on Facebook-- Miss Catherine M. picked up a copy of Shannon Ethridge's latest book, The Passion Principles and The Little Book of Great Date Ideas! Congrats Cath!

Before you read on, I wanted to share one last thing with you. This morning I edited a Child Protection document for a ministry in Zambia, Africa, Jubilee Centre. The project itself, along with Emily's piece below, have reminded me how essential and powerful our prayers are.

This morning, would you take a few minutes and pray for the precious children of Zambia, and around the world, who are suffering from abuse, female circumcision, exposure to witchcraft, cultural-sexual traditions, and slavery? I know from Emily's story, and my own time in Zambia, that God is faithful to answer when we cry out to him. Thanks.   

My friend, Emily Natzke, recently spoke at a MOPS group on the power of a praying mommy. Emily is married to her wonderful husband, John. They have a two-year-old daughter, Margaret, and a son on the way in May. She is a hairstylist and recovering addict/alcoholic-5 years sober by the grace of God! 

I have had the privilege of watching Emily's story unfold over the past several years. I'm so thrilled to share this with you. Be sure to comment below and give Emily a shout-out!  


The Power of a Praying Mommy

"I was raised in a Christian home. My mom was a new believer when I was born so, needless to say, she wanted to raise me with all the things that she thought would bring me close to God and keep me protected. Neither of my parents were raised in Christian homes and since I was the first child, they went above and beyond to make sure that I grew up with all the things that they didn’t. I was enrolled in a church preschool, followed by Christian grade school from kindergarten through eighth grade. Finally, I graduated from a private Christian high school.  

Less than two years after graduating, I was in abusive relationships, making my way through men, and working at a bar.  It wasn’t long before I was a full blown alcoholic and drug addict.  I would disappear for days at a time, was arrested repeatedly and was eventually thrown in jail for cocaine possession.  I ended up losing my license, losing my apartment, and moving back home. I do NOT think this is the future that my mom was trying to prepare me for. 

After continuing on this destructive path for a while, I finally hit rock bottom and entered rehab. Although I was physically and emotionally wrecked, I also felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I wasn’t fighting this alone anymore.  

One of the first faces I saw upon entering treatment was a doctor from our church. It was then that I started feeling like God might actually be a part of this, and there was a chance He could get me through it. That first night in treatment, as I laid there in the deafening silence, was the first time in a long time that I felt God’s presence. I know He had been there all along, but  I had never gone to Him. Once I surrendered, I never looked back.

The years following my treatment were filled with an outpouring of God’s blessing beyond
my wildest dreams. I met my husband, who is also in recovery, and had the amazing opportunity to be baptized with him. We were married soon after, and had our first daughter who is now two. Since then, we have bought a house and are expecting a son in spring. These are NOT normal things for people with pasts like ours, but we do not have a normal God. 

Although my testimony is a true picture of God’s grace and faithfulness, I really want to focus on the power of a praying mommy. My mom is and always was a prayer warrior. She has been praying tirelessly since I was born, and not just for me but for herself as a mom.  It is only because of her constant dialogue with God that when I strayed, she was able to cling to Him and His word. 

It is sooo hard for us as mommy’s to let go of our babies. It’s so hard for our minds to comprehend that God loves them more than we ever humanly could and knows what they need more than we do. There were times when my mom would try to take back control of me. She would wait up for me at night and read me scripture and beg me to change. It was only after she fully surrendered me to God that He allowed me to hit rock bottom and get the help I needed. 

Even though we ended up in the same spot, my husband came from a very different background.  He never knew the Lord and grew up in a house filled with abuse and chaos, but my mom has been praying for him since 1984.  

A godly woman once told her that when each of your children are born you should start praying for their future spouses, whoever and wherever they are. My husband has lost two out of his three brothers to drug overdoses, and I can’t help but think that that could have just as easily been him if it weren’t for my mom’s prayers.

The point of me saying all this is not to scare moms about their children’s futures but to encourage them! I hold a lot of guilt knowing that I will never be able to provide my children with private schools or Christian education. I will never be able to afford to live in the best school district and I will not always be there to protect them. But I can take comfort in the fact that God will always be there. He is their heavenly Father and creator. He is with them every time they leave my side.  

My life is the perfect example of having every Christian advantage growing up and yet still going astray! My mom still needed to give me to God. As long as we dedicate ourselves as moms to pray constantly for our children, and to prayer for their futures and future spouses, God will take care of the rest.

When we give our children to the Lord, whether in church or in our hearts, we have to do it without limitations. It’s going to be hard. I’m sure I will have to rededicate my children daily! But God is the only one with the power to restore brokenness in us and in our children. The more we keep up communication with God, and keep our relationship with Him strong, the easier it will be to trust our little ones to Him. Then we can know, no matter what path they walk down, they will not be alone.  And if they stray, God has the power to bring them back in His perfect timing.

I am never going to be a perfect mom, my husband will never be a perfect dad, but our children have a perfect heavenly Father who loves them and we can take comfort in that."


10 comments:

gaye parnell said...

Thank you Emily. That was a very powerful reminder and confirmation for us "old" moms. No matter the age, we still want to hold on and make things better for our kids, but we must
give it to God and trust Him.

Donna Russell said...

So proud of you Emily! Thanks for sharing your story - God will redeem it in other's lives as well. You are so eloquent. I love watching you be a Mom - the greatest privilege. Your Mom is truly a warrior and example to us all. Love you!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing Emily. I am in tears thinking I'm the mom living this out with my oldest. You have touched my heart with renewed hope and I will continue praying. I am so happy you are having another child and so proud of how far you and your husband have come by God's grace. God Bless!

Emma Anderson said...

MO- you are so beautiful! Just as God created you!

Emma Anderson said...

MO- God has created a beautiful woman, mother, daughter, friend in you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that Emily! We need to give it all to God!

Anita said...

Emily, thank you so very much for sharing your story and your heart!! You and John are amazing! God had you both and your children in the palm of his hand!! God loves you and so do we!! YOU ARE AWESOME!!

Anita Meszaros

Aubrey Travis Sampson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aubrey Travis Sampson said...

Emily! I am so amazed at your faithfulness, and your mom's and this story! Thanks everyone for commenting!

Aubrey Travis Sampson said...

Emily! I am so amazed at your faithfulness, and your mom's and this story! Thanks everyone for commenting!