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Natalie first shared this story live on the TOFW stage as the local presenter in Spokane, WA as part of the 2016 One Heart One, Faith Tour.
Though the gospel of Jesus Christ has been a huge blessing in my life since the day I was baptized over 20 years ago, my relationship with Heavenly Father has been a complicated one. To put it mildly, we haven’t always seen eye to eye. Even after learning the truth about the gospel, I struggled with communicating and trusting in Him. Because I had lived without any knowledge of God for over 17 years, I was foolishly under the impression I could handle everything myself and often relied on my own strong will. I learned to kneel in prayer during times of trial, but when I prayed and didn’t get the answers I had hoped for, I resisted in embracing His divine plan.
A Gift and A Loss
My difficulty in trusting God was everpresent as my husband and I began to plan for and start a family. For many years, we suffered from infertility. Finally, on our 5th wedding anniversary we submitted our adoption paperwork. A short ten days later, we found out that we were expecting a baby boy in only two months. When little Conner was placed in our arms at one day old, I finally felt for a moment that my life was perfect.
However, our rush of joy, love, and excitement was accompanied by almost instant struggle. Our beautiful baby boy was soon diagnosed with severe epilepsy. No surgery, diet, or medication could heal him. His seizures were uncontrollable, violent, devastating, and ultimately life ending. At age 8, my sweet, compassionate boy passed away in the middle of the night from SUDEP, (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). His death has been the single most devastating trial in my life. It’s one that has stretched me and molded me into the person I am today.
There are many stages of grief, but the one I remember the most vividly is anger. It was all consuming. I remember yelling at the Lord, telling him that I could never forgive Him for taking so much from me. I told Him that I’d never listen to another word He said. I was simply done listening.
It’s very hard for me to admit that I fell to such a low point, but grief can cast a shadow on everything good. In my case, it drained the color out of my world making everything flat and lifeless. I tuned out the Holy Ghost. I refused to pray, read scriptures, or do anything that would invite the spirit in. Though I knew the gospel was true, I had too much pain in my heart and I let the anger take hold. That is, until a miraculous day about three years ago. The day that changed my life forever.
To read the full article on Time Out for Women, click here.