Thursday, September 30, 2010

Italicize or Bold

As I had mentioned previously I am reading Redeeming Love.
In the book, whenever God talks to the characters his words are italicized.
And whenever Satan talks to the characters his words are in bold.

It makes me absolutely CRAZY when the characters listen to the bold. When they listen to the lies Satan is feeding them, instead of the sweet truth God is laying on their hearts.

I literally say out loud, "What the heck, are you serious?! Can't you tell that's Satan?!"

Then I thought, "Natalie, what a hypocrite you are...You listen to the bold on a daily basis. You let Satan's lies speak to you all the time."

So the prayer on my heart lately has been to discern the italicized truth from the bold lies.

Today was the last day of the month, so we went to church and prayed all day from morning until night for the month to come and we gave thanks for the previous month.

In the middle of prayer, my favorite, Robin, was carried in.

His body looked lifeless; pain was evident on his face, great pain.

Something inside of me stirred, a foreign feeling built up inside of me.

Something powerful and angry consumed me.

I thought, "Oh Lord, not this one. Please, God, not this one. Satan knows the exact way to break my heart."

They laid him in the middle of the floor and we all gathered around him. Everything inside of me was trembling, I fought back the stinging tears. I held his hand and everything inside of me ached for my Indian brother. He began to shake as we prayed for him. I prayed and prayed desperately for Jesus to take his pain away. To take whatever was inside of him out.

So maybe a half hour later they came and told us he was better and doing okay.

But for the next two hours someone was speaking to my heart.

I just kept praying, "Is this the italicized voice or is this the bold voice, Jesus? I don't know."

"Go be with him. Go be with Robin."

I knew it was the Holy Spirit.

So, in the middle of OnKar's sermon I got up (everyone probably thought I was crazy),

I grabbed my notebook, bible, and purse, I ran out the door, grabbing my shoes, not even stopping to put them on, and I ran.

I ran and ran.

As fast as my legs could take me.

I heard people from behind me shouting my name, but all I could hear was the voice speaking to my heart,

"Go. Go, Natalie, be with him, comfort him."

Maybe 5 minutes later, I arrived at the Karuna Home, panting and out of breath.

I ran up the stairs and all of my loves came out to see me.

I took a deep breath and managed to get out, "Where is he? Where's my Robin?"

He stumbled out of the room and I ran to him and held him for a long time.

I felt like a mom when she realizes her child is missing at the grocery store,

"Don't ever scare me like that again, okay? I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry that happened to you."

I finally looked at his face and tears ran down his cheeks.

We laid down on a mat on the floor, and I held his hand.

A few minutes later, I felt his hand squeeze mine back.

And I knew it was my Robin in there.

We laid there for a long time. I just held his hand and never wanted to let go.

Please pray for the Karuna Home Children.

Pray that darkness never finds them again.

Please.

Pray that angels sleep in their beds with them and the blood of Jesus covers their bodies every night.

As I laid their with Robin, I looked around at the sad faces looking upon my pathetic self.

"I just love you guys so much. I'm sorry. I just love you guys too much."

That’s when Pooja said, "Who's going to love us when you leave?"

The words stung my heart.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The good, the bad, and the ugly. :)

My Dearest Blog Readers,

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to care about what I'm doing here. :) I really do LOVE knowing that their are 3,000 people out there reading my blog, from all over the world. Sheesh, the numbers astonish and humble me. Thank you also to whoever is praying for my American tummy. I have my suspicions as to who you are, but really, thank you.

Can you believe it has been a month already?! It feels like it has flown by, but also been an eternity. There are so many things I am processing through daily, about life, love, and most of all, about who I am...

Life:

There's a new favorite. And he's stuck for a few weeks. His name is Robin. He's 8 years old. When I first got here, he was the trouble maker, the one that "made me crazy", he never ever changed his clothes, and I'm pretty sure hadn't bathed in months. He's the one the teacher's would say, "He is not smart, and if you weren't here, I would beat him."

A few weeks ago, I told Robin I loved him. And when he got hurt I kissed his booboos. And when he had to stay home from school because he was sick, I played with him and told him stories. Robin is now the quietest child in the class. He wears new clothes almost daily, slicks his hair back, and puts his fingers in his ears to study when the rest of the class is running around and making Madam Natalie crazy.

They are the joy to my soul.

I miss crying. I know that's a weird thing to miss, but I miss it a lot. Sometimes you just need a good cry. But you see, in order for me to cry, I need a person. It's been like this my whole life, I don't cry unless I have a person (you know that sympathetic voice that just unwillingly generates an immense amount of water in your eyes). This person is usually very close to me, who I can completely trust to see my eyes well up and tears streak down. Usually it was my mom or sister, but there was sometime when it was Nick or Laura or Danielle...I opened up. Now I don't have a person. I don't get to decide...My tear ducts do. They become overactive when I'm around that person. So maybe it's good I don't have one. Maybe God wants to be my person. Maybe.

Jesus, please don't forget about India.

Please.

Daily activities: playing with the kids, teaching/tutoring them, projects for the ministry, eating, sleeping, praying, reading, worshipping, visiting hindu's houses and praying for their families, going to bible classes, and eating rasberry dollys.

Love:

I obsess way too much about my future. Not enough about today, loving others around me today. The other day Charlotte told me that we weren't friends anymore, that she didn't love me...So I chased her all over the house, with a cracker in my mouth and I screamed, "LOVE ME AGAIN!" I tickled her until she looked me in the eyes and said it.

Choose to love.

I'm reading Redeeming Love, the story of Hosea. God never ceases to love us. Even when we are so unworthy of His love. Why is this? I fear I will never know. But I am beginning to understand the bridegroom, which fills my heart with joy.

I'm going to share the message with a bunch of Hindu families on Saturday.

Please pray for boldness.

I really really love cherry chapstick and ice in my drinks.

Can’t wait until Em’s wedding.

I feel like everyone’s getting engaged.

I went to see my first Indian movie, and LOVED it. I think this will provide for good date material in the VERY VERY far away future.

India kind of resembles a heart in my mind.

I’m a romantic, an optimist, I only really like happy endings.

Myself:

At times I feel like I'm running, fully sprinting towards my dreams, and other times, I feel like the laziest person in the world. I wonder why this is.

I catch myself daydreaming about food, constantly. All kinds of food. Who knew how much I would miss it?

I need discipline in my life. Spiritual discipline.

I want my presence on this Earth to mean something.

According to Strengthfinders, I’m very high on the empathetic level. This personality trait can sometimes be hard to deal with in India.

Sometimes, only rarely, I get scared and I feel the insides of me begin to tremble. Then I remember, I have a powerful God inside of me. They tremble at His name.

On Sunday I saw a seventeen year old boy worshipping with everything he had. It was beautiful. So after church I went up to him and said, “I want to worship like you, I want faith like you.” He gave me a bible and said, “Read Hebrews 11.” So I read it. Then he said, “Read verse 6 again, it is the most important.”

Verse 6 said: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

I wake up every morning with the words of Hillsong in my mind. Desert Song is my constant prayer. It rings true to every part of my life. :)

Verse 1:
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

Verse 2:
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

Chorus:
And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:
And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

Bridge:
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be empited again
The seed I've recieved I will so
w



With Love,

Natalie Grace Donald


Saturday, September 25, 2010

It is quite possible...

That my body will come back to America...


video

But my heart will forever stay in India.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"How do I surprise someone with pancakes who wakes up at the crack of dawn?"


So today was probably my favorite day in India so far.
:) I got to celebrate the life of my hero with what felt like the entire city of Bharuch.
What do we get for someone who deserves the world?
Really.

I woke up at 5 Am-yes, 5 AM and made my best attempt at pancakes.
I really did feel like I was with the mayor, traveling from place to place. Each place she would give out a gift to the children.


The coolest part was hearing the testimonies, of how this woman had changed and shaped so many lives. I couldn't hold back the tears as one by one they began to stand and share about how this woman had shown them love, when no one else had. "She is our super hero." Most of them were in Hindi, but they still made me cry, because I still saw how much of a blessing God gave to so many souls when he crafted His daughter, my aunt, and all of these kids' "mommy-sa" :)

Thank you Jesus for her life and what a blessing she has been to so many.







So we ate at least 4 cakes, I think...







We had a huge celebration at night, despite the fact that she doesn't like celebrating her birthday. She taught them funny American games and the house was roaring with laughter for hours. One lady who has been very sick recently even said that it was the first time she had smiled in one month. She got her smile back tonight. :)









I think Aunt Becky had a great time too. :)









I wore my green sari and felt like a princess. I don't know how many times I was told how beautiful I looked. :) I played with the kids and told them scary stories. It was such a great day. :)






Happy Birthday Aunt Bec, we all love you so much and we are so thankful for your life. I hope I am half the woman you are one day. And I hope that God blesses you in the years to come.
:)





video

Monday, September 20, 2010

A beautiful prayer.

So yesterday I left my journal downstairs.
And Natalie Donald's journal is, let's just say, pretty intense.
My deepest thoughts, prayers, hurt, pain, it resides in this notebook.

Markus came into my room late last night and gave it to me.
A little embarrassed, I snatched it quickly and thanked him.
I went through each page, diligently looking for any changes within it.

And I got to one of the last pages and found this prayer:
" Oh God, help me not to get angry. Help me to stay blissful, calm, and happy. Help me to have strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles. I get energy to surrender myself to THY WILL WITH LOVE."-Markus

:)my heart was so happy.

I ATE SO MUCH TODAY.

Mmm.
Breakfast:
Chapatti (like a tortilla) with jam.
Snack:
Pineapple, so much that my tongue blistered.
Lunch:
Corn flakes with bananas and buffalo milk.
Snack:
India's version of a ritz cracker and India's version of spread cheese.
Dinner:
Some weird dough ball that tasted like a bagel.
And some chicken curri with potatoes.
And some cucumbers.

I think this is the most I have eaten since I got here.
And my stomach is sooo happy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Refine me Lord through the flame.

This has been my prayer since I arrived here. My constant prayer.
On Thursday:
A man came to stay at our house.
His name: Pastor Madhu. He is from south India and he is a prophet (the things he has dreamed, have come true).
He came to me on Friday and said that God had given him a dream and prophecy about my life.
He said that God had a great plan for my life and that he wants to use me in powerful ways.
He knew things about my life that no one could ever know.
Things I have never told anyone.
He knew my thoughts.
God was speaking to me directly through this man.
He said that on Saturday night, I would receive a gift.

So me, Natalie, being Natalie, internally freaked out. With joy, with fear, with doubt, with excitement, with eagerness.
I prayed and prayed and prayed some more.
So Saturday night approached:
The prophet as well as my Aunt Becky, prayed over me.
Satan was getting into my head and so the man stopped.
He said, "Stop doubting, God wants you to just sit at the foot of his throne."
So there I sat, at his throne, feeling unworthy.
And suddenly, I felt a tingling heat cover my entire body, I saw a light and I started laughing uncontrollably. Something was happening.
After they prayed, they told me that God had blessed me with the gift of healing.
They said, He has been close to me my entire life, but each time He tries to get closer, I push Him away.
They said, specifically, my gift lies in healing families. And broken hearts. And that is why God brought me to India. I am obeying His commands, therefore He will show others his power through me.

Saturday night:
All I kept thinking was "Why me? I am not worthy. I have sinned against you so much, Father. I am just a weak girl, too scared to even share the gospel with her best friends. Why me?"
I sat there for hours. My mind kept going and going and going. I was so tired and frustrated, I longed for sleep.
But then God said, "Get your bible. Open it to Exodus, read this."
I've never read Exodus before. God told me so much while reading this. The exact words I had just been saying to God, Moses was also saying to God. "Why me, God? I am nothing special."

Wow. After I finished reading, God immediately gave me rest.

Sunday morning:
Another thing happened.
This is so hard to explain, but it's like for my entire life, there has been a wall between me and God. Like I have to REALLY think about what I'm praying about. I have to process each word in my brain before I say it. So during worship, something came over me. It was as if the prayers weren't coming from my head any more, but they were coming from my heart. I wasn't thinking about what I was praying, I was just praying. With my whole self. My hands, my feet, my heart, my mouth, prayers poured out. The exact prayers I have been trying to get out of my soul for the past 19 years of my being, eloquently poured out. The Holy Spirit consumed my heart, my soul, my being.

This all may sound completely crazy to you, but all I can do is rejoice, for the Lord has redeemed my soul and my heart and given me a gift that I never want to go to waste. And I know he will use that in me. Amen.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Today I'd like to thank Benjamin Franklin for a beautiful thing called electricity



This is the start.

This is my heart.

Thank you that hallelujah is a universal word.

Every breath is my second chance.

Yesterday, I went to tutor my favorite kids in the world, like usual. And like usual, things got a little out of hand... So one of the boys, Raul, stood up to help me (since my hindi’s a little on the weaksauce). He scolded, “be quiet and listen to Map Didi!” So I went home and immediately confessed to my aunt that Raul was my new favorite and that I love him soooo much.

Flash forward 10 hours: Raul gets attacked by an evil spirit in the night. Terrifying. He doesn’t remember any of it in the morning…


I’m in love again. If it doesn’t break your heart it isn’t love.

Invade the hearts of those I love, Lord.

I have THE warrior, defeating, victorious king on my side.

All darkness bows before Him.

And trembles.

On a lighter note:

I went on my first walk by myself.

Which may make some of you worried.

But please don’t be.

I was sweating bullets the entire time, but it was the most invigorating feeling of my life (it was like Unwritten was finally the soundtrack of my life).

I passed a camel, a donkey, some wild pigs, and about 5 boys on bikes that did triple and quadruple takes of me trying to cross streets and find my way around this city.

On that walk, I became the leading lady of my own life.

And I had the biggest smile on my face the entire time.

I couldn’t conceal it.

I got a note from my boyfriend today:

“Map Didi,

Flowers die. Stories end. Songs fade. Memories are forgotten. All things come to an end, but precious people like you are always remembered. Please pray for my study and my future. You are very beautiful, smart, innocent, intelligent, blessed, lucky, pretty girl, you are my friend. Missing you lots. Really. Like you. Your smile shines and makes my heart feel so happy. You are the best Didi in the world. I miss you Didi.

Naresh Massy”

I think I didn’t stop smiling for at least 4 hours after I read this.

Here is the picture of my Gideon that I promised you:


I am proud to say that he can spell all his numbers 1 to 10, and there was absolutely no beating or slapping or pinching involved. Just lots of kisses.

"When you smile, the whole world stops and stares for awhile."


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Never Forget the No Teeth Smile :)

Today I went to the school to tutor my 30 Karuna Kids.
It was an experience I will never ever forget.

There was one little boy. He is in first grade. His name is Gideon.
He lost all his front teeth.
And he is the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life (I will post a picture tomorrow).

So today he was learning how to spell numbers and I was practicing with him.
When he or any one of them get something wrong their tutor slaps, pinches, or hurts them(this disturbed me greatly, but I guess it's how Indians learn).

I was going slowly through each number with him, spelling it out.
Then we got to nine and I kept saying, "N-I-N-E, 9! N-I-N-E, 9!"
And he started repeating me.
And every time he repeated me I would give him the biggest kiss.
His smile just kept getting bigger and bigger and I just kept kissing and kissing.
He continued to shout louder and louder, "N-I-N-E, 9!"
And then behind me I started to hear other kids in the class shouting, "N-I-N-E, 9!"
I started walking around the classroom just kissing their beautiful little heads and faces and hearing their joyful giggles!
And for the first time since I've been here I asked myself, "How am I ever going to leave?"

Do you think it's possible to love too much?


Monday, September 13, 2010

FREE AS A WEED


Confession:
My ENTIRE life I have longed to fall in love.
It's been my OBSESSION for years and years and years to have the perfect love story, a beautiful love story.

The funny part:
If you know Natalie Grace Donald the first, even in the slightest bit, this isn't a confession.
This is, well, old news to you in fact.


A new desire:
Independence.
Freedom.
I don't have to anchor my life anywhere.
I can go where I want and when I want.

My heart is changing rapidly each and every day. Hallelujah.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Favorite Place...

So there’s this place...

on the roof of my Aunt’s house.

You can see the whole city of Bharuch.

I just go up there to think often times.

But tonight the sun had just set and clouds of magnificent colors surrounded me, and I looked up and saw the moon for the first time in India.

Petra and I danced in the moonlight as I sang her to sleep for a long time (she rested her precious little head on my shoulder and listened to my horrific voice in complete silence).

And for those brief moments…

I forgot about the pain, the sadness, and the heartbreak I’ve had in the past couple weeks. It all began to slowly fade...

For those brief moments, everything seemed right in the world.

It was my own little miracle.

One of those mysterious moments of peace in this broken world.

Friday, September 10, 2010

You Know You're In India...



1.) When there is a large goat slaughtered in your honor. How I am ready for my in n' out burger and it's only been 2 weeks.
2.) When a raspberry dolly is your favorite food and KFC in Dehli tastes soooo good.
3.) When you swerve in any which way to
avoid hitting the millions of cows pooping in the roads.
4.) When Switchfoot is my new best friend.
5.) When you are in the middle of nowhere in a remote village in the mountains of India at a tiny church and people are still worshiping with all that they have. And also bringing cucumbers thesize of baseball bats as their offering.

6.) When you're at a beautiful palace one day and a village where the bathing/drinking/cooking water are all the same source the next...

7.) When 12 monkies come into your hotel...and it's not the movie!
8.) When you scope out an attractive British lad at every location you go to just to have some male flirtation.
9.) When it rains every single day.
10.) When you feel like you pray more than you breathe.
11.) When you're at one of the Seven Wonders of the World and crazy Indians are taking pictures of you (because you're white) rather than the breathtaking symbol of love right in front of their faces.
12.) When reading is your new favorite pastime.
13.) When motorcycles basically drive everywhere (sidewalks, stores, you name
it).
14.) When hot showers and toilet paper are missed badly.
15.) When sometimes I am glad I can't understand what some of the gross men are saying around me.
16.) When Party in the USA was finally a good life choice (on the train of course).
17.) When you are an extrovert, but semi miss alone time.

I am loving India. Today was a very good day.
The Taj Mahal was beautiful. A masterpiece.
I am learning to play the guitar for real. Hercules.
Please pray that I continue to keep adjusting to life here. I think I will be fine. And I think I will love every second of it, but please pray. I miss you all very dearly.
Other prayer requests:
Pray for the Karuna Home. That the funds are provided and that God can use me somehow in that way.
Pray for my friend Kaitlin.
And please pray for my husband.
I don't know who he is yet...
But my heart is being radically transformed everyday.
And please pray that his is too.
:]
Thank you.


My Aunt and I in a palace...no big deal :)
She's my hero.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

94 days.

Today the streak ended.
I cried today.
For the first time in 94 days.
And I know this may not seem like a big deal to you (some folk go years and years with no tears),but it's a very big deal to me.
Because there was a time in my life where I would cry almost everyday.
So 94 days with no tears is quite an accomplishment for Natalie Donald.


I hate goodbyes.

Please pray for my sensitive, emotional heart.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"SET THE WORLD ON FIRE"

The other day Ben asked me:
“What would you do if today was your last day?”
Natalie: “I would live. Bring as much joy as I could to others around me. See the world. A million things. It’s just so hard to know what I would do.”

Ben: “Well, what are you waiting for?”

Natalie: “Courage.”

Ben: “You only have one chance at this life, live with no regrets!”

Natalie: “I’m trying. How many 19 year olds do you know who quit school, gave up the person they loved, traveled the country, and moved to a 3rd world country? I’m trying to do more than just exist in this world. I’m just trying to search for God’s purpose in all of this. What is he trying to prepare me for? I yearn to figure things out…”

Ben: “Listen little lady! Stop trying to figure it all out. You know, I’m a little jealous… When I was your age my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest everyday for all of the possibilities ahead of me!

Just don’t forget about me when you become a world superstar world changer.”

So here is my response Ben…this is what I want to do with my life:
I want to set the world on fire.
Until it’s burning bright for You.
It’s EVERYTHING that I desire.
Can I be the one you use?
I am small, but You are big enough.
I am weak, but You are strong enough.
To take my dreams, come and give them wings.
Because Lord with You, there’s nothing I cannot do.
I want to set the world on fire.”

I always tell my friend Kaitlin: I’m really not good at anything… Really. I’m not that smart, not that funny, not that skilled or talented in any area… But there is one thing I know I am capable of. And that is loving.

Since I was just a child, I set out on changing the world. Well, this week was hard. Because there were a lot of bad things I saw in the world. And it defeated all my determination to change things.

But the thing is… He can change things.
And He can use me to change things.
And even though I can’t fix this broken world, I can maybe fix broken hearts.
I can maybe love on people who don’t have love.
And maybe, just maybe, I can change the world.
Not on a crazy large scale,
But hearts.
I can change some hearts.
I can love some hearts.
And maybe they can love me back.

Thank you Mom and Dad for not pushing me to be great at anything in particular.
I am okay with being different and average and not that great at anything.
Just thank you for teaching me how to love.