Courtesy of Natalie Thomas
She has experienced many things in her lifetime that many of us will never experience. Through the hard times Natalie Thomas kept her faith in God. There is Freedom and Power in Transparency is her story. I recently reviewed her book. The review is here.
There is Freedom and Power in Transparency is Natalie Thomas’ first book. Natalie hopes to encourage others with her story and above all, keep the faith. Thank you for your time to do this interview Natalie.
JRR(Jessica’s Reading Room): What inspired you to write There is Freedom and Power in Transparency?
Natalie: There were many reasons I wrote this book. I knew it was my destiny to write this book even though it was very hard to write the most intimate parts. God let me know that there are other people going through the same thing I went through and it would encourage them to keep going and never give up on their dreams even though they may be living a nightmare right now. God would make a way for them if they trusted him though these difficult times. If you read in the Old Testament, most of the prophets endured great hardship and disappoints in life’s journeys. There is a false teaching going around leading people to believe that if we pray hard enough, live good lives, confess our sins and go to church then bad things will not happen to us. This is NOT what the Bible teaches. God promises to be with us to the end even when we are going through bad times. The bad times helps us trust in God and grow our faith and build character in our lives.
JRR: What did your writing process consist of? Did you do a timeline of events in your life, plan out the chapters to the memoir, or just write?
Natalie: I just sat down at my computer and started writing. It took me five weeks to write this book. The editing took around three months. I started writing end of March 2016 and finished everything by July 2016. I had been writing the book in my head for many years. I had 3 editors. I would not have so many editors in the future. Too many people with different ideas makes things too complicated.
JRR: Do you have any particular passions?
Natalie: Yes, I have a passion for teaching and passing on what I have learned to other people so they can avoid the mistakes that were made in my life. I hope people who have secrets will learn to share those secrets with people they trust and love so they can overcome their addictions and have productive happy lives. I also hope that people will work on their marriages and avoid divorce and broken homes.
JRR: That sounds like a good passion! You mentioned several times in Transparency your experiences with demons. Was there one particular experience that frightened you the most?
Natalie: Being only 14 years old when I encountered the demonic attacks, the whole experience scared me because I did not understand what power we have as the children of God to command the demons out of our lives. When the devil came to Jesus, He quoted scriptures to him to deal with the devil. That is what we should do. Also, I have learned that fear feeds these attacks. I have learned to quote “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” This is found in 2 Timothy 1:7. I quote this verse constantly in my life. I also praise God, because God inhabits the praise of his people. When God is around the devil leaves. Psalm 22:3 states this principle.
JRR: You also mentioned the man in the white Zenith van coming to your rescue several times. Did you always know he was an angel sent to assist you in those times?
Natalie: My sisters and I didn’t really know he was an angel until he showed up the second time. And we started thinking that he never said anything and he always knew what was wrong with our car without telling him. He also didn’t make eye contact. It was like he was a mission. He showed up and fix the car and then just disappeared into thin air. Then we all three realized that he was an angel.
JRR: Let’s all hope our “Zenith man” comes to us when we need him too. Maybe he has and we just don’t realize it!
JRR: As I was reading Transparency and got to the part where you decided that you and Tim were meant to be together and he said if ya’ll started dating again then he wanted to get married in July and it was February, I was shocked. I myself would not have been able to agree to a marriage that quickly. Looking back at that time in your life, do you feel that was too quick to get married?
Natalie: I had known him for four years and dated him for nine months so I did not think it was too soon. I know people who knew each other for 2 weeks and got married and have been married for 50 years. If I had not known him for four years, yes, I would have thought that was too soon.
JRR: Other than having your sons, do you regret marrying Tim? So much happened in your life that came about from marrying him. It was a very tough marriage.
Natalie: No, I think that marrying him was a part of my destiny. I would not have written this book if I had not married him and would not have all the knowledge and wisdom today if I had not married him. And I would not have Elijah and Titus if I had not married him. I learned many things from this experience.
JRR: Your life would have been very different if you had not married Tim. Do you still have that desire to go to North Dakota and work with the American Indians?
Natalie: I went to North Dakota ten years ago on two occasions. My friend, Richard, and I tried to buy land out there and start a wind farm but no one there would sell us land. I met some American Indians while there at a wind conference. It was very interesting.
I heard Dr. Clarice Fluitt who wrote “Ridiculous Miracles” say that “God will let you believe what you need to believe in order to get you to do what he wants you to do.” Because I felt like I needed to go North Dakota to work with the American Indians, I went college. I studied theology and education and I probably would not have done that if I did not feel that was my destiny at the time.
JRR: You talk about your near death experience while giving birth to Titus. Is there anything else you want to add to that? Do you still not fear death after that experience?
Natalie: No, I do not fear death anymore. Actually, I can barely wait until it is my time to die and go to Heaven again. God let this happen to help me get over my fear and I also to use it in witnessing to people about death. I am glad this happened to me.
JRR: It had to be devastating when Tim told you that you were $100,000 in debt. You saw a program on tv about dealing with debt. Do you care to share who was the man on tv and what his program was that you followed to help get out of debt? Is there anything you care to share about all the hard work you did to get out of that debt?
Natalie: I don’t remember the man’s name and have never seen him again on TV. I think this was another divine event in my life. Yes, my husband and I gave up cable TV, expensive food, air conditioning, going out to eat except when God provided the money. Many appliances in our house broke and we did not have them fixed anything until we paid off all the debt. It was a huge sacrifice. I am glad we did not file bankruptcy. I would not be where I am today financially if I had filed bankruptcy.
JRR: What can you say to encourage those who are in debt and feel they may never get out of it?
Natalie: You have to get on a plan as soon as possible and cut every expense you can. You may have to get another job or jobs to pay it off. This will teach you discipline. You may need to go to a financial adviser. I would NOT file bankruptcy unless I was terminally ill and could not work. I still live very frugally. My sister and I just paid off our house in 18 years instead of 30 years. I am trying to pay off my truck by January and my student loan by 2018. Then all the bills I will have are utilities, gas, food, health insurance, phone, taxes and insurance on our house etc.
JRR: Words may not be able to express how it felt when Tim took Elijah away. Did you doubt you would ever see him again? What was it like to finally hear Elijah’s voice on the phone?
Natalie: It was very hurtful. I struggled with doubt from time to time but I quoted verses to build my faith and prayed constantly that he was fine and I would see him again. When I talked to him on the phone it was like a dream. It also let me know that God does answer prayers.
JRR: Can you say what the hardest part to your marriage was?
Natalie: Not having a close relationship with my husband. I think if a couple has a close relationship with each other and work together that they can build a better relationship even if things are hard. We all need a soft place to land and I feel that is what marriage should be.
JRR: What would you say to young couples who may be getting married soon to encourage them?
Natalie: I would have both people in the relationship write down separately what they expect out of marriage to see if they both have the same expectations. If they don’t have the same expectations, I do not think the marriage will work. I think you need to have the same ideas about finances and work together to save for expensive items and avoid credit card debt. Purchases should be made together especially large purchases.
JRR: Was there ever a time you lost or doubted your faith as you went through all of these experiences? Did you ever feel like Job?
Natalie: Yes, I did feel like Job and I read Job constantly during the debt situation. Sometimes, my faith was stronger than other times. Going through all these hard times make me trust God more and I know He has my back. I trust God more and people less these days.
JRR: The Bible: what is your favorite version to read and study from, favorite book, and favorite story?
Natalie: I love the NIV version of the Bible but I read all versions. My favorite story in the Bible is the story of Joseph. Scholars say that he probably was in prison for a rape he didn’t commit for at least 10 years. He never sinned during this horrible trying of his faith and he was elevated to vice president of all Egypt at the end.
JRR: Are there any other books you enjoy?
Natalie: I love Dr. Seuss’ book called, “Oh, the Places You Will Go”. It is very true to life. Especially, when he tells about the waiting place. I feel I am in that place now. My right hip joint has worn out and I am on a walker now. It is taking much patience to get around these days. I have been through physical therapy and I am taking some minerals, vitamins and amino acids to grow it back. It will take around nine months. This is another test in my life. If these supplements do not work then I will have to have a hip replacement. The doctor says that I have to lose 100 pounds to have this operation. I have lost 47 pounds since June 2016 and it is October 2016.
I also like Dr. Clarice Fluitt’s book, “Ridiculous Miracles”. She talks about all the miracles in her life in this book.
The other book I love is by Dr. Susan Forward called, “Toxic Parents”. I read this book in my thirties and it changed my life. She talks about why we pick our marriage partners based on what we did not receive as children. She practiced as a counselor for over 30 years and is a very wise woman.
JRR: What would you say to “Baby Christians” to encourage them in their faith? What about someone who is not saved?
Natalie: I would tell them that we all have our own crosses to bear. I would tell them to memorize scriptures that pertain to tests that they are going through in their lives to get victory in their lives. Listen to CDs that teach the word of God. Go to a Bible Based Church and get good Christian friends that will help them in their walk with God.
I would tell people who aren’t Christians that they need to accept Christ as soon as possible. Life is hard enough to live without knowing Christ and living life alone. We are not promised tomorrow. I would not want to spend eternity in the lake of fire.
JRR: If you could have dinner with any two people (living or dead) who would they be and why?
1. I love watching JC Desclos on his YouTube show called, “The Boss of the Swamp”. I would love to have dinner with him. He is so smart and resourceful living off the grid. He shows how to build a cabin, make an ice box, plant a garden and build just about anything for very cheap price. I love his philosophy of life except he loves to have an occasional beer.
2. I would love to have dinner with Joseph in the Bible. He is my favorite Biblical character.
JRR: What can you tell us about the cover of Transparency and the cover models?
Natalie: The cover was taken at Lucerne Bible Church with my son Titus’ camera. This is a picture of my daughter-in-law, Leslie and my son, Titus. The story of how they met and started dating is in the book.
JRR: Do you have plans on another book in the future?
Natalie: Maybe if I feel it is my destiny and God leads me to write another book. I have not started on one yet. I need to sell this one first. I have sent copies to several Christian TV shows to be interviewed. I hope to send one to Tyler Perry in January to see if he would like to do a movie of the book. Most people I know who have read it said it would make a great movie. I feel the reason God had me to write the book is to share my testimony with as many people as possible.
Thank you for your time with this interview Natalie!