The Testimony is The Experiences of My Life

Natalie Nicole is smiling hard but struggling inside. The testimony was just beginning.
Smiling hard for the Senior vs, Junior Powder Puff game. Yet, little did anyone know that
I was struggling on the inside.

We all know how a majority of people talk about how a significant event turned their world upside down and changed them for the better. In addition, that event usually becomes their revelation that they share with everyone. I agree to certain extent. Yet part of me doesn’t. Personally my testimony does not stand on one specific dramatic life experience. My life is my testimony because of my endless experiences. Some of the things that I have dealt with as far back at the age of 11 have contributed to my depression, anxiety, and overall outlook of where I am now. I could sit here to write out a long drawn-out list of experiences, situations, and circumstances that contributed to my overall testimony. That’s not how I operate. It’s just not realistic for me.

What I will do is tell you all that I came from a beautiful city and home where my parents would do anything for my older sister and I. We didn’t particularly want for anything. I was way more sheltered than my ten-year older sister. I was teased, bullied, and awkward while in elementary and middle school. Soon enough I started to rebel against the way I was raised once my parents announced their divorce in 2000 when I was in middle school. In the 2003-2007 years of magnet high, I broke out of my shell way to fast. I started drinking alcohol, spending time with older men, and engaging in late night shenanigans. In the midst of all of this, my testimony was evolving.

The family whom I thought was picture perfect at the age of ten.
The child in the middle is my nephew.

Let The Testimony Begin

Personally I believe the situations that I experienced from the age of ten and up until my parents announced their divorce at the age of fourteen caused me to have extreme mental instability. When I started my first job I was not at home which gave me a sense of freedom to finally release all that mental frustration. In addition, once I started my first job once I was around some people who gave me some attention that I had never gotten before. Once I got a taste of it I let lose I could do as I pleased away from home. I was on a high of being able to relieve myself mentally. The icing on the cake came when I got a car at the age of sixteen

I did the absolute damn most to combat the mental stress that I felt by getting out in the streets as often as I could. This absolute outlandish behavior lingered on past high school. My behavior became so much worse once I went off to start my undergraduates years. My time spent at Auburn University Fromm 2007-2012 brought out some of the worst behaviors in me. I feel like I lost control at one point since I had way too much freedom. My two years spent living in Atlanta after I crossed the stage at Auburn were the candles on top of my mentally distressed cake.

I feel as if I had a well hidden mental breakdown at the end of December 2013. My manager was being racist so I had to quit my job. The environment was just not mentally healthy for me anymore. My body was trying to care for a life. At the top of 2014, I had a miscarriage. Everything just stood still after that. Time just completely seemed to stand still. All I did was go through the motions. I looked happy on the outside. Yet, I was furious and in a rage that I did not know I was capable of. I resorted to alcohol all over again to the point where I could have had alcohol poisoning after a night of clubbing in Atlanta. It was necessary that for me to slow myself down. I found out I was pregnant again in June 2014.

I finally experienced a mental breakdown after my first son was born. The mental breakdown was actually a severe case of postpartum depression. My postpartum experience was accompanied by anxiety and psychosis. I went through that mental battle for eight months. After I had stabilized from PPD, I thought I had put that former young wild and free life into a grave. Within a year after my son’s birth I got right back into those bad habits that were not pleasant in the eyes of several of my family members. It got so bad in the eyes of my mother, that she secretly filed a family court petition to gain full custody of my son from myself and his father. (That is a story I will certainly share in a future blog post.) At this point in my life, my testimony was transforming.

Natalie Nicole and her sweet rainbow baby who was the testimony of a lifetime.
My rainbow baby at 4 months of age and I
at my mothers house where I battled through PPD.

The Testimony is Necessary

I started to ease up on that cycle of wild and free once I met my husband in the grocery store. I can say at that point in my life God had gotten my full undivided attention by putting the right man in my life. There were countless times before I met my husband, where I put my life in danger with the wrong men who did not have my best interest at heart. I would literally wake up and wonder how in the hell I got home or ended up laying next to some man. This promiscuous behavior was this like a revolving door. God had me in his arms every single time. I wasn’t grateful all those times before. Gratefulness entered my heart when Randy said, “I want to learn more about what excites you than what scares you.”

Natalie Nicole and the definition of love according to the Bible! A true testimony that brought sunshine!
Randy and I on our official second date as a couple.
He is going to kill me for using this picture.

My sense of how gracious and merciful God had been to me transpired when I thought I was not going to get out of postpartum depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts/attempts after my oldest son was born. God got me through when I had fear in my heart and mind every second of the day. The light of God was always there within me because through all the pain of PPD I still found the strength to read God’s word and remember God’s word which declares that I am a conquer. My testimony was transforming in ways that I never imagined when I first heard the term on a Sunday morning at the age of six. I had listened to so many other people share their testimonies of how God delivered them through unimaginable times. Part of my testimony had occurred but more was still to come.

Natalie Nicole and her sweet NICU miracle baby! The birth was a testimony how life is in Gods hands.
My miracle baby and I inside the NICU at Baptist East.
I was right in the beginning of the worst PPD experience of my life.

The Testimony is Higher Purpose

I conquered depression and anxiety while pregnant with and after the birth my second son. God had my full attention prior to the pregnancy but he gripped me tight the second time around. My second experience with PPD was gruesomely much worse. I damn near died as my son came into the world. (I will write about that in my birth story blog post in the future as well.) Plus my heart broke daily for eight months once again before I saw a glimmer light. Like the first time, the light was always there because I read my Bible and recited scripture. I came out of another storm filled with more grace and mercy. After both of those storms I had an undeniable purpose. God’s purpose for my life prevailed throughout the pain.

I’m not perfect by a longshot. What I am is rooted in God who keeps me like a tree planted by the river. The testimony isn’t the pain I endured. The testimony is the purpose. God’s divine purpose for my life. The testimony is the transformation I take each day on this Earth. I am actually at peace with knowing that my life is a constant testimony that will change as new things come and old things go. I hope you know he has a testimony that will change someones life as well.

Natalie Nicole finally realizing that her life is the testimony.
On my 30th Birthday, I knew depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts were only
a part of me and not all of me.

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2 thoughts on “The Testimony is The Experiences of My Life

  1. Yes Randy for these words!!! “I want to learn more about what excites you than what scares you.”

    Love you both!!!