Written July 14, 2019; my first birthday as a widow

One year ago today, I was on the beach in Galveston enjoying a cupcake and celebrating my birthday. Never would I have imagined how differently my life would look a mere 365 days later. Nor the different person I would become. I’m not the same Natalie I was on July 14, 2018. It’s hard to say this, and even more difficult to wrap my head around, but I know: I AM BETTER.

Wow, really? Can I think that? Can I speak that???

It seems harsh, bold and disrespectful to Wayne, but losing my spouse has drastically changed me…for the better. I am a better mother, a better friend, a better child of God because of the immense pain and sorrow I’d never known before, but have now lived through these past 11 months. I now feel things more deeply AND I express those feelings to the people I love.

I appreciate the small joys, the mini blessings, the fingerprints of God in my life. I no longer hide behind layers of “strength” to keep people at arm’s length, but instead I choose to be vulnerable and allow myself to peel back those layers revealing a rawness and realness to the people around me.

By giving you small glimpses into my journey this past year, I hope it encouraged you to be better, too. Don’t wait for a tragedy to be the springboard of change for YOUR life. Choose to be real. Choose to give more of yourself. Choose to live in the freedom that comes when you allow yourself to be the person God designed you to be.

  • This past year, I endured horrific pain and trauma. But never despair.
  • The goodness of God was always surrounding me even when my world was shaken to it’s core.
  • I saw God and I continue to see Him in ways I’ve never seen Him before.
  • I have a hope for my future and I know, without a doubt, that God works ALL things (even the death of a spouse) together for good to those that love Him.

I miss Wayne terribly and would do anything to take away the pain and loss the boys and I feel, but I choose to celebrate my birthday today knowing there IS beauty from these ashes!

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